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The Roles of Facebook and Twitter in Social Media Marketing

Social Media marketing is rapidly earning a role in the integrated marketing mix of small and enterprise businesses and as such, it’s transforming every division from the inside out. What starts with one champion in any given division, be it customer service, marketing, public relations, advertising, interactive, et al, eventually inspires an entire organization to socialize. What starts with one, a domino effect usually ensues toppling each department, gaining momentum, and triggering a sense of urgency through its path. And, it also marks the beginning of our journey through the ten stages of social media integration.

But where do we start?

This is a recurring theme here as businesses typically jump into Social Media without crafting a strategic plan rooted in goals and objectives. Nor do companies weigh the impact of engagement on the brand itself as social media champions, depending on the department in which they reside, typically monitor and engage in conversations that typically would lie outside of its domain.

MarketingProfs conducted a survey of business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) marketers and the results are worth revisiting as they typify a basic view of the opportunities rife within the social Web. Examining these numbers and more importantly, the social media programs currently employed, will help us innovate and evolve.

Successful Facebook Marketing Tactics

Created a survey of fans

B2B – 37.1%
B2C – 37.9%

Surveys are an effective way to garner feedback to continue to earn ongoing relevance. Surveys can range from satisfaction levels, behavior around the prospect or act of referrals, votes towards new policies and services or simply used for entertainment. At the very least, surveys inject variety into the Facebook stream to foster new opportunities for engagement and communication.

“Friending” recent customers with corporate Facebook profile

B2B – 34.4%
B2C – 26.3%

It should not go unsaid that this activity goes against Facebook’s Terms of Service. But with limited and hierarchical functionality of Fan Pages, creating a branded profile is one worthy of consideration. The interaction that fosters in profiles is radically different that those within Fan Pages. It’s the difference between peer-to-peer conversations and top-down broadcasting. Until Facebook realizes the value of commercial accounts, you must tread carefully. Facebook arbitrarily flags and deletes the branded profile accounts as they’re discovered.

Used Facebook user data to profile customers demographics or interests

B2B – 33.5%
B2C – 30.5%

In social media marketers experiment with programs that balance demographics, the categorization of people by age group, gender, education, income, etc, and psychographics, the grouping of people by interests, passions, and connections. Believe it or not, there are services that exist today that can mine data on Facebook to help marketers profile prospects. Outside of those services, many marketers also manually examine the individuals within their social graphs to garner insight into new initiatives and potential trends.

Created a Facebook application around the brand

B2B – 33.1%
B2C – 41.9%

Facebook applications are not guaranteed to earn an audience simply because they’re created. Users are overwhelmed with options for applications and their adoption of new apps are related more to the activity of their friends than to their allegiance to any particular brand. However, they are not ineffective either. According to the survey, MarketingProfs learned that applications were among the most “successful” tactic used by B2B and B2C companies.

Driving traffic to corporate materials through status updates

B2B – 29%
B2C – 28.4%

I’m a big believer in defining the experience. Eventually users engaged in social networks will click through to something, whether it’s something you shared or a social object they discovered. Where are we sending them? Chances are that they are landing on a message-rich, usually lifeless and generic web page or even worse, the company home page. Essentially we captivate people in a highly interactive and social environment and direct them to a static dead-end where they are left to define their next clicks without a renewed sense of creativity.

This tactic, I should mention, was reported as the most common tactic.

Buying targeted CPC ads

B2B – 24.5%
B2C – 27.1%

Targeted CPC (cost-per-click) ads on Facebook are only as effective as the intention and experience to which they’re tied. Many businesses use these ads to increase the number of fans on a fan page or also to promote corporate material. In my work, they have offered a minimum impact on increasing fans and delivered notable results in driving traffic to pre-defined experiences.

Marketers claimed that buying ads is among the least effective of the mix.

Successful Twitter Marketing Tactics

When we think of social media marketing, Facebook and Twitter usually go hand-in-hand.

Fan us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

Like Facebook, marketers viewed Twitter as a primary source for generating traffic. As such, most marketers reported using Twitter to send users to marketing Web pages and they seemed to be pleased with the results.

