Is your company ready for social media?

If you’re a B2B company and think that social media is primarily a channel for B2C’s, think again. According to just released 2012 IBM Global CEO study more than 1,700 Chief Executive Officers from 64 countries and 18 industries worldwide, social media will go from the least used customer engagement tactic to the second, only surpassed by face-to-face interaction in the next 3-5 years. Why? Because social media is a very effective and low cost means for connecting with customers, sales prospects, media, partners and employees.

As you can see in the chart below, only 16 percent of companies are using social media to connect with customers, but that number is expected to increase to 57 percent within the next three to five years. The CEOs in the study predict that social mediawill push past websites, call centers and channel partners as the number-two way to interact with customers.

Social Media Readiness Checklist

It’s easy to get excited about the social media hype, but creating a social media program is more than just setting up an account and waiting while the leads come pouring in. It takes a little bit of research and forethought to determine what your social media program will be before you jump in.

Here are 4 questions to consider before launching into social media:

1. What do I want to accomplish with social media?

Social media can be used in many different ways for your business – brand awareness, customer service, lead generation, building customer relationships, etc. Pick the direction you want to go in so that your efforts don’t get diffused in too many directions.

2Where is my audience?

Don’t get caught using the wrong network. It could be disastrous. Where are you existing and potential customers, as well as your competitors hanging out? How are they interacting?

Use “listening tools”  such as Google AlertsGoogle Blog SearchTwitter Search and Social Mention to help you with some of the work.

3. What do I want to share?

What kind of content do you want the company to share? What cannot be shared? Content, as always is king. Good content can come in a variety of formats such as blog posts, videos, case studies, white papers, etc.

It’s important to set up a frequency of posts and provide information which is useful to your readers.

4How much time will I spend on this?

Although being part of social networks is free, social media is NOT free. It takes time, resources and commitment in order to make this successful. You’ll need to figure out who will be managing the efforts, be it you, your staff or outside consultant.

Social media can be a great addition to your other marketing tactics. And although you could be a user on Facebook, Linked in, YouTube, etc. in your own personal time, don’t get misled that it’s just as simple to get started. Take some time to think through the checklist and map out your plan before getting started and you’ll see much better results.


Case study: How a company increased conversion rate by 390% in 5 months

Conversion rate is a metric that every web manager pays attention to. The number of visitors who convert on your site, whether it means signing up to a newsletter or purchasing a product in your e-commerce store is is highly important. Each web manager has a goal of increasing conversion rate. Experts claim conversion rate to be a science and that it requires an understanding of customer psyche and behavior, I disagree. This post will explain how one website increased conversion rate by 390%.

A multi-channel approach

At the end of the 2011, the global conversion rate  of a travel company was 0.43%. At the start of the year, the conversion rate dropped to 0.20%. Travel industry professionals know that January is the busiest sales month of the year and we quickly set an action plan to increase our online efforts. The focus was to improve on-site SEO and PPC, increase email marketing activity, conduct usability testing and implement customer survey on the site. Each week we monitored our progress.

In February 2012, the conversion was 0.20%, with approx 30 transactions per week and revenues of approx €35,000 (value of €1.8 million per year).

The improvements quickly made an impact on the bottom line and as of today, the conversion rate is 0.98%, with approx 100 transactions per week and revenues of €120,000 (value of €6.2 million). That’s a 390% increase in conversion rate.



Sales continue to grow to now more than €100,000 per week and year on year revenue is up by 31%.

Conversion rate

Conversion rate

Conversion rate has increased by 390% since February

Travel is a very seasonal industry. However, the chart below compares this year’s increase with 2011.

Conversion rate 2011 and 2012

2011 conversion rate between Jan-Jul was 0.34%.

Four channels to improve web traffic quality

Here are the exact steps we took to increase conversion rate as per each marketing channel:

Search Engine Optimization

  • Sign up to SEOmoz and fix issus found under crawl diagnostics
  • URL rewrite with user-friendly keyword URL’s
  • Improved page titles and meta descriptions
  • Uploaded XML sitemap to webmaster tools

We now rank top of the SERPs for our most competitive keywords

Search Engine Marketing (PPC)

Click through rates have increased by more than 700%

User Experience

  • Launched 4Q customer survey
  • Emphasized the benefits of booking online
  • Added guest reviews to key pages
  • Launched a pricing calendar

Users can now complete tasks on site much quicker

Email Marketing

  • Newsletter sign up on front page
  • Emphasized the benefits of signing up
  • Monthly email marketing activity based on segmentation
  • Personalized newsletters

High open rates and click through rates with low unsubscribe rates

Having a clear goal and focus

These efforts were not the result of a highly experienced online marketing team. In fact, the team that lead us to this remarkable achievement had no prior online marketing experience. Through self-educating, a clear direction and implementing like hell, conversion rates and sales have increased.

