Posts Tagged ‘Danny Brown’
Though the format is sometimes misused (i.e., documents are called white papers when they are really just extended marketing brochures), properly produced and promoted white papers remain an effective and vital marketing tool—particularly for b2b technology companies.
At their best, white papers accomplish two mutually beneficial goals:
- • They provide readers with valuable, actionable, vendor-agnostic (or at least mostly agnostic) information about a trend, concept or topic.
- • They provide vendors with a platform to showcase their subject matter expertise and thought leadership, thereby building brand credibility.
In the lead generation process, white papers can be extremely valuable because they identify prospective buyers while requiring a low level of commitment. In the hierarchy of lead generating assets and activities, white papers form the vital base, as illustrated below.
White papers are intended to provide value to a sophisticated audience, thereby enhancing the credibility and image of the brand behind them. Poorly crafted or overtly promotional white papers can actually have the opposite effect.
Here are six recommendations to help maximize the value of the (often considerable) investment in white papers, for both readers and vendors.
1. Solve a real problem. Too often, white papers topics are chosen by looking inward, reflecting subjects the vendor wants to talk about rather than trends and issues that matter to their sales prospects. There are many sources for identifying topics that matter to your market, including:
- • Search keywords used to find your website
- • Keywords and phrases used in site search on your website
- • Suggestions from your company’s consultants, customer service representatives, and sales people
- • Discussions with current and prospective customers
- • Social media (e.g., discussions in relevant LinkedIn groups, trending topics on Twitter)
- • Industry news sources and blogs
- • Industry analyst reports and briefings
- • Google Trends
To find the most impactful topics, triangulate input from multiple sources.
2. Do your research. It’s extraordinarily unlikely that your white paper will be the first ever written on a specific topic, so before diving in and writing, conduct some research to discover what’s already been written by analysts, journalists, bloggers, and competitors. Citing third-party sources that support your contentions is a great way to increase both the value of the white paper to the reader and your brand’s credibility.
Research also helps prevent potentially embarrassing mistakes. If your white paper adds nothing new to knowledge of the topic, it may not be worth writing. If it contradicts existing articles and reports, you’d better have strong evidence to back up your position. And most importantly, if you are going to cite statistics, try to verify figures between multiple, reliable sources first.
For example, this blog frequently publishes updated compilations of social media and digital marketing statistics. One particular statistic that’s been difficult to nail down is the percentage of companies that maintain corporate blogs. Part of the reason is wide variation between different industries and company sizes; another is the underlying survey methodology (e.g., a survey conducted via social media will inevitably produce a larger figure than one done via email).
But one infographic reported the figure at 95%—no qualification, no mention of who was surveyed or how. Just a cute little graphic showing that 95% of all businesses have blogs. That number is, of course, patent hogwash, and immediately destroyed the credibility of the source.
3. Promote white papers honestly. Use abstract text that is compelling and even creates a bit of intrigue, but keep it real. Don’t mislead potential downloaders or promise knowledge or insights the white paper doesn’t deliver.
Most of all, don’t promise a vendor-agnostic presentation of facts, then devote most of the copy to a product pitch.
There is a place for product information in white papers, of course. For example, one vendor of high-performance database software had developed an entirely new data model; to help prospective buyers understand how the software was different, the vendor produced a technical white paper describing the new data model and how it worked. There’s nothing inherently wrong with producing such product-oriented white papers, as long as the subject material is accurately disclosed on the download page.
4. Use graphics. Images not only add visual appeal and make copy more readable by breaking up long blocks of text, they are often a more concise and understandable way to communicate information.
For example, which gives the reader a more immediate and clear understanding of the trend in traffic growth on a b2b technology blog? A sentence like “after growing at a relatively modest pace, averaging about 8% per quarter for seven quarters starting early 2011, blog visits have increased substantially in past year, increasing by 218% since the final quarter of 2012″—or this graphic:
5. Publicize the white paper across a variety of media (blog posts, search ads, social, etc.). Creating high-quality white papers requires a significant investments of time, cost and effort. To maximize a white paper’s impact and ROI, a similar level of energy and resources should be devoted to promoting it.
White papers provide rich opportunities for repurposing content (and using these repurposed assets to promote downloads of the full white paper), into formats such as SlideShare presentations, infographics, blog posts, guest posts, and media articles. All of these assets, as well as the original white paper, can and should be shared through social channels like Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Facebook. Images and infographics can also be shared on visually-oriented networks like Pinterest and Scoop.It.
6. Think beyond the PDF. Most white papers are still produced in static PDF format. Not only do PDFs have a number of limitations (e.g., they offer very limited capabilities for SEO and aren’t mobile-friendly), but they typically force marketers to choose between two less-than-ideal options:
- • “gating” the white paper behind a contact form generates raw leads, but also greatly diminishes distribution, as only one of twenty (on average) visitors to the download page will complete the form (and even fewer with accurate information); or
- • allowing the white paper to be freely downloaded, which maximizes reach but provides no names to follow up with or way to measure the success and productivity of the asset.
Fortunately, marketers are no longer limited to these two alternatives, as new technologies expand the possibilities for white paper dissemination.
One example is Docalytics, an online platform which extends the utility of PDF documents by adding analytics capabilities (e.g., how long did the reader spend with the white paper? How many pages did he or she read?); one-click social sharing and other follow-on calls to action; and “inline progressive capture”–the ability to display a contact form only after the reader has read the first two or three pages, which can significantly increase conversion rates.
Another option for white paper distribution, which goes beyond the PDF format completely, is Readz, a tool that converts PDFs or articles into responsive, mobile-friendly web content. Like Docalytics, it improves conversion rates and offers rich analytics, but in addition, the Readz platform does away with the need for Acrobat Reader; adapts to display properly on any device; provides SEO benefits; and integrates to popular email and marketing automation systems, like MailChimp and Infusionsoftt–as well as to Google Analytics.
Content published by Readz can be directly shared through a URL. Your prospects or customers click the link or button, and the app opens. You can share the link on your website, blog or social network or in your inbound marketing campaign on a landing page or in email. The company’s goal is to “make it easy to create the kind of content that’s shareable, measurable and usable.”
Readz content is also interactive, unlike PDF files. For example, you can add “action points” that expand into pop-up text boxes when clicked on by a reader. You can imbed SlideShare presentations, videos, or other similar content into a Readz document.
To see Readz in action, check out their white paper The Insider’s Guide to White Papers that get Higher Conversions, which offers helpful tips for how to write a professional white paper, promote white papers, increase readership, improve conversion rates, and more.
Thought the Readz system drives visitors to content hosted on their site, not yours, it does provide flexible options for branding so visitors have a consistent experience, and an option to embed code on external websites is currently in the works.
Danny Brown has written a detailed review of the Readz product here, which notes that “Pricing starts at $25 per month for up to two content pieces/whitepapers 10,000 page views, going up to $300 per month for 50 whitepapers with 100,000 page views.” So, even a modest increase in conversion rate more than pays for the tool.
The bottom line is that while white papers remain a vital lead generation mechanism in a variety of industries, but particularly for b2b technology vendors, the bar has been raised. Users have become somewhat jaded due to the proliferation, and in many cases misuse, of the format.
To stand out today and get the maximum value for the (not insignificant) investment required to produce quality white papers, vendors need to provide high-quality, objective content, promote it broadly, and evaluate new tools that can improve conversion rates, provide advanced analytics, and improve the user experience across desktop and mobile devices.
This is a sponsored post on behalf of Readz. However, all opinions are my own.
Note: This post, a joint effort between Cheryl Burgess and me, originally appeared on the Blue Focus Marketing Blog last month.
Today, Tom Pick (@TomPick), Online Marketing Executive at KC Associates, who blogs at his award winning B2B Webbiquity, and I (@ckburgess – Blue Focus Marketing @BlueFocus360) present 50 remarkable men on our 2011 #Nifty50 Top Twitter Men list. These men are indeed using Twitter to rewire and reorient the Web. But, by no means, is this list complete.
Tom contacted me a few weeks ago with this idea and we’ve been working collaboratively on this project ever since. So, as promised in Tom Pick’s blog, “2011 #Nifty50 Top Twitter Women”, in honor of mothers, our 2011 #Nifty50 Top Twitter Men now honors fathers. Just in time for Father’s Day, as we’re pretty certain that every man on this list is a dad, has a dad, knows someone who’s a dad, or some combination thereof.
It takes a community to build a community
So much of building a community requires understanding people and engaging with them. Experts tell us the number one networking tip is to help others and they’ll return the favor — large or small. Adding explicit or implicit promises to a relationship up front can kill it before it starts. Perhaps our focus should be to gain credibility and trust — then work to build an enduring, meaningful relationship.
Now you may wonder, “How do we build a community?” According to Tom Grant, Ph.D, Senior Analyst at Forrester (@TomGrantForr) “You don’t build a community. You expand it.” He said, “Few communities appear ex nihilo at the behest of a technology vendor.”
Should there be an ROI on relationships?
Mother Teresa, a great innovator on relationships said, “Love does not measure; it just gives”. Twitter, not unlike Mother Teresa’s virtues of love, is a delicate ecosystem of real people. Some experts may want to rethink their advice and look deeper into the real meaning of relationships.
Social Networking: Like Falling In Love
Adam L. Penenberg’s (@Penenberg) Fast Company article: “Social Networking Affects Brains Like Falling in Love” examines research by neuroeconomist Paul Zak that suggests social networking triggers the release of the generosity-trust chemical in our brains: Oxytocin (known as the cuddle chemical). This should be a wake-up call for companies’ content on pursuing outbound marketing initiatives.
“Twitter isn’t just changing how we communicate — it is changing how we innovate…It’s revolutionary because it brings 21st Century DNA roaring raucously to life”, stated Umair Haque (@umairh) Director of the Havas Media Lab and author of The New Capitalist Manifesto: Building a Disruptively Better Business. What’s most interesting is that Umair made this statement in June, 2009 when Twitter had recorded approximately 2.5 million tweets per day. Today, Twitter posts 50 million tweets per day.
Umair went on to say in his post “The business of business is to create value — and that’s why Twitter’s not playing the tired, old game of value extraction. It is trying, instead, to create a more authentic kind of value — and to do that, you need ideals. Twitter pursues its ideals — democracy, peace, equity — with the quiet intensity of a true revolutionary.” Since 2009, we have seen revolutionary wars and unspeakable natural disasters. Umair is not only an innovative thinker but a man with astounding vision.
Ecosystems Rewiring: Real Relationships and Feelings
Twitter has become one of the most participatory public mediums in history and continues to grow exponentially as ecosystems of real people rewire with real relationships and feelings.
Now, along with Tom Pick (@TomPick) and myself, we would like to introduce the recipients of the 2011 #Nifty50 Top Twitter Men Award.
