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10 case studies prove the ROI of brand advocates 14

Posted on December 07, 2013 by Rob Petersen




Brand Advocates

brand advocate is a person, or customer who talks favorably about a brand or product, and then passes on positive word-of-mouth (WOM) messages to other people.

According to Forrester, Zuberance and an infographic from Jay Baer (below), the influence of brand advocates accounts for billions of dollars in purchases for everything from cars to computers, hotel rooms, movies, enterprise software, and more. Brand advocates are:

  • 5X more valuable than average customers
  • Spend at least 2X as much as average customers
  • Spend 3X as much as average customers over their lifetime of their relationship with a company or brand
  • Reach 150 people in social media every time they advocate for a product or service
  • 92% of consumers trust brand advocates

Do brand advocates generate return on investment for brands? Here are 10 case studies that prove the ROI of brand advocates.

  • AMERICAN EXPRESS: To promote small business credit cards, American Express created a social media community for small business owners to share, learn and grow. They also created a holiday, Small Business Saturday. The community has 2,700,000+ Likes, 195,000 Tweets and American Express saw a +23% increase in transactions to small business merchants.
  • CARS.COM: encouraged rating, reviews and sharing (versus no ratings, reviews and sharing) and it showed that pages that had ratings and reviews had a 16% higher rate of conversion and a 100% higher rate of traffic through to dealer’s sites.
  • DUANE READE: A drugstore chain with 250 location in New York and New Jersey, used a VIP Blogger Team generating content via their own social platforms, DR-QR code landing page, blogs, and Google+, in addition to traditional PR tactics. The utilization of celebrity bloggers from daytime shows and one-hour Twitter parties created over 20 million impressions. From over 2000 pieces of original content, there was a 28% lift in year-over-year sales and a 5x ROI.
  • FOLICA: A well-known retailer of health and beauty products, noticed they had many referrals to their website, but had no way of tracking and identifying these referrals. By engaging their customers and encouraging them to share the secrets of great hair, customers were able to share via Facebook, Twitter, email and personalized urls. After 30 days of running the new Social Referral Program, 6,000 brand advocates were identified. The average number of shares per advocate was four. 21,000 shares had been generated via Facebook, Twitter and email and a 16% conversion rate was driven by the program.
  • J. HILBURN: A retail brand which was receiving many referrals from existing satisfied customers. By offering customers $50 for each friend referred and encouraging the advocates to share the offer using social media, brand advocates were identified and rewarded. Any referred customer who spent over $100 received a $50 discount on their purchase. After 45 days of running the new program, 1,000 customers had made referrals. Averaging 12 shares per advocate, the referral program produced 10,000 social shares via Facebook, Twitter and email. The bottom line result was 600 transactions which created over $250,000 in sales.
  • ROKU: specializes in streaming entertainment devices for television. With 1,000,000+ units already sold, they tapped their existing and large user database into a source of acquisition. Sales increased 30% and the number of monthly referrals is now around 10,000 per month.
  • SENDGRID, a cloud-based e-mail provider, contained a simple offer for existing customers which could be shared socially. The offer was made to existing customers to share referral links. This meant that when any of their referred friends became new paying customers of SendGrid, they would receive $20 cash and the referred customer would also receive a 25% discount on their first three months. SendGrid achieved a 111% ROI after six months of running thel program and a 353% ROI projected for the first year of the program.
  • STARBUCKS: Since 2008, MyStarbuckIdea.com has been advocate-driven idea tank where Starbucks drinkers submit ideas for new products and coffee concoctions. It has worked as a hub for all Starbucks customers to share all their ideas, suggestion and even their frustration.  “We used to launch a new product and it cost millions of dollars. Now, when we launch a new product, we already have millions of fans,” say Chris Bruzzo, Vice President Brand, Content and Online at Starbucks.
  • SUBWAY: Sponsored the “Slim Down Challenge,”  a live speaking event consisting of some of America’s hottest speakers and celebrities. Its mission was to travel from city to city across America delivering powerhouse information that challenged your mind, heart, and waistline. They used social technologies and promotion apps to raise awareness of the Slim Down Challenge and recruit speakers. The strategy included a social competition. This was part of a full marketing strategy for the campaign. They found that 71% of site traffic that went to the registration page, came directly from Facebook.
  • WALMART: Has 34,000.000+ fans, more than any other brand on any social platform. They also have more than 385,000 followers. They post 6 to 7 times per day. They engage with fans, regularly. Last year, on Black Friday, Walmart received 62,000 posts from consumers, a rate of 42 per minute. The engagement with consumers who spread the work is getting a “marketing equivalent” of 10X return-on-investment (ROI) compared to other advertising spends according to CMO, Stephen Quinn.

