As marketing automation has become more mainstream and grown in popularity, social media has emerged as a critical component of any marketing automation strategy. In fact, according to a study by Hubspot, 92% of marketers in 2014 placed social media marketing as a top priority for their business. This statistic has remained relatively constant since then, showing that it is likely to remain an important part of the overall marketing landscape. As a result, 80% of those marketers enjoyed increased traffic to their sites due to leveraging social media. The use of social media marketing along with an effective automation strategy can enable a business to greatly increase its sales.
Marketing automation software allows businesses to automate various social media activities in order to boost their online presence and promote brand awareness. Automation has also allowed marketers to save time on manually updating their social media accounts, which can be very time-consuming. With automation, social media posts can be scheduled in advance and published at the right time (or multiple times), in the right format and for the right audience.
This article will explore insights into social media automation strategies and show how the effective use of social media automation can lead to increased sales.
How Social Media Automation leads to Increased Sales
Automating certain elements of social media marketing can enable a business to quickly get on the path to increased sales. Social media automation can lead to increased sales in the following ways:
Automating social media practices leads to increased outreach for your business, which can attract more leads for nurturing into eventual customers. Over 2 billion people worldwide use Facebook alone, according their own stated numbers. Many more use other social networks to communicate and to share ideas and content. This number continues to grow over time as people find ways to use the networks to effectively use them for both personal and business purposes. What is interesting is that 55% of these social media users connect to brands using their social networks. In fact, these users actively engage with 5-7 brands at any one time. And they also do this multiple times per day, providing high engagement statistics.
This is a great opportunity for businesses to leverage these interactions in order to increase their outreach. An increasing number of customers use social media to establish brand awareness and to seek out reviews about a business before they engage with their products and services. Because of this, businesses that take the time to establish a strong social media presence by actively engaging with customers and establishing relationships with them are able to gain an advantage over their competition and to attract new customers.
Posting the right content at the right time is one of the best ways of grabbing the attention of social media users. Marketing automation software allows companies to schedule social media posts in advance and to carefully plan out their content. Coordinating with the content teams within the marketing departments is critical to making this all work properly.
Once the preparation is done, tweets, Facebook posts, and even Youtube videos can be posted on the business’s social media accounts at the best times when potential customers are likely to see them and interact with them. This allows a business increase its outreach and to attract more followers who can eventually be nurtured into customers.
More Customer Referrals
92% of customers trust recommendations from friends and family when looking to purchase a product. As a result, social media automation leads to a higher number of customer referrals. This is because marketing automation on social media enables a business to maintain a solid online presence where potential customers are more likely to interact with the company. In addition, becoming increasingly visible in the platforms where customers interact increases the chances of word-of-mouth referrals.
Customers who had a positive experience with a particular business will have an easier time offering reviews on their social media platforms. They can easily link to your social media pages and share content such as pictures, videos, and other posts. If the business has a good social media presence, customers who have been referred to the company by friends and family will be able to learn more about the business simply by clicking the links to these social media pages.
How can marketing automation help? Content that is specifically created for new customers can be planned in advance as to when it will be posted on social media pages. Calls-to-action and landing pages can also be prepared in advance and programmed to be posted when new customers come looking. This ensures that newly referred customers are met with highly relevant content at the right time when they land on a business’s social media pages. The result is high quality leads for nurturing and increased sales.
Increased Conversion rates
The social media space has become part of a customer’s buying cycle. This is because 61% of web users conduct some form of online research before committing to purchase a product. Customers are seeking to understand more about a business that they are likely to engage with, and they are looking to compare brand recognition, prices, and trends.
Therefore, social media automation can lead to increased sales if a business’s social media strategy identifies the needs of the customer within the buying cycle and targets that customer with relevant and helpful content. Through automation software, a business can regularly update its social media platforms with unique and insightful content about its products and services. Any new product launches, discounts, and promotional programs can be posted on social media pages for prospects to have access to.
Marketing automation software also allows a business to categorize its leads into specific positions in the buying cycle. Each of these categories of leads can thereafter be targeted with content that is specific to their needs. For example, those social media leads that are in the early stages of the buying cycle can be targeted with general product information and interesting industry trends. Leads that are comparing different brands to purchase from can be targeted with info-graphics or videos that make a business’s product stand out from the competition.
