This week there was a discussion about Social Media and Marketing Automation in the LinkedIn Group of the Marketing Automation Association. Around the same time I got an email announcing Marketo’s Chatter for Sales Insight, integrating sales notifications in the Facebook-like interface of Salesforce.com Chatter. Then I remembered that Pardot also recently announced new social features, called Pardot Social Insight. I asked myself:
How can Social Media be integrated with Marketing Automation? How useful is this? Is it easy for the vendors to implement?
I started researching this, and I found five ways to add Social Media features to Marketing Automation:
- Share to Social
- Social Media ROI
- Lead Intelligence
- Social Media Monitoring
Share to Social
Many vendors make it easy to add “share to Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn/etc.” buttons to emails and landing pages. In my opinion, this is a no-brainer: every Marketing Automation system should offer this. It’s an easy way to promote your social initiatives and it’s simple to do. It gets more advanced if you can actually track who shared your information, and whether it brings additional visitors to your website, but the core idea is pretty simple.
Social Media ROI
This one is getting more interesting, because it allows you to track Social Media as a lead source, all the way to revenue. This is either done by analyzing the HTTP referrer or by posting a tracking link on the Social Networks. On top of that, some vendors offer a built-in URL shortener, such as Genius.com’s gURLs and SalesFusion’s IttyBitty (which isn’t very short by the way: ittybitty.bz). My take: this is a real must because it can show the value of your Social Media investments. And it’s also not that complicated. The tracking and ROI mechanism is already built into most Marketing Automation systems, so it just needs to be extended to Social Media.
Pardot’s Social Insight is focused on Lead Intelligence. It will find a prospect’s Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook profile, and it will pull relevant information into the Marketing Automation system. And because it’s synced with the CRM, all this info is also available to the sales people. If you want, you can also use this information for lead scoring. This is something that is easy to implement: for example, Pardot uses the Rapleaf service. It provides Sales People with background information on leads before they make the first call.
The most critical collaboration is between Marketing and Sales. Sales works with a CRM system, so integrating with the CRM system’s social features is a smart idea. And that’s exactly what Marketo announced. They provide sales updates via Salesforce Chatter, an idea I outlined in a blog post earlier this year. And Genius.com was the first to implement this a couple of months ago. Again, a simple idea that really helps close the gap between sales & marketing.
Social Media Monitoring
The discussion in the LinkedIn Group talked about HubSpot’s Social Media features, one of which is Social Media Monitoring. HubSpot integrates these features into its software, because it wants to be the one-stop marketing software for small businesses (and mid-size companies, although they’re not there yet). Every day it tells you where relevant discussions are going on, so you can join in. It’s pretty independent from other marketing automation features. Therefore I would recommend that mid-size companies get a dedicated solution for social media monitoring. Maybe in a couple of years, it makes sense to integrate social media monitoring and marketing automation into a comprehensive B2B Marketing Suite, but for now I give it a low priority.
To All Marketing Automation Users: “Demand Social Media!”
The first four Social Media integrations are all extremely valuable and really simple to implement. My question is: why don’t all vendors have these features in place already? If you’re a Marketing Automation user or if you’re evaluating systems, ask your vendor for these features. Social Media may still be an emerging marketing tool, but that makes it extra important to show the ROI. And that’s exactly where Marketing Automation can help.
Let me know your take: do you agree with these 5 categories? Which vendors do a great job?