Using Social Media for Business Marketing
Harnessing the power to generate leads
The New “Socially-Acceptable” Business
TO TWEET OR NOT TO TWEET? – THAT IS THE QUESTION asked these days
by businesses of all sizes and types regarding social networking. Should this
uncensored, viral form of communication established seemingly for Millennials
and college kids be part of the business environment? Is it proper business
practice and etiquette to take advantage of online social media by incorporating
it into a company advertising or PR plan?
Not only is social media becoming part of everyday business and deemed
acceptable by analysts and organizations around the world, it is possibly
the most important and effective means of lead generation since the
creation of the Yellow Pages. We can no longer look at social media as
“those online connections of friends and chatter,” it’s now a crucial marketing
tool that deserves attention. We need to embrace it as a new revolution in
Pick up the Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek or virtually any business pub
these days and you will see Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and a host of others
headlined across the page causing eye-openers about social networking and
how it’s transforming the way we do businesses. The reality of it is unmistakable
when we learn that businesses such as Ford, Office Depot and Dell have not
only embraced social networking as a new marketing mantra, they have found
ways to build their brand, learn from customers, and make money from it.
Our premise, as put forth in this report, is that social media can and should be
used as an effective tool for lead generation and brand development. To that
end, we also contend that the success of social media is shaped by two distinct
factors – technology and trust. Technology is the enabler that conveniently
connects the consumer to businesses, research, friends and family, while trust
is the driver behind why they look to their friends first when considering a
business, product or service . . . over 2 billion connections just last month in fact,
according to Compete.com.1
Berry Network White Paper Business Leads: Social Media for Business
The New “It’s
All About Me”
CONSUMERS ARE REJECTING
ADS PUSHED TO THEM – they want
choice. Push-based information,
such as emails, pop-up Internet ads,
TV and radio . . . they are all quickly
giving way to pull-based information
served up to the consumer when
and where he/she chooses. In other
words, as described by Calisto, a
how social networking is enabling Calisto Communications also says
global technology communica-
it, and how you can tap into those that people are “placing greater
tions firm, “customers are rejecting
mega-numbers to help drive traffic to credibility on social media and user-
obsolete interruptive advertising and
your business. generated content than profession-
moving to interactive engagement
marketing.”2 ally written editorial reviews and
The Social Media Factor
information.” The assertion is that
Nielsen Online, the interactive divi-
Many marketing authorities believe friends and family provide unbiased
sion of the world’s leading marketing
that broadcast advertising is in fact and real customer experiences,
and media information company,
already obsolete and that consumer- particularly if they are negative or
recently reported “Growth in social
driven “choice” marketing has taken unsatisfactory, whereas professional
media is the single most significant
charge. Television advertisers for reviews and business themselves will
story in the online media space today.
instance are gearing up to deliver avoid them.
Social networking sites have eclipsed
topic-specific commercials based
personal email in global reach.3” Nielsen states that “recommenda-
on personal profiles just as Internet
ads are currently delivered based on tions from personal acquaintances
The question then begs to be
online activity and buying behavior. or opinions posted by consumers
answered . . . why is this form of
online are the most trusted forms
mass media taking off in an era when
In the same way that permission- of advertising.” Nielsen also cites
people scream about information
based marketing is affecting out- that, “Ninety percent of consum-
overload? The answer is in realizing
bound advertising, it is shaping lead ers surveyed noted that they trust
that consumers don’t want just in-
generation programs as well. When recommendations from people they
formation, they want honest, trusted
putting together a lead generation know.”
answers about any given topic and
program, you must first understand
that social networking has created
what drives the consumer behavior,
the perfect forum for this dialog to
take place – quickly, conveniently and
Berry Network White Paper Business Leads: Social Media for Business
Companies Look Behind the Ad Curtain
CREATE A BUZZ IN SOCIAL NETWORKING AND YOU is about innovation and spotting new business opportuni-
MAY GET A SWARM, at least that is what Ford Motor ties before they go mainstream. For instance, readers
Company noticed when they generated 4.6 million posts flooded IdeaStorm with suggestions and proposals when
on social networking sites by launching a campaign for the Dell began exploring the desktop Linux market and again
0 Ford Fiesta in Europe4. The plan involved hooking up when Dell was re-introducing Windows XP preloads as an
a few “socially vibrant” applicants to drive the new Fiesta alternative to Windows Vista.
