Social ROI Part I: Social Media Monetization

What’s the point of social media if you can’t monetize the effort?

More and more, each day, I hear from business owners, executives, and online marketing professionals “If social media doesn’t influence the sales process and the effort can’t be monetized immediately, then what’s the point?” I understand their frustration and how overwhelming both social media strategy and questionable ROI can be. Looking for ideas on how to test social media as a revenue generator? Here are a few real-world examples:

Burt’s Bees is perhaps a little more well-known for its lip balm than its Facebook Page, but Facebookers can buy products directly from Burt’s Bees Facebook Page’s Shop & Share feature. The company has become one of the leading manufacturers of natural personal care products. With more than 150 products to sell, Facebook is the perfect space for the company to connect with its fans and customers. “Through Facebook, we can introduce new products more interactively than in print or banner ads…and provide a space where [our consumers] can connect with one another,” says Melissa Sowry, the company’s social media and content manager. Burt’s Bees, nearing 700,000 fans, prides itself on its ability to engage with its customers on Facebook by responding to comments – and allowing customers to lead the conversation. In 2010, the company reported that its Page has doubled the traffic from Facebook to its e-commerce site, and the increase in sales and overall brand awareness from their online marketing test was enough to make it a must-have for future fiscal budgets.

The NY JETS launched their Ultimate Fan social game in September 2010, which was the first revenue-generating Facebook app to be backed by a pro sports team. The application lets football fans do online what they would normally do at home and in stadiums — root for their favorite teams and players, predict game scores, hold a virtual tailgate party and purchase promotional wear. Ultimate Fan sells banner advertising to other firms like Ticketmaster, and has since lured four major sponsors integrating their brands: MetLife, Motorola, SportsNet NY and Monetize much? Let’s just call this game-changer a blowout.

Our client, Whitecaps Foul Weather Gear, is a great example of engaging a smaller, niche audience in order to monetize social media. Testing effective email marketing, coupled with social media engagement, Whitecaps saw an increase of $5,000 in less than 30 days, using Facebook to drive sales via a promo code. Now, that really gave folks in the global sailing and boating community something to “Like”. The offer was hugely successful using a single platform as the test. Recently, we learned that Constant Contact will promote Liqui-Site’s email marketing and social media customization work for Whitecaps Foul Weather Gear, nationally. According to company president, Mark Kamen, “We were thrilled with the test success and we plan to greatly increase our exposure through social media in 2012 and beyond.”

The next question is “Now that we’re increasing revenue through social media, how do we ensure that increase for the long-term – and improve upon it?”

I’ll answer that very question in my next blog post, Social ROI Part II:Social Media Measurability.

5 comments on “Social ROI Part I: Social Media Monetization

  1. This is a very interesting article. We agree that social media activity and engagement is important and worth the effort. Over the last few months, we have really worked on our social media presence, as well as for our clients. Feel free to drop by our blog. Thank you and we look forward to your next entry!

  2. John, thanks so much for your comment. We have found that effective communication with people through social media requires three critical elements to be successful – 1) respect for the audience, 2) relevancy of the message and 3) authenticity of the communicator – perhaps even more so than having a 1:1 phone conversation! This is because one of the biggest hurdles is overcoming the impersonal characteristics of the Internet.

  3. Bill Zurilla says:

    Liqui-Site, thanks for this. I found the Burt’s Bees Facebook page very useful. My goal is to get that level of interaction on Frugaldoo. The coupon offer is right in our wheel house. We can do the same but send the coupon to your phone and avoid the printing and paper.

  4. NY SEO says:

    I think that is an interesting point, it made me think a bit. Thanks for sparking my thinking cap. Sometimes I get so much in a rut that I just feel like a record.

  5. Thanks for your comment, NY SEO. Have you heard of our new Social ROI program? If not, Social ROI allows you to set up social campaigns within your network channels and measure those results. This allows you to track your social network accounts just the same way you would track the performance of your websites. Check it out at

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