Social Media Strategies Your Business Depends On

purelysocialmedia

Note to our readers:

Hey guys! It’s been a while. We’ve been super busy trying to build our brand and tending to our clients.  But we’re back and coming at you with more posts on a more regular basis. 

We’ve decided to work with freelance bloggers to help diversify the information that we bring to you, as well as stabilize our post frequency, so you have something to read from us on a very regular basis. This week’s article is written by Holly Sturgeon, a beauty and fashion blogger from the UK who has a passion for social media and loves to dig up information to bring to you guys. Welcome to the team, Holly! Hope you all enjoy!

Back in the days our businesses depended on local and national advertising in Newspapers, on Radio and Television. Whilst those things are still important for spreading the word about your business, other options, (Free options at that – Thanks us later!) are now available.

Social Media has pretty much dominated our lives over the past few years with more than 307 million monthly average users on Twitter alone. You might use social media for keeping track of your favourite celebs or for sharing your cute cat pictures rather than for promoting your business, but sharing your content on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (or any other of the numerous social media platforms that are available) could actually prove to be quite fruitful.

Ever scrolled through your news feed on Facebook or Twitter and seen a blogger or business letting you know all about their latest product or service? Of course you have! Well that’s because those businesses have started their own social media campaigns and began promoting themselves by using different social media strategies including the one’s we’re about to mention.

Whether your business is a blog, a service or is product driven, your primary aim of using social media will doubtlessly be the same and that is to reach new audiences and welcome new customers to your business. Here are a few social media strategies your business depends on:

Advertise Your Social Media Accounts

Of course, the purpose of using social media is to promote your business but your business also needs to promote your social media. (hear us out!). Presuming you already have a website, ensure you put your Twitter or Facebook handles on your homepage and in your ‘contact’ page. Customers feel more secure knowing they can contact you instantly and so letting them contact you via social media for any customer issues is a great way to attract followers and of course encourages user engagement. It’s also vital to ensure that when you are sent a query or comment that you reply to each one individually and personally. Also ensure you deal with all ‘personal’ or account queries via direct message to ensure customer confidentiality. All of this will ensure that your followers will feel safe and this is likely to result in return business.

Content

In order for this to work, it is really important to ensure you keep your feed current. Using apps such as Buffer or Hootsuite, you can schedule posts to appear on your timeline at your preferred times. In terms of what content to publish, businesses should always keep things professional with a hint of humour. Retweeting controversial users or using foul language are definite no-no’s but posting up the odd cute cat picture (obsessed!) will keep your timeline current and will encourage users to engage by favouriting, liking or retweeting your status. You should also consider keeping your tweets short (under 100 characters) as shorter tweets are proven to attract 17% more engagement.

Timing

Timing your updates is also important. According to Social Media Scientist Dan Zarrella, Twitter engagement for brands increases by 17% at the weekend. It has also been proven that Twitter users who use their mobile phones to browse their newsfeeds are 181% to be on Twitter during their commute. Perhaps consider posting in the early morning. The same applies to Facebook and Instagram (we’ve all done it) as we are all more likely to browse through social media platforms out of boredom whilst travelling.

 Images

Here we go with the cute cat pictures again – You are twice as likely to receive comments, replies, likes, retweets etc if you post an image with a link. So whether you choose to post a picture of your latest service or even a picture of the office Christmas Tree, you are encouraging people to engage with your brand. Engagement = visitors = Followers = Customers which is the aim of the game.

Hashtags

The hashtag trend started on Twitter but is now actually popular across most social media platforms. At the end of your status, placing a relevant yet popular hashtag will mean that your tweet will reach new followers. In fact, of all the information and advice given in this blog, this is probably the most important and successful tip. Here’s an example of how to use a hashtag:

 “Spending the weekend decorating the office. #springcleaning “

 Anyone who types “spring cleaning” into the search bar on Twitter will be able to see your tweet, this also applies to Instagram and Pinterest. Using more popular hashtags, including ‘trending’ hashtags (which you will see on the left hand side of Twitter or on the right side of Facebook) will obviously mean your tweet reaches a bigger audience, but that also means that more people use that hashtag and so your tweet will be pushed down the newsfeed very quickly, leaving a limited amount of time for users to see your status.

If you use hashtags that are relevant to your status, you will reach new users that are genuinely interested in what you have to say meaning you are more likely to encourage engagement and receive more followers.

You might want to consider creating your own hashtag. For example if your business is called “purelysocial” (shameless plug – We’re not even sorry!) then type your status similar to this format:

 “There’s only 6 weeks left until Christmas, Are you prepared? #purelysocialmedia”

If someone retweets your status, their followers will see your business name in the tweet, despite the fact that you’re not directly advertising. Clever huh?

