In B2B marketing, the lines between lead generation and branding are starting to blur. Tempted to get into social media, but unable to convince the powers that be of its role in lead generation? Use the five tips below to make your case:
Measure engagement and lead generation with bookmarking tools. Tempted to put that "share" button on your website, but having trouble convincing the IT team that it's worth their time? Make sure they know that by using a tool like AddThis, you can track every single instance of someone sharing a link or e-mailing it to their friend.
Review leads generated with a referring domains report. This should be a standard report in your Web analytics tool, and it shows the number of visits and the percentage of visits coming from each domain. But don't stop there – track those visits through your site with a conversion funnel review to see how many converted into leads. I'm amazed by the growth rate in these and the conversion rates - a great story to tell.
Use a link shortening service so that you can track clicks. You can actually track who is clicking on your link even if it isn't on your own server. Use a URL shortening service like Goo.gl that provides analytics as part of the service. By tracking this valuable data on traffic sources and demographics, and then combining it with the report in No. 2, you can easily make the case for including links on social networks.
Use call tracking. Call tracking is easier than ever; you get a dedicated 800 number that you associate with your social media placements. The calls to the number are tracked, so you can easily tell which ones turn into leads. This service is also now available in beta through Google AdWords Call Metrics.
Check out Facebook. No, I'm not suggesting you give up entirely and go check your Facebook news feed. Get corporate buy-in to create a company Facebook page or if you have one, work with your social media team. Recent research has shown that you can improve your organic rankings by being "Liked" on Facebook. Hopefully your company has already recognized that organic search is a major driver of leads; this can help if you can get your volumes up, if not, you have more work to do.
Hopefully with the tips above, you'll be able to convince your company management that social marketing is a key contributor with SEO for ongoing lead generation.
Crispin Sheridan is the Senior Director, Global Search at SAP. As part of the digital team, he established and leads the search and testing practices at SAP. Crispin is responsible for paid, natural, and mobile search and all online testing. Search and testing at SAP are fully centralized and globally funded and run under a hybrid in-house and agency model.
Crispin has proven that search learnings and keyword insights work hand in hand with social media marketing and together can effectively drive B2B lead generation. Furthermore, the development of the SAP.com Test Lab has contributed significant success to SAP's digital marketing efforts.
A frequent guest speaker at conferences, including SES New York, San Francisco, Toronto, London, Delhi, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, Crispin was appointed to the SES Advisory Board in December 2009. He has also been a guest speaker at the e-Metrics Summit and ad:Tech, and is a member of Google's B2B Technology Council. You can follow him on Twitter at @crispinsheridan and read his monthly SEO column on ClickZ.