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Social Sharing: Twitter has highest amplification rate, email has highest conversion rate

March 23rd, 2012
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While researching an upcoming consumer marketing case study about SquareTrade, a provider of extended consumer electronics warranties that tied a referral program to the release of the latest iPhone, I had the chance to speak with Angela Bandlow, Vice President Marketing, Extole, a consumer-to-consumer social marketing company that creates social referral programs. (Note: You can sign up for the Consumer Marketing newsletter to receive the case study on SquareTrade once it’s published.)

Social referral programs allow companies to tap into their customer advocates to promote their brands, products and services by getting those customers to share within their social networks. These programs then track the shares through to the conversion, whether that is a sale, an opt-in or a coupon redemption.

Extole recently conducted research on 20% of its customer base with an average data collection length of 45 weeks, and this research uncovered some interesting data points on social sharing among different companies.

 

What to measure when tracking social sharing

“If you think about a referral program, it’s a little different in terms of what you would measure than a standard marketing program,” Angela explains.

She offers a few areas to track with referral programs:

  • How many of your customers are participating in your program? These people are called “advocates” at Extole.
  • Of the people participating, how many people do they share with, and through what marketing channel — email, Facebook, Twitter, personal URL (PURL), etc.  This metric is important because it shows the “amplification” of the message or call-to-action.
  • The number of social shares is the multiplication of the number of participants and the amount of sharing.
  • Clicks-per-share, or in other words, the rate of clicking with the social shares from your customers.

“You see a different rate of amplification across social channels versus email,” says Angela. “Email is always going to be a one-to-one share.”

Extole’s research found in aggregate its clients get 3.49 shares per advocate. In other words, everyone participating in a referral program is sharing with almost three and a half friends. On the high end, some advocates share with as many as 12 friends.

Here is a breakdown of some of the data points across several channels:

  • The largest percentage of advocate sharing is through email, and those shares get a 21% open rate, 80% clickthrough and 17% conversion (the highest conversion rate of any channel), which breaks down to .17 clicks per share.
  • Facebook shares average 1.24 clicks per share, but the conversion rate is only 1.21%.
  • Twitter actually averages 6.81 clicks per share, which creates the highest amplification rate of any channel.

 

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This research also found an overall average of 42% clickthrough rate through social referral programs and almost five friend clicks per share for highly performing programs.

Angela also offers a couple of examples from different clients:

A video rental service company gets the majority of its shares through people who get a personal URL and share it through various channels through cutting and pasting. This referral program includes an incentive offer of a free one-night rental for the customer advocate and a first night free rental for the friends.

Extole has found that amplification is improved when the effort involves an incentive.

A food delivery service gets 70% of its shares through email and another 15% via Facebook. On Twitter, that company gets almost nine clicks for each tweet.

“We’ve always known that word-of-mouth marketing was very powerful, and converted at an estimated three to five times higher rates than other channels,” states Angela. She adds this research puts some data behind the marketing power of letting your customers drive conversions through their social networks and communication channels.

 

Related Resources:

Email Summit: Integrating mobile, social and email marketing channels

Social Media Marketing: Social login or traditional website registration?

Social Media Marketing: A look at 2012, part 1

Social Media Marketing: A look at 2012, part 2

Social Media Marketing: Analytics are free and plentiful, so use them

Using Social Sharing to Achieve Specific Email Goals: 5 Insights

New Chart: Increasing Reach through Social Sharing

Social Media Marketing: An early look at how marketers can use Pinterest

March 2nd, 2012
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There are many valuable social media platforms for marketing: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ being the most well-known and popular. But, arguably the hottest and most talked about platform right now is Pinterest.

From its website: “Pinterest is an online pinboard. Organize and share things you love.” At least a little bit confusing from a marketer’s standpoint, right?

 

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I recently had the chance to speak with two self-described Pinterest “power users,” who also happen to be marketers with some ideas on how practitioners should approach the social platform.

Jessica Best, Community Director, emfluence, a digital marketing services company, and Tiffany Monhollon, Senior Manager of Content Marketing, ReachLocal , an online marketing company, provided their insight on Pinterest.

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Social Media Marketing: Opportunity knocks worldwide

February 24th, 2012
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Living in the U.S., we often use social media to reach domestic customers. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn were popular here first, and that sticks with us. But as social networking expands worldwide, the size of the audience we could be reaching has multiplied.