Sean Gardner – @2morrowknight
Humanitarian and co-creator of the #TwitterPowerhouses Series, and #TwitterCharityFacts. Blogger for Huffington Post and @op_editorial, Marketer, Do-Gooder, Master Surfer! Sean was also a #MMChat guest, sponsored by @TheSocialCMO
Adam Vincenzini – @adamvincenzini
Dan Higgins – @AdScientist
A digital and advertising strategist, Dan is passionate about new technologies and creativity. Currently, he is a Medical Officer in the @USArmy in Kandadar. His “first love” is advertising and when he returns home, he will be looking for a job on Madison Ave. Couldn’t name all of our favorite #Nifty50 creative guys, but we think Dan represents all of them for us. Dan had sent me a long list of his recommendations for #Nifty50. He thinks we’ve picked one name from his list, but what he doesn’t realize is that we’ve picked Dan to represent all the Mad Men. Dan, Madison Ave is waiting for you when you get home! |Dan’s LinkedIn Profile | Dan’s Tweets – On May 12, 2011 Dan tweeted this: @CarlRWarner @ckburgess I am officially an Army Medical Captain! |Dan is not always able to tweet b/c of responsibilities or out on missions…but here are a couple more of my favorite tweets from Dan sent on 5/21@AdScientist: ‘What is beautiful about social media are the relationships that can be built/started, conversations shared.’|Another special tweet he sent 5/21 @ckburgess I can’t wait to get home from Afghanistan to buy his book, #WeFirst, and not just follow his twitter and blog. @SimonMainwaring NEW POST by Cathy Waters @cathywaters May 19th Blog – Dan is the Man: Advice on Finding Marketing Jobs in the Digital Age
Marty Weintraub – @aimclear
Marty Weintraub is president of aimClear, an Internet-focused Advertising Agency. His company provides traditional & social pay-per-click (PPC) management, natural search optimization (SEO), social media/feed marketing (SMO) and online reputation management (ORM) services to national clients. An avid search marketing blogger, he’s written extensively for SearchEngineWatch, SearchEngineLand, SEORoundTable and others. His popular “home” publication is aimClear Blog. Marty’s an international speaker at Search Engine Strategies (SES), Search Marketing Expo, SEMpdx and PubCon conferences. A musician by trade, Marty is well known for recording dolphins, wolves, loons, water environments and setting them to global acoustic music.
Alex Romanovich – @alexromanovich
Founder of Social2B, social media marketing integrators and consultancies, with emphasis on Enterprise and B2B Social Media, SEO and SMM, and defining metrics and measurement systems, aligning traditional metrics with social media metrics. CMO at EuroSpaClub International. Advisory Board Member at The CMO Club. Contributor to the Social Media Marketing Magazine – B2B Column. Consults major corporations on social media strategies, reputation management strategies, risk management strategies, and social media growth and scalability in manufacturing, healthcare, IT service, technology, publishing, and CPG industry segments. Consulted on social media and reputation management strategy with Dow, Hearst, IBM, Time/Life, & Barnes&Noble. Founder of Social2B Labs – a new and emerging social media accelerator for companies and innovators targeting Enterprise and B2B solutions.
Andreas Ramos – @Andreas_Ramos
Andreas Ramos is the Director of Strategy for Acxiom Corporation and lives in Palo Alto, CA. He is an industry expert in the areas of SEO, interactive and digital technologies and author of Search Engine Marketing and several more books. He co-founded two Silicon Valley search engine marketing agencies and is a frequent speaker at search marketing conferences. Andreas’ blog includes a great list of favorite words and meanings from multiple languages. One example, the word: Aware. This is a Japanese noun, pronounced ah-WAH-reh, which means a sudden, brief awareness of the brevity and fragility of existence, such as a glimpse of a herd of deer running softly through a forest or noticing the sheen of moisture in a woman’s eyes. His blog also includes a beautifully written personal account of the night the Berlin Wall fell.
Andres Silva A. – @andressilvaa
Marketing Professor at Universidad Andrés Bello and DuocUc. SMM, Consultant and Speaker. CEO at SMMChile and CM at Ingelab ltda. Andres is a social media expert. Ranked No. 1 Marketing Professors in the world by @SMMmagazine. Andres is always recommending his favorite tweeps and blogs, but now we’re recommending that you read Andres’s blogs at marketinghighcompetition.blogspot.com and blogmarketingchile.com and follow him. Andres’ insights and knowledge inspires not only his students, but everyone that follows him.
Arik Hanson – @arikhanson
Arik is the principal at PR firm ACH Communications, a digital PR consultant, blogger, co-founder of HAPPO, and (along with #Nifty50 award recipient Missy Berggren) co-founder of the Minnesota Blogger Conference – #mnblogconf
Aaron Lee – @AskAaronLee
Aaron Lee or more known as Ask Aaron Lee (@askaaronlee) on twitter is your average Joe but with an extra-large social media addiction. Competitive by Nature, Positive Minded, Marketing Student & part time social media manager.
Billy Mitchell – @Billymitchell1
Billy Mitchell is a partner and senior creative director at MLT Creative, an Atlanta-based B2B marketing agency. As a B2B marketing specialist, Billy is a recognized expert in B2B inbound marketing, and is very active on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. He is also the curator of the top two B2B marketing lists on Twitter, and his lists are number one on both Listorious and Mashable. He contributes regularly to the B2B Ideas@Work blog for MLT Creative.
Michael Brenner – @BrennerMichael
Michael Brenner is a Sr. Director of Global Marketing for SAP. He is the author of B2B Marketing Insider, a contributor for the SAP OnDemand blog and also a co-founder of social news site Business2Community.com. Michael has been working in marketing and sales for over 17 years in various roles where he uses customer insights to drive sales, ROI and customer loyalty through effective sales and marketing strategies. Michael believes that companies need to become more social, and that marketers need to stop focusing on just their activities and put the customer first. Follow Michael on Twitter @BrennerMichael and Facebook.
Christopher Burgess – @burgessct
Christopher Burgess – Senior Security Advisor at Cisco; co-author of Secrets Stolen, Fortunes Lost; writes on Online Safety, Hunger and Human Trafficking on his personal blog, Burgessct.com, while also professionally blogging in both Huffington Post and Cisco Security Blog addressing social network/media security & privacy issues touching our personal and professional lives. Christopher is an often sought speaker, who addresses the unsavory side of social media not touched by many.
Chuck Martin – @chuckmartin1
Chuck is Director of the Center for Media Research, MediaPost Communications, a NY Times Business best-selling author, CEO of Mobile Future Institute and mobile advocate. He’s brand manager of the Mobile Insider Summit and a frequent speaker nationally on mobile and mobile marketing. His newest book is The Third Screen (Marketing to Your Customers in a World Gone Mobile).
Danny Brown – @DannyBrown
Co-founder and partner at Bonsai Interactive Marketing. Speaker at TEDx and is regularly quoted in publications and news media, including Marketing Magazine, Canadian Marketing Association, Philadelphia Inquirer, Fast Company and City News Toronto. Award-winning marketing and social media blogger. Founder of 12for12k.org.
David Aaker – @DavidAaker
David Aaker is Vice-Chairman of Prophet, Professor Emeritus, UC Berkeley, the creator of the Aaker Model™ and a recognized authority on brands. David has published 15 books and his latest is Brand Relevance. On David’s blog you will find more information on Brand Relevance as well as all his other books he has published. In addition, David’s blog provides the reader with a steady-stream of thought-provoking marketing content.
Jason DeRusha – @DeRushaJ
A reporter and anchor for CBS affiliate WCCO TV in Minneapolis (the top-rated newscast in the Twin Cities); Jason hosts the station’s popular “Good Question” segment. He’s also active in social media and was named as one of the Twin Cities Top Titans in Social Media in 2009.
Eric Fletcher – @ericfletcher
Eric is the CMO at McGlinchey Stafford, a business law firm with nine offices in the U.S. He is a Communication and Marketing veteran, with a career that spans radio and television broadcasting, agency partnership, film & video production, and professional services consulting. His personal blog focuses on strategic marketing, communication and values in today’s market. In addition, Eric writes a column for SMM Magazine, and contributes as part of the “Crew” at The Social CMO Blog.
Blair Semenoff – @Flipbooks
If you ‘ask’ @AskAaronLee about Blair he would probably say that Blair is one of the 50 Most ReTweeted Twitter Users of All Time. But Blair isn’t just a cool guy that everyone loves to RT, he’s a “Twitter Psychologist” & “Viral Marketing Scientist”. He is currently creating a global social media agency & is searching for funding.
Frank Strong – @Frank_Strong
Frank is a PR & marketing guy full-time, infantry officer part-time, Pats fan all the time, political news junkie anytime. Visit Frank’s blog, The Sword and the Script, a blog that studies the application of marketing, PR and social media.
Glen Gilmore, Esq. – @GlenGilmore
Glen is a power user on Twitter with over 100,000 followers. He is an attorney, social media best practices strategist and adjunct professor at Rutgers University. Principal of Gilmore Business Network, a NJ-based social media consulting firm, and also a practicing attorney. He is the senior social media marketing advisor to Memphis-based Howell Marketing (@HowellMarketing) and to Harrisburg-based Deeter Gallaher Group (@AnneDGallaher) public relations and marketing firms with clients ranging from Fortune 500 to small businesses and non-profits. Glen served as mayor in Hamilton, NJ, during the 2001 anthrax attacks when the regional postal facility located in the community received and distributed anthrax-tainted letters. Gilmore was featured in TIME magazine for having established an emergency treatment clinic to care for more than 1,000 postal workers who had been exposed to the potentially-deadly anthrax substance.
Holger Schulze – @HolgerSchulze
Based in Washington, DC, Holger is director of marketing for information security vendor SafeNet. He is the founder and manager of two highly successful and active groups on LinkedIn, the 20,000-member B2B Technology Marketing Community and the 78,000-member Information Security Community.
Jeff Ashcroft – @JeffAshcroft
Supply chain expert and social networking pro Jeff Ashcroft is a key thought leader in many fields including retail, supply chain & disruptive technologies. Jeff is the true social media visionary who created The Social CMO, a blog that brings 35 senior marketing minds together and is now one of the Ad Age Power 150 Marketing sites. Jeff also founded & hosts #MMchat one of the most popular tweetchats every Monday at 8 pm EST. That is why @theSocialCMO is aka @JeffAshcroft.
Jeff Bullas – @jeffbullas
Jeff Bullas is a Chief Digital Evangelist with a passion to make a dent in the digital universe. Jeff makes social media and digital marketing simple without the gobbledygook. Visit Jeff’s blog, www.jeffbullas.com for fresh social media insights.
Joseph Zuccaro – @joezuc
Joe is a B2B Marketing consigliore and president of marketing automation services provider Allinio. Joe is the brainchild of B2B Twitterer of the Year Awards, @b2btoty debuted over two years ago. In keeping with Twitter’s crowd-sourcing spirit, the @B2BTOTY awards are based on votes from thousands of Twitter users and on each B2B creator’s Twitter strategy. Enjoy reading Joe’s blog.
