Social media is very popular these days. But is it effective at bringing in revenue? Yes. This week, Josh Bernoff spoke at IAB’s Social Media Conference to show how not only can social efforts increase sales, they can do so more effectively than traditional advertising.

On Monday, Forrester Research’s VP and Principle Analyst took a
moment to present a case study of Procter & Gamble’s community
building site BeingGirl. (AdAge has video of his talk.)

Bernoff chose the site because of the difficulties that surround discussing personal hygeine products. He said:

“If you don’t want to talk about tampons, 13 year old girls really don’t want to talk about tampons.”

So
how do you market a product no one wants to talk about? P&G  used an indirect approach and created a community for young girls to discuss the issues that usually plague 13 year old
girls. And it worked. By providing health facts, a discussion forum, and youth oriented culture items on a site with Tampax and
Always branding, P&G greatly increased sales. 

According to P&G, this strategy was four times as effective per dollar spend as advertising. And they’ve duplicated the site in 21 different countries.

But Bernoff used the P&G example to make a larger point: “Most products are like tampons. People don’t really want to
talk about your products….what you really want to talk to people about is their problems. And that will give you the opportunity to talk to them about your products.”