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Social Media: Listening Is Not Enough

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on November 30

Small businesses can gain tremendous branding and sales benefits from launching social media marketing programs—and it’s not even that hard or costly. After all, the first step to get in on the social media game is to launch a Facebook page and a Twitter account, and maybe a company blog, right? The only problem is, many small businesses stop there. They get on Facebook and Twitter, then monitor the conversations taking place either just by looking at the posts and tweets, or by using a free buzz tracking tool to get an overall picture of what customers think of their brand, products, or services.

But, unfortunately, to gain real value from the social channel, companies don’t just need to listen, but also to act. Use social media measurement tools to find out exactly what people are saying about your products and services, who is sharing this information with whom, and what impact this word-of-mouth traffic is having on bottom-line sales. You need to measure your social media marketing program with the same precision as you do your paid media programs—finding out with certainty which social media content is driving sales. Then, you can nurture those conversations, create new content, and target key influencers to drive a continued boost in sales.

Ben Straley
Meteor Solutions

Reader Comments

Jamie Dolan

November 30, 2009 03:36 AM


What tools / programs do you suggest small business people use to track these conversations?

Thank You,

Jamie Dolan
Neenah, WI

Gaurav Mishra

November 30, 2009 10:45 AM

Nice Insights Ben. However, This is something that we are hearing all across channels.

What the matter of concern is the process of building ROI on this metrics ?

Would love if you share with us some real time examples on what measures you have done to create actual ROI with Social Media !

Jean Pickering, The Tektite Group, LLC

November 30, 2009 03:58 PM

I absolutely agree - you need to get involved with your customers. AND whenever you do anything in business, you need to measure the return on your investment. It is critical to determine what you are doing right and what is not working for you so that you can constantly make things better.

Ben Straley

December 4, 2009 04:15 AM

Apologies for the delayed response Jamie, Gaurav, and Jean. Thanks for your comments and questions. Since we're in the business of providing advertisers with technology that enables them to measure and quantify the direct and indirect value generated by their social media activities, I apologize in advance if this response is a bit self-promotional.

We believe the key to social media success for any business is to create content and experiences for the target audience that provide utility. Since communications online are two-way, it is imperative that advertisers deliver something of value to their customers and consumers rather than just relying on the traditional approach of reach and frequency. Providing white papers and "how-tos" if you're a B2B business or entertaining and compelling videos and offers if you're a B2C are two simple examples of what can create value.

The next step is to track what happens with this content. Do people engage? Do they share it? Do those actions drive additional visitors to your website? With our software, we see that on average 20% of visitors to websites come from shared content (links). We also see that those visitors are 1.5X to 4X more likely to convert than visitors from other sources like paid advertising.

Considering the implications of statistics like this, the potential ROI of effective social media program as measured by reduced cost of acquisition and increased reach are tremendous.

I'd be happy to talk more about how we measure and activate earned media through shared content if you're interested. Please email me at ben (at)

I hope this was helpful. Thank you!

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