around to geocache (an outdoor treasure hunting game in
which users use GPS devices to find containers and trea-
sure) cities and take interesting videos along the way. They
would then post the videos and commentary about their
experiences on social networking sites (Twitter, Facebook,
YouTube) as they go. The Fiesta is not set to launch in the
U.S. until next year, but with all the buzz surrounding it
already, it is sure to have plenty of mind share at the time
of launch. Mission accomplished.
Office Depot is another company that has figured out
how to hop on to the social networking bandwagon to
create a stur about their products. According to a Forbes
article,5 they use a “channel advertising” product called
BrandVoice which allows Office Depot suppliers like
Kingston (memory-product maker) to publish customer Figure 1: Dell’s social networking site, IdeaStorm
reviews on Office Depot.com. Office Depot gets free,
authentic product reviews and Kingston pays for—and Clearly though, there is no mainstream advertising model
benefits from—the extra exposure. A month after Kingston that works on social networking sites. In fact, it is contrary
launched BrandVoice’s reviews on OfficeDepot.com, the to the unbiased, free-speech concept of social networking
retailer saw a 0-fold increase in the number of reviews of – which leaves many marketers pondering about how to
Kingston products. More importantly, the reviews translat- make money from social media or even get the budget to
ed into more sales at Office Depot where sales of reviewed attempt it. Consequently, less than percent of all digital
Kingston products nearly doubled. Even sales of Kingston advertising budgets currently flow to social media, accord-
products that hadn’t been reviewed grew 5%. Another ing to social-advertising company BuddyMedia.6 But as
mission accomplished. you’ve learned here, companies like Ford, Office Depot
and Dell have looked behind the ad curtain to figure out
Dell Computers is taking advantage of the viral power of how this new media can be harnessed to create buzz and
social networking with its IdeaStorm site – an online forum enhance their businesses.
where readers can suggest new business ideas, vote for
their favorite submissions and interact with Dell. The site is
so popular that other vendors (such as Canonical, an open
source advocate) are now copying the concept. IdeaStorm
Berry Network White Paper Business Leads: Social Media for Business
The Power of are now being posted on blogs,
customer surveys are put up on user
networks, job postings are put on
IF YOU RAN AN AD ON TWITTER, Social networking association networks, and contests
AND IT WAS RE-TWEETED 00 is a “mind-set shift are attached to any number of other
TIMES, you might pay $00 CPM networks. Positive, consistent com-
for displaying that ad the first time
that will make us munication with consumers will go a
because you would have an effective relevant to today’s long way toward strengthening your
$ CPM, right? Unfortunately, adver- consumers...” brand image, improving customer
tising is not available on Twitter . . . satisfaction, and increasing leads.
but the concept of value for spread- In the words of PG’s marketing
ing the word is. That is precisely how chief Jim Stengel, “social network-
any marketing or PR initiative needs ing is a mind-set shift that will make
to look at social networking – not as
Spread the Word us relevant to today’s consumers; a
an advertising sales opportunity, but mind-set shift from ‘telling and selling’
Social networking is dubbed viral
as a means for spreading messages to building relationships.”
marketing for a good reason . . . it is
about the organization, its brand and
easily transferred, it quickly multiplies,
solutions, and creating lasting rela- How to Get Started
and it will die out if it doesn’t remain
tionships with consumers and media So, how does a organization get
in contact with people. The difference
gatekeepers. started into social networking to drive
is, social networking for business can
new relationships and word-of-mouth
Google ads work because people be a positive infection or negative
leads? Contrary to some beliefs, it
are looking for information. They do one, depending on who starts it and
does not involve buying an applica-
a search, and if the advertisement how it is managed. A disgruntled
tion that sits on a social platform and
shows information that helps with the customer can post comments just
spams messages to others. Rather,
query, all is well. However, when it as easily as a satisfied customer, and
it centers around a few individuals
comes to social networking, usage is more often is the one who does.
