By Nick Johnson - March 12th, 2010
I've just spent the last hour or so working to pull together marketing details and results for the Corporate Social Media Summit for this last week( ie period 08 March to 12 March, so a bit curtail...
I've just spent the last hour or so working to pull together marketing details and results for the Corporate Social Media Summit for this last week( ie period 08 March to 12 March, so a bit curtailed considering time I'm writing this). For background on why I'm doing this, see this post.
It has been an interesting 60 minutes.
I'm going to try to stick to a consistent structure - for ease of use...
First, my activity this week. Second, the results of this activity. Third, some analysis. Fourth, some questions left to answer.
To kick off:
Twitter: 30 tweets in total. The bulk of these (ie 50%) were highlighting particular speakers and the topics they will be discussing at the conference. So pretty focused on conference marketing. A few (2 - 4) were highlighting the availability of my free white paper. The rest were a mixture of thanking for retweets, and retweets of interesting articles.
Facebook: 8 updates in total. 2 specifically selling the conference, 1 link to an interesting external piece. A few links to my white paper.
LinkedIn: 2 status updates (including link to white paper). Sent out free access to brochure (ie not behind a form) to 1,530 members of a social media marketing group.
Blog: 1 post - explaining this project.
Document storage sites: Hosted parts 3 and 4 of a 4 part free white paper on 3 x document storage sites - free access, no need to fill in any forms.
9 more Twitter followers. 4 more Facebook fans. 2 LinkedIn group members. 1 x blog visitor (a brutal testimony to my abilities as a blogger). 138 (approx) views of my brochure and white paper on various document hosting services (DocStoc, Scribd, Slideshare).
We had 407 visits to http://usefulsocialmedia.com between the 8th and 12th March. 41.56% of these visits were from referring sites (IE can be inferred that they come primarily from social media - the conference is listed on various events calendars, but I am am monitoring traffic from those sites and it doesn't make up much of that %). 4.11% were from search engines.
The top 5 sources of visits to my site were as follows:
- Direct Traffic (187 visits, 44.74% of all traffic)
- Google AdWords (48 visits, 11.48%)
- Advertising in a Newsletter (I'm not naming names because I have no desire to affect my relationship with my marketing partners!) (42, 10.29%)
- LinkedIn (28 visits, 6.86%)
- Twitter (17, 4.18%)
Focusing on how much traffic my social media activity drove to my site:
- Visits from LinkedIn (28, 6.86% of my total visitors)
- Visits from Twitter (17, 4.18%)
- Document Storage Sites (5, 1.22%)
- Blog (1, 0.25%)
Therefore, in total my social media activity was responsible for 12.26% of all traffic on my site.
Do the sums add up?
The first point here is that I (as an estimate) spent 30% of my marketing time on social media activity last week. Thus seeing only 12.26% of traffic being attributable to that activity is worrying. At the moment, the numbers do not stack up. However, as my presence on sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn grow (as one can assume will continue judging by current growth rates and growth I have experienced with previous Twitter accounts), one can reasonably expect that this % will grow with little extra effort on my part.
However, a large proportion of people being driven to my site via social media will have done so to (I assume, considering the volume of posts on the subject - but this needs to be clarified) to download my free white paper. I do not have the time or budget to continue producing white papers like this, so traffic will almost certainly be negatively affected because of this relative lack of new content.
What I have learned from my white paper
At this juncture, I think it is worth pointing out something about my white paper, and distributing a free product in an effort to get people interested in a paid product. Up to this point, I have had 307 people download my white paper on corporate social media from my website. We have had 95 people download a brochure for the conference. 41 people have downloaded the white paper AND the brochure.
You can read those figures in two ways.
- 13.4% of white paper downloaders are sufficiently interested to download the conference brochure (we can assess whether this is a positive or negative development later)
- 43.2% of all brochure downloaders did so because they read the white paper (which I would say is definitely a great argument for using free products to generate interest in paid ones. If you haven't read Free by Chris Anderson, I would. This point would come as no surprise to you if you have).
Now, this is all predicated on people downloading the brochure as a result of downloading the white paper. It could quite easily be the other way round - people come for the brochure after my excellent email marketing (obviously) and then see a free white paper and think '"What the heck? These guys have put together a phenomenally useful conference, so let's assume the white paper is equally brilliant. This is something I need to get clarity on. Can be done, but means some chats with our IT team that I haven't had time to have yet.
Document hosting and organic search benefits
One less immediately apparent benefit of a comprehensive presence on social media sites is the impact it has on your presence on Google. If you search for "US corporate social media conference", you will find a listing for the conference site at the third position in the list. The top result is my brochure, hosted on DocStoc. And the fifth result is the same brochure, hosted on Scribd.
Considering the brochure is a comprehensive sales tool and, if reading pdfs online is your bag, will give you all the info you need about the conference to be convinced to buy, then it doesn't really matter how much traffic I get to my site from these document hosting services. If it means more reading of my sales materials, bueno.
QUESTIONS TO ANSWER
- How can I expand my tracking onto http://usefulsocialmedia.com itself? At the moment, I am restricted to traffic analysis. I want to see the quality of this traffic and whether visitors coming from social media activity are any 'better quality' than others
- How to define 'better quality' from the question above (if I'm being brutal - 'are they any more likely to buy a ticket?' - I suppose)
- How scaleable is this? And how quickly does the 30% of time : 12.25% of traffic ratio become more attractive. Is it possible to get more out than you put in, in this very limited way?
My predictions: I would imagine traffic is significantly worse quality, though it will be relatively easy to get a hell of a lot more of it and improve the ratio in question 3.
The next stage in that analysis is working out a figure to put on the quality of social media traffic (ie likelihood to spend) compared to traffic from email/physical mailing/listings/word of mouth. Then we can get to decide whether it's worth my time.
And all that without opening the whole "But ROI in terms of $ and £ isn't the right way to look at social media!". Gosh, there's a lot to do.
Any feedback/advice/comments/unkind observations about my limited analytics skills and extremely un-advanced analysis of social media will be very much appreciated.