Companies that are able to realize that their leads are using their social media pages to compare them to competitors are also able to use automation to make their social media pages contain high quality content that will attract such leads towards them.
Brand Awareness and Trust
Social media automation leads to the establishment of brand awareness and trust in your products, which eventually leads to increased sales. With an effective social media automation strategy, a business can build strong relationships that are based on trust and authority with potential customers. One way that marketing automation makes this possible is through the delivery of tailored content.
Automation allows a business to keep track of the behavior of its leads on social media. Once these leads are targeted with relevant content, they tend to return for more. Leads eventually become Twitter followers, Facebook friends and Youtube video subscribers. Once a business has the attention of its followers, it has the golden opportunity of promoting its brand as the top choice through well-timed and automated posts.
A business that consistently keeps its brand name in front of customers while being a go-to resource for helpful content is able to successfully establish brand awareness and trust in its products. The result is customer loyalty and increased sales.
Efficiency and scalability of actions
Using marketing automation features in social media marketing allows a business to become more efficient and scalable in its activities. Rather than following the manual method of posting as much as possible hoping that prospects will see, businesses can follow a much more targeted approach to automation.
The process often begins with identifying the target audience as well as their behavior on social platforms. Automation can track when prospects are active on social media, what types of content they post and how often, and whom they interact with. Using this information, a business can program its social media posts to be published at the right time and containing the right content.
Prospects can also be categorized into specific groups based on their behavior and levels of activity. This allows for the business to create more specific content for each group and to deliver that content at the right time. With this targeted approach, the company can scale up its social media presence by attracting more customers through a more structured approach made possible by marketing automation.
How to use Social Media with Marketing Automation
Incorporating social media into your marketing automation strategy is a delicate process that should be planned out correctly. The possibility of automating certain social media actions does not mean that the entire process should be left unattended. Think about it along the lines of baking a cake, where the baker places the cake in the oven but closely monitors how the baking process proceeds. Automating social media occurs in much the same way, where repetitive tasks are made easier, but the business still needs to closely oversee the entire process.
The following strategies can allow a business to effectively use social media automation.
Select the right social media automation tools
The first step towards successfully automating your social media activities is to select the right automation tools. There are many social media automation tools available, so a business needs to identify its social media needs and then look for the right tools to satisfy those needs.
The best automation tools allow a business to keep track of multiple social media pages at once, while keeping track of how many times the brand is mentioned. Most businesses have multiple social media pages such as Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and LinkedIn. It is therefore important to be able to update these pages with consistent content and to maintain a constant message across all platforms. Businesses should select automation tools that make this possible, while tracking the behavior of leads that interact with these pages.
Know what and what not to automate
Businesses should be careful what they choose to automate because automated posts and responses can go wrong. Social media is still a largely human space, so businesses should be prepared to maintain a human element that oversees the automation process.
For example, if a particular event occurred within the industry that the business operates in, a more specific human response may be necessary that adapts to the moods and reactions of the company’s followers. An automated response in such a case shows negligence, especially if the event that occurred was negative. When thanking users for engaging with the business, automated responses can also make customers feel unappreciated if the response is not unique and specific.
Posts that are great candidates for automation are those that provide general information about the company, are funny and catchy, or targeted for a specific audience at a certain time. Businesses should make sure that regardless of when they post, someone should be ready to address any responses as they arise.
Pre-schedule social media posts
Automation in social media has made it possible for a business to schedule its automated posts in advance. This is a great way of curating the right content and distributing it across social media pages at the right time. In addition, posting content at the right time is one of the most effective ways of increasing the outreach of your social media pages.
Businesses should analyze the behavior of leads and how they interact with their social media pages. This allows them to determine when the best time to post is, and what format the posts should be in. For example, some business utilize a daily posting model where they post 5 pieces of content from other sources, 3 posts that are specific to the business and 2 personal or humorous posts that make the brand seem approachable and interactive.