assigned as “buzz masters” to the
quite different. People are not looking However, if your organization is read-
organization – individuals that post
for information about products or ing and watching, it can be prepared
messages and reply to others on a
companies directly — they’re looking with turnaround messaging that
regular basis by providing content
to communicate with friends and shows the audiences your organi-
valuable to readers. The next section
others with similar interests. In many zation cares enough to listen and
provides details on creating buzz to
cases, that communication may be respond – even if you can’t resolve
about a product or company, but they drive leads for your organization.
only want feedback from the trusted
This is the power of social network-
friends’ perspective. In that environ-
ing. It can control how consumers
ment, ads are seen as an intrusion
look and think about your organiza-
rather than a welcome addition.
tion and your services. Press releases
Berry Network White Paper Business Leads: Social Media for Business 4
Creating Buzz for Leads
ONE EVERY SECOND is the rate at which social com- Step 2: Look for Companion Sites.
munity LinkedIn is adding new members.7 07 million Fundamental to member communities and networks is the
people around the world are now actively using Facebook ability to give users a sense of association or belonging.
and almost half of them are using it every day.8 Twitter has Users join groups where they can freely share like ideas and
a current annual growth rate at over ,00 percent and learn from others with similar interests. This is where you
almost half of those users are age 5 to 49.9 With statistics need to look next – the communities that purchase or use
like these, your business can’t afford to have the social your company’s type of products or services.
networking train leave the station without you on it. You
Suppose you were a car dealer following conversation
need to get on board and use this medium to drive as
on Twitter about car buying and you see reference to the
many followers as you can to your company Website and
member community, Carspace.com, which posts advice
turn them into customers.
and experiences surrounding automobile brands. You can
For help, we have put together the following steps simply link to that site and start following threads of discus-
to guide you through the use of social networking to sions from those members. The more you link and look
drive leads. around, the more targeted groups you will find. Other tar-
geted groups range from QuitNet.com a site for those who
Step 1: Listen. want to quit smoking, to PetZume.com for pet enthusiasts,
First and foremost, before posting to social networking and everything in between. As your organization becomes
sites or even starting your own, you need to read and listen more comfortable with the medium and your social media
to what is currently being said. This will give you great strategy evolves, you may find yourself not only participat-
insights into the tone, attitude and topics being discussed. ing in existing communities, but developing communities
Begin by visiting some of the top networking sites, such as of your own.
the list compiled by Compete.com. This step will also help
you identify the top bloggers who are influencing your
Figure 3: PetZume social networking site
Berry Network White Paper Business Leads: Social Media for Business 5
Step 3: Develop a Value Strategy. Step 4: Execute with Diligence.
For many organizations this step is a simple as reinforcing Like changing your oil, a well-tuned machine will deliver
the brand and corporate messages. If your organization is the greatest performance. The more attention you give to
known for exceptional customer service rather than being a keeping your content up to date and informative, the more
price leader, for instance, your postings and conversations your discussions will thrive and spread. Mix up your game
should reiterate the quality of your customer service. It to make it interesting. Post video snippets, offer up links to
also goes without saying, you should respond to customer similar sites, post white papers, create voting polls on your
comments and postings quickly, with attention to service. new products, list job openings, deliver RSS new feeds, or
offer rewards for those that can champion your brand to
For organizations that want to take social networking to other sites.
a higher level, a more thorough strategy is needed. For
example, suppose as the principal of a home remodeling Once you are underway, you may be surprised how little
business, you wanted to tap into a new segment for eco- time it actually takes to keep a site active. For instance,
friendly construction. Your strategy may involve posting Twitter only allows 40 characters per update, or about
videos about your “green” materials on environmental one sentence.
discussion sites or submitting surveys about environmental
building interests in your area.
