It’s hard to believe that social media has only existed for the last 20 years or so (depending on what you consider to be the first social service).
And in that relatively short amount of time, social media in one form or another has gone from a nascent form of communication to being the way more than 4.74 billion people around the globe connect with each other today. With that kind of scale, it’s easy to see why having a social media marketing strategy in place has become essential to help businesses reach their customers.
By the numbers, social media achieves some profound marketing reach. A recent Pew Research Center study found that an average of more than 82% of US adults aged 18–49 are active social media users.
Many B2B marketers and social media marketing services now rely on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and more to connect with the entire B2B buying committee and promote products or solutions. But one of the most powerful benefits of social media is its ability to provide marketers with valuable customer insights.
From social listening tools to native social media analytics, there are many ways to leverage social media to gather high-level intent data and, with its insight, personalize customer experiences to convert leads into buyers.
Intent data is information you collect about a buyer’s online activity that demonstrates their interest in a particular product or service. It’s designed to reveal when your target customers are most interested in your solution and ready to make a purchase.
Social media offers marketers a convenient opportunity to collect crucial intent data points like customers’ needs, interests, and behaviors. Want to get your hands on this valuable intelligence from your own social media marketing campaigns? Here are four ways to do just that.
Have a Listen
If you’re looking to get a real sense of brand-related conversations online, it’s essential to continuously track your brand’s social media channels. The best way to do this is through social listening.
When social listening, you monitor your brand’s social media channels for any customer feedback, direct brand mentions, or discussions regarding specific keywords, topics, competitors, or industries. This ongoing audit helps you to understand your brand perception, buying committee pain points, and what they may look for in a product or service, helping you identify high-value features and shape product development.
Using social media marketing tools, you can conduct social sentiment analysis to discover how often your brand gets mentioned and to discover exactly what people are saying about you. Armed with this information, you can anticipate how well your social media marketing campaigns (and more) will be received, enabling you to fashion content that promotes positive sentiment and converts more leads.
Identifying these anticipated opportunities is just one way to use predictive analytics in your social media marketing strategy.
Hear Them Out
Customers want to be heard: 46% think engaging with your audience on social media can set you apart from the pack. And responding to customer reviews and feedback is a great way to build trust and credibility while capturing valuable social intent data about what the buying committee may like and dislike about your products and services.
Customer reviews can also significantly impact your conversion rates.
With 75% of internet users using social media to research products, customer relationship management across various social media platforms is more critical than ever. And by regularly monitoring feedback and reviews, you can spot trends and common themes that can inform your social media marketing campaigns and shape the customer experience.
Take Stock and Assess
Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook offer built-in polling features, making it easy for your marketing team to gather feedback from your customers and followers quickly. You can use polls and surveys to ask customers about their preferences, experiences, and opinions on various topics related to your business.
You can quickly view your customers’ wants and needs without investing in expensive or time-intensive surveys. You can then use these takeaways to make tactical and strategic adjustments with a clearer picture of pain points and needs.
Consider social media as the world’s largest focus group!
Mind Their Manners
You don’t have to look far beyond where you’re tweeting and posting to gain unmatched insight into real-time customer behavior. That’s because most popular social media platforms provide a wealth of native analytics tools to help you understand what makes your customers tick.
Social media analytics can include likes, follows, retweets, previews, clicks, and impressions gathered from individual platforms, pages, and campaigns. By analyzing the engagement and interactions on your social media pages, you can get a concrete sense of what types of content are most popular with your audience and which posts generate the most engagement. After all, intuition is nice, but data is precise.
This data can help you tailor your content strategy and create more effective social media marketing campaigns centered around personalization.
The effectiveness of social media marketing campaigns depends on how relevant they are to your target audience. And the best way to be relevant is to know your audience inside out; that’s something intent data can deliver in spades, making social media and intent data a killer combo in any B2B marketing strategy.
To unshackle your social strategy from the “B2B is boring” myth, check out our on-demand webinar, Social Media Marketing Doesn’t Have 2B Boring. Prefer to read? Download our eBook, Social Media Marketing in a B2B World, for an in-depth take on how to excel at B2B social media marketing.