The fact that social media plays an increasingly relevant role within brands’ communication strategies is now an ascertained conviction. However, what is (perhaps) not yet clear to everyone is how to use these platforms efficiently to generate awareness and qualified leads, working in synergy with owned channels (or owned media, such as websites) with the final goal of increasing conversions.
But, if we want to fully take advantage of the potential of social media as a showcase to increase lead generation, we must first concentrate on content curation . Indeed, we know that brands fight every day against a fall in visibility due to content overproduction caused by the enormous diffusion of enabling technology. This allows millions of people not only to produce it, but also to distribute it in real time.
I would like you to think for a moment about the change that has taken place in how we communicate over the last 20 years. When comparing the circulation of information during the attacks on the Twin Towers and the more recent attacks in Paris, in the second case, it can be observed that social media played a significant role. In 2001, technology already existed that allowed us to document what was happening, but it was not yet enabling. That is to say, it did not allow us to act immediately online, or rather, to produce and share content in real time. If we think about social media, we can observe that now information travels online with a single click.
Let’s consider Facebook’s Safety Check, adopted by different users during the latest attacks and earthquakes. Thanks to technology, which is now available to everyone, more than 5 million people have used this function to send notifications and reassure their friends and family of their safety. Those who did not receive a notification in response in a short space of time began to worry straight away, and this speaks volumes about the immediacy that social media has ingrained in our communication.
There is, however, the other side of the coin: this acquired ability to produce and share content with great ease is bringing about the phenomenon of shock content. Nowadays, every two days we create a large amount of information, comparable to the entirety of human knowledge, with an exponential growth that has increased by 300% since 2010. Assimilating such quantities is impossible; there is not enough time to benefit from them and, as a result, engagement has reduced by 89%.
This is why the first piece of advice I can give you for social media is that “less is more”, or rather, it is better to publish less often, but publish higher quality content that is more relevant.
Indeed, social media has a fundamental role in generating awareness and creating qualified leads because distinguishes itself from the vertical approach (from the top down) of other communication channels such as TV: their horizontal approach is much more radical and effective, and, if enriched with quality content, invites people, with extreme ease, to act/find out more on the brand’s owned presences (blog, website, in-store, etc.) where conversions occur and can be monetized.
What we need to understand is that the effectiveness of a piece of communication should not just be attributed to the last click: we know that people reveal a great deal about themselves before purchasing and, in order to understand our customers’ real interests, we must analyze the subject matters of the content viewed. To do so, an increasingly evolved Content Intelligence (CI) platform is required. Based on the measurable data obtained from content (data that, among other things, are first party!), it allows you to study the best strategies and most effective corrective actions to offer a customer experience that moves ever closer to the one your audience wants.
But how is social media inserted into this process, which sees brand content acting as a receptor for customer interests thanks to Content Intelligence? Social media, that does not represent an owned brand presence, can work in synergy with owned channels (website, blog, in-store, etc.) toward the final goal, which is that of increasing conversions.
If we study the entire customer journey in this multi-channel setting ranging from social to owned media, we will realize that the purpose of the various channels is, ultimately, to generate awareness and create new leads. They do this by guiding users interested in knowing more about the Brand within the corporate sites, blogs and e-commerce. In those channels, thanks to Content Intelligence, the Brand can maximize conversions by increasing the user’s engagement with a customized communication. A solution which is possible only with the in-depth knowledge of customers interests that the CI has gathered throughout the phases before the conversion itself.
A strategy coordinated and supported by Content Intelligence results in several benefits: the Brand will not only be able to measure the performance of its content, but also to optimize the entire re-marketing plane designed to increased engagement and retention of the users profiled through social media. As mentioned before, CI provides metrics and tools to measure the topics that work best, allowing the Brand to improve quality and to refine its content strategy. Crossing data obtained from the company’s tools (ie CRM) with the users list coming from social media, you will get a constantly updated list of their interests. With this, you will be able to create a precise segmentation for your remarketing strategy, offering efficiently targeted campaigns bound to maximize your conversions.
This “synergy” between social media, which generates awareness and qualified leads, and owned brand channels, which social networks lead to for conversions, provides an overview that puts the focus on the consumer. Thanks to Content Intelligence, it understands current trending topics, identifies people’s interests and personalizes communication, increasing engagement and customer retention.