How to Use Social Campaigns and Data to Fill—and Refill—the Funnel

How to Use Social Campaigns and Data to Fill—and Refill—the Funnel
By Andrew P. Lombard

Marketers have traditionally viewed their work in terms of a funnel. Lead generation campaigns feed the top. Lead nurturing programs move prospects toward a sale. And then it’s time for more lead gen.

Social media campaigns—and the mountain of user data they create—offer a tremendous opportunity to not only drive lead gen and lead nurture, but to also refill the funnel in an endless, ongoing social sales cycle.

Generate leads. Convert to a sale. Let those buyers feed new leads into the cycle.

Generating and nurturing leads in social

The first step is to run a social campaign that turns your Facebook likes into social engagement by rewarding fans for posting content, leaving comments, or sharing something. Those actions get your brand shared and help you enter the stream of social conversation. Also, they provide you with new leads and a mountain of interest and attribute data on those leads.

Keep in mind that social is no longer solely the domain of the desktop. It’s not enough to run a marketing campaign on a microsite or on Facebook if a mobile execution is not integrated into that campaign. You must cover all platforms, devices, and access points that your prospects and buyers like to enter.

The right technology will propagate your campaign across the mobile Web, Facebook, and a campaign microsite, while ensuring that user data and content synchronizes across all three simultaneously. That creates consistent messaging and branding across your web properties while extending your reach across all the platforms that matter to the consumers you want in your sales cycle.

Next, you’ll need to nurture those new leads to a sale. Fortunately, a well-constructed social campaign delivers more than just names, email addresses, and telephone numbers. It should also include the interest and attribute data that fuels your lead nurturing programs. The more you know about your potential buyers, the more likely you are to close the sale with targeted content and offers.

Encouraging buyers to feed the cycle

In social, lead generation is about more than prospecting. It’s important to view every campaign participant as a new sales opportunity, whether they’ve never purchased from you or they’ve already purchased from you (and are ready to share with friends or buy again).

Any feedback provided to you by people who’ve already bought is useful for marketing, product development, and general customer lifecycle. Let me make it clear that social campaigns are both a sales tool and a loyalty tool. They are becoming highly impactful to customer service and retention, in addition to lead generation and nurturing.

When engaging with existing customers in social, you want to learn their interests and attributes. You also want to understand their sentiment—positive, negative, or neutral—toward your brand.

Sentiment data is a valuable byproduct of social campaigns and a powerful tool for marketers. If a buyer’s sentiment is positive, they can be turned into an influencer—and a lead generation engine—that endorses your brand. Their interest and attribute data can also be used to create buyer personas and target non-activated consumers who match those personas.

Not everyone will have positive feedback for you. Even negative sentiment creates a new opportunity to serve your customers, to turn them around and make them lifelong clients. At the very least, it’s an opportunity to improve your products or services, or adjust your targeting based on their feedback.

The social sales cycle in action

This can all be done very simply through a series of social campaigns and incentive programs that are laid out to identify users who are likely to share, recommend, and generally advocate on behalf of the brand. Here’s what such a social campaign might look like in the real world:

It’s springtime. Let’s say a baseball team wants to sell more tickets for the upcoming season. This team already has a core constituency of season ticket holders from the previous season. And, hopefully, the team has a clean CRM full of fans’ email addresses and phone numbers.

By running a series of social campaigns aimed at these fans during the off-season, the team could encourage them to share content into the social conversation, while also capturing valuable interest and attribute data about them. The shared content earns impressions among non-activated friends of fans. The fresh interest and attribute data fuels new lead gen campaigns targeting others who’ve yet to convert to a purchase.

In your world

You are probably not selling baseball tickets. You’re selling used cars or packaged goods or personal computers. It doesn’t matter. The concepts apply to every sales environment.

Use social campaigns to generate new leads. Use interest and attribute data harvested in the campaign to convert the leads into buyers. Create influencers that can endorse your product/offering and whose data can refill the social sales cycle.

It’s a continuum that continues to get stronger and more refined and one that can advance your brand, your revenue and your market share.

As the CEO of SocialWhirled, Andrew P. Lombard oversees the innovation, growth and direction of the company. Lombard’s deep knowledge of both public and private operations, passion for entrepreneurism, and extensive expertise in digital media, venture capital and Web technologies enables him to guide the company as it evolves the social, mobile and digital publishing landscape.