Social sites reap sales leads in education

Client: Follett Software
Agency:, MCH Strategic Data
Objective: Improve sales leads through industry-specific social media.?

Education sector b-to-b brands know that librarians benefit from collaboration and networking with their peers. However, education professionals are often difficult to reach through social media because many school districts have policies that restrict their employees’ activity on Facebook and Twitter. In order to acquire sales leads and to promote its library ?management platform, Follett Software has sponsored numerous webcasts on, a free social networking site for educators, as well as planned its own librarian-specific social network. ?

“It’s a two-way conversation where we get market information and learn about ways to improve our products and their implementation — and we get great leads,” says Michael Campbell, director of marketing at Follett. “We do Facebook and Twitter, but edWeb is how we are doing social media.” ?

Strategy: Follett sponsors webinars on the edWeb social ?network to grow its database for remarketing, and it asks new ?members to opt in for more information from the company. It also uses to give librarians and other education professionals a social network to discuss important industry topics, such ?as the role that e-readers can play in education or how to prevent ?online bullying. EdWeb also bolsters its member database with information from MCH Strategic Data, such as school and district, ?data and demographic info.?

“It is nice to have a closed community where you can voice your opinions and give advice without it being visible to the whole world,” says Brandi Heinz, online marketing manager at Follett. “For the ?most part, we let the members’ conversation go [without outwardly promoting the brand]…but at times we can say, ‘You can do this or that with our production.'” ?

Results: The programs have generated more than 1,728 leads from education industry professionals who have signed up for the site since Follett began working with edWeb in Q3 2010. Participation in live webinars has also improved since mid-2010. More than 110 education professionals took part in the last two webinars, an improvement from the 65 to 75 who took part in the company’s Q3 2010 programs. EdWeb had about 24,000 members as of February 2011, and it has distributed more than 44,000 e-mails to K-12 librarians that also promoted Follett. Heinz adds that edWeb is more engaged with the members of edWeb than other social networks.

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