Friday, February 26, 2010

Leads for Less with Social Media

Social media, blogs and search engine optimization more cost-effective for lead gen

Pull marketing tactics such as search, blog and social media generate cheaper leads than more traditional outbound efforts, according to data from inbound online marketing platform HubSpot.
The “2010 State of Inbound Marketing” report indicates that spending on lead generation is 60% less among companies that devote at least one-half of their budget to inbound marketing, compared with companies spending at least one-half of lead generation dollars on outbound tactics.
The average cost per lead from inbound marketing was also significantly less.

Unsurprisingly, for business-to-business firms, LinkedIn was most effective for customer acquisition. Business-to-consumer companies did better on each of the other sites, with the best results coming from Facebook, where nearly seven in 10 had found a new customer.

Check it out at:

Monday, November 30, 2009

Email, PR, Social Media Key Trends in 2010

According to a study by email marketing provider Vertical Response, U.S. small businesses say they plan to bolster their use of social media and email marketing in 2010.

"The survey of 831 respondents at businesses with fewer than 500 employees found that 74% plan increase in email marketing and 68% will increase their use of social media marketing."

Savvy companies have recognized the potential these cost-effective channels have in delivering value to their customers and prospects. Even more, they are great jumping-off points for companies looking to implement engagement strategies and establish ongoing dialogue with their constituents.

Additionally, public relations was identified as a top tool for businesses to use in 2010. Not very surprising as PR offers companies relatively cost-friendly avenues to build their brand, establish relationships with the media and engage in relevant industry conversations.

To read the full article and see the results, visit

Monday, November 02, 2009

Small Business Not Into Social Networks For Leads

According to a new Citibank / GfK Roper survey of 500 small business executives across the United States, 76% have not found social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to be helpful in generating business leads or for expanding their business during the last year, while 86% say they have not used social networking sites to get business advice or information.

The survey found that general search engine sites such as Google and Yahoo! trump small business-focused sites and the as destinations for small business owners to seek business advice or information. 61% of respondents say they rely on these search engine sites.

Maria Veltre, Executive Vice President of Citi's Small Business Segment, concludes "... small business owners are still feeling their way into social media... many... may not have the manpower or the time required take advantage of them."

Additional responses found that 42% of small business owners and managers reported that in the past year they have made greater use of their company's website to generate business leads and sales. Among companies with 20 to 99 employees the percentage rises, with 57% saying they have made greater use of their website. 28% of survey respondents are also using email marketing and 25% are using online advertising to generate business leads and sales.

More information from Citibank may be found here.

Source: Center for Media Research Monday, November 02, 2009 Research Brief

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Small Biz Chooses Search over SocNets

Small Biz Chooses Search over SocNets

More than three-fourths (76%) of small-business owners have not found social networking sites to be helpful in generating business leads or for expanding their business during the last year, and 86% say they have not used social networking sites to get business advice or information, according to a new Citibank/GfK Roper survey. The survey of 500 small business executives across the US, found that despite widespread consumer use and increasing marketing efforts on social-media sites - such as Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn - among larger organizations, managers in smaller businesses apparently are not jumping on the bandwagon.

Google Trumps
The survey found that general search engine sites such as Google and Yahoo trump social networks, small-business-focused sites and general business destinations such as as places where business owners to seek business advice or information. Some 61% of respondents say they rely on search-engine sites.

Additional survey findings:
  • 42% of small business owners and managers reported that in the past year they have made greater use of their company’s website to generate business leads and sales.
  • Among companies with 20-99 employees, this percentage rises to 57% reporting they have made greater use of their website.
  • Survey respondents are using email marketing (28%) and online advertising (25%) to generate business leads and sales.

A report from Borrell Associates found that small businesses are poised to triple the amount of money they spend on their websites.

“Our survey suggests that small business owners are still feeling their way into social media, particularly when it comes to using these tools to grow their businesses,” said Maria Veltre, EVP of Citi’s Small Business Segment. “While social media can provide additional channels to network and help grow a business, many small businesses may not have the manpower or the time required take advantage of them.”