Ken Banks – @KenBanks
Publisher, Ken Banks, is a seasoned online and offline publisher and is the Twitter power source for his blog @SocialNetDaily. Ken’s blog and tweets are social media news you can use. Ken understands the growing intersection of social media and business. He is listed as the 16 Brilliant Business Minds on Twitter in the Huffington Post. He is an inspiration to his followers.
Kent Huffman – @KentHuffman
Kent is the CMO at BearCom Wireless as well as the Founder and Co-Publisher of Social Media Marketing Magazine (@SMMmagazine) and a published author. He serves in advisory roles for the CMO Council and @TheSocialCMO. He is the publisher of The Top Professors on Twitter, The Top Authors on Twitter and The Top CMO’s on Twitter. Kent spearheaded the creation of BearCom’s company blog, BearCom Bulletin at Blog.BearCom.com. The blog will be formally hosted by BearCom’s virtual Chief Technology Officer, Meg A. Hertz, the mild-mannered tech geek who, when needed, morphs into superhero Wireless Woman. Kent is releasing the fifth issue of @SMMmagazine, and recently talked to SplashCast host Renay San Miguel about the magazine.
Kevin Randall – @KevinBrandall
On Twitter, Kevin (@KevinBrandall) brands himself simply: “All-Brand guy at Fast Company.” That’s an understatement. When Kevin broke news on politicians using neuromarketing, The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Huffington Post and GOOD Magazine followed. When not writing for Fast Company, Kevin develops strategies at Moveo to turn client businesses into fast brands. Google invited Kevin to lecture their marketing executives—after they ‘Googled’ the term “B2B Branding“. Check out Kevin’s recent Fast Company project, Face the Nation: How Sensory Logic Sees Secrets In Candidates’ Mugs. And speaking of presidential faces, Kevin is quoted in a Forbes story on Trump’s brand value. Having worked previously at Interbrand to build brand value for name-brand companies, Kevin is also an accomplished ‘Naming guy’. So picking Kevin here was just good, nifty branding. BTW: Kevin is a fellow member of the #LeBronians team “drafted” by Robert Rose (@Robert_Rose) in FollowFriday & Who’s The Lebron In Your Strategy –Maybe It’s You.
Lee Odden – @leeodden
Lee is the CEO of TopRank Online Marketing. He is one of 25 online marketing experts featured in “Online Marketing Heroes” published by Wiley and has been frequently cited for his search & social media marketing expertise by The Economist and Fortune Magazine. He’s an active thought leader in the search marketing industry. Lee has contributed to top industry publications such as Mashable, iMedia Connection and Yahoo Search Marketing Blog. A sought after search marketing, social media & PR industry speaker, Lee has keynoted Online Marketing Summit, Social Media Junction and Search Exchange on the intersection of Search, Social Media and Content Marketing.
Epirot Ludvik Nekaj – @LPlus
Epi is a pioneer in the crowdsourcing ad model, and Founder & CEO of Ludvik + Partners @LAdvertising in NYC. Under Epi’s leadership, his agency has landed several clients in B2B and B2C to personal branding services for high caliber CEO’s like John Basil Georges and QR Code ad campaigns like Tissot Watches. Today, Ludvik + Partners is one of New York’s hottest boutique ad agencies built 100% on the crowdsourcing model. FYI: Never forget the first time I met Epi. It was at the Twitter Shorty Awards (NYC) in 2010. In the midst of a maddening crowd, Epi appeared with his quick smile and offered me my first Twittertini to congratulate me, it was a moment I’ll never forget. Prior to that night we were Twitter pals, but since then we’ve become good friends. In case you would like to attend a couple cool events on June 7th, during Internet Week NYC (June 6th – 13th, 2011), here are two discount codes for you: “Using LBS to Boost Your Biz + WE FIRST Book by Simon Mainwaring” 15% Discount Code: #LBSBoost and Crowdsourcing AD Biz + WE FIRST Book by Simon Mainwaring 15% Discount Code: #CrowdAdBiz .
Mack Collier – @MackCollier
Mack Collier is a strategist, trainer and speaker who specializes in helping companies better connect with its customers via social media. His motto: “Don’t focus on the tools, focus on the connections that the tools help facilitate.” Mack founded and moderates #Blogchat, the largest Twitter Chat on the Internet. His goal is to help clients create those connections with their customers, and nurture them into relationships that help grow their bottom line. Mack is a frequent contributor to the website Marketing Profs and his writings have been referenced in several mainstream publications and websites, including MSNBC.com, Ad Age, CNET, and The Boston Globe. Mack has presented at some of the top social media conferences including SXSW and Marketing Profs Digital Marketing Mixer.
Mark Ragan – @MarkRaganCEO
Publisher of PR Daily and PR Daily Europe, the only daily news portals designed specifically for corporate communicators. Mark’s domain, Ragan.com also addresses Healthcare Marketing and Communications News and conducts a distinguished series of conferences to the communication and social media world. Mark personally drives his many conferences on communications and social media.
Mark Schaefer – @markwschaefer
Mark is a talented marketing consultant and adjunct professor for Rutgers University in New Jersey and has seven patents. Mark blogs at businessesgrow.com and is the author of The Tao of Twitter. He is also a recognized Twitter Top 10 Marketing Professor.
Mark Burgess – @mnburgess
Mark is an experienced digital marketer, social brand strategist, speaker, blogger and educator. He is co-founder of Blue Focus Marketing, a social branding consultancy that helps brands realize the benefits of social media marketing. Utilizing an innovative model, delivers customized on-site social media workshops. He is also the co-author of Ad Agencies Winning New Business 360, which has sold in 25 + countries worldwide; based on a proprietary strategic blueprint with emphasis on social media. Mark has been quoted in the WSJ and The New York Times. Mark’s career spans marketing, advertising, and professional services consulting. Mark led the PwC Global Web team. At McCann, headed the flagship L’Oreal and Sears accounts. Mark is a Twitter Top 40 Marketing Professor. Mark teaches Executive MBA and MBA marketing and advertising courses. He has won two EFFIEs for marketing excellence and DMA ECHO Awards.
Mike Volpe – @mvolpe
Mike is the CMO at HubSpot in Boston, a marketing software company. According to Brian Halligan (@bhalligan), “Mike has built a scalable, inbound lead generation machine for HubSpot,” Brian stated that Mike, “played a critical role in growing our customer base from a dozen beta customers to over 4,500 in four years. Last month alone we got 38,000 new, inbound leads to feed to our sales team. That’s inbound marketing in action.” Volpe is also credited with using inbound marketing to create a top marketing software industry brand that has won more than 30 industry awards, been featured in over 20 business and marketing books, and boasts one of the largest online communities of any SaaS company. Mike hosts an award winning weekly live marketing video podcast HubSpot TV. He was featured in a Harvard Business School case study “HubSpot: Marketing and Web 2.0“. He enjoys talking about marketing, appears frequently as a marketing speaker and blogs at blog.hubspot.com. Mike enjoys golf and playing recreational ice hockey and is a fan of the Patriots and Red Sox. Check out @TomPick’s blog at Webbiquity on what he learned from Mike’s HubSpot Webinar.
Patrick Strother – @PatrickStrother
Strother Communications Group since 1992. Teaches PR at the University of Minnesota. Digital Marketing, Higher Ed, Sports, Art, Public Affairs and loves playing the Guitar. He’s a Twitter Top Marketing Professor.
Philip Hotchkiss – @PhilipHotchkiss
Philip is a very passionate writer. 3x startup guy, advisor, board member. Past adventures CPO @Klout, CEO at Talkingpoint, president @MarketWatch, founder/chairman/CEO at BigCharts Philip’s. Not sure how many children Philip has nor all of their accomplishments, but I do know he’s very proud of his 8 year old son playing classical piano. On May 22nd, Philip tweeted his talented, classical pianist son’s YouTube debut on his GatorKeys channel playing Kabalevsky Etude in A minor No. 27 Op. 3. It’s moments like these that makes communities feel like family.
Philip Letts – @philipletts
Philip’s passion in life is crowdsourcing. He is an entrepreneur and head of blur Group, a creative services exchange where businesses and brands source marketing and creative campaigns from a crowd of experienced professionals. Although his Twitter profile proclaims he is “crap at surfing” that may because a) there’s no surf in the UK or b) he is too busy making waves in an industry vying for dominance over Madison Avenue.
Gary Schirr – @ProfessorGary
Gary Schirr is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at Radford University in Virginia. His research passions are innovation and co-creation. Prior to joining academia, Gary worked for a Wall Street firm in Chicago and Singapore and as CMO for a succession of online startup firms. Now a third-career marketing professor, his interests also include service innovation, social media marketing, cross-cultural marketing and, entrepreneurship. Gary has the distinction of being ranked #3 in the world among Twitter Top Marketing Professors. Gary blogs at Service Co-Creation. He recently received a grant to develop a hybrid SMM course for RU, crediting his twitter and blog community which cooperated to crowdsource his grant application.
Scott Galloway – @profgalloway
Scott Galloway is Professor of Brand Strategy @ NYU, Founder of L2 Think Tank, Red Envelope, Prophet Brand Strategy and Firebrand Partners. Scott’s L2 think tank helps brands navigate the changing marketing landscape through events, research and advisory services.
Robert Rose – @Robert_Rose
Rob is the Founder and Chief Troublemaker at Big Blue Moose. Rob excels at innovating creative and technical content marketing strategies for his clients. He’s the Strategist in Residence and brand advisor for the Content Marketing Institute, a featured writer and guest blogger for the online magazine iMedia Connection. He is a frequent keynote speaker, guest blogger and brand advisor, and co-author of the book “Enterprise 2.0: How Technology, E-Commerce and Web 2.0 Are Transforming Business Virtually”. Rob is a research fellow with Coburn Ventures, a community of experts discussing and innovating current trends in Technology and investing. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA) Software Division, and was a founding member of the Executive Council on Software-as-a-Service. In our opinion, Rob’s most “notable” achievement and in keeping with Rob’s title, “Chief Troublemaker”, was his creation of #LeBronians team FollowFriday & Who’s The Lebron In Your Strategy? — Maybe It’s You.
Simon Mainwaring – @simonmainwaring
Simon Mainwaring is founder of We First, a social branding consulting firm that helps companies use social media to build communities, profits and positive impact. His new book We First comes out in June explaining how brands and consumers use social media to build a better world. He is an ex-Nike/Wieden creative, Worldwide Creative Director on Motorola for Ogilvy, Fast Company blogger, international speaker, AdAge Power 150 member, contributes to Huffington Post, GOOD Magazine and Mashable and is a self-proclaimed “idea geek”. He blogs at http://simonmainwaring.com/and is committed to supporting a We First community of brands, non-profits and consumers using social technology to scale positive social change.
