Your Guide to an Action Plan

SaleBased on experience we would say that the number 1 mistake that many businesses make when it comes to social media is not taking the time to develop a plan of action and then giving it an opportunity to work. Social media success does not happen over night, it takes time to develop a presence, to gain followers and to learn what those followers are most interested in. Having a plan in place, makes daily posting easier as you will have to spend your time wondering what to post next and when.

Here, at Purely Social, we always suggest action plans to our clients in order to assist them in visualizing their social media strategy. Action plans are a great guide to help you put your thoughts in order and reach your social media goals. You can actually create them yourself, if you have time to. It’s quite simple. Here are some easy simple steps to how we create our action plan.

  1. Analyze your current status. Before you move forward in creating a strategy for change, you need to analyze the current status of your social media presence. Take a look at any of the social media accounts you have already established and ask yourself these questions:
    • Are you using vivid, high definition, images?
    • Are you posting as frequently as recommended for that platform?
    • Are you captivating your audience and gaining engagement?
    • Where are your other shortcomings?
  1. Identify your reasons for being on social media. What are your goals? Are you trying to strengthen your brand, gain more business, humanize your brand? Before you jump on social media, you need to know why you’re there otherwise it’s pointless. It is important to set your goals as a team and in writing to ensure that you know where you’re headed and can easily analyze whether or not you meet these established goals.
  1. Ask yourselves the following key questions:
  • “Only We…?” What makes you stand out from the competition?
  • Can your company culture nurture and sustain a social media transformation?
  • Are you a conversational brand? Or could you be?
  • Where are your customers & competitors?
  • What is your source of rich content
  • What does social media success look like for Access West?

This will assist you in deciding which direction to take your social media marketing in, what type of content to post, what platforms to choose, and how to reach your target audience.

  1. Next, take a look at your competition both locally and globally. See if you can identify what they are doing well and what they are doing wrong. Analyze them based on the questions illustrated in step 1. This will also help you to see where you can gain a competitive advantage and show you where you stand in comparison.
  1. Now it’s time to decide which platforms you want to use. Take a look at where your target audience is and go there! It’s as simple as that. If you’re just starting out, you don’t want to jump on too many platforms at once. It’s better to start on one or two and execute them expertly than to hop on all of them and execute them poorly. For example, if your business is a nail salon, Instagram is a great option to utilize, but if your business is an insurance firm, Instagram may not be your primary choice of platforms. This step is where you really take the time to browse through the platforms and do your research. Google Plus is an up and coming platform that is perfect for most business owners, Facebook, on the other hand, may only be suitable for those businesses targeting the 55+ audience, and Instagram is where you can reach the younger demographic. It is important to know all of this information prior to selecting which platforms to use for your firm.
  1. Identify which member(s) of your team will be leading the posting and create a schedule. Scheduling is the way we get things done in business, so a great way to ensure that you’re doing what you’re supposed to do on social media. In order to create a schedule, you need to know the best times to post for each social media platforms. This is determined by when YOUR audience is on social media. There are default times for each network, but this doesn’t always mean that t will work for your industry, so it is important to research your audience and learn their social media habits. When you’re getting started, post several times a day at different times throughout the day and take a look at your analytics. That’s how you will know what is working and what isn’t working.

 

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!

5 Reasons Why You Should Love Advertising On Facebook Again!

making the connecion - LinkedinSo we’re back after taking a month off to enjoy a little rest and relaxation!

And what better way to kick off our return then with a post discussing all the reasons why we love advertising on Facebook again! So, as many of you know, back at the end of 2013 Facebook decided that make some changes to their algorithm that left a bad taste in the mouth of most marketers and businesses. We all have watched as page posts’ organic reach fell from 16% in February of 2012 to around 6.51% in March 2014, according to Edgerank Checker.

