Is social a key ele­ment of your demand gen­er­a­tion strat­e­gy? If not, it needs to be. Con­trib­u­tor Will McInnes walks you through three ways to use social for demand gen­er­a­tion.

I can’t be the only CMO focus­ing on and pri­or­i­tiz­ing the mea­sure­ment of the real bot­tom line of all mar­ket­ing team activ­i­ties: demand gen­er­a­tion. Yet there isn’t much men­tion or actu­al exe­cu­tion of lever­ag­ing social media lis­ten­ing for demand gen­er­a­tion pur­pos­es — in any indus­try. With demand gen­er­a­tion teams being the met­rics-dri­ven, data-lov­ing depart­ments that they are, social should be a prime mem­ber of their tac­tics. But it isn’t… yet.

Social media is a huge poten­tial feed­ing ground for demand gen­er­a­tion pur­pos­es. Below, I’ll reveal three ways to use social for a rarely men­tioned use case: demand gen­er­a­tion.

Growing your market demand

Social is the go-to forum for unso­licit­ed, unabashed­ly detailed con­sumer feed­back on prod­ucts, ser­vices and over­all brand rep­u­ta­tion. Com­pa­nies can uti­lize deep social lis­ten­ing and ana­lyt­ics to learn more about the expe­ri­ences of their audi­ence, both of cur­rent cus­tomers and poten­tial new prospects. This can pos­i­tive­ly impact demand gen­er­a­tion oppor­tu­ni­ties when it comes to research­ing and bet­ter under­stand­ing your industry’s cur­rent mar­ket land­scape and con­sumers.

First, social intel­li­gence and the con­sumer insights drawn from social data can inform mar­ket­ing con­tent, brand posi­tion­ing, and even your prod­uct and com­pa­ny val­ue propo­si­tions. How?

  • By high­light­ing gaps in the mar­ket
  • Reveal­ing green field top­ics and con­sumer pref­er­ences
  • Show­ing the ver­nac­u­lar and spe­cif­ic vocab­u­lary con­sumers are using to describe you and your com­peti­tors

By lead­ing with an audi­ence-dri­ven demand gen­er­a­tion approach, you can real­ly pro­pel your company’s SEO and online vis­i­bil­i­ty to make the most of new oppor­tu­ni­ties.

The best way to grow your mar­ket demand on social is to give the peo­ple what they want, and that means cre­at­ing con­tent and devel­op­ing an online pres­ence that real­ly res­onates with your cus­tomers and your tar­get con­sumer base. Do this by:

  • craft­ing reports and blog posts address­ing key pain points and prob­lems your con­sumers face.
  • devel­op­ing prod­uct, mar­ket­ing and sales strate­gies that direct­ly link back to the demand you want to gen­er­ate.
  • respond­ing to indi­vid­u­als seek­ing infor­ma­tion about your prod­ucts or mar­ket cat­e­go­ry.

One exam­ple that real­ly illus­trates this is in the con­sumer tech world: prod­uct R&D and inno­va­tion teams spend a lot of brain­pow­er and human pow­er (not to men­tion time) cre­at­ing the newest, coolest, most tech-for­ward prod­ucts and fea­ture updates. Yet if you’re a con­sumer tech man­u­fac­tur­er and you’re focus­ing on water­proof­ing your smart­phones and wear­able tech prod­ucts, you may be miss­ing out on the real issue. Why?

Per­haps because, in our recent social media research on con­sumer tech (reg­is­tra­tion required), social con­ver­sa­tions reveal that what is real­ly affect­ing the day-to-day lives of your con­sumers is cracked screens. Look­ing around the office right now, I see two cracked phone screens and one cracked smart­watch.

What to do with this invalu­able infor­ma­tion? Take it to the prod­uct team and get them to work on test­ing and devel­op­ing more durable screens. Focus your email cam­paigns on these issues; show con­sumers you’re attuned to their wants and needs.

Leads, leads, leads!

The demand is there (score!), yet to mea­sure all of this demand you’ve cre­at­ed on social, it all comes down to one met­ric: leads.

