Connect Your B2B Customers with Social Media Profiles

Business is getting more and more social. Understanding how social it’s becoming is a challenge to many B2B marketers. Where do you go to find out if your prospects and customers are on social networks? If so, which ones?

It’s now possible to append your B2B customer and prospect databases with social media addresses and other social marketing data. This new social layer makes it possible to connect and engage with your audience across multiple channels. With this data, you’ll know the “Four W’s” of your audience:

Who: demographics, occupation, location and more
What: interests, brand affinities, lifestyles, and influence
Where: social sites used and online hangouts
With Whom: friends and associates

Reasons why you should map your customers and prospects to social media:

1. Determine if you should be on social networks
If you are unsure about whether or not you should be marketing via social media, using social appending tools will help you understand the social activity of your contacts.

2. Determine which channels to use
Learn which channels your customers or contacts use most frequently and speak to them where they are most comfortable.

3. Determine where to best devote resources
Optimize the time you spend engaging and identify potential new channels to engage your key contacts.

4. Identify influencers
Do you know who your most valuable brand advocates are? Use the number of Facebook friends, tweets, followers, etc. to identify and engage your contacts with the most marketing influence. Create content or VIP offers to target and reward this very important group.

5. Increase relevance
Gather insights from a Twitter feed or LinkedIn profile to provide marketing intelligence which can be used to create more personalized communications. Those communications can then be distributed to the most relevant segments of your database.

6. Compare prospects to customers
If you know the social behaviors of your customers, compare that to your prospects. Learn about the differences between the two groups and adjust your prospect messaging accordingly.

7. Target new customers
Once you how your customers behave in the social networks, use that information to go after others with similar profiles or behaviors.

8. Be more effective with sales and retention
Provide your sales team with prospect or customer social profile information and allow them to learn more about the contact which will promote a more authentic conversation and sales experience.

Companies that provide social marketing contact appending or influencer identification services include:

Rapleaf
Rapleaf helps you better understand who your customers are so you can personalize communications and boost interactions while lifting conversions. Using Rapleaf can help you reveal and understand your customers’ demographics, interests, occupation, social media memberships, friend connections and more.

Netprospex
Netprospex is a directory of user-contributed business contacts verified with their proprietary CleneStep technology. Quickly find, view and download business contacts including phone and email addresses. NetProspex has a large database of 14 million verified B2B contacts.

Klout
Klout allows you to find and engage Twitter influencers based on topic or hashtag so you can understand their network value.

Flowtown
When you have an email address, Flowtown allows you to find which social networks your customers are on.

Have you used social network data to customize your B2B marketing efforts? How did it work for you? Do you see this becoming more popular as B2B marketers grow more savvy in the social marketing space?

Comments

  1. says

    Great post, Adam. I really like #6. I think more and more companies will be using this data, though they’ll have to figure out at least 2 challenges. 1) Most companies aren’t even fully utilizing and and slicing and dicing the data they have, due to lack of time/resources, so getting them to actually use this additional data isn’t always easy. 2) Determining how to use this data in a way that doesn’t turn off customers, who may not always want super-personalization that this could allow.

    Thoughts?

  2. says

    Another thing worth noting (at least from what I understand) is that you can only get a lot of this data (demographics, location, occupation, etc) if someone has their Facebook profile set to public. It’d be interesting to know what percentage of people have their settings configured in a way a marketer could have access to this data (through Rapleaf).

  3. says

    Great feedback Jason. Valid points. I agree that most companies don’t fully use the data they have, so it may not be easy adding this to the mix. However, I do think this can be extremely valuable in certain situations, such as determining which social channels you should focus on and then reaching out to contacts who use those channels. As for the data gathering, I’m not sure exactly how that works in a public vs. private scenario (anyone from Rapleaf care to comment?) but I assume that you’ll know IF your contact has a Facebook profile. That would at least tell you if its a viable channel to consider, and maybe demographic info can be gleaned from other social channel profiles.

  4. says

    Great post Adam. Thank you. I would add to #5, “Don’t forget great ideas” – so often we find that B2B clients overlook social as an opportunity to be creative and social opens up an exciting new context to attract new business and employees alike.

  5. says

    Agreed- this is definitely valuable stuff and people need to be thinking about how to add it to their databases. And knowing where customers are on social sites is a great way to determine where a company should spend its time/resources.

  6. says

    Adam! So excited to see this post this morning.

    Thanks for the shoutout for NetProspex. We knew connecting social media profiles to business contact information was a huge step in helping B2B organizations get social.

    Appending social media profiles to a business contact helps to bridge the gap between social media being a ‘fad’ to a useful, powerful way to connect one-on-one with customers and prospects.

    More at http://blog.netprospex.com/2010/07/four-reasons-to-map-your-customers-to-social-media.html

    Thanks again, I look forward to more!

    -Katie Martell
    NetProspex

  7. says

    I’m glad you provide a list of tools B2B companies can use to make relevant connections. The biggest objection to social media among B2B execs is a perceived lack of measurable results. By using the right tools to decide where to engage, with whom and how, you can measure the effectiveness of the social media engagement.

  8. says

    I agree with you guys that this of course adds a whole new set of data to already overwhelmed marketers. But it will definetly be worth it to utilize that – and I am sure there will be a lot of companies in the future that will offer such services.

  9. says

    Normally sage advice but this one leaves me a little cold. I’m an advocate before I get hung, and its a great 8 step guide for people bought into the concept.

    But I think if you’re the sort of business owner or marketer who fundamentally doesn’t know whether social media is right for you, you’re unlikely to follow any of these steps. In that instance, dipping your toe is much more effective.

    Playing devil’s advocate on services like Klout etc, sure they exist, but aren’t they metrics for metrics sake? You spend all the time in the world conducting your relationships through Twitter, retweeting interesting stuff, but what tangible value are we seeing in the trade / b2b space. Still too little in my view.

    I agree on the need to join it all up and have a strategy but let’s all be a little more upfront about it – its more about brand and reputation building and less a business tool….for now.

  10. says

    I also recently discovered MailChimp, which I think could be used for “blast” campaigns, but it allows you to track certain e-mails (whether they’ve been opened, etc) and I wanted to test it out.
    I’ve found connecting profiles across a person’s LinkedIn, Twitter, blog and/or Facebook have been a great help. It’s easier to get to know someone that’s left a trail, of course, but you’re right that the benefits have been huge.
    A social CRM is the next big thing,no? :)

    Michelle @Synthesio

  11. says

    This is a good post. I have been tackling this very thing this week as I append what information I can find about my customers social media involvement. Appending this information will also keep businesses focused on what social media platforms are relevant to their business. As the social media landscape changes, its tempting to want to launch into the newest platform. Having this appended to your database will tell you if its worth the effort – at least how much effort it is worth.

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