Things may be poised to change in the future, however. Despite SMB’s continued reliance on and preference for traditional media, a study by Bredin Business Information found that major marketers to SMBs are cutting back on traditional tactics and switching to lower-cost, online marketing to save money. About the survey: The omnibus poll was conducted for Citibank Small Business via telephone by GFK Roper from August 20-27, 2009 among a sample of 500 small business executives across the US.


Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Tweeting More Ubiquitous Than Other Electronic Socializing

According to a survey conducted by Crowd Science, with Twitter being accessed from mobile devices to a greater extent than other social media, Twitter users also use social media more in such locations as cars, restaurants and restrooms. 11% of Twitter users admitted to accessing social media while driving during the preceding 30 days, compared with just 5% of other social media users. And 29% of Twitter users said they had accessed social media from cars at some point in the past, compared with 13% of non-users.

John Martin, CEO of Crowd Science, notes that "Twitter is more of a mobile media phenomenon than other social networks, so these results, while a little disturbing, are... not so surprising... the bottom line is that either type of activity takes a driver's attention away from the road."

The survey found that only 27% of Twitter users tweet daily, while 46% check updates daily. In addition, 24% of Twitters users have never tweeted, or have ceased doing so.

According to the survey, 40% of Twitter users access the service via mobile at least sometimes, compared with 32% for Facebook users, and 8% use mobile all the time vs. 3% for Facebook.

In addition to the greater usage while driving, the survey also found that over the past 30 days,

  • Twice as many Twitter users as non-Twitter social media users (8% to 4%) had accessed any social media from a theater during a movie or live performance.
  • 17% of Twitter users vs. 12% of non-Twitter social media users had accessed social media from a washroom or toilet
  • Nearly three times as many Twitter users as other social media users have accessed social media from restaurants (31% vs. 12%).

Considering the attitudes of Twitter users, says the report, a significant number of social media users use the applications because friends and contacts do (17%), or because stopping or reducing its use would be damaging to their social status (15%.).

32% of Twitter users feel they spend too much time using social media, 22% say they've written things on social media that they've later regretted, and 16% report that they often neglect important activities to spend time on social media. Yet 25% of Twitter users say social media is their favorite leisure activity, compared with 14% of non-Twitter social media users.

Additional survey results include:

  • 41% of Twitter users prefer to contact friends via social media rather than telephone, compared with 25% of non-Twitter social media users,
  • 11%, vs. only 6% of those not using Twitter, actually prefer social media over face-to-face contacts
  • 14% of Twitter users said they have revealed things about themselves in social media that they wouldn't under any other circumstances
  • 8% admitted to "frequently stretching" the truth about themselves online

Twitter users tend to be older than non-Twitter social media users (54% over 30 years old, vs. 42%),

  • They are twice as likely to be self-employed or entrepreneurs (18% vs. 9%)
  • 24% vs. 15% "buy gadgets/devices when they first come out,"
  • 48% vs. 30% have created a website
  • 37% currently maintain a blog, twice as many as non-Twitter social media users

The Crowd Science study was conducted across more than 600,000 visitors to multiple websites between August 5-13, 2009, targeting social media users age 12 and up.

For more information from Crowd Science, please visit here.

Source: Center for Media Research Oct. 7, 2009 Research Brief.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Social Media Tools Gaining For Driving Sales

Source: Center for Media Research -- Research Brief 9/24/09

According to the first annual Community and Social Media Study, from the The e-tailing group five out of ten social media tools have been adopted by more than 50% percent of brands and retailers, with the Facebook Fan Page leading the way at 86%. In addition, the study found three-fourths of the survey respondents feel brands have accelerated their use of, and commitment to, community and social media in the past six months.

The study found that the penetration of social media tools within brand and retailer organizations is extremely high, given the length of time these tools have been around.

