Social media platform Wetpaint and digital consulting firm Altimeter Group last week released a report supporting the theory that there's a direct link between a brand's social media efforts and revenue growth.
The world's 100 most valuable brands were evaluated by how well they engage with their consumers using social media and how their engagement correlates with revenue. The report stated that companies with the highest level of social media activity increased revenue by 18 percent in the last 12 months, while companies that were the least active saw a 6 percent drop in sales.
The following were the highest-ranking brands:
These 11 brands were classified as social media "mavens," the most aggressive brands in social media.
Others were classified as: "butterflies," defined as companies spread too thin across social properties; "selectives," or companies that excel by focusing on just a few channels; and "wallflowers," which are brands sitting on the sidelines.
Of the top brands that are apparently mavens, my data show that only two out of the 11 promote social media in their e-mail marketing campaigns on a regular basis (Nike and Intel). That suggests there's still much room for these companies to grow by including social media within their e-mail campaigns.
The Gap, Pepsi, Sony, and Hewlett-Packard are the only brands that included links in their e-mail marketing messages over the last 30 days to their Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace pages.
Other brands not on the list of 100 most valuable brands have a high percentage of e-mails promoting social media. They are: Home Depot, Lane Bryant, Circuit City, Saks Fifth Avenue, Polo Ralph Lauren, Lands' End, and J.C. Penney.
In the data I've been tracking, the number of e-mail marketing campaigns containing links to the brand's Facebook and Twitter pages has dramatically increased. Twitter and Facebook have become the two most prominent links in all of e-mail marketing this year, and the growth is huge.
In 2007, I first tracked a link to a company's Twitter account within the body of an e-mail marketing message. In total, we tracked 215 campaigns with a Twitter link and 729 campaigns with a Facebook link that year. In 2008, that number had grown by 1,081 percent to 2,540 campaigns for Twitter and 1,635 percent to 12,650 campaigns for Facebook.
This year, the number is even more staggering. As of June, the number of campaigns that include a link to a company's Twitter account has grown to 41,399 and 41,052 for Facebook.
Looking at 2009 month by month, Twitter started to outpace Facebook in April as the top social networking site for e-mail marketers:
|E-Mail Marketing Campaigns With Links to Brand's Social Network Page by Social Network, January 2009-July 2009|
|July (first 27 days)||9,063||10,277|
Clearly there's dramatic growth across the board for links to social networking sites being embedded in e-mail marketing messages. Time will tell if Twitter will continue to outpace Facebook as marketers' social network of choice.
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Bill McCloskey is the founder and chief evangelist for Email Data Source, a competitive intelligence resource for e-mail marketers. He was named one of online advertising's 50 most influential people by "Media" magazine and one of the 100 people to know by "BtoB Magazine." He's been a recognized pioneer in interactive advertising for over 10 years.
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