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How to Demonstrate the Value of Social Media to Your Boss - Liveblogging a Hubspot Webinar
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
HubSpot hosted a webinar called "How to Demonstrate the Value of Social Media to Your Boss". It's hosted by Mike Volpe (@mvolpe) of Hubspot and Chris Brogan (@chrisbrogan) of New Marketing Labs. Here's my (@w_chris_davies) running train of thought. 

Mike thinks that Chris Brogan is the rockstar in Social Media. I'll have to check out the #hubspot hashtag and see if everyone else agrees. I think that he's done some pretty good work in the past, but I don't always agree with him.

Hubspot is running through their standard inbound/outbound marketing speal. As a marketer, are you doing the right things to make sure you get found when people look for you.

Chris's title for the presentation is 'convincing the boss: don't you have something better to do?' His goal is to help people understand the 'now what' of social media. Lots of us are measured by old-fashioned ideas, like how long we're sitting in our desk. There are different metrics and work is done in a different way and it's much more fleeting. Apparently it's like juggling on a skateboard.

Chris calls himself a typist, because it's central to what he does. He helps companies understand the web, and re-humanize the web. He's doing a (very transparent) pitch for the Inbound Marketing Summit, and if you use the code HUBCHRIS you can get a discount (inboundmarketingsummit.com).

How we'll procede:
the landscape of possibilities
how to argue effectivley
specific starter strategies for each
lots of q&a

  • They're great for search, easy to manage, just plain swell.
  • A solid, simple CMS and publishing system
Chris uses WordPress for his blog, just like 90% of the rest of the world. (He has a lot of good conversion buttons on the top side.) He mentions that 50% or so of his readers get it by email and there's a corresponding email signup box.

He's using the example of digital nomads, which is a Dell website which publishes good stuff and keeps it very useful. Great helpful articles do lead to conversions.

CafeMom is a 'digital content source' where you can thread in marketing information. Momslikeme.com is a blog and content aggregator. They're good examples

Twitter (or what seems to be the stupidest idea ever.
Great way to build business relationships and provide content care. To sell it to the bosses,use an application, show them groups, and his favorite way to share is to show people searches. Marcel Lebrun calls it 'listening at the point of need'. It shows them how to find people when they need you and the power of it.

Community Platforms
The most used platform in the space is Dell's IdeaStorm where you can suggest improvements and ideas. One suggestion he's discussing the thread on "Option to Buy Computers without Windows". Dell also has a healthcare vertical IdeaStorm, which is a great example for a B2B situation.

Social Networks: Outposts
Build outposts on places where people are already gathering. The obvious example is Facebook, and Chris still isn't sold on Facebook. If it's just about your dumb product, no one wants to talk about your company. They want to talk about stuff that helps them and empowers their users. Also, don't count out facebook ads, they can be very targeted and relevant. According Zuckerberg facebook is adding 700,000 people per day and most are 35-60.

LinkedIn hasn't had a lot of big success stories, but they're bringing their game up. It's a easier sell to the bosses because it looks more professional than facebook.

Video, by which we mean YouTube
People still use YouTube all the time. Use TubeMogul to hit the other engines, but don't ignore YouTube. Views don't sell Crap. BlendTec apparently grew their online sales by 500%, so there can be a way to grow it.

Mobile (finally)
Selling things like iPhone apps to the boss can be hard, but the returns can be substancial. Amazon and eBay apps are good, and Nine Inch Nails has a great integrated web presence including an app. BrightKite is a location based app with huge potenial for marketing.

Chris has ben collecting case studies at http://delicious.com/chrisbrogan/casestudy - apparently he's got B2B case studies.

Strategy Alignment (Things we need to be driving)
- sales leads
- branding and awareness
- organic SEO (blogs)
- customer service
- product marketing

He things that the book Groundswell is worthless, except for the chapter on alternate forms of ROI. That's an area of frequent push back from marketing.

HR considerations
- which departments
- headcount (how many hours, can you spread out time across other roles?)

