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Moderators:

Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

Nicholas Hebb
BreezeTree Software

Bob Walsh
host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

social media marketing

I have made some tentative attempts to market my software through Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. The results have been underwhelming compared to other marketing approaches I have tried. This could be because:

a) table planning isn't something you want to talk to your friends/colleagues about (when you could be sending them links to funny cat videos)
b) I don't have much talent for social media marketing
c) social media marketing isn't as effective as journalists and 'social media consultants' would like us to believe

I suspect it is a combination of all 3, with c) playing a major part.

I am curious about other people's experiences.

Have you made any effort to market your product through Facebook, Google+, Twitter?

How successful was it in terms of time expended vs measurable sales?
Andy Brice Send private email
Thursday, July 11, 2013
 
 
I haven't tried it but I'm considering it. I've noticed lately that Facebook's targeting seems to be pretty reasonable - they seem to have my interests in business / software / startups pegged well looking at the ads I get. So perhaps they will allow me to target web developers / designers. Possibly worth spending $100 to find out.
Jonathan Matthews Send private email
Thursday, July 11, 2013
 
 
Jonathan,

I meant marketing through social media in ways other than paid ads (my mistake, didn't make that clear), e.g. posting comments, links and offers to twitter/facebook/googleplus+.

BTW When I tried to advertise my software on FB in 2010 they told me that advertising downloable software wasn't allowed. See:
http://successfulsoftware.net/2010/11/12/advertising-your-software-on-facebook-fail/
Andy Brice Send private email
Thursday, July 11, 2013
 
 
I favour C heavily too. Personally
- I go on Facebook to connect with my friends.
- I go on Google and Amazon to buy stuff.
Ryan Wheeler Send private email
Thursday, July 11, 2013
 
 
My teenage daughter and a friend created a Facebook fan page last month.Within 30 days the page built up 600+ "likes". It appears to be quite popular (mostly 12-17 year old girls from all over the world). They even ran an admin-contest and got a new 21 year old admin. After it crossed 500 likes, it took less than 30 hours to reach 600.

I am now learning a lot about social media from her.

You should find  someone else to build different pages related to wedding, dinner events etc. Don't promote any product there. Just keep it relevant, amusing and attractive. Once these become popular you will have the perfect base to keep you in constant contact with future customers.
AK Send private email
Thursday, July 11, 2013
 
 
The trouble with this method is that it's a full time job keep social media marketing up to date.  I'm convinced that having a boring Facebook page for a business is worse than having no social media at all.
Andrew Gibson Send private email
Thursday, July 11, 2013
 
 
>  it's a full time job keep social media marketing up to date.

Yes. That is why you shouldn't do it.

You should find someone else to do it.  There are lot of  youngsters who like this because it is amusing and a rewarding experience for  them.
AK Send private email
Thursday, July 11, 2013
 
 
Call me old fashioned but I fail to see how facebook and similar marketing can possibly work.

As I understand all these social media are meant to let you connect with your friends/relatives/long lost friends.
Now unless you are trying to sell a lot of products to your friends...it is bound to fail. Unless you find a way to acquire virtual friends and twit to people you don't know. And than what is it than spaming without using email?

I'm sure I'm missing something but this I thought and this I think...
alexandar Send private email
Thursday, July 11, 2013
 
 
It is interesting to hear opinions. But what I *really* want is some data points other than my own:

Have you tried social media marketing?

Was it worth the time and effort in measurable sales?
Andy Brice Send private email
Thursday, July 11, 2013
 
 
>You should find  someone else to build different pages related to wedding, dinner events etc. Don't promote any product there. Just keep it relevant, amusing and attractive. Once these become popular you will have the perfect base to keep you in constant contact with future customers.

I don't see that working. Also if I am going to the trouble to create that sort of content (or paying someone else) why wouldn't I put it on my own site?

Anyway I hope to hear about other people's experiences.
Andy Brice Send private email
Thursday, July 11, 2013
 
 
I tried Twitter for several months.

It was a complete failure.

