The Back Story: It’s no secret that social media has earned its respected place in the pantheon of the multichannel marketing mix—but that doesn’t make it easy to define. By this point, “social media” has become almost an umbrella term that can mean anything from YouTube to Vine.
But not every type of social network works for every type of business. Add to that the fact that there are only so many hours in the day, and it becomes clear that brands, especially small and newly emergent ones, need to use their limited time wisely.
So, how does a brand know where to focus?
That was the question for Diamond Candles, a two-year-old all natural soy candle company with a twist—every candle for sale on the brand’s website is not only earth-friendly, but contains a real ring worth either $10, $100, $1,000, or $5,000. Once they’ve burned their candle down and the ring is revealed, consumers are encouraged to visit the brand’s Facebook page to share photos or videos of the experience.
Traffic and engagement on Facebook has been high, but it wasn’t always clear that Facebook was the best place for Diamond Candles to be. That insight came through analytics.
“Social media is a great opportunity to connect with people on a personal level, but for us it was about determining what the best place is for us to be having interactions with the most people so it makes sense for us and for them,” says Justin Winter, cofounder of Diamond Candles. “That’s very valuable information to have.”
The Strategy: To get that information, Diamond Candles started using SumAll, a free analytics tool that combines a variety of datasets—social, commerce, payments, AdWords, and site traffic—into a single dashboard so marketers can track what’s working for them revenue-wise.
“The special sauce for us is that businesses can actually see social activity from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, you name it, stacked alongside relevant data so they can easily look for patterns in social behavior,” says SumAll CEO Dane Atkinson. “But a lot of the value of the service depends on how you use what you have.”
Diamond Candles used SumAll to determine that its customers were all about Facebook—but not so into Twitter.
“We didn’t have the same bucks as a big brand to hire 30 people to focus on social media for us, so when it was literally just me handling all the marketing, a lot of the operations, and the social media, I needed to use my time effectively,” Winter says. “So it would be important to know, say, that because of how our customers behave, it doesn’t make sense for me to spend much time on Twitter.”
Having established that Facebook works for its customers’ needs, Diamond Candles was able to run contests and sweepstakes there with confidence—as well as continually modify its campaigns based on real-time data and the company’s evolving business goals.
“As we put more time and effort into social channels like Facebook, we’re also increasing how well we can measure, monitor, iterate, and change our efforts based on results,” Winter says. “That has a huge business impact for driving revenue and increasing efficiencies operationally.”
The Results: According to Winter, his company experienced an across-the-the-board 10% increase in Facebook traffic, customer engagement, and sales generation after tapping SumAll.
Diamond Candles can even quantify the monetary value of each interaction a customer has with its Facebook page.
“It’s always been tough to attribute where you’re making your money from, and social has been plagued by that,” says SumAll’s Atkinson. “[Diamond Candles] makes about a dollar for every engagement it sees on Facebook with the traffic it’s creating—and that’s a useful metric to know when you’re putting your effort into social behaviors.”
The Takeaway: Success in social is about knowing your customers and being thoughtful about how you interact with them there. For example, take a brand that manufactures toilets, says Winter. How likely is it that customers are going to post on Facebook about their toilet purchase? Not very. But what if that toilet brand encouraged people to upload silly videos of themselves waxing poetic about how awesome its toilets are? That could work.
“You have to think about social media in terms of creativity and the appropriateness of the specific channel and the audience,” Winter says. “Start with that as a foundation and then social can work for you.”