Steve Akins – @SteveAkinsSEO
On Twitter , Steve is known as a guy who is super friendly. He’s always quick to engage with you when you show up in Twitter chat. In real life, he is a SEO, developer, entrepreneur, struggling poet, gastronome, explorer from Chicago. Steve will be launching a new website soon. Can’t wait Steve!
Steve McKee – @SteveMcKee
Steve McKee is the president and co-founder of McKee Wallwork Cleveland; a full service integrated marketing firm that Advertising Age recently recognized as one of ten top small agencies in America and that has twice been awarded the American Marketing Association’s EFFIE Award for marketing effectiveness. He’s the author of When Growth Stalls: How it Happens, Why You’re Stuck and What to Do About It; writes a monthly advertising advice column for BusinessWeek.com, and has been published or quoted in the New York Times, USA Today, Advertising Age, Adweek, Investor’s Business Daily and the Los Angeles Times, as well as in dozens of newspapers and magazines throughout the U.S.. Steve has appeared on CNBC, ESPNII, CNNfn, Bloomberg TV and network television affiliates in more than two dozen cities across America and is a popular corporate speaker. Steve also blogs at Stalled, Stuck or Stale: The Blog for Brands That Don’t Have It All Together.
Steve Farnsworth – @Steveology
Steve is a senior corp comm practitioner and has worked with Apple, Mitsubishi, Philips, and THX. He consults with TV producers, documentary film makers, and authors on building audiences for their projects by using social media. Steve is currently the Chief Digital Strategist at Jolt Social Media. Steve also delivers on-site training and workshops designed to help his clients and their employees effectively integrate new school marketing with their traditional mix to increase brand loyalty and shorten the sale’s cycles. He is a director with the Silicon Valley Brand Forum, and regularly blogs and speaks on organizational adopting of social communications. As @Steveology on Twitter, he is nationally ranked in the top 5 for public relations, inbound marketing, and branding.
Steve Woodruff – @swoodruff
Steve refers to himself as the Connection Agent. He creates Opportunity Networks – communities of people committed to supporting one another, learning from one another, and opening up doors of opportunity for personal and professional advancement through trusted referrals. Two business networks — Impactiviti and the Connection Agency — have been launched. Steve is also the co-founder (with #Nifty50 Woman @LisaPetrilli) of #LeadershipChat, a growing community on Twitter born out of #SOBConf.
Ted Rubin – @TedRubin
Many people in the social media world know Ted Rubin for his enthusiastic, energetic and undeniably personal connection to people. On May 1st Ted announced leaving OpenSky and accepting the position of Chief Social Marketing Officer at Collective Bias, a company he has worked closely with for two years since meeting the Founder, John Andrews, through the blogging community and whose Advisory Board he joined a few months ago. Ted is on the Advisory Board of CollectiveBias, OpenSky, and SheSpeaks, is a Social Marketing and Engagement Advisor to Big Fuel Communications, and a Social Marketing Strategist and Brand Evangelist for Zuberance, a company that identifies, mobilizes, and tracks Brand Advocates. Ted is the most followed CMO on Twitter and has one of the deepest networks of any marketer in the social arena. ROR is the basis of his philosophy…It’s All About Relationships!
Olivier Blanchard – @thebrandbuilder
Olivier helps companies develop, build, integrate, manage and measure Social Media Programs. He also helps companies manage their reputations online and offline, and establish leadership in their markets. His Twitter profile tells us: “Pray that I never become your competitor’s secret weapon.” Check out his blog. Also, highly recommend his book, The Social Media ROI.
Tony Karrer – @tonykarrer
Tony Karrer is considered one of the top technologists in the e-Learning space. He is an experienced CTO and his work in social media, e-Learning and Performance Support has won awards and has led him into engagements at many Fortune 500 firms. Tony is a frequent speaker at industry and academic events. Tony blogs at Social CTO.
Trey Pennington – @treypennington
Trey is all about delivering your brand story. Trey’s motto: “DON’T just tweet! Transform your marketing with STORIES. Story gets attention. Story gets SHARED”. Trey is a marketing pro, speaker, author, and dreamer. If you’re not connected to Trey either on Facebook, Twitter or haven’t met Trey IRL, then you’re missing a lot. Check out his blog to learn more about this amazing guy. You won’t be disappointed.
Umair Haque – @umairh
Umair is Director of the Havas Media Lab and author of The New Capitalist Manifesto: Building a Disruptively Better Business. He also founded Bubblegeneration, an agenda-setting advisory boutique that shaped strategies across media and consumer industries. Umar is not only an innovative thinker but a man with astounding vision.
If you have missed the#Nifty50 Top Twitter Women, click here.
COMING …Two Blogs You Don’t Want to Miss – COMING in June!
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If 2009 was the year many marketers puzzled over, poked at and pondered incorporating social media into their marketing mix, 2010 was the year of diving in. Adoption soared. According to a HubSpot study, 71% of marketers viewed Twitter as a useful marketing tool last year, up from just 39% in 2009. Facebook added more than 200 million users last year, and Twitter more than doubled in size, adding 115 million. 85% of Inc. 500 companies now call social media “very” or “somewhat” important to their marketing or business strategy.
With that rapid adoption came a great deal of learning. Mistakes were made. Myths emerged and (some) were busted. ROI remains a contentious issue, but in at least a few areas best practices began to emerge.
Now that social media has advanced from the “should we do it?” to the “how do we do it better?” stage, many new questions arise. How does the traditional notion of a corporate website need to change to embrace social median norms and capabilities? How should you integrate social media with other marketing tactics like email? How can you “train” your CEO to use social media productively? What’s the difference between a “like” and a “share?” Should social media be under the overall purvue of marketing or PR? What will be the “next” big issues in social media marketing?
Discover the answers to these questions and more here in 55 of the best guides to social media strategies, tactics, tools and statistics of the past year.
Social Media Tips, Tactics and Techniques
How are marketers really using social media? by iMedia Connection
Dan Neely discusses which social networking sites get the most attention from marketers (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, no surprises there), how marketers can best use social media for branding and business development, and concerns about the use of social media in brand planning. Most valuable is his dissection of the best way to use the popular social sites, YouTube and blogging in an integrated manner that capitalizes on the strengths of each platform.
How to Use Your Blog to Drive Social Sales by Social Media Examiner
“The ultimate goal for many businesses is profit, not engagements, retweets or Facebook likes,” as Nathan Hangen points out, so he offers a four-step plan to making a blog into an effective, non-pushy sales tool.
The Social Media Marketing List: 45 things you should be doing but probably aren’t by Conversation Marketing
In the inimitable words of Ian Lurie, “When discussing social media marketing, lots of folks, including me, say things like ‘be authentic’ and wave our hands around. That makes you want to kick me in the coccyx, I’m sure. So, here’s a list of 45 specific things you should be doing,” including learning (at least a bit of) HTML, using bit.ly, retweeting someone else at least twice per day, and my favorite: “Don’t track ROI. You can’t track return on investment from social media. Not directly, anyway. Don’t set that expectation, and smash it anywhere it shows up. Social media marketing is about building a reputation that you can trade on to boost other marketing efforts.”
A formula for finding social media fans by iMedia Connection
Making the observation that “Every brand Facebook page or Twitter account begins with an audience of zero, unlike every medium that’s come before it where access to a given channel brought you a defined audience size and type. In the new world of owned media, you start at the beginning with nothing. The early agenda is to earn your way into a trusted relationship,” Bob Wheatley explains how to build social media marketing programs around what your audience cares about, not your corporate messaging.
Gina Gotthilf proposes “6 questions to ask in determining if your website welcomes interaction,” such as whether or not your content is sharable, dynamic, and open to reader input.
How to Use Social Media for B2B Marketing by Inc. Magazine
J.J. McCorvey explains how to integrate targeting, monitoring, content sharing and analytics into a coordinated b2b social media marketing program.
10 Social Media Tips And Pointers For Start Ups by Simply Zesty
For those fed up with the hype and “shiny sparkly” type enthusiasm often exhibited in posts about social media, Niall Harbison provides a breath of fresh air: brutal honestly about both the benefits (you have incredible freedom, it complements other forms of marketing, helping other people really works) and the limitations (it’s not a quick win, your friends aren’t your customers, it’s easy to spend too much time there) to be mindful of in using social media for small business marketing.
Learn to leverage the social-search connection by iMedia Connection
Liza Hausman explains how feeds, traditional search and social network search can work together and steps through “four ‘musts’ of on-site social optimization” for organizations.
Which Profile Aspects Should Be Emphasized on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn? by Served Fresh Media
Chris Tompkins suggests tailoring the style of your profiles in the big 3 social networks much as you’d dress differently for various types of business events.
How to: Use B2B Social Media for Lead Generation by TopRank Online Marketing Blog
Adam Singer identifies situations where social media marketing doesn’t make sense (e.g. you have a tiny customer base and they are all in top-secret military installations) and what groundwork needs to be laid before embracing social media in your marketing practices, then delves into how to use content for lead generation and integrate social with other marketing activities like email.
So, Your CEO Wants to Tweet! 7 Steps To Avoid Disaster by iMedia Connection
If your non-social-media-savvy CEO decides it’s time to get active, Rob Rose outlines seven steps to set up your new “engager-in-chief” so that he or she has the best chance at success, staring with understanding the “why” and easing into it and ending with making sure someone is listening and measuring activity around the CEO’s accounts.
Aliza Sherman supplies an outstanding list of “basic ways you can use LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter for specific business activities. No bells, no whistles, just business.” Among them: asking questions, getting answers, building your brand, and driving targeted traffic to your website.
In the wild days before Google acquired YouTube, users would routinely create and upload videos using any music tracks they had about. The squealing of the music industry and desire of Google to add some respectability to the video-sharing site put an end to that. In this post, Peter VanRysdam helpfully outlines four free-to-reasonably-priced sources for legal music soundtracks. You won’t get Black Eyed Peas or Nickelback, but you won’t run afoul of YouTube’s censors either.
6 social sharing best practices for driving traffic by iMedia Connection
Liza Hausman (again) explains the difference between a “like” and a “share” (and why both are important), why it’s important to enable users to easily share content beyond just the largest social networks, and how to use social sharing to build relationships.
4 experts on how to turn social media into sales by Social Media Today
J.D. Lasica share insights from Becky Brown of Intel, Michael Brito of Edelman and others on how to generate revenue through social media. The specifics are different in each case, but “listening” and “trust” are recurring themes.
Getting Started Social Media Advertising on Facebook, YouTube & LinkedIn by TopRank Online Marketing Blog
Frequent “best of” contributor Lee Odden provides a great explanation of how ads work on three of the most popular social media venues, the pros and cons of each platform, and best practices for creating and targeting ads on each site.
Social Media Strategy Guides
The Difference Between Doing Social Vs. Being Social by Social Media Today
Vanessa DiMauro contends that “Most companies start doing social within their marketing and sales departments to drive traffic to their site and raise awareness about their products or services…However, being social means building competencies across the organization that encourage, support and institutionalize the use of social tools by a broad cross-section of employees and other stakeholders.” She shows how to identify and emulate organizations that are “truly social.”