Monitor Twitter for PR problems in real-time

B2B – 40.7%
B2C – 46.9%

1/2 of all B2C marketers polled reported using Twitter to unearth potential PR problems. As we saw with the now epic Motrin Moms example, a PR problem can materialize at any moment, with little warning. B2B marketers also reported monitoring twitter as part of a proactive crises communications program.

Created an in-person event using only Twitter invites

B2B – 37.4%
B2C – 36%

I smirked when I read this. The wording is a very specific and perhaps it doesn’t capture the true story behind the opportunity. Suddenly every brand wants to host a Tweetup. While businesses use Twitter-only invite services such as TWTVITE to promote a brand-related Tweetup, hitting only users on Twitter limits the scope of the potential audience. In my experience, I’ve learned that by extending the visibility of the event beyond Twitter to Facebook Events and also services such as and Eventful, we can appeal to not only a wider audience, but also trigger highly productive and effective social graphs in the process – perhaps more so than possible in Twitter. A question for you though, if a Tweetup is promoted on any other social network, is it still a Tweetup?

Contacting Twitter users tweeting negatively about the brand

B2B – 36.7%
B2C – 44%

While this is a shared tactic between PR and customer service, this is a program that requires some form of workflow and process tied to it. It’s very easy to confuse who should respond to which tweets and who already did versus which tweets require response.

As you venture deeper into the world of monitoring and responding to negative or hostile tweets, you should note that consumers are learning that taking to Twitter begets a response. And, with every response they earn from brands, they along with others, are encouraged, and as such, conditioned to increase their activity of voicing complaints in a public spotlight.

Driving traffic by linking to Web pages

B2B – 35.7%
B2C – 35.2%

Again, similar to Facebook, we need to redefine the experience. Sending prospects, customers, and influencers to Web 1.0 pages is not an extension of the Twitter culture nor the expectations that define it.

Provocative text to drive link clicks

B2B – 34.8%
B2C – 40.6%

I found this to be an interesting survey question. I suppose that if businesses are sharing content in a compelling wrapper that doesn’t employ sensationalism or the equivalent of marketing parlor tricks, then these numbers represent effectiveness. However, if Tweets are rich with gimmicks, then these numbers dictate an alarming trend. As the saying goes, “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.” To earn attention nowadays requires a level of creativity that mirrors the methodologies of creative advertising and marketing fused with the grounding of strategic communications and marketing. Attention only continues to thin and therefore requires planning and editorial programming to ensure relevance and appeal.

Invite Twitter users who tweet positively about a brand to do…

B2B – 34%
B2C – 33.9%

There are many programs that are led by marketing, PR, and customer service that attempt to transform positive tweets into the basis for an advocacy or official ambassador program. As this tactic increases in ubiquity, consumers are getting wise to the power in social media. Like in the aspect of negative tweets, consumers are also learning that while money doesn’t grow on trees, it does grow on tweets. Meaning, consumers expect something for their loyalty. Consider this prior to engaging.

Increased Twitter followers using traditional media mention

B2B – 30.7%
B2C – 30.4%

Timing Tweets to maximize views

B2B – 26.9%
B2C – 30.5%

As attention spans thin, we realize that there’s an art and science to what we tweet and when. As documented by Dan Zarrella, there are various times and days that reveal when the attention aperture is open and people are amenable to hearing messages and clicking through to shared links.

This, my friends, is the true opportunity and challenge within Twitter. We become media programmers, and as such, our content as well as timing and promotion dictate the size of the audience and the resulting activity.

Driving sales by linking to promotional Web pages

B2B – 22.4%
B2C – 24.6%

Dell paved the way for this category and continues to do so. If you were to read the report, you might believe that they are the exception however. Most respondents claimed that this tactic was among the least effective. Perhaps that’s because many of the respondents didn’t anticipate the needs and drivers of their followers. Dell, among other companies, has learned that there are indeed triggers that engender responses in the form of commerce. What’s more important, consumers are reporting that they follow brands to learn of deals and special offers. And, 64% of consumers reported that they make a purchase from a brand because of a digital experience via a Website, microsite, mobile coupon, or e-mail.

