Orchestra LLC: Success Using Social Media

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1 Orchestra LLC: Success Using Social Media (Zhu, Jia Li Lily) June, 2010 Orchestra LLC: Success Using Social Media by Jia Li Lily Zhu at HubSpot is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

2 Orchestra LLC: Success Using Social Media Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube are well-known social media sites. Though most youth in the United States have long used them for fun, the corporate world is just discovering the business value of using social media. Not long ago, many businesses were unaware of the benefits that social media can bring. Orchestra LLC, a company with less than 15 employees that provides technological support for small and midsize companies, was one of them. Founded in 2008, Orchestra LLC provides services related to software, hardware, and the web to companies based in California, Oregon, and Washington. Most clients are companies that intend to adopt a centralized management system. As a business whose solution includes enterprise software for industries such as craft brewing and petroleum distribution, Orchestra relied on traditional marketing techniques, which was a general trend for the industry. Few of its peers used social media to promote their businesses. Orchestra s decision to venture into social media, a largely unexplored world to its competitors, quickly brought results. Several months after readjusting its marketing strategies and extensively using social media, Orchestra earned a customer through a simple tweet, struck a deal of $7,500, and had established ongoing relationship with that customer. With consistent investment in building a brand using social media, Orchestra LLC acquired more than 30 customers and 20 technology partners over the 18 months since it was founded. When it was founded, none of its businesses came from online searches. Now, 75% of its sales pipeline came from the web. What prompted readjustment of its strategies? Brad Windecker, the President of Orchestra LLC, shared its Twitter success and the impact of social media on his business. The Beginning: Difficult Times The first few months after it was founded, Orchestra marketed in traditional ways. It had a brochure-like, static website that presented information but lacked content inviting interactions or call-to-action forms to further engage website visitors. It sent out e-newsletters that did not link to the website. It purchased leads from a lead service, which often turned out to be unqualified leads and rarely converted to sales. Lead management was also time-consuming Windecker and his colleagues needed to manually copy a lead s contact information and enter it into their CRM (customer relationship management) system. Orchestra found that traditional methods of marketing a technology business did not yield great results given the amount of work it required. There had to be a better way. Windecker and the management team grew increasingly aware that the return of running a non-interactive site was declining. Their outbound marketing strategies were not effective. Instead of making cold calls all day long, what could they do differently to increase marketing effectiveness and develop competitive advantages? 2

3 The inactive website was the first thing Windecker wanted to change. He searched how to attract website visitors and obtain web leads and spotted HubSpot, which introduced to him the concept of inbound marketing. Instead of providing only information about its products on the website, Orchestra should try creating valuable and informative content, share and promote it on different channels, and convince prospects to visit their website to learn more. That is, instead of pushing out its advertisement, Orchestra should pull customers in like a magnet. As a small business whose capital concentrated in product development and not marketing, Orchestra wanted to quickly establish a competitive edge at the right price point. It saw inbound marketing as an opportunity to do so. Brad shortly signed on to HubSpot and was ready to revolutionize Orchestra s marketing approach. Creating Awesome Content After learning more about inbound marketing, Orchestra devised a simple 3-step inbound marketing strategy: create, promote, and measure. Since creating valuable business-related content significantly contributes to site traffic and web lead growth, Orchestra started blogging on the company website. Windecker and his colleagues decided to first select topics and keywords related to their business. They brainstormed keywords that best captured their services and matched them with phrases people used in searching the kinds of services they provide. Having established a general keyword glossary, they started blogging. They blogged about their business, industry, products, and any information prospects might find helpful. Orchestra set the goal of sharing helpful information in a succinct yet memorable way, so Windecker and his colleagues committed to writing three- to five-paragraph blog articles that were keyword-heavy and included a visual such as video, screenshot, or image. Creating good content was only one aspect of Orchestra s blogging. Windecker encouraged a few other blogging practices. First, he and his employees embedded links to sites containing content that reinforced or added credibility to their blog articles, which may in turn improve their search engine ranking. Second, they made sure to have calls to actions (CTA) somewhere in a blog article to engage readers and cultivate leads. For example, most of the blog articles on Orchestra s webpage contained a link for webinar registration, which served to move blog readers further down the sales funnel and help achieve Orchestra s business goals. Lastly, most employees have written blog articles. Orchestra believed that multiple voices would make the blog more interesting and appealing to a larger audience. To maintain a consistent focus on topics of or related to their business, Orchestra employees cross-reviewed each other's articles, which Windecker also reviewed before final publication. The team ensured each blog article had a unique URL. It also hosted the blog and company website on the same domain to accrue SEO credits to help improve the search engine ranking of the website. Orchestra was ready to promote. 3

