Results from a 25-point social media reach-out research project.
Last month, September 14th to be exact, I posted a blog about such a social media research project. With all the hype around social media marketing strategies and available tactics for businesses, I was curious if a full throttle social media approach would make a difference for a small business with my revenue model. I earn money from consulting, speaking and writing.
Objective: Determine if a 25-point social media effort is worth the investment and results.
TOP LINE FINDINGS FROM STUDY
Is a social media blitz on 25 different points of contact a good use of time and money that produces a meaningful return and results vs. the cost?
In my opinion, to date, from these efforts, NO. Could this change in 6 months, YES. It’s too early to track long-tail results such as if the Fox News report touches a book buyer, another media source or a future client from the visibility.
We invested over $3,800 in time, and that time could have been used for higher income generating activities. (As a side note, I realize my current business model has limited online revenue channels to convert, monetize and track.) But with our current model, the time and money resources we spent on social media, I believe this investment could have been better used and generated more of a return if we had spent that same amount on direct sales initiatives, ad words and media buys to produce better results.
Could these efforts payoff later?
Yes, the good thing about social media is, once it’s out there, it’s pretty permanent, so future clients could stumble upon our past efforts, articles and links. Additionally, the new visitors who come back to the site can buy products and services in the future now that they are aware of my site. And all of these social media efforts do aid in Search Engine Optimization. And for me SEO produced over $100,000 in fees this past year alone.
Was there one powerful means of social media that I believe is really worth it’s weight in gold from this test?
Our Mailchimp newsletter, (which is an aggregation of our blog feed) drives the most traffic to our site. Our Google analytics also shows that the top referral sources include: Twitter, TalentZoo newsletter and key media coverage.
If you decide to try monitoring your efforts and results from social media, you must first define what good results look like. For my companies, success from a marketing effort would look like: More value than investment.
Our value framework was defined as:
- An increase in unique visitors to site
- An increase in new opt-ins to our mailing list
- An increase in affiliate sales
- An increase in book and product sales
- An increase in speaking engagements
- An increase in consulting projects
- An increase in (a top-tier, media source calling me for an interview)
Our value achieved that we can quantify:
- We’ve had an increase in unique visitors to our site by 100%
- We had 20 opt-ins to our mailing list in last 30 days (value $10.00 each)
- We sold 7 affiliate items and earned $7.00
- New book sales (can’t track yet)
- Product sales via tools store (our store was not up at the time of this test)
- New speaking engagements from blog (0)
- New consulting projects from blog (0)
- Top-tier media source interview (1) – Live.Foxnews.com booked me for 10/25
Investment is defined as time and money:
I look at time invested as actually paid time, plus the cost of missed opportunity because our time was tied up on this social media project, other tasks were put to the side.
Time expense on this project was calculated at: 17 hours at $300 an hour = $3700
My time includes: writing of the initial blog that we were touting (Branding and the Beast – How to not get bullied.), the blog about our 25-point study, I planned and did analysis of this project, completed items 1-8 out of 25 on the list and wrote this follow up blog of our results.
My staff‘s time to do list items 9-25 and participate in planning and analysis of our project was equal to 10 hours at an average of $60.00. Billable rate = $600.00.
Total cost of project: $4,300.00
Results that you can take to the bank = 0
Soft results that possibly can translate in future earnings = $500.00
Bottom line: Loss of $3,800.00
The 25-point social media activities we did to promote the blog and gain meaningful results, see original post for list.
Bottom line – should businesses bank on this type of expense?
I believe strong brands are cumulative efforts and any business’ marketing should include a diverse mix of touch points including social media.
Do you think social media efforts should have the same pull as a sharply designed direct response campaign where the credibility helps and sometime just the right placement turns into a home run at the end of season?
Social media continues to get lots of media coverage and buzz. Some, very well deserved and some is just a whole bunch of empty shoeboxes. Not good, because I love shoes!
Many of my blog readers and friends know that in 2009, after reading one tweet on a Saturday night at 11PM – and following up on it – this social connection turned into a million dollar consulting contract for me. I will forever love little blue birds!
I’ve also connected with and discovered some amazing professional resources through LinkedIn too. I love to find competent people that I can count on to help me do my work!
That’s all good, but as entrepreneurs and small or big businesses, can one count on meaningful results from social media? Like a concentrated 25-point social media blitz without investing any money, just time.
I’m curious too. So I’m going to conduct a test. We’ll call it the “25- point social media project”. This week my staff and I will leverage a two-part blog post article in 25 different ways through social media. In 2 week days we will report back the results. We will also track our time so you we can weigh out the investment to the return.
Here’s the test.
Join me, if you want to try this too and then we can compare results and lessons learned.
My blitz was geared around my new book, Brand Turnaround. I started by writing an article, which included excerpts from the book. The article was about brands gone bad and how they return to glory. The two-part series was called Branding and the Beast. So beyond the text, I had the book art and an image I bought from istock.com.