If you were part of a wellness center for eating disorders
your strategy may include posting testimonials from
patients that have completed your intervention program.
TIP: Do not post the testimonials directly, simply create and
market the forum for open discussion so that your patients
will post and carry on the discussions themselves. This
way, statements by your patients will be viewed as trusted,
inviting, and unbiased.
Regardless of the approach you choose, keep in mind, the
main objective is to make sure value is delivered in each
Figure 4: Big Green Switch member site on Twitter
and every communication. Value is what drives readership
and the viral spreading of your messages; the more read-
ers trust your information and find it useful, the more they
will follow your postings and recommend you to others. Simply by posting one sentence per day, you give users
a reason to come back each and every day. And, hope-
JetBlue decided to deliver value by inspiring a culture of fully that one sentence leads to a dozen more.
immediate response through open dialogue with their
Additionally, by posting to a site like Twitter, your
customers using social media. By fostering communication
updates can also be automatically sent to Facebook,
of understanding and forgiveness, customers are more
MySpace, LinkedIn and a host of others using applica-
likely to forgive incidents that would put other airlines out
tions like TweetDeck.
of business. As a result, JetBlue has more than 0,000
followers on Twitter—nine times that of Southwest Airlines
and 85 times that of Delta Airlines.0
Berry Network White Paper Business Leads: Social Media for Business 6
Step 5: Network software, you should include links This concept of networking your
Your Messages. to those other application vendors message on social networking sites is
This step is often the most misunder- and partners. a crucial to driving traffic to your site.
stood, but is the easiest to execute. The more sites you are listed on, the
Back on your company website you more search engines will find mention
The concept involves building a link
can expand your social network by of you. In turn, the higher ranking you
to additional information anytime
adding links to other social net- will receive and the higher you will be
you post a message. For example,
working sites your organization is placed on the page.
if you posted a comment that your
connected with. This way, users can
company made its projected earn-
choose to follow your topic using the And, finally, the more page views and
ings, you should include a link to a
community site they prefer or use calls you will receive from users look-
press release or annual report on
most often. ing for your products and services.
your company Website that provides
more detail. If you are responding to
customer comments about applica-
tions that work with your company
Case Study: being discussed at the online sites. Promoted the
white paper across the network.
Leveraged the different sections of ITToolbox.com to
How can Information Builders, an enterprise software mine potential prospects: RSS feeds, alerts, blogs,
vendor, generate leads from an industry online group email newsletters, and discussion groups.
without appearing to be just “selling?” Used a customized registration page to capture lead
qualification information, then added the leads to the
CRM system for sales follow up.
Use B-to-B social networking sites as a way to provide
relevant content to professionals debating key indus- Results
try issues. Reach prospects that are early in the prod- The social networking audience was so receptive to
uct research stage (just ’shopping’) and those openly the white paper offers that the campaign exceeded
seeking advice about business information systems. its goal for total leads by more than 42 percent. Sales
made as a result of this program delivered a 750 per-
cent return on investment.
Invested time in learning about member interests on
social networking sites. Designed a new white paper Case study from Marketing Sherpa, published in www.
and email discussion group series around the issues smallcompanybigimage.com 11
Berry Network White Paper Business Leads: Social Media for Business 7
Step 6: Utilize Technology. Step 7: Measure.
With so much content online, you need to break through One of the challenges with social media is that measure-
the clutter to get noticed. This is accomplished not only ment is often difficult since Internet boundaries are virtually
through interesting and informative content, but through non-existent. However, there are some measurements you
the use of technology as well. Users can browse video clips can perform to get a reasonable sense of how well your
through YouTube, photos through Flickr, and news through social networking campaigns are performing:
Digg, while sites like Facebook and LinkedIn are useful • Follow search ranking results on the major search
for keeping track of contacts and a record of when we last engines: Google, Yahoo!, MSN and Bing
• Create search phrases that are not used commonly by
In others situations, an application that plugs-n-plays search engine optimization groups and track the
with social networks may be useful for your organization. increase in the terms.
