Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

Social Marketing: Will you monetize social media and measure ROI in 2011?

February 1st, 2011

Social media continues to have a profound effect on marketing, and the use of this channel for marketing purposes is rapidly evolving. This week marks the fielding of our third annual Social Marketing Benchmark Survey to determine exactly how this important new marketing channel has evolved and which strategies will work best going forward.

Last year’s study revealed how social marketing was maturing, resulting in a shift from tactical to strategic thinking. However, we found that most organizations, even those in the strategic phase of social marketing maturity, had not yet figured out how to measure the return on their social marketing investment.

Without the ability to prove ROI, social marketing budgets were, and in most cases still are, being driven by perception. What is the perception? As this chart shows, only 7% of the 2300 social media marketers responding to our last study thought social media was producing ROI and, as a result, were willing to budget liberally. While 49% thought it was a promising tactic that will eventually produce ROI, nearly the same numbers (44%) are much more skeptical and unwilling to invest more.

But social marketing has evolved significantly in the past year and many marketers are not only promising ROI, they are proving it.

So, in our new survey we examine how organizations are overcoming the challenge of social media monetization, and which tactics are most effective for achieving this important objective, in addition to the comprehensive coverage of social marketing topics in general.

To share your insights on social media marketing, please take our third annual Social Marketing Benchmark Survey. This survey is being fielded now and will only remain open through Sunday, February 6, 2011.

Related resources

Social Media Marketing: Turning social media engagement into action at Threadless

Measuring Social Media’s Contribution to the Bottom Line: 5 tactics (Members’ Library)

Inbound Marketing newsletter – Free Case Studies and How To Articles from MarketingSherpa’s reporters

Social Marketing ROAD Map Handbook

Email Summit 2011: Your peers’ top takeaways about email content, enhancing deliverability and optimizing swag

January 28th, 2011

For everyone who made it out to the MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2011 this past week at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, you know ;). And everyone who couldn’t attend this year, you missed some great sessions, case studies, speeches and interaction with around 750 of your peers.

What happens in Vegas …

MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2011

Unless some #SherpaEMAIL folks hit me up *cough @mgieva @martinlieberman cough* this is my evening in #SinCity - phintch

Everyone probably knows the second half of this advertising tagline (hint: what happens, stays), but that’s pretty hard to achieve with real-time blogging (I had posts up on Flint McGlaughlin and David Meerman Scott‘s talks with almost no lead time) from both Sherpa and attendees, crazy-active Twitter hashtag activity (#SherpaEmail) and entire rooms of marketers uploading pictures and video all day long.

We even brought along some of our optimization experts from MECLABS to do one-on-one live optimization of email, landing pages and more (see below) …

Crowdsourced takeaways

A great thing about a successful Email Summit filled with engaged attendees is that reactions to individual sessions and the entire event go online in real-time.

Here’s just a small sample from all the great material this Summit generated:

The #sherpaemail Daily

Email Summit notes shared by Alison Chandler, Marketing Manager American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Here’s some of the material Alison is sharing:

  • Exclusive content gives people a reason to fork over their email addresses. Make at least some of the content in your emails available ONLY to email subscribers (such as special discounts), or FIRST to email subscribers (such as the chance to buy tickets before the general population).

And be sure to check out Alison’s “random gems” at the link.

Key MarketingSherpa Email Summit takeaways from — this is a great collection of Twitter commentary

Live Blog: How Pandora Uses Email Marketing to Keep You Listening from EE Tech News

More from EE Tech News — Live Blog: Email Marketing Summit, Real-Time Marketing and PR & Inbound Marketing

Summit panelist, Ardath Albee — Make 3rd Party Content an Opportunity Not a Necessity

4 Email Marketing Challenges and How to Tackle Them from Magdalena Georgieva at HubSpot

And do hit the official MarketingSherpa Twitter account to find retweets of even more crowdsourced content and photos from the Summit.


