Digital Marketing

How to Use Social Research to Succeed in Account-Based Marketing

You have your eyes set on bringing in a major account, but how do you go about getting their attention in a way that’s meaningful, effective, and tailored just for them? As a reminder, here’s how we defined Account-Based Marketing in a past post:

“Account-Based Marketing is about optimizing for the customer experience. Focusing on pipeline acceleration, as opposed to broad lead generation, which results in tighter alignment with sales and more revenue. Your goal is to increase engagement from key decision makers within your top accounts, using pinpointed marketing messaging.”

Social media offers many inroads and opportunities for deeper research so you can get a better idea about what makes the account you’re going after tick, and how you might introduce your product. But don’t think that researching accounts is only to bring in new customers.

By better understanding existing accounts, you can tailor ads to move them along in your product suite, forge deeper relationships by reminding them of your product benefits, and make sure you’re hitting the right person with the right message at the right time.

Below, we’ll go over what you can learn by taking an outside look at the prospective account’s social activity, then tell you about a few tools that will help you go deeper.

Follow Them Like a Fan

This is the most efficient and easiest way to keep tabs on everything the desired company is up to. Treat the account as if it’s a celebrity or musician you just have to know everything about. You can forge right in and follow them on all active channels with your company or personal social accounts, or if you prefer to be a little more stealth, you can create a private Twitter list to get all their activity in one stream without having to follow anyone. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Open your Twitter account and click on your avatar in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Click on “Lists”
  3. Click “Create New List”
  4. Name it and give it a description
  5. Choose “Only accessible to you“ to make the list private
  6. Click “Save”
  7. To add people to the list you do not need to be following them. Do a search in Twitter for the prospective account.
  8. Click on the three vertical dots next to the “Follow” button and choose “Add or remove from lists.”

Twitter ABM Strategy

  1. Choose which list you’d like to follow that account under.
  2. To view the Tweets from a List, click on your avatar again, click on the list, and there you’ll see a timeline of tweets from everyone you included in the list.

Unfortunately, Facebook removed the ability to click to follow accounts via RSS feed and has blocked other services from providing RSS feed-style updates, so you’ll have to follow accounts directly on Facebook, but there are major benefits to that, as we touch on below.

You should also subscribe to the desired account’s blogs and newsletters. If you want to keep blog follows streamlined, a service like Inoreader lets you follow and access new posts all in one place.

Also, consider setting Google Alerts to catch any mentions of the company that might not come from them.

See What Fans Are Saying

Now that you’ve put yourself into the place of a fan, it’s time to turn up more clues by taking a look at what other people are saying about the prospective company. Take a look at Facebook comments. Often customers take to these pages to praise or complain. If people are upset at the speed of customer service and your product streamlines customer support, you have a super compelling reason to reach out for a demo, and/or a great start for messaging in a targeted ad set.

As you’re combing through fan comments, take a look at who’s chiming in. Just like your goal is to sell your product, it’s the same for the account you’re targeting. By figuring out what’s resonating, and what’s not, with their customers, you can more effectively insert yourself with solution-based offerings. Take a few minutes and do the same thing on Twitter.

Make The Most of Facebook

Because Facebook continues to be the leader in social advertising thanks to its rich user data and robust targeting capabilities, this is where you’ll be able to stealthily uncover even more information about the prospective account.

Opt into the account’s funnel by visiting their webpage, then watch for the retargeted ads you’ll be served on Facebook. Click on “Why Am I Seeing This?” in the right-hand corner of the ads to see what targeting they’re using to show ads to you. Click on the “This Ad Is Useful” button to tell Facebook you want to see more ads from the company. But why should you care so much about the company’s advertising strategy?

Because you want to know who they’re trying to sell to. If you and your product can in any way aid in helping the company find and sell to more of the people they’re going after, you’ll have no problem catching their attention with the right reach out and messaging.

To see what other ads they’ve run in the past, use Adicted Facebook ads gallery. It’s a free service that lets you plug in the name of anyone who’s ads you want to get an overview of what their ads look like.


adicted facebook gallery


Consider doing all of the above for the account’s competitors, too. By understanding what they’re up against, you can more precisely tailor your messages and ads, not to mention the opportunity to impress them with your complete market knowledge!

Enlist the Help of Free Tools

Sure, there’s tons of paid tools that promise to help you find, track, and analyze data about the account you’re going after, but there are a few free tools that can get you pretty far, too.

Social Mention surfaces recent mentions, common keywords used with the brand name, and calculates sentiment and reach. Use this for a quick snapshot of how people are talking about the company on social, and if that talk is good or bad.

Moat gives you a look at all the ads a company has recently run. Again, a great tool to take a look at competitors too.

Fanpage Karma gives you a detailed, but simple look at the health of social profiles. Plug in a name and get info on follower size, post and page performance, reach, average weekly growth, and more.

Reach Out Strategically

Now that you have all this amazing information about the prospective account, you can create and test messaging to get their attention. But that’s only the first step. You’ll also need to make sure you’re delivering it to the right person at the right time (sound familiar?).

Check out our post on Account-Based Marketing via LinkedIn ads to see how to use this platform to your benefit. LinkedIn advertising lets you select up to 100 companies to target with any Sponsored Content, Text Ads, or InMail campaign using the Company Name as the targeting option. You can also use the Contact Targeting feature to upload a list of email contacts, which is then matched with the associated LinkedIn profile, which you can use to build a matched audience to market to.

Use Custom and Lookalike Audiences on Facebook to target by job title, company, industry, and more. In this case, you want to be more specific than broad. Because your ads and messaging will be so tailored to one company, you want to make sure that’s who’s actually seeing them.

Twitter isn’t as helpful when it comes to ABM, but you can play around with uploading a list to create a Tailored Audience.

Whichever route or routes you decide to take, just remember the key to success with account-based marketing is making sure your messaging and ads are as relevant and personalized as possible.

AdStage Team