My 25-point social media blitz/how to promote your blog:
- I tweeted about it, included a link to the blog post and a unique headline.
- Posted a discussion about it on LinkedIn in my Brandturnaround group.
- Found a popular LinkedIn discussion, made a comment and included the article link.
- Posted a discussion in blogengage.
- Posted on .docstoc with links to blog.
- Turned it into a PowerPoint and posted it on Slideshare.
- I utilized pinging services. By pinging the blog post I let search engines know I just updated my blog.
- I posted it on Facebook with a different headline (because the blog autofeeds to my Facebook author page).
- I bookmarked the post on Reddit.
- I bookmarked the post on StumbleUpon and grew my stumble followers.
- Bookmarked the post on Delicious.
- Created a saved search for Twitter based on the blog’s keywords, replied to those tweeting the keywords with a comment and a link to my blog.
- I bookmarked the post to Digg.
- I found a high traffic site, TalentZoo, where they invite guest bloggers to submit stories.
- I submitted it to technorati.
- I wrote another discussion about it and posted a question on another LinkedIn group.
- I bookmarked the post to Blinklist.
- I posted it on Bizsugar, so readers could vote on it.
- I added my blog to Ping-o-Matic – it updates different search engines that your blog has updated.
- I produced a 3 minute video on the book Brand Turnaround, posted it on YouTube, Vimeo and then promoted it in Twitter, Linkedin and on my Author Facebook page.
- I posted my blog on blokube – a social voting site dedicated to professionals in blogging.
- I added 5 linkbacks within my blog to other blogs in my niche.
- I commented on 5 other blogs in my niche, with links back to my blog.
- Started a discussion on Google Groups.
- I posted an article on EzineArticles.com with a byline link to my blog.
and be sure to use a URL tracking system for every single URL you create, which tracks the effectiveness of your links.
We are off to the research laboratory and we’ll let you know our results.
For more on social media tips, view:
If you are going to tweet, why not make it really sweet.
I sure hope so. Many other cool companies like TED, MTV and Vera Wang like the hairy, cute MailChimp guy.
Switching email services is always a bear even if it’s named after a monkey. We’ve been using Feedblitz for the past year and while I’ve been happy with the process of sending out the bi-weekly mail, I’ve felt it was hard to make changes and user-friendly-ness was more stress than I, or my team, could stomach.
This week we made the jump. There are still some fleas here, but know we are working on them. For example, the ezine won’t always be this long and next time you will see abstracts and then click through button.
Before we changed, we researched several options and my design and IT team recommended MailChimp for a few of reasons.
1) We could create an ezine from our weekly blog posts feed.
2) It allows a lot more design features. We like pretty mail.
3) But most of all it did not require our community, which has gotten pretty big, to have to re opt-in. I was concerned that this would loose folks because of the hassle and did not want that.
4) The cost was about the same as Feedblitz, under $50 bucks a month.
5) The platform works well with social media sites and apps.
On the downside, we also learned that programming know how is needed to break the standard feed formats.
We hope you like the new look and welcome your feedback. We’ve also made some changes to the site which I will be reporting back on whether they were worth the time and expense.
Thanks for your continued support!
That is a million dollar question. Email continues to get high marks as an effective channel to reach customers and prospects, but it can also cross the line of too much, too frequent and even feel pest-like.
Oddpodz is very sensitive concerning how often we reach out to our community. Starting this week, we are going to employ a new schedule of sending ezines to our friends and supporters. Twice a month we will blast our top posts from our three blogs. On the off ezine blast weeks, we will post a wrap up article in the Grow your Business blog. And if you want a daily dose of Oddpodz, please sign up for our RSS feed too.
Let us know what you think? Just enough? Too much? Need more?
Subject lines are critical in email. They are often the power behind getting read. Equally as important are the words you want to avoid, so your email does not get Devoured by the spam eater. I found this list and some other good SEO tips. They seemed to cover the bad boys.
100 spam trigger words & phrases to avoid
- 100% satisfied
- Accept credit cards
- Act Now!
- Additional Income
- All natural
- All new
- Apply online
- Best price
- Billing address
- Buy direct
- Call free
- Can’t live without
- Cards Accepted
- Cents on the dollar
- Click / Click Here / Click Below
- Click to remove
- Compare rates
- Cost / No cost
- Dear friend
- Do it today
- Extra income
- For free
- Free and FREE
- Free installation
- Free leads
- Free membership
- Free offer
- Free preview
- Free website
- Full refund
- Get it now
- Giving away
- Increase sales
- Increase traffic
- Information you requested
- Investment / no investment
- Investment decision
- Marketing solutions
- Message contains
- Month trial offer
- Name brand
- No gimmicks
- No Hidden Costs
- One time / one-time
- Order / Order Now / Order today / Order status
- Orders shipped by priority mail
- Please read
- Potential earnings
- Print out and fax
- Real thing
- Removal instructions
- Risk free
- Satisfaction guaranteed
- Save $
- Save up to
- Search engines
- See for yourself
- Serious cash
- Special promotion
- The following form
- US dollars
- Work at home
Do you know of any others? Please share.
