Many organizations rely on social media to create awareness and branding, but few have cracked the code on how to effectively use it for lead generation. Combining and triangulating on customer purchase patterns, forum discussions, and social media feeds can help in predicting future purchases and accelerate existing sales opportunities. Here's how to glean insights from your existing social media properties—both internal (sponsored and owned forums) and external (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn)—to generate quality leads.
Understanding customer needs and engaging with them at the right time with the appropriate content is core to any marketing or sales effort. Traditionally, organizations relied on intra firewall data such as transaction history of customers, demographic/"firmo-graphic" and call logs to predict customer needs and engage with them based on their business potential.
Traditionally targeting has always been a one-way conversation from the brand to the consumer. Targeting primarily consists of collection of data from outside like marketing partners or inside like customers transactions or other functions like customer service and using the data to reach out to the targets with appropriate messaging and media. Traditional targeting focused on the linear purchase funnel model and tried to influence the consumers accordingly. Traditional targeting looks something like Fig. 1 in the mediaplayer to the right.
Relying only on this approach has many limitations such as:
- Decisions are made based on historical data: Business will not know if the customer has churned out, until it is time for the next purchase cycle.
- Limited knowledge of customer profile: Knowledge about customers is limited to the point of sale data and sample surveys, therefore marketing and sales communications cannot be customized based on customer profile beyond a certain point.
- No knowledge about customer behavior: The traditional sources give little or no insight into customer behavior or changing customer behavior that can be leveraged for micro targeting/customized targeting.
- Limited interaction with customers: With traditional tools, there is limited opportunity to engage and influence one's customers.
With the advent of Social Media and other emerging technologies, consumer purchase funnel has evolved from being linear to a complex web of interconnected activities. Consumers are spending lot more time evaluating and researching the products through web, social media and technical forums. Today, they are more informed and are empowered to influence others. Changes in the mental model are leading to brand consideration being made even before the consumer enters a store. (See Fig. 2 in the mediaplayer to the right).