Of course a blog of crowdsourced material would not be complete without taking in all the activity at the Summit’s Twitter hashtag — #SherpaEmail. Some numbers for the seven-day period from 1/21 to 1/27:

  • 2,295 tweets
  • 389 contributors
  • 327.9 tweets per day

MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2011

Here’s a sample from the top ten tweeters (and yes, I somehow made it onto this list):

Optimizing swag

The “more” up there in the live optimation section leads to something probably near, and dear, to most conference and expo veterans’ hearts — swag. At lunch on Wednesday, me and my editor — and Director of Editorial Content MarketingSherpa — Daniel Burstein, sat with Karen Rubin and Magdalena Georgieva of HubSpot and Jessica Best of emfluence and did a little swag optimization.

Sure MECLABS Research Managers and the MarketingExperiments Quarterly Research Journal are the go-to people when you need a better-performing landing page, but who should you turn to in order to make cool swag even cooler? Marketing experts, that’s who.

I’m taking full credit for this one:

MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2011

Optimizing Swag Real Time (#osrt) at #SherpaEmail @davidkonline: Add a USB drive for an #emailgeek #swissarmyknife - bestofjess

How to optimize this swag from emfluence Interactive Marketing? Easy. Lose the letter opener and add a USB flash drive on the other side of the keyboard brush, and leave the screen cleaner strip alone. Done and done, and voila, you have a Geek Swiss Army Knife. Ah, swag optimization at its best.

These efforts led to this Twitter exchange:

So you can see we have something of a swag-optimizing super group. If you were at MarketingSherpa Email Summit and have your own swag optimization suggestions, feel free to tweet them using #optimizedswag.

And, who could leave out — or forget — the Slingshot SEO monkey:

MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2011

“I’m walking through the airport and every so often my suitcase screams like a monkey. #sherpaEmail” – @karenrubin

Related resources

Live optimization with Dr. Flint McGlaughlin at Email Summit 2011

Real-Time Marketing: David Meerman Scott at MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2011

MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2011 One-on-One Case Study

Email Summit Case Study: National Education Association’s Member Benefits Corporation

Social Media Marketing: Turning social media engagement into action at Threadless

January 13th, 2011

So, how’s this for a business model? An “ongoing T-shirt design competition.”

Well, that’s the way Threadless keeps hip people in hip T-shirts. And with a business model like that, you need A LOT of engagement and interaction with your customers…key marketing buzzwords for 2011.

To get a behind-the-scenes look at how the online T-shirt retailer works its mojo, you can attend the “Growing Email Lists and Engaging Customers with Social Media” how-to panel at Email Summit 2011 in Las Vegas (January 24-26). Liz Ryan, Email Marketing Manager, Threadless, will be one of the panelists.

To give us a quick glimpse into the Threadless marketing machine (or, perhaps, marketing loom), Liz was kind enough to answer the following  questions…

Threadless has more than 1.5 million followers on Twitter. What can you possibly be tweeting about that’s so interesting?

Liz Ryan: We wouldn’t have much to say if it weren’t for our awesome community. The majority of our tweets focus on our community-submitted tee shirt designs, voting, and community events. We also of course tweet about any specials on pricing, shipping and new products.

Sometimes we tweet on things going on at HQ, live stream of a band playing in the warehouse, DJ or holiday party. Other times it’s an interview with our founder, Jake Nickell, an event we’re participating in, or a Threadspotting – celebrities in Threadless shirts.

Our marketing team has autonomy over the channels we manage. So there is a flexibility and authenticity to the way we manage social media. We tweet about what we want to tweet about without approvals, executive sign offs and strict calendars.

It’s collaborative in that email, social, public relations and advertising work together to make sure messaging is cohesive, but other than that we have complete control over our channels.

Part of your panel is about “…and Engaging Customers with Social Media.” When we hear about social media, we hear a lot about engagement. But how can marketers move customers beyond just engagement to action?

LR: Give them something to take action on.

As marketers, we’re used to pushing information at consumers. We have to change that dynamic and give them something worth pulling and something worth doing:

  • Open dialog – At Threadless, we provide an opportunity to have an open dialog with the Threadless team and other community members and an opportunity to take action. That might mean buying a tee shirt, but we also place a high priority on inspiring our community to submit a design, or to vote on designs, or comment on designs, or blog, or come out to a stop on our tour, or post a photo.
  • Incentives – We not only provide information about what’s going on with Threadless, but we give our community incentives to take action on promotions – whether it’s a giveaway on Twitter, trivia on Facebook, or responding to a blog post.
  • Don’t micro-manage – We don’t micro-manage our community involvement on comments to each other regarding their work. We give our community the power and voice to be Threadless and they take it from there.