Competitions

Everyone wants something for nothing. We all have entered a competition at some stage in our lives, whether it was in a magazine or even just buying a lottery ticket. Running a competition on social media can prove to be extremely popular and will definitely encourage people to follow you. Whether you offer a service or a product, running a competition on social media where the users are required to “follow and share/retweet” your status to enter will mean you will get a follower, who will share your status with their followers, who will then share it with their followers and so on. It can result in hundreds of followers and will mean more people will visit your website. Using clever hashtags (such as #win, #competition and #giveaway) for this, like previously mentioned will see your competition reaching the masses.

Paid for Ads

No-one really wants to pay for something if they can achieve similar results for free but we thought we should cover all options available to your business. Of course, there are paid options available on both Facebook and Twitter where you can start a campaign which see’s the platform advertise your service on newsfeeds. You might have seen “promoted” statuses on Twitter which are paid for advertisements and the ads on the right hand side of Facebook are also paid for. Advertising this way is definitely useful for those who have a budget to work with but can also be an expensive way of experimenting with social media.

Using social media can increase your customers greatly and is definitely something your business will depend on if you want to increase exposure online. Keep an eye on this blog for more tips on using social media to promote your business and feel free to submit your questions!

Until then, feel free to share your cute cat pictures with us @Purelysocialtip

K.I.S.S (Keep It Simple & Sweet)

Keep it simple stupid graphic created by Purely Social Media with Canva

created by Purely Social Media with Canva

So recently while working on a project a colleague of ours kept referring to this acronym K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple & sweet) and it struck a cord. We thought it wise to write a blog article on this acronym and how we believe it relates to social media.

First and foremost, time and time again we see businesses over-think and over-complicate their social media efforts. Keep in mind that social media is intended to be fun and a virtual space to engage with others, that’s it! If you make a sale or gain a new customer through social media that’s fantastic, but if that is the primary focus of your social efforts you’re going to seriously struggle. People are tired of being marketed to and they certainly don’t want you doing it on their social accounts, so when it comes to marketing your business on social media it’s best to get  creative but keep it simple!

Before you even jump into the social media space you need to ask yourself a few questions. (The following questions were presented by Mark Schaefer at Social Media Success Summit 2014):

  1. What makes your business unique? Why do your customer’s choose to do business with you? It’s worth it to take some time to survey your current customer base and ask they what it is about your business that gets them to continue to do business with you. The value that you think you bring to your customers and they value they perceive you bring are most likely quite different.
  2. What is your overall company culture and can it support a social media presence? Is your business flexible enough to make the necessary and timely changes that social media often calls for?
  3. Are you open to listening to others, building relationships and engaging with your potential customers? To be successful on social media you need to remove your brand’s ego and be open to and genuinely interested in learning about others. Observe what is happening in your space and then dive right into the conversation. If you plan to have multiple people within your organization participate in your social media, take the time to create some guideline and rules of conduct to avoid avoidable hiccups.
  4. What platforms are right for you? We’ve said it before and we will say it again you do not need to be on every platform at all times. It is best to take each platform one at a time and build a strong presence. Keep in mind that not everyone is on every platform so do your homework. Where are your customers and where is your competition?
  5. What will be your source of rich content? This question will be simple to answer if you’ve taken the time to really answer the previous questions. Blogs, podcasts and videos are all great sources of rich content. Determine how you can enrich and enhance old and existing content. Update older blogs, convert a blog into an infographic or short video. There are lots of inexpensive and free tools available to help business owners create unique and interesting content.
  6. The final and most important question is “What does success on social media look like for you and your business?” It’s best to get a few of the key individuals in your organization to contribute their thoughts on this topic as well. It’s best to set goals and define success so you can know when you’ve achieved it and set new ones. Just remember that social media success takes time and patients, trial and error, so be consistent and clear with your efforts.

Action Plan

Once you’ve taken the time to answer these questions now it’s time to create a plan. This is actually the first step we take with all of our clients. Create a plan of action. The number one issue with social media is that business can begin to feel overwhelmed with content creation and posting when there is no plan in place. Once you’ve done a little investigation into your competition and have determined what your source of unique rich content will be map out your week. For example, Facebook is not a platform that requires you to post everyday multiple times a day, but Twitter, on the other hand, requires multiple posts throughout the day and a higher level of engagement.

