social media case studiesBack in October of 2009 we launched  The response was immediate and it was big (I’ll share some of the back story in the video below).

We relied 100% on social media tactics to drive traffic to this site.

In less than 5 months, Social Media Examiner was declared the #1 small business blog in the world by Technorati, added more than 13,000 email subscribers, brought nearly 100,000 people a month to the site and is ranked as one of the top 4200 websites in all of America by Alexa.

We didn’t advertise, didn’t rely on the press and almost none of our traffic is coming from search engines.  Nearly overnight, this site has become a top destination for businesses.

This all took place via social media.  We simply leveraged the power of sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to deliver the kind of results that would’ve cost us a fortune in the past.  We didn’t spend a dime on marketing, just our time.

Watch the above video to hear more of the story…

Only a few weeks ago we launched a Facebook Fan Page and already more than 2000 people are actively participating.

Here’s a very common sentiment we hear nearly daily.

“Have I told you lately that I love you? No, seriously. I found your site a couple of months ago and signed up for email. Now with all the info I subscribe to I know that 100% of the time yours will always be a great informative read… thanks!” Jo McDonald Hooker

Clearly we’re doing something right!

How Does Social Media Examiner Make Money?

One of the big struggles most publishers face is actually making money.  Maintaining a site like ours is a big team effort for a LOT of people.

We toyed with the idea of running display advertisements.  However, it quickly became clear there’s very little money in advertising (we might reconsider down the road).

Since our inception, a “lot” of folks have asked for recommendations to better their social media learning.  The common questions were, “What courses can I take?,” “How do I really master this important form of marketing?” and so on.

So the team here at Social Media Examiner decided to put together a conference just for you.  And it’s called Social Media Success Summit 2010.

So the answer to the question, “How do we make money?” is large online events.

What Is Social Media Success Summit 2010?

Social Media Success Summit 2010 is an event designed to to empower you to build social media marketing plans, track your social media results and learn from other successful businesses.  You’ll also discover how to use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Foursquare and Groupon to attract high-caliber customers and grow your business during this economic slump.


Twenty-four of the world’s leading social media superstars will be summit instructors.

Join Guy Kawasaki (author, Art of the Start), Chris Brogan (author, Social Media 101), Darren Rowse (author, ProBlogger), Mari Smith (author, Facebook Marketing), experts from Best Buy, Home Depot, Whole Foods, Foursquare and Groupon; Steve Rubel (Edelman), Ann Handley (MarketingProfs), Brian Clark (Copyblogger), Greg Jarboe (author, YouTube and Video Marketing), Kim Dushinski (author, Mobile Marketing Handbook), Jason Falls (Social Media Explorer), Jay Baer (Convince & Convert),  Ramon De Leon (Chicago Domino’s Pizza) and yours truly—just to mention a few.  Together this team of “who’s who” in social media will help you succeed using practical tactics.

This is the world’s biggest online event designed to empower marketers and small business owners to master social media marketing.

And the great news is it’s a live online conference you can attend from your home or officeClick here for a free sample class.

I hope you’ll consider attending! And thanks for supporting Social Media Examiner.

What do you think about our story? Do you have any questions about the summit? Please comment below…

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  • thinktaylor

    I just cam across SME about 1 week ago and already read it as much as I read Mashables. It is awesome and love what you are doing. The thing that I noticed about this site is that there are no fluff in your articles. You give all meat and after I read your articles, I am full, brain working, and I have some great ideas to implement into my business.

    Keep them coming!!

  • Tournant Inc

    “This is the world’s biggest online event designed to empower marketers and small business owners to master social media marketing” with social media industry pros looks awesome. Can’t wait to hear more. Congratulations on being #1!

  • I attended the 2009 Social Media Summit, which was superb. Then I have been watching and admiring and learning from your beautifully executed social media marketing plan, including your original survey, then the follow-up white paper, the brilliant partnering that you did, and then the birth of Social Media Examiner.
    And I’m all admiration that you’re positioned in a sweet spot – you have just as much interest from corporate clients as from home-based entrepreneurs. Keep it up! And thanks.

  • courtneydirks

    With the quality of your content, I’m not at all surprised by your success! I remember feeling shocked when I realized that you’ve only been for a few months. My husband and I were talking about it and he made a great analogy, ~ in referring to the contributors to your site, he said it’s like taking Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant & Lebron James and getting them to organize a 3 on 3 tournament, naturally people will come check it out & be committed forevermore. . .and hey, maybe Shaq would even Tweet about it. 🙂 Congrats & the Summit looks awesome.

