7,802 Reasons to Love Social Media

ivs4charity doubletree hotels donation

Back in 2008, when I first made a serious foray into social media, I was just some a guy in New Orleans with a computer, a blog and a few ideas. I’m still just a guy with a computer, a blog, and a few ideas. But thanks to social media, I also picked up a few friends that in addition to being super smart, are genuinely helpful people.

Social Media Relationships Matter

And in October 2013, twenty-one of those friends joined me for a once in a lifetime journey. A 10-day, 10-city pilgrimage to promote my new book, The Invisible Sale. But we were doing a whole lot more than promoting a book. We were proving a point. Namely, that a small group of dedicated individuals committed to a mission can make a difference.

In this case, my merry band of friends and I set out to raise $10,000 in 10 days by doing nothing more than throwing cocktail parties in each city. That’s right, we just partied with a purpose 😉 and lived to tell about it.

Want to know the best thing about the party experiment? 

Only two of the twenty-one party hosts were friends of mine pre-social media. That’s right — 19 of the party hosts were relationships born on Twitter… nurtured on Facebook and LinkedIn and elevated via Hangouts on Google+. These were my social media friends.

Which proves an important point. While many are fond of saying that social media creates weak ties… I’d argue quite the opposite. Properly nurtured, social media relationships are as strong as any real world relationship.

Social Media Campaign ROI

In this case, the ROI was huge because of one super important relationship — DoubleTree by Hilton. The hotel chain famous for those incredible cookies has a generous heart.

They donated every room I stayed in… every room we held events in… all of the food we ate… and in many cases a significant portion of the bar tab we consumed! For those of you playing the home game… 10 catered parties in 10 cities along with complimentary stays for the guest of honor totals roughly $50,000 by my count.

That’s a heck of a donation! And because DoubleTree by Hilton was so generous, we were able to donate 100% of the net proceeds of the tour to charity. That’s $7,802.15 across all the charities. Not bad for 10 days of drinking and eating with friends. 😉

But more importantly, we were able to create a lot of awareness for those charities. So while our donation helps today, that social media awareness we created will benefit them tomorrow and for many tomorrows to come.

You see… social media ROI isn’t just about today. It’s about creating awareness and relationships that continue to benefit you for days, months and years. But that’s really, really hard to plot in an excel spreadsheet so far too many ignore it.

So as you enter 2014, and your boss, CEO or client asks you how much a social media program costs…. do yourself a favor… think about your digital, social and content marketing ROI as investments instead of expenses and calculate your ROI accordingly.

Happy New Year folks…. and to everyone that attended, promoted or hosted an #ivs4charity event in 2013….

Thank You!!!

Especially all my wonderful friends who hosted:

Lisa Diomede, Sean McGinnis and Mark Carter in Chicago.

Phil Gerbyshak, Sue Spaight and Joe Sorge up in Milwaukee.

Tamsen McMahon and Tom Webster in Boston.

Bob Knorpp and Tim McDonald in New York.

Daria Steigman and Melissa Case who hosted Washington, DC.

Jenny Schmitt and Kellye Crane in Atlanta.

Rick Rodriguez in Nashville.

Chris Yates and Mike Merrill over in Big D — Dallas, TX.

Katie Cook, Jennifer Wojcik and THE Tim Hayden in my hometown of Austin, TX.

And finally, everyone’s favorite banker, Rick Crozier who threw a great final night party in my adopted hometown of New Orleans.

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About Tom Martin

Tom is 25+ year veteran of the sales & marketing industry with a penchant for stiff drinks, good debates and showing companies how to Sell Greatly, and turn conversations into customers. He is the founder of Converse Digital , author of The Invisible Sale and a contributing writer for Advertising Age. Tom guides clients through the digital sales & marketing maze and helps companies teach their sales force how to Painlessly Prospect their way to more sales. Follow him on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.


  1. Awesome results Tom!

    I’m grateful you invited us to be involved. It was great to see you in Chicago, and we’re looking forward to you coming back again soon! I’m STILL implementing learnings from the book. What a great resource.

    The space at The Wit was AMAZEBALLS. What an incredible location. Looking forward to having a few more parties in that room. Just wow.

    Congrats again on the amazing accomplishment and on the success of the book.

  2. I was SO happy to support this, double the value without taking a book and even not have a drink in the process (even though I missed seeing you). Congrats!!!

  3. Tom, Thank you for allowing me to be a small part of this great experiment. You not only were so generous to bring awareness and contributions to No Kid Hungry (http://nokidhungry.org), but also proved the ROI of social media isn’t in the sales, clicks, or RTs, but in the relationships that we build which lead to all those things. I have Twitter to thank for connecting us, but you to thank for making that connection a relationship.

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