Time to spill some beans.

I spent most of last year running the social media output for a $50 million Internet retailer.

From February 2013 through November 2013, if it appeared on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Tumbler, or one of our blogs, I was the one responsible for creating, editing, posting, communicating, and improving the social media content for our 5 brands.

Before I arrived, they had various people handle different portions of the various brands with varying results.

Let’s give you the 3 Social Media Success Tips for 2014 and then you can decide if you want to continue reading.

  1. Focus on the Best Metrics for Your Business.
  2. Listen to Others, but Determine Your Path
  3. Devote enough Resources to Make it Worthwhile.

When I was hired, I was given a 2 page list of about 40 or 60 things to do.  I really don’t remember how many, and it’s not important anymore.

Most of those items were not equally important and some we needed to stop wasting time doing.

What caught my attention was that they wanted to grow the number of Twitter Followers from 18,000 to 30,000, and grow the number of Facebook fans from 50,000 to 100,000 in 2013.

While I thought this was stupid, and I’ll tell you why in a moment, I decided to tackle the challenge.

I had a budget I could spend, and was expected to spend on various items.  There was a monthly budget for Facebook ads which were being used to get new fans, or Likes as they are now called.  I had between $1000 and $10,000 a month to spend.  For awhile I also had a monthly budget of $3,000 to increase Twitter Followers.

I also had budgets for contests which varied each month.

My first goal was to reduce the cost per Like on Facebook to under $1.00.  It was creeping up to over $3.00 before I made some changes.

I doubled our Facebook numbers in 3 weeks at the cost per Like of less than 20 cents.


I increased the targets for our ads. I included other countries besides the United States that had a high number of English language speaking residents.  Instead of seeing a weekly increase of 500 or 600 likes, It jumped to 10,000, 15,000 and 20,000 new Facebook Likes or fans.  I pulled the plug after reaching 100,000.

Was it worth it?

Yes, but just to prove a point and make an impression.  I proved we could lower the cost of getting a new Facebook Like and double our numbers, and it didn’t take a year, just a matter of weeks.  That was the point I wanted to make.  And the impression I wanted to create to anyone who visited our Facebook page was that we had a significant number of fans and were a major player in our industry.

My next step was to focus on quality not quantity, since I already hit that Grand Slam.

Gaining all of those overseas fans did not increase our overseas sales.  Shipping costs killed us.  Our average order was less than $100 and when shipping costs as much or more than the products, that often kills the shopping cart.

So I changed my goals to measure engagement.  On Facebook that includes Likes on Posts, Comments on Posts, and Shares of Posts.

We also started following the conversion status of our social media activity and made a startling discovery or two.

I was unable to justify using Twitter in the way we had been using it and certainly could not justify spending money to gain more followers.

Of all the social media platforms we used, Pinterest was driving the most traffic to our website and the most sales. Twitter was virtually nonexistent, even with over 20,000 followers.

I began cleaning up our Twitter followers by unfollowing spam/junk accounts, and targeted accounts that followed our competitors.  But they had the same spam/junk accounts following them too.  Twitter should have been turned over to our customer service staff as a communication tool.

When I left my position, we had around 3000 Pinterest Followers, which accounted for nearly 60% of our website visits from Social Media.

Facebook, with 130,000 Fans, accounted for only 30% of our website visits from Social Media or less.

The other 10 to 20% of our social media activity that drew people to our websites each month varied between activity on Twitter, YouTube, our blogs, and other minor social media channels.

Back to those 3 Social Media Success Tips for 2014:

  1. Focus on the Best Metrics for Your Business.
  2. Listen to Others, but Determine Your Path
  3. Devote enough Resources to Make it Worthwhile.

I changed the metrics we should measure to set higher standards.

I listened to numerous sources for advice and I’ll share more about that in the future.

I had a budget to spend and time to spend on Social Media.  If you want a serious return on your efforts with anything in life, you need to invest enough resources.


More to come.  Your questions and thoughts are always welcome.