Focusing exclusively on the U.S. would ignore 80% of the people on Facebook and Twitter, according to “It’s a Social World,” a report from comScore. On LinkedIn, it would ignore more than 60% of the audience (Note: You’ll need to provide an email address to download the report. It’s worth it.)

 

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The report is full of mindboggling stats like, “social networking captures nearly 1 out of every 5 minutes spent online worldwide,” and “social networking sites now reach 82% of the world’s online population, representing 1.2 billion users.”

If your company sells anywhere outside the U.S. (or ever hopes to), and you’re marketing through social media, then the report points to a world of opportunity. Social penetration among online audiences is above 90% in 35 of the 43 countries measured.

Read more…

Social Media Marketing: A look at 2012, part 2

February 3rd, 2012
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Yesterday’s blog post featured the thoughts of Larry Drebes, founder and CEO of Janrain, a social user Web management platform, on the social media channel and marketing over the next six to 12 months.

Today we have insight and advice from Loren McDonald, Vice President of Industry Relations, Silverpop, an email and marketing automation vendor.

Loren will be joining us next week at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas for the MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2012, and will participate in the innovation panel Wednesday afternoon, February 8th.

Social media marketing is an important channel for both B2B and B2C marketers, and Loren offers up a valuable perspective on the topic and some actionable takeaways to maximize that channel over the rest of this year.

This chart illustrates Silverpop research on where all marketers are utilizing social media:

 

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Here are Loren’s thoughts on social media marketing:

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Social Media Marketing: A look at 2012, part 1

February 2nd, 2012
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A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a popular blog post on using social media profiles for login on third-party websites rather than the more traditional form field registration. The post featured research from Janrain, a social Web user management platform, and some additional commentary from Larry Drebes, founder and CEO of Janrain.

That topic was very specific and applies to one marketing issue — gathering data from website visitors.

Janrain’s research found that Facebook is the clear favorite for social login at 42%, followed by Google at 29% and Yahoo! at 11%.

 

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In preparation for the innovation panel Wednesday afternoon, February 8th, at next week’s MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2012, I also had the chance to speak with Larry about the social channel in more general terms, and to get his take on where it is heading and what marketers should be thinking about over the next six to 12 months.

Tomorrow’s blog post will feature the thoughts of panelist Loren McDonald, Vice President Industry Relations, Silverpop.

Here is the result of my conversation with Larry:

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Social Media Marketing: Social login or traditional website registration?

January 12th, 2012
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Janrain, a social Web user management platform provider, recently released its Social Identity study with the research conducted by Blue Research.

The study involved a final sample size of 616, with respondents recruited by email and screened to ensure they either purchased a product online within the past 30 days, or read articles or watched video from major media outlets in the past 30 days.

A key element of the survey was finding out how respondents felt about using a social login — Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. — instead of having to register individually at multiple websites.

Some of the results were very interesting:

  • 86% of respondents reported being bothered by the need to create new accounts at websites and said they would actually change their behavior:

–        54% might leave the site and not return

–        26% would go to a different site if possible

–        6% would just simply leave or avoid the site

–        14% would not complete the registration

  • 88% admitted to supplying incorrect information or leaving form fields incomplete (this result should come as no surprise to marketers). This figure is up from 76% in last year’s study
  • 90% admitted to leaving a website if they couldn’t remember their login details rather than taking the time to recover their login information. This figure is up from 45% in 2010

The study also found that even though website visitors are becoming more frustrated with traditional marketing, they are becoming more open to using social identities for website registration.

In fact, 77% responded that social login is “a good solution that should be offered,” with 41% preferring social login over creating a new user account or using a guest account.

 

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Among that 77%:

  • 78% of social login fans have posted a comment or message to their social networks about a product or service they liked or thought others should know more about
  • 83% reported being influenced to consider buying new products or services based on positive social media comments
  • 69% report positive reviews might increase their likelihood to purchase a product or service
  • 82% seek out, or avoid, companies based on social media reviews

 

That’s a lot of pretty numbers, but what do they mean for marketers?

To help put this research into a marketing context, I had the chance to interview Larry Drebes, CEO, Janrain. Here is the result of that interview:

  Read more…

Social Spam: Why you should clean out your LinkedIn and Facebook communities

December 16th, 2011
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The landing tab for the MarketingSherpa group on LinkedIn is called “Discussions.” Except, it was pretty much false advertising because there wasn’t a lot of discussion happening. It was mostly social spam … blatant self-promotion.