Jonas Klit Nielsen advises marketers and business executives to ask critical questions about objectives, targeting, internal resources, synergies with other efforts and more before embarking on a social media strategy.
Do You Want To Succeed At Soc Media Or Soc Media Marketing? by MediaPost Online Media Daily
Forrester senior analyst Augie Ray distinguishes social media marketing success (creating online buzz, having lots of Facebook fams) from true social media success (delivering on brand promises, fostering genuine, even fanatical advocates online and off).
9 Ways to Sell Social Media to the Boss by Social Media Examiner
It’s not just small businesses that question the value of social media. Ekaterina Walter quotes Doug Frisbie, Toyota National Marketing Manager, as saying, “The price of inactivity is greater than the risks of anything we’d be doing in social media.” She explores why some executives seek to avoid social media and presents nine tactics to demonstrating its value to the higher-ups.
Does social media belong in PR or marketing divisions? by iMedia Connection
Ben Cathers answers this question with an unequivocal…it depends. He demonstrates how staring with your company’s primary objectives for social media will determine how your efforts should be structured.
Top 10 Responses To Use When Dealing With Social Media Naysayers by PR at Sunrise
Andrew Worob provides an excellent, thoughtful list of responses to common social media objections such as “we don’t have the resources,” can’t justify the costs, or executives don’t believe their audience is using social media.
5 strategies for a captivating social media conversation by iMedia Connection
Peter Platt quotes Emily Post—from 1922—to illustrate that market conversations are nothing new, it’s just that social media now amplifies and accelerates the spread of such communications. He offers five tips to help “get your brand into the social space without becoming a bore.”
The 6 Next Most Important Social Media Issues by BlogNotions
Now that social networks have global reach, account for a significant percentage of time spent online, and are increasingly being adopted as core marketing channels, Danny Flamberg says the next steps are about differentiation, quality, and accurately valuing brand advocates.
Is social media making you anti-social? by iMedia Connection
David Grossman offers six tips for building trust in social media communities, among them: be approachable and friendly, be respectful of others’ ideas and perspectives, and make sure your social media words align with your real-world company values and actions.
Why Banning Social Media Often Backfires by Mashable
Greg Ferenstein cites a range of examples and research to show that banning access to social media sites—whether in schools, companies or done by national governments—is ineffective and ofter counterproductive.
Are social media professionals unfairly constrained by organisations? by Governing People
***** 5 Stars
Craig Thomler astutely asks why many organizations that give their accountants, customer service reps, graphic designers and other employees specialized software to perform their jobs still block access to sites like Twitter and Facebook that marketers need to use to communicate with prospects, customers and industry influencers.
The 8 Steps of B2B Social Media Marketing by EngageSciences
Richard Jones details an 8-step process of “web and social nurturing that complement and extend email centric concepts of lead nurturing to drive better lead generation.” The process starts with segmenting and targeting and ends with conversion—no suprises there—but interesting incorporates social proof, monitoring and harvesting “positive posts and tweets about your company and products and merg(ing) them with your marketing content, on multiple display units across your websites and Facebook. Use your community to help you promote your products…Customer advocacy drives sales.”
How to prepare for social media’s big shift by iMedia Connection
Philippe Guegan declares that social media is now officially “well beyond a passing marketing fad,” and therefore “marketers need to start thinking, behaving, and organizing themselves as content producers who treat engage consumers as audiences.” He outlines five key differences between the old world of advertising / paid media and the new earned media realm.
How to Introduce Social Media to Your Business by Social Media Today
Writing that “too many businesses still need to wake up and realize that social media is not ‘one of these Internet fads’ that will disappear,” Danny Brown recommends clearly defining your audience, objectives and tools among the first tasks for developing a cohesive business social media strategy.
Social Media…Not as Free as it Seems? by Green Buzz Agency
Social media marketing can be very cost-effective, but Victoria Ipri reminds us that it’s not free, spelling out the multiple area of costs to consider, such as implementation (copyrighting, image rights, project management), engagement (testing time and tools), and analysis (reputation management tools and tasks).
Erica Swallow reports on research from social media guru Jeremiah Owyang summarized into seven key tips for building a successful, strategic social media program including being proactive rather than reactive (“You cannot wait for the company to catch up to you. You have to go to the business units and tell them what is required to participate in your company’s social media program before they ask you for a Facebook Page.”), organizing for success, and deploying scalable social media programs (“when you take your best customers and you give them a platform and let them do the work for you, and you don’t pay them—those are scalable programs”).
The 5 components of a complete social media program by iMedia Connection
Adam Kleinberg places strategic planning, customer insights and integrated programs among other components in the core of a comprehensive social media program.
The 3 Pillars of Social Media Readiness by Social Media Examiner
***** 5 Stars
Michael Brito believes that most brands “get it” when it comes to social media listening, engagement and transparency—but “there’s an underlying challenge that’s not being addressed as it should be,” the transition to becoming a social business, which is elegantly defined here.
Only Stupid Answers: What Is Social Media by MediaPost Online Media Daily
Andrew Ettinger searches for a common definition of “social media” and concludes that “Social Media lacks a singular definition—one on which we can all agree…Ultimately, each company will need to create their own Social Media taxonomy; one size does not fit all.”
Social Media Metrics and ROI
6 Key Metrics for a Social Media Measurement Dashboard [Best of SEW 2010 #4] by Search Engine Watch
Nathan Linnell says companies need a true social media measurement dashboard in order to really understand their progress toward achieving objectives in social media, and specifies six key metrics that dashboard should track.
Measuring the Impact of Social Media by Adotas
Jim Wehmann predicts that social media measurement will move from inconsistent, ad hoc measures to more sophisticated approaches as the tools and techniques mature, as happened in the early days of the web with email and website analytics.
The Maturation of Social Media ROI by Mashable
Brian Solis reports that most marketers still aren’t measuring the ROI of their social media marketing efforts even though such analysis is increasingly expected, and predicts that CMOs will increasingly attempt to tie social media marketing programs to revenue, conversions and average order value. Nevertheless, the social media ROI debate is not over.
Vital statistics for B2B marketers – The case study by Earnest
***** 5 Stars
In June 2010, Earnest produced an outstanding video about social media use in b2b marketing (highlighted in this post). A few months later, they wrote this case study about the experience, detailing their initial objectives, the production, how the video was promoted, the results, and lessons learned from the project.
8 Social Media Metrics You Should Be Measuring by Social Media Examiner
Nichole Kelly details eight key social metrics that in her words, “you may not be measuring, but should be,” such as comparing conversion metrics for your social media connections vs. a control group of non-social media users, growth rate over time, retention rates and customer saves.
Mark Schaefer cites several examples of how companies are offering perks to customers based on their social media influence, as measured in various ways such as Klout scores. He predicts, only half tongue-in-cheek, that “within a 12 to 18 months, you will be able to use new augmented reality technology to scan a room of people with your smartphone and get a numerical social rating for every person in sight.” This scenario is, as he notes, creepy—but also potentially very lucrative for businesses.
FOUND the ROI of Social Media for B2B Marketers! by Buzz Marketing for Technology
Paul Dunay believes “there is one place that delivers a strong ROI in Social Media and if you follow my advice not only will you conquer social media but you will delight your customers in the process!” And that place is…
10 ways to measure social media for business by Socialmedia.biz
Writing that “tracking a few well-chosen metrics…can contribute to the bottom line,” J.D. Lasica (again) details 10 key social media metrics that can be tied to business performance including customer engagement (e.g., number of retweets on Twitter, number of comments per blog post), brand sentiment and customer retention.
50 Ways to Measure Success in Social Media by B2C Marketing Insider
Garrett Ira recommends 50 potential metrics for measuring social media success (though, as he notes, you don’t need to use all of them), categorized into website/blog measures (e.g. average time spent per visit, bounce rate), email, Facebook, Twitter, other networks, and ROI metrics.
Social Media Tools
50 Social Sites That Every Business Needs a Presence on by Focus
***** 5 Stars
Social media is about more than just the “Big 4″ sites as illustrated by this post listing a wider range of sites where a business social media presence is important, categorized into social bookmarking, professional networking, niche social media (e.g. Tweako for gadgets, Sphinn for online marketers), general social media, and job sites.
22 Social Media Marketing Management Tools by TopRank Online Marketing Blog
12 Social Media Monitoring Tools Reviewed by Six Revisions
Jason Schubring first defines some of the key terms used in social media monitoring (e.g., influence, sentiment, volume) then reviews a dozen social media monitoring tools ranging from Google Alerts and Twitter Advanced Search to more powerful offerings like HootSuite and Scout Labs.
Online Database of Social Media Policies by Social Media Governance
Need to write a social media policy but not sure where to start? Need some inspiration? Check out these 164 examples from companies and organizations that have put guidelines in place to help their employees use social media wisely and productively in the workplace.
Social Media Facts, Stats and Figures
MIT Study Suggests Social Networks Influence Behavior by MediaPost Online Media Daily
10 Outstanding Social Media Infographics by NowSourcing
Brian Wallace shares a series of infographics showing information like social media use by country, the age distribution on various social networks, a timeline of social media sites, and uses for social media at various levels in the corporate hierarchy.
Riding the rising tide of social media investment by iMedia Connection
Gordon Plutsky reports on recent research showing that, of companies embracing social media for inbound marketing, 90% are doing the job internally, with an increasing number making social media management a dedicated role rather than just another task for already harried marketing staff. Almost two-thirds of responding companies are blogging and half are on YouTube, but less than 60% are measuring results.
Twitter is adding 300,000 new users per day, and 80% of Twitter use is on mobile devices. 22% of all online time is now spent on social networks. 210 billion email messages are sent each day, which is more than the annual volume of postal mail letters in the U.S. And lots more.
Social Media Trends
Citing AOL, MySpace and Friendster as cautionary tales, guest author Jay Pinkert warns that Facebook and Twitter, despite their tremendous current popularity, aren’t invincible. Privacy and usability issues, among others, could damage the leaders and allow upstarts to unseat them. Jay advises marketers to keep an eye on the landscape for new entrants and test new platforms as they emerge.
Six Social Media Trends for 2011 by Harvard Business Review
David Armano, who did pretty well at predicting some key trends (such as the explosion of mobile social media use) in 2010, reveals his predictions for the coming year on issues like social media integration within enterprises, further developments in tablet and mobile computing, Google’s new social media strategy and more.
Data junkies, stats addicts, web trivia buffs rejoice — here are a deluge of social media, search and other marketing research facts and figures from 50 articles and blog posts published so far in 2010.