Many felt that Facebook was double dipping, charging advertisers to have their posts viewed by the very individuals they just paid to like their page. A lot of people were ticked off and began deleting their Facebook pages as a form of protest. There was even a YouTube video, Facebook Fraud, that went viral and urged many not to wast their time advertising on the platform. Let’s just say people we’re angry and many began to pull back their presence on the platform.

Truth of the matter is that from Facebook’s standpoint, their primary focus is on the general user not the business pages. We can only assume that they believed that by changing the algorithm they would maintain the integrity of the site from the user’s standpoint. However, now Facebook is a publicly traded company, which means it is now accountable to shareholders too. And shareholders want to see profits, which are only generated on Facebook through the ads that businesses run.

So we can only speculate that all of the Facebook Fraud backlash has led Facebook to make changes to the algorithm yet again as well as completely overhaul the process for advertising on Facebook to make it a lot easier on advertisers. So here are our top 5 reasons why you should love advertising on Facebook again:

1 6 ads for the price of 1. Now when you create an ad to drive traffic  to you website Facebook allows you to select up to 6 images that can be used to service your ad over the length of your campaign. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they will all be approved by Facebook but if you adhere to the ad guidelines a majority should be approved. We love this because it’s a great way to see which ads make the most impact on your target audience. Facebook has now made it very simple to do some A,B,C,D,E,F testing on your advertising which means they next time you run an ad you can make the necessary tweaks for even better results.

2Watered Down. Previously when you ran an ad on Facebook you probably spent a good majority of your time trying to figure out what the heck they were talking about. The different steps to running an ad were not very well defined and left most newbies to the process scratching their heads or giving up on running an ad all together. Now once you’ve selected the appropriate objective for your ads, all you need to proceed is clearly stated for you on one easy to read page.

3Conversion Pixels. This small line of code allows you to track the actions being taken on your website by the traffic you drive there with your Facebook ads. Now the downside of this is: if you know nothing about code or even how to access the back end of your website; you’re going to need to have your web developer place the code for you which can be a pain. However Facebook has even simplified this by allowing you to email the person right from the ad set up with the pixel code and instructions on how to proceed. The good news is that once it’s done, that’s it! You can continue to utilize the pixel over multiple ads. Just keep in mind that there is a pixel for each type of conversion that can happen on your site, such as checkouts, registrations, leads, web page views, adds to carts and more. So if you need some help, make sure you simply add all of the conversion pixels that pertain to your site all at once. Once a pixel has been added, you’re ready to start tracking the actions of your audience and can begin to determine how to best convert those individuals into paying customers.

4 Hello, Power Editor! So Power Editor is still a fairly new addition to Facebook ads, and many business owners still don’t know it even exists. This may explain why Facebook made it more accessible in the new ad setup under audiences. If you’re not using this feature when running your ad, you’re wasting your money. What we love about this feature is that it allows you to specify who your target audience is, providing you with more control over who sees your ad. In working with different clients we’ve seen a number of clients run ads that were shown to “everyone”, not realizing that they could target their ads to an audience within 25 miles of the physical location. If you choose, you can be very specific in your ad audience, but we would advice you find a balance between broad and specific. You don’t want to be too specific and miss the opportunity to attract new followers. Nor do you want to run the risk of being too broad that your ad isn’t seen by enough of your target audience.

5Campaign pricing just got simpler.  Simply tell Facebook how much you’re willing to spend over the duration of your campaign and let Facebook do all the math. We personally suggest selecting the lifetime budget option unless your plan is to have an ad that continuously runs, in which we would suggest selecting the daily budget. Understand that while Facebook may approve your ad and run it, your ad is competing for that space and therefore can get bumped by ads of advertisers willing to pay more per click or impression. Our advice is: if you select the manually set, price per click option, we advise increasing your bid to slightly higher then the price the system generates. Understand that when bidding, if you choose the pay per impression options your paying the every 1000 individuals who see your page. Paying per clicks ensures that you only pay for the people who appear genuinely interested in your page, because they clicked on your link.

