SMX live blog: ‘Customer Acquisition Through Social Media’

Raven liveblog

Session description:

In addition to communicating with your customers and building community, social media can be a powerful tool for generating leads and driving sales both online and offline. Our panel of experts will share case studies and actionable tactics from real-world campaigns that delivered new customers to physical locations, increased inbound calls, grew leads/email lists and more.


Drew Conrad, Social Media Marketing Specialist, Zagg (@drewconrad)
Mariana Rodriguez, Account Director, Beeby Clark+Meyler (@marodcar)
Peter Vogel, Co-founder and CEO, Plink (@pvogel)
Marc Marin, CMO, Plink (@memarin1)
Moderator: Elisabeth Osmeloski, Managing Editor, Search Engine Land (@elisabethos)

What they said:

Marc Marin

First up is Marc Marin of Plink, which is a loyalty program that rewards members for dining and shopping at specific locations. Why do they focus on acquiring members through Facebook specifically?

Plink was marketing through a lot of different social channels and seeing similar customer spend on all of them. But when they started marketing on Facebook, Plink found that Facebook consumers were spending 58% more than other channels.

Once Plink made the choice to focus almost exclusively on Facebook, their acquisition cost per customer eventually went from $100 per member to about 20 bucks through optimization.

“To us, that’s lifetime value.”

How did they do it – and how can you?

Target: That’s the low-hanging fruit. Where are you going to have the highest density of consumers? Target specific age groups, interest groups, users who like certain brands. Start testing Facebook ads there.

“Facebook has unbelievably detailed targeting,” Marin said, and that allowed them to get to know their customer better.

“Don’t asume that you know your market. I did, and I was completely wrong. FInd out and test what your market really is.”

Segment: Run each ad independently. Facebook makes it really easy for you. This helped Plink boil it down to who really wanted their product and convert them faster.

Test: Something as small as a 2-pixel border around a Facebook ad caused a 10% lift in click-through rate. Test everything!

Optimize for sharing: You can’t make everything go viral, but “with the proper motivation, people will share.”

Plink had customers share to get a free gift card because they found that with Facebook, sharing helps to increase conversion rates.

“Once people start investing in your product, they’ve now advocated for you. They’re far more likely to do that next big thing.”

Drew Conrad

Next up is Drew Conrad of ZAGG, who was kind enough to do an interview with me a few weeks ago.

His tips for customer acquisition through social media:

Try giveaways: One of ZAGG’s big marketing goals is email acquisition, and a strategy that Drew says has been “huge” for growing their email list has been social media giveaways – ZAGG has given away iPads and other tech gadgets through Facebook and Twitter.

Social sharing is incorporated in all giveaways so the cycle continues. “Your friends see about it, then they want to come share.”

“Not only is it about gathering email addresses but it’s about having people purchase something that day.”

Although some say giveaways don’t really help develop strong brand advocates, Drew says that hasn’t been the case for ZAGG.

Leverage email to build social and leverage social to build email: Adding a Facebook like box to a ZAGG landing page caused a fan base growth of growth of 164% for ZAGG.

“It’s as simple as making it easy for people to like us.”

ZAGG also sends out an email once a quarter that gives information about where the brand can be found on social media that gives them a social bump.

Use social proof: Gather up positive social media mentions about your brand into a blog post.

ZAGG has created blog posts like “15 tweets about ZAGG iPad keyboards” and plotted a series of “customer stories” on a Google Map that they were able to promote broadly.

Mariana Rodriguez

Finally, Mariana Rodriguez of Beeby Clark+Myler has a few case studies from her agency experience that speak to customer acquisition through social media.

Case study: Entertainment retailer

Challenge: Limited social media presence, wanted to build brand awareness.

Goals: Attract people to site. Sign up for newsletter. Grow Facebook community.

Strategy: A social promotion encouraging fans to submit a user-generated video. Partnered with a celebrity and focused on public voting to help the promotion spread across the web.

Results: 305% increase in Facebook fans. Facebook referral sales averaged 21% higher than average order value.

Case study: Palm beer

Challenge: Relatively unknown brand in the U.S., limited budget, limited awareness

Goal: Drive product discovery/awareness, drive consumers offline to events, build brand beyond New York City.

Strategy: Built out Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare presence. Focused on Twitter influencer outreach: food bloggers, beer enthusiasts with social reach. Facebook apps and ads for events. Created the “Love Bus”– a Palm-branded van that traveled to different bars in New York and offered impromptu tastings and events. Developed a “Beer Finder” app for Facebook and iPhone that helps fans find Palm in New York.

Results: 45% year-over-year increase in sales in New York City.


Q: Why wasn’t there much of a focus on Twitter-specific tactics?

Mariana: Twitter isn’t the right fit for all customers. It’s still very specific to a certain demographic. Generally they use Twitter to find influencers.

Marc: Problem is it’s not targeted–it’s got to be a message that appeals to a broader audience.

Drew: Twitter is good for testing out blog posts or Facebook posts ideas. We tweet way more than we post on Facebook. We use Twitter to get a feel for how people are responding. Twitter helps us fine tune the messaging we use on Facebook.

Courtney Seiter

Listener, storyteller and petter of all animals. Content crafting at Buffer; sharing stuff about social media, workplace culture, diversity and music.

Listener, storyteller and petter of all animals. Content crafting at Buffer; sharing stuff about social media, workplace culture, diversity and music.