Sunday, July 19, 2009

Capturing Leads and Tracking Conversations on Twitter

Here at VeriSign, we've proven that Twitter can be used to capture sales leads and make sales. But we are also seeing all kinds of other interactions that happen on Twitter. These include:

  • Requests for information / help with products

  • Suggestions for product features (e.g., “VIP iPhone app should work on iPod Touch!”)

  • General industry questions

  • Media inquiries and commentary

  • Customers needing some TLC

  • Interesting news articles or Tweets to share

Getting Started

Before you start, you’ll need to do a search on your brand to see what kind of mentions it is getting. will find all mentions, which you may want to catalog in your own spreadsheet because it only seems to archive about a month’s worth of data. But you can still find a Tweet using more specific keywords on Google to find tweets, because, much like a diamond, a Tweet is forever! (even if you delete a Tweet from your Twitter stream, it’s going to show up on Google!)

Tools for Tracking Conversations

1. can be used for shortening any URLs. You can even create custom Urls, but keep track of what you create because won’t track those for you. And beware the inflated stats which do not filter out hits from bots / spiders, etc. More on that here from Hutch Carpenter. And Tac Anderson is a great blogger to follow if you want to keep up on the latest cool tools - he is great filter for the (too much) information that's out there.
2. Tracking Codes: We use Visual Sciences on our so if we append an “SL code” to a URL that we send out, and someone visits the site, we know where they came from. So, the URL we send looks like this: Using these helps us keep track of traffic that we send over from Twitter.

Capturing Sales Leads

Our leads from Twitter were getting lost in the Siebel Sales database becuase we had no way of tracking. The “traditional” way of capturing leads is that a prospective customer fills ut a landing page. We persuaded the Direct Marketing team that people engaging with us on Twitter are in no mind set to fill out a form if they wanted more info, and they are allowing us to fill in the form ourselves, as long as the potential customer approves it. Now that's progress! Now all we need is our own cool little "Twitter Leads" form. I'll keep you posted on how it's going.

Keeping track of Resources

Many of the interactions I mentioned above need to be shared internally with the right people, and then communicated back out. We're talking a serious time commitment here. But how to show the "higher ups" what resources are necessary? I've worked with my colleague (@AllenKelly) to come up with a system that should help us with this. More on this after we try it out for a bit.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Reaping the Rewards of your Blogging Efforts

You’ve been valiantly foraging through the social media wilderness, publishing blog posts and Tweeting your heart out. Wouldn’t it be nice to see the fruits of your labor? Here are a few tools I use to track blog success. I started using these methods for our Corporate Social Media efforts but they work for personal blogs and Tweets, as well. Don’t forget: the key social media metrics are sentiment and level of engagement (e.g., number of blog post comments, trackbacks.) Or are you simply wondering “why do I need a Web site, a blog, and a Twitter account?

Tracking "Micro-Metrics" for Blogs

1. Feedburner allows me to see how many subscribers I have, enable blog subscription via email, and add the “share this” feature for each post. They provide a snippet of code for me to insert into the blog template, and instructions for Moveable Type and Wordpress.

2. Google Analytics offers a myriad of data, but I usually focus on the following data points:

  • Percentage of readers arriving through search. If it’s below 30% we need to better optimize the blogs for search: I remind bloggers to focus on the keywords in the post title and body, leverage the “categories.”
  • Keywords bringing people to the blogs. This data usually provides a nice ego boost for our bloggers, since the primary keywords bringing traffic to each blog are usually the bloggers’ names. Ideally the top keywords would be industry / product terms. Or simply “VeriSign.”
  • Time spent reading posts. Less than a minute means the user found little value in the content. I like to see readers spending at least 2 minutes on each post. One blogger had readers spending about 6 minutes on each post, which I shared with all of our bloggers. Another blogger (jealously?) pointed out “his posts are really long.”
  • Referring sites. Is there some site helping you out that you did not know about? Where are users coming from? This will help you tailor your content to appeal to those folks.
  • Bounce Rate and Exit rate. A high bounce rate means the content on the page the user landed on was not interesting to them. They came, they saw, they left your domain. Conversely, the exit rate is the measure of how many people left a page, and then went elsewhere on your site - that particular page was not too exciting, but they were interested enough to look further. You should worry about a consistently high bounce rate and consider how to make that landing page a little juicer. This is why it helps to know what keywords people are searching on, and what the referring sites are. There is a nice explanation of these terms on

Coming soon... "Capturing Sales Leads and Tracking Conversations on Twitter"