The ability to make decisions based on reliable information is crucial for any successful marketing team today. Data is the foundation of digital marketing: from conversion rate optimization to advertising, each micro-step should be based on real-data insights.
Tracking audience interaction with your brand paves the way to better customer experience. The strongest customer-brand relationships are based on genuine understanding, which require listening capabilities as a minimum.
Until relatively recently, websites, email, advertising and face-to-face were a brand’s main sources for understanding customer purchase triggers. That’s changed. Today interactions mostly take place outside your website, with social media the main online engagement driver whether it’s to do with entertainment, learning or sharing.
The upshot is that marketing automation has become a must. It is, in fact, a relatively easy and affordable way to drive personalized and well-timed messaging. And that’s precisely the kind of communication that creates a more positive customer experience.
Automation is easily doable for key channels such as email and social media using well-established tools. According to the Marketing Automation Trends Survey 2016, around 49% of companies are already in the process of doing it. There is, however, still uncertainty around how to improve the customer experience using an omnichannel approach.
Here are three steps to boost your marketing automation efforts using social triggers.
1. Listen for the social triggers behind buyer intentions
With 72% of all internet users active on social, and 43% of purchasers seeking inspiration there, social media has become crucial to understanding buyer patterns and triggers, which can then be catered to in your omnichannel approach. That starts with social media listening to harvest insights. Social listening lets you monitor specific keywords or hashtags that can be automated triggers for your communications.
For example, here at Falcon.io we look at content marketing or social media related keywords and hashtags to identify our audience’s key interests and challenges.
— Fanny Vakkila (@fannyvakkila) September 26, 2016
There are other social triggers you can listen for such as customer life events such as birthdays, anniversaries, moving and traveling. There is also sentiment, i.e. if mentions are negative or positive. There are now a variety of platforms capable of measuring sentiment with considerable accuracy.
2. Match social profiles to your other customer databases
Once you have a social listening tool in place, it’s time to merge your social contacts profiles with your current customer database. This extra layer of social behavioral knowledge will go a long way in improving future customer interactions. There are many tools in the market that can help you do this. The most critical part of the sync is mapping your social profiles to your email base.
If you are an e-commerce brand you may have some of these social profiles already entered into your database, but if not, there are many tools out there you can use. These will enrich your existing profiles by matching social handles to email addresses.
Once your profiles are merged, the social data needs to be added to your system of record, whether this is a CRM or Marketing Automation tool. Our Falcon platform features Audience that can be synced with our customer base in Salesforce. Some tools have a built-in API sync so you can transfer the data straight away. If not, you may need some IT help.
3. Enable personalized automated triggers based on social signals
Here is the fun part: leveraging the social data in your system of records to personalize the customer experience.
- Behavioral email triggered by people interested in specific topics leveraging words or hashtags. Once we understand the interests of specific individuals by tracking their digital behavior, we can set automated behavior-based marketing campaigns targeted to them with relevant information. At Falcon.io we’ll typically focus on topics such as social media strategy, content marketing and customer experience. This lets us deliver personalized email content, which dramatically improves the content engagement. Here’s an example of an email below:
- Explicit intent to buy. Some prospects are loud and clear about their needs in social posts, shares, blogs and review sites, etc. By detecting these signals you can engage directly, including automated communications with product and services offerings. The automation doesn’t have to be limited to outreach. You can sync these audiences with advertising tools such as Adroll or Facebook Audiences.
- Leverage other channels for customer service. Sometimes there are sensitive matters or complex feedback better addressed in private channels such as email or the telephone. People generally prefer to be replied to in the channel they engaged in, but using other channels to address certain matters is often handy and deeply recommended.
Understanding the channel eco-system of each of your customers can dramatically improve your communication with them. Imagine starting a conversation as a Tweet with a direct message to Twitter’s inbox with attached docs – all without transferring the query to another system or department. That’s the crucial advantage this kind of social profile and database merging brings, and it’s at the core of a positive customer experience.
Hopefully, these steps showcase some of the initiatives available to marketers to enable comprehensive audience mapping.
Depending on the size and scope of your business, audience insights can be leveraged for everything from enriching your usual retargeting efforts, to making one-to-one communication highly personalized and relevant. As the attention span of your audience is shrinking (it’s currently at about eight seconds), shouldn’t you be making your message worth their time?