4 Promoting Content on Various Channels After Orchestra had written blog articles, it needed to grow an audience of potential customers. Waiting for people to discover good content on their site would be just as passive as running a brochure-like website, so Orchestra posted content on frequently visited sites to obtain a larger readership. It targeted two types of sites: industry websites and social media. An industry website publishes industry-related news and activities. Orchestra promoted its content on websites such as IT Toolbox, SYS-PRO and other websites that provided information on the business software industry. These sites allowed users to create their own pages, establishing an additional presence and platform for Orchestra s content. Orchestra then targeted social media sites. Cultivating Brand on Social Media Sites Orchestra implemented consistent strategies on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook. The team updated YouTube on a weekly basis with tutorial videos on using SAP Business One and Crystal Reports, the two business software solutions Orchestra provides. Its Twitter and Facebook pages were updated even more frequently. The team published one to two posts every day, sharing information on Orchestra s free webinars, blog articles, and partnerrelated events. In fact, Orchestra used TweetDeck to synchronize Facebook and Twitter uploads. What distinguished Orchestra s Twitter platform was that it answered most customer inquiries on Twitter while focusing on sharing multimedia content on Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube. When asked whether promoting the same content on multiple sites would be considered spamming, Windecker waved aside the concern with confidence: It s not spamming if you are sending a real message that can benefit others and publishing it on content sites. Windecker was convinced of the value of content creation and promotion, which made him committed to leading the team to grow Orchestra with inbound marketing strategies. Unexpected Customer Acquisition via Twitter Orchestra s hard work on social media soon drove results. As the numbers of subscribers grew on these sites, Windecker and his colleagues expected more prospects to visit and convert to customers on the company website. That is, they thought Orchestra s social media presence might broaden its lead base and increase the number of customers. They didn t expect to shorten its sales cycle and strike deals directly through social media, which occurred to their surprise. The deal was initiated on Twitter. An Orchestra employee wrote and tweeted a blog post on free online tools for small businesses, encouraging viewers to learn more about the ten free tools that Orchestra used to run its business. Someone who was searching competitors on Twitter found the article because it mentioned one of their competitors. That reader filled out a contact form on Orchestra s website and requested Orchestra to mention in its future articles free tools 4

5 that his company, Mikogo, provided. Windecker gladly agreed and was introduced to the CEO of Mikogo. In their conversations, owners of the two companies quickly discovered that they were selling products that could be used in conjunction and had the same customer targets. They then reached an agreement on joint marketing efforts. They put each other s links on their company websites and promoted each other in their company newsletters. Windecker learned that Mikogo's newsletter had a readership of a large number of small businesses, which exposed Orchestra to a much larger audience. A broader prospect base, in turn, increased its chance of reaching someone who might be interested in Orchestra s services. That happened indeed. A subscriber to Mikogo's newsletter saw Orchestra s link, clicked on it, requested a demo, and 4 weeks after their initial contact, became Orchestra s customer. The amount of work throughout the entire sales process involved no more than a tweet, a conversation, a link, and a few s and phone calls. Measuring Results for Future Improvements Success on Twitter was not the only significant achievement. By measuring results, Orchestra was able to gauge the effectiveness of its inbound marketing strategies in driving business growth. It measured the number of inbound links to learn how many people found its content relevant. It gauged whether more people filled out landing page forms since the launch of its blog, which would imply that blogging had contributed to lead lift. Reach on different social media sites helped it understand its promotion effectiveness. Diving deeper into the sales process, Orchestra could measure conversion rates such as the percentage of site visitors that became leads for different sources such as organic search, paid search, and social media. In addition, Orchestra tracked its statistics such as Google index pages as compared to that of its competitors. Numbers alone could not tell viewers attitude toward Orchestra s marketing materials and services. That was why Orchestra also looked at qualitative data. It analyzed which keywords were most effective in bringing visitors to their site. Orchestra also paid close attention to the comments it received on every site where it had a presence. In fact, Windecker learned to spot topics that drove two-way dialogues through blog comments. And when they saw negative comments, Brad and his colleagues responded to show respect and genuine interest in customer feedback. Seeing Increasingly Better Results One month after Orchestra started blogging and promoting its content, monthly site traffic increased from 57 to over 1,000 visits. As shown in Figure 1.1, traffic came mostly from organic search and direct traffic. By the second month, Orchestra had nearly 3,000 visits, an over 150% increase, and traffic from social media also more than doubled from the previous month. Aside from an increase in site traffic due to blogging, the SEO ranking of the Orchestra website also improved as quality blog articles attracted inbound links. For instance, a blog article named 5

6 SAP Business One Business Software by Orchestra Team not only received 948 visits but also earned 855 inbound links. This implies that almost every reader of the article shared the link on another website, thus reflecting the article s value. Visits to Orchestra s business pages on social media sites fluctuated from month to month, but the visit-to-lead conversion rate had increased significantly. From 0.3% in November 2009 to 1.61% in February and 6.06% in May 2010 (Figure 1.2), Orchestra s consistent and frequent content promotion on social media sites yielded substantial results. Improved Online Brand Orchestra also found that its online marketing strategies had an impact on its brand. The broader implication of inbound marketing was online brand improvement. Windecker recalled a few indicators of strengthening brand recognition. First, Orchestra was featured on SAP s page of the SYS-PRO news, a widely known business and technology website. Industry leaders also remarked on Orchestra s leadership in social media use for business. Chris Clinton, VP of global multichannel programs and marketing at SAP, the world s largest business software company, recognized Orchestra s extensive use and thoughtful management of its presence on social media sites. Peer organizations gradually started noticing Orchestra s thought leadership. The things we talk about and the videos we create impact our audiences to the point that we are invited to give talks and that people come to our site for software product review. Overall, Orchestra has established solid brand awareness with effective implementation of inbound marketing. 6

7 Appendix Figure 1.1 Screenshot of the Tweet that Brought Orchestra and Mikogo to Collaboration Figure 1.2 Orchestra s Organic Search Visits from September 2009 to June

8 Figure 1.3 Orchestra s Social Media Traffic from September 2009 to November 2009 Figure 1.4 Orchestra s Visits from All Sources and Lead Conversion Rate from September 2009 to April

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