And this self-promotion went far beyond pushing products or special offers, it was promotion of blog posts, webinars, articles, etc … not quite as bad as promotional offers or the SEO phishing we get from comments here on the MarketingSherpa blog.

But still, it prevented conversation. So, Bethany Caudell, Customer Service, MECLABS, and I sat down to discuss the right approach forward. Beth manages the MarketingSherpa LinkedIn group, along with the MarketingExperiments Optimization group on LinkedIn.

 

Social media shades of gray

When it comes to managing social media communities, there are always shades of gray as to what, exactly, is appropriate. Then, once you set ground rules, the social media platform changes on you (ah, innovation).

For example, the challenge I’m talking about here only arose because LinkedIn did away with the “News” tab in its groups, leaving members with no dedicated place to post links they thought were newsworthy. So on the one hand, I did feel for them.

On the other hand, again, all of this “news” was killing the true point of the tab – discussions.

So at the end of the day we bit the bullet, sent out a warning letter about the new change, and Beth whipped out her virtual machete and started cleaning the groups of all that social spam. I expected some negative kickback, but I was extremely surprised when the feedback was overwhelming positive (in case you have to clean house yourself one day, you can see copy for the letter I sent using that link as well).

So the question arises … how do you combat social spam? How far should marketers go as policemen and women for their LinkedIn Groups, Facebook fan pages, and the like? These social media pages, originally meant for discussion, can be easily filled with junk thanks to a self-promoting audience … or simply inappropriate content.

Below you’ll find a very basic six-step process to help with your own efforts.

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Social Media Marketing: Analytics are free and plentiful, so use them

November 15th, 2011
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For years, the debate on social media marketing centered on ROI. Marketers asked themselves “How can we measure the impact of social media?” “What’s the ROI on Twitter?” “How do we know if LinkedIn is worthwhile?”

Thankfully, those days are behind us. Data is available from tools both paid and free. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, not every marketer has taken advantage, as you can see in the chart below from Adobe and Econsultancy, which we pulled from The Social Media Data Stacks e-book.

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Five of the six metrics listed above have a greater number of marketers saying they’re important than the number of marketers tracking them. This is like saying it’s important to eat right and exercise while eating chili cheese fries and canceling your gym membership. It just doesn’t make sense.

But don’t worry — we have you covered. Here is a list of free tools you can use to start measuring each social media metric.

Read more…

Social Media Marketing: How does Google+ fit into the social media puzzle?

November 3rd, 2011
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Last week’s MarketingSherpa B2B newsletter article covered social media advertising. In gathering information for that story, I had the chance to interview three social media experts. One area that came up in each interview, but didn’t make it into the story, was Google+.

Obviously, that platform wasn’t included in the article because Google+ does not currently offer advertising.  But, since Google is such a major player in online advertising, and its struggles with social media are well-known (see: Wave, Orkut, Buzz), it was interesting to find out what our three practitioners thought about the latest splash in the social media world.

Google’s social track record is not great and the jury is very much still out on how effective Google+ will be in regard to making inroads into Facebook’s channel domination. Even Orkut, which was quite popular in specific countries such as India, Iran, Brazil and Estonia, has been steamrolled by Facebook in recent years.

With all this in mind, Google is still Google, and it is worth a few minutes of your time to think about how Google+ might fit into an overall digital marketing strategy. Read more…

B2B Social Media: Jay Baer discusses social media ROI and Facebook likes [Video]

October 6th, 2011
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Quick checklist, B2B marketers. Do you have:

  • Customers?
  • Prospective customers?
  • Employees?
  • Competitors?
  • A story to tell?

Then, according to Jay Baer, “Congratulations, you have the raw materials for social media.” And he makes a good point. After all, some B2B marketers think of social media as more of a consumer marketing tactic, and many B2B marketers think they can’t learn anything from their B2C brethren.

But at last week’s MarketingSherpa B2B Summit in Boston, Jay made a very convincing argument for B2B social media. But he didn’t just aim to shift the audience’s paradigm; his keynote was replete with actionable advice, including ideas on how to tackle one of the most daunting tasks of all, measuring social media ROI.

He also talked about search and social going together like peanut butter and jelly. Jay gave the audience examples on how they could be a “digital dandelion,” spreading their content through the digital world like dandelion seeds on a windy day.

After his keynote (and once he was finished signing books for his marketing groupies), videographer Luke Thorpe and I cornered Jay on the expo floor and peppered him with a few questions about some of his more eye-opening ideas …

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