- bridges and islands (start things out as an island, and be ready to put the bridges out when it works....how it moves backwards into the main organization)
- measurements (tricky, but you have to show bosses some metrics)
- small victories (things that are cool, better, new and interesting)

What to do with listening?
Social listening is useful for PR, marketing, product research, customer service
It's a good source for unstructured data, and gathering information without resorting to traditional studies.

Free listening tools:


There are ~6 topics we're working through and ways to encourage people to participate. The topics are fairly self-explanitory, but several of them probably merit a full post of their own.

Chris has addressed the concern that social media is a multi-role activity. There's a need for marketing and pr, sales and internal use for HR/training activites. It's not just a marketing function and has much more potential.

New Measurements: The ROI of Trust
If your website is a store, more people in your store just means more people in the store. You measure the sales, conversions and interactions. He dosen't like pageviews and comments. His list of better measurements:

Where the numbers go: (who you should tell about your results)
Inform marketing, sales, finance and customer service. There's lots of stakeholders you need to convince to get budget and resources.

The New Presence
"all these tools and what they mean"
The two schools of thought from the US Presidential Election are (a) he who spends most wins and (b) Obama was better at reaching people where they are.

Creating a home base.
Chris likes a blog as the home base, which doesn't work for everyone. For the B2B space I'd suggest that most of the time your blog is another outpost and not a replacement for your traditional site.

Some useful passports
Sites where you jsut want a presence, i.e. just to reserve your name incase you want to participate. (Here are just a few Brogan mentioned)


Which departments own the social media platforms? Where does the buck stop?
Brogan thinks it different for different companies, and I agree. The lines need to be clear, and this can be reflected in budgets. He thinks that without ownership and/or buyin from Senior Team you'll risk running aground.

Outreach and Community
You need to bring value and share. He calls this 'bringing wine to the picnic' which is a pretty good metaphor.

Most important points for social participation:
  • be here
  • listen
  • connect
  • be human
  • measure meaningfully (Maybe listen to @kdpaine)
What comes next?
Markeitng is becoming business conversations, and seeing more storytelling instead of ads. He's a big fan of the Ford Fiesta project is more interesting and represents the story paradigm more clearly. Mass customization is the way forward.

Twitter can be a time-suck. How do you manage your time and prove that you're contributing value? It's the flip-side to the email question. Is there value in shuffling email around? It does need measurement, it does need value. You need to find conversion points and have a strategy.

What's a fad and what's going to stick around? Social media does seem to ahve hit a nerve with our psyche. No, it's not a fad, but Brogan thinks Twitter isn't the 'end game'.

B2B vs B2C...how do you create leads?
The hubspot guy mentions how effective it's been for him at Hubspot. B2B is more likely to spend on new media that B2C according to some research from the AMA. At the end of the day, you're still interacting at the end of the day. One caveat that HubSpot doesn't cover is big business, where there are multiple stakeholders and decision makers. For more on the whole B2B buying process check out Enquiro's Buyersphere webinar series.

How does a PR/Agency convince their customer to do it and/or should they teach vs. do it for them.
Chris agency opinion is that agencies should teach/empower their customers and approach it from the educational side. To convince them to do it you just show them a competitor doing it. It works frequently for him.

The Classic Question: We're concerned about losing control....how do you answer the question?
The Classic Answer: You never had control. It you're concerned about the publication of content, it's already a problem because you have email. You can have a person send an email that goes public just as easily. The same policy for Email can apply for Twitter.

Business vs. Personal -
There needs to be a divide between them, but it's a very blury line. Chris mentions that the work policies are allowing more social info into the work enviroment (cell phones and personal email). Its in part because we're measuring people on results, not just on time.

How much time/involvement does it take?
Look for low hanging fruit, and a small project. Take baby steps.

What's the metric to show ROI for Social Media
For hubspot, there's a marketing team who does inbound marketing. He can track the leads that come from those channels, allowing for a cost-per-lead measurement. This lets you get to a ROI. Inbound has a much lower cost per lead. Brogan is measuring with dollars: does the cost per lead change, do sales go up or down?

Mike mentioned that #hubspot is the second most popular topic on twitter search behind #eathday and that we're the 'second most important topic on twitter'. Don't make the mistake of equating buzz with importance.
posted by Chris Davies @ Wednesday, April 22, 2009  
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