Veruca Salt in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory There’s a scene at the beginning of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory where an entire warehouse of women unwrap box after box of candy bars in search of a Golden Ticket. After weeks of searching, the factory owner’s bratty daughter – Veruca Salt – finally gets her wish (“But I want a ticket nooowwww, Daddy!”) when an assembly line worker hits the jackpot and uncovers a winning ticket.

Many organizations approach social media in a similar fashion.

“The more followers we have, the more reach our brand has. And the more reach we have, the more likely someone is to see our tweet and buy our stuff!”

Sure, quantity eventually breeds quality (eventually … maybe), but it also breeds a LOT of waste (that’s a lot of uneaten chocolate for a single ticket).

And waste in the business world means higher costs and lost revenue in the form of missed opportunities.

I joined Twitter in October of 2008. Over the past three and a half years, I have sent over 11,000 tweets and amassed 6,200 followers. Can I let you in on a secret?

Most of my list is garbage.

Back in the day, obtaining followers was my only goal. I used a series of automated techniques and services to magically add followers based on topic or location. As my following grew, I watched the amount of spam rise while the number of valuable interactions decreased.

But alas — quantity did breed some quality. I have made many incredible connections online, both locally and nationally. It is through these connections that Twitter continues to be a source of valuable information and interaction for me on a daily basis.

(Flash forward three and a half years…)

Today, I am launching a new service and our Twitter account has exactly … 198 followers.

“What?! Your service supposedly helps small businesses use social media and you have under 200 followers? What are you, a scam artist?”

Crazy, right? But what if I told you that 25.68% of the traffic to our site is coming from non-follower interactions on Twitter and that those visitors stay on the site for an average of 5 minutes and 34 seconds?

“I’m still skeptical, but keep talking.”

At ChatterJet, we take the opposite approach as most companies when it comes to social media, focusing not on acquiring new followers in bulk and hoping a small fraction of those people “convert,” but on monitoring and interacting with a very targeted list of new potential leads each day.

Just because someone isn’t a follower doesn’t mean you can’t/shouldn’t reach out to them.

Eliminate Waste and Increase Conversions with Social Media

1. Find Your Audience
Yes, thinking like your customer takes some time and brain power. But spending that time to identify potential venues to connect with them makes it possible to monitor specific opportunities to engage with them. Keywords and hashtags are a great place to start. Simple searches on Twitter can key you into conversations taking place within your industry, and local searches (near:90210) can help you locate people nearby.

2. Tailor Your Message
The amount of information people share publicly online creates a massive opportunity for businesses smart enough to listen and match a response to their call for help.

When you see people talking about the things you are monitoring, be a resource and offer immediate and tailored solutions to your customers’ (or potential customers’) needs. The more specific you can be, the more likely they are to take action.

3. Be Actionable
“Engagement” evangelists on social media will tout the importance of being sincere and/or genuine online (which I agree with). But that doesn’t mean your outreach can’t include something actionable for your intended audience.

Aim to be a resource AND be direct in how you can help solve their problem. When you provide advice or a solution, include a link. Make the barrier to entry as low as possible; the more hurdles someone has to jump, the less likely they are to convert.

4. Track Your Efforts
Once you’ve crafted a message that you think will work, test your hypothesis and track the results. At ChatterJet, we run all of our inbound campaigns through two tools: and Google’s URL Builder.

  • At the top of the conversion funnel, allows us to track the number of times we have sent a link and how many times that link has been clicked on. Some simple math allows us to determine our click-through rate for a given campaign. Next we use…
  • Google’s URL Builder to identify a campaign’s effectiveness in our web traffic reports. By tracking our lead sources, we can see how visitors are finding our site and benchmark one source against another to compare things like bounce rate, average time on site, and conversions (downloads, subscriptions, etc.).

By thinking about our target customer and using a handful of free tools, we can more easily evaluate our marketing efforts and eliminate waste. But without building in a feedback loop and analyzing the results, it’s impossible to know what tactics are working — let alone justifying the ROI of social media.

What are you doing to track your efforts online? And what tactics/platforms have been the most successful for you?