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

Social Media Strategy Template

Originally posted on Scoop.it under Social Media News http://www.scoop.it/t/social-media-news-source

Originally posted on Scoop.it under Social Media News
http://www.scoop.it/t/social-media-news-source

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!

How to Recover from a Social Media Campaign Blunder

How to Recover (1)

We’ve already written an article on How NOT to Fail at Social Media Campaigns, but recent social media news have inspired an article on what to do if you do happen to fail. As with everything in life, there are situations in which no matter what amount of planning goes into something, things still go awry.

You may or may not have heard about the Sleepy Hollow marketing blunder with their “Happy Headless Day” campaign. To welcome the new season of the FOX network show, Sleepy Hollow , based on the stories of the Headless Horseman from European folklore, FOX launched a “Happy Headless Day” campaign with witty puns from the show about the headless character. Unfortunately, this campaign launched the same day as the devastating news came out about Steven Sotloff’s death. Needless to say, the media took this campaign and ran with it warping the intentions of the “Happy Headless Day” campaign and putting Sleepy Hollow in a bad position.

The way FOX network handled the situation was perfect. This is their statement: “We apologize for the unfortunate timing of our Sleepy Hollow Headless Day announcement…The tragic news of Steven Sotloff’s death hit the web as the email was being sent. Our deepest sympathies are with him and his family, and we don’t take the news lightly. Had we have known this information prior, we would have never released the alert and realize it’s in poor taste.”

This is a perfect example of how a well-intended campaign can go awry purely due to unforeseen events. Had this campaign been launched 6 months prior, no one would have looked twice at it. However, due to the timing and the hungry media looking for a scandal, FOX network was put in a bad position.

So now, the question is this: What do you do if something like this happens to you? You’ve read our article on How NOT to Fail at Social Media Campaigns, did your research and are confident that your new campaign will be a success. Out of nowhere at the very last minute, something happens that sets your plans off track and puts your brand in a bad light.

1Immediate damage control. First things first, you have to immediately initiate damage control. This is one of the main reasons why you have to be ever-present in your social media accounts. If you or someone you delegate is there to catch an issue as soon as it occurs, you have a better chance of minimizing the amount of damage to your brand. If you set a campaign up and forget it, you’re bound to miss any feedback or backlash from your campaign. This will only cause negativity to fester and spread across your entire brand.

2Sincere apology. Emphasis on the word “sincere.” Whether or not you think you did something wrong, you need to understand this: once you publish something, it no longer belongs to you. If your public portrays something as offensive or insensitive, it is your job to understand their point of view and empathize with them. Try to understand why your campaign would make them upset, apologize and mean it, and if necessary, retract your campaign. This doesn’t mean that you need to take down your campaign every time you upset one person, but use your discretion. If the campaign makes a turn for the worst, you have to take it down.

3Plan for future action. If the reason for the blunder was an oversight, it may be necessary to add an additional step in your ad campaign clearance. For example, FOX network may now require someone to check through the news before launching a campaign to ensure that a campaign they are about to launch will not be offensive to anyone. If the reason was out of your control, have a team dedicated to monitoring the campaign from beginning to end prepared to institute any damage control immediately.

Unfortunately, no matter how much researching you do, there could be unforeseen events that throw your campaign off. The media will almost always find a way to warp information to fit their purposes, and trolls will do their best to make you look bad. There is hope, however, in your recovery. The worst thing you could do is ignore the problem and hope it goes away; that will only fuel the fire and allow people who are already mad at you to get even more upset and talk amongst themselves. Your presence is 100% necessary to help mediate the issue and smooth everything over the best you can. The problem will most likely not go away on its own in most cases. So, engage and speak up!

Don’t forget to come talk to us, too! We’re ever-present on Twitter and you can reach us in the comments below, as well. Also, we just launched our new site: http://purelysocialmedia.com, so check it out and let us know what you think. If you need any tips or advice on your specific social media situations, feel free to send us and email! We love to chat!

 

 

Google+ for Business

G+ (1)

Google Plus is quickly rising to the top of the social media platforms. With the SEO benefits that it offers along with the community building aspect, it’s really a smart choice when it comes to leveraging your brand’s social presence.

If you’re not quite familiar with G+, as yet, Google+ is a social network created by Google that offers blogging capabilities, community building, and virtual meetings (hangouts) all in one package. As a result of this social media platform being hosted by the number one search engine, any business that uses Google+ becomes more searchable i.e, more present online. See, Google knows what they’re doing: they started off slow with the search engine then, like the Blob, oozed out to explore different aspects of the internet it could master, as well. We’re not mad at them for that. Anyway, lets look at the bigger question:

Why should you use Google+ ?

Google+ offers a little bit of the best aspects from a variety of the different platforms, and then some! Take a look at these:

Blogging Capabilities

It enables you to blog, like WordPress, giving you another outlet to share your expertise. Not to mention the fact that most of us have Gmail accounts. Google+ enables you to pull the connections that you have on Gmail and reconnect with them here. So, that business partner you were emailing before, or your old colleague from a previous job can all reconnect with you on Google+ and be privy to your blogs. What does that mean for you? Well, a larger reach for one. Instead of being limited to the people who subscribe to your blog, you can share your blog with people with whom you’ve already built a rapport, as well. In addition to that, there are communities on Google+ dedicated to certain topics, and Google+ allows you to share the articles you write specifically within the communities of your choice. If you were writing something targeted to small business owners, for example, you can join a few communities dedicated to small business owners and share your article within those communities. This way, you know that your work is hitting people who are actually interested in the topic you’re writing about. What better way to build a following than that?!

