Category Archives: B2B

Realising the ROI from your social media activities


Image credit: Flickr

Social media Return on Investment (ROI) is something that all companies want. But ROI is a very difficult thing to measure through something as intangible as a social media campaign, a blogging strategy or web competition. Case studies are examples of your success in the corporate world, and also a key indicator of sentiment and success in the social media space.

In these difficult times, when companies have no budget, social media tools must deliver a positive ROI. If you run a project, you need to prove the ROI and demonstrate its’ worth.

Old Spice had an innovative way to persuade women to buy Old Spice in the US. They launched an online video campaign called ‘the man your man can smell like’. The campaign was launched during super bowl week and it targeted TV programs where viewers would likely watch together. In the first 3 months of 2010, mentions of the Old Spice brand captured 75% of all conversations with half of the conversations initiated by women. Other videos started to appear parodying the Old Spice advert and style of conversation, and TV presenters like Oprah mentioned the brand on her show.

The agency then hit upon a great way to capture the real time messages on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. It recorded over 40 responses to online messages: proposals of marriage, answers to questions and replies to users who had posted questions. This follow on campaign had an amazing response and a huge knock on effect on the Old Spice Twitter and Facebook pages. The old Spice website had a 300% increase in site visits and became the most popular channel on YouTube. Financially this campaign has made a difference too with sales of Old Spice body wash up by 27% in 6 months since campaign launch. A great return on investment from a YouTube video campaign.

Dell wants to drive repeat business, drive visitors to their site and lower their costs. Their site is full of user generated content and ideas for future product development. As social media impacts every part of Marketing, Dell sees a correlation between customers visiting their social and tech centre sites, discussing and purchasing of products.

Social media should be an integral part of brand building and activities done on social media, impacts the brand, the products and the way that Dell interact with customers and consumers. Social media impacts everything that social media can do from product development with idea storm – to graduate recruitment. The way that people talk about your brand is very different from the way that you talk about your brand. Go and engage with them where they are. Tools embedded in Facebook can bring value to the overall experience. Ratings on content means that you can add value to the user generated content. You get credibility for the content – and this leads to sales.

So how do you realise ROI for your social media activities? Here are some tips:

· Measure your success in your activities. 34% of B2B firms don’t currently do this. Find your baseline and measures to make sure that you can grow your figures and improve upon.

· Be credible. Get a blog. Demonstrate your credibility. The company will want to see positive PR and visibility. Employee blogs will add to these column inches as your presence increases.

· Get case studies. Find recent stories that are relevant to your organisation. Position them to the budget holders who want to see ROI, not the amount of fans, page views or ‘Likes’. They want to see revenue. The Old Spice campaign worked. It led to an uptick in sales. Sales matter. Numbers matter.

· Listen to the customer. Dell has a 24 x 7 Command centre. They listen to the conversations taking place about the company around the world. Credible insiders get a better response to their conversations than a Marketing or PR person.

· Have different strategies for your brand. Be prepared to change direction quickly if your strategy isn’t getting any traction. That way, you’ll be able to see which strategy generates the best ROI. ROI is what the executives understand.

· You need a social media policy. Your social media policy needs to be good, it needs to be flexible. It needs to be followed and it needs to be monitored. For this, you need to ask the key questions of your organisation. What the business wants, what the employees are permitted to do, and what the interaction with the community will be.

· Get sales from your efforts. Budget holders want to see a positive ROI or they will not commit. You’ll get a much better level of interaction if you can add your customer’s social media profile to your customer database. You’ll be able to engage with them at a whole new level. Think about which sites to focus on.

· Get staff to execute on your social media plan. You need to position this carefully as this is a cost to the business. 60% of businesses don’t have staff dedicated to social media. Without staff to engage or without time to engage you will not have success.

If the board doesn’t get the value of social media, remind them that 50% of your competitors are using social media and will be quite happy to have the conversation with your customers instead

And if they’re still not convinced, I’ll talk to them about the business value of social media and why they can get business success by following some simple guidelines in my book. J


Eileen Brown is a social media consultant who helps companies with their social media strategy. Her book, Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business, is available at


How does SEO actually work?

Search Engine Optimisation seems baffling to those of us who hire a consultant to get our sites higher up the search engine rankings, and frustrating for those of us who have to keep up with all the changes that Google makes to its algorithm to stay one step ahead. (See my blog posts from the other day to see just how much Google has changed SEO.  This infographic  from the Datadial blog makes things a little bit clearer – well a little bit less muddy anyway.


