Forget About The Conversions: Give Value to Get Value

By , August 2nd, 2011 in Social Media | 15 comments

Twitter has proven to be an extremely valuable marketing tool for many businesses. It’s a fun and simple platform that allows marketers to build a unique social audience and to engage with the people they care about. But while many companies attempt to quickly monetize from their social audiences, true value can only be earned after true value is given.

Far too often, I notice people pitching on Twitter. Sure, a company can get a few sales out of it, but generating a quick buck is not what your audience wants from this social engagement (and in all honesty, you can and will do a lot better than a quick buck). Your audience needs help and wants to learn. They are also willing to give you lots of money if you can add value toward what they want and need. But the second you start pitching, the potential value given from both parties instantly diminishes.

The Prototypical Hypothetical Twitter Pitch…and why I hate it.

I’m at the bar watching the Giants game, and just realize that I should get some new cycling gear for next week. So I tweet:

“Can anyone recommend a pair of dude’s bike shorts/shirt that’s good for early morning cycling? “

I get home later, take a nap, wake up, and open up the laptop. What do I see?


@samirsoriano You tweeted about cycling. Here’s 15% off purchases over $100 at @BikeLocalSF http://shrt.ly/bikelocalsf


“See” being the operative word, as there’s no way I’d read something with so many blue links. The hypothetical BikeLocalSF is trying to pitch me, when all I was really looking for was a review or a recommendation.

Being a B2B marketer, I once thought of Twitter as a simple lead-gen tool. People would tweet about retargeting, I’d respond with a link back to my site, cross my fingers, and hope for a lead to come through. It sometimes worked, but I was very focused on getting that conversion. I know, I know, very noob, but everyone starts out without knowing a single thing about anything. Twitter’s no different.

Engagement

I soon found Twitter to be much more than a lead gen tool. I’m not the only person in the world who doesn’t want to read tweets that are littered with underlined blue links. So I changed up my cold outreach strategy: I see someone asking a question or talking about my industry, and I respond with a value-adding answer or an insightful comment.

That’s it, no links. I’d still retweet any articles I found cool, and links to all of our great content, but the cold outreach strategy is what really changed, and we’ve found numerous benefits from this:

  • R&D: I was able to see marketers’ successes and pain points with retargeting, and I was able to legitimately help people when they had problems with the technology, whether they were a current client or not. This is research and development in disguise, without the surveys, without the focus groups. This definitely kept my product hat busy.
  • Branding: I have one simple branding goal for my company: be mentioned in every single exploratory conversation about retargeting. We want all companies, big and small, to think about us when they talk about retargeting in their marketing strategy discussions. Inserting ourselves in the retargeting conversations on public forums (Twitter, Quora) make sure this happens.
  • Increased Conversions: Ironically, when I stopped focusing on getting conversions from Twitter, our total amount of conversions increased. Within two weeks of starting this strategy, I started to consistently see roughly 10% as many direct leads come through our CRM. Granted, only some of them were labeled “Lead source: Twitter,” so how do I know it’s attributable? I broke a cardinal rule of Twitter: I stopped tweeting, and made sure to keep all other marketing efforts constant. The next week – roughly 9% less leads. I started tweeting again, fast.

Content Distribution

In addition to changing my outreach engagement strategy, I still used Twitter for content distribution. After months of testing what I was throwing out there, I was able to quickly see what resonates through our Twitter audience, and what drives a relevant audience to my website.

Here are some different tweets we’ve measured:

  • This tweet was well received, and mentioned a cool audience and industry-related site I found.

    • 129 clicks
    • 4 people added this to their favorites
    • 11 retweets
    • 11 follows on the day of this tweet
    • 3 replies

  • This was also well received – our lead creative guy found this one to be helpful as we were looking to get some new furniture for our new office, but isn’t too relative to our audience or industry

    • 45 clicks
    • 11 mentions
    • 13 follows

  • We were highlighting some recent press that we received on our case study with Get Satisfaction. The fact that we mentioned the publisher in this one must’ve affected its performance.