Set up Triggers from one Platform to another
An important part of social media automation is setting up a response that is triggered by a certain activity. For instance, when a potential customer likes a business’s Facebook page, the business can trigger a response to offer a lead magnet in exchange for the customer’s email address. Automated trigger responses enable businesses to respond quickly and appropriately to the behavior of its leads.
These automated responses can also occur across platforms, with the posting of a tweet triggering a specific response on Facebook. And because the responses are instantaneous and relevant to the customer, they generate more leads for nurturing.
Leverage older posts and post regularly
Many businesses spend a lot of time to create new content that they post on social media pages. This content should not go to waste simply because customers have already seen it. Effective social media marketing involves constantly reminding customers of the message contained in previous posts.
Businesses should use automation to develop a healthy library of content that is posted regularly in a continuous cycle. This keeps customers constantly engaged with the company’s social media pages and increases brand awareness.
Sync blog Posts
Many businesses don’t realize the power of sharing their offline content on social media. Businesses spend a lot of time developing blogs and even creating helpful info-graphics that they only post on their branded website. This content should be synced to be accessible from social media platforms, where a larger audience is waiting to access this content.
Businesses should optimize blog content for specific social media pages; for example, twitter can be used to share brief catchy blog posts while LinkedIn and Facebook can be used to share longer form posts. Interactive media such as videos can be posted on Youtube or Vimeo. The ultimate goal is to establish a consistent tone across all the social media platforms.
Advantages of Incorporating Social Media into marketing automation
More businesses are realizing that automating social media also poses numerous advantages towards the company’s marketing automation strategy. Some of these advantages include:
Access to more Data
Automating social media leads to the collection of valuable data about leads and their social media activities. This allows a business to gain a deeper understanding of its target audience and how they interact on social media. Social media automation platforms have the ability to track how leads are responding to your social media platforms, which posts get more attention than others, and how much traffic was redirected to your website from your social media pages.
This data not only enables you to develop a more effective social media automation strategy, but it also enables a business to design smarter lead nurturing and scoring programs. In addition, data obtained from social media automation can be merged with data from other platforms such as email and search engines in order to gain a deeper understanding of the prospect’s journey.
Show off Customer Reviews
Automation in social media allows for a business to show off its customer reviews in order to boost its image. 73% of customers rely on customer reviews to help them establish trust with a company, and 79% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as they would a recommendation from friends and family. Therefore, using automation to publicize customer reviews on social media is an effective way of establishing trust and building strong relationships with customers.
Automation enables a business to share its reviews on social media more effectively in various ways. First, customer reviews from online market places such as Amazon can be automatically relayed to a business’s social media pages as they come in. Second, customers who leave reviews on a company’s social media pages can have those reviews published on dedicated platforms within the social media application.
Automation software allows such information to be relayed automatically and based on specific criteria that have been specified in advance. The end result is that the business establishes trust among potential customers by showing off its positive reviews.
Reduces marketing overhead
Social media automation greatly reduces marketing overhead. This is because less time needs to be spent on repetitive and time-consuming tasks such as creating posts and publishing them at the right time. A manual process for social media marketing would require personnel to be online every time they need to update a post, share content or respond to comments. In order for this approach to be successful, full-time staff would need to be hired and dedicated to monitoring social media pages.
Automation has however made this process much more efficient. Because posts can be pre-scheduled, content can be prepared in advance and the target audience can be correctly identified, automation enables social media activity for a business to proceed at reduced costs. This reduces marketing overhead while enabling the business to enjoy a healthy ROI from leads converted from social media.
Maintains Consistent Content
Incorporating social media into a marketing automation strategy allows a business to maintain consistent content across its social media platforms. Consistency is the most important factor in building strong relationships on social media. In fact, social media users rank consistency in the delivery of content as the most influential factor in determining whether people will follow a brand. Therefore, social media automation allows a business to consistently post fresh and helpful content on social media. Businesses that don’t have enough time or manpower to regularly update their platforms manually can also benefit greatly from social media automation.
Automation allows businesses to discover fresh and trending content that they can share on their social media pages, as well as schedule posts regularly so that platforms are always active even when the administrators are offline. In this way, customers always have content to engage with on the business’s social media, which helps build brand awareness.