These case studies cover brands big and small, B2C and B2B and show brand advocates can be found for any business if you look for them. Do they convince you of the ROI of brand advocates?

To learn more about the ROI of social media marketing, download the ebook, 166 Case Studies Prove ROI of Social Media Marketing  (80,000+ people have). It’s free on the sidebar or join our email list and have case studies like these delivered to you.

Did these case studies on the ROI of brand advocates teach something new.

Brand Influencers vs. Brand Advocates


20 Facebook ad tips for the holiday season 4

Posted on November 17, 2013 by Rob Petersen




With the holidays approaching, gift gifting is about to increase, significantly, and so are advertising costs on social networks. Social sharing can have big sales impact, especially on Facebook.

In fact, if last year’s is any indication, within a couple of weeks, costs for Facebook ads are about to rise 20%-40% versus the rest of the year on the primary spending metric – CPC (Cost Per Click).

How do you make Facebook ads work harder when costs are higher.

Here are 20 Facebook ad tips for the holiday season.

  1. BE CLEAR ABOUT CONVERSION GOALS: Conversion means getting people to take the action you want. Do you want Facebook users to buy something on your site? More Likes on your Facebook page — knowing that Facebook fans tend to be valuable customers in the long run?  Enter a sweepstakes or contest? RSVP to a Facebook event?
  2. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE: Use Facebook’s robust targeting options to focus on specific groups. The more specific your advertising segment, the more clicks your ad will get. The better the Click Through Rate, the more you save on Cost Per Click (CPC).
  3. OPT FOR “PRECISE INTEREST OPTIONS“: Get connected with people who share specific interests analogous to your brand.
  4. GET HIGHER CONVERSIONS TO SAVE ON CPC WITH HYPER-TARGETING: Start with a core, solid fan base first and engage them to get better ad conversions…without breaking the bank!
  5. CREATE “CUSTOM AUDIENCES”: With the addition of the “custom audiences” feature, advertisers are reporting higher conversion rates.  An auto company saw a 24x return using custom audiences in combination with Offers).
  6. REACH MORE FANS THROUGH THE NEWS FEED: 60 percent of all users are visiting Facebook on their mobile phones and tablets. Facebook mobile ads earn up to 2.5X more than desktop-only ads according to a study from SocialCode 
  7. HAVE FANS SHARING WITH “LIKE” ADS” “Like Ads” work just how they sound. Viewers can “Like” you ad at the bottom. They do well when they appear in the right-hand column in addition to the News Feed.
  8. GET MORE EYEBALL FROM YOUR AUDIENCE WITH PROMOTED POSTS: Promoted Posts work best with one audience: yours. Your fans already know you, trust you, and want to engage with you. Target Fans first becaue Promoted Post can  a lot like spam, especially the sponsored story that is created with it. If your Promoted Post is reported as spam, it’ll be running a lot less.
  9. MAKE COPY “SUCCINCT, FRIENDLY AND CONVERSATIONAL”: This is what Facebook recommends too. You have a headline of 25 character and body copy of 90 characters to do it.
  10. CREATE HOLIDAY URGENCY: Put holiday clues in your copy and let people know whatever you’re offering has a limited time to take action
  11. FOCUS ON KEYWORDS: Make use of the related words as close as possible. It will give you an edge against your competitors and rivals.
  12. PUT IMPORTANT CONTEXT IN YOUR IMAGE OR VIDEO: You get one shot and one image or video to make a first impression. Put important copy in your image or video so you don’t waste it. Facebook has standards so don’t make the copy take up more than 20% of the image space.
  13. PUT HOLIDAY IMAGERY IN YOUR AD: Why not create added relevance with images of the holiday that can boost relevance and time to act?
  14. TEST MULTIPLE ADS: Even the smallest change can have a a impact on the click-through rate for your ad, so it’s best to create multiple versions and test. Facebook makes this process easy: Once an ad has been created, you have the option to “Create a Similar Ad” and simply swap in a new picture or text.
  15. UPDATE YOUR WALL. NOT JUST YOUR ADS: Your ads are only as good as your Wall. If you spend a $100 on ads, but the last update on their fan page was a month ago, that’s not a smart spending strategy.
  16. KNOW YOUR BIDDING OPTIONS: A CPC strategy is all about getting the biggest bang for the buck. With the Advanced Pricing feature in the Campaign and Budget window, you can then use the CPC (cost per click) model, as well as set your own bids for the CPM model.
  17. KNOW THE BEST TIME TO RUN YOUR ADS: Make sure your updates are going out during peak hours – the time zone of your fans (for promoted & sponsored posts); he time zone of the demographic you are targeting (for display ads & sponsored posts)
  18. RUN YOUR ADS FOR THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF TIME: Continually assess the ROI (Return on Investment) of your ad so that you can remove or revise it before it starts to really cost you. Watch your CTR and when it starts to dip, it is time to change your ad up
  19. DRIVE PEOPLE TO AN OPTIMIZED LANDING PAGE OR DESTINATION: Make sure the ad directly leads to your website page that tells the potential customer what to do next.You will be throwing your money in a trash can if you do not have a converting landing page to direct the targeted Facebook traffic.
  20. HAVE ONE CLEAR CALL TO ACTION: A comprehensible call to action must be established in the Facebook advertisement itself and also on the landing website page.