In 2010, we are inspiring a new era of socialized marketing and engagement.

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322 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “The Roles of Facebook and Twitter in Social Media Marketing”

  1. Antony says:

    it's very intasting news

  2. Good information that does explain why so many people are developing the way they use Facebook and Twitter into a finer art of spamming more people on the internet.

    • briansolis says:

      Indeed…the other interesting tidbit that I didn't share is the extent to which people on the receiving end respond positively to the outreach.

  3. geekyclown says:

    Wow, that is a lot of data to digest.

  4. deborahoverdeput says:

    This is a good article to remember when building your social media plan – good do's and don'ts. Thanks!

  5. reallyleila says:

    Great article! It was interesting to see that promotional web pages wasn't a real driver of sales. There was no mention, however, of brand loyalty, which I think is one of the key factors of a brand. Though sales do not increase dramatically, it is more beneficial to the brand if a person will continue to purchase that brand versus going to another.

  6. edwardboches says:

    I wasn't a hugely enamored with the Marketing Profs report but you put together a good overview and analysis. Only point I might argue is effectiveness of FB engagement ads. I've seen them work spectacularly well for brands that have some affinity or connection with customers (Adidas, Panera, et. al.). The rest is really all about developing a “conversation strategy” based on the relationship you are trying to develop and the outcome you seek. It's also evident that different tactics work for different brands. Vic Secret can sell product through special intros to loyal fans. Olympus can generate tremendous impressions via social inspired wom. Tide can get fans to introduce others to product when increased sales to existing fans is impossible. And so on. This is a great list. But a smart social marketer has to know what to do with it.

  7. lauriecreasy says:

    Wow! An incredible amount of information here. Thanks, Brian!

    We'll be using this as we fine-tune our social media efforts.


  8. Marian says:

    Excellent article and useful stats!!

  9. From these stats it seems that more B2C companies are using Twitter more effectively. These are great stats for a B2C company who is just getting into the social media world and use it as a road map for success.

  10. Carri Bugbee says:

    Brian, thanks so much for the detailed information and analysis. I really appreciate you sharing the information, since I don’t have a subscription to MarketingProfs.

    I have to confess, however, I’m skeptical that marketers responded to these surveys honestly. Or if they did, that this represents a valid cross-section of the marketing community. I’d want to know more about the sample before I gave too much credence to the numbers.

    I’ve helped both B2C and B2B clients ramp up in social media spaces, and in my experience, B2B clients are way behind the curve. Even those in hi-tech, where theoretically adopting social technologies wouldn’t represent a big learning curve, are slow to learn about and adopt social media marketing methodologies. And sometimes for good reason. Many of their customers are slow adopters too – at least for business purposes.

    Likewise, I think agency marketers of all stripes feel like they’ve made serious progress in the space if they’ve tweeted a few hundred times and created a Facebook invite or two. In most advertising and PR shops, that’s enough to warrant a new job title. A “power user” is someone who’s tried TweetDeck. And they haven’t yet found Upcoming.

    At least, that’s been my experience. Maybe I have a disproportionate number of friends and colleagues who are Luddites, but I doubt it. I just think that people responding to these types of surveys are probably more aspirational than accurate. 🙂

    Social Profiles:

  11. Bill says:

    Check out TShirtAds for a cool example of marrying the real world with social media. They are running a project today with 50 models across the country for the One5 Foundation to raise money for Haiti.

  12. Great article! Too often businesses overlook the empathy and humanizing aspects of social media. Taking the time to “find a voice and a sense of purpose” is essential to reaching your target audience, fostering the kind of meaningful relationships that encourage brand loyalty, and seeing a ROI.

  13. Emma H. says:

    Interesting article! I really enjoyed how you broke down the percentages for us readers. You brought up a good point about contacting customers who tweet negatively about products. In the end, do you feel this effort is worthwhile?

  14. Bill says:

    Good avice re treading carefully on corporate Facebook profile. Many would not be away it was against TOC. Thanks for that.

  15. stevewillinger says:

    I appreciate the depth of research you have provided and the knowledge I have gained to better serve my clients…Thank You!