On top of all that, are the hashtags. When you post an article, Google+ does a quick scan of your article and includes relevant hashtags for you to help sort the article into relevant categories. You also have the capability to include your own hashtags to your articles. If you include hashtags that you know are popular and relevant, your article gets even more reach enabling you to build an even larger following.

Networking

Let’s discuss these communities in greater detail. Google+ communities allow you to gain access to groups of members interested in the same topic(s) that you’re interested in. There are 21 categories to choose from initially ranging from Beauty and fitness to sports to auto and tech. Within those categories are specific communities created by members that you are able to join in on and network. This feature is unique to Google+ and a goldmine for business professionals like yourself. If you are an interior designer, for example, and would like to connect with other interior designers, there’s a community that lends to that. If you own a business catered towards animal rescue and would like to connect with other people who are interested in animal rescue, BAM! There’s a community for that. If you share your blogs within these communities and engage with the people within these communities, the options to build your network are endless.

Visual Appeal

If you’ve been listening to us, you’ve heard us say more than once that the visual aspect of marketing is just as important as the text: sometimes, even more so. A picture is worth a thousand words, and in marketing, images are an important aspect of getting people to pay attention to you. Google Plus embraces that by giving the images that you upload prime real estate on your page, and in a lot of cases, more real estate than the text. Sharing a link that includes images will generate a square thumbnail measuring 150×150 pixels, but sharing an image by itself will result in a much larger display of 497×373 pixels. Here’s a Google+ Cheat Sheet for Image Size Dimensions that might prove helpful.

Hangouts

Google Hangouts are a feature unique to Google+ that enable you to connect with people in a way that no other social media platform does. Google hangouts enable you to video chat with a group of people or one on one. This opens the door for a much more personable connection with your target market or within your industry. Google Hangouts are a great avenue to humanize your brand and let your followers know that you’re not a robot. It enables you to engage in a way unseen by other social media platforms. If you are a lawyer, for example, who specializes in tax law, maybe around March/April, you do a hangout to field questions from laymen who are missing out on refunds they could be capitalizing on. Or maybe you’re a nail technician with your own store. A Google Hangout could be used to run a quick tutorial on a popular nail design or nail painting technique. The possibilities are endless, and if leveraged the right way, can enable your business to grow immensely.

Moral of the story: Don’t sleep on Google Plus. Just get out there, create an account and explore the possibilities. If you need help, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We love to chat! Feel free to leave comments below or mention us on Twitter!

 

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!

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

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!

 

 

Why are you on Social Media?

Why Are You on Social Media-

Last week we completed our Content Calendar series and it really got us thinking about a few things… Things about your business, how you use social media and why?

Over the past few weeks we’ve been in the process of discussing our services with some new potential clients and we’re starting to notice a few things… For one, many business owners know that they should establish a Social Media presence, at least that’s what everyone keeps telling them, but they aren’t really sure what to do once they are there. So begin by asking yourself: how should my business be represented on Social Media, and how should we position ourselves to stand out from the rest?  These can be tough questions to answer but are necessary to the development and execution of your strategy.

It is our opinion that the role Social Media plays in your business’ online presence can fall into one of two categories:

Your Social Media drives traffic to your website, playing a key role in lead generation and sales conversion.
or
Your Social Media simply supports and beefs up your online presence.

For example, there are some industries that are just ideal for social media. Fashion, beauty, physical fitness and photography work well because they are rich in visual content. Followers and fans of these industries get the behind the scenes tour for their favorite brands and personalities. Social Media is an opportunity for these brands to have fun and engage with their followers in a way that would not be possible through their websites. Unfortunately, this utilization of Social Media does not lend itself to every industry. For example what are the chances that you will be compelled to  follow an accountant on Facebook, an exterminator on Instagram or the local dry cleaner on Pinterest? Pretty slim to none, right?

Well truth is you just might depending on your interaction with that particular business. This is where category 2 comes into play. As we previously mentioned we have been in talks with two potential clients regarding how we can assist them in developing and sustaining a presence on Social Media, one client operates a young dental practice and the other sells various insurance packages to local businesses. Neither of these businesses would be considered glamorous in the world of Social Media Marketing and neither are rich in a steady flow on exciting visual content. Does this mean they shouldn’t be on Social Media?

Of course is doesn’t! It just means we’ll need to be calculated… We explained to these clients that they will need to shift their view of the role Social Media will be playing in their businesses from category 1 to category 2. For these types of businesses we’re not looking to drive traffic from a platform to a website, but rather we are looking to create a Social Media presences that allows visitors from their websites to get a good sense of what that particular business is about. There are tons of dentist out there, so how will a patient decide between them? Well for one they’re going to ask around, read reviews and visit the offices’ website. But what will be that determining factor that helps seal the deal…. It very well might be their Social Media presence.

We explained to these clients that Social Media is an opportunity for them to share with the world what makes them special and unique. Social Media is a great place to highlight their company culture, explain various policies and  showcase their knowledge in a particular area. It’s also a great way for them to interact with their customers in a more relaxed setting. Everyone likes getting a birthday card in the mail, but imagine receiving a birthday wish from your Dog Groomer via twitter. You’d feel pretty special and a bit tickled for the unique interaction!

There is an opportunity for every industry to utilize social media effectively , it just takes some creativity and a little trial and error. Defining what your intentions are when it comes to creating a Social Media presence will not only save you time but confusion as well. Don’t set out with the intention of  doing what everyone else is doing, take the time to study the social accounts of other businesses in your industry. What are they doing well and what do you feel they could lose? Figure out what works best for you and be prepared to try many different things before settling on the strategies and tactics that are ideal for you!

As always we are most interested in hearing from you! Have a comment you’d like to share, or maybe you have a question you would like answered. Leave us a message below or email us at purelysocialinfo@gmail.com. We can wait to give you the advice or help you desire!