Brands can no longer afford to sit back and wait for potential customers to find them. They need to reach out directly to and engage with their target market by going straight to them. But how can brands do that in an online world? Well, by going to the places where their target market hangs out and spends their time online - social media.
With over 4.26 billion social users worldwide (more than half the world's population), it's an endless pool of leads and data. Below, we'll discuss how businesses can leverage social media to fuel their sales intelligence to grow and boost their revenue.
What Type of Sales Intelligence Data Can You Get From Social Media?
Gathering sales intelligence should already be a part of your sales and marketing strategy.
However, many companies still don't realize the benefits of social sales intelligence. Social media is not just a place to find and communicate with your customers. It can also be a tool to understand your target market better.
Users freely share highly detailed information about themselves, their lives, preferences, and even online buying behaviors. Moreover, different social platforms can help you tap into various demographics. With the average person using 6.6 social media platforms, there is a wealth of information that you can find about each individual.
There are many different data points you can gather, depending on your niche, product or service, target market, or specific social platform. However, here is the most typical social sales intelligence data companies aim to generate from social platforms:
- Customer demographics include age, sex, gender identity, occupation, ethnicity, income group, location, family & friends, relationship status, etc.
- Behavioral data, such as buying habits, pain points, interests, preferences, brand affiliations, recent purchases, spending power, etc.
- Customer sentiment and feedback, for example, via reviews on public or official brand forums/pages.
- Market and industry trends, such as emerging products/services/technologies, changes in consumer behavior, buzz/hot topics, and growth or decline trends.
- Competitor analysis and monitoring, see what your competitors are doing and how they perform relevant to you (more on this below).
- Lead generation and qualification, leads can be pulled directly from social accounts, and qualifying criteria can be evaluated based on their profiles.
- Brand reputation and online presence, get insights into how your brand is tracking in terms of searches, CTRs (click-through rates), mentions, etc. (more on this below).
This data can help you better understand your customers, inform your sales strategies, and drive revenue growth.
Use Social Media to Track Brand and Competitor Trends
Social media is like a model of the wider world where brand performance and trends can be monitored in real-time. Most successful sales teams use a combination of social media monitoring and social media listening to stay on top of these trends.
Social media monitoring is a passive approach whereby you monitor social exchanges and events. Social media listening is a more active process whereby you gather data from these interactions to make conclusions about the wider market.
- Identify the relevant social media platforms.
- Use social media listening or monitoring tools to track mentions of your brand, competitors, and relevant keywords.
- Review and analyze the data to identify trends and insights related to your brand, competitors, and industry.
- Identify individuals or organizations with significant influence and engage with them to build relationships.
- Track the sentiment towards your brand and competitors, and respond to negative feedback or criticism appropriately.
- Stay informed about industry news and developments by following relevant sources.
You need to regularly evaluate the data and insights gathered from social media to adjust your strategies and tactics accordingly. Trends are highly dynamic, so you must continuously monitor social media to make informed decisions based on relevant data.
Success Stories: Sales Intelligence and Social Media
Most brands today are leveraging social media to inform their sales intelligence in one way or another. Different social platforms have different dynamics and often perform better or worse in various industries.
For example, highly visual platforms, like Instagram, tend to track highly in industries like beauty, fashion, and wellness. For instance, wellness brands could leverage Instagram to track the popularity of their products and launch campaigns with increased exposure.
Other companies, like Domino's, Taco Bell, and Edeka, launched viral social campaigns by leveraging their significant social audience and creating campaigns that resonated strongly with their target market.
The project management platform, Asana, uses real-time alerts to stay on top of the latest trends and events and respond to them immediately.
How to Create a Social-focused Sales Strategy
As with any marketing strategy, there are challenges to be aware of and best practices to help overcome them. Knowing about these challenges ahead of time can help organizations formulate best practices to help navigate them successfully.
With that in mind, here are the main challenges businesses new to social sales intelligence run into:
Raw data can be unreliable, inconsistent, and biased, so efforts need to be made to process it into clean data.
Navigating strict regulations regarding the collection and use of personal data.
The sheer volume of data makes identifying relevant and useful information difficult.
Using sophisticated analytical tools and techniques to extract valuable insights.
Storing and protecting large amounts of sensitive customer data against security risks.
Integrating social media data with other sales and marketing systems.
Determining who owns the data generated on social media platforms.
As ubiquitous in most peoples' lives, social media platforms can be a rich source of information for sales-driven brands. They offer a wealth of up-to-date information about customers, competitors, and market trends. As such, they are an important tool for sales professionals looking to gather and analyze data to inform their sales strategy.