Opportunities to initiate and nurture connections flood digital social media today. Are you taking advantage of them to nurture leads? While many of us have caught on to email nurturing campaigns, social nurturing campaigns are relatively new to marketers. We’ve put together a few pointers that will keep your leads flowing through the funnel after initial touches.

Use a Social Connection Grid to Find Decision Makers
Dig into social profiles to discover individuals who make purchase decisions at the companies you target. Set your lead scoring criteria to include ideal titles, and encourage lead qualification teams to dig for those titles. For example, detailed profiles on LinkedIn often indicate a prospective buyer’s place in the company’s corporate hierarchy. If you sell to CTOs and your prospect is a CMO, search through LinkedIn’s connection network to identify the CTO. Your leads are more likely to pass through scrutinizing sales eyes if they score highly on the criteria your organization has chosen to rate leads, and they will therefore move through the sales funnel.

If you don’t filter your leads by decision maker, you may end up creating a lot of campaigns designed to discover qualification criteria about individuals who will never buy your products. By the time you reach decision makers, the opportunity may have already dried up. Focus on finding the decision makers right away, and you won’t waste energy trying to force square leads into a round funnel.

Follow Your Prospects to Find Action-Driving News
Events that create new buying needs are trigger events. Find the trigger events, and your sell-to opportunities will soon follow. If you define leads as MQLs and SALs (marketing qualified leads and sales accepted leads), the number of SALs will skyrocket if you start passing leads associated to trigger events over to your sales team. Track your customers on social media such as Twitter and Facebook, and you’ll be the first to know when trigger events shift their purchase needs. When news affects companies, employees and executives are usually the first to find out, and if you follow them, you’ll be the second. Following action-driving news will help you target marketing campaigns in the hopes that the more targeted your marketing, the more likely it is to help convert leads into opportunities.


Develop Connections
Use social media to discover the best way to reach the decision maker you’ve identified. Does someone in your network connect to him or her on LinkedIn? Do you have mutual friends on Facebook? Can you engage with your prospect on Twitter? Don’t risk being ignored as just another pesky sales rep – stand out with a personal referral or build a reputation as a trusted advisor on social media.

Expand your social network further to open more opportunities to connect. Find out who your employees know, and who your current clients know.
As social media changes the business landscape, our practices have to adapt. We can apply social practices to every aspect of our business, and if we don’t, we’ll fall behind.