Threadless is a “community-centered online apparel store.” I got that information, by the way, from Wikipedia, which, of course, is also collaborative. Marketers are increasingly looking to leverage community-based models – from creating Super Bowls ads to creating, as you do, T-shirts. And, when you think community, most people naturally think of social media. But is an email list a community as well?

LR: Absolutely, email is the original social media. As email marketers, we struggle with making email a two-way interaction. There have been groups and listserv since email was invented, but how do you scale that to one million plus email subscribers?

It’s important we don’t silo email as a solitary channel. At Threadless, we use email to help guide subscribers to our site with newsletters that highlight our latest designs.

We encourage discussion about the designs, the company and our community through blogs and social media channels. It doesn’t make sense to ask one million subscribers to respond to an email, so it alone is not always a two-way channel, but absolutely we respond to emails if someone does reply to our email.

We also respond to our community’s preferences to not receive all our emails or to get info on new designs through social channels only, or maybe you only want to hear about sales. Great! Email is a channel by which we can serve our community, and through that sell some tee shirts.

Your community of 1.3 million regularly votes on their favorite T-shirts. Why? In other words, in possibly a combination to my two previous questions, what motivates them to act?

LR: We give them the platform by which to act, and they are motivated by each other, the community itself. They’re generally supportive of one another’s efforts and feel the need to give feedback to fellow artists. They also feel emboldened to choose new tees to be printed. Their participation can directly affect which shirts are available to buy.

Since you are essentially crowdsourcing your main products, your T-shirt creators aren’t punching a clock at Threadless HQ, I would imagine you would want to keep a pretty close eye on the competition. After all, they could steal not just some of your best product ideas, but also the very people who created the T-shirt designs. What kind of competitive analysis do you perform?

LR: We keep an eye out on other graphic tee companies, but because our business model is ever evolving, we don’t worry so much about what other companies are doing as much as our focus on giving our community what they want – multiple platforms to display their art while providing outlets to give and receive feedback to each other.

I do however receive emails from other tee-shirt lines. In general I am constantly monitoring retailers’ email programs to see what others in the space are doing in terms of messaging, cadence and any deliverability issues they may have.

My favorite T-shirt on Threadless is…

Haikus are easy

But sometimes they don’t make sense


What’s yours?

LR: As a zombie culture fan, I love The Horde. As a mom, I’m really into the Threadless Kids! line, especially the new longsleeves. Running Rhino is one of my all time favorite designs.

Related Resources

Social Marketing: Twitter contest boosts followers 43%

Social Media Marketing: How enterprise-level social media managers handle negative sentiment

Improve Your Facebook Profile to Increase Consumer Interaction: 4 Tactics (Members’ Library)

New MarketingSherpa Inbound Marketing Newsletter

Twitter ‘Teaser’ Campaign Supports One-Day Sale: 5 Steps to a 4% Conversion from Tweets (Members’ Library)

Photo by dan taylor

Most-tweeted Blog Posts of 2010: Blogging for prospects, making social and email work together, email marketing optimization, and more

January 4th, 2011

At this time of year, I see many “My Top 10 Posts for 2010” or “Our Top Blog Posts of the Year.” Here on the MarketingSherpa Blog, we thought we’d try something a little different. We’re sharing your top posts of the year.

