There are at least two ways to use social media monitoring for lead generation that we can describe as low touch/ high volume and high touch/low volume.
In the low touch/high volume scenario social is used to find as many people as possible that fit some minimal criterion and then blast a generic offer. This isn’t much different from email marketing or direct mail but it is effective when selling a low cost commodity product. Commodities by definition need massive markets to keep prices low and justify significant investments in production, so this is a good fit.
On the flip side, social can be used to find the needle in a haystack so that expensive and knowledgeable employees can follow up. Typically the products on offer are high-end goods and services that require a well-trained employee to make the sale. Using social media to identify high value target customers like this justifies the cost of acquisition.
A case in point might be insurance or retirement account services. The people selling these services tend to be educated, certified, knowledgeable and well paid so it makes sense for their employers to point them at as many high quality deals as possible. Nearstream is in the business of providing a social solution for identifying high value customers.
People might not be eager to share a lot of personal information on the web but through social media a vendor can detect a lot about the individual, and when that person expresses an interest through a tweet, for example, Nearstream can detect and analyze the tweet and flag it for follow up. That’s the essence of Nearstream. It helps develop leads for vendors of high-end products and services.
The process Nearstream supports filters social data like keywords and scores the data and provides the resulting tweets that it finds to professionals for follow up. Through a kind of machine learning approach, the system gets “smarter” about what the users are looking for in a campaign so that the results can improve as the program evolves. This approach can detect intent or desire for something before it may approach actual or specific need.
This year old company is in the process of building out its offering and continues to add functionality and integrations with social media vendors. Early customers include Fidelity Investments and Toshiba among others. Nearstream is in a big market with a growing solution for perennial problem and bears watching.
Reviewed by CRM Idol 2012 Primary Judges
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