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 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!

global-media-consumption-per-week-by-medium (1)

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.

Pinterest: What the Hell is it?

www.PurelySocialMedia.comPretty much everyone has heard the saying: a picture is worth 1000 words, but have you ever stopped to think about why? 1000 words is a lot when you really think about it. Consider writing a thousand word essay and reading it aloud to an audience. It would obviously take you more than a second to read it, and the audience more than a second to absorb the information. Think about that and consider this fact: it only takes your brain 13 milliseconds to interpret images that the eye sees. (This is a really cool article about how the brain processes images.)

Pinterest is a visual discovery tool that people use to collect ideas and discover new things. It is mainly composed of images and could be described as a virtual vision board. 70% of Pinterest users go on Pinterest to find inspiration for a future purchase. That being said, Pinterest is an amazing social media platform for business owners to post original images relevant to their business. Only 20% of content on Pinterest is original, so business owners who create content to go on Pinterest are entering a very small pool and have a high likelihood of being discovered.T O  C R E A T E  A  S O C I A L  M E D

Now that we’ve gotten all of that out the way, let’s discuss what Pinterest means to you and give you some tips on getting started:

  1. Assess whether or not Pinterest is for your business. Every platform is not for every business, so don’t feel pressure to get on a social network just because it’s there. You’re better off being present on a few platforms strongly than all of them weakly. On the other hand, don’t automatically disqualify your business from Pinterest just because you’re unsure. Here’s a great article to help figure out whether or not Pinterest is right for your business.
  2. Share! If and when you do get started on Pinterest, the sharing rule is kind of the same as we previously discussed about Twitter. Diversify your content by repinning things other users post, as well as posting your own original content.
  3. Create multiple boards. Pinterest allows you the unique ability to segment your content via boards. You should take full advantage of this. If you’re a pastry chef, for example, include multiple boards that embody your business i.e, cakes, cupcakes, cake pops, pastries… Keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be strictly business. You can also choose to include a few boards that represent things your team likes. We’re actually in the process of creating personal boards on our Pinterest, as well.
  4. Include descriptive key words. Although Pinterest is mainly visual, it does have a place to put descriptions and such. In the description, it is important to use keywords to help pinners find your content and include a link, so people know where to find you.
  5. Always link posts back to your site.  Although bitly links are not currently working for creating pins, you can still use them in the description section to track visitors. This can also help test to see if people are even reading the description.

Content Calendar Part 2: Looking at the Metrics

Creating AContent Calendar (1)So last week we introduced you guys to the idea of a content calendar. Mapping out your social media campaigns allows you to be calculated. Developing a strategy with the metrics in place to measure your efforts, sets you up for success. But just mentioning the word metrics can send most running in the opposite direction. With the right metrics in place and some online tracking support you really can solve the mystery to Social Media Marketing success. The information that you’ll obtain will let you know just where to spend your time and money while simultaneously providing you with a steady feedback from  your customers. Many debate on whether or not you can actually see a ROI on your Social Media Marketing efforts, but you can if you put the right measurements in place. All it takes is a spreadsheet, some data and a little analysis. Today we want to discuss with you putting those measurements into place.

All a metric does is quantify and evaluate something! Simple, right? Well when it comes to your Social Media campaigns your metrics will help you understand what is and isn’t working for you or your customer. And with this knowledge, you can target your products, messaging and efforts on what does work. You see, every piece of content that you create and share is designed to enlist a response from your audience. Therefore, you need to have metrics in place to measure what is happening to the content and conversations you create. The issue arises in measuring that response, so we need to break it down into portions that we can measure:

  • Actions: How are people interacting with your website, content and presences on various social platforms?
  • Attention: How are people accessing your content and how long are people engaging with your content?
  • Community: Who are your Evangelists, the individuals who are invested in you? They often grow with you as you strengthen your presence.
  • Influencers: Who are the individuals that are sharing and engaging with your content the most? Chances are they are causing others to do the same.
  • Interest: What catches the attention of your audience and drives action? This is where content and context meet to create the best content for your audience.
  • Listening: What are people saying about your business and where are they saying it? Invest time in learning as much as you can about your audience by listening to them.
  • Reach: How far is your content traveling and for how long ? Quality content not only gets noticed but it also gets shared.
  • Views: How many times is someone visiting your sites or seeing a piece of content? Is this a first-time or a repeat visit?

These eight sub-divisions of response can all be individually measured, combine them and you will begin to see a treasure trove of information to help your tweak and make adjustments to your efforts. We know that this concept can be pretty intimidating for most. Luckily there are tools out there designed to help you. Let’s begin by breaking down the type of services out there:

  • Single-metrics service providers: These are third party metrics measurement systems that only measure one thing. These services include Klout or Kred, which measures your influence across your social platforms. Tweriod is a service that tells you the best times to post to twitter.
  • One-site metrics: These are the measurements that you receive directly from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Typcially they can provide you with useful information, but you still have to put it all together. If you happen to use an automation service to schedule your posts such as, HootSuite, Sprout Social, Buffer, CustomScoop etc., you can begin to obtain measurements across your multiple platforms. You will still be limited in the information you will generate from them without taking things a step further.
  • Advanced metrics: This is where things can get really exciting! Accessing the true power of metrics takes advanced techniques, that you