Map out your week and be sure to include weekend posts. Even though you’re on these platforms for business purposes most of your followers and customers are there for entertainment and interactions. People are consuming content on their commutes to and from work, on their lunch breaks, in the evenings and on the weekends during their down times. Post your content to be visible when the most amount of eyes are available. If you choose to post on LinkedIn consider posting between 6:30am and 7:30am or after 6pm. Writing a blog? Research shows that Monday’s at 11am is the best time to post; however, we have found that Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11am are best for us.

Originally from J Campbell Social Marketing

Originally from J Campbell Social Marketing

Determine what type of content you will share on which days and to which platforms. Here is just a framework to help you understand and guide you in developing your own plan:

  • Monday: Answer frequently asked questions
    • LinkedIn 7am & Facebook 11:30am
  • Tuesday: Post blog
    • Google+ 12pm & Twitter 11am,12:15pm, 1pm, 4:30pm, 5:45pm, 6:30pm
  • Wednesday: Share an infographic or video
    • Google+ 8am & Facebook 12:30pm
  • Thursday: Share a DIY or tips
    • LinkedIn 6pm
  • Friday: Share an aspect of your company culture or highlight the achievements of an employee
    • Facebook 9am & Google+ 11:45am

Keep in mind that you do not want to post the exact same content on the same day to multiple platforms so consider having 2 categories per day or re purposing old content. Another thing you can try is creating two images and two versions on copy for the same piece on content. But no one wants to see the exact same thing you posted on Facebook on Google+ 15 minutes later. The most important thing is to have fun with it. Think of social media as your bridge between Public Relations and Marketing in real time. It allows you the opportunity to engage and communicate your brand in real time. Keep it simple, make it fun and be authentic and you’ll soon find your social media success!

If you find yourself struggling, shoot us an email. We’d be more than happy to give you a few pointers to put you in the right direction. In the meantime, share this article with fellow professionals and small business owners who you think may be interested and let us know what you think! We love chatting on Twitter or in the comments below!

Generating Reports

*For a better view of graphics simply click on the image to enlarge

So, one of the best ways to learn something is to see it in action. In Sexy Little Numbers, by  Dimitri Maex, there is a great example of why you want to understand the numbers. Based on his teams assessment of Motorola’s 2006 phone sales in the China:

The expense of marketing as a whole generated 26% of Motorola sales. Advertising accounted for 55% of those sales, at only 11% of the total marketing budget! For every 10,000 yuan spent on advertising, 382 phones were sold. However the same spent on in store promotions only resulted in the sale of 96 phones. Assuming the industry average is a profit margin of 30% per phone sold, Motorola’s was more than double with every yuan spent on advertising yielding 15 yuan.

You have the ability to assess your efforts in a similar way. One, that will allow you to begin to make strategic decisions. One way to do this is to export the data you have from your various social platforms into Excel files (.xls). Start with one platform at a time, be sure to save your original data, simply copy and paste the data onto a new sheet to begin your analysis. For the purposes of this post we’re going to use Facebook as the platform we’re going to export our data from. You should know that you can export data related to your Facebook Page from two places, Ads Manager, which provides reports on any paid advertising you’ve done on Facebook, or from your Page’s Insights.

Ads Manager

From your Facebook Home Page/Newsfeed click on Ads Manager from the menu bar to the left of your feed, under Messages and Events. Once you’re in Ads Manager, select Reports from the left side menu bar. When you open the reports page it will default to your General Metrics for the last 30 days. Select the dates you want the report to generate from then proceed to determine what type of report you would like. Facebook allows you to view and export 7 different reports:

  1. General Metrics: provides you with an overview of each ad, reporting reach, frequency, impressions, clicks, money spent, and actions taken.
  2. Website Conversion: provides information on all ads that we’re driven to purchase or register on the landing pages you’re required to link to your ad.
  3. Placement Based Metrics: provides information on the placement of your ad, was it seen in the news feed or the right column space and was it viewed on a mobile device or PC?
  4. Responder Demographics: provides information on the people your content reaches, providing you with their age and gender.
  5. Page Actions; provides you with insight into the actions people are taking with your ads, how many are liking, sharing, comments and engaging with your content?
  6. Video Actions: looks specifically at the videos you post, how many people viewed or clicked on a particular video, did they watch the complete video, did they share like or comment?
  7. Application Actions: looks at the application associated with your page, for example you may use this when running a contest on Facebook.

FB Screen Shot 1

Page Insights

From your Business Page select Insights to generated reports related to your page and posts. Click export, this will open the Export Insights Data box. Select the dates you want the report to focus on, determine whether you want the report to be based on your page or post activity, then select the old vs. new export (doesn’t make a big difference) and click Download.

