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    Social Conversion

January 24, 2010

Top 5 Misconceptions about How Social Media traffic Converts

@hedenius, a distinguished and most prominent colleague of mine came up with the idea for this post. The 100th post of jesperastrom.com. Social Media and conversion is one of those questions I think about all the time. The foundation for my analysis lies within the presentation I held at Searchmeet in 2009. It is all about baby steps, looking for small conversions leading to the final goal of a financial transaction.

1. The landing page is only about the offer

One of the greatest misconceptions when it comes to social media conversion is that of the offer. When you are working with search engine traffic or e-marketing, they you are looking at putting an offer in the face of your visitor that he or she can say yes or no to. You try to make your offer seem as valuable as possible by highlighting it, by making putting it in the proper placement or by simply covering the whole page with it.

Social media traffic does not want the offer. At least not the offer you are interested in selling. They think that the offer is in the way of the deal. When they trust you, then they will come to your page for that offer through a brand search. If you only highlight your offer, then you will be stuck with only a fraction of the value you could generate from the users you receive from social media traffic.

First rule of social media conversion is that you shouldn’t sell anything. You should build trust, then sell when the visitor returns through the search engine. Help them research through social media. Give them the tools to do this research and help them tell others about it. But DON’T offer them to buy anything at this point. It simply doesn’t make you a credible talking partner.

2. Making your Value proposition all about the money

Which brings me to the second misconception about social media traffic. It doesn’t matter how much money you put on the table. Think about it this way.

Your goal should be to become a part of the group. If you have ever been associated with a group of people you know that there is a social hierarchy in any one of them. You know that there is this one person that you all care if he/she is there or not, and you know that respectively there is a person that you simply don’t care if they’re around.

If you put money on the table first, then you will only be the person the group comes to if and when that money is on the table. You need to get the group to respect you. Cause just as in the group. If you are that one person who is the cool kid in the click, people will listen to your suggestions.

If you make your value proposition greater than money. If you make it about trust, or as simple as friendship, or as a source of invaluable information. Then your value, and the value of your services will increase accordingly.

3. The shortest way is the most profitable

For search engine traffic, or at least the buyers that come from the search engines, they have a set mind that they want to buy. You should give this traffic one option when they land and this should be an obvious one. They should be able to hit buy and be out of there in a matter of seconds.

When you’re looking at converting social media traffic you have to take the way around the park first. Disregard the Dell Outlet for a while cause that is just spam, really it is. If you’re looking at converting social media traffic you’ll have to take it in steps. You have to think of where they enter in the purchase process rather than just offering them one single way to convert. With this I mean you have to give them the option to subscribe, the option to sign up, the option of becoming a member or just leaving a comment.

When doing so you’re collecting some valuable piece of information about them that you can then later use to convert them. CRM-style!! If you learn about your client first and then make the offer, then you’ll be able to extract more money out of each buy.

4. People are rational, that’s the rational

Most conversion theory, just as economics is based on the notion that people are rational. In real life, we know that no one in this world considered a human being is rational. We all have our “just cause” preferences that screw up our clear judgment. When converting traffic from the search engine, the buying process has already begun with the search. The buyer is already on his/her way to make the buy.

The social media visitor thinks differently. You actually have no idea in what frame of mind they are. You know what they are interested in as they arrived at your website clicking a link. This represents great information for you when trying to convert them. However, it doesn’t tell you about their frame of mind. Thus, you need to find that out instead of trying to push them towards a sale.

The best example is if you think of real life when you’re out shopping and you have an item to return to a certain store. If you’re only offered the chance to buy more when you arrive at the store you’ll be pretty pissed off. I mean, if the clerk doesn’t accept your claim to return the good, doesn’t understand your need, then you will probably leave and be reluctant on coming back.

When looking at social media traffic, these people are just the same. You have to have a look at them, understand what they’re about, and then aim to convert them to what they like, in the tone that they want it. I mean, in the example of the store above, it is not uncommon that you can sell more stuff to a customer gone happy, than one that is pissy with some garment they do not want.

