The Business Value of Social Media

March 25, 2010
By Lisa Barone in Internet Marketing Conferences

Mel Carson is moderating speakers Harry J. Gold, Robyn Raybould, Mari Luangrath and Chris Winfield. I’m out of breath because they moved this session and didn’t tell anyone. Oh, and then they put in the farthest room in the whole world.  And then my computer wouldn’t turn on. It’s been a tough afternoon.

However, here’s an awesome fact for you: Mari’s title is Head Cupcakeologist.  How cool is that?

Up first is Harry Gold.

Step 1: Document a plan.

Don’t create chaos. Have a plan and strategy about how you’re going to go forward and which tools you should leverage.  Decide why anyone would want to be your friend. One of his clients is Harley Davidson. There’s a lot of passion in that brand. But not every client has that. People may not be passionate about enterprise storage, but they are passionate about their jobs or careers.  How do you help people do their jobs and become more successful?

Step 2: Deploy your Platform and publish content

Set up microsites on some of the most popular sites in the world. Cross promote things all over the different social platforms. Put them where people are congregating and sharing.

Step 3: Socially Enable Everything

Use Chicklets. They’re the golden nuggets of the Web and are underutilized.  They required social sharing. He generated 50,000 leads off one page/chicklet.  Socially enabling content makes it to spread.

The Business Value of Social Media Marketing

Traffic doesn’t equal revenue. Revenue equals revenue.

Universal SEO via SMM – it gets your content out there and gets you displayed in universal search. Social media marketing builds a lasting impression. It creates never ending site traffic and leads by creating a permanent network of inbound links.  You’re getting free impressions. You can see what’s encouraging engagement.

Social Leads: Leads equal revenue. How many leads are you getting from all the “stuff” you’re doing in social media? Traffic from social media converts 2.5x higher than from search.   Tracking social media is just like tracking anything else and it’s pretty easy to do.

Up next is Robyn Raybould.

She flies a lot. She’s flown over 14,000 miles in the past two weeks – all domestic and all coach.  She really related with Up In The Air.  Heh.  Her last flight was pretty uneventful. It was on time and seamless. When people were getting off the plane they were pretty miserable and all reached for their phones. What surprised her was that they weren’t calling people, they were logging into Facebook. It was like a reflex.  Social media is so important to consumers.

With social media, consumers are getting more power. Anyone can impact your brand. If her flight was bad, people could have hopped on Twitter to tell the world. With all these different sources, the power is shifting.  70 percent of consumers have visited social media outlets to get info about products. 14 percent of people trust advertising. 78 percent of people trust the recommendations of other consumers.

How do you listen? If you printed the 7 BILLION tweets that have occurred so far and did nothing but read them during work every day, it would take you almost 3,000 years to get through them all.  Beyond listening, you need a way to engage.

Project Looking Glass

It’s a proof of concept business tool. It helps you listen to, engage with and analyze social media to make social media actionable. It’s a platform that enables integration of external/internal system to form deeper consumer insights.  You can pull in other data sources to see what’s driving the conversation.

Looking Glass is being piloted with small group of strategic advertisers with Microsoft. They’re looking for a commercial release in mid 2011.  Now we get a demo.

The dashboard hones in on the listening side of things. What are people saying about you? You can see mentions of certain keywords and tag you or your competitors. They use available APIs to pull in mentions and track them over time. Going in and being able to see your daily volume helps you benchmark how you’re doing. There’s also a sentiment analysis tool to help you sort tweets. Of course, it’s a machine trying to judge what humans are saying.  Computers can’t judge sarcasm. Neither can Rhea. Hmm, Rhea is a computer!

They realize that people work in teams and that people want to talk about interaction. There are work flow capabilities to assign tasks to people. You have the ability to respond to messages directly through the account, You can set up different Twitter or YouTube accounts. You can comment on posts internally.

You can bring in any data you need and render it however you want. You can create custom dashbords and render it all into Looking Glass.

Beyond Monitoring: It’s not just about listening, it’s about bringing the data together. Looking Glass can integrate other data sources to help make social media data actionable.