Lead gen­er­a­tion, a vital com­po­nent of demand gen­er­a­tion teams’ objec­tives, is the mar­ket­ing process in your com­pa­ny that iden­ti­fies, engages, and at the end of the day, sells your prod­uct or ser­vices to poten­tial new cus­tomers.

Just look at the num­bers: 69 per­cent of adults and 88 per­cent of com­pa­nies are on social media. It makes per­fect sense that social plat­forms are the ide­al place to find leads in any indus­try.

A use­ful approach to lead gen­er­a­tion on social is through high­ly spe­cif­ic and tar­get­ed audi­ence seg­men­ta­tion. Social audi­ence ana­lyt­ics can give you a fan­tas­tic way to iden­ti­fy and col­lect those online leads.

What would this look like? Let’s say your brand is a men’s busi­ness cloth­ing retail­er. Using an advanced audi­ence social intel­li­gence and seg­men­ta­tion plat­form, you can cre­ate a list or “audi­ence” of social media authors/personas that are in a spe­cif­ic geo­graph­ic region you’re vet­ting for a poten­tial new store open­ing.

Going a few steps fur­ther, social can be a great way to:

  • iden­ti­fy and engage with influ­encers in your niche mar­ket.
  • stay on top of trend­ing top­ics that are impor­tant to your prospects.
  • bet­ter under­stand your market’s com­pet­i­tive land­scape.

Using social, you can find key con­tacts for tar­get­ed out­reach and exe­cute some strate­gic social sell­ing tac­tics right there with­in the social plat­form. This is a huge ben­e­fit and com­pet­i­tive advan­tage for your com­pa­ny, giv­ing you an edge in our high­ly dig­i­tal world.

Nurturing and growing relationships on social

This third and cru­cial last ele­ment I’m going to share with you is all about rela­tion­ship build­ing and nur­tur­ing. Social demand gen­er­a­tion is great for build­ing and address­ing mar­ket demand — and for increas­ing leads in a high­ly tar­get­ed man­ner. Yet, at the end of the day, it all comes down to tak­ing that vital next step: engag­ing with prospects.

Social intel­li­gence can reveal the exact indi­vid­u­als who are seek­ing infor­ma­tion about your prod­uct offer­ings or mar­ket cat­e­go­ry. They could be out there right now, tweet­ing or adding a com­ment to an arti­cle that’s beg­ging, plead­ing and pub­licly ask­ing for you and your prod­ucts. It’s an excit­ing thing to con­sid­er (and not just from my CMO per­spec­tive)!

You can lever­age social intel­li­gence to seek out pur­chase intent dis­cus­sion on social, which indi­cates the use of lan­guage that is hint­ing at or out­right ref­er­enc­ing a desire to pur­chase a spe­cif­ic prod­uct or ser­vice — whether by prod­uct cat­e­go­ry, demand, or even direct men­tions of you and your com­peti­tors.

Intent-to-pur­chase con­ver­sa­tions bring to light the peo­ple who are far­ther along in their buy­er jour­ney, ripe and ready for engage­ment from your brand. Your mar­ket research team, your sales team and your mar­ket­ing depart­ment need to be up to date on these social oppor­tu­ni­ties for address­ing con­sumer asks. You could already be acti­vat­ing online com­mu­ni­ties to crowd­source con­sumers’ prod­uct needs. Your com­pa­ny and your prod­ucts could be the answer they’re look­ing for, if you’re agile and ready to lis­ten in on social and turn those con­sumer insights into action.

Hit­ting them with the right piece of con­tent, or a knowl­edge­able prod­uct expert at the right time, could mean win­ning a new piece of busi­ness when your com­peti­tors are dor­mant online.

This is just the beginning

Demand gen­er­a­tion teams are high­ly tech-savvy — and always, always met­rics- and data-dri­ven. Social needs to become a part of that strat­e­gy and is a sure­fire way to give you an edge in your indus­try, since it’s a new­er use case for social media. Make sure to max­i­mize your mar­ket­ing team’s impact by using these three social tac­tics for demand gen­er­a­tion.