As a side note, we want to stress that if you’re going to spend your hard earned money on Facebook ads make sure it’s worth it for you. To date, paying for page post engagements and page likes has proven to be quite ineffective from an ROI standpoint. Website clicks and conversions still remain the best option for measure the effectiveness of your ads against the money you spent.

As always we hope that you found this post useful and informative! We encourage you to leave your comments below and connect with us on Twitter!

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!

5 FREE Twitter marketing opportunities you’re missing out on

Believe it or not, Twitter is not all about the tweets. There is so much else that goes on that is equally as important if not more important. In order to capitalize on your Twitter presence to make your account the most effective, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

Your handle

Your business Twitter account is a direct reflection of your business. You go on Twitter to create a virtual representation of your business and your Twitter handle should be just that. Don’t get too creative. I know it’s hard with all of these wacky twitter handles out there. We won’t call anyone out, but you’ve seen them, too so you know. Keep it SIMPLE. Try to get as close to the name of your business as possible so you’ll be easy to find and easy to remember. Sometimes, due to the 230 million users on Twitter, there will be a case where the first name you choose is taken. For example, our  first choice for our Twitter handle was @PurelySocial (for obvious reasons), but unfortunately, that name was already taken. As a result, we had to get a little creative and @PurelySocialTip was born. It’s easy to remember, still represents our company and tells a little about what we do. If you’re a local business, an easy solution for you may be to add the name of your town or your state abbreviation to the handle.

Your Bio

A descriptive bio is a must have for a serious Twitter user. As a small business, your bio should tell your audience who you are, what you do, and what your goals are in 160 characters or less. Keywords  that are relevant to your business  are imperative to include. If you include keywords in your bio, your page will appear in searches of that keyword. For example, if you’re an artist who specializes in oil on canvas paintings for sale in Vermont. Your bio may be something like: “Local Vermont art boutique specializing in oil on canvas paintings for sale.”  This way, when someone searches “Vermont art” or “oil on canvas” or “oil paintings,” because these words are included in your bio, your profile will show up as a search result and BOOM! Another follower. A crappy bio is just a waste. It decreases your reach and turns away followers who may be looking for you.

Pinned Tweet Feature

A new feature on Twitter’s most recent update allows users to pin any tweet at the top of their profile to promote that particular tweet at no additional cost. This is a goldmine for business owners. It acts as a billboard on your page allowing you to draw extra attention to any tweet you want. This is perfect to promote new events, new products, blog posts, sales,… possibilities are endless. Coupled with the real estate that images are given when posted to Twitter, you’ve struck gold; you have another marketing tool in your tool belt that is completely free.  A wise way to use the pinned tweet feature is to include an image that is relevant to whatever it is that you are featuring, a link back to your site, and a small description filled with keywords and a hashtag. With that combination, you can’t lose. Missing out on it would just be careless.

Profile Photo

Your profile picture on Twitter should be representative of your business. There’s a little discension on marketers in reference to whether it’s better to use your brand logo or a picture of the owners, but we think either one is fine. As long as you don’t leave the photo as the default egg picture, or post a completely random picture of something completely unrelated, you’re good in our book. The worst thing you could do is leave it as the default picture. If you do leave it as the default, you may be mistaken for spam and people will be reluctant to follow you, or you may give the impression that you don’t know/care about what you’re doing .

Background & Header

A Header and your background is prime real estate to present your company to your followers. It should be a visual representation of your company and your brand. If you have a logo, this is the perfect opportunity to brand your page with it. It’salso an opportunity to add a tagline, be colorful, and show the personality behind your business. Make it fun. If you don’t have a logo, no worries. Canva is a great resource to help you design a header for your Twitter account (and others). It even has a premeasured design template for you to use that is perfectly adjusted to the Twitter header size. That’s where we made ours!2

These 5 opportunities are givens on Twitter. You absolutely want to takefull advantage of the possibilities to mold this for your business for FRE
E; especially if you’re a startup or low-budget company who doesn’t have too much to allocate to the marketing budget!

Try it and, as always, let us know your thoughts!

