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?
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Thanks for the mention Jep!
We (Pardot) think social media functionality is a really important part of marketing automation since so many B2B buyers are now looking for “social proof” when making decisions. As part of our Social Insight offering we have added automated pulling of social profile data for prospects (e.g. their LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook profiles), AddThis integration to make emails shareable, and bit.ly integration so that clients can share content with custom short URLs.
The key of course is for businesses to always create content that is worth sharing!
Certainly the world is changing fast, when marketing automation vendors start quickly adding social capabilities.
Bottom line, is that social networks may contain a wealth of information about a target contact – well beyond website visits and email opens. In the months to come, we’ll see vendors get a lot smarter about how to hardness this treasure trove.
Jeff Ogden, the Fearless Competitor
Find New Customers “Lead Generation Made Simple”
Wonderful article. Pardot does have some nice features and they are on the right direction to create rich lead databases where you can engage your prospects with the medium, and style of conversation, they prefer.
While I agree with most of what you say, I actually strongly disagree that social media monitoring is a low priority. To me that says we’re simply going to have a one way conversation – we talk and don’t worry as much about listening.
Marketing is about listening to the conversation and then participating in it. That’s akin to listening to your clients to influence product design. You need social media monitoring for that, among other tools. Marketing is also about content, and determining the response to your content, relative to your target audience. Again that’s social media monitoring.
Being nimble and responsive should take place in a single platform, and not the usual collection of tools that we Marketers are forced to make work together. Of course, the entire premise of your article supports this very belief and that’s why I say “another fine and insightful perspective”.
Darryl, thanks for your comment. I agree that Social Media monitoring can be very important for better listening. I think I need to clarify my point of view: even though Social Media monitoring is important, I find it less useful to integrate it with Marketing Automation. I think it will happen eventually, but not in the next 1-2 years.