  16. stevewillinger says:

    I appreciate the depth of research you have provided and the knowledge I have gained to better serve my clients…Thank You!

  17. Are these companies using Twitter and Facebook to Listen and Love?

    B2B or Facebook, Twitter or Facebook.. the overall average shown in the report is that about a third are trying things (less if you note that the vast majority of small businesses don't have a marketing department to respond to such surveys)

    These are not just new ways to blast a message. The revolution is marketing, business, and life is the ease with which we can listen to our market.. then show them some love (engage)

    Good to see that more are responding to negative comments and finding their fans on Twitter.

  18. JordanBarber31 says:

    Great article and research regarding social media, I especially enjoyed the statistics between B2B and B2C, I am amazed how closely they are related in some areas.

  19. rustycawley says:

    “According to eMarketer, consumers are demanding engagement, not just discounts. And they want conversation, not messages.” Sounds like a job for public relations, not marketing.

    • briansolis says:

      I think at almost every level of marketing and communications, engagement will become part of more meaningful programs and campaigns…consumers are demanding it.

    • rustycawley says:

      What consumers are demanding is for marketers to get out of their lives. “Consumers” — a marketing term if there ever was one — go to social media to avoid marketers, not to befriend them.

      Tivo is about avoiding marketers. Twitter is about making connections and avoiding marketers. YouTube and Facebook are about making connections and avoiding marketers (although all three are working hard to let marketers in the back door.)

      Campaigns are about talking, and selling products, and thus generating revenue. Engagement is about listening, and creating relationships, and thus building social capital. That's not marketing. That's public relations.

  20. larissaolson says:

    It is wonderful to see how new social media is helping PR practitioners get in touch with their key publics using the click of a mouse. I have noticed recently that many restaurants are encouraging people to join their Twitter group. One pizza place is advertising that they give away one large pizza everyday to a twitter follower.

  21. kelseyleffew says:

    Great article. When I enter into the PR world, this article will definitely follow me. Thank you

  22. mdyoder says:

    In response to your question regarding whether or not it could still be called a TweetUp if you use more than Twitter to invite people, perhaps it should be called a “LinkedFaceTweet” or a “Tweeted FaceLink”. :o)

  23. Facebook and twitter playing very important role in social media marketing. Today almost every person is connected to social networks like facebook and twitter and they are getting a lot of benefit via these social networks.

  24. thaotran says:

    I see a lot of journalists and traditional marketers who have tried to reach out using social media, but consider it to be ineffective. They shut it out and would rather stick to their old ways. I find it rather saddening.

  25. annejaa says:

    Well the social networking sites such as Myspace, FaceBook, and Orkut allow Internet users to form communities online quickly and easily, from groups of friends to business networking. These groups of networked individuals become a virtual gold mine for Internet marketers, who can place their message in front of members of their target market on social networking sites for little or no cost.

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  26. Ma says:

    Sync your posts from Facebook to Google Buzz. Now, you can update Facebook from Buzz and Buzz from Facebook

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  27. annejaa says:

    Social media gives a way to promote a product and to communicate with peers, customers and potential consumers to do marketing. It personalizes the brand”and helps you to spread your message in a relaxed and conversational way among people to keep the brand fresh in their mind and these sites are helping to do such activity in an effective way.
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  28. Interesting stats. I think a decent social media strategy is now core to every PR effort. Corporations are finally catching up with this but too many of them still don`t embrace it enough and do it a little half hearted.
    Looking forward to reading your new book Engage!

  29. nicolssurez says:

    congratulations! thanks for sharing the information. on the other hand, I have read a lot of articles about how to make a social media campaing, and there is a important conextión betwen tradicional marketing a new age on marketing, that usually it's not analiced, and I think is very important for aproach a comon objetive, sorry for the mistakes writing in english ;))

  30. Well Facebook, Twitter & other social network sites play very important role in social media marketing because today almost every person is connected to social networks and they are getting a lot of benefit via social networks.

  31. couponcoder says:

    This is really good information, I guess regarding media buying it takes a certain skill to know what areas you need to monitor effectively especially with demographics and timing is highly important, things like location and languages I would say come secondary, thanks for your insight.

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