HOW TO: Manage Successful Social Media Promotions

Ben Straley is the CEO of Meteor Solutions, provider of the leading word-of-mouth analytics and optimization platform that enables marketers to measure, manage, and monetize earned media.

With holiday shopping in full swing, social shopping is already making a big impact. Data from Hitwise shows that downstream traffic to the Retail 500 coming from both Facebook (Facebook) and Twitter (Twitter) increased 36% and 15% respectively on Thanksgiving from the previous day. Downstream traffic to retailers grew again on Black Friday and Cyber Monday as many retailers promoted sales through fan pages and tweets.

This data is very encouraging for marketers, but a social media campaign must still be managed correctly for maximum ROI. Here are some tips on how brands can best engage their customers by offering what everyone now looks to social media for – a bargain.
New Strategies to Turn Buzz Into Buy

new strategy imageOther recent research confirms the fact that people are increasingly turning to social networks to get deals on products and services. Razorfish found that the primary drivers of “friending” or “following” a brand were promotions and discounts. Over one-third of social network users and 44 percent of Twitter users engaged with a brand through discount promotions. This is good news for marketers, but the stats also pose challenges to the way marketing programs and advertising budgets will be structured in the future.

Brands have long spent big money on commercials, media placements, direct mail, and more. With most of these methods, there is little way to measure the impact on your bottom line. You either get lucky with a surge in sales after your campaign, or it didn’t work. Either way, success or failure was impossible to measure.

If done right, social marketing is a fantastic way to get the best of all worlds from a campaign – wide-scale and targeted distribution of your offer, for free. But to get it right, marketers have to step lightly. If you’re too pushy with too many promotions, your followers will feel “marketed at” or “spammed.” If you don’t offer good enough deals, your customers may become frustrated and stop following you. After all, they don’t really want to be your friend. They want bargains. Here are some steps for getting social media promotions right.

1. What Are People Saying About Your Brand?

Find out what people are saying about your brand, why they are saying it, and who they are saying it to. You have to do more than just get a vague reading on brand buzz. Track the actual pass-along of your brand’s social content via tweets, blog posts, Facebook postings, etc. to see which content is driving the most sharing on which sites. You can use social media traffic tracking software to do this.

Tracking this word-of-mouth buzz is crucial to formulating the right marketing messages and promotions. You must deliver relevant social deals that resonate with people’s interests.

2. Create a Social Promotion

social imageOnce you figure out what people want using the tracking methods above, go ahead and give it to them. For example, you might find that everyone loved your last 20% promotion – it was shared to hundreds of thousands of people via social sites and email – but that the most frequent negative comment was that shipping costs were too high. In your next promotion, offer free shipping.

Or, you may find that there was a huge surge in Twitter searches, blog comments, and Facebook updates about your brand’s winter boots during a snowstorm. This is a great opportunity to immediately put out a social promotion for 20% off boot purchases for one day only via Twitter, Facebook, and/or your company blog.

Have fun with your social promotions. Unlike paid search ads and other media buys, you don’t have to plan and budget for them. Instead, just try one or two out and see what happens.

3. Did It Work?

Figure out whether your promotion worked, and what bottom line impact it had on sales and profits. Go back to your social media tracking and measurement tool and find out how much your promotion was shared, what increase it caused in traffic to your website, and what direct impact it had on conversion. You might want to compare two different promotions run during a similar time frame to see which worked better and why.

For example, did a 50% Off promotion drive more sharing, visits, or conversions than a Two-For-One? In addition to doing simple “A/B” tests, compare results for promotions like these against the data from your regular marketing analytics platform to see whether your social media promotions are performing better or worse than traditional paid marketing campaigns. Social promotions almost always perform better than paid media ads in terms of conversion, but paid ads may drive a higher volume of traffic to your site.

Lastly, do an ROI analysis of your social media promotions to find out their real impact on bottom line profits.


Social media promotions are here to stay. Make sure you use the social channel to deliver “exclusive” deals that make your friends and followers feel special. They’ll thank you by making purchases.

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HOW TO: Manage Successful Social Media Promotions

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Is Social Media a Fad?

A very convincing presentation of the social media issue and its enormous reach. Who would have thought some years ago that anything could change the saying „the internet is porn“. Social media did just that. And it managed to surpass physical boundaries, bringing into every home live tweets from crisis areas such as Afghanistan or even Iran. Or as recently in Germany, election estimation results before the public press. That this phenomenon may collide with existing laws or regulations is another issue of social media. More and more companies, sports teams and parents need to intervene to avoid the post of critical information. But still, social media enables people all over the world to link, exchange impressions, attitudes, and insights in a way conventional media such as TV or the press could never do.
As to social media as a business strategy: it can work but it largely depends on how honestly you use it. At the end of the day, the internet is one huge civil courtroom, where inappropriate behavior oftentimes is immediately punished (United Airlines may just be one example).