It's more important than ever for companies in every industry to weave social media throughout their business practices. Traditionally, marketing across the consumer journey, customer service, and sales efforts haven't been considered the domain of social marketing — but today, integrating these practices with social is essential.
 
 
Though it's a relatively new medium, it's already hard to imagine life without social media — especially for marketing. Now an established business practice, social marketing communicates the latest information with audiences in real time.

Brands continue to increase investments in social media content and headcount. It's no longer sufficient to simply maintain your social media presence: It's standard to actively engage consumers on multiple social platforms and build an identity on these channels. According to research from the Salesforce "State of Marketing" report, ​75% of marketing leaders see a direct return on investment from social.

Successful brands have even created teams of social experts to carry out their social marketing programs, from creating content to engaging with an ever-present audience by answering questions and replying to feedback.

Why? Social media accounts for a third of all time spent online worldwide, and in the United States, people check social media seven times more than they do on email. That kind of customer reachability is well worth the investment.
 
 
The new marketing battleground is customer experience — but providing a satisfying one can be complex, involving more channels and departments than ever. Social media is a unique arena to propel a brand since it’s aligned to the entire business, including marketing, sales, and customer service.

Because of changing customer expectations, social media marketing must coordinate with other channels in order to succeed.

Top brands do this by listening to what people say on social channels, passing along customer service-related content to their support team for resolution. What would once have meant a twenty-minute phone call for the customer is now effortless, pleasant, and expedited. It's also a positive experience likely to be shared on social media. However, 18% of all marketers say there is no coordination between their social media marketing and other channels. The level of sophistication in coordinating these channels has plenty of room for improvement.

Consider this: Sixty-four percent of all marketing leaders say that service collaborates with marketing to manage and respond to social inquiries and issues.

Of high-performing teams, 84% collaborate with service via social, while just 37% of underperformers say the same.
 
 
 
 
Social media listening may seem like a straightforward strategy: Identify and analyze what’s being said about you — and topics relevant to your company — on the internet. However, social listening can impact every other aspect of your marketing. When customers take their concerns, critiques, and compliments to social media, they're creating actionable feedback and valuable real-time data. By listening in and responding, you can ground your entire marketing strategy in deep consumer and market insights.

The results of tuning into social media conversations can transform businesses. For example: A healthcare brand listens to conversations about lifestyle, nutrition, and exercise in order to better understand preventative care. A fashion clothing retailer listens to brand mentions to create visually compelling content — and schedule it on channels like Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube. An auto insurance brand listens to feedback about its new models and passes that on to product design teams.

While the data mined from social conversations is valuable, there is a lot of it. That's why you and your team should consider establishing measures for success before implementing a social listening strategy. Once you've defined KPIs and firm goals, you'll be better equipped to determine and report ROI when the time comes.
 
 
Today's salespeople can directly interact with their prospects on various social media platforms. Social selling can refer to many methods and tactics, but — simply put — social selling is lead generation grounded in social media. Using social channels to start or continue conversations with prospects has become common, but that's not all a brand can achieve with social selling. When an HR department scours social media posts to source candidates for interviews, that’s a form of social selling, too.

How does this quickly growing practice work? Taking sales to social media requires multiple internal departments to collaborate and work closely in identifying potential customers. When a prospect displays buying signals on social and adjacent channels, social and sales teams must coordinate to nurture them down the sales funnel toward purchase. A tweet about needing a new minivan or an Instagram post about a broken vacuum cleaner could be the beginning of a path to purchase, if sales teams respond appropriately. Social selling requires a joint strategy, clear communication between teams, and integration of social and CRM tools.

Brands that invest time and resources to adopting a social selling strategy view it as a valuable source of leads — and an important way to nurture and engage prospects with whom the sales team has already begun a relationship.
 
 

Now marketers, salespeople, and service reps can elevate their social media presence with social media command centers: a shared view of social media activity accessible from any device. Command centers allow teams to build centralized dashboards of every digital touchpoint — mentions, inquiries, audience size, trending topics, and much more. These displays are shared across the company and accessible at any time, so everyone gains the same insights into key metrics and performance in an easy-to-understand visualization.

In some cases, organizations are evolving even beyond this impressive setup. For example, Salesforce Marketing Command Center is a major evolution of this technology, going beyond social media measures and data to include:

  • Email performance 
  • Customer journey progress
  • Customer service cases
  • Sales data
  • Web canvas screens

The use of a command center like this removes the silos typically found with digital teams — bringing a cross-channel analytics focus to an organization. By sharing a real-time view of performance data, brands can align quickly to improve the customer experience — keeping up with the expectations and desires of consumers as they develop.

Ask about Salesforce products, pricing, implementation, or anything else. Our knowledgeable reps are standing by, ready to help. Or check out our “Pricing and Packaging Guide” to learn more.