Can Social Media Innovation Enhance Lead Generation?
Let’s Evaluate These 2 Case Studies…
As B2B marketers, we are still searching and struggling to find ways that will make our social media efforts deliver measurable results or conversion. I know, there are many amongst us who claim they have found the “silver bullet”, “magic formula”, “secret sauce” or whatever else is supposed to guarantee the success of social marketing campaigns. In my opinion, these success stories are largely based on garnering of quantity, not quality. Every once in a while, though, I come across examples of organizations that take the fundamental element of good marketing, i.e., innovation and apply it using a measured approach to test their campaigns.
There are two such case studies I came across recently on the Econsultancy blog. What is interesting is that both the companies featured in the article, Hitachi and HP, are known to be fairly conservative. Social media still being “the new kid on the block”, it must have taken these organizations considerable internal discussion before venturing into more adventurous territory. That said, I am all for innovation and risk-taking as long as your feet are firmly placed on the ground and you don’t neglect tried and true marketing “common” sense.
So let’s see what these B2B companies did with social media marketing and how (if at all) it impacted their lead generation efforts.
Hitachi Data Systems: Testing the “Amplification Power” of Social Media
The company’s target audience is C-level executives whom they aim to reach with the help of channel partners. The typical sales cycle is around 18-months. The first campaign required the target audience to visit Hitachi’s YouTube, Twitter and Facebook channels to participate in a quiz; but a quiz with an innovative twist on it—this was a “treasure hunt”. The second campaign showcased the company’s customer testimonials and case studies through an online spinning globe and a universe of ‘star’ testimonials in the form of real-time Tweets from customers. Some very innovative ideas here, I have to admit.
We are told in the article that 5 key steps were kept in mind for Hitachi’s social media campaigns:
- Testing different social media channels—I wish they had looked beyond YouTube, Facebook and Twitter! So common these days to get stuck with what the social “gurus” and “experts” have us believe are gold mines.
- Segmenting their audience—I can’t imagine how C-level executives had the inclination, let alone the time to engage in a social treasure hunt looking for details about a character called “Ray”—but apparently they did…
- Enabling influencers to push the campaign’s message (or “amplification power”)—is this a fancy way of saying they targeted the secretaries/executive assistants of the C-Suite and not the actual executives? And if they did, my question is, could this be a better way to go?
- Using early results to test and optimize campaigns—good to see that the campaign was being carefully monitored and adjusted along the way
- Nurturing their audience throughout the campaigns—very essential step in the lead management process!
Hitachi says they got 604 leads and a 43% uplift in Facebook engagement from the treasure hunt. There is no mention of conversion here from this first campaign. The globe campaign got them 369 leads and over 9000 clicks on collateral. Now that’s a pretty good figure for conversion, if that was the objective of the second campaign. We don’t know what their definition of a “lead” is, but if it means that all these people engaging with them through social media were qualified prospects meeting the 5 critical criteria of a true lead, well then, that’s just terrific! I would love to find out what the overall conversion rate was from these 2 campaigns and how this innovative social marketing helped HP’s sales efforts.
Hewlett-Packard Technology Services: Giving Technology a Human Face
This second case study from HP is also very interesting. The company created a microsite profiling its technology experts. The featured employees were nominated by their managers. To drive traffic to the microsite, HP ran an IT personality quiz on Facebook. Customers taking the quiz were guided to the microsite where they could find an HP expert matching their personality to help meet their service needs. To add to the excitement of the quiz, a sweepstake was thrown in. Customers could vote on their favourite IT expert from the HP microsite. Each vote resulted in a $10 contribution to CARE, a humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. The sweepstakes reached their goal of 10,000 entries and $100,000 in CARE donations in 9 days. This is the part that I liked the most—clear, quantifiable results with a dollar-value attached. It does not always have to be about more leads, more sales, more revenue; if the numbers relate to community development and helping those in need, I think this type of initiative can truly be called “social innovation”.
The case studies I mentioned above are of large corporations. These are good lessons for smaller firms that have a leg up because they can be faster and more efficient with marketing innovation. Unlike larger companies that are plagued with too many moving parts and latent inflexibilities, a smaller company has a lot more freedom to think outside the box.
Even the smallest innovation can make a big difference. The simplest approach can deliver the most refreshing results. Has your company done something truly innovative recently? Would you like to share it on my blog? You can also email or call me, Louis Foong, at (905) 709-3827.
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