Some other tips to remember.
- Writing subject lines for email should include: thoughtful creativity, keywords, a sense of urgency, value points, benefit words and emotional triggers.
- Don’t repeat your subject line, just because you think it’s a campaign. Your readers may not know that. They could think it’s something stuck in the pipeline and likely trash it. Instead, if it’s a campaign or you have branded your series, add a number, a keyword tied to benefit or hot topic phrase.
- Test. Split your list and try a couple variations.
Where do you draw the line and decide what is honest to goodness marketing and networking, and what is invasive, obnoxious and sleazy SPAM?
It’s a hard call.
I get lots of email from people I know damn well I’ve never opted in to their email list. Plus they even use a respected email service that claims to be spam free and still my in box is stuffed full with unrequested messaging and junk. I’m starting to question how spam free they are. I’ve used company for several years called Feedblitz. In fact, I just became an affiliate last week. This means if you sign up for their service, Oddpodz will make a commission. However, my recommendations are always based on my experience with the company, the small are a bonus Whatever service you use, do your homework, because switching providers often requires having your community re-opt in and you can loose some long time followers.
Back to Feedblitz, I was attracted to their service because your blog is the feed/content for your email. I’ve learned many people still prefer mail over RSS feed. They do a good job, and don’t tolerate list dumping or spamming. And if you have an issue you get to speak to real person.
I often wonder, did this happen because of some business group I joined and they sold their list, or did this company get my biz card and randomly add me to their email pool or did they buy my name from a list broker, in any case, 99% of the time I’m annoyed because fundamentally I hate spam and any relative or form of it makes me cranky.
The other side of the coin. As a business owner who is trying to build a market of followers and customers, I’ve considered buying lists. I understand the math behind if you reach out to 10,000 people and offer something of value, 5% may join in your party. Is that a bad thing?
Can you say direct mail? Since I’ve been on this planet, I’ve been introduced to many a worthy businesses and products via an ice cold piece of direct mail. I know my name was purchased some where down the line in the marketing and capitalism world of business promotion. And I’m cool with that. I know I can also choose to chunk the uninvited mail into the trash at any moment.
Here’s my take on the subject of uninvited, no permission email marketing.
Buying an email or snail mail list is OK if you reach out with a valuable offer, one or two times. And as long as you provide an easy, clear way to opt-out at any point.
If you don’t provide the opt-out option and you Ignore the recipients request to stop receiving your stuff, then you deserve to get the worst computer virus ever and get struck by lightening too.
Be honest with the people you reach out to. Don’t tell them they signed up, if they didn’t. That just adds to making the world feel crazy, when they may not have lost their mind yet.
Love to hear your thoughts on this subject.
- Have you purchased lists? Where?
- Did you get a good return?
- What email service to you use?
- Where is the best place to report spammers?
- Are you still using snail mail?
While there are thousands of rules for marketers on how to obey proper email etiquette; no spam, permission based and opt-in lists only, I am constantly amazed at how rude and uncivilized some people can be on the internet. I received the email below from someone who could have EASILY unsubscribed themselves. This is not the first of it’s kind, but this person was the boor that broke the camel’s back. Mind you, they willingly joined our professional network and opted to receive email from us.
“I think your mission is, like all spammers, to do as little as possible and con as much loot as possible out of anyone that will respond to your garbage spam. You are spammed, blacklisted and deleted from my inbox. ASSHOLES!”
I know it’s easy to get frustrated, but think before you fire off an email like this. Even in the age of SPAM, there’s a chance that a human being will be at the receiving end of your note. I know that responding to a newsletter can make it seem like a non-human will be the target of your wrath, but that is not always the case. This individual has tarnished their brand (for me) and certainly won’t be at the top of my list to do business with or refer to friends or colleagues. I wouldn’t want to work with someone with a temper like this. I’m not an ASSHOLE! I envision this person as one with an attitude similar to the fellow to the right. Charming, no?
1. Review your email. Yes, you would like a certain action taken. Is this how you would ask if the person were standing in front of you? Are you going to look like a big jerk?
2. Give the offending party a chance to resolve the situation. People make mistakes. You would probably want someone to give you the chance to make things right. Make sure that your grievances are legit.
3. If there is a way that you can get what you need (i.e., removed from a list), do it and save the profanity and complain to someone else.
4. Always go back to the Golden Rule – treat others as you would like to be treated.
5. Think about how you would feel if your note showed up on the front page of the morning paper with your name on it.