SES NYC 2011: ‘Social Media & Conversion: The Yellow Brick Road’

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Social Media & Conversion: The Yellow Brick Road

Session description: Jeffrey Eisenberg challenges some conventional wisdom about what trends will affect your business and explores the marketer’s role and what’s worth measuring in social media.

Solo Presentation by: Jeffrey Eisenberg, Partner, Eisenberg Brothers & Associates.

Quote marks indicate direct quotes. If there aren’t quote marks, it’s paraphrased.

The skinny

Out of five, Jeffrey is the first presenter I have seen today who has included his Twitter handle in his introduction slide: @JeffreyGroks. (Not surprising, I suppose, considering the subject.) Also, Jeffrey’s presentation has a Wizard of Oz theme. He apologizes in advance.

What he said

Let’s start with one thing: it’s a fact that in some areas, Facebook now provides more traffic in Google. We assume that traffic makes money. For a media company, maybe that’s true. But if you’re a marketer, is that true?

Authentic advertising

[Slide] “Transparency is not your choice, only authenticity is!”

The only thing that’s secret is the thing you know about yourself. “Get over the idea that you can hide anything. The only question is when you can be authentic … Marketers are no longer necessarily just the people that we pay to tell lies that the company has no intention of keeping.”

[Slide] “Advertising only accelerates the inevitable…”

You can make a great promise with advertising. Is it real? Are you promising what you can deliver? Social media dramatically increases the velocity of your message.

Social media allows us to have open conversations about what’s going on in the marketplace. But it also puts a lot of pressure on marketers, especially to monetize.

Marketing vs. Promotion

Remember the four Ps of marketing? Price, Placement, Product and Promotion. How often do we get to change the price? How often do we get to change the product? What marketers can do is promote, so mostly we do that. But now, what we know is that social media has put the product front and center. Take funds you might put into promoting the product and put it into improving the product.

Amazon and major brands like them (Zappos, Google, Starbucks, Facebook) have done LESS advertising than just about any other business in their category. How did you find out about them? Someone told you they had a great product.


How did airlines become so generic that we no longer care? They cut and cut and cut and cut and it kept not affecting the bottom line. How many of us now care about our airlines? But it does matter what people think of you—that’s your brand.

Most of social media is a conversation. Most people having conversations don’t want to be interrupted by marketers. For example, take the top reasons people Unlike on Facebook or stop following on Twitter or unsubscribe from emails: too many posts, too boring, too crowded with marketing and needed to get rid of something.

The golden rule of marketing: “It does always have to be about me.” When you’re in social media, it’s much more important that you’re contextual in what they (the customer) want than what you want.

Contextual ads

There’s a very big difference between Google contextual ads and Facebook contextual ads.

On Google, you know what I’m looking for (i.e. contextual).

On Facebook, you know something about my life (i.e. targeted). On Facebook, ads go stale after a couple of days.


Conversion, like the Emerald City, is a journey not a destination. Satisfy customers at each step.

“Online, we have gotten used to a very ugly metaphor: funnels.” The idea is, if we simply bring in more people, we can move certain people down along the process to convert them. “In Brooklyn, where I grew up, the technical term for that is bullshit.”

Rethink your conversion goals. You’re not going to run the same ad on Google and the same ad on Facebook and get the same conversion rate.

  • Conversion to conversation: They felt you were a good listener; you felt they were worth listening to.
  • Conversion to consumption: Get them to try something for free. Example: I used Evernote’s free version.
  • Conversion to customer: I loved the free version so much, I upgraded to the premium version.
  • Conversion to opinion holder: Now that I’m paying money, I have opinions.
  • Conversion to word-of-mouth: And now Evernote has gotten a plug from me in this conference!

Don’t look for social media to be a shortcut. It’s there’s to build relationships. As the witch told Dorothy: “You had the power all along.”

Audience participation

Q: “You said no funnels. But conversation to consumption to customer to opinion holder to word of mouth sounds like a funnel. Explain.”
Jeffrey: “People get caught up in metaphors.” You’re right, I described a similar process, but you don’t want to get caught up and too focused on the metaphor.

Q: “What would you recommend as a ratio, on, say, Twitter, regarding conversation versus advertising?”
Jeffrey: “How often do you want to see an ad? Not very often.”