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 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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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?

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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.

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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

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