You may be reaching your target audience on social media channels through social posts and social campaigns, but are you building relationships with these audiences?

eMarketer Social Network UsersEach year, social media audience usage trends are increasing across all generations, and eMarketer predicts that the 59.4 percent of the U.S. population who used social media in 2017 will grow to 64 percent of the U.S. population by 2022. This means brands have a growing opportunity to connect with audiences across social media platforms.

Let’s Build Relationships

It’s no surprise users are spending time on social media. What marketers should focus on is continuing to learn about their audiences and leaning on technology to start conversations.

One way to do so is by integrating social media with marketing automation. When these two come together, you gain better insight into how your audiences are engaging with your brand. As a result, you can effectively nurture your social media audiences and increase leads.

Related: What is Marketing Automation, Again?

Insights about how audiences are engaging

Most marketing automation platforms offer the ability to connect your social accounts and create posts within the platform. When a contact who is already in the database engages with a social post, the behavior is captured. This data then becomes part of the contact record where you can view their individual engagement and see how social plays a part in their overall engagement with your brand.

There are also going to be contacts who are not in your database but engage with your social posts. You may not know who they are yet, but because your social channels are integrated you’ll have data about top performing social posts. These insights can help guide the type of content you create.

Nurturing Social Media Audiences

As you continue to capture engagement in your marketing automation platform, you’ll understand what resonates with your audiences. Marketing automation can use this data to nurture them over time. It’s about building a relationship and trust so when the time comes, contacts are open to knowing more about your offerings.

As an example, let’s say you’re promoting a video on Facebook. When the user fills out a form to view the video, the form submission is captured in your marketing automation platform. Behind the scenes, through automation, the contact is added to a multi-touch email campaign that is relevant to the video content. As the contact continues to engage through their journey, the more credible and top of mind you become. Not only can the relationship grow overtime, but so can your list of qualified leads.

Growing LinkedIn Relationships

eMarketer US LinkedIn UsersSo how does this type of marketing integration play out for brands? Let’s look at how we partnered with Caterpillar to grow their online leads by integrating their efforts on LinkedIn with their marketing automation platform, Oracle Eloqua.

Caterpillar seeks to be consultative advisors to their customers, helping them integrate innovative competitive differentiators into their machines and their jobsites. After looking at their healthy levels of social media follower and fan engagement for their Marine Power System business, and LinkedIn’s audience demographics (see chart), Caterpillar Marine developed a plan to pilot a lead generation campaign with Eloqua and LinkedIn.

The brand wanted to:

  • Establish a more personalized experience among social media contacts.
  • Convent fans, follower and target audiences into known marketable contacts in Eloqua.
  • Nurture social media audiences in new ways that extended outside of the social media platform itself.

Cat® Marine tested three different sets of LinkedIn campaign ads promoting their engine selection guides, which are also available on, in an effort to reach new audiences on LinkedIn who had not already downloaded the guides.

Our team at Simantel worked closely with all partners to ensure form assets were in compliance with standard opt-in requirements, and to configure the Eloqua integration. When a contact completed the form, Eloqua delivered custom confirmation emails with dynamic links to the requested guides. This workflow added social media leads to Eloqua and contacts received targeted communication based on their interests and subscription preferences.

Within the first month of launching the LinkedIn campaign, Cat Marine saw LinkedIn leads account for eight percent of their monthly online leads within their marketing automation system. They also experienced a 96 percent month-over-month increase in total online leads. Cat Marine’s campaign performance continued to perform well into the subsequent months after the initial launch and continue to uncover new findings about their customers.

Sample LinkedIn Cat Marine Ads

LinkedIn Ad

LinkedIn Ad

Sample LinkedIn Cat Marine Forms

LinkedIn Lead Generation Form

LinkedIn Lead Generation Form

When integrating social media and marketing automation strategies, remember that it’s a living process. The more you learn and capture about your audience, the more you can optimize your strategy. It can continuously help brands deliver the right message, to the right contact, at the right time, across social media audiences.