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!

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

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!!

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!

Content Calendar Part 4: Strategy

Creating AContent Calendar

Our Content Calendar series is finally drawing to an end, and we appreciate how you all have responded to the insights we have provided here…

In Part 1, we discussed the importance of creating a framework for your content.

In Part 2, we highlighted the significance of measuring your efforts on social platforms.

And last week in Part 3, we walked you through the development of your content calendar and what it should look like.

Today we’re going to discuss with you creating strategies for implementation that get results.

Let’s begin with a fresh take on things. Social Media Marketing is still immature in the world of business and many small business owners still just don’t get it or know how to effectively use social media for their business. Don’t be stubborn with your marketing and lack the flexibility that social media marketing calls for. Classic marketing attempts to segment “consumers” into demographics. We all are familiar with the concept and most likely do the exact same thing with our own customers. However, defining a customer or followers by a demographic is a little out dated. Demographics are generally used in polls of public opinion and marketing to group individuals based on a variety of socioeconomic points. Until recently, we could all easily be grouped into our appropriate demographic and marketers enjoyed creating messages tailored to appeal to these different demographics.

Thanks to industrialization and globalization it’s becoming harder and harder to define these demographics. The best example of this shift is in luxury brands that have seen their customer pools widen as consumers with lower incomes began to desire and buy luxury goods.

So what does this mean for you as a business owner looking to use social media to grow your bottom line? Well, for one it means your segmenting your customers based on the wrong factors. Grouping people together based on their zip code, annual income or level of education simply doesn’t work…. Why? Probably because people are INDIVIDUALS, who deserve and desire to be treated with a level of respect. Grouping individuals based on “social market” factors turns a person into a number. Today’s consumer is not a number, they’re individuals who make informed purchases that they believe align with who they are on a fundamental level. What you should be looking at instead is your audience’s online intended actions. What will someone do with the information, services and products you provide?

It never ceases to amaze us just how many businesses overlook the treasure trove of information they could simply obtain by surveying their customers. Stop trying to figure out what works and start asking your customers what they like, want and need. A simple survey can help you determine what new products and services to offer, identify trends and highlight customer intentions! There are tons of online survey tools out there such as SurveyMonkey, KwikSurveys and SoGoSurvey, etc. Take the time to learn about your customers and how they feel about your brand. You want to develop a mindset for your organization that is focused on the wants and needs of the customer, to avoid doing damage control as a result of customer dissatisfaction.  Another great tool that can help you determine the intentions of your online audience is the Intent Index. The truth of the matter is that much of the information you seek is actually available within your organization in sales and service reports as well as in client records and inquires. Your online analytics can help as well, telling you what key words people are using to find you and where they are coming from.

Social

Image via iStockphoto

The goal behind focusing on your audiences’ intention is about obtaining more insights with less advertising, it’s about stepping into the customer’s shoes and out of your business bubble. Create a culture in your organization that encourages your team to create content based on the insights and information they have available to them. When creating campaigns for our clients we like to work backwards, in the sense that we like to always have a clear understanding of what their end goal for that particle campaign will be. Ask yourself what actions do you want your customer and followers to take after seeing your campaign, is it clicking a link, opting in, sharing, commenting or maybe you want to inspire them to create their own content around your brand. Whatever it is, you have to have a clear understanding and create a campaign that drives your desired actions.

Your social media strategy is simply a road map or guide lines for your desired intention. Take the time to analyze the appropriate social platforms for your business, as previously mentioned don’t be afraid to grow one platform at a time as you navigate your social media marketing. Determine how you  want to engage and with whom, develop your social voice and create a culture in your organization that empowers your team to be your loudest advocates. Creating a strategy that works should not scare you, in fact this entire content calendar series was roots in helping you to develop a successful strategy.

Take the time to write out your social media strategy, begin by determining what your main objective for using social media will be. Maybe your looking to easily facilitate a conversation between you and your customers, or you wish to support your vendors who have a smaller online presence. You can choose to educate or learn from others, whatever your objective is clearly state it for all in your team to know. Next, define how you intend to utilize each platform and how each platform with support the other’s. You may choose to use each platform to support a different area of your business. We’re firm believes that content and messaging should be tweaked to be unique to any particular platform. Give your audience a reason to follow you on multiple outlets to get a complete story or only on a few to get the information they desire. Either way but measurements in place to assess your efforts and be prepared to make changes when necessary. Most of all have fun!