Maintaining your social media

Untitled design (2)As a business owner, you’re constantly being told that building meaningful relationships with your customers is a key component of the success of your business. You hear all the time how you need to get on social media networks and get active. We, here at Purely Social, have been giving you tips for weeks on how to get started on Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin, and Instagram ( you can find the links to those articles by clicking on their titles), but we haven’t really touched on what to do after you get started.

Getting started on social media is only half the battle. Once you do get started, continuing and maintaining a consistent flow is the other half. As a business owner, your main concern is running your business. This may mean making necessary phone calls, taking inventory, placing orders, answering correspondence, maintain accounts… the list goes on. For a lot of you, maintaining your social media is the last thing on your mind when it comes to running your business. Even though you acknowledge that it is vital to the success of your business, you may simply not know how to integrate it into your daily routine.  As a result, you may not have as consistent of a presence on social media as you’d like to. You post on your Twitter account once a week, your Facebook account once a month, and started Pinterest , Instagram, and Linkedin accounts that you haven’t even touched. This is no way to achieve a successful social media presence.

If your goal in social media marketing is to gain a social media presence to grow your business, you need to keep yourself in check.

  1. Conduct a monthly analysis of the best times to post on your social media accounts. As your following grows, your best times to reach your fans will change. Tools such as Tweriod keep you up to date on when the best times to tweet on Twitter are. This article helps with figuring out which times to post on Facebook, and Iconosquare is perfect for learning the best time to post on Instagram.
  2. Once you have these best times to post, you can focus your energy into those time periods. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be clogging feeds all day every day to be successful. If your target audience is not online, then you’re burning energy that could be directed elsewhere.  Once you have those best times to post, you can just put those times into your scheduling tool (we use Buffer and Sprout Social).
  3. Consider composing a content calendar to help ease the pressure of coming up with content every single day. We have a whole series dedicated to best practices when putting together a content calendar.
  4. Make it a point during the day each day to check out what’s going on in your feed. You don’t have to sit there and stare at it, because you obviously don’t have time for that, but if you designate 3 times each day to take 20 minutes to scroll through your feed, engaging will be a pinch.

At breakfast or while you get dressed, you can catch what happened the night before and converse with the early risers; at lunch, you can scroll through will eating and catch what happened in the morning, and before bed you can catch anything that took place in between.

  1. Keep track of your progress. It’s as simple as recording your number of followers each week and tracking your analytics on whichever tool you choose to use. How will this keep you consistent? Well, it will help you monitor your growth and make you stay on track. For example, if you know you gain 30 followers weekly on average and one week you only gain 10, you know that you need to step up your game.  Also, by keeping track of your progress, you remain an active part of your social media marketing strategy. Rather than just marketing blindly, you can check whether or not what you’re doing is working and make necessary changes immediately.

In maintaining a social media presence consistency is almost as key as content. You can have spot on content, but if you post infrequently at random times, then it’s pointless. It’s important to achieve a rhythm and once you achieve that rhythm, it’s important to keep with it. If you fall out of rhythm, you end up having to do the work all over again which hinders growth.

Tell us what methods you use to stay consistent, or what obstacles you’ve come across in trying to stay consistent.Do you agree with the 5 methods we’ve shared? We want to hear from you! Talk to us in the comments below, email us, or @ us on Twitter. We look forward to hearing from you all!

Intro to Measuring Your Social Media Efforts

Measuring Success

This series is based on the wonderful teachings found in Sexy Little Numbers by Dimitri Maex

This week we wanted to dive deeper into analyzing and measuring your efforts when it comes to utilizing Social Media Marketing for your business. After the Content Calendar Series post on Metrics one of our fellow Social Media Marketers asked if we could give some insight on the analysis side of things. So we took the time and did some homework, looking for the best insights on the subject.

***Side Comment: There is a lot of information on the internet, but very rarely do we feel that it provides real insights. So as great as the internet is, we believe some of the best insight and advice you will ever get can come from a book. Take the time to visit your local library, many Social Media Marketing books are quick and easy reads that are just chock full of great advice!

