If you’re like most business owners, you’ve probably been using social media for your business for a while now – you create content, listen to what’s being said about your brand, engage your audience, and keep track of key metrics to measure the impact of your brand’s social media presence. And all that is great, but there’s an important piece you might’ve missed: This.

“Social media works best when it’s tightly integrated with your business instead of something you do in isolation.”

If you’re still treating social media as “just another marketing channel” and not something that’s integrated with your business, you could be missing out on a lot of opportunities.

Here are some of the ways in which you can make social media work for your business.

#1 Find existing customers and generate new leads on social media. 

You’re already monitoring social media activity around your brand on different social networks. But who are the people engaging with your brand?

For example, are you able to identify:

  • person x who just followed your brand?
  • person y who just tweeted out to you?
  • person z who just liked a recent post from your Facebook page?

Some of these could be existing customers, who already have a relationship with your business. And some of these could be new leads and prospects for your business. How do you differentiate between the two?

Well, for starters, try to choose a social media management tool that integrates with your CRM so you can easily associate existing contacts with those that already exist in your CRM.

If a customer tweets about your brand, you should be able to see relevant CRM info right next to their tweet. This makes life easier for your customers, because you don’t have to ask them for additional details. And then all you have to do is to reach out and delight them with a response that takes all the contextual details into account.

This solves one part of the problem – identifying existing customers who engage with you on social media. The second part involves identifying new prospects and generating leads from social media.

The results of a 2015 Influence Central survey reveal that 87% of consumers are more likely to buy from a brand they engage with on social media. No surprise there: every social media interaction with anyone other than an existing customer is an opportunity for lead generation.

Choosing a social media management tool that integrates with your CRM will help you ensure that you don’t miss out on these opportunities by letting you generate new leads from different social actions.

The best way to do this is to manually add each new lead based on the context of the interaction.

But, if the number of people engaging with your brand every day is really huge (a good problem to have!), manually generating each lead could get overwhelming. You need to automate this job by setting predefined rules based on certain social actions.

Apart from monitoring activity around your brand, you’re probably also monitoring discussions around topics that are relevant for your business – such as your competitors handles, business trends, domain-specific keywords, and hashtags. Each of these sources should generate leads for your business.

#2 Engage your customers and sell more with inputs from social media. 

What’s the next thing you could do with all the social media activity and information that your brand has access to? Look for signals and cues that can help you engage your existing customers and build better relationships with your leads and prospects.

Consider these situations, for example:

  • Someone new follows your brand and after checking their Twitter bio, you decide they might make an ideal prospect for your business (yay!)
  • An existing customer posts to your Facebook page about a problem with your product (oops!)
  • A hot lead tweets about checking out your competitor (uh oh!)

Each of these situations is an opportunity to engage your audience and build better relationships. But even businesses that CAN monitor all this activity are still missing important signals, simply because they don’t have the systems and processes to channelize them.

An easy way to fix this problem is to use a social media tool that’s integrated with your CRM (surprise, surprise!)

The person or team managing your brand’s social media presence should be able to pass on inputs from your social media tool to your CRM, either by leaving notes, or by pinging the contact owner directly.

#3 Track the effectiveness of your social media marketing efforts. 

And finally, if you’re doing everything I’ve talked about, you’re probably investing a great deal of effort trying to grow your brand on social media. You’ll definitely want to measure the outcome of these efforts.

You’re probably tracking some of the standard metrics such as follower growth and reach for your posts. But to really track revenue earned from your social media marketing efforts, you need to go a step further.

For example, you should be able to answer questions like:

  • How many leads did you generate from a particular post?
  • Which social network generates the maximum revenue for your brand?
  • How do the leads generated from social media compare against the leads generated from other sources, such as your email marketing campaigns?

It is important to get answers to questions like these, as they can help you shape your brand’s social media strategy. And the best part is that getting these answers is not difficult once you integrate your social media tool with the tool that helps you track revenue… Did somebody say CRM?

So make sure to choose a social media tool that comes pre-integrated with your CRM. But if that’s not a possibility for your business, it’s probably worth spending time doing the manual work required to sync data from your social media tool with data from your CRM to get these numbers.

One thing is clear though: the future of social media for business is about mapping data and information from social media to real business outcomes. If you haven’t already started integrating social media with your business, now is the time to start.

Social CRM infographic

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