After six months I had several hundred "followers" .... my teenage daughter has several thousand on Tumblr ( that's where all the kids are hanging out )

Twitter is the modern version of a drunken man shouting banalities out of a window.  It is  53% pure garbage and 47% bile.  I have yet to read an insightful or genuinely funny comment.

"Social Media" is continually promoted by the BBC et al because it allows them to be cheap journalists.  So they can say things like

      "@Barnibus tweets to say 'I really don't like the new government policy on fishing'"

and pretend to give their stories credibility, to fill time during their broadcasts and to cover over the fact that in the age of 24 hour rolling news there's not that much interesting to say and if it was "interesting" it would likely  be expensive and require them to get on a plane and go somewhere dangerous.


<Pauses for Breath>

The other "Flaw" in all these social Notworks is that they aren't about "Consuming".  They are about broadcasting.  The regular  users -  those that fill Facebook all with the excruciating minutia of their otherwise tedious and mundane lives  - aren't "reading"  they are too busy posting pictures of their latest bowel movements and thinking of some witty comment for their "status"

Social notworks are democratic.  They let us all be idiots.

Basically search still rules.  If I wanted table planning software I'd Google it.
TomTomAgain Send private email
Thursday, July 11, 2013
 
 
I've found Twitter to be quite useful. If your product focuses on a niche where people discuss it then you can find out about the latest trends, important key words, jargon, competitors, etc. I wouldn't use it if I was marketing for example a disk cleaner because people don't discuss disk cleaning or the day to day operation of their OS so much.

I have found that following people who I want to be customers leads me to know the market leaders who I want to use my product. I also feel I have something like the pulse of the market. You can gauge the reaction to a new release/article by how many new followers or mentions you get after you post.

When I write a blog post, tutorial, screencast or release then I tweet about it and give the link. The same rules apply to micro blogging as to regular blogging, try to keep the quality high. Be careful not to over promote. Ideas for blog posts that aren't very strong can become tweets instead of full articles. Tweets can also echo your ethos/mission statement so people know what you are about.

I'm not saying I've had millions of sales via Twitter, but personally I have found it worth the effort (and much simpler than writing a blog). I would struggle to do something similar with Facebook; different demographics that would definitely need a different approach.
koan Send private email
Thursday, July 11, 2013
 
 
Andy,

I've been on Google+ a little over two years and not quite so long on the Twitter, I'm not sure how long on LinkedIn and I don't do anything on Facebook.

I personally really dislike Twitter due to it's 140 character limitation - I have a hard time condensing my message.

On the other hand I absolutely love Google+ it provides an extremely rich environment.

I'm a bit meh with LinkedIn but it has it's value. When I do publish something to LinkedIn I get a noticeable bump in traffic.

I don't have a huge follower base - about 50 on Twitter about 150 on LinkedIn and about 400 on Google+. One thing about Google+ is I have two accounts (soon more) one is my product "Page" and the other is my personal account.

I do not consider my efforts to have been successful to date but I'm pretty certain that will change once I've got my strategy in place and implemented.

Enough about me though, this is what I want to say regarding your product, you, and most importantly your customers. You have a product that fits perfectly into a social media paradigm. Why? Because your product serves the industry that is based on the social highlight of one's life: weddings.

Rather than marketing your product via social media invite your customers to share their day with you in pictures and stories, then repost that material. I would be shocked if your customers would be shy about sharing their day.

One aspect of social media is to engage your customers so they contribute to your marketing effort.
Patrick Hughes Send private email
Thursday, July 11, 2013
 
 
I'm voting for c)

Social Media Marketing is like TV ads ... they disturb the user's flow with some obnoxious message. While with TV ads you can't really track results with social media spam you can directly see that they have no effect.
Jeremy Morassi Send private email
Thursday, July 11, 2013
 
 
I've spent an hour or two a week maintaining a FB page for my software biz since last November.  There's been some sales result from this but if measuring from sales alone it's not been worth my time.  However, I do like that it shows potential customers (and existing ones for that matter) that the business is alive and doing something.  The sort of information I post on FB gels reasonably well with my aim to engage with existing users better.