In our Content Calendar Series, Part 2 we discussed setting up metrics to measure your success. At this point, you know that you need to be calculated with your efforts while remaining flexible in what may come. But when faced with all the data you’re able to collect, things can start the get fuzzy. For many business owners it can feel like numbers overload. Fact of the matter is the answers to the questions you have are there but you have to know which ones  to focus on to avoid the overwhelm. And as we write this post we too begin to realize this will have to be another series. For, in order for us to give you the insight you need in an easily digestible manner, we will need to break it up for you in order to go in depth.

What’s your KPI? How do you measure your business’ success outside of social media?

Do not overlook the significance of identifying what indicates success for your business. Many make the mistake of not taking the time to sit with themselves or their staff to define what the key indicators are. Only from there can you start to set clear objectives that you would like to achieve with a campaign or your overall social media presence. Be sure to prioritize these objectives; success requires a level of planning and effort…. Don’t skimp on the planning! Big brands can spend up to weeks with an entire team planning just one social media post. Don’t just assume you’re going to wing it and then knock one out of the ball park! It could take you months to harvest the fruits of your social media labor.

Skip this part and you’ll soon learn that everyone has a their own definition of success for the company. Which, for you, will only equated to wasted time, effort, and money! Once you’ve agreed upon the objectives, review each one to insure it has a metric (a standard of measurement), a benchmark (rates your performance among the competition), and a time frame. Those that don’t, rework to fit the criteria. Without these three elements your objectives are merely desires.

You want your objectives to be SMART:

Smart Objectives

SMART objectives are your Key Performance Indicators. Establishing and implementing these measures, requires you to take things a step further with Action Learning Indicators. These indicators tell the story behind what drives certain KPI’s. See, it’s not enough to just measure your KPI, you also have to understand what factors will cause a metric to go up or down. For example, say you’re currently running a marketing campaign to drive ticket sales for an event. You may say we’re going to run a 4 week campaign with the objective of selling 100 tickets, and based on past event ticket sales you may begin the campaign confident that you’ll achieve this objective quickly or driven to hit a new target. Either way there are a ton of action learning indicators that you could associate with this objective such as from what platform or ad did the sale come from, what time of day was the purchase made, where is the customer from… Which ties back to your understanding of your audiences’ online intended actions.

Untitled design

Adopted from Kolb, D.A (1984) Experimental Learning

Now you have what you need to begin getting down to the good stuff… Tracking how well you’re actually doing!

This is where the data comes into play. Like many small businesses, chances are that the data is spread out all over the place, but you can export reports from the various platform ad managers and your Google Analytics into Excel. Sourcing the data is only half the battle, we also have to create a plan to measure the performance of our efforts.

Back to metrics, there are three basic types that you need to be looking at:

  1. Input: The investment, typically money, you make in obtaining a specific outcome. Look at how the money is being spent, it’s not enough to set a budget and allocate funds. You have to take it a step further, it’s not always easy to account for every penny’s effectiveness but you can look at the results yielded and determine where to focus your attentions. Wouldn’t it help to know what ads work best on which platforms or discover where to divert funds from.
  2. Output: In terms of social media, it’s all about the engagement. What is your audience’s immediate response to your campaign? Understanding how people interact with your content gives you the ability to tailor it and improve your audience’s overall experience with it!
  3. Outcome: Did you or did you not achieve your goal? When accessing the effectiveness of a campaign there are a few questions to consider:
    • How many people know about your services, products or brand?
    • How many people like your services, products or brand?
    • How many people would think about buy from you?
    • How many new customers have you attracted?
    • How many are loyal to your brand? Loyalty should be based on your own definition, specific to your brand.

