4 Proven Techniques to using Social Media Analytics to Convert Skeptics into Clients

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As a marketing agency, you’ve been there. A new potential client circulates an RFP (Request for Proposal) asking for help.  They’ve been reading about the benefits of switching to a content-based marketing strategy, and are asking for your advice and expertise.

And for a proposal.  Tomorrow.

The reality is that, behind the RFP, they’re really saying; “My website isn’t attracting any prospects” or “I blog but my pages never rank”. So, how do you solve their problem? By tomorrow? You don’t know their business or where prospects’ pains lie.

Face it, there isn’t time to do traditional market research. Besides, some markets move so fast, anything you learned from your market research would be useless by the time the findings were written up.

But the solution is very simple – listen. Find folks who are talking in your market space. What are they talking about? How do they frame their problems? Who influences their decisions? What’s important to them.

Maybe a little case study will help you understand how social listening is at the heart of your content marketing strategy – or should be.

A case study

Innovative Marketing Resources (IMRcorp.com), an inbound marketing agency, faced this problem. Their prospective client, C.F. Maier, made specialty fiberglass products.  Tanks, buildings, piping, aquaculture systems, etc.  And FRP products as well. They wanted IMR to come up with a content marketing strategy to drive business to their website. But, IMR didn’t know about fiberglass!

Most marketing agencies would have pitched their experience and asked the prospect to trust that they would “figure it out”.  They’d tout their A+ client list. Their track record. But, knowing the clients’ business was important to IMR and to their clients.

As a marketing agency, you command immediate competitive advantage by demonstrating that you understand your prospect’s market.  That understanding creates a level of trust that can launch a successful retainer relationship.

      – Kevin Jorgensen – Managing Partner – Innovative Marketing Resources

1. Learn the lingo

Social Analytics can quickly make you an expert in a topic space

Sure they’d seen fiberglass.  Maybe they’d even used some fiberglass products. They might even know that Chevrolet Corvettes are made of fiberglass.

But the fiberglass industry is highly specialized.  To learn about C.F. Maier’s specialized fiberglass business, IMR tried Google, which told them where to buy a fiberglass tank.  In fact, there were 12,600,000 possible resources about fiberglass. Should they hire about 10,000 interns to check out each link? By tomorrow?.

Google returned lots of nice images too.  IMR could have used Twitter or another social network to search for conversations about fiberglass, but again, the number of links is staggering and many are just re-Tweets of the same thing.

And, that’s the problem with trying to hear conversations online. The content to noise ratio is staggering and you’d need significant resources to cull through results to find a few kernels of useful information.

But none of these results answered important business and marketing questions like:

  • Who’s buying fiberglass products right now and why?
  • What are the latest trends in Fiberglass Storage and Aquaculture Tanks?
  • In the topics that tank purchasers are talking about, who is most vocal?  Most Influential?
  • What Marketing channels and messages are best resonating with their customers?
  • What are the triggers that are causing the customer to act… to seek out solutions?
C.F. Maier Topic Trend Analysis

C.F. Maier Topic Trend Analysis

2. See the trend

IMR then turned to a Social Media Analytics tool provided by SocialEars. By analyzing what the important people, companies, and influencers in the fiberglass tank industry were talking about right at the moment, IMR was able to discover the topics that are important to people buying and selling the very products C. F. Maier offers.  And more importantly the trends – topics that were going up and down in importance.

SocialEars is a subscription-based online system that blends traditional social listening technology which scans social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn with content analysis technology that just starting to be used by advanced search engines.

SocialEars allowed us to track and follow the most important people in the fiberglass business and cut the noise.  Combining social listening with content analysis as SocialEars does – a just-right, Goldilocks approach – allowed us to discover who mattered in the sector and what they were saying in a matter of minutes.

    – Kevin Jorgensen – Managing Partner – Innovative Marketing Resources

The trend analysis results provided by SocialEars were clear.  Larger words indicated that those topics are active, and green indicates that the topic is trending up.  By inspection it was clear there was trending interest in corrosion resistant fiberglass tanks.

But why?

3. Become an expert

Clicking on a term in the SocialEars’ trend analysis brought up the top articles discussing the subject.

SocialEars analysis of Corrosion Resistant Fiberglass - Top Recent Articles

SocialEars analysis of Corrosion Resistant Fiberglass – Top Recent Articles

The mining industry, specifically the Natural Gas Exploration industry, rapidly expanded across the United States. Because of the corrosive nature of the materials used in the controversial fracking technique for recovering natural gas, there was a large and growing demand for Fiberglass and FRP tanks because of their special properties.  Additional benefits such as lightweight transport and temperature tolerance give these types of tanks a major advantage over traditional alternatives such as Stainless Steel tanks.

4. Land the client

Using their SocialEars results, IMR was ready and equipped to present a cohesive content marketing strategy for its prospect that included:

  • A content calendar including specific blog posts targeted at the client’s customer.
  • A detailed proposal for premium content taking advantage of the customer triggers.
  • A lead nurturing plan to move qualified customers through the funnel to a point of sales engagement.

And most importantly…  IMR was ready to close the deal based on a plan, not a promise.

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This article originally appeared as a guest post by Peter Odryna on Hausman Marketing Letter on July 18, 2013 and has been republished with permission.

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