  • allenhartwig

    Long Form marketing design for the event? Blah. I expected more from SME. Take a hint from FOWA’s event designs.

  • kgphotography

    Fantastic post. Very inspiring. Now I’m wondering what I can do with my little site.

  • AnnieJNZ

    I can’t believe you guys have been going from only October last year! That is amazing success. I always get something out of the blogs on this site. You are doing a fantastic job. Can’t believe people still get newsletters emailed. Go the rolling RSS feed!

  • Hey Allen – As a guy with a long copy writing background (white papers), I believe in the power of a page like that and the sales prove it. We sell more tickets in a day than many events sell for an entire event. Why do you think it is bad?

  • allenhartwig

    I’m not questing the effectiveness of the format, but who is enticed to buy? I don’t go to direct mail driven seminars, but they fill up like clockwork as well. This format tells me that this is an event I don’t want to network at. You are pandering to the lowest common denominator.

    I don’t mean to come across as a snob, I just thought SME would hold them selves to a higher UX standard. This has more of a “social media spammer conference” feel to it than “cutting edge media with the brightest minds attending.”

    Sales aside, how does this reflect on your brand?

  • Congratulations on the wonderful success of the site. It’s already an inspiring story for the rest of us. The summit will be amazing, no doubt! Keep up the great work 🙂

  • jomcdh

    omigoodness *blush* I got quoted 🙂 Was forwarded the link this morning on Twitter…….see social media DOES work!

  • Tyler

    Great work guys! It really is a truly rewarding accomplishment when you take the time to devote yourself to a social media campaign. The long hours do pay off. It’s about knowing how to use the tools to effectively market yourself and your business to your online audience. I wish you continued success.

    I love social media and for anyone looking to learn more about it check out this great video I found just the other day on YouTube:

  • You know, I have to thank you. The quality of your blog is definitely above-and-beyond what is typical for a site such as this. You truly are bringing value to your readers and viewers. You have quickly become my go-to resource; in other words, on time-constrained days when I only have time to read one blog on social media and digital marketing — this is the one!

  • Congrats on your fast growth. It’s apparent why; great posts and information.

    I’ve always liked “origin” stories.

  • ruthmshipley

    Hey Mike, Cindy, Irene and everyone else associated with SME:

    Not only do I get to read all the articles, I get to read all the books you send me to review!

    I’ve learned so much about social media, I may just add Social Media Consulting to my list of skills.

    Congratulations on a job well done.

  • I can’t believe the overwhelmingly large response you got just from using Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. I actually can believe it because when some girl breaks up with her boyfriend or some football player goes ineligible everyone knows within a matter on minutes and it’s because of social media. I think it is a great idea that you are doing a summit to get people educated on social media. My parents definitely don’t know anything about it and could stand to broadcast themselves a little more. Businesses will definitely benefit from saving money without using expensive advertising and just using the free sites. Please visit my site as well

  • Very impressive success and proof that content is king. Quality speaks for itself, and I look forward to seeing what you bring in the next five months and beyond.

  • Thanks Ruth! You should!!

  • Glad to be supporting you by attending this years Summit. It’s great to read about such a big success story. I appreciate the info you provide.

  • My keyword for your site is “actionable.” I get lots of “5 ways to beef up your online profile…blah blah blah” articles in my inbox every day, and most of them are a big yawn, with no real to-do items. Your articles inevitably end up being forwarded, printed, tweeted, and sometimes taped to my monitor. Thanks for all the great juice…

  • This is very inspiring! Thanks for sharing.

  • Hi Allen,

    My networking at last year’s event netted me 4 immediate contracts – one worth over $30K.

    That doesn’t include being chosen as the publicist for this year’s event.

    Or the relationships added to my LinkedIn profile and direct access to types of expertise [way too many to list here] that I’ve not had before.

    (So for me, Mike’s brand = battin 1,000. That’s just my story.)

    Trust that helps.

    Tia Dobi, Hypnotic writing and niche marketing that sells more
    Publicist, Social Media Success Summit 2010 w/Guy Kawasaki,
    Mari Smith & the Dream Team of Social Media

  • Can i just say, you guys would have to have cocked it up pretty badly not to be success. You already had all the contacts, the star status etc. You were perfectly placed to overtake anyone else doing the social media website thing.
    I love this site. I use it as education for myself and as way to pass things on to my clients who run businesses but cant be bothered with the actual marketing bit of things.

  • Thank you very much Vona!

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