Samples of these include:
• Track increases in unique visitors to your site at the time
Meebo.com – a tool that allows you to install chat capabili- you launch a campaign.
ties that connects to MSN, Yahoo, MySpace, Google Talk
• Compile a list of your brand advocates and influences
and track their perpetuation of your messages.
Bravisa.com – a solution that aggregates products for
• Track the flavor (positive, negative) of messages being
markup and resale.
posted about your organization.
ReferQuest.com – a site that allows users to earn rewards
• Track user registrations on your site and follow them
for promoting content on behalf of others.
through the sales cycle.
ZenZuu.com – a site that pays users to have their friends
join a member group.
Vocus.com – a site that enables posting, monitoring and
measurement of PR announcements.
Ning.com – a tool that helps users to create their own
social networking site.
Skype.com – a Windows application that allows PC to PC
phone conversation over the Internet.
Newsgator.com – a RSS (Real Simple Syndication) news
feed application that delivers your new updates to others
Berry Network White Paper Business Leads: Social Media for Business 8
Additional Facts • According to Neilsen Online,
for Consideration social networking sites eclipsed
personal email in global reach at
• Market research firm eMarketer 68.4% vs. 64.8%, in February 009.
predicts that U.S. advertising And even more significant—in only
spending on social networks will the first few months of 009—the
exceed $.6 billion this year (009) as reach of these sites is growing at
the sites and companies that make a brisk pace, faster than any other
applications for them push to harvest online sector.
more personal information posted
online, then sell it to advertisers.
• The average social networker
goes to social sites five days a week
• Of 0 chief marketing officers and checks in about four times a day
who responded to a survey by for a total of an hour each day. Nine-
Anderson Analytics asking them percent stays logged in all day and
which platform would figure into are constantly checking out what’s
their marketing plans the most in the new. Anderson Analytics, 009 4
coming months, 40.8% responded
Twitter, followed by 6.% saying
Facebook, 6.5% saying LinkedIn, • LinkedIn claims that the average
and 8.7% responding “Other.” household income of its members is
$0,000, 64 percent are male, the
average age is 4, and 49 percent
• A study run by business social are decision makers. In contrast, the
network MeettheBoss.com shows that average Wall Street Journal reader,
executives are spending an extra makes $0,000 per household, is
hours a month online sharing their 48 years old, and only 40 percent are
professional experiences and learning business decision makers.
from their peers. Over 90% of
respondents said they felt their time
online was ‘very valuable’ to their
Berry Network White Paper Business Leads: Social Media for Business 9
WORD-OF-MOUTH MARKETING THROUGH MULTIMEDIA CHANNELS No longer is the
– better known today as social networking – is a dynamic new medium that marketer or agency
is transforming marketing as we know it. No longer is the marketer or agency in control of
in control of messaging and how it is communicated; the consumer is now
in charge. However, savvy businesses are learning how to adapt to this new
messaging and how
instrument by combining the power of viral marketing and technology to their it is communicated;
advantage. Your job, as an ambassador of your company, is to understand how the consumer is now
to use social networking to drive leads for your business. in charge.
For the Marketing Executive
Spend time listening and joining social networks associated with your line of
business. Keep an eye open for those with high numbers of followers. These are
usually the ones that are providing the most value.
Plan your strategy so that you fit in with the message threads and don’t be
afraid to start new ones.
For the New Business Manager
Join as many social networks as you can. Reach out and connect with those
that have similar interests and work in the same industry. However, avoid listing
yourself as a sales person, readers will think you’re online just to drive business
and they will tend to not trust what you say. Also, use social networks to explore
and find new sales channels and advocates of your brand.
For the C-Level Executive
Use social networks as a powerful marketing and PR vehicle for your
organization. Readers will follow you and respond. Take advantage of the
Berry Network White Paper Business Leads: Social Media for Business 0