We appreciate that you’ve taken the time to read this article. Be sure to leave an comments or questions you have below!

Content Calendar Part 3: Drafting a Calendar

Finally, let’s discuss the process of drafting a content calendar!Creating AContent Calendar Part3

If you have not had an opportunity to read Part 1 and Part 2 of this Content Calendar Series, we strongly advice you do.

So, as we previously mentioned,  a Content Calendar is a great way to organize your thoughts and efforts. To successfully leverage social media for your business, your efforts MUST be calculated! And by calculated we mean that everything you do from a marketing standpoint has to be measurable. In part 1 we discussed creating  a framework of content topics as well as the importance of  developing Master Copy Lists to pull from when posting to your preferred social platforms.  We cannot stress to you enough that you DO NOT have to be on every platform all the time, you should get comfortable with one to two platforms at a time to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Social Media is a 24/7 medium and it can be exhausting trying to be present on multiple platforms simultaneously.

Grab all of the information you’ve compiled and pull out a dry erase board, calendar, or notebook; however you best organize your thoughts, go with it! First you’ll want to jot down all of the dates of important events related to your business. These should include your Google+ Hangouts, Networking Events, Blog Releases, Sales, Holidays, Charity Events, and anything that you do of interest related to you business. Word of wise, if you have a less than glamorous product or service you sell, i.e. insurance, gardening tools, computers, rather than littering people’s feeds with sales ads, attempt to share with them your company culture. Show people what makes you and your product unique!

Pencil or type all of these events into a calendar that you can refer to as you build your content calendar. Aim to map out at least a month to a quarter in advance. We advise constructing your content calendar in an automated site such as HootSuite, SproutSocial, Buffer etc. Using the times suggested by your analytics (you should be updating this at least monthly), create posts centered around your events calendar. Make sure that your content is a nice mix of images, videos, quotes, and compelling copy… Sprinkle in some appropriate humor, be genuine and occasionally speak from the heart!

We want to automate the content that is imperative to the marketing of your business, because then that frees you up to truly be social, engaging with your followers and others. If you want to get noticed on social media start noticing and acknowledging others. If the time is taken and  the measures are in place, you will save energy as you begin to understand what’s working and what’s not. The largest hurdle you will have to over come is the limits of your creativity and willingness to create original content. The digital currency of your brand is it’s content. So be prepared to do it yourself or hire some help.

When you review the content in your calendar you should ask yourself a few questions… Is this visually appealing? Is this entertaining or informative in any way? Will this look good on a mobile device? It is projected that by 2020, 80% of all media will be digital with a global media consumption average of 90 hours a week. Don’t get swept away in the sea of content. Invest the time in great content or your just wasting your time!

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Image via The Brand Builder Blog

 

Your content calendar should be designed to be flexible. If after a month things aren’t working, then begin to tweak your content and try it again. You will have to be patient and play around with things before you figure out what works best for you. But once you do you will just fall into a rhythm. Social Media is not cookie cutter so what works for other businesses might not work for yours.  Be prepared to experiment and have fun!

Set goals to achieve, such as growing your followers, engaging with others, increasing blog views or hangout attendance. Creating a plan to get noticed, reduce your stress, and work smart!

We would love to hear your insights or questions… So please be sure to leave a comment below.

Content Calendar Part 1: Building a Framework

Creating AContent Calendar

This series is based on the wonderful teaching found in The Social Media MBA by Christer Holloman

If you’ve been following us here or on twitter (@PurelySocialTip), then you would know that we strive to provide you with the most relevant and practical information regarding your business’ presence on social media. And if you just stumbled upon us for the first time then let us welcome you!