Do the work now and you will begin to find what works best for your brand. To be continued…

As always we love hearing from you so please be sure to leave your comments below or email us at PurelySocialinfo@gmail.com

Instagram for business: 5 things to consider

Untitled design (1)With the various different social media platforms all over, it’s difficult to discern which are appropriate for your business. If you follow our blogs, you know that we always say to be conservative when it comes to which social media platforms you sign up for. We’ve discussed when to use Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Pinterest and how they would apply to your business. Let’s keep that train going with Instagram.

What is it, how is it applicable for businesses, should I get on it, and all that good stuff.

Many, if not all, of you are vaguely familiar with Instagram whether or not you use it personally. Instagram is similar to Pinterest in that it is a primarily visual platform, but it does have very unique differences. For one, Instagram is mobile. Although you can access Instagram through a computer, you get all of the intended functionalities when you use its mobile feature, specifically the feature for cell phones. There is an app for tablets, but Instagram’s sweet spot is really on the cell phone.  That feature alone makes Instagram an awesome platform for marketing if it makes sense for your business.  Which brings us to the next question: Does it make sense for your business?

Does it make sense for your business?

A common misconception is that your business needs to be glamorous in order to be on any of these visually driving platforms i.e, Instagram, Pinterest, … This is 100% false and here’s why:

Social media allows you the opportunity to connect with and socialize with your target market at their level. An outlet such as Instagram humanizes your brand and acts as an opportunity to genuinely connect. Consider the intimate real estate that is instagram; the pictures that appear in a newsfeed are individually shown. You have the spotlight and the platform to genuinely tell your brand’s story without being salesy.

Consider this scenario: you’re a tire manufacturer. Nothing glamorous about that, but it could certainly be beneficial to be on Instagram. In this scenario, you could paint a picture of the history of the company. Maybe you’d include a photograph of the original founder from 1913 for throwback Thursday, or a picture of the whole family and the family pets just to show that there are humans behind the brand. It’d even be a wonderful idea to show behind the scenes how the tires are made from original design all the way down the production line to the shelves in the store. Instagram has recently adjusted its algorithm on the Explore tab to include a wider variety of pages you don’t currently follow. The Explore tab is now more personalized and tailored to included pages that users may actually be interested when previously it seemed that the pages were chosen at random. It includes content that people you follow have liked and content that is trending in the Instagram community. This expands your possible reach from just the people who follow you to those who they follow, as well. Previously, those featured on the Explore pages appeared to be top posters only. Now, everyone has a fair chance.

Now that I know that, how do I get started?

Well, it’s simple. Just sign up… Just kidding. Here are some actual steps to help get you started:

  1. Check out Instagram’s blog. It details how other businesses are using the platform and offers some tips that may prove helpful to your business.
  2. Do some hashtag research. A cool function of Instagram is that it allows you to search by hashtag and see all of the things posted relevant to that hashtag. With this functionality, you can be sure that you are using targeted hashtags that are reaching the groups you intend to reach.
  3. Sign up for an Iconosquare account. Iconosquare, previously known as Statigram, is a site that provides you with analytics and metrics for your Instagram account. With this, you can track your followers, find new people to follow, and create a marketing strategy. It even tells you whether or not the hashtags you’re using a popular and offers suggestions of hashtags that may be relevant.
  4.  Follow other accounts that are of interest and relevance. As with any social media account, it only works if you have a following and follow others. Follow all types of people, NETWORK! In the tire company example, you may want to follow other tire companies, or car related accounts, if you’re in a small community, it may be beneficial to follow other users within the community. This helps you establish a presence, and also may help you to show up on the Explore tabs of other people within your target market.
  5. ENGAGE, ENGAGE, ENGAGE.  We always say this! It’s very important to always be engaging, because, well, it’s the whole point of social media. Engagement enables you to connect and network, not to mention it shows that you’re actually human and not a robot broadcaster.

As always, let us know your thoughts. Do you use Instagram for business? What do you think about using it for non-glamorous industries? Tell us about it in a tweet or email! We love chatting!

Social Media for Professionals

Social Media for Professionals.

We hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend and we want to thank everyone who follows us and engages with us! We recently received an email from a follower and thought it only appropriate to reply through a blog post. First off, we love answering your questions and helping you all find practical solutions to your social media marketing issues, so please keep the questions coming. Secondly, this is a great opportunity to discuss how professionals can effectively utilize social media to market their services and themselves. So lets jump right in:

Dear Purely Social Media,

I have been reading your blog for the last few months. Between yourself and several other bloggers on the subject of marketing in a hand held age, I have come to learn and utilize many of the “tricks” and “treats” available. I regress, I will be a new attorney come September. I plan to be a sole practitioner. Meaning I will be an entrepreneur with a law degree. Thus, I need to market myself as a small business (content, social media, traditional marketing) and market myself as a lawyer (trustworthy, competent, knowledgeable). I write you today to ask for specific advice, as both a sole proprietor and sole practitioner. How do I continue to grow my social media presence, while also building the trust to have these “followers” come to me when real life brings opportunity and misfortunes. I look forward to your words of wisdom, and will continue to be a avid reader and admirer of the information you graciously share.

Like many professionals you understand the power of social media, and you’re wise to want to use these platforms to market your future practice and your services; but it can be tricky executing this successfully. Let’s begin by looking at what social platforms you want to consider positioning yourself on. First and foremost, create an account for yourself on LinkedIn. If you have an account that exists, take the time to invest in completing it and making it look the best it can. You may want to consider hiring someone to do this for you or if you’re confident in your ability to complete this yourself then we would be more than happy to provide you with further assistance. Join LinkedIn groups for your profession that interest you, as they will provide you with support, useful information and an opportunity to network with other professionals in your industry. Remember that LinkedIn is the most formal of all the platforms, it is a great place to share your knowledge and establish yourself as a trustworthy and competent lawyer.

If you haven’t already done so, invest in some professional photos of yourself to utilize in your profiles and for social media ads. Aim for at least two looks, one professional and one casual. Remember a picture is worth a 1000 words and these will be the first impression you make on potential clients, so invest in a professional photographer. Consider locations that speak to your personal interests, providing depth and texture to your photos. There is very little that is appealing about studio images, this should not be a shoot that is reminiscent of your middle school picture day nor should this be an expression of your artistic side. You are the main focus in these pictures.

If you’re not blogging, then you need to start. Once you open your practice and create your website, a blog will be one of the best ways to drive web traffic as well as improve your SEO. So establishing a blog now will allow you to begin to develop an audience and provides you with content for social media. You’re probably wondering at this point what you should discuss in your blog. Consider providing advice to future law students, such as what to expect, studying tips and online references. Discuss topics related to the area of law you plan on practicing, attempt to simplify laws and terms for non lawyers. Provide your insights or opinions on national and global trials. And openly share your successes and missteps as a small private practice. Aim to write in depth posts that provide readers with real insights and appropriately tag posts to ensure they can easily be found. Share your content on third party sites to increase it’s visibility and reach, such as:

Legal On Ramp, Reddit, Storify and StumbleUpon

Many blogs can now be easily customized; consider turning the landing page of your blog into an interactive resume. Feature images, videos, and content that allow people to get to know and trust you. Be sure to clean up your Facebook page removing everything and anything that could look bad to potential clients or future employers. Additional social sites that you should consider establishing accounts with, if you haven’t already, should be Google+ and Twitter. Once you have established your practice you should look to extend you presence to any or all of the following sites:

Yelp, Angie’s List, Law Link, and Martindale

Remember that Social Media is about trial and error. It will take some time to determine who your audience is and where they are. As you begin to establish yourself on Social Media. it will start to become apparent what works and what doesn’t work. Develop a strategy that is flexible and allows for your efforts on each platform to support each other. Do your homework, find accounts on each platform that you can model your efforts after. See what other lawyers are doing and determine what needs to be tweaked to suit you. Remember that clients are using Social Media, having a presence allows you to see what people are saying about you, engage with them and take control of your online presence.