How are marketers planning to allocate budgets this year? What percentage of Fortune 100 companies are on Twitter? Which social networking site is used by 92% of senior marketing executives? What social media tool helps small business double their reach on Twitter? How do B2B social media marketing practices differ from B2C companies? What percentage of web searches stop after page one of the results? How much do small businesses spend on search engine marketing? How many journalists also maintain blogs?
Find the answers to these questions and many, many more here.
Social Media Statistics
Study: Spending On Email, Social And Search Rising by MediaPost Online Media Daily
Despite the fact that more than half of marketers responding to an ExactTarget survey planned to to either reduce their overall marketing budget for 2010 or keep it flat, 54% planned to increase spending on email marketing and 66% planned to increase expenditures for social media “even though about 80% of those acknowledged the difficulty in tracking ROI in the medium.”
A national survey of reporters and editors revealed that 89% use blogs for story research, 65% turn to social media sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn, and 52% utilize microblogging services such as Twitter. While the use of social media sources by journalists is growing rapidly, the reliability of such information remains an issue, as “the survey also made it clear that reporters and editors are acutely aware of the need to verify information they get from social media.”
Social Media Not Preferred Recommendation Resource by MediaPost Online Media Daily
In a study asking consumers to rate the most influential sources of information for their purchase decisions, 59% said “personal advice from friends or family members,” followed by 39% search engines, 36% articles in newspapers or magazines, online articles 28%, email 20% and social media 19%. Three caveats: first, though low, the influence of social media is growing. Second, social media and search are rated more influential by younger buyers and high-income consumers than by other groups. Third, the survey was heavily consumer-oriented; b2b figures would be different. The key takeaway — companies can’t put all of their marketing eggs in one basket, but need to balance budgets across several areas including email, social media, organic SEO, paid search and offline campaigns.
While 28% of U.S. adults say they give advice about purchases on social networking sites, only 17% say they seek out such advice when making buying decisions. “70% of social media users between the ages of 18-34 regularly use Facebook more than other sites such as MySpace, Twitter, and Classmates.com,” and women use Facebook more than men.
Senior marketing execs see their companies moving to social media in 2010 by The Viral Garden
In a recent study of high-level marketing executives, 70% plan new social media initiatives in 2010. 92% said they personally use LinkedIn, versus 56% on Facebook. While 28% planned to use internal resources to launch new initiatives, 25% turn to social media consultants. The two most important criteria when hiring a social media consultant are examples of previous work and recommendations; number of Twitter followers is the 12th-most important factor.
Another notable Pam Dyer post, this one summarizing a study from online advertising network Chitika which shows that Twitter is the best place to share news: 47% of the outbound traffic from Twitter goes to news sites, vs. 28% from Facebook, 18% from Digg and an imperceptible share from MySpace. Digg is the most technical; 12% of its outbound traffic goes to technology sites, vs. 10% from Twitter and 7% from Facebook. And for what it’s worth, Pam points out that “celebrity/entertainment is the only genre in the top 5 of all sites.”
What Type Of Social Media Ads Are The Most Effective? by MediaPost Online Media Daily
According to a recent study from Psychster, “Among the seven most common formats, sponsored content ads — in which consumers viewed a page that was “brought to you by” a leading brand — are the most engaging, but produced the least purchase intent. Corporate profiles on social-networking sites produce greater purchase intent and more recommendations when users can become a ‘fan,’ and add the logo to their own profiles, than when they can’t. And ‘give and get’ widgets are more engaging than traditional banner ads, but no more likely to produce an intent to purchase.”
Study: Americans’ Social Net Use On The Rise, But Services Not Entirely Wasted On The Young by MediaPost Online Media Daily
Nearly half of all Americans are now members of at least one social network, double the proportion of just two years ago. While social network use is highest among the young, it’s not exclusively their club: two-thirds of 25- to 34-year-olds and half of those aged 35 to 44 also now have personal profile pages. 30% of social media users access a social media site “several times a day,” up from 18% in 2009. Also, nearly half (45%) of all mobile phone owners send text messages on a daily basis.
Deciphering Shady Social Media Stats by Social Implications
Yes, Facebook is a big deal, but there is no way it “controls 41% of social media traffic” as was reported in a post on Mashable back in April. Jennifer Mattern rips the statistical methodology behind this reporting to shreds and reminds us all of why it’s important to be skeptical of social media statistics that don’t sound quite right.
Social Media Revolution by YouTube
Social media stats in video form. Some of the numbers shown here lend themselves to the skepticism recommended in the post above, but all are documented so take `em for what they’re worth. There are more Gen Y’ers than Baby Boomers, and 96% of them have joined a social network. 80% of companies are using LinkedIn as their primary tool to find employees. 80% of Twitter use is on mobile devices. YouTube now hosts more than 100 million videos and is the second largest search engine. 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations when making purchase decisions; just 14% trust advertising. More than 1.5 million pieces of content (videos, photos, blog posts, links etc.) are shared on Facebook daily.
New Chart: Survey Says Inbound Marketing Budgets on the Rise by HubSpot Blog
In a study of 231 (likely a bit more social media-savvy than average) companies, 88% planned to maintain or increase inbound marketing budgets in 2010. 85% view company blogs as “useful,” while 71% said the same for Twitter (up from just 39% in 2009). More than 40% of respondents reported acquiring at least one new customer from Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or their company blog in the past year.
Erik Qualman updates some statistics from 2009, showing how rapidly this landscape is changing. If it were a country, Facebook would the third-largest on earth, up from fourth-largest in 2009. 80% of companies use social media in some manner for recruiting; of those, 95% use LinkedIn. 50% of mobile Internet traffic in the U.K goes to Facebook. And my favorite: “The ROI of social media is that your business will still exist in five years.”
Look Ma, No Hands: More Than Half Of Companies Say They Are Using Social Media With No Strategy by MediaPost Online Media Daily
Among companies who say they are using social media in a recent Digital Brand Expressions survey, only 41% said they had a strategic plan in place to guide activities, and only 69% of those (28% of all social media-using companies) have set up metrics to measure the ROI of social media activities. Worse, on 29% of firms with a plan in place (12% of the total) had written social media policies in place for employees.
52 Cool Facts About Social Media by Danny Brown
Two-thirds of comScore’s U.S. Top 100 websites and half of comScore’s Global Top 100 websites have integrated with Facebook. Twitter adds 300,000 new users and gets 600 million searches daily. LinkedIn has more than 70 million members worldwide — including executives from every Fortune 500 company. More than half of YouTube users are under 20 years old, and let’s hope they live long lives: it would take 1,000 years to watch every video currently posted on the site. 77% of Internet users read blogs, but only 14% of blogs are published by corporations.
Twitter Demographic Report – Who Is Really On Twitter? by PalatnikFactor.com
Who’s really using Twitter? According to this report, 44% are between 18 and 34 years old. A slight majority (53% to 47%) are female. Just over a quarter of tweeters qualify as regular users, accounting for 41% of all traffic, but the 1% classified as “addicts” account for a third of all tweets. Twitter users tend to be readers of TechCrunch, Wired magazine and CNN.com, but also (ugh) PerezHilton.com — so make what you will of that.
2009 Twitter Demographics and Statistics Report by iStrategyLabs
The largest cohort of Twitter users (47%) are in the 18-34 age bracket — but the second largest (31%) are 35-49 years old. 74% of twitterers have no kids at home. Almost half are college graduates and 17% have post-grad degrees.
Twitter Usage In America: 2010 Statistics and Ad Agency New Business by Social Media Today
While many executives still dismiss Twitter as a waste of time, recent research suggests it is one of the most valuable social networks for business. Awareness of Twitter has exploded; 87% of Americans said they were “familiar with” Twitter in a poll taken earlier this year, versus just 5% in 2008. Although only 7% of Americans maintain an active Twitter account (vs. 41% who are on Facebook), Twitter users “are far more likely to follow Brands/ Companies than social networkers in general. 51% of active Twitter users follow companies, brands or products on social networks. Twitter users frequently exchange information about products and services.”
Facebook: Facts & Figures For 2010 by Digital Buzz Blog
Interesting, though slightly out of date (Lady Gaga’s page is listed as 9th-most popular) Facebook infographic. Half of all Facebook users log in on any given day, and more than 35 million update their status. More than 100 million users access Facebook through their mobile phones. The US and UK have the highest number of Facebook users, but the #3 country? Indonesia.
Report: 6.8% Of Business Internet Traffic Goes To Facebook by All Facebook
How are employees using the Internet at work? A recent study concluded that almost 7% of all business web traffic goes to Facebook, twice as much as Google (3.4%) and well ahead of Yahoo! at 2.4 percent. DoubleClick got 1.7% of all business traffic due to its massive online banner advertising network. In terms of bandwidth use, YouTube takes the single biggest share at 10%, followed by Facebook at 4.5% and Windows Update at 3.3%.
The Ultimate List: 100+ Facebook Statistics [Infographics] by HubSpot Blog
Men and women both average about 130 friends on Facebook, but men there are more likely to be (or least claim to be) single (33% to 26%) while women using Facebook are more likely to be (or at least say they are) married, engaged or in a relationship (47% to 41%). The three most “liked” types of food pages are about ice cream, milk or chocolate. Facebook pages that use the words “collaboration” or “blogger” have on average three times as many fans as pages about SEO or optimization. Pages about movies and TV shows generally get the highest number of “likes” while those devoted to government and public service get the least. Within the U.S., Washington DC and South Dakota have the highest percentage of residents with Facebook accounts (one of the very few phenomena they have in common), while New Mexico has the smallest percentage of its population (10.3%) on Facebook.
Social Media Use in Large Enterprises
Among the world’s 100 largest companies, two-thirds are using Twitter, 54% have a Facebook page, 50% manage at least one corporate YouTube channel and 33% have created company blogs. Overall, 79% of Fortune 100 companies are using at least one social media channel, with the highest use in European (88%) and U.S-based (86%) companies. However, only 20% of these companies (28% in the U.S.) are using all four major social media platforms. 69% of U.S.-based firms in the study have a Facebook page, but just 32% have posts with comments from fans.
Fortune 500 favors Twitter over blogging by iMedia Connection
Among the world’s largest 500 companies, 35% had Twitter accounts in 2009, but only 22% maintained company blogs. Less than half effectively used SEO.
Twitter Moves Ahead of Blogs in Fortune 500 by Social Media Today
Among Fortune 500 companies, 108 (22%) have an active, public-facing corporate blog. 93 (86%) of those blogs are linked directly to a corporate Twitter account. 173 (35%) of the Fortune 500 firms maintain an active Twitter account, including 47 of the top 100 companies on the list.
Social media use by the Fortune 100 in visual Infographic form: the average Fortune 100 company follows 731 people on Twitter and is followed by about 1,500 (seems like small numbers for big companies). However, the average socially active Fortune 100 company has almost 41,000 Facebook fans and 39,000 YouTube channel subscribers.
