Does a daily social media ask help to sell more?

One of the social media marketing tactics that I’d always been opposed to in the past is high frequency repetition of an offer on social media. I made the assumption in years past that your audience was relatively static, and peppering them with offer after offer would eventually make them flee.

Then the era of social media churn began, wherein your audience comes and goes. On top of that, algorithms changed, and you could no longer count on your social content being seen simply because you posted it. Suddenly, it was no longer guaranteed that even a majority of your audience knew about a one-time offer post.

I began a test on March 11, 2015 to do a daily social promotion. My usual schedule of 5 items of note remained the same; the social offer was simply tacked on later in the day.

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Because I have 3 books for sale, I was able to present a new offer every day, repeating only every 4th day.

Other important things to note were that I wasn’t running any other promotions concurrently. My cadence of other posts and my weekly newsletter did not change. As best as possible, testing conditions were held stable and normal for the duration of the period.

What have the results been? Here are my sales numbers:

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To say the least, worthwhile. In the chart above, the blue bars represent daily sales of all books. The red line is a 14 day moving average of book sales. By incorporating a daily social media ask, it’s brought my 14 day sales average as high as it was during the initial launch.

Does this mean you should adopt a daily ask? As with all things, you have to test for yourself. Try it out, see if you generate similar, better, or worse results. Keep what works, leave behind what doesn’t work.


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Selling social media to a sales-driven company

Jonathan Chiriboga asked:

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The answer to this question is contingent upon your analytical skills. My tool of choice to prove the value of social media to lead generation and sales-focused people is Google Analytics.

In order to make this determination, goals and goal values in Google Analytics must be set up first. Once you’ve got goals and goal values, go into Google Analytics and find the Conversions menu on the left hand side:

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Once you’ve found the section called Assisted Conversions and clicked on the item mult-channel funnels, you should see a screen that looks like this (assuming that you have goals and goal values operational):

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What we see above is that social media has driven real revenue. In this particular case, since this is my personal website, Google Analytics is measuring eCommerce activity from book purchases. Social media drove 44 last touch purchases (meaning a social network post was the last thing someone did before buying) worth $142.53. Social also drove 24 assisted purchases (meaning that the social network post was part of the value chain but not the last thing someone did before buying) worth $77.70. Combined, social was worth $220.53, or 15.3% of my sales.

No VP of sales would dare throw away 15% of their sales revenue, not if they wanted to keep their jobs.

Now, if you’re B2B or complex B2C (because they’re the same thing), you’ll instead be measuring the inferred value of the leads you create, rather than the transactions themselves.

When you can prove that social media has a direct tie to sales, it becomes straightforward to sell in social. At this point, social media is a relatively known quantity, and there are case studies all over the Internet on sites like MarketingProfs and MarketingLand that you can show a skeptical VP of Sales or CMO. By explaining the above measurement strategy as part of your social program, you’ll prove that you’ve got your eye on what really matters to them, and that will go a long way towards getting their approval.


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Basics of social media marketing analytics tools

When it comes to measuring social media, what actually matters to you? I would argue that there are three basic categories of metrics, three buckets that truly matter when it comes to social media analytics. This is a topic I discussed in greater depth in my most recent book, Marketing Blue Belt.

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The first bucket is audience. How fast is your audience growing? How large is your reach and your audience’s reach? Who’s in your audience – do you have the right people?

The second bucket is engagement. An audience that is passive is valueless. What content types do your audience engage with? What things do you do that get them to respond?

The third bucket is action. What actions are your audience taking that provide tangible benefit to your company? Perhaps this is visiting the website and entering the top of the marketing automation funnel. Perhaps this is  recommending your company to colleagues (which is not the same as sharing/retweeting!)

As is the case with the marketing funnel, this is more of an organizational map for your marketing rather than a clear way to measure where someone is in the customer journey. Customer journeys are rarely so neat. Someone can jump from being an audience member to recommending your company without needing to engage with you.

Map out your existing social media marketing data in these three buckets. You will note that you’ll have to go through several different data sources to obtain all of these numbers. There is no single tool that will effectively measure the entire impact of social media. That tool doesn’t exist (though some vendors may claim otherwise).

The tool that measures what matters most to me as a marketer, as someone responsible for lead generation, is Google Analytics. GA measures from just after engagement to the conversion on the website. For me, this is the part of the final that I need the most insight into. Assisted conversions and Google analytics lets me know how much social media contributes to conversions, even if it’s not the last thing that someone does.

That said, Google Analytics only covers a portion of the social funnel. There is no one social media analytics tool that does it all. Frankly, I would be a little concerned if there was one tried to do it all, because it could not possibly measure everything well. Imagine a tool that tried to measure audiences, engagement, lead conversion, ad tracking, and personally-identifiable information for lead management in one product. That is not a recipe for success. Imagine a car that had all of the utility of a station wagon, the speed of a sports car, the fuel efficiency of a hybrid, the power of a race car? Such a Frankenstein beast would be the worst of all worlds.

The closest you’ll get to one tool that does it all is reporting software and washboarding software. You can do this in spreadsheets and Google documents for free, or you can purchase more expensive systems that attempt to unify data sources. Chances are, you’ll end up doing some of your reporting in a spreadsheet no matter what.

What should you look for in a social media analytics tool? Given the above, avoid any vendor that promises you everything. Look for vendors instead who are exceptionally good at their small portion of the social media analytics spectrum. Look for vendors with strong export capabilities and strong, easy to use APIs. The true test of an analytics tool is how freely they let you take your data somewhere else.

You’ve now got the basics of social media analytics tools and measurement. If you want to learn much more about developing a marketing analytics framework, go grab a copy of Marketing Blue Belt.


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