Image via The Rainmaker Blog

Image via The Rainmaker Blog

As always we want to hear from you! So please be sure to email us, tweet us or simply leave a comment below!!

Auto DMs Part II: Why do people still use them?


AUTO DMs Part II

So we went on a mission, as promised in Part I, to find out the reasons behind why people still continue to use Auto DMs  and the findings were very interesting. Let’s put our science hat on and go over the details lab experiment style, well loosely lab experiment style.

Theory:

Going into this experiment, our theory about Auto DMs was that Auto DMs were a waste of time. It didn’t make sense to us why people were using them given their current reputation for being spammy, annoying, or necessary. We’re human *shrug*and we realized that we may have been a little… ok a lot biased with our opinions about Auto DMs and not really considering the other side.

We hypothesized (with our science hat *wink*) that we must have been missing something and therefore, in order to remain a semi-neutral party, embarked on a mission to discover what it was that we just weren’t getting. Sometimes you need to play devil’s advocate with yourself to make sure that you’re not being myopic.

Procedure:

We responded to each of the 22+ Auto DMs we received last week along with some others we had never previously responded to with the same simple message:

We’re conducting a study on automatic direct messages and why people use them. Care to share your thoughts?

We obviously didn’t expect everyone to respond or for all of our messages to get through, but to be honest, we did end up having some great conversations with those who were able to respond.

Data:

Total messages sent: 34

Total responses received: 8

Total messages unable to be sent: 17

Total messages sent successfully, but unanswered: 9Auto DM Results

So basically, we were unable to respond to half of the people who sent us Auto DMs  because we they weren’t following us. If you consider this at a larger scale, think about half of the relationships you’re attempting to form being shot down. I suppose it’s worth the effort if the other half are being closed upon, but if you look at our results, we received less than 25% success in responses. 24% of the people we were reaching out to actually responded and the remaining 26% didn’t. This could mean a number of things ranging from lack of interest to people just not checking to see if anyone responded to their DMs.

If you’re trying to close a deal or generate a response with your Auto DM, the rate of people who are actually interested could be even smaller than that.

Decision of Results:

The 8 responses we did receive were very interesting. There were some people that had no clue that DMs were even going out from their account. How? We have no clue. Some people answered our initial question and were unresponsive when we probed more. Others admitted that it was just a trial run and they were no longer using it going forward, and there were some (very few) that were using  it proudly and claimed that it was working for them. From that pool here are a few of the best conversations we had so you can see the conversations for yourselves (we’re in blue):

Convo 1convo 1

Convo 2convo 2

 

Convo 3convo 3

From these conversations we venture to say that Auto DMs are given a bad rap. They’re not entirely all as bad as they are thought to be, because it does provide an opportunity to connect with someone on a private personal level; however, given the bad rap we’re not sure that it’s worth the effort. Given that social media platforms are a public entity to interact with a vast amount of varying people from varying backgrounds, it only makes sense to keep in line with that and have public conversations that others can join in on. It gives an opportunity to meet new people. Direct messages seem to go against that.

However, if you are going to use Direct Messages as a form of marketing here something to think about. Instead of using automatic direct messages, type them by hand and be a little more personal, an instant response seems robotic. Nobody will fault you for not saying thank you for following immediately. It shows you’re human when you take a little more time to respond and make it worth it. The 8 people who responded to us were actual genuine people who cared about connecting with us, but unfortunately, there are several people who don’t even respond to their Auto DMs simply because on the preconceived notion that Auto DMs are crap. Our suggestion is to start off with an @reply to say thank you initially; from there you can move over to the direct messages to carry on the conversation.

That being said, we don’t have AS MUCH resentment towards Auto DMs as we previously did, but we probably still won’t ever use them. We will, however, at least make an effort to check them and continue with this experiment to see why people still use them and whether or not they are using them effectively.

As always, let us know your thoughts. If you have anything to add or any personal experience with Auto DMs, (positive or not) tell us about it in a tweet or email! We love chatting!