We want your business to be successful this holiday season and share some practical advice on how it can be.

Were these holiday tips on Facebook ads helpful? Will you be using any of them?




21 reasons social media metrics are a waste of time 0

Posted on October 20, 2013 by Rob Petersen




Why is it so important to brands to: “Like Us on Facebook”?

Is it building relationships that lead to sales? Or is it a way to proclaim: We’re in social media; we have a Facebook page?

Ivory Madison in the Harvard Business Review, and Eric Ries, in his book, The Lean Startup, says social media metrics such as: Like, Follow Us and Re-Tweet are, by themselves, “vanity metrics.”

Is it a waste of time to measure them? Or do they offer insights into business growth? Is it even possible to know if tweeting a link leads to revenue?

Here’s a guide to tell you what to consider and how to spend your time. Or 25 reasons to know if you’re wasting time with social media metrics.


  • Do you have business goals for your social media activities?
  • How long do you expect it’s going to take until you achieve the results you want?
  • Do you take into account the time and resources required to reach your goals?


  • What are the business actions (sales, subscriptions, registrations,, leads or downloads) that matter most?
  • Are your Likes, Followers, Views, etc. tied to these actions that lead to revenue?
  • Do you measure conversion from these actions?


  • Do you know the real customer prospects among your Likes, Followers and Connections?
  • Do you know which social networks are most likely to be your customers?
  • Do you know the quality of your Likes, Followers and Connections?
  • Are there advocates among the people who Like and Follow you or Share your content?
  • Do you know which social networks share your content most often?
  • Are there traceable patterns where the actions of your existing customers create new customers.
  • Are the relationships impacting the sales actions that matter most?


  • Do increases in Likes, Followers, Connections, Views, Comments and Shares translate to increased visits to your website?
  • Do they visit the pages you most want them to visits?
  • Do the social network generating the most traffic in your Google Analytics translate to where you are spending your time?


  • Are your making connections (e.g. Like, Followers, Subcribers)  faster or slower than your competition?
  • Are “people talking about” your brand as measured by Comments, Likes, Re-Tweets, Shares and Views more or less than your competitors
  • Are you seeing an increase in search rank from your social activities?


  • Do you take actions from the results of your social media metrics?
  • Do you review Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) on a regular basis?
  • Has your business grown for the review and actions you take from social media metrics?

Social media metrics don’t have to be vanity metrics. Combined with the metrics that are most important with your business, they can provide insights into relationship that build revenue and build real value.

In our case studies, we’ve seen  brands grow and money saved. While every business is different, there is a KPI scorecard that can developed for specific characteristics.

Did these reasons help guide you on how you should be spending your time? Are you ready to stop wasting time with social media metrics?








ROI of an IPO. Why Twitter with no profits = $12.8 billion 2

Posted on October 05, 2013 by Rob Petersen




ROI Formula

ROI (Return on Investment) is how much sales, profits or shareholder value is realized from money invested. Many consider it the final word because it’s the measurement that proves if growth is sustainable and how well a company is being managed.

