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During the month of May, Stephanie attended the 2012 Social Media Success Summit. You can read more about what she learned here, here and even here.

An important note about the Social Media Success Summit is that is it not tailored specifically for the public relations professional. Anyone who works in communication knows the variety of people that can make a up a social media team, and I admit my eyes go a bit glossy when the conversation turns to ad buys and cost-per-clicks and even – dun dun dun – calculating ROI.

While different types of communicators may not all see eye-to-eye, we all want to please our clients, not all of who are familiar or comfortable with social media. And we get that – social media is a pesky thing to measure as far as impressions- but without it is hard to show the big wigs how awesome our work really is.

Perhaps Nichole Kelly, formally of Full Frontal ROI and now president of SME Digital, put it best:

One thing that executives do understand is the bottom line, and the way they measure the bottom line is though the sales funnel. Executives live, eat and breathe the sales funnel.

The sales funnel is metaphor and often visual representation of the sales measuring process (because, who really wants to read numbers when stick figures can be involved?).  Sales funnels are used to calculate the conversion rate, which is the percentage of the public turned to customers.

A.K.A. Math.

What’s a PR pro to do? Without the budget (or job description) to create ads to drive clicks, it is especially important that we know our role in the sales funnel and recognize the trends driving those precious bottom lines. Through a few additions, some of the #SMSS12 presenters shared their own take on the sales funnel.


The New Funnel

Jason Falls of Social Media Explorer explains the new funnel and how to move people down, becoming more involved.

It goes a little something like this:

Other than addressing steps specific to the social media user, the funnel is more or less the same as the traditional version. The big difference comes in the measuring. Falls suggest that rather than calculating the conversion rate as the percentage of the public become customers, marketing efforts should be measured every single level. Know what percentage of fans become subscribers, and so on. By using multiple points, you can see where your strengths and weaknesses are and how to fix them, rather than addressing the entire campaign.


Social Media Cycle

Dave Kerpen, CEO of Likeable Media, tweaked the ye-ole-sales funnel by incorporating education and engagement before action, which he says is where social media marketing is needed to take effect.

Even though implementing social media may take longer, the social setting increases the amount of public coming into the funnel, thus increasing conversion rates and ultimately creating a cycle.


Elongating the funnel

Nichole Kelly, who drilled in the point that the CEOs love their funnels, also expanded her sales funnel into a cycle by including retention.

Her cycle is extended using the logic that with social media, we are now reaching potential customers that don’t realize they have a need for our product or service yet. Add that to the ability to foster relationships with existing customers better than ever before, and the fact that the entire consumer interaction is public, the conversion rate involves much more than when the final action – point of sale, subscription, etc – even occurs.


How do you think social media has changed the sales model that as been the staple of conversion rates since the dawn of marking?

Stephanie Lough
Stephanie Lough
A former HMA Public Relations employee.


  1. This is awesomesauce! So cool to see other’s take on the old funnel. 🙂 Thanks for including me!

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