Social Media in Business: Fortune 100 Statistics by iStrategy
According to a Burson-Marsteller study, 79% of the Fortune 100 are “present and listening” on at least one social networking platform. 20% of these corporate giants are using all four of the main social technologies (Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and Blogs), and 82% of the Fortune 100 companies on Twitter actively engage with customers there at least once per week.
The State of Social Media Jobs 2010 – A Special Report by Social Media Influence
Although “the importance of social media certainly is resonating through many big companies,” just 59 of the Fortune Global 100 firms have hired staff specifically to perform core social media tasks such as customer outreach, PR, marketing and internal communications. The most social media “active” industry sectors include healthcare, telecom, retail and automotive, while companies in heavily regulated industries such as financial services, insurance, energy and utilities are among the social media laggards.
Social Media Use in Small to Midsized Businesses (SMBs)
Small Businesses That Blog Have 102% More Twitter Followers by HubSpot Blog
Still wondering if your business should have a blog? A HubSpot study of more than 2,000 companies showed that, for businesses of all sizes, companies that have blogs have 79% more Twitter followers than those that don’t. Blogging “increases Twitter reach by 113% for B2B companies and 30% for B2C companies.”
At the other end of the scale, for small to midsized businesses, marketing budget allocations are changing. Traditionally, small business marketers have favored email and search, and spent the majority of their marketing dollars offline. In 2009, only one-third of SMB marketers viewed Faebook as “very” or “somewhat” beneficial. But for 2010, 74% planned to increase their use of email marketing and 68% planned larger expenditures for social media. Over the next five years, social media budgets are expected to grow at a 34% annual rate — twice as fast as all other forms of online marketing. By 2014, Forrester predicts that social media spending will be higher than that for both email and mobile, though still much smaller than search and online display advertising.
Small Biz Lead Gen Surges with Social by eMarketer
According to a HubSpot study, “not only can inbound marketing bring leads for less money but it can also double average monthly leads for small and medium-sized businesses.” Twitter reach is critical for increased lead generation: “Companies with 100 to 500 followers generated 146% more median monthly leads than those with 21 to 100 followers. Beyond the 500-follower mark, though, there was no further gain,” as is blogging — but the study noted that “Businesses must produce enough content for their blog to kick off growth in leads, which starts with about 24 to 51 posts…more indexed pages on Google also translates to more leads. Every 50 to 100 incremental indexed pages can mean double-digit lead growth.”
Social Media in Small Business is Anything But Small by Social Media Today
The prolific Brian Solis reports on recent research showing that social media adoption by small business doubled from 2009 to 2010. 61% of small business owners now use social media to help identify and attract new customers, 75% have a company page on a social networking site, and 45% expect their social media activities to be profitable within the next 12 months. 58% say that social media has met their expectations to date, and only 9% expect to lose money on social media efforts for the next year.
B2B Social Media Marketing Statistics
B2B Marketers Severely Lag B2C Players in Social Media by My Venture Pad
Andy Beal reminds us that “It’s a pretty well known fact that B2B marketers have been slower on the adoption curve of social media (than B2C marketers.” But why? One reason is executive buy-in (or lack thereof); in a recent study, one-third of claimed low executive level acceptance of social media was holding back efforts, while only 9% of B2C marketers said the same thing. Another is that 45% of B2B marketers said their company had a basic social media presence but didn’t use it as an active marketing tool; only 26% of B2B marketers concurred. Finally, “46% of B2B respondents said social media was perceived as irrelevant to their company, while only 12% of consumer-oriented marketers had the same problem.” If you’re one of those 46%, hopefully you’ll find facts and statistics in the following posts to help build a business case for social media in your company.
The Business of Social Media: B2B and B2C Engagement by the Numbers by Social Media Today
***** 5 stars
Brian Solis breaks down B2B vs. B2C use of social media marketing. B2B companies are more likely to maintain a company blog (74% to 55%), participate on Twitter (75% to 49%) and monitor brand mentions (73% to 55%) while B2C firms more often advertise on social networks (54% to 42%) and use Facebook (83% to 77%) and MySpace (23% to 14%) as part of their social media strategy than their B2B counterparts.
Will B2B Companies Embrace Social Media in 2010? by MediaPost Online Media Daily
B2C companies led their B2B counterparts in adoption of social media marketing because more people are active in social networks for personal use than business, making it easier to target someone who is interested in golf than, say, machine tools. However, B2B use of social media is on the rise, with 6 of 10 companies planning to increase their spending on social media initiatives in 2010.
Creating Engagement in B2B Marketing by Buzz Marketing for Technology
93 percent of participants in a social media in business study believe that all companies should have a presence in social media. And 85 percent believe “companies should not just present information via social media, but use it to interact and become more engaged with them,” according to Paul Dunay.
Vital statistics for every B2B marketer by Earnest about B2B
75% of B2B marketers use microblogging tools such as Twitter vs. 49% of B2C marketers. The biggest barrier to adoption may be CIOs; 54% of CIOs block social networking sites, such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, in the work environment. 93% of B2B buyers “use search to begin the buying process,” and 9 out of 10 say that when they are ready to buy, they will find vendors. Plus much more.
B2B Spending on Social Media to Explode by eMarketer
B2B marketing on social networks is expected to grow 43.3% this year, and Forrester Research B2B spending on social media marketing to reach $54 million in 2014, up from only $11 million in 2009. Paid advertising is expected to account for only a small portion of spending, but “when companies budget for social media marketing in 2010 and beyond, a substantial portion of their expenses will go toward other initiatives, such as creating and maintaining a branded profile page, managing promotions or public relations outreach within a social network, and measuring the effect of a social network presence on brand health and sales.”
Vital statistics for B2B Marketers by EarnestAgency’s Channel (YouTube)
An entertaining and creative presentation which makes the case that B2B actually leads B2C in social media marketing — because that’s where their buyers are. 37% of b2b buyers have posted questions on social networking sites, 48% follow industry conversations on key topics of interest, and 59% “engage with buyers who have done it before.” 53% of C-level executives prefer to find information themselves rather than tasking subordinates with this, and 63% turn to search engines for their research. Many of the statistics used in this video can be found elsewhere, but not in such an engaging fashion.
What B2B Marketing Tactics Are Up, Down, Flat? (Survey Sneak Peek) by Everything Technology Marketing
Holger Schulze shares results from a study showing how b2b use of various marketing tactics have changed over the past three years. Social media saw the biggest jump in activity, with 81% of respondents doing more of it (as Holger points out, “not surprising considering social media use in B2B was still nascent 3 years ago”). Content creation (68%) and website marketing (56%) are also increasing, while direct mail and print advertising saw the biggest drops.
First Page Or Bust: 95% of Non-Branded Natural Clicks Come From Page One by MediaPost Search Insider
***** 5 stars
In SEO, how important is a page one ranking? This post tells you: according to a recent study from iCrossing, across the three major search engines, 95% of the clicks came from page one. While Rob Garner notes that this figure is higher than in other studies, the clear implication is that doing some extra optimization to move your site to page one from page two or three can pay off in dramatic traffic gains.
Organic Search Still Reigns by eMarketer
Diving deeper into the iCrossing study referenced above, Google accounts for 74% of non-branded search traffic, with Bing and Yahoo tied at 13%.
Small businesses spending more on search by iMedia Connection
The average small business spent $2,149 on search engine advertising in the fourth quarter of 2009, up 30% from 3Q09 and 111% from the final quarter of 2008. Also, video is taking off in this segment: at the end of last year, 19% of small businesses were using video on their websites, up from just 5% the previous quarter.
Most Valuable Content and Offers for IT Buyers by High-Tech Communicator
***** 5 stars
If you’re trying to sell to technology buyers, note that a recent study shows the types of content they are most likely to click on are “news and articles (84%), competitive comparisons and buying guides (73%), and promotional content (70%).” These decision makers are about equally to click on offers for promotional content, online tutorials and demonstrations, competitive comparisons and buying guides, free research, and educational content.
Search Engine Marketing
SEMPO Report Suggests Measuring ROI Still Challenging by MediaPost Online Media Daily
The share of North American companies using paid-search marketing increased from 70% in 2008 to 78% in 2009 and 81% in 2010. 97% of these companies use Google AdWords; 56% advertise on Google’s content network. 59% of firms anticipate spending more on search marketing in 2010; 37% say budget3 will remain the same, while just 4% planned to cut spending in this area.
Study: Three-Word Queries Drive Most SEO Traffic by Search Engine Land
Three-word search queries are the most common, at 26% of all searches; 19% are two-word queries, and 17% use four words. Yet for paid clicks, keywords of 4-6 words in length drive the highest average CTR at 1.1-1.2%. The overall average CTR for paid search ads was 0.91%.
Other Online Marketing Statistics
What’s Changed This Decade (1999-2009) by Virtual Video Map
An enlightening, graphic guide to many of the changes seen over the past 10 years, from the growth of the U.S. economy and national debt to the incredible expansion of Internet use. Examples: The number of Internet users worldwide grew from 350 million a decade ago to 1.7 million today. One out of five (actually now almost one of three) of those users has a Facebook account. Cell phone use increased from one of out of 10 people in 1999 to two out of three in 2009.
Did You Know? (video) by EducoPark
The top 10 in-demand jobs in 2010 didn’t exist in 2004. Half of all workers have been with their current employer for less than five years. There are roughly one billion searches performed on Google every day — more than ten times the number just four years ago. It took radio 38 years to reach a total audience of 50 million people; it took the Internet just four years to reach that number, the iPod three years, and Facebook only two years. There will be more pages of unique information published this year than in the last 5,000 years combined.
SuperPower: Visualising the internet by BBC News
This slick tool visually illustrates the growth of Internet penetration, by country, from 1998 through 2008.
Small-Biz Success from Deeper Online Interaction by eMarketer
Ye shall reap what ye sow online, apparently: a study by American City Business Journals concluded that small businesses who were most active online achieved higher sales than those who made less use of the Internet. The study concluded that “‘Interactors,’ the most active participants online in almost all respects, accounted for only 15% of businesses but 24% of sales. ‘Transactors,’ somewhat less active online but the group most involved in online selling, also overindexed in sales. The least involved groups, ‘viewers’ and ‘commentators,’ also exhibited the worst business performance.”
Here’s What’s Really Going On In Online Media Consumption by Business Insider
Of the four largest daily print newspaper websites (the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and USA Today), only the New York Times has gained visitors in the past 12 months — and that growth has been modest. Among weekly news magazine websites, The Week (focused on multi-source aggregation) has shown dramatic 170% growth in the last 12 months as Newsweek.com, once the leader in this segment, has seen a 17.5% decrease in traffic. Visits to the Huffington Compost are up 86% in the past year.