I've also enjoyed the one-on-one interaction I've had with some users on FB.  They've mostly been support issues but at least I can publicly show others that I am responsive and communicative.  I used to do this through a forum but it just took too much time keeping the spam under control.
Mark Nemtsas Send private email
Thursday, July 11, 2013
 
 
Andy,

In a word: NO! I did not get a single sale (measured). My impression is that people that frequent social sites are more interested in spending time in discussions that solving their real problems.
Franco Graziosi Send private email
Thursday, July 11, 2013
 
 
We are trying with Google+ and Twitter.  Up to about 200 followers so far.  We've had exactly 1 Tweet about us from a follower (asking a simple question).  This is with about 1-2 hours per week of work.  So far it's not been worth it.  I keep hoping soon...

I tried FB ads - complete failure.  People are on FB to waste time and connect with friends -- NOT to work (I sell B2B software).

But what HAS worked is content marketing.  I spent a few hours trying to write a really good article.  It tripled traffic to the website for a few days when it went live.
Doug Send private email
Thursday, July 11, 2013
 
 
Recently, I have started keeping a close watch on SEO trends, social marketing etc  via inbound.org etc. Mainly because Google Panda wiped off a lot of my business. I have just started with some strong efforts.

It takes a lot of effort to build a social community via Facebook, Twitter, G+. But I think we all have to spend some time doing it.

Even if you do not want to deliver content over social network, it is better to earn those "Likes" on your website and on your facebook/g+ pages. Just like 'Customer Testimonials', visitors naturally judge the quality of your product based on its popularity ("Likes" count).

Linking your website with G+ page, Facebook, # of likes etc definitely adds to your ranking.

To see some tangible results from social  networking a one-man-mISV will need to take roles of a content strategist, designer, content developer, analyst etc.  This is hard because we also have to develop, maintain & support the software.

Sometimes the success of our effort may not be directly calculated with # of hours spent over it. It may be too early to judge. We have to keep trying & learning.

Once we have a great product in hand, all we have to do is market, market & market.
Gautam Jain Send private email
Friday, July 12, 2013
 
 
Andy,

Some real data on recent conversions (actual sales);

Direct = 45
Adwords = 37
Google organic = 35
Referrals from other websites = 13
Yahoo = 5
Bing = 2

All Social Media, twitter, facebook, linkedin = 0 conversions
Kevin Taylor Send private email
Friday, July 12, 2013
 
 
@Kevin: But how much social media marketing do you do?  I don't see any social media links on your website, for instance.
Richie Hindle Send private email
Friday, July 12, 2013
 
 
@Richie tried twitter, 440 tweets and 710 followers, spent a whole lot of time, for a couple of sales, not really worth the effort, what are your experiences? Any suggestions/examples of how social media has been successful?
Kevin Taylor Send private email
Friday, July 12, 2013
 
 
I'd like to add something positive but nope.

All too often I hear new clients explaining how they put a lot of energy, time and often money into "social marketing", how it hasn't worked and so they're looking at improving on-site conversions instead.

Certainly some products work better for it than others. In general though, if you try to combine socializing and marketing at the same time, think "Amway".

There ARE some success stories; for most it's a waste of time.



AC
Reluctantlyregistered Send private email
Friday, July 12, 2013
 
 
>if you try to combine socializing and marketing at the same time, think "Amway".

Aren't they some sort of pyramid marketing scheme where all the money is made by the higher ups selling magazine, courses and motivation tapes to the suckers that go door to door?
http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/industries/retail/2011-02-07-multilevelmarketing03_CV_N.htm
Andy Brice Send private email
Friday, July 12, 2013
 
 
Let's turn this question round.

Has anybody read a tweet, or Facebook post or Google+thingy or whatever on any social network and as a direct result bought a product ( anything at all, doesn't need to be software )?

