The following is a guest post from Aseem Badshah, Founder and CEO of Socedo, a sponsor of DMA’s 2017 Marketing Analytics Conference (June 5-6 in Austin, TX).

As marketers in 2017, we’re asking ourselves this question everyday: How can we earn the attention of buyers when they’re busier and more information overloaded than ever before?

Getting a buyer’s attention is more difficult at this point than ever before. Marketers need prospects to pay attention to their content, but:

  • The average click through rate for display ads across all formats & placements (USA) is 0.08% (Source: LookbookHQ)
  • The average CTR for promoted tweets on Twitter is 0.35% (Source: LookbookHQ)
  • 79 % of marketing executives say it’s a challenge to get and hold the attention of target customers (Source: LookbookHQ)

Now that social media has become an established and habitual part of our everyday lives, many marketers have realized that social insights can help them figure out what buyers want, so that they can find effective ways to get buyers’ attention.

In the past few years, a myriad of social media listening and analytics platforms have risen up to help marketers figure out what their customers think, based on the billions of conversations happening on the social web.

B2C brands such as Walmart, eBay, Unilever and American Airlines have been the first ones to take advantage of social media analytics to understand their target audience, identify influencers, and analyze emerging topics of conversation to strategically drive brand awareness.

Analyzing intent data from social media in real-time

With the tremendous advances in computing power and search techniques, it’s now much easier to process billions of social media signals and extract valuable insights in from the noise.

There is now technology that can process the vast amounts of unstructured Twitter data in real-time, including people’s profiles and live newsfeeds and the engagement around it including shares, likes and retweets.

For example, Socedo has developed techniques to understand text to identify things like companies, products, industry topics, event hashtags. They can match Twitter activities to real users in an organization’s marketing automation database.

As a result, marketers are able to listen to the leads in their marketing automation database and respond to buyer interest in real-time.

With social listening, you can learn things like:

  • Which influencers do my leads follow and engage with most?
  • What topics do my leads research the most about?
  • What events, news, or keywords do they care about?
  • Which communities or professional groups they belong to?
  • Which competitors are they following?

Here’s an example of how a provider of business intelligence and data visualization software is listening to their target audience. Their business intelligence solution is a good fit for organizations using SQL server. They are tracking leads’ activities around a targeted set of Twitter handles, and when someone engages with one of these handles, the BI provider has a compelling reason to reach out to that person.

For example, they can send someone who engages with a competitor handle an analyst report highlighting their product strengths vis-a-vis the competitor. They can send someone who engages an influencer thought-leadership content they’ve developed jointly with that influencer.

Keywords and Hashtags Mentioned

Keywords and Hashtags mentioned is another important set of social intent data that will tell you what topics your leads are researching even if they aren’t performing the research on your site.

Social intent data means you also aren’t limited to the keywords strictly associated with research. Event hashtags, industry topics or other keywords could all indicate a good fit.

With social media data added to individual lead or contact records in your marketing automation database, you will be able to:

  • Understand the interests of your target audience to inform your content and campaigns
  • Find those windows of opportunities to engage with existing leads or contacts in your marketing automation database who have become dormant
  • Pass more Marketing Qualified Leads to your sales team or sales development team (SDR) through lead scoring
  • Alert your sales team to follow up with valuable leads when they are engaging with your brand or relevant topics in your space.

Use Cases for Social Intent Data

Because this data is added to lead records within the marketing automation system, it can be used in a variety of ways.

1. Lead scoring

Lead scoring is critical to figuring out which type of customer is the “right candidate” for your business. To gage a lead’s fit and sales readiness for your solution, you need both fit data (i.e. company size, technology use and job title) and behavioral data.

You might be thinking “Yes, we already track lead behavior through website visits, email clicks, content downloads and other engagements with our brand.”

That’s an important aspect of behavioral lead scoring. Unfortunately, it won’t give you the whole story. By the time a lead reaches your website, they’ve already done 60% of the research elsewhere online.

For many organizations, only a single digit percentage of leads in a marketing automation database have engaged with a marketing campaign in the last 30, 60 or 90 days. That means marketers can do nothing about the 90 plus percent of leads that are cold in their database.

By failing to track the activity a lead performs before they engage with your brand, you’re missing out on the first half of their research process! This creates a major blind spot in your lead scoring system and gives your sales team a lot of catching up to do when they finally discover the lead.

Social intent data can help you fill this blind spot. By tracking social activities in your space and adding them into your behavioral lead scoring model, you can identify warm leads you would have missed otherwise.

2. Sales Acceleration

To gain the trust of your potential buyers, your sales team and SDRs should be doing detailed research on the prospect and their organization. The insights you can get from social media provide an additional path to connect with customers.

By providing your reps with contextual insights about their leads – including relevant social media actions – you can empower your reps to get a better understanding of leads, reach out at the right time and have more relevant conversations.

3. Content marketing

Figuring out what content will resonate with prospects and customers is a major challenge in B2B marketing. Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs’s 2016 survey found that Lead Generation and Sales are the most important goals for B2B content marketers. A 2016 Survey from the Content Marketing Institute found that only 30% of B2B marketers feel that they are effective at content marketing.

Traditionally, B2B marketers created content based on the products they want to promote. Now that so much of the B2B decision making process occurs online, content has to be more customer-centric.

The current set of website analytics tools provide some insights, but only on the audience who have already reached your website. Intent data from social media can help you make your content more relevant.

By analyzing social media signals and looking at which signals are picking up in volume over time, you can gain new insights into your audience that helps you create more relevant content. With social data, you can answer questions such as:

  1. What do my leads care about? Who is influencing my leads?
  2. What topics are my leads researching the most?
  3. Which keywords are bringing me the most qualified leads and opportunities?

Below is an example of the keywords the Socedo marketing team is tracking.


A lot of these results, i.e @MartechConference, @CMIContent and @HeinzMarketing were not surprising to us as we know that these are influencers to B2B marketers. But a few results did surprise us.

Prior to this analysis, we did not know that people in our database care about predictive analytics because we don’t have any blog posts, e-books, or webinars on the topic. It’s interesting to see that people are following some of the hot players in the predictive analytics space like @Leadspace, @6Sense, and @EverString.

This is an early sign that our audience is thinking about lead and account prioritization and how they can get higher quality leads through more targeted marketing efforts. This is a sign that we may want to talk more about predictive analytics ourselves.

4. Segmentation

Rather than putting leads into campaigns based on buyer personas and industry affiliation, you can now segment leads based on user intent and ensure that the delivered content (ads, emails) is aligned to your target audience’s interest.

Conclusion

As marketers, we all know that there are a million things stealing your buyer’s limited attention.

In an era of attention scarcity where buyers expect brands to deliver personalized and relevant content, marketers need to tap into external data sources like social media to listen to their buyers and earn their attention back.

Thanks to advances in technology, buyer insights from social networks are now much easier to access than ever before. Companies that use this kind of intelligence to drive the way they engage with buyers will be the winners of tomorrow.

Aseem Badshah is the Founder and CEO of Socedo, a demand generation system that helps B2B marketers discover, engage and qualify leads through social media to increase revenue at scale. Aseem has been a leader in the social media marketing space for more than 8 years. Before Socedo, Aseem founded Uptown Treehouse, a marketing agency for Fortune 500 brands focused on social media. You can learn more from Aseem at https://www.linkedin.com/in/aseemb