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3 tips to leverage social data

The days of arbitrary, wide net marketing campaigns are over. With the rise of social networks, marketers now have the opportunity to channel new insights from real-time social data toward traditional marketing functions and tasks -- like campaigns for lead generation -- to better target prospects and ultimately close more deals.
Campaign planning is a fundamental part to growing a company, reenergizing current accounts, and winning new business. Although it's traditionally considered an arduous and time consuming process, campaign planning can be transformed into an efficient and targeted practice by adding social data to the mix. The addition of insights from social data arm marketers with the perspective they need to better appeal to their audience and ultimately deliver better results and happier clients. Leverage social data in your campaign plans through these three tips and convert more of your target audience into leads.

Research: I know you like the back of my hand

A complex process like campaign planning has a complex start -- gaining a deep understanding of the target audience. Easier said than done, right? Prior to social data, yes -- it was easier said than done -- but with the rapid influx of real-time social data, marketers can gather relevant info on a target audience more efficiently than ever before.
Don't waste time scanning a SERP over and over for relevant info. Do a social data search on the industry, vertical, or group of folks you're targeting to gain unique visibility into what your target audience cares about -- business likes, dislikes, goals, and needs. By moving beyond a simple Google search and exploring social data, marketers can quickly uncover business motivators and decision drivers, which enable them to better target their audience, build a deeper relationship, and ultimately close more deals.

Test: The social world is your oyster

So you've got a good pulse on what your target audience cares about. Now you can take your campaign plans one step further and leverage social data to figure out what your target audience will respond to the most. The social sphere is the perfect testing ground for different campaign themes and content without the monetary commitment of a full-blown campaign. Use social channels to test out messages and different types of content in order to determine what your target audience will be most responsive to.
While you wait to see how your audience engages with the content you just posted to your company's Facebook page, take a look back over past content your target audience has interacted and engaged with. What new analyst research, ROI graphs, or industry news made the rounds among influencers in your target audience? Leverage past interactions as a north star for sticky content and messaging.

Nurture: Get your prospect hooked on you

Once you know what your target audience cares about and which content will get the response you want, nurture your prospect by feeding them timely and relevant social content. Social data allows you to get a quick pulse check on industry trends for a specific vertical or field. Leverage these insights to feed your prospects digestible info that they care about in the right way, at the right time. Over time, they'll grow to see you as a trusted expert and want more from you -- and since you're leveraging social data for perspective into your prospect's world, you'll know in real-time as trends shift or evolve and can adjust your campaign approach accordingly.

Campaign planning can certainly be rough, but social data helps you raise static from the noise and get to the heart of what matters to your target audience so you can build successful campaigns. There's no shortage of social data, but that can be a double edge sword when determining what info is important or not. That brings us to one last tip around tapping social data for campaign planning -- the key to success is to make it accessible (stored with your other business data directly within your CRM system) and to make time for it each day. The value that can be derived from social networks is unmatchable by any other data source. Take the time to leverage social data to better target your prospects and you will be rewarded in spades.

The social sphere presents a unique environment to test different messages and content for your audience all while helping you break out of your marketing bubble. With social data, you have the ability to step into the world of the vertical or industry you're targeting to understand it on a deeper level. Taking social data into account while campaign planning allows marketers to better understand their target audience, build deeper connections, and ultimately sell more as a result of this relationship.

What will social data help you accomplish in 2013?

Shannon Duffy  is vice president of marketing at Salesforce Data.com.

On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.

As Vice President of Marketing at Salesforce’s Data.com, Shannon is focused on building the Data.com brand across web, community and social channels. Her team is tasked with delivering an exceptional experience for both customers and the 2...

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