Twitter filed its IPO. It’s now valued at $12.8 billion but has never made a profit. In fact, the filing shows Twitter has lost money every year, with current losses at $419 million.

How is it a company can continues to lose money, to the tune $419 million, yet be worth $12.8 billion?

I help companies with ROI, teach Measurement and ROI at Rutgers CMD and in Strategic Digital Marketing, a new book from McGraw-Hill, authored the ROI chapter.

Here’s what to consider for the ROI of the Twitter IPO.


  • REVENUES OF $583 MILLION: This year, Twitter is expected to have revenue of almost $600. In 2014, it is estimated at $950 million. Sales are increasing +63% versus year ago.
  • USERS ARE AT $218 MILLION: Twitter boasts 218 million monthly active users, but at 1/10 of Facebook users, for some advertisers, it isn’t a big enough.

Twitter Users

  • TWITTER IS PERFECTLY ALIGNED WITH MOBILE GROWTH: Next year, more people are expected to access the internet from mobile devices than desktops. More  than 75% of Twitter users accessed the site from their mobile phone this year. More than 65% of Twitter’s ad revenue is already mobile.
  • TWITTER IS A UTILITY: In every ROI calculation, there is a benefit  that goes beyond the numbers to create faith in success. In this case, it is that Twitter is a utility. Twitter is surprisingly useful tool for solving problems, connecting with others that might not be possible otherwise and providing insights. Twitter says its mission is to: “Give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly without barriers–a free and global conversation.”


  • TWITTER REVENUE IS LARGELY IN A VARIETY OF AD PRODUCTS: About 85% of Twitter’s revenue comes from advertising. There are three main ways to advertise on Twitter: 1) By promoting a tweet that appears in people’s timelines, 2) promoting a whole account, or 3) promoting a trend.  Data licensing is another revenue stream. Known as “firehose,” Twitter sells its public data, of about 500 million tweets each day.
  • ADS ARE NOT DISRUPTIVE:  Anything that disrupts the user experience, especially on a social network might reduce user engagement. One of the advantages of Twitter for marketers over traditional display advertising is they have worked really hard to make sure that advertising on Twitter does not interrupt.
  • AD PRICING IS BASED ON RESULTS. A budget is usually set at the start of the Twitter campaign. It also has a “bidding” system in which advertisers compete with each other to have their content appear like other pay per click ads. But, in Twitter case, the per per click is a pay per retweet.  Twitter tends to charge its advertisers according to the amount of interaction their content generates.
  • AD REVENUE IS MOSTLY U.S. BASED. Only 17% of ad revenue is outside the US. While you could look at this as the glass half full or half empty, Twitter has to do better in increasing global ad revenue.


  • VALUATION IS CONSERVATIVE VERSUS OTHER INTERNET IPO’s: When Google announced its IPO, the company was valued at $28 billion (around $35 billion in today’s dollars). Facebook had an IPO valuation of $104 billion.
  • IPO PRICE-TO-SALES RATIO IS HIGH: While Twitter’s offering is more conservative, the valuation is 28.6 times the company’s revenue over the last 12 months. Facebook’s $104 billion is only about 26 times the company’s revenue. Meanwhile, LinkedIn priced its IPO at 14.5 times its revenue.  At current valuation, Twitter is overpriced.
  • WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM OTHER SOCIAL IPO’S – FACEBOOK AND LINKEDIN: Early demand for Facebook did not materialize, The result was that Facebook shares failed to find a sustainable bid. Meanwhile, LinkedIn priced its offering at $4.3 billion, but the shares more than doubled on their first trading day. That 109% initial price pop gave LinkedIn a valuation of $8.9 billion.

Twitter is going to do well and it’s a good time for taking the company public. But don’t expect ROI right away. Twitter isn’t likely to generate a positive ROI for a couple of years, but it will.

Wall Street’s valuation could also be better balance with the realities of how companies make money.

Does this help show how a company with no profits can me worth so much? Now, you know my opinion, what’s yours on the ROI of the Twitter IPO?



38 surprising facts about trust in social media 5

Posted on September 29, 2013 by Rob Petersen



Trust in social media

While  trust in our government and CEO’s is declining, our trust in social media continue to increase and rapidly according to the Edelman Trust Barometer.