Now its more than just meta tags within the html pages.  image file names, Body text, headings and bold text are all counted as are reviews and links.  Embedded images and badges all help too.  So Embed your button wherever you can.  Create one!

It’s good also to see that great activity on social media sites has a good boost for being discovered and discoverable.  Fresh activity on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all contributes to your ranking.  Keep it fresh, keep it relevant and the search engines will reward you for it…


Getting a positive ROI on social media activities


Image credit: Flickr

I’ve talked about Dell lots of times in the past – they get several mentions in my book about their social media activities and their positive responses to customer issues and queries.  At a recent BlogWell session in Texas, Adam Brown, the director of Social Media shares some of his insights about how Dell uses social media to truly connect with its customers



Adam talks about how businesses are changing by the pioneering efforts of the social media marketers.  How our roles are changing into a multidisciplinary set of different tasks and how social media changes the way we work.  In these difficult times, when companies have no budget, social media and their tools must deliver a positive ROI.  If you need to run a project, you need to prove the ROI and demonstrate that it was worth it.

Dell have a need to drive repeat business, drive visitors to their site and lowering support costs.  They have a really strong community and set of support sites – like their ideastorm site which is full of user generated content and ideas

Dell increase their reach using link love – on Facebook and Twitter.  Social Commerce is a huge thing for Dell this year and wants to achieve the impact both from a B2B and B2C environment.  As social media impacts every part of Marketing, Dell see a correlation between customers visiting  their tech centres , discussing the products and subsequently buying product.

Social media should be an integral part of brand building and activities done on social media, impacts the brand, the products and the way that Dell interact with customers and consumers.  Social media impacts everything that social media can do.  From product development with idea storm – to graduate recruitment

The way that people talk about your brand is very different from the way that you talk about your brand.  Go and engage with them where they are.  Tools embedded in Facebook can bring value to the overall experience.  Ratings on content means that you can add value to the user generated content – you get credibility for the content – and this leads to sales.  YouTube content leads directly to sales of product – Adam calls this "purposeful edu-tainment"  The content has to be entertaining and educational too.

Dell have a 24 x 7 Command centre – which demonstrates how important their social media connection is to the company.  They listen to the conversations taking place about the company around the world.  They find that credible advocates get a much better response to their conversations than a Marketing or PR person.  They train employees in how to use the popular social media tools like LinkedIn, Facebook and other media – so that they know how to get the best out of their conversations

And they make sure that they’re listening to the customer – to get the best response possible and the best engagement.  They really are making a great effort which is delivering some great results…

There’s some more information about the talk is on Andys blog and if you’re working in the enterprise with all of the associated challenges you have, then this is video is a good investment of your time…


Convert your Facebook profile to a business page

Now this is useful to all of the Facebook early adopters and small businesses who have built up their business reputation by having lots of Facebook friends.  Facebook pages are a recent addition to the Facebook marketing stable and some small businesses have been reluctant to jump to a page with the potential loss of friends / customers.

Well there’s now a solution…

Facebook now have a Profile to Business page migration wizard.  All your friends will convert into Fans who like your page.  Your profile pictures will move across too and your login account becomes a business account which is the Administrator of the new page.


These business accounts mean that you’ll now be able to run ad campaigns and track success of your campaigns.  Pages are easy to administer, add new Admins and modify with Facebook Markup Language (FBML) to get a more dynamic looking site.

And if you’ve made an error in converting, you can always apply to change back to an ordinary profile page again…

Have a look at the FAQ’s on the Help Centre before you get going though… It looks complicated enough to reverse back to your ordinary personal profile again

More information on the Inside Facebook blog…

Working The Crowd interview

Working the Crowd Layout:Layout 1I did an interview for Interviewfest the other week and my comments have just been published on their site in the Technology section.  They asked me some fantastic questions which really made me think, so I’ve copied the interview here.  Many thanks to Jennie and Sabrina for finding me and putting these interview questions together.

Working the Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business highlights the obvious to doing business today, is there any crucial information one can overlook when looking through the book?

All social media activities take an investment in time which can sometimes swamp staff who have demanding job roles. Often this is overlooked when planning social media implementations and one member of the implementation team can quickly become overloaded with work. The tasks should be spread amongst several people in the group

What sparked your interest to writing the book?