We used that neat little plug-in located in the upper right of every post, the Topsy Retweet Button, to determine which posts you (and your peers) found most valuable this year. Here’s what you had to say…

  1. Blogs are Becoming the New Front Door for Prospects: Is Yours Open?
    “3 Ways To Make The Most Of A Corporate Blog” – @flowtown
  2. Making Social and Email Work Together
    “Social and Email need to work together–people who use social media actually check their email more frequently” – @leeodden
  3. Internet Marketing for Beginners: Email marketing optimization 101
    “Want more email capture? Great article from @MarketingSherpa, with a fab little formula on messaging effectiveness.” – @whistlerjedi
  4. Email Marketing: “I am not dead yet”
    “Email Marketing returns an average of $42 for each dollar spent this year” – @Newspapergrl
  5. Content Marketing: How to get your subject matter experts on your corporate blog
    “How to persuade in-house experts to go social via @sbosm” – @jeffhurt
  6. Public Relations: The best press release is no press release
    “Talk to media like they’re your older brother!!” – @laermer
  7. Lead generation: Real-time, data-driven B2B marketing and sales
    “David Meerman Scott shares good info on the integration of B2B social media and real-time lead gen” – @copywriter4u
  8. Social Marketing: Twitter contest boosts followers 43%
    “story behind clever @Kobo campaign run on @Offerpop” – @abonde
  9. Social Media Success Means Learning to Let Go
    “article on relinquishing control in social media to get more engagement and consistency. Great insights.” – @sarameaney
  10. Ten Numbers Every Email Marketer Should Commit to Memory
    “Don’t forget about email” – @thearchergroup

Related Resources

Free subscription to MarketingSherpa Best of Weekly – Marketing case studies and research

Most-Tweeted Blog Posts of 2010: Facebook case study, social media marketing human factor, antisocial media, and more – MarketingExperiments Blog

Sherpa’s Take on B2B in 2010: Part Two – Marketing automation and lead generation content

Email Trends 2010: Proven tactics and test ideas

By PYoakum

Social Marketing: Twitter contest boosts followers 43%

December 7th, 2010

Social media marketing often involves interacting with your audience and giving it what it wants — whether it wants high quality content, customer service or something else. Consistently meeting these goals helps build a following on the networks.

Neil Bhapkar, Online Marketing Manager, Kobo, and his team had followings on Facebook and Twitter, but wanted to boost Twitter followers last August. The marketing team at the global e-book retailer had experimented with a Twitter contest earlier in the year, and wanted to give it another shot with a heavier marketing push.

Kobo had about 4,600 Twitter followers at the time. Although Bhapkar did not consider Twitter to be his team’s most impactful channel, he felt that holding a contest on the network could help boost followers while further engaging Kobo’s online audience.

“I would call it efficient because it’s not overly costly,” Bhapkar says. “It’s a unique way to push the envelope in how we’re engaging with our customers and getting them to spread the word about Kobo.”

Promote contest through multiple channels

The team designed a contest to give away three of Kobo’s eReaders. People who followed Kobo received one entry into the contest. Additional entries could be received by tweeting a book recommendation with the @Kobo tag. For example:

“My favorite books is Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain @Kobo”

The team explained these rules on a contest landing page (pictured here). The page also included:
o Picture of the eReaders
o Countdown clock
o Links to share the landing page via Twitter, Facebook or email
o Official contest rules.

The contest lasted 10 days, during which the team promoted the contest in the following channels:

– Email

Just a few hours after announcing the campaign on Twitter, the team sent an email to its house list describing the rules and linking to the landing page. This was the only email sent to its list for the effort. The team’s parent company, Indigo Books & Music, also added a button in its email newsletter linked to the contest landing page.

– Homepage bannerKobo Homepage Ad

The team posted a large image on its homepage, just below the fold, mentioning the campaign and linking to the landing page.

– Social media

The team launched the contest on Twitter using software from Offerpop, through which they also monitored its progress. The team reminded Twitter followers about the contest about five times over the 10-day span.

“Whenever the launch happens, there’s a first burst of activity and then it flattens,” Bhapkar says. “The best way to reinvigorate it is by tweeting to our follower base to remind them of what is happening.”

The team also mentioned the contests to its Facebook followers.

– Paid search

The team ran paid search advertising in Google for branded keywords such as “kobo ereader” and linked the ads to the contest landing page.

