Case Study: How An Executive Education Business Profits From Social Media Marketing

By Tony Restell

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This post is one of a series of articles in which we’ll be providing anonymized case study examples. We’ll be looking to reveal how small businesses are generating tremendous ROI from their investment in social media marketing. My hope is that by sharing a series of examples with you, we can inspire you to see how your business could transform its lead generation activities (or indeed candidate attraction or online sales activities) by following a similar strategy yourselves.

Social Media Marketing Case Study - Executive Education


Social Media Marketing Success Principles

What will become apparent in all of our case studies is that you’ll see our team always focus on impacting two key metrics to ensure we get quick and tangible results for any business we’re working with. Firstly we want to ensure that we quickly increase the reach that the business has to its target client (or candidate) audience on social media. The bottom line is that if your prospects aren't seeing your updates and connecting with you on social media, then the chances of favourable results being achieved are essentially zero.

But just as important is working to improve conversion. If we have large numbers of our ideal prospects seeing our business on social media but then the phone never rings, meeting requests are never received, requests to tender for some work never materialise... well in that scenario, you succeeded in increasing the brand presence of your company on social media. However, you’ll probably never get any tangible business wins you can point to as a result of this activity - and so social media marketing is neither something that’s easy to justify investing in further, nor a scalable business development activity that you can champion.

That's where conversion is key, having an end goal that you want social media to deliver for the business and then refining everything you do around ensuring that that end goal is fulfilled. In this particular example, our client provides executive education to large global brands. Their target demographics are therefore HR leaders, Learning & Development leaders, Talent Management leaders and the like - all within businesses that would be household names to you or I.

Becoming a Magnet For Your Ideal Prospects

Our first challenge was to research this particular target demographic and establish what kind of content, video interviews, reports and data have been generating the most interest amongst that audience. In order to quickly build the audience that our client had engaged us to reach, we wanted to turn their social media profiles into magnets for those sorts of people. If one of their prospects were to land on one of their social media profiles, we needed those people to feel like it was a valuable resource - and one that they would want to connect to or follow.

There's a far more detailed explanation of this and how we would do this in our regular webinar session. Details of the next sessions you'll find at the bottom of this post. But for now, suffice it to say that we researched what type of content was generating the most interest in their niche - as well as who the influencers were in the executive education industry and what kind of updates they were sharing. This gave us a good basis for building profiles that the data showed were likely to work in this sector.

Having done this, we then created and refined a series of consistent company profiles across Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+. We also worked on the individual profiles of several key members of the team. We then set about running and growing the audience of ideal prospects that were following or connected to these accounts, both corporate and individual accounts.

We were able to consistently add several hundred new targeted prospects to that clients’ accounts each month, meaning we were hitting our goal in terms of increasing that client’s reach in their target market. But with additional reach being achieved, what about conversion? Well in the case of this particular client, they were running an insightful business event that would give them the opportunity to meet all of these prospects in person - and to convey their expertise in their particular specialist domain: executive education.

So we then set about gradually interacting with and inviting this new network of connections to come along to this free event. Expectations for this first event were that we would attract a few dozen attendees, all of whom were highly targeted and drawn from their ideal prospect profile. In reality, the event was oversubscribed and so a further series of follow-on events have now been scheduled, giving the business the opportunity to convert more and more of the audience that's been built into more tangible leads.


Social Media Marketing Now a Key Component of Lead Generation

What's particularly worth noting is that the work to grow this executive education business’s audience is far from complete. So looking ahead, we can see that there will be a year or more of ongoing work to be done to grow this audience and saturate the market; what’s more, at regular intervals this client will be able to host events, giving themselves repeated opportunities to present themselves and their value proposition to their ideal prospects. All of this from an annual spend on social media of under £11,000 / $17,000. You can probably understand why they have quickly become big fans of this approach to generating consistent leads and business results. What kind of an impact could that have on your business this coming year if you could genuinely harness social media in this way?


What Should You Do Next?

What I hope you will take away from us sharing this approach is firstly that the business results could never have been achieved without us having a systematic approach to researching and attracting this brand’s ideal prospects to engage with the business on social media in the first place. Furthermore, that alone wouldn't have produced results: we had to also have a conversion mechanism in place that would allow us to take people we were now in conversation with and convert them into people we now had a face to face meeting with (or some other form of engagement that moves them properly into your sales funnel). What exactly this will be will depend on the nature of your business - but that it’s an essential part of success is beyond dispute. Incorporate both into your plans for the coming year and your prospects for succeeding will be greatly enhanced.

I hope this has been helpful and if you would like to gain a deeper understanding of how this could work in your business, you're very welcome to join our free webinars on this topic, timings and registration for which you can find via our social media lead generation webinar page.

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