FB Screen Shot 2

Go a head and open the downloads of your data, don’t feel overwhelmed by all the numbers on the page. To begin to digest this information it’s best to work with Excel’s Pivot Charts. Simply select the information you desire to compare, copy and paste data by columns or rows, for the sake of this exercise I suggest picking two or three things to compare at a time. For example from the original document you may select the date column, the type column (photo, link, or status), and the lifetime post reach column to paste into a new sheet. On the new sheet select Insert Pivot Table using the data you just copied to the page. Pivot Tables can be confusing if you’ve never used them before, but in the latest Window’s version you can easily drag and drop information to determine where it can be viewed the easiest.  Once you generate your desired pivot table you can convert that table into a chart, which is even easier to digest. If you’re unsure of how to use pivot tables, there are tons of videos on YouTube that cover the subject. But when you finally get the hang of it here’s what you can do:

Analysis1

Chart A

Pivot7

Chart B

Based on Chart A we can see that the posts for this account performed better in Quarter 1 than in Quarter 2. With this one piece of information you could review all of your posts from the first quarter, looking for any patterns or theme. Run another report for Quarter 1 posts and you may discover that there is a time of day that works best for your audience or you may determine that certain events or posts really attracted a lot of attention from your audience. Chart B looks at the paid ads this account ran in Quarters 1 & 2. Based on the chart we can see that 2 ads did really well in relation to the cost of the ad. What we want to point out is the last ad, Website Clicks New…, and provide a little back story. That ad was part of a two week promotion for a paid live stream event. The cost of running this add was $166, that included the graphic art used in the promotion and the cost of advertising on Facebook through Power Editor. The results of this advertising we’re 7 attendees for the live in store event, 35 online attendees and resulted in this business netting $700. This resulted in about a 24% profit margin. This company was thrilled to see that a few minor changes to their Facebook advertising strategy could not only generate revenue but also drive traffic to their site and events. It just take some time and a willingness to experiment.

But maybe after reading this post you determine you’re just not up to this whole Excel thing… Well we stumbled upon a little free tool that can easily help you analyze your Facebook efforts, Wolfram|Alpha. Make sure your signed into your Facebook page prior to clicking the link. But it does do an excellent job with providing you with important data in a easily digestible manner. Here’s an example for the same account we used above:

Analysis2

Or if you utilize a third party sight such as Buffer, Hoot Suite or Sprout Social, you can generate reports through these sites as well that will analyze all of the platforms your have linked to that particular site. Here’s an example of what it looks like from Sprout Social:

Analysis3

 

As always we hope that you have found this post to be beneficial. Please be sure to leave us a comment below, we would love to hear from you!

3 Ways to Optimize your Hootsuite Usage… besides Automation

If you’re a business owner in today’s world, chances are you never feel as though there are enough hours in the day. So the last thing you have time for is wandering down the rabbit hole of social media. You know that social media is important for connecting and engaging with your customers, but creating a solid presence on any platform takes time… time you do not have.

Like many business owners you may choose to automate your posts through apps such as hootsuite or buffer. Automating your social media can save you time and energy but, be careful automation removes the real-time engagement. See our post Is Automation Making You Antisocial, for best practices.

3 ways to optimize your Hootsuite useWe believe that one of the best uses for Hootsuite is when you’re promoting an event or product and you are directing people to your site with a link. For example, say you host a weekly meet-up or Google hangout. Consider scheduling 3-5 posts a day promoting this upcoming event. Your scheduled posts should just include links not attached images, as they will not appear in the newsfeed unless people click on them ( and we all know that very few will click). So don’t waste your time posting content that most likely will go unseen. In these instances I recommend drafting the posts from a mobile device on twitter or scheduling the post directing in Facebook. Consider taking 1 day to draft up the week’s posts and keep them in a word document that will allow you to easily copy and paste the post into Linkedin or Google+. Consider shortening links with bitly.com versus the link shortener in Hootsuite. At this point most people know that owly.idhafd…etc. is a Hootsuite post and therefore automated. I have found that automated tweets can be a real turnoff for some.

Today we would like the discuss the top 3 ways to use Hootsuite other than scheduling posts

1. To watch your feeds all from one place: You probably don’t have time to check each platform multiple times through out the day. With hootsuites free membership you can attach up to 5 accounts that you wish to track on either Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Google+. So from the home screen you can watch your feeds for all of these platforms in one place in somewhat real time.

2. To monitor hashtags. If there a particular hashtag that you troll or follow, you can use hootsuite to follow that hashtag in real time.

3. Run Reports: This is one of the best reasons to use an app like hootsuite! Generate reports that show the results or your efforts as well as compare your efforts across multiple platforms