More engagement from relevant offer

After 10 days, the team closed the contest, randomly picked three winners and reached out to them with direct Twitter messages. Results the team saw include:
o 43.5% increase in Twitter followers
o Reached about 500,000 Twitter users with tweets related to the campaign
o More engagement with Kobo’s audience

“It was surprising how engaged some of the most active followers were. Some people didn’t stop at having just one recommendation or two. They actually had double digits; 10, 20. They were really interested in pushing their recommendations…not just in spurts but throughout the duration of the contest,” Bhapkar says.

By crafting an offer sure to interest Kobo’s followers and by encouraging more engagement, the team concentrated more energy into its Twitter campaign and saw an appreciable lift in followers. Due to its low cost, the campaign proved to be an efficient means for increasing Kobo’s following online, Bhapkar says.

Related resources

Social Marketing ROAD Map Handbook

Social Media Marketing Benchmark Report

Social Media Marketing: How enterprise-level social media managers handle negative sentiment

Twitter’s Social Search Ads

April 14th, 2010

Marketers wanting to be heard over the over the rabble in social media may soon have a new tool to capture more attention. On Tuesday, Twitter announced the launch of its first ever advertising program, Promoted Tweets.

The micro-blogging network will show promoted tweets at the top of some search results pages, essentially making the tweets a form of paid search advertising. The tweets look and act as normal tweets, but are clearly labeled as promoted by an advertiser.

This “first phase” of the ad platform is only open to a handful of advertisers, such as Best Buy and Starbucks, and is helping Twitter “get a better understanding of the resonance of Promoted Tweets, user experience and advertiser value,” according to the announcement’s blog post (linked above).

I personally assume a self-service, keyword-targeting ad platform will eventually be offered to a broad range of advertisers–but time will tell. For now, Twitter says they hope to later expand Promoted Tweets beyond their search tool, bring them to other partners’ spaces and into Twitter users’ tweet timelines.

This is yet another case of social media and search engine marketing finding common ground, this time in the area of paid search. Yesterday, we published part one of our two-part social media and SEO special report, which outlined five key trends in social and SEO marketing integration. Stay tuned for part two next week which will feature specific tactics.

Hopefully this announcement will be the first of many which help Twitter grow as a powerful marketing channel. My head is already spinning with different ways sponsored tweets can be tested to increase clickthrough rates and response.

What does this announcement mean to you? What else do you think is on the way?

Capturing Attention on Twitter

February 9th, 2010

A well-timed and well-crafted message always has a chance to generate buzz through social media. If people like your message enough, they’ll send it to their friends. But they have to see it first.

During a call with Gary Wohlfeill, Creative Director, Moosejaw Mountaineering, I realized that getting attention is easier through some channels than others. Wohlfeill and I discussed his team’s recent holiday promotion (keep an eye on our free newsletters for the article). They ran the effort mostly through Facebook and Twitter.

Leading up to launch, the team sent messages through the social channels to build anticipation. They got some attention through Facebook, but it was harder to gain traction in Twitter, Wohlfeill says.

“Twitter is much more like a river. You drop a pebble in the river and you have to be standing there to see it go by. So you have to drop a lot of pebbles to reach a lot of people.”

Wherever you send a message, it’s going to have to compete for attention. Whether it’s a billboard competing with highway traffic, or an email competing with an inbox, competition is there.

Twitter, it seems, thrives on limited attention. Being seen can be a challenge. And once you’re seen, you can only hold attention for 140 characters–unless you get a click.

Two good ways to increase your chances at capturing more attention:
1. Be interesting enough to entice people to share with friends
2. Link to relevant content

Testing Multiple Twitter Feeds

December 15th, 2009

One great thing about social media networks is they’re cost-free. Sure, they can be time consuming. You might even need to hire a manager. But you won’t have to write checks to Facebook, MySpace or Twitter to be there.

Also, social networks are showing some marketers big returns. We ran a great article this week on how Threadless, an online community-based tee-shirt retailer, used Twitter to give more life to a promotion. Check out how they micro-blogged their way to a record sales day.

We spoke with Cam Balzer, VP, Marketing,, for the piece. Balzer mentioned that, apart from their main feed, they also experiment with different Twitter feeds. Hey, why not? Feeds are free to create. Here are two alternatives they’ve tried:

– Customer service

In November, they launched a Threadhelp feed to handle customer service inquiries through Twitter. The thread is managed by members of Threadless’ customer service team. Other companies have tried this strategy as well.

