10 case studies prove ROI of social media promotions 6

Posted on December 19, 2011 by Rob Petersen

Many companies want consumers to “Like” them on Facebook but are surprised to learn the #1 reason people would be motivated to “Like” them in the first place is to receive discounts and promotions.

Of all the words to convey a discount or promotion, the word this Black Friday and Cyber Monday that generated the most engagement was “coupons.” (source: Buddy Media and Marketing Profs)

Promotions, discounts and coupons are tried-and-true ways to encourage trial and boost sales volume.When they are delivered in social media, they benefit from sharing and the efficiency of available apps, like Wildfire, that cost a small fraction of traditional methods. In our experience, social media promotions are some of the most effective, affordable and profitable ways to build business and brand advocacy simultaneously.

You don’t have to go to social promotion sites like Groupon or Living Social either. Although effective in some cases, their promotions require you discount your brand by 50%; then, they keep 50% of the remaining half leaving you with 25% of the original price.

Imagination and resourcefulness are more effective and much more profitable. Need proof? Here are 10 case studies that prove Social Media Promotions ROI.

1. DELL: Started @DellOutlet, a Twitter page where they offered products and customer service through Twitter. Then, they integrated coupons. The Twitter page, which was free to set up, generated over $3 million dollar in sales to date and, with the integrations of coupons, accelerated to $1 million dollars within 6 months.

2.  EDIBLE ARRANGEMENTS. Through their Facebook page, Edible Arrangements offered consumers a voucher for free chocolate dipped strawberries. But to redeem the coupon, fans had to visit an Edible Arrangements store providing Edible Arrangements franchisees the opportunity to promote their store to a slew of new customers. This campaign  generated 170,000 new fans and a double-digit increase in sales versus year ago.

3. HAUTELOOK:  Ran an “instand win” coupon campaign at different values. After becoming a fan of the Hautelook Facebook Fan Page, entrants were presented with a coupon but the value of each coupon was a surprise and ranged from 10% to 20%, and some had free shipping. Not only did Hautelook generate thousands of new fans they also generated tens of thousands of sales in just one day and a return on investment of more than 5x and over 20% of purchasers were first time Hautelook customers.

4. JAMBA JUICE: Gave their customers a choice with “Feel Good Bucks” and a unique coupon code generation functionality. They gave out ‘lucky’ coupons via our Facebook Connect Product and Facebook Fan Page Product that could be redeemed at Jamba Juice stores. When consumers redeemed the coupons they either received $1 off their purchase or the opportunity to win instant or cash prizes of $10,000! Plus, users could send Jamba Bucks to their friends in the form of fun, Jamba-branded virtual gifts like smoothies, bucks, and cartoons. The coupon campaign drove tens of thousands to Jamba Juice stores.

5. KRAFT MACARONI & CHEESE:  Used Twitter to encourage people, in their “Mac and Jinx” campaign, to tweet something with the phrase “mac & cheese” in it at the same time. Once those pairs were identified, Kraft sent both a link. The first one to click on the link and give Kraft her address got five free boxes of Mac & Cheese plus a t-shirt. The campaign took advantage of the real-time nature of Twitter boosting the brand’s Twitter followers by 400% and at one point gaining over 300 mentions of “Mac & Cheese” per minute on Twitter.

6. PRETZEL CRISPS: Launched a$1.00 coupon on their Facebook page. Within 36,000 hours, their fan base grew from 5,000 to 12,000. So, they launched another only coupons – Buy One, Get One Free. Only this time they didn’t tell their fans. No matter, Fans found out on their own and the “letting you in on a secret” factor had a viral effect that built the fans following from 14,000 and 29,000 and now it’s at over 62,000. But fans just tell one side of the story.  The redemption rate for the fist coupon was 87%; the redemption rate for the second was 95% and annual sales increase was 93%.

7. SARA LEE: Ran a month-long campaign to promote Jimmy Dean D-Lights sandwiches. Users were offered a $1 coupon on any one package of Jimmy Dean D-Lights 4 count sandwiches, or, if they chose to share the offer with three or more friends, they could receive a $2.50 coupon. There was also a bonus coupon for $0.50 off on Jimmy Dean Breakfast Bowls. The campaign saw over 65,000 visitors in 30 days, and the 64% was through clicks from friend referrals.  The audience reach was primary in the South-Eastern states and referrals were made to people geographically close to each other. The campaign delivers sales volumes and geo-targeting not possible with traditional coupon methods at a small fraction of their cost.

7. STEAZ: Used social media coupons, blogs and Twitter chats to generate a buzz among moms about their organic teas. The result was 250,000 coupon download at a 20% redemption rate. 6,000 blog and social media mentions. 3,000 new fans and followers. Store shelves that were emptied and sales that doubled from the effort.