Here at Purely Social™ our focus is on supporting small businesses with the information they need to successfully create a presence on social media that gets noticed. We have never claimed to be experts or gurus on the subject, rather we’re entrepreneurs who see the power of social media and strive to learn as much as we can on the subject daily. We love social media, because we’re naturally social people. Social Media is changing everything we know about communicating and engaging with people. It’s exciting, challenging and scary all at the same time!

Gone are the day’s of the elusive corporate voice. No longer is it acceptable to tell customers what they need or want. In our global, 24/7 digital age, customers have taken their power back, telling brands and businesses what they want and need. Today’s customer does their homework! Taking the time to research products for the best price and quality prior to making a purchase. Meaning, now more than ever it’s important for businesses to start listening to their consumer. For those who resist and have dragged their feet to get in the game will find a loss in market share to competitors who have jumped right in! Today’s consumer wants honesty, transparency and authenticity from the companies they do business with.

Brands and businesses that understand this new found opportunity to foster relationships with their customers get the formula:

Formula for Success

It is this balance between marketing the brand and the human element that you as a business owner have to strike. See despite all of our advance technologies, the fundamentals of the human socialization has very much remained the same. People inherently have a deep desire to share, collaborate and create with one another. Social Media is no different, the top 3 things people enjoy doing online are:

  • Share ideas
  • Share product knowledge
  • Help their peers solve problems

Does your business provide any other these services, and if not how can you begin to? Well now that you know what people are doing online we would advise you to take the time to listen to what your customers are saying. Stop guessing what they want or need and start listening to them, because there is a good chance they are telling you everything you really want to know.

Armed with some customer knowledge, now the real work begins. If you want to successfully leverage social media for your business then you’re going to have to be calculated! And by calculated we mean that everything you do from a marketing standpoint has to be accountable. Set objectives and timelines to measure what works. A Content Calendar is a great way to organize your thoughts and efforts.

Begin by developing guidelines for your engagement, especially if your not the only individual who handles your business’ social media. Take the time to think about how you want people to interact with your brand and how your brand will interact with people. Consider the good, the bad and the ugly! It’s work, but trust me it’s better than damage control.

Now you’re ready to start organizing your content. Keep in mind that you want to give special consideration to the fact that above all your plan needs to be flexible to accommodate the unexpected. However, feeling as though you need to regularly get the creative juices flowing and create new content can be daunting. Select four to six topics that you want to cover on your social media every week.

We advise creating a Copy Master List for each platform, modify the drafts as you deem suitable. Having a list of solid posts to pull from will help save time when it comes to automating posts. Lastly, pull out your calendar!

The aim is to plan out the next quarter. Look at upcoming events, sales your planning or major holidays that are significant to your business and fill them into your calendar. Next set objectives that are measurable, consider the necessary lead times for effective promotion and the effort it will take to meet the objective. These posts should be considered additions to your posts that cover your previously determined topics.

To be continued…

Engagement: What’s the Big Deal?!

How and Why to Engage Engage Engage

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If you ask any knowledgeable social media marketing professional what is on their top 5 list of important factors for success on any social media platform, we guarantee that the word “engagement” will be somewhere in there. Content may be key, but engagement is the click you hear when you turn the key. Engagement makes the world go ‘round!

Some of you may not even be sure what “engagement” even really means. You hear it all the time, but you’re not clear as to what it entails. Because we’re so awesome, we came up with this acronym to help explain how to engage.

EDUCATE

Share your knowledge! Why not? People sharing knowledge is the reason that anyone knows anything for the most part. If you have something to contribute, don’t hold back! Feel free to lend a helping hand. If you happen to have an article that could prove helpful to your niche or to a conversation, share it!

NURTURE

This goes back to basics, simply be kind to your peers and if you see someone who needs help and you can help them by either offering a resource or assisting them personally, help out. Encourage their growth and build relationships. Once you build a relationship with people within your network, you extend your reach! Not to mention, you now have a dedicated audience who is eager to hear anything you have to tell them, because you developed that trust. Being a decent human being is really all it takes.