Separating customer service and community-oriented feeds helps keep the fun and useful messages apart from the frustrated customer messages. It also helps customers get the attention they need more directly.

– Single promotion feeds

For Halloween, the team set up an account alleging to be maintained by a zombie. The joke feed put some spin on a holiday promotion. Although it did not capture many followers, the feed was an inexpensive experiment that helped the team learn more about the channel.

Has your team experimented with multiple Twitter feeds? Or different Facebook groups perhaps? Let us know in the comments…

Customer Data via Twitter

October 23rd, 2009

Twitter’s rapid growth this year has given the micro-blogging service a reputation as a powerful way to reach and research consumers.

I recently interviewed Craig Greenfield, VP, Search and Performance Media, Performics, about his team’s Twitter use. They use it to help promote Performics’ marketing services, as well as enhance their clients’ campaigns and research.

Here’re six ways Greenfield sees Twitter contributing to his team’s success:

#1. Improved natural search

– Content promotion – A simple tweet with a short URL link is enough to drive traffic and capture more links to content, and in turn, help search rankings.

“Depending on who re-tweets our links and how they do it…we tend to see a snowball effect that results in more and more valuable SEO links,” Greenfield says.

– Keyword research – Through Twitter’s search and the team’s proprietary tools, they are able to mine Twitter’s data to look for new keywords related to their client’s products.

#2. Capture paid-search opportunities

Twitter helps Greenfield’s team monitor trends in consumer interest. By tracking non-branded industry keywords (such as ‘jeans’ and ‘shirt’ for clothing retailers) they can see both positive and negative reactions to new brands, styles or features.

#3. Reputation management

Twitter is one of many social media sites that Greenfield and his team uses to monitor consumer sentiment around brands and products.

By using software to identify statements about a company or its products, the team is able to see whether consumers are talking about the company in a positive or negative light and respond appropriately.

#4. Landing page design

Greenfield’s team started mining conversations on social media outlets like Twitter to develop new landing page designs. They monitor conversations related to a brand or product and create a “tag cloud” based on the feedback. The team references these groups of text when brainstorming new ideas for landing pages, he says.

#5. Driving direct sales

Threadless, a tee shirt design and retail company, and one of Greenfield’s clients, has attracted more than 1.2 million followers to its Twitter feed and uses Twitter to generate sales, Greenfield says. Threadless tweets about promotions and content, and typically includes a URL link to their website.

#6. B2B lead generation

Greenfield and his team use their Twitter feed to update followers on:
o Company news
o Blog posts
o New whitepaper downloads
o Monthly webinars

The last two items are often used for lead generation, making Twitter one of several ways the team increases their pool of qualified leads for sales.

Twitter Surveys for Quick Opinions

May 19th, 2009

Marketing decisions are best made with a level of certainty about an audience’s preferences. You don’t want to start offering a feature that customers aren’t interested in. And you don’t want to push a marketing offer that they don’t care about.

Social media and data mining can be used to find an audience’s preferences. And as we outline in a case study recently, online surveys are still effective strategy. Then last week I interviewed Glenn Edelman, VP Marketing, Wine Enthusiast, who has recently combined social media and surveying.

Edelman is responsible for Wine Enthusiast’s wine accessories ecommerce site, and’s direct-to-consumer ecommerce wine sales. His team uncovered a great strategy for selling wine via email with product pages that include “virtual wine tastings” in two- to three-minute videos (the case study will be published by eTail later this month, and then by MarketingSherpa).

When adding video to the wines’ product pages, Edelman’s team wondered whether the videos should automatically play, or wait to be clicked by visitors before playing. The team asked Wine Enthusiast’s Twitter followers about the idea.

“We thought about testing it but said ‘hey, let’s ask our audience.’ And we got a huge, huge response to never do auto-play. ‘We hate auto-play,’ they said. It was such as negative response that we didn’t even bother testing,” Edelman says.

There you have it. Twitter can be used as a quick way to get your audience’s opinion, in addition to its other marketing applications, such as branding, PR, and promotion.