8. TORTILLALAND: Fresh, uncookded tortillas from Circle Foods are different from pre-cooked tortillas that contain preservatives. Once consumers try TortillaLand, they swear by their superior fresh taste and say they’ll never go back to buying the pre-cooked kind again. But the brand has low awareness. TortillaLand created a social sweepstakes where the prize was 3 iPads (1 for you/2 for friends).   The objective was to boost the Facebook Fan base of 900 and create a database from entrant to receive additional offers and news of store availability. The sweepstakes boosted the Facebook base 7X in two month. It created 10,000 person database who now receive regular emails and show a 50% open rate . The database also serves as brand community for market research and new product ideas with a significant ROI versus traditional methods like focus groups.

10. ZAPPOS: Ran a unique sweepstakes with a chance to win a $500 voucher for use at Zappos, but only after entrants visited the online store and put together a list of the items that they would purchase with the winning money. This encouraged 1000’s to visit the Zappos site with list of their favorite items on Zappos which increased purchases (although Zappos did not release the exact sales increase).

We’re big believers in the business effectiveness of social media promotions. We did the TortillaLand program for Circle Foods and see it for ourselves.

Do these case studies prove the ROI of social media promotions to you?

In 2012, 1 out of 2 companies will have a blog. 23 reasons it should be in your business plan 0

Posted on October 14, 2011 by Rob Petersen


One of the steadiest trends in social media is the company adoption rate for blogs. By 2012, 44% of companies (or roughly 1 out of 2) will have blogs.

Here are 23 reasons it should be in your business plan.


  • MORE WEB TRAFFIC:  55% of companies report more traffic to their website due to their blog (source: Hubspot)
  • HIGHER SEARCH RANK:  97% receive more links from other websites which is a primary factor for raising search rank. Google algorithms are more likely to recognize your company as an “Authority” and this is their primary criteria for determining search rank (source: Hubspot)
  • QUALITY LINKS:  Links from blogs are recognized as “quality” links by search engines and an integral part of any search programs by SEO experts (Source: SEOmoz)
  • COST EFFECTIVENESS:  In addition to high quality, links from blogs are cost efficient because they occur with just a comment on a blog and a reply back
  • KEYWORD IDENTIFICATION:  Keywords, especially in the headlines and first paragraphs of blogposts, send a signal to the search engine that content is continually being updated and the website is dynamic
  • GREATER SEARCH PRESENCE:  Companies with blogs report 434% more indexed pages in search engines (source: Hubspot)
  • EMAILS:  With very modest changes, a blog serves as an email.  This way, it reaches current prospects while the blog works as outreach
  • EBOOKS: Blogs around a common theme can be compiled into an ebook for downloading and lead generation
  • WEBINARS: The primary points in a blog, once outlined, can be turned into a webinar for interactive engagement
  • FACEBOOK POSTS: Key content in a blog can broken out as relevant Facebook posts
  • TWITTER “MICROBLOGS”:  One of the primary reasons for being with Twitter is to be a microblogging platform with the use of short links.
  • LINKEDIN STATUS: In your status box, people can learn more about you and your company
  • SHARE CONTENT: Want to build a relationship with an industry thought leaders? Acknowledge those who views you admire; share their content and ask if they’d share yours
  • GUEST POSTINGS: Ask an industry thought leader to post as a guest on your blog
  • TECHNORATI “AUTHORITY” SCORE: Technorati gives an “authority” score by blogs and posts. It is score from 0 to 1000 and it represents the number of links within the last six months. It’s a great way to find the bloggers most relevant to your category
  • COMPETE WEB TRAFFIC METRICS: Compete measures the web traffic of blogs. Its lets you let see trends for a year or longer
  • ALEXA MEASUREMENTS: Alexa let you see the audience demographics, keywords and the actual website that link into your website or blog
  • LISTEN TO CUSTOMERS: 75% of customers post comments on blog regarding product and customer services; 88% use blogs for research and browsing and 91% click through to a company’s website (source:
  • BUILD A DIRECT RELATIONSHIP: All it takes is a comment and a reply to take the next step and have a 1-to-1 relationship. People like to do business with people they know
  • SELL DIRECT: With an SSL certificate and a PayPal account, you can sell product and service directly from a blog
  • CUSTOMERS READ BLOGS: 75% read at least one a day (source: Sherpa)
  • BLOGS INFLUENCE PURCHASE DECISION: 75% say blogs effect purchase decisions, either somewhat or very much (source: Sherpa)
  • MOST TRUSTED SOCIAL MEDIA SOURCE: 64% of people trust the information from a blog. That is, if the blog is written by a person at the company. People like to do business with people they know (source: eMarketer)

Is a blog is your company’s  business plan for 2012? Any reason why not?

