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“Social has gone from being this fun thing that people are using casually — and that businesses are maybe just having an intern run as a side project — to a really critical part of [business] marketing strategy,” says Chrissy Hansen, director of marketing at Reverb, the music gear site that has leveraged guests like Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy and Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen to reel in new customers.

Social was one of their major focuses even when they were just starting out, but they soon realized they weren’t doing enough.

“The first step is admitting that this is a full-time position and this is a full-time strategy, and you have to dedicate a lot of time and energy to social media, and to looking at analytics and taking it really seriously.” Hansen explains. “If you don’t have the time to be looking at what’s happening there, answering questions in real time, and really paying attention to the nuance that’s happening with every one of these posts, then you’re not going to be getting the most out of your social strategy.

But one of the major drivers of success in the social arena is actually letting go of control, suggests Ethan Smith, chief growth officer at Yummly, the investor-favorite online recipe recommendation engine.

“A lot of what works in social is less about making someone do something and more about creating content in ways that make people want to do that themselves,” Smith explains. “We actively manage our social profiles, but most of the social traffic that we get is not from us actively managing things. It’s creating really interesting content that people want to share voluntarily.”

And while social selling is a big buzzword now in the B2B world, in B2C, customers will cut and run quickly if they get a whiff of salesiness.

People typically don’t come to a social media site to shop, or to do something conversion based, Hansen says. They’re in discovery mode, coming to be entertained and looking for pure interactions.

“So we’re always thinking about it as this conversion funnel strategy where the top of the funnel is this entertainment, engagement–video, education, inspiration,” she says. “The type of content that people want to engage with on Facebook or Twitter.”

Bask in the customer love and all the Likes you get — you’re a popular brand. But don’t let the interaction stop there. Your analytics tools, from Facebook’s built-in dashboard to your internal third-party in-house tools, help funnel these customers who have offered you valuable insight into likes and interests into the next action and the next.

“Not necessarily going from watching a video about guitars to buying a guitar — that’s kind of a leap,” Hansen says. But the conversion funnel is our biggest tool on social, for getting people from that top level to the bottom level.”

At Yummy, analytics fuels their social content out of the gate. “Our company is based around big data for food,” Smith explains. “So we look at things like trends in eating habits or search behavior, or recipes that people are looking at or sharing. Things like avocado toast a few months ago when it was trending. That all comes from our internal analytics data and that’s factored into all the different marketing and social strategy.”

Smith describes their approach as good, traditional brand marketing. “Have the very clear brand message, understand the value that you’re delivering to the user, keep this simple and reinforce it everywhere,” Smith says. “Show the users, don’t tell them.”

And so over time, the more times a customer sees a clear brand impression across different touch-points, the more internalized that message becomes.

“That message of taste preference is reinforced across all our different channels,” says Smith. “And the more people see that over time, they think of Yummly as a place to get recipes based on taste preferences. They understand the value in that, and then they become a qualified lead.”

To learn more about how cement a brand voice, scale your social campaigns, and pull customers down the funnel, check out this free VB Live event.

Don’t miss out!

Access this VB Live event on demand right here.

From this VB Live event, you’ll learn to:

  • Gather the right data from your users
  • Utilize social analytics to target the right consumers
  • Translate social interactions into sales
  • Increase brand awareness in a way that feeds the bottom line


* Chrissy Hansen, Director of Marketing, Reverb

* Ethan Smith, Chief Growth Officer, Yummly

* Stewart Rogers, Director of Marketing Technology, VentureBeat

* Rachael Brownell, Moderator, VentureBeat

This VB Live event is sponsored by Sysomos.