SmartBear Gets Smart on Social in 2012

 A submission to the 6th Annual Forrester Groundswell Awards

The Company

SmartBear Software provides tools for over one million software professionals to build, test, and monitor some of the best software applications and websites. Over the summer, SmartBear's social media activity has done a complete 180° in social messaging about our products and brand.

The Challenge

SmartBear was founded as a union of many different testing and development tools, each with their own identity. SmartBear's social presence has worked to unite these products under one cohesive brand so that messaging to our followers is consistent and relavent. This is, of course, an ongoing process, but social media has proved to be be a significant tool in SmartBear's quest for brand awareness, lead generation, and happy followers.

The Change

Early in the summer, SmartBear's focus shifted. We began to focus on creating a personality and increasing transparency online. We want folks to know the people behind SmartBear and generate leads as a result.

SmartBear consolidated and revamped the blog "Software Quality Matters." We hired a full-time blog and social media manager, added social calls-to-action in our emails, webinars and whitepapers, and started thinking more strategically about our content and delivery methods. Social media became a primary channel, rather than a necessary annoyance.

The Results

The summer is notoriously slow for business. SmartBear's social activity, however, seems to have photosynthetic powers. In 3 months, SmartBear...

By increasing post frequency, quality of content, and adding a little personality, SmartBear has grown significantly across the four main social media platforms (Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and LinkedIn). We're excited because it means more people have access to our resources, and gives SmartBear access to an entirely new group of talented software testers and developers. 

SmartBear Social Growth

HTML5 Ebook

Before July 2012, SmartBear was not actively generating leads from social media channels. By adding tokens synced with landing pages, SmartBear began using social media as more than just a "brand awareness" tool by accurately tracking conversions.

From the release of our latest eBook, "Why HTML5 Tests the Limits of your Automated Testing Solution," social media was responsible for 282 leads! With the addition of 19 more from a smaller Cloud applications ebook, the grand total this summer to date is 303 social media leads. This is the most social leads SmartBear has ever generated.

Twitter is a platform for two-way conversation. Before social media was a priority, SmartBear tweeted only once or twice per week and showed no engagement with our followers. We needed to ask questions, get feedback, be interesting and, above all, become more personal and transparent.

We launched a Twitter campaign called "Where's Dain," featuring developer Dain Nilsson (dressed as Waldo) hidden in different places around the website. When someone found Dain and clicked on him, a Twitter box appeared asking them to tweet using @SmartBear and the hashtag #Dain to enter the drawing to win an (awesome) t-shirt. Not only did the Dain campaign increase our overall daily mentions and grow the reach of our Twitter handles, it also showed a little playfulness and humor that our online presence needed.

Where's Dain

Of course, this journey toward building a powerful and personal online brand continues today. We haven't perfected it yet. But when daily mentions to @SmartBear doubled over the course of 3 months (from 5.3 to 10.2 on average), we knew something was going right. To us, that means that we're succeeding in showing our personality to our followers - because who wants to follow a machine, right?

SmartBear Twitter Mentions