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Web marketing—Chart a winning course with social media

Although the social media marketing effort is relatively new, it is already showing positive results. In six weeks after launching the social media campaign, the company’s sales outstripped those of the previous year, according to Pettengill.

Social media is also helping with a fundraising effort for which Zu Audio is a donor, Pettengill adds. The company donated a speaker to a Los Angeles school, which was going to auction the product for much-needed funds. The woman heading the fundraiser for the school tweeted about the donation, and the details were quickly retweeted to others, heightening awareness of both the fundraiser and Zu Audio, Pettengill says.

Engaging clients

Some of the benefactors of social media marketing are the firms that are helping other enterprises add it to their marketing mix. Volume Public Relations started aggressively using social media about three years ago to build and enhance relationships with clients. “Our goal,” says Elizabeth Robinson, the firm’s president and founder, “was to continue to build our presence as a boutique PR firm.” VolumePR chose to concentrate its efforts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

“LinkedIn is critical for the business executive,” Robinson says. “You don’t exist if you’re not on LinkedIn. Facebook is a way of building a community. Twitter increases your communications with individuals. YouTube is the No. 2 search engine.”

Visual communications via YouTube provide a more engaging experience with the audience than the written word, Robinson explains. But the firm doesn’t use any of those vehicles to pitch business, because that would be a quick turnoff. Instead, the firm uses the engines to provide clients and prospects with news and features they are expected to find interesting in order to build relationships—and eventually sales.

Robinson tracks and adjusts the firm’s efforts based in part on business intelligence feedback from Google Analytics, which provides information on clickthroughs and active followers. If there is a spike up on a particular day, Robinson tracks back to determine what social media action drove the additional traffic.

Though the use of social media has brought in some additional business, the exact amount is impossible to gauge. “That’s like trying to determine the ROI of your cell phone,” Robinson says. “You know you can make sales and be more productive when you’re out with a cell phone. You can’t measure the ROI, but you know that you can’t be in business without one.”

The use of social media marketing is still in its early stages, so development of social media and related knowledge management strategies are likely to advance dramatically as social media continues to evolve.   

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