GIVE FREELY

Mike Stelzner once mentioned in a podcast that if you’re afraid to give out free information because you’re afraid that people won’t need to buy your product/service after you give them that information, then you need to re-evaluate your business. He’s right! We’re not saying share your innermost secrets that you spent years crafting and perfecting, but tips & tricks and detailed how-to’s? Why not! Give your followers a reason to want more. Give them helpful tips on how to use your product, or tips relevant to your niche, and they’ll notice. Word-of-mouth is still one of the most rampant forms of advertising. You have no idea who they know.

APPRECIATE

If someone retweets your content, follows you, or compliments your work, appreciate it! This goes back to the basic “please” and “thank you” we were taught as children. Somehow, people completely lose their manners when it comes to social media. Don’t be that person! Of course, at some point, it gets a little crazy and you can’t possibly thank every single person that follows you. In that case, a mass thank you is fine. People love being acknowledged; it’s human nature!

GET NOTICED

Don’t be afraid to stand out or say something different or uncouth. Standing out may actually attract positive attention and draw people in to read your post. We’ve seen posts titled “Social media is bullshit” and “You’re pissing into the wind with blogging & social media if you don’t REALLY know what your audience wants.” Sure, they’re both a tad on the vulgar side, but they catch your eye and make you WANT to find out more on the article. Be honest, how many times do you actually read the articles that other people post?

ENTERTAIN

Last, but not least, have a little bit of fun with it. Be yourself! Don’t be afraid to be comical, sarcastic, or animated! Share funny pictures and jokes and show your personal side. People like that! They like to know that they’re talking to a human and not an antisocial broadcaster!

See! Engaging is simple. Don’t take the social out of social media. Focus on socializing, connecting, and engaging, and you’ll see success in no time!

If you’re having any trouble or have any questions, don’t hesitate to @ us on Twitter @PurelySocialTip or leave your comments down below. We practice what we preach and would love to engage with you!

 

3 Best Practices for Getting Started on LinkedIn

If you’re a business owner, chances are you have a LinkedIn account. In fact there is an even better chance that LinkedIn was one of the first social platforms you joined. And if you’re not currently on LinkedIn, you may want to reconsider that after this article… Let’s begin with some reasons why you should not overlook the potential of this platform.

Beginner's Guide to
For starters, LinkedIn has over 200 million active users in over 200 countries, and they are all there for one thing…. to Network!It is the world’s largest networking platform for professionals, with an audience that tends to be more educated and affluent when compared to some of the more popular social networks. And because of this, the platform is ideal for connecting with other professionals, finding a job or generating business opportunities. If your business is a B2B, then LinkedIn is where you want to be!

According to the Social Media Examiner’s Social Media Industry 2013 Report, 29% of marketers utilize LinkedIn for B2B in comparison to the 5% that use it for B2C. That means that for B2B, LinkedIn is just as significant as Facebook when it comes to social media marketing.Business owners we’ve spoken to have clearly stated that while they have pages on other social networks, they make money from LinkedIn!

And hey! why wouldn’t that be true? LinkedIn is, after all, the platform that says, “Hey, I’m serious. Let’s do business!” If you’ve ever taken the time to Google a client’s name before or after a meeting, the first result was most likely their LinkedIn profile. The appeal is in the ability to access your current network and connect to new networks, in one virtual place. In a way its your personal CRM with a social element. So here are some tips, to help you get started:

1. Invest In A Solid Profile:

Now that could be in time or money! Compile old resumes, sit down and take the time to really dive deep into your skills, strengths and hobbies. When you sit down to write this into the profile you want to keep in mind who your audience is, what are some of the challenges your customers face and how do you help them solve them? Who is your typical customer and what are the strengths of your business? Use this information to your advantage! You need to have a So What? mentality.

When your prospective customer reads your profile will it matter to them, what value or knowledge do you bring to the table that sets you apart? You know, you just probably don’t often take the time to reflect on it.  This is the key element that you don’t want to over look or half-ass. Think about it if your profile is half-filled out, you may be sending the message to your potential clients that you don’t finish what you start. A simple cut and paste of your resume just won’t do either, that will only show a lack of creativity. Your LinkedIn profile is not a resume or a bio, so put some thought into it. If you’re really looking for a killer profile hire someone to put it together for you, like The Written Coach.

