How Business Can Make An Impact with Social Media

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How Business Can Make An Impact with Social Jason Dove, SVP of Sales and Marketing at SocialCentiv, was a recent guest on the TechnologyAdvice Expert Interview Series. The series, which is hosted by TechnologyAdvice’s Josh Bland, explores a variety of business and technology landscapes through conversations with industry leaders.

In this episode we discuss everything from intent-based marketing to using Twitter effectively, and how to monetize social media.

Below are a few highlights from our conversation:

TechnologyAdvice: How are companies becoming more accountable with social media management? I feel like so many companies hired a social media person quickly when it exploded a few years ago and now they’re trying to figure out whether that was the right decision and where to go from here.

Jason Dove: I think initially a lot of people were trying to keep this in-house — and they may even have someone that's in the family perhaps fresh out of college managing their social media. Especially within the small-to-medium sized business community, designating someone internally that was going to learn how to do social media and really help a business generate their presence.

But even those who are active in Social with some level of success, it's usually limited to community management or reputation management. They're not really finding the time or the discipline to go out there and harvest data and mine for prospects.

In fact, we're seeing more and more companies outsourcing to third parties. We're seeing less emphasis on community management and shifting focus towards lead gen for revenue purposes. Also more focus on organic activity, so creating custom content and putting less dollars into paid media.

TA: Do you think outsourcing your social media is a good idea? Does it depend on the industry?

Dove: Well, obviously you want to be careful who you are outsourcing your social media to. It has to be someone who can go out there and create quality composition on your behalf and not diminish your brand equity. You don't want anyone that's going to go out there and fly off the handle when they have access to your social media channel.

One way we position ourselves to be able to do that successfully is to ensure we always use degreed journalists who can create quality content on behalf of a brand. They're also very comfortable in using social media. It is a skill-set to be able to create each one of these custom responses in a 140 characters or less, especially when you're using part of that space by embedding images, or linking to a call to action landing page, or a blog, or an eBook.

We definitely want to be able to provide a level of comfort that our team will represent your brand well.  During the on-boarding process we take the time to understand the persona, the voice which you're going to use when speaking on their behalf.

TA: Why the move toward lead gen? What’s causing it?

Dove: I think people are really just trying to focus on how to monetize social media. How to really leverage that treasure trove of data and actually see true redemption. For so many people, it's limited at click thru rates and it is not really tracking all the way to point of sale.

More and more people are starting to emphasize how to leverage social media in a way that produces revenue — especially in this time and era where companies are making cost reductions. It's really hard to justify your existence if you can't attribute a true ROI against your activity, or your cost center.

TA: If my company were to start on Twitter tomorrow, what would the first thing you'd tell me to do?

Dove: It really kind of starts with the foundation of our entire approach. We look at things from the lens of intent-based marketing. Intent-based marketing is any marketing campaign for a product or service that aims at consumers who've shown purchase intent for that particular product or service through their behaviors — whether explicitly or implicitly.

The first thing you want to do is determine keywords/phrases that identify purchase intent. So it comes down to which keywords are going to be most relevant to your business. Then you're going to have to look at the geography. What geographic filters do we need to keep in mind? If I am working with perhaps a national pizza chain, I need to understand the delivery or trade areas to make sure that I'm geotargeting those conversations in a relevant trade-area for delivery.

TA: Say I tweeted about pizza three months ago. Would the optimal response be to use that information to then tweet that person back? Is that the direct monetization that you’re targeting?

Dove: We do have some best practices, especially within the vertical industries where we do really well which for us is restaurants, travel, and entertainment. There seems to never be a shortage of people talking about where they want to go, what they want to do, or what they want to eat. The one thing that we've learned though is that in many cases these are impulse buys and there is a limited window of opportunity.

So we work with a national pizza chain, and their instructions are to never respond to a conversation older than two hours. So somebody says they're craving pizza, or are hungry for wings, or don't feel like cooking tonight, we wouldn't respond to them days or even several hours later because we missed that window of opportunity. They've already made a decision, it’s more of an impulse buy. So it's really important that this message is as close to real time and that we're sending out a relevant response, but I'll show you just how impactful it can be.

This podcast was created and published by TechnologyAdvice. Interview conducted by Josh Bland.