Next up is Mari Laungrath. She starts off by taking off her shoes. I like her already.

She learned what PPC was two days ago. She thinks its fascinating there’s a whole conference for people who do stuff like that. She thanks us for letting her crash the party. If she was really thankful, she would have brought cupcakes. Just saying.

She lives in Chicago. She has a cupcake business with no storefront.  She wanted cupcakes delivered so she create a business around it.

How do they interact with customers? They used their Web site, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. They haven’t implemented a ‘traditional’ initiative.


Help people get what they want.  What do they want? Free stuff. They gave away free cupcakes on administrative executives day. They gave cupcakes to the people who would order for their offices. [Smart]  People like to do good things for other people.  They got people to donate money to good causes and they gave away cupcakes to those people.  People love feel-good charity stuff.   People want to look like a superhero. When people are in a bind they can connect with people who need cupcakes NOW for a client and Mari can deliver them. It makes them look like a superhero. People want to be heard. They want their opinions out there. They want to be part of the conversation.


The internet is no substitute for human companionship. [STOP JUDGING ME!] They hire cupcake models. People posed for their Web site and they were paid in cupcakes. They’re partnering with other companies. Like this one.

She thinks it doesn’t matter what you talk about on Twitter trying to promote your brand, it’s the relationships you create. She talks about chocolate a lot because it makes her happy. I’d agree with that. I never tweet about SEO. I tweet about…I don’t even know what I tweet about. Probably dessert.

Chris Winfield is next.  He says that Dave Snyder (who’s in the room) would love to be a cupcake model. Heh.

Social media can be overwhelming. People don’t know where to start or what to do.  It doesn’t have to be overwhelming. You should have your own objectives. You are not that ONE magical business/vertical/company/person that doesn’t need social media marketing.  Social media should be a part of your marketing plan. It shouldn’t be your whole plan, but it should be part of it. You need to figure out where you need to be spending your time and money.

What can you measure?

  • Traffic
  • Page Views/Time on Site
  • Links
  • RSS Subscribers
  • Blog Comments
  • Sharing of content
  • Fans
  • Followers
  • Engagement
  • Sentiment
  • Press Mentions
  • Conversions

You have to determine what each of those things are worth to you. Assign a value to each metric. What is NOT being engaged costing you? How much are you losing when someone takes your people?

[Apparently Chris was flipping through lots of slides…and no one knew cause the screen was frozen. Hee. He tells moderator Mel Carson to start watching the SES Deck instead of Tweetdeck. It’s pure comedy over here, folks. :) ]

Locate Your Audience: Find out where your clients and prospects know where they spend their time online. ASK THEM! Ask the trusted ones. Have polls and incentives. Check your analytics.

Facebook Marketing Case Study based on Shoemoney

Strategy: Started Facebook page from almost scratch. He used Facebook has a super-concentrated mailing list.  He gave solid offers to loyal fans.  He budgeted $1,200 for Facebook ads and threw the free Facebook widget to convert traffic.

Offer: Sent out an offer for a tool. His ad spend drove 2,500 Facebook fans. The widget on his site drove even more and he built up 3,000 fans in two weeks.

Results: The first offer he sent spurred 32 signups. Sign up costs is $79.00. It equated to $2,500+ in revenue.

Viral Marketing Case Study

Membership Web site – Paid, Free member site, paid subscription.

Goals: Increase Web traffic, build up followers on their Twitter and FB accounts. They wanted to increase natural links and find out who their evangelists were. They wanted to convert people into paid members.

Strategy:  Created outstanding content that would be rolled out over 3 months to build momentum. They used Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and blogger outreach to promote the content. They had ongoing weekly Twitter contests. Used the blog to lead and tease people.

Results: More than a million unique views. Their Twitter account went from 300 followers to 10,000+ in three months.  FB fans went from 7 to 1,5000. It built over 500 natural links. There were 300 real comment on the final piece. Blog commenting increase 700 percent. They identified 7 brand evangelists.

Conversions: 5,735 new signups = $14,337.50; 2,833 paid member signups = $77,907.50. Total goal value = $92,245

Social Media
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