2. Making Connections:

The very first thing we’re going to say on this topic is that LinkedIn limits the amount of connections you can personally make to 3000! So before you run off and connect with every single person whose business card you’ve ever collected, restrain yourself… Connect with individuals that  you either do business with or have the potential to do business with, sprinkled with those contacts that you believe have the ability to help you generate leads. If you hit the 3000 mark you’ll have to request additional connections from LinkedIn. Sounds like a pain to me… Just be mindful! Don’t let this make you feel limited, however. Consider adding a link to your profile at the bottom of your work email, inviting people to connect with you!

LinkedIn classifies your individual connections based on three levels of  degree. A 1st degree connection is either someone you have added to your network or they have added you to their network. 1st degree connections are directly connected to you, these are your family, friends, co-workers etc. A 2nd degree connection is a person connected to you by a 1st degree connection but not directly connected to you.  Lastly, a 3rd degree connection is someone who is connected to you by way of a 2nd degree connection. Remember your intention on LinkedIn is to grow your network… Why? Because LinkedIn rewards users with large networks with better search engine rankings. Do a simple keyword search within LinkedIn’s search engine and you will find that certain profiles rank higher than others.

making the connecion - LinkedinLinkedIn is not just a social network, it’s a database of skilled professionals, for professionals. In fact, a potential client may be searching for someone just like you but if you don’t share a common network connection or a LinkedIn group… you’re invisible! You are only allowed to access and communicate with the connections in your network. If you want to be found within LinkedIn, you need a large LinkedIn network.

Just know that whenever you invite someone to connect with you, you run the risk of your LinkedIn invitation being rejected. Therefore, we suggest adding a personal message to your invitations. Think about, who could resist adding a polite person who showers them with kind words? Consider:

“It was great meeting you at the networking event yesterday evening. I like to keep track of my contacts on LinkedIn. May I add you?”

or

“Hi Alex! I enjoy your posts on the Social Media Marketing Mavens Group. Would you mind if I add you to my professional network on LinkedIn? I have a number of connections that you may find useful in your networking.”

Beware, if you invite someone to connect with you on LinkedIn, and they click I Don’t Know this person or Report as Spam, the recipient of your invite is citing you as an ABUSIVE LinkedIn user! 5 flagged invites and  your LinkedIn account is set to “restricted.” Once restricted, you must enter an email address each time you try adding new people to your network. Talk about a major inconvenience!

3. Join Groups:

LinkedIn gives you the ability to join 50 groups, and we would advise joining all 50! Besides reaching out to all of your contacts, groups are an ideal and simple way to grow your network. Groups provide you with opportunities to establish yourself as a reliable resource, learn more about your clients, and find help when trouble shooting issues that arise in your own business. So join groups with large numbers of members… like hundreds of thousands of members! Look for groups that contain your potential and existing customers, as well as business partners and competition.

Take the time to review who the members of each group are. Are there any members who are adding real value to the group? Who are the top contributors? These are people you may want to consider adding to your network. Connect the group’s active contributors, these people understand the importance of growing one’s network and are typically more open to connecting. Group managers are usually good for this too.

Keep in mind as you begin to contribute to these groups, any discussion you comment on you will automatically be notified anytime someone else comments on the same post. So to avoid unwanted spam simply un-check the notification setting prior to posting your comment. To avoid receiving too many emails from all these groups in general, simply:

1. Click your name at the upper right hand corner of your LinkedIn screen.
2. Click Privacy and Settings
3. Click the “Groups, Companies & Applications” section.
4. Click “Set the frequency of group digest emails”
5. Scroll through the list and choose Daily Digest, Weekly Digest, or No Email (depending on your preferences.)
6. Click Save Changes when finished.

Last thing you should know about groups… The groups dedicated to LIONs, Leading International Open Networkers (LIONs), are individuals who love networking and are open to connecting with just about anyone. By simply joining these groups you are letting other group members know you are willing to network and connect openly.

We hope these 3 tips will help you get started on LinkedIn, whether your new to the platform or have a profile you simply don’t use! Please feel free to share you feed back or leave us a comment. We’re not perfect so if you feel we have stated something in error, by all means let us know!