Come on.  Someone must have.
TomTomAgain Send private email
Friday, July 12, 2013
 
 
Nope.  Know someone with a pizza parlour, advertised like crazy on Facebook, tried to get customers to like the business/friend the owner, sent out notifications of specials, etc. constantly.  It backfired because it was so over the top and obnoxious, his social media campaign cost him dozens of regular customers.  Back to flyers and Yellow Pages advertising, which is even more expensive now per customer because of the drop in business.
Howard Ness Send private email
Friday, July 12, 2013
 
 
> Has anybody read a tweet, or Facebook post or Google+thingy or whatever on any social network and as a direct result bought a product

I did. A toilet training kit for my cat. :D

I cannot remember anything else... though I'm sure I got some interesting bookmarks for future, may be I will eventually buy something  from those SaaS'es I bookmarked.
Vladimir Dyuzhev Send private email
Friday, July 12, 2013
 
 
Yes Andy, that's Amway.

A few people get very rich at it, most that try just end up annoying their friends and family by trying to sell them stuff or recruit them.

That's my point, you can't really mix business with socialising. Sometimes it works, for some it's a roaring success but nope, I can't recommend it.

To the question 'Ever bought anything?", well I'm looking to buy a new watch, specifically a mechanical automatic with perpetual calendar. They're rare and/or expensive but Facebook obviously noticed me looking at watches and presented me with a friend recommendation for a little local watchsmith I'd have never have noticed. I probably will buy my next watch from him.

Yeah I know - but that's about all I can think of, sorry.



AC
Reluctantlyregistered Send private email
Friday, July 12, 2013
 
 
In this thread I have read several posts to the effect that 'We have put a lot of effort into social media marketing and it has been a complete waste of time'.

I wonder if the people who wrote this "get" social media marketing.

I'm not saying you don't, I'm just saying that if you don't get social media then your efforts could have been rubbish.

Can you imagine, over on the Business of Social Media forums people are posting "I've been working on a software product and I've done a LOT of programming and it's been a complete waste of time! This programming isn't all it's cracked up to be" ?

If you got a lot of followers and a lot of positive interaction but no sales then maybe you're entitled to say it hasn't worked for us. But if you only got moderate interaction then it's too early to say that you did it well.
koan Send private email
Saturday, July 13, 2013
 
 
@TomTomAgain

> "Social Media" is continually promoted by the BBC

The BBC don't get social media. They think trolling means anyone posting a negative comment.

In fact, they don't get a lot of technology.
koan Send private email
Saturday, July 13, 2013
 
 
@koan

Social media can be time consuming, when other forms of marketing can yield better results in less time, such as SEO, Adwords etc. I worry that people are spending too much time on social media, when their time would be better spent doing other more successful forms of marketing.
Kevin Taylor Send private email
Saturday, July 13, 2013
 
 
@kevin

Whilst I agree with you and I admit I don't totally get social media marketing myself; I think there are some points being missed:

1. Marketing that goes viral reaches many more people, faster than any traditional form of marketing.

2. Even non-viral things can suddenly get hundreds of thousands of shares/likes.

3. People share good ads via social media, they become repeaters of your message. Very few people share flyers, billboards and rarely links to corporate websites unless they are ready to buy.

If you can get it right, social media has the potential to be considerably more powerful.

People wasting time on social media are probably simply not using it right. But how to do it right ? I think the experts themselves don't even know. They big it up but keep that little secret from you.
koan Send private email
Saturday, July 13, 2013
 
 
"I wonder if the people who wrote this 'get' social media marketing"
A few people got "mobile" apps and got a tonne of publicity.  It was wall to wall for a year, with lots of figures being thrown around about how much money they were making. 

Look in the business section of newspapers, check out the "get rich while working 5 hours a week" content mill websites, and you won't get a single verifiable and quantifiable anecdote.  What you will get is buckets of swill repeating the "you can't afford to be left behind" mantra and the "impossible to assign a number to its value" apologia.

Social media isn't exactly new.  If it was possible to "get social media" and make money, this topic would have 33 posts ridiculing Andy for even asking the question. 

In the business of culture, there is a six-step path from dangerous nutcase to harmless eccentric to peer group looking for a distinguishing mark to attractive trend to fitting in badge to mark of a loser.  There is no money to be made for new entrants when cultural artifacts are moving from the fitting in badge to the mark of a loser stage.
Howard Ness Send private email
Saturday, July 13, 2013
 
 
Andy,

I've figured out how you can use twitter to effectively market your table planning software.