5. Direct conversion is all that counts

Anyone engaged in social media will have two KPIs skyrocketing if successful. First of all it is mentions online. Second of all is brand searches in the search engines as well as direct traffic. These are the three most important KPIs out there for social media conversion. You know that your conversion rate on brand search terms is HUGE. Look in your statistics.

Thus if you can increase this metric, it is great for you. One of the best ways to increase brand searches and direct traffic are to get into the head of people. You best do that by talking to people.

Now. Brand search increase most often get rewarded to the SEO people in your organization. Even though they haven’t done anything to increase the search volume. This is one of the greatest lessons you can learn about converting social media traffic. IT doesn’t convert right away. But it increases your overall conversion rate as your brand searches increase when you’re doing it well.

Update #1: Just as @Jaamit from FreshEgg SEO says, links are a truly one of the MOST important KPIs when working through social media. I can’t believe I didn’t write it from the get go. But, I guess I’ll reward Jaamit with a link instead of getting pissed off and thank him for pointing out my mistake. Thnx for the comment!!

Update #2: Stumbled across this post about brands and behavioral economics that is HIGHLY useful when trying to explain for old school ppl what social media and conversion is all about.

Why SEO conversion theories don’t apply

Basically, SEO traffic has a specific frame of mind that you can convert through. Social media traffic has no such frame of mind. At least not that you know of. In order to convert the social media traffic you first of all need to find out the frame of mind of the user, then convert the user. Lesson learned right?

The secondary effect is that your brand becomes more dense in online conversations. This requires a lot of work, but we can see that those companies well integrated in social media made higher revenues than those who didn’t engage in social media. Those engaged were more frequently mentioned. Those more frequently mentioned got more of the business.

Especially in mature markets. Social media becomes what conveys the online consumers to buy from you as they believe you are the best choice (regardless if all rational says otherwise). SEO then takes care of them when they are ready to buy.

Now, how you go about doing this is up to you. Or to me… 😉

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September 29, 2009

Email and Social media

There has been a debate with regards to whether or not social media is the death of email or if the two live in a symbiotic relationship with one another. As an interesting piece to the puzzle, Nielsen Online published an article about one of their studies on how social media effects the usage of e-mail.

What they found was not quite what you might expect as they could see a clear positive relationship between the use of social media and the consumption of email. If you have time to critically examine this statement, then visit the article through the link above. All others – eat this table taken from that article.

Source: The Nielsen CompanyIs Social Media Impacting How Much We Email?

This relationship speaks in quite the contrary direction of what many hard core talkers in this field are suggesting. But how can they be so wrong? They are journalists, consultants and everyday users of these tools. Why is it that their analysis of what seems to be, or logically might become, in dire contrast with what the data tells us? I think the problem is that they are neglecting the shift in purpose for email.

Read More

June 8, 2009

Online Marketing Matrix

My boss Björn Alberts once showed me an excellent (suckin’ up big time) chart displaying the master matrix of any online web project. Since then I have basically made these types of matrixes as a way to structure my thoughts. This post will display one of those matrixes. Maybe not as useful as the one linked to above, but for organizations stuck in SEO-land, it might help with the visualization of where to go and what to do in order to go there.

Basically SEO centered business models rely on highly rational processes. The future models of making money online are however less rational and more behavioral.

I am far from ready with the model above, but it combines the worlds of online marketing that is evolving right now. You might want to criticise it for its lack of banners. But I truely and passionately advocate against banners as a means of online sales and thus I keep it out of the model. Secondly I sincerely feel that any marketing that has not at least a long term connection to some kind of sales, is a waste of money. Read More

May 2, 2009

Social Networking and CRM

There has been some discussion lately about using Social Network websites for CRM purposes. Besides the relationships you build when engaging in social networks, you sometimes need som kind of industrial model to go when trying to convince your bosses that this is actually simplifies your work.

The added value being that the users update their own “customer cards” as they update their profiles -> hence you save the maintenance costs of having your own CRM database.