“Technique and technology are important, but adding trust is the issue of the decade” – Tom Peters

If trust continues to be added to social media, why?

Here are 38 surprising facts about trust in social media.

  1. 92% of consumers say they trust earned media, such as social media, word of mouth, recommendation from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising (source: Webbed Feet)
  2. 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations (source: Socialnomics)
  3. 85% of customers expect businesses to active in social media (source: Vocus)
  4. 83% of consumers say it would be important to read user-generated content before making a decision about banking or other financial services (source: Bazaar Voice)
  5. 82% of consumers trust a company more if they are involved with social media (source: Forbes)
  6.  77% of online shoppers use reviews to make purchase decision (source: Vocus)
  7.  77% of people like getting exclusive offers that they can redeem via Facebook. We assign more value to products that are less available.
  8. 77% of consumers said they are more likely to buy from a company if the CEO uses social media (source: Forbes)
  9. 77% of B2C companies and 43 percent of B2B companies acquired customers from Facebook. (source: Business2Community)
  10. 76% of social media users post vacation photos to their social networks (source: Webbed Feet)
  11. +75% increase occurred last year for trust in social media as it went from 8% to 14% as a trusted information source (source: Edelman Trust Barometer)
  12. 70% of global consumers say online consumer reviews are the second most trusted from of advertising (source: Webbed Feet)
  13. 69% of parents are “friends” with their children on social media (source: Socialnomics)
  14. 63% of people need to hear something three to five times before they believe it (souce: Edelman Trust Barometer)
  15. 57% of us respond that we “cannot trust” most people; 38% of us respond that we can trust most people (source: General Social Survey)
  16. 56 percent of customer tweets to companies are being ignored (source: Media Bistro)
  17.  56% of internet users do at least one of the creating or curating activities we studied and 32% of internet users do both creating and curating activities (source: Pew Internet)
  18. 55% of travelers “Liked”‘ Facebook pages specific to their destination (source: Webbed Feet)
  19. 55% more web visitors and 67% more leads come to companies that blog (source: Vocus)
  20. 53% of people on Twitter mention products and/or services in their tweets (source: Socialnomics
  21. 52% of Facebook users say their friends photos inspire their travel plans (source: Webbed Feet)
  22. 48% who use social media to research travel plans  stuck with their original plan (source: Webbed Feet)
  23. 46% of adult internet users post original photos or videos online that they themselves have created. We call them creators (source: Pew Internet)
  24. 40% of personal travelers and 46% business travelers use social networking to share travel experience (source: Bazaar Voice)
  25. 38% trust government officials; down from 52% in 2011 (source: Edelman Trust Barometer)
  26. 43% trust CEO’s; down from 50% in 2011 (source: Edelman Trust Barometer)
  27. 41% of adult internet users take photos or videos that they have found online and repost them on sites designed for sharing images with many people. We call them curators.
  28. 40% of Facebook users in our sample made a friend request, but 63% received at least one request (source: Pew Internet)
  29. 34% of bloggers post opinions about products & brands (source: Socialnomics)
  30. 34% of marketers have generated leads using Twitter (source: Huffington Post)
  31. 33% who use social media to research travel plans changed their hotel (source: Webbed Feet)
  32.  26 percent of retweets are incited by a request to retweet (source: Huffington Post)
  33. 25% of search results for the World’s Top 20 largest brands are links to user-generated content (source: Socialnomics)
  34. 23 percent of Facebook’s users check their account 5 or more times daily. (source: Huffington Post)
  35. 14X is how often people on Facebook press the like button next to friends’ content, but they had their content “liked” an average of 20X (source: Pew Internet)
  36. Only 14% trust advertisements (source: Socialnomics)
  37. 12% of users tagged a friend in a photo, but 35% were themselves tagged in a photo (source: Pew Internet)
  38. 6% higher average order value occurs for consumer packaged goods brand for visitors who read reviews than visitors who don’t read reviews.

Richard Edelman says consumers are looking to have participatory conversations so it is critical for brands to be involved. And to understand that trust occurs through the kinds of conversations you have, rather than what you put in the conversation. Listen for yourself.

Do these facts explain why social media is increasing in building trust? Do they give you ideas on how to have better conversations with your consumers? Are you planning on using social media to build trust for your brand?

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