Social Media to Grow Sales and Revenue

The other day, I ran across a great article on Mashable. It laid out the 5 ways the Fortune 500 use social media: Branding, eCommerce, Research, Customer Retention, and Lead Generation. It gave the reader some fabulous examples in each of these areas.

Author Jamie Turner said: These five social approaches, though different in many respects, all have one thing in common: Each of the Fortune 500 use them to generate a profit. After all, they’re not using social media just to be social. They’re using it to make money.

Sure, we’re all trying to make a living. And there is no doubt that social media has proved to be an invaluable tool in the the marketer’s toolbox. To this I say… “Yay”. But, what is not being discussed as loudly is what it takes to garner great results with social.

A while back,  I met with a company that  asked me to give a presentation on a plan for launching a new product in a 6-8 week time frame. I presented an integrated marketing approach that included traditional media as well as a microsite, sales sheet, internal awareness, and trade show exposure, with an extended campaign over the next 6-8 months that would incorporate a social media component. They seemed quite disappointed that I had not positioned a more aggressive social media approach right out of the gate and asked for justification.

The answer was easy. They didn’t have an audience in that space. Their Facebook FanPage had <700 followers, and was nothing more than a profile with no posts, no Twitter account, no Digg account, and their YouTube channel only had 35 subscribers. Quite simply, no audience to impact.

Jaime reminds readers that “A good rule to remember is that it costs three to five times as much to acquire a new customer as it does to keep an existing one.” Social media doesn’t come without a price tag. It can take 4-6 months of concentrated effort to build up enough of a following to actually see results when you are ready to launch your product/idea/service.

When laying out your social media strategies you need to do some groundwork if you want to get results. In a previous post, I said jump in. But jumping in with a key product launch, without laying the foundation for success, could lead to more disappointment than success and taint the enthusiasm for social media tools.

Cool Social Media Tools to Test Your Reach and Influence

Sometimes it pretty difficult to really get a feel for where you stand in the muck and mire of the social networking arena. It seems like I hear about a new tool every few weeks. This is not to say these tools are all new, just that they didn’t hit my radar when they were launched.

Here’s my short list.

ManageFlitter
This tool let me look at who I follow but they don’t follow me. I am not deeply offended if someone isn’t following me, I generally find it a challenge to see if I can add enough value to get them to start to follow me. But the cool thing I liked about this was that it also showed me which accounts have been inactive for an extended time, in some cases a year. So, with the click of a button – Unfollow.

TweetStats
This is a cool little tool, which is free but willing to accept donations for their development work. It will graph your tweets per hour, per month and give you a great timeline. You can dig a little deeper by clicking on a month, showing you who you RT, who you @ reply and which interface you use whether the Twitter web-version or some third-party tool.

Klout
Klout describes itself as “the standard for influence,” the startup focusing its measurements on assessing people’s Twitter and Facebook influence.

From their site: The Klout Score is the measurement of your overall online influence. The scores range from 1 to 100 with higher scores representing a wider and stronger sphere of influence. Klout uses over 35 variables on Facebook and Twitter to measure True Reach, Amplification Probability, and Network Score.

NOTE: I was rated an Explorer -You actively engage in the social web, constantly trying out new ways to interact and network. You’re exploring the ecosystem and making it work for you. Your level of activity and engagement shows that you “get it”, we predict you’ll be moving up.

Grader
Perhaps one of my all-time favorites is Hubspot‘s Grader site. It’s pretty much a one-stop shop that helps you measure and analyze your marketing efforts. Not only can you measure Twitter and Facebook, but you can get a grade rating on your website, RSS feeds and even Press Releases you write.

If you have a favorite tool, please let me know and I’ll include it in future posts. In the meantime, have fun with it. The object for me is to test, test, test … how to the changes I make in the way I communicate change the influence I have.