5 reasons the best thing about Google+ is it’s a new-old idea 0

Posted on July 19, 2011 by Rob Petersen

For people interested in social media, the question asked most often these days is: “What do you think of Google+?”

What people are asking is: “Is Google+ going to be as big as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn?” And what they are thinking is: “How many more social networks do we need?”

In my opinion, Google+ is going to be as big as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and, after Google+, the market for major social networks is going to be near saturation.

Why? Because Google+ is a new-old idea.  Here are 5 reasons to explain.

  1. FOR THE FIRST TIME, A SOCIAL NETWORK IS CENTERED AROUND SOCIAL “CIRCLES,” WHICH IS THE WAY WE’VE ALWAYS BEHAVED:  The biggest point of difference for Google+ is it is founded around “circles” and we have to think about the circle where people belong.  Simple as this idea is, it is the first time social circles have formed a social network.  This is a step beyond fans, followers and connections; yet, it’s something we all do as human beings and have always been doing.
  2. FOR BUSINESSES, SOCIAL “CIRCLES” TRANSLATES TO THE BENEFITS OF CUSTOMER SEGMENTATION:  One of the 1st principles of marketing is not all customers are created equal.  There is the 80%/20% rule – 20% of customers account of 80% of sales.  There are heavy, medium and light users as well as loyal customers and brand advocates.   Through “circles,” Google+ gives businesses built-in customer segmentation and that’s a big competitive advantage.
  3. GOOGLE+ IS A “CHALLENGER” BRAND.  Google is openly stating Google+ is going to compete head-to-head with Facebook.  There is plenty of history to suggest this is not going to happen.  Consider Google BuzzGoogle Wave and Orkut.  Maybe Google+ should have started with smaller ambitions.  Nah.  That would take away from the allure of a “challenger” brand; one we root for and want to win as Adam Morgan describes in his book, Eating the Big Fish.  A “challenger” brand is not a new idea.  Look at Avis vs. Hertz, Pepsi vs. Coke and Apple vs. Microsoft.  Google may be too big to be an upstart but they know the value of a “challenger” positioning.
  4. EVERYBODY WANTS SOMETHING THAT IS ONLY AVAILABLE TO A SELECT FEW.  It might seem counter to social media to launch a social network by invitation only.  But that’s what Google+ did.  Why?  They know the quickest way to build mass appeal is to make it accessible to only a small group.  That way, we all want it more and prize it more highly once we have it.
  5. GOOGLE IS A “GIVER” IN A WORLD FULL OF “TAKERS.”  Google gives away much of what it does – search, analytics, software – for everyone’s use.  Many of the businesses in this country would not be able to do business or do it as well without the aid of Google products they are getting for free  When it comes to getting behind something, we want to support someone who is more likely to give than want to get.

Google+ may not be first mover, but it fulfills a very legitimate social need, business need, is well-position and has been brought to market in a highly intelligent way.  I also think many of us are rooting for Google  this time around.

How about you?

12 ways Klout helps us influence; 7 ways it enourages us to manipulate 5

Posted on July 12, 2011 by Rob Petersen

Wikipedia describes Klout as “an analytics tool that measures a users influence across their social network.”   Klout describes Klout as the “Standard of Influence” and an algorithm of at least 35 variables using data points such as:

  • Twitter Followings
  • Followers
  • Re-tweets
  • List memberships
  • How many spam and dead accounts are following you
  • How often you engage with other influencers
  • How influential are the people you engage with
  • How influential are the people who re-tweet you
  • Unique mentions

This information is blended with Facebook and LinkedIn data such as Comments, Likes, and the number of friends in your network to come up with your Klout Score.  In addition, Klout measures: True Reach, Amplification and Network Influence.

Klout has kept a good pace for innovations.  They have an extension for brands called Klout Perks that offers advocates special deals for their promotion and engagement with others on their favorite brands.  Goggle Chrome has an extension that shows you a person’s Klout score next to their tweets.  In June, Klout rolled out +K so you can declare your support for someone who has influenced you on a particular topic.

But the pivotal factor to building a Klout Score is how often you engage with other influencers and how often they engage with you.  Does Klout help improve our influence or prove the adage:  It’s not what you know but who you know?

I’ll let you decide.  Here are 12 ways Klout help us influence; 7 ways it encourages us to manipulate.