It's so obvious I can't believe any of the bright minds on this board haven't suggested it already.

Instead of trying to promote the product on social media you integrate your product it into social media.

For example : You add a function that tweets all the wedding guests information about the seating plan. 

  "@Granny you are sitting on the table with @Grandpa and @AuntyHilda"

Then you write a PR piece and send it to the BBC and other twitter-obsessed media outlets.

They are bound to  run the story to fill their 24 hour news channels and websites.

I can even imagine the faux-horrified reactions that are bound to be solicited from various "experts" in etiquette as they grapple with the serious topics of the day ( no, not Syria ) but "Is it rude to tweet at a wedding?"

Go on! Start a national debate!
TomTomAgain Send private email
Sunday, July 14, 2013
 
 
Heh. Some of my competitors are obsessed with social media. Personally I think it is generally a bad idea to tell people who they will be sitting next to before the event - they'll ask to sit next to someone else.
Andy Brice Send private email
Sunday, July 14, 2013
 
 
>People wasting time on social media are probably simply not using it right.

If nearly all of us are doing our best, but getting it wrong, then (in aggregate) it isn't a very effective medium, is it?
Andy Brice Send private email
Sunday, July 14, 2013
 
 
I think we have to view "Social Media Marketing" as more of TV commercials. It is not possible to track conversions from TV commercials.

By being active in Social Media we are making the presence of out product felt.

By keeping a facebook page active with different content, new articles, conversations, users know about its popularity, # of likes, etc.

Normally, if you search Google by your product name, you will also see your facebook page listed on first page. Search for "Perfect Table Plan", "Notezilla" etc. You will see facebook page too.

Surprisingly, it was listed on page 1 even when it did not have any content. So may be Google's algorithm gives it a push. Wonder why G+ page is not listed (may be because they aren't supporting custom urls for product pages)

So, there will be many who would judge about your product from the facebook page. Sometimes, they might skip your main website & land on your facebook page. Possible.

Plus getting +1's on your homepage is also good.
Gautam Jain Send private email
Monday, July 15, 2013
 
 
Gautam, that's a good point. Google does seem to like things like LinkedIn, FaceBook, YouTube etc. so users are going to land on these. Assuming you "own" the search results for your product name this seems to argue for either putting a lot of work into a social media presence or none at all. If a customer is going to land on a FaceBook page you wouldn't want them to see a ghost town.
Jonathan Matthews Send private email
Monday, July 15, 2013
 
 
Google really does not like Facebook, LinkedIn!
TomTomAgain Send private email
Monday, July 15, 2013
 
 
We haven't much success either with social media. My feeling is that it's really more for things people generally talk about in normal day to day conversations. So for example, for a real estate management software like us, it really isn't something that people talk about outside of the professional realm. Just like you probably aren't going to get a very active audience for dental tools. Within the industries they can be very well liked and loved, but they aren't really topics of social discussions.

However if you create a fan club about a tv show, something young kids love, etc., then yes you'll get a lot more attention. Even products like Coke and Pepsi are more conducive to these types of discussions. How many people talk about pop drinks say compared to say a high quality motherboard or ram manufacturer. There will be reviews of the later and so on, but it's not really something where a Facebook page would be very helpful.

Same with say pinterest/ebay versus Paypal. Talking about accepting payments is really not a social discussion. However discussing about your latest ebay/pinterest finds and so on is definitely a social discussion ;)

So depending on your product and market, you have to expect accordingly.

That being said, we still do get people like our page, but there's really not much effort put into it these days. The ROI just isn't there for the type of company I have. We still have a presence but that's about it.
Stephane Grenier Send private email
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
 
 
Hello.
Indeed. Software Marketing on social media is very difficult. We are new to this and really believed in all the gurus of social media, however, the software is not like the other products.
Gushosoft Send private email
Thursday, July 25, 2013
 
 

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