Testing content
The whole idea started molding in my brain in 2006 when I wanted to test content on the users our social network Globy. I wanted to ask them for their opinion and discuss the content with them. We would then save the data and analyze it. Then we would change what we published and post it as new content. NOT!!

Quite frankly, we didn’t have a clue what we were doing, we where just doing it. We had our own social network and we thought we rocked. This was three years ago and we were making a buck running viral e-mail campaigns. Our failure however got me realizing that there was something greater with social networking as some succeded whilst others (read Jesper) failed terribly.

The above model came out of my conclusions. And I will shortly explain it below. Read More

April 27, 2009

How to Convert a Social Media User into a Buyer

Have you ever wondered why your digg or stumble traffic does not buy your stuff when on your website? Here is the foundation to my view on how you should go about converting social media users into buyers in theory. In later posts I will talk about how you should do this practically.

Previously I have been talking about The Mindset of an Online Consumer in Social Media in a previous entry. This entry however will take a deeper look into how you make your social media user become a returning customer just as you are converting your SEO-traffic today. If you are not converting your SEO-traffic today, well, then perhaps this will give you some insight too. Read More

March 24, 2009

The Rational of Irrational Social Media KPIs

Irrational economic decisions are made all the time in order to get something now, that will really cost us more in the long run than the value it gives us right away. Theories on irrational economic decisions are quite interesting when discussing social media KPIs as the basis of recommendation, word-of-mouth marketing, which is the basis of social media marketing, is really quite irrational in itself.

It is all about creating an artificial value that is placed on top of an actual value. I feel I need an example for this one.

The example of the Red ball
Imagine a red ball. It is spherical and red. Now imagine another red ball. It is spherical and red. Which ball is worth the most? Read More

March 22, 2009

Social Media and KPIs

A Key Performance Indicator is a measure of how good or bad you are performing on some measurements that are key to your business success. Generally a KPI is constructed as the sum or regression of some specific success events that you have pre-determined to be good for your company’s performance. Ie. a KPI should produce an indicator whether or not you will be successfull in reaching your goals.

For an e-commerce website these KPIs and success events are quite easy to determine and measure as anything that leads to a sale, or is in fact a sale, makes up the core of your existance. Hence, any kind of event that leads the user to commit the most profitable choice for you should also count as success events in your KPI.

With regards to corporate communication, events such as downloads of quarterly reports or whitepapers can be crucial for your corporate communication and should hence be defined and measured as success events leading to your aggregated KPI.

Social media and KPIs
With the introduction of social media in the toolbox for analyzing web success the regular model has to be extended. Problems in defining what actually determines your success has appeared on the skyline. What are the success events of social media? What can you as a company measure to know whether or not you are successful in what you do in social media? Read More

January 27, 2009

Viral Marketing through Google Docs

Here you see a picture of my newly added Google docs account. If you are working with any type of affiliate marketing this is the best launch pad for your viral campaigns. Using this, the pirate bay and YouTube, you can create an under ground viral campaign targeting special target groups.

How to prepare the Google Docs viral campaign
Create a Google Docs account. Depending on what your purpose is, you should create a user name that sounds pretty under cover. For example, if you work with sales of computer games or web hosting, you should create some kind of techy name that plays upon some well known profile within a game or within the industry. Read More

January 27, 2009

The Mindset of an Online Consumer in Social Media

If you are looking to convert through social media, you have to recognize that it is a completely different task than converting traffic from a search engine.

In this post I will quickly run through two situations where the mindset of a person will enable you to make a sale through social media.

  • The must have buy
  • The viral buy

The mindset
First of all you have to take the mindset of people engaged in social media into consideration. Imagine the off line activity when you sit with your loved one in a restaurant and all of a sudden one of those flower guys shows up to harrass you.

In any circumstance other than this one you would probably flick him off and hope he/she goes to hell for intruding with a sales proposal whilst you are trying to engage in some quality time with your babe. However, you see your loved ones face, how desparately he/she wants a flower, whether or not Read More