I wanted to create a practical handbook with steps you through the tasks required to create your social media strategy and implement it successfully and achieve a measurable Return on Investment (ROI) . I also wanted to include social media examples from brands that exists outside of the US, giving the book an appeal to international companies. The book is full of examples from large multinational businesses, small companies and individuals who have used social media to grow their brand and improve perception about their company. There are also a few examples of companies who have got things rather wrong

What are some of the strategies a small business can implement to increase traffic and social equity?

Keep it fresh. You don’t fish in stagnant water. You won’t get business with a stagnant web site. Adding social feeds onto a website, will keep the content fresh and keep the site high up in search engine rankings. It’s not just about SEO any more. With search engines following social feeds, keeping active on social networks can greatly improve your position in the rankings.

Top five Eileen Rules to networking

  • Follow up. If you make a connection at a business meeting – send an email the next day to initiate the connection electronically. Then the other person has you in their address book. If you don’t get a response – throw the business card away
  • Don’t cruise the room collecting as many business cards as possible – which are probably less relevant. Take time to make a good connection
  • Use the power of the referral network. Often your best business won’t come from your initial meeting – but because someone has referred you
  • Be genuinely interested in the other person. They will know if you’re not sincere and will mentally mark you out as someone who isn’t interested in them. You will have lost a potentially good connection
  • Follow up. Yes, I know I’ve said this, but it shows you are genuinely interested in the connection and the potential value it can bring to you both. My best long term referrers are from connections I’ve taken the time to keep in touch with on a social basis…

Why do you think when someone reads your book not all the outcomes are of the positive expectations?

Like any activity, engaging in social media activities is not always positive. Being prepared for things that can go one, and things that can damage your reputation – and having a workable strategy to minimise the effects of a PR disaster can go a long way in minimizing the effects of an error. Things often go wrong, but having an effective engagement strategy in place to deal with issues will really help

What is next for you?

We are at an inflection point in social media. It is still in its infancy and, contrary to perception, has not had broad adoption across many companies and institutions. These are very exciting times, with new tools and technologies coming out each week that have the ability to change the way we work and interact with each other. I’m fascinated by this evolution of interactivity and the way that the current tools have been adopted in creative and innovative ways by large and small companies. My next book will focus on this step change and how companies have evolved to survive in this people powered, connected world

It’s about the discount–not the relationship



I found an interesting post on Nasdaq today talking about the differences in what companies think that their customers want, compared with what their customers actually want from them.  IBM carried out a study and talked to more than 1000 consumers – asking them how they used social media.  Company executives were also asked their opinion about why they though consumers interacted.  There are some interesting callouts from the study which seem to contradict the way that we think we use social media:


  • Consumers use social networks to stay in touch with family or friends
  • Consumers use social media sites to find discounts and for purchases
  • Companies feel that they are under pressure to engage with their customers
  • Companies believe that consumers hope to feel part of the community by this type of engagement


This is all very well in the B2C space, where, as consumers we’re searching for the best deals around.  This is how Groupon has become so successful. 

Groupon offers discounts (and earns its revenue by taking a fee of 50% of the Groupon offer price plus VAT).  Groupon has a way of retaining their customers.  Have a look at what happens when you try to unsubscribe! 

Loyalty, offers, discount and deals matter in the B2C space.  But what what about B2B?

With B2B relationships are important.  With B2B, companies rely on their partner network to sell their services, products and licenses.  I think B2B connections are all about relationships.

Sure, companies can offer their partners suppliers discounts and offers – but I don’t think that’s the only reason that partners connect.  Business partners need information, news, and roadmap knowledge so that they can tailor their own businesses to align with the direction of the company.  If they don’t have this early information, then a partner could invest in creating a solution offering which could be aligned with a product that is about to be sidelined or sunsetted.  An investment error like this could be a significant issue for a small business – much more than a potential partner service, discount or free offer.

Customer connections matter.  Relationships matter.

If you’re only aiming for a light touch or one time engagement with your customer, then a special offer will work wonders.  It will initially get people through your door.  It’s the relationship that you have with the customer after that first contact that might keep them coming back.

And that’s all about how you make the customer feel.  Part of a community that receives discounts might be the relationship that keeps them coming back to you.  Ask Groupon…

Image credit: Flickr