When it comes to social media, questions about its usefulness to B2B marketers rage on. Some say that not having a social presence hurts you more than having one helps you. Others believe it’s just a thing you MUST do, but that it doesn’t deliver tangible ROI. What’s for certain is that implementing social media into your marketing automation stirs up an entirely fresh set of questions. Will these two disciplines be friends on the playground or is The Force against them, like two magnets pushing your brand in two different directions? What we do know, though, is that if you are going to give your marketing automation programs a boost with social media, there are some best practices to follow:

  • Evaluate and strengthen current B2B marketing strategies. Social integration will not thrive as its own entity (or upgrade your entire marketing strategy) unless the overall strategic direction and fundamentals are in place. If you currently operate your brand’s Web and email campaigns – start there. Figure out how to best optimize the staple pieces before you entertain the idea of integrating social into the blend.
  • Shift your content from its place on the sidelines to a place in the starting line-up. Content has become the center of successful marketing strategies. Beef up the content you have by making it succinct, interesting, and valuable. Do yourself and your customers a favor by actually giving them something every time they interact with your brand. Once your content is meaningful and takes its rightful place in the spotlight of your marketing efforts, make it easy to share. Use your social media as a way to direct eyeballs to your website and other content, and then use that content to buyers to learn more.
  • Integrate social… where it actually makes an impact. If your marketing automation is queued up to pump content through social channels simply because you think you should, STOP now. What I mean is that you shouldn’t spend your time and resources on a guessing game. Instead, use social tools that reveal exactly how your target audience is consuming the content you’re sending their way. If you can use social as a way to improve lead scoring, pounce on the opportunity. If it can help measure buyer interaction, take advantage of it.
  • Use social to boost the campaigns you are already running. Where social becomes truly powerful is when you use it to amplify all your campaigns. Instead of running social campaigns, use marketing automation to make every campaign social. Make it easy for the prospects and customers that respond to your campaign to authentically share your message with their friends and networks, and you’ll get a “social lift” on the campaigns you are already running – and by making those shares trackable you will be able to better attribute how social is impacting your funnel.

Done with these steps? Pat yourself on the back. You are one of the few who sees social integration for precisely what it is – a powerful tool in the tool belt of marketing outreach.

So, what’s the moral of the story? Don’t be afraid of social integration or its often-vague part in your marketing automation strategy. If you use it as prescribed above, and allow for a learning curve to see how it fits precisely into your brand’s marketing efforts, you’re bound to see social integration and marketing automation pack a powerful 1-2-punch.

How are you integrating social into your marketing automation strategy? Join the conversation below!