The Ultimate List: 300+ Social Media Statistics by HubSpot Blog
If this post hasn’t satisfied your data fix, knock yourself out with this extensive collection of videos, infographics and presentations compiled by HubSpot with still more social media stats and figures like: Twitter has 50% more activity on weekdays than on weekend days. Facebook is the most popular way to share information, followed by email, then Twitter. More than twice the amount of information is shared on Twitter as on Digg. 48% of bloggers are US-based, 2/3 are male, and 75% are college graduates. 35% of traditional journalists also blog. Social networks Bebo, MySpace and Xanga attract the youngest audience; Delicious, LinkedIn and Classmates.com have, on average, the oldest demographics. More than 210 billion emails are sent daily, which exceeds the number of “snail mail” letters sent each year. Etc.
Can the financial return on expenditures for social media business activities– in marketing, PR, customer support, HR, product development or other areas — be accurately measured? Can social media costs be justified on the P&L, so that as belts get ever tighter in this stagnant economy, these projects and tasks can be spared the budget axe?
Among social media pundits, the debate rages on. The “yes” crowd argues that of course social media can be measured, and must be in order to demonstrate value to the business. You wouldn’t buy a new machine tool or enterprise software application without an ROI analysis, so why should social media be any different? Executives don’t care about shiny sparkly things or the latest fads or buzzwords; you’d better know what you want to accomplish, be able to quantify both expenses and revenue, and have the analytics in place to track results before even murmuring the words “social media” in the presence of C-level types.
The “no” group will counter that the metrics and tools haven’t yet matured, or that social media is too amorphous to even be measurable, or that it is rapidly becoming simply part of the plumbing or wiring of a modern organization, making ROI immaterial.
My own thoughts (for what they’re worth) on the matter are that:
- • It’s challenging to measure the true ROI of social media activities with any precision because social media is as much (if not more) about influence than direct action. For example, if John Doe clicks through to your website from a tweet and buys something, that’s easy to measure. But if John Doe is influenced to buy from you based a tweet—but completes the purchase through another unrelated channel—there’s no way to assign the value of that sale to Twitter.
- • That said, there are many aspects of social media that can and should be measured, both to show results and to help guide future activities (e.g. determining which topics generate the highest traffic and comment activity on a company blog, what time of day is most productive for tweeting, etc.). In other words, the statement “ROI is challenging to measure accurately” shouldn’t be confused with “don’t bother trying measure anything.”
- • Metrics can be useful to help determine what to do more of, less of, or differently, but should not as the basis for whether or not to engage in social media. At this point, the adoption of social media tools is so widespread as to constitute just another communication channel. It makes no more sense for a business to shun social media until ROI can be demonstrated than it does to demand an ROI analysis for installing phone lines or email.
So much for my thoughts. What do other pundits have to say? Below are summaries of a variety of posts on the topic of social media ROI measurement from luminaries such as Danny Brown, Brian Solis, Erik Qualman, Michelle Golden and Sharlyn Lauby divided into their respective camps: yes, no, and maybe.
Is social media ROI measurable? Yes.
The Real Cost of Social Media by Danny Brown
This isn’t strictly speaking an ROI article, but Danny does dive into the “I” part of that measure, detailing the true costs (investment) of social media participation.
20 Metrics To Effectively Track Social Media Campaigns by Search Engine Land
Chris Bennett lays out the list of metrics he uses to analyze, track and “prove ROI’ from social media marketing. Compelling piece except for his use of the phrase social media campaign (argh).
Kim Cornwall Malseed summarizes the social media wisdom and ROI results gleaned from a panel of b2b marketing pros including Holger Schulze of SafeNet, Frank Strong of Vocus and Susan Cato of CompTIA. She reports on the revenue achieved, social media strategies used and measurement systems employed for tracking.
ROI: How to Measure Return on Investment in Social Media by Social Media Today
In this long but worthwhile post, Brian Solis reviews the evolution of social media measurement forms (e.g. “return on engagement”), the disconnect between social media marketers (most of whom can’t measure ROI) and CMOs (most of whom expect it), then offers his recommendations for improving the measurement of business objectives from social media.
While acknowledging that tight precision is impossible because the same measures from different tools rarely match exactly (and multiple tools are still needed to end-to-end social media tracking), Angel Djambazov nevertheless makes a strong case for developing ROI metrics for social media campaigns. Quoting Brian Solis and others, Angel points out that particularly in this economy, even great ideas without a hard-number rationale are likely to get slashed; ROI measurements are needed because CMOs demand them. The post also includes some strategies, tactics and tools to assist in social media measurement.
Social Media Monitoring Techniques by WebFadds
Scott Frangos presents a concise but clear outline of basic social media ROI measurement objectives, tools and analytics.
Counterpoint: Why you can calculate an ROI in social media – and why you should do it by iMedia Connection
Uwe Hook responds to the post from Ben Cathers (in the “No” section below) on why social media ROI can’t be measured, laying out a roadmap using metrics such as frequency, yield, sentiment analysis, NetPromoter score and customer lifetime value.
Socialnomics: What Social Media Success Looks Like by Fuel Lines
Michael Gass shares a social media ROI argument in video format. “Socialnomics: Social Media ROI showcases what social media success looks like. Social Media ROI: Socialnomics is by Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business author Erik Qualman. This video highlights several Social Media ROI examples along with other effective Social Media Strategies.” Though a few of the examples are vague or misleading, most are compelling. However, after showcasing companies that have achieved remarkable, quantifiable results through social media, Qualman provocatively asks, “Why are we trying to measure social media like a traditional channel anyway? Social media touches every facet of business and more an extension of good business ethics…When I’m asked about the ROI of Social Media sometimes the appropriate response is…What’s the ROI of your phone?” He seems to suggest that while ROI is measurable, it’s immaterial. Hmm. You can find more of Eric’s insights on his Socialnomics blog.
Making sense of social-media ROI with Olivier Blanchard by SmartBlog on Social Media
Rob Birgfeld talks with Olivier Blanchard, introduced as “perhaps the most sought-after expert for those looking to connect the dots between social media and return-on-investment.” Perhaps. Blanchard contends that most self-proclaimed social media “experts” have difficulty articulating ROI because they have no business management background (agreed, I’ve seen these types — which is why our agency has an MBA who helps clients with social media). With that background, he argues that “the question can be answered in about three minutes. All it takes is someone on the social-media side of the table who understands how to plug new communications into a business from the C-suite’s perspective.” He also makes the case that being able to prove social media ROI is essential. The post just doesn’t specify how to do this.
Social Media ROI — No.
Social media (finally) returns value by The Communicator
Peter Schram doesn’t come right out and say that social media ROI can’t be measured, but rather that organizations should “focus on five key areas where social media will create actual value” that aren’t strictly about sales ROI, including corporate reputation, employee engagement and customer service.
“What’s the ROI of Social Media?” Is the Wrong Question by Golden Practices Blog
Michelle Golden makes a compelling argument that ROI calculations apply only to discrete projects with a beginning, middle and end, such as a direct mail campaign. Social media is a tool, not an event, so such calculations don’t apply.
5 Problems With Measuring Social Marketing by Web Worker Daily
Aliza Sherman articulates some of the frustrations with any social media measurement, much less something as precise as ROI, including the fact that the term “social media” is nebulous and that many traditional marketing concepts (e.g., “reach,” “promotions” and “campaigns”) simply don’t apply to social media –and the industry hasn’t yet developed widely accepted new measures (though Daniel Flamberg attempted to answer this last challenge in 4 Social Media Mining Metrics).
Why you can’t calculate an ROI in social media – and that’s okay by iMedia Connection
Ben Cathers argues that, because the advanced analytics tools that would be required for such measurement have not yet been developed, “In many forms of digital media, you can spend 1 dollar knowing you will earn 1.30…Unfortunately, you cannot do the same in social media, just yet.” He suggests instead that marketers estimate the payback on social media by assigning a value to metrics they can track, such as each follower, each retweet, each “like” of an item, etc.
CEOs Love Pie: The B2B Social Media Case Study, Part 2 by iMedia Connection
In this follow-up post to Conversations that Aren’t about Mel Gibson: the B2B Social Media Case Study, Part 1, Eric Anderson writes that “today you can’t throw a virtual rock without hitting five blog posts about how we all need to simmer down about ROI,” and places himself firmly in the “simmer down” camp. He recommends instead serving them pie, as in pie charts showing measures like “the proportion of their paid impressions that can be replaced or augmented with free impressions. PR agencies have long been selling the value of this pie as earned media or ‘ad equivalency value,’ so CEOs are used to seeing it. They get it. Once you’ve done your social media market analysis, it’s relatively easy to project how big that social media pie wedge will be.”
Social Media ROI…Maybe.
Quantifying Social Results by eMarketer
eMarketer reports that while marketing pros generally agree that quantifying the benefit of social media marketing is important, they are split on whether it is possible. Measuring certain types of activity or behavior is easy; translating those measures into ROI, not so much. As this article notes, “There is a leap, however, between finding appropriate metrics and monitoring them on the one hand, and quantifying results on the other. Marketers must tie the social metrics they settle on directly to business goals, such as increased sales and leads, before social media return on investment can be quantified.”
A call for more accountable social media marketing by iMedia Connection
After acknowledging that “ROI is difficult, if not impossible, to measure with social media. An astounding majority of professionals do not even try to take it into account. According to a survey late last year from Bazaarvoice and the CMO Club, 72 percent of CMOs did not attach revenue assumptions to social media in 2009,” Jerry McLaughlin goes on to say that marketers must do it anyway. For example, one of his recommendations is to “reach specific social media goals with a tangible ROI, such as tracked discounts or coupons.” While that’s certainly not a bad suggestion, it covers only one very limited aspect of what social media marketing can do.
5 Ways To Set Goals & Measure Social Media Marketing Success by Smart Insights
Danyl Bosomworth summarizes a Jason Falls presentation on various ways to measure social media outcomes. While the post seems to suggest that measuring ROI is easy (measurement #5 casually includes “generation of sales and leads from blog visitors and from social interactions”), it also points out several other benefits that unquestionably have value (e.g., product innovation, branding and awareness, links for SEO benefit), though that value may be difficult to quantify. The message seems to be that if you can directly measure sales and leads then by all means do so, but recognize that social media can provide many other important though less quantifiable rewards.
Marketers Use Varying ROI for Social Media by Marketing Charts
According to a new study from King Fish Media, Hubspot and Junta 42 summarized in this post, most marketers perform some type of social media measurement (e.g., website visits from social media referral sites, new fans/followers, number of links shared, etc.). However, nearly half (43%) admit that they aren’t even trying to measure ROI. And only 29% say “they will have to show positive ROI to continue their social media programs.”
How CEOs are Using Social Media for Real Results by Mashable
Though Sharlyn Lauby shares numbers here from two CEOs able to correlate hard sales data with their social media efforts, she also points out that “even when there might not be data supporting a direct relationship between social media activity and sales, sometimes other metrics point to the connection” such as exposure, branding, customer satisfaction, recommendations, even employee recruiting. The conclusion seems to be that ROI may or may not be measurable, depending on a company’s specific circumstances — or at least that not all of the benefits of social media can be captured in precise sales and ROI figures.