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Social Media Marketing

Connecting Social Media to Revenue

By Bob Johnson, VP & Principal Analyst 

Connecting Social Media Investments to Revenue Requires You Understand the Basics

Many of us have invested in social media to build awareness and market presence and now the task is to extend that to make a clearer connection to revenue. The challenge is that social media efforts are often done on an island of sorts, driven by what subject matter experts favor in terms of topics and detail rather than what buyers prefer.  To see where you are in making the move to socially driven revenue requires a quick assessment against four basic questions.

Do you understand the platforms and communities your target audience uses during the decision process, by buying stage?

How can you possibly target effectively without knowing this? You can’t. At least understand it from an overall perspective, but realize platform and community preferences vary by region and country.

Is it clear how topical and value proposition interest varies for different buying team members focused on technical, financial or business impact issues?

Buying team members from business functions have different value considerations versus centralized IT. IDG Connect research reveals that for many vendors their value proposition emphasis is off by more than 50 percent when compared to what buyers focus on. And now, with the average enterprise buying team for a significant technology purchase ranging from 10 to 12 members, there are multiple agendas that can thwart your sales cycle efforts.  But there is a larger issue looming around what you know about the individual in terms of role, influence and focus so you can do a better job of tailoring value emphasis. But at least make sure that the overall weight you give in conversation emphasis is aligned with market requirements around topics and required value.

Do you know what types of content and conversational focus buyers want you to see as links from social conversations?

On average, buyers are not pleased with the relevance of offered links from social conversations to other conversations or content asset. This alignment must be improved to continue the conversation, maintain interest momentum and promote broader sharing of your offerings and views. While white papers are often used as offered links, buyers are interested in event invitation, demonstrations, peer comparisons or competitive comparison frameworks depending on their buying stage.

How well profiled is your content portfolio?

If you cannot accurately offer links to content that matches the focus, role and/or buying stage of the engaged individual it won’t matter how much you know about social preferences.  That is because you will still offer links based upon your experience and beliefs. Take the time, for an upcoming campaign to assess the planned assets, understand their profile attributes and then use that insight to suggest what links provide the greatest alignment with specific conversations.

Too many organizations are looking for an instance of magic, where they can directly correlate the use of social media to revenue. Answering these four questions and using them to build bridges between social efforts and your educational or promotional content represents a strong foundation to help clarify the potential and actual return on social media. Work to build that basis of understanding first, then apply and measure as part of your social media strategy. You’ll gain directional insight into its impact on the sales cycle and build upon it over time. It is an approach of taking one step at a time, but you’ve got to take that first step.

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Bob Johnson

VP & Principal Analyst, IDG Connect

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