When this project was started, the goal was bring the conversion rate back to a minimum of 0.43%. By having a clear goal, online sales have tripled and the approach will now be rolled out globally and implemented on several websites, which potentially could lead to more than €42 million in increased sales.

 How has your conversion rate increased in 2012? Post your comments in the section below.

How to get 100 000 fans on Facebook in less than a year

In September 2011 a small company had 1 600 fans on Facebook. The company had no clear Facebook strategy and there was little activity on their Facebook page. Less than a year later, the company has over 100 000 fans, a very active base of enthusiastic fans and a Facebook page that contributes significantly to the bottom line! What happened  during this year? What can we learn? Strategy is simple. Execution is difficult!

Some Experts will tell you that you have to develop a detailed plan, set specific goals and get management on board  before you start. Other experts have a more practical approach to success with social media. I think this story will show that the practical approach is more effective .

Facebook growth

In order to succeed on Facebook, you need to attract and engage fans and measure effect in order to share success stories. Here´s the story.

1. Just do it

Some activties require little planning. I consider them “no brainers” when it comes to any Facebook effort. Here´s a short checklist:

When you start implementing, you trigger reactions from other people in your organization. You get people to think and you create a positive “sense of urgency”. You might even inspire other people to take action! You´ve essentially kick started your company´s social media efforts. No planning or meetings required. Just do it!

2. Do some research

You don´t have to reinvent the wheel. Look at what other companies do and emulate them until you come up with something truly unique. Expand your horizon. Look across countries and industries for inspiration. Read reports and blog posts about Facebook success stories. Learn from the best companies in other countries:

  • Who´s the best? Make a list of the 5 leading companies in the world.
  • What do they do on Facebook? How do they use Facebook on their own websites?
  • What do they publish on their Facebook pages?
  • How are they different?

3. Choose a general direction and implement like hell

After you´ve completed step 1 (Just do it) and step 2 (Do some research), you´re ready to really get going with your social media efforts. Test different approaches and adjust along the way. Remember that ideas have no value if you don´t implement.

  • Contests & promotions
    Facebook promotions are a great way to attract fans. In September the Norwegian company used Wildfireapp to launch a promotion. The first attempt failed, but in October they launched a new promotion using a quiz-app from Offerpop. The second promotion was successful and the fan-base  grew to 5000 fans.
  • Simplicity is genious
    In November the company launched a Facebook Christmas gift app. The idea behind the app was to make it easy to give Facebook friends Christmas gifts. The service had several social mechanisms to maximize viral exposure.  It´s also worth noting that Walmart launched a similar gift app around the same time. The app was not a commercial success, but the company gained some valuable social experience!
  • Christmas calendars 
    Alot of companies launch Christmas calendars before Christmas. It´s quite boring, but it works. People love quizes and contests with daily prizes. If you add a grand prize at the end, you´re guaranteed success. Read more about the Facebook activity that lead to 45 000 new fans.
  • Copy Groupon
    Groupon offers daily deals to a large customer base. If you have 100 000 Facebook fans, it´s worth trying daily deals towards your own fans. Only approx. 16% of your Facebook fans see any given post (source: Facebook – don´t remember exact source..)so you can post almost daily without wearing out your fans! Don´t abuse it and remember to focus on relevancy!
  • Common sense
    Mark Zuckerberg once said: “Communities already exist. They´re already doing what they want to do. The question you should ask is how you can help them do that better”. This is key to success with social media. What are your customers, partners, employees already doing? How can you make it easier for them to do what they´re already doing?

4. Measure results and share success stories

It´s much more fun to share success stories when you know the exact numbers at the beginning of your quest. Before taking on a new project, it´s essential to look at the numbers. There´s a variety of good tools out there: Facebook insights, Allfacebookstats and Socialbakers are good tools that make it easy to track progress.

Next steps

The story about the small Norwegian company that gained 100 000 Facebook fans in one year shows that you can succeed on Facebook without extensive planning and huge budgets. The key is to choose a general direction and implement like hell. It´s hard work and somebody has to take action. We hope that this short story inspires others to share success stories!