    • 80 clicks
    • 1 retweet
    • 3 mentions
    • 15 follows

  • This tweet was meant to distribute some of our own content. It was decently received, and the snappy title may have had a lot to do with it.

    • 22 clicks
    • 1 fave
    • 10 mentions
    • 11 follows

  • Another attempt to distribute our own content. Bland title – decent engagement.

    • 8 clicks
    • 2 faves
    • 1 retweet
    • 3 mentions
    • 9 follows

Unfortunately, I can’t share any actual conversion numbers, but I can say that there is a general relation between a tweet’s engagement and the amount of leads we generate/value we receive. Additionally, while I do track conversions from our distribution tweets, the engagement tweets are a lot more directly associated to our own conversion rate.

For B2B marketing, Twitter is a game of value and you must be a patient player. When you stop caring about the value that you’re getting and start giving value to others, you’ll start to get the value you’re looking for.

If you need a place to start, forget about pitch-tweets.

In fact, try not tweeting any links for a week – you’d be surprised at what that can deliver to you.

– Samir Soriano

This is a guest post, entered in the 2011 Unbounce Conversion Fest Blogging Contest. All opinions are those of the author.

Samir Soriano is the director of marketing at ReTargeter, a simple and effective self-serve retargeting platform. As a B2B marketer, Samir enjoys pushing the boundaries of online advertising, truly believes in the value of genuine service. Prior to ReTargeter, Samir was a marketing coordinator at Sportsvite.

Comments

  1. Constantin says:

    Interesting article and business approach. Connecting with your consumers can sometimes be more costly in the short term, however, in the long term it’s always advantageous. Companies that take the time to care are investing in their future.

    • Samir says:

      Thanks Constantin — when people ask me about my company’s competition, I’m often tempted to say Nordstrom and Zappos, as opposed to Google or Criteo. As a company, we are very much focused on building relationships and customer service – the value that we can deliver through this can be equally as powerful as the value that we deliver through retargeting.

  2. Yomar Lopez says:

    Good stuff here, Samir!

    I wholeheartedly agree with the notion of Twitter for following trends, determining real needs, modeling other successes, and managing relationships – that’s CRM, conversions, and R&D right there. Limiting self-promotion and extra steps (links and redirects) certainly helps when engaging audiences.

    Great job wrapping up with some tweets and stats! Correlation is not an exact science but we get a real feel for what works best here. Cheers!

  3. Marcus says:

    I’ve read so many articles about using Twitter to grow your business. Samir, this is the first one that really nailed how to do it: explanations, real-world examples, statistics to back up your conclusions, the whole package.

    My only disappointment was that this was your only blog post on Unbounce! So I went over to the ReTargeter blog to read more of your great advice.

    Well done!

    • Samir says:

      Thanks Marcus! I definitely appreciate the kind words. I tend to post on various places, let’s keep in touch and I’ll let you know when and where they go up. I hope that I can keep providing similar value to you and people like you.

  4. Jared says:

    Interesting article.

  5. David says:

    This would be great if I actually used Twitter, maybe I’ll try it out.

  6. Kristi Hines says:

    I think that’s where businesses having a great blog comes in. If that bicycle co. had a blog post that was Top 10 Best Apparel Pieces that they sent instead of the discount, you would have went there and maybe been sold if they linked the items to their store. Instead of making sales, they need to make content that is valuable and then send that. It would be much more successful.

  7. Samir,
    Thanks for the thoughtful post on utilizing Twitter. At one point, I was promoting heavily on Twitter, and I was basically gaining large numbers of followers who were all doing the same. Anyway, your post has continued my Twitter education. Thanks!

    • Samir says:

      Hi James!

      It’s easy to get into the promotion game on Twitter, but people can quickly find out that it doesn’t work. You’re talking to YOUR audience on Twitter, so it makes sense to actually give them tweets that they’d actually read.

      Best to you – let me know if I can ever be helpful!

      – Samir

  8. […] Samir Soriano@SamirSorianoForget About The Conversions: Give Value to Get Value […]

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