  1. Every one of us gets involved in social media to some degree to improve our influence through social engagement
  2. Klout is the most ambitious undertaking to date of such a large analysis of data across multiple social networks
  3. Klout shortens the time and effort it takes to find influencers and experts in a certain area
  4. +K shows up to ten areas where a person is considered an expert, how much of one and by who
  5. Klout offers a personality profile (e.g. explorer, conversationalist, networker, specialist) so you’re not just a number
  6. People like to do business with people they know
  7. Klout’s engagement algorithm for “influence” is similar to Google’s use of links to establish “authority,” the standard of influence for search
  8. Klout add more variables to its algorithm to continually improve its influence precision
  9. Klout’s extensions give new perspectives on influence
  10. Klout lets us know if our influence is improving or slipping
  11. Klout is similar in some respects to a “Q Score” which has been used for decades to measure celebrities’ influence and popularity; now, there is a metric for regular people
  12. The Klout standard for influence is the same politicians use to get elected or all of us use to advance our careers and business


  1. A “score” inherently prejudices our opinion of a person’s value
  2. The Chrome extension with a score next to a tweet makes Twitter work like a social register, not a social network
  3. The Chrome extension creates a bias to engage with others by their Kouth Score, not the content of their tweet
  4. The more Klout extensions used; the greater the liklihood to increase a Klout Score
  5. The more information supplied, the likelier it is to improve a Klout Score.  My score went up +6 points when I added my LinkedIn profile
  6. By spending time on Twitter Chats and engaging, the likelihood of improving a Klout Score increases
  7. One could conclude by the comparison to politics and the corporate ladder that any increase in influence is also accompanied with a little manipulation

I admire any company that tries to make sense and draw insights out of a mountain of data.  But with any product or service where the end result is a number, there will also be ways to work the system.

What do you think?  Does Klout help us influence or encourage us to manipulate? Would you add any other reasons to these lists?

5 lessons in fan relationship marketing from a music business leader 1

Posted on May 01, 2011 by Rob Petersen

People in the music business get straight to the point.

Can you blame them?  It’s a hard business and tougher now than ever according to Tom Silverman, founder of Tommy Boy Records and the New Music Seminar.  Tom would know.  He discovered Queen Latifah, Naughty by Nature and House of Pain among others.

We sat down last week to talk about the New Music Seminar, the industry’s largest conference, in NYC  this September and his wife’s, Donna D’Cruz, new video show, Rasa Living, on Open Sky and YouTube, that begins in May.  We talked about social media and the music business.  What makes both work is fans.

The classic marketing rule is that fans result in a 80/20 split: 20% of the fans account for 80% of the revenue.  The 80/20 rule in the music business has historically been 80/1.3.   That is, 1.3% of the releases sell 80% of the units so fans relationships are really crucialAt the New Music Seminar, a focal point is the Fan Relationship Pyramid.

Here are 5 lessons in fan relationships from a music business leader and why they matter to your business.

  1. FANS GENERATE RENEWABLE REVENUES:  An artist with just 1,000 fans can make a decent living because fans follow the artist for tour dates, buy merchandise and lead to product licensing.  And they keep doing it.  Music labels rarely take a risk on an artist these days because the margins are too thin.
  2. FANS GET BEHIND YOU THE MORE YOU ARE IN FRONT OF THEM:  It used to be a band toured only if they had a DVD to promote because the latter made the real money.  Now, you’re more likely to make real money through a sponsorship or product endorsement.  But this doesn’t happen unless you’re top-of-mind, authentic and consistent with your fans.  If you drop off the map for any length of time, you’re likely to lose much of your audience.  When businesses use social media, the key is to be constantly showing up for fans by putting out relevant content.  If you think because you have a Facebook page, fans will find you, think again.
  3. NEW TECHNOLOGIES ARE MEANINGLESS WITHOUT FANS.  It’s easier and less expensive than ever for an artist to get their music out to the public. With technology and $50, any act can sell their music on iTunes through TuneCore.  There are over 600,000 artists on TuneCore and the average artist makes $175/year.
  4. FISH WHERE THE FANS ARE:  Where does someone in the music business go to try to find the up-and-comers or see how popular an existing artist really is?  It’s not DVD’s, iTunes or spending time in clubs.  It’s YouTube, now the largest catalogue of music in the world.  On YouTube, you measure fan vitality through views, reviews, rating, shares, pass-along and YouTube Analytics.  As tough as it is to make it in the music business, people at least know where to look.  Do you know where your fans are?
  5. HAVE A FAN RELATIONSHIP STRATEGY  …which brings us back to the lesson at the top of the page.  Because if you don’t know where you want to go, you’re probably going to end up someplace you don’t want to be.  On the other hand, if an artist has a relationships with 1,000 fans and rewards best fans by giving them access to content and deals other people can’t get, they will have figured out a road-map for getting fans to help with the heavy lifting.

I’ve known Tom over 30 years since school together at Colby College.  He’s been a great source of inspiration in both business and life.  When we got together, I brought my son, Sean, because he is pursuing a career in the music business.  The best advice I could give Sean or you is to follow the advice in the video below.  If you do, you’ll be pointed in the right direction.

Do you have a relationship with your fans?

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