The top three concerns of marketers and merchandisers related to social media:

  • Brand degradation fear - "people can trash my products in front of large audiences"?
  • Competence fear - "I am using outdated marketing/merchandising techniques"?
  • Competitive fear - "customer's inclination to leave their site to find a more socially-engaging site"

These motivators, which drove the last wave of social media adoption, will also be driving the next wave in the coming year, says the study. Over the next 12 months, study respondents say they plan to adopt:

  • Facebook Connect (31%)
  • Social Listening Tools (31%)
  • Customer Reviews (26%)
  • Product Suggestions (26%)

The study also found the primary goal for adopting social media was:

  • Customer engagement (39%)
  • Mobilizing advocates to drive "word of mouth" (30%)
  • Increasing brand loyalty (21%)

Lauren Freedman, President of the e-Tailing group, says ?"The integration of community and social networking within e-commerce has reached critical mass... failing to engage consumers via community and social media will have brand and bottom-line implications... "

Regarding advocacy and word of mouth (the #2 goal of using social media tools), the study found that Facebook is considered by brands and merchants to be the "single most effective tactic in mobilizing brand advocates and influencers to spread the word about products/services."

However, when it comes to driving sales and customer engagement, customer reviews came out on top by a wide margin, with 78% of those polled listing customer reviews as the #1 social media tool for generating sales and 61% listing customer reviews #1 in driving customer engagement.

Darby Williams, VP of Marketing at PowerReviews, says "... we believe a new marketing baseline has been set with customer engagement and interaction taking center stage."

Please visit the e-Tailing group website here for more information about the study. In addition, A free PowerPoint presentation of survey findings is available to download directly from PowerReviews.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Corporate Use of Social Networking Still an Executive Concern

According to a study by Russell Herder and Ethos Business Law, senior US marketing, management and HR executives are concerned about the risks of increased use of social networks within their companies. 51% percent of these executives fear social media could be detrimental to employee productivity, while 49% assert that using social media could damage company reputation.

Despite these apprehensions, says the study, social networking is being accepted as a key communications strategy. According to survey results:
81% believe social media can enhance relationships with customers/clients
81% agree it can build brand reputation
69% feel such networking can be valuable in recruitment
64% see it as a customer service tool
46% think it can be used to enhance employee morale

The most popular vehicles being used include:
Facebook (80%)
Twitter (66%)
YouTube (55%)
LinkedIn (49%)
Blogs (43%)

Much of senior management's direct experience with social media appears to be reactive versus proactive, concludes the report. 72% of executives say that they, personally, visit social media sites at least weekly:
52% to read what customers may be saying about their company
47% to routinely monitor a competitors' use of social networking
36% to see what their employees are sharing
25% check the background of a prospective employee

The national survey, which assessed social media workplace trends and adoption of policies governing social media, found that fewer than one in three respondents say their organization has a policy in place to govern social media use and only 10% of companies have conducted employee training on it.

Executives believe social media can potentially be detrimental to employee effectiveness and company reputation, sys the report. Those surveyed who are not using social media on a corporate basis say non-implementation is primarily due to concern about confidentiality or security issues (40%), employee productivity (37%) or simply not knowing enough about it (51%).

This may be why many organizations continue to prohibit workplace access to social networking sites. The study found that 40 percent of companies technically block their employees from accessing social media while at work. At the same time, 26% of companies use social media to further corporate objectives and 70% said they plan to increase the use of these new opportunities.

Even though social media communication is growing, only one in 10 executives say they have staff who spend more than 50% of their time on such efforts, and only 13% have included social media in their organizations' crisis communications plans.

Carol Russell, CEO of Russell Herder, says "Ignoring the need for responsible guidelines can leave an organization open to unnecessary risk and can impede efforts to use social media proactively and competitively in the marketplace... "

And, according to Ethos President David Baer, good social media policies are organization-specific, taking into consideration the philosophy and culture of the organization. Good policies should include, he says, "the need to respect confidential and proprietary information, as well as the sensitivity of potential conflicts of interest."

To view the balance of the Whitepaper in a PDF file, please access it at (rhp_089_whitepaper.pdf) with this link.

Source: Center for Media Research Research Brief 9/25/09