When it comes to what creates leads and revenue, social media is often left out of the conversation. Sure, it plays an essential role in brand awareness, and driving traffic to a company’s website, but many companies don’t consider social media as a sales tool.
It’s time to reconsider. Social media is one of the most effective and affordable sales tools out there, and the key is to start with a few small changes. Here are six ways to integrate social media into your company’s sales and education marketing efforts:
Give your marketing channels a social makeover
Companies often keep their social media separate from other channels, such as email campaigns, website or even their marketing development strategies. Take a cue from the awesome folks at HubSpot and add your social widgets to all of your digital real estate – email templates, landing pages, thank you pages and high-traffic pages of your website. This shows that your social media is a key part of your education marketing strategy, and creates another way to move your prospects further down the sales funnel.
Leverage your employee’s social media advocates
Effective employee advocacy can turn your company into a powerful marketing and sales engine by offering curated content your employees can easily share through their social media channels. Prospects are generally more willing to trust employees over a company’s brand or it’s CEO.
The most effective way to begin a social media employee advocacy plan is by getting your company’s internal influencers on board – namely, employees who are already capable social advocates. Start small by creating posts for employees to share, or directing them to specific live posts that they can share with their networks, or simply engage with.
Get comfortable with “social selling”
The prospecting that your sales team is already doing with cold calls and sending emails is just as – if not more – effective through social media. Social makes it possible for your sales team to interact directly with prospects on platforms they’re already engaged with, and with fewer interruptions. There are plenty of great resources on how to get started with social selling for education marketing – we especially love this one by Hootsuite – Social Selling: What it is, Why You Should Care, and How to Do It Right.
Explore paid social media options
When Facebook’s algorithm changed at the beginning of this year, it began to prioritize “meaningful interactions” from friends and family over content from brands. This means it’s even more challenging for followers to see your organic content. If you haven’t prioritized paid ads on the platform, you could be missing an opportunity to get your content into the hands of prospects. Facebook’s lead generating ads are easy to set up – and most likely less expensive than some of the other ad buys in the education market.
It’s important to note Facebook is not the only game in town – the key to a successful paid social strategy is understanding the platforms your prospects frequent, and conducting A/B testing with ads to understand what’s resonating with them.
Map out top decision makers and gain insights
Social platforms like LinkedIn or Twitter offer an easy way to map out the top decision makers at a district, as well as gain insight into their social media habits. If a prospect is active on a particular platform, they’re more likely to welcome interactions or invitations to connect. If they’re sharing content, it might contain clues as to what they’re passionate about – allowing you to tailor your approach.
Take the time to listen and respond accordingly
Social media presents an opportunity to track real-time conversations about products/services, competitors and industry trends. Tools like Twilert, TweetDeck or HootSuite give your marketing and sales teams opportunities to monitor relevant mentions (e.g., hashtags) and respond when it makes sense. Social listening works especially well in tandem with a strong customer advocacy program. For example, if an educator tweets a request for insights about your product or service, you may be able to connect them with another educator on Twitter who enjoyed a rewarding experience with your company.
These quick tips should get you well on your way to integrating social media with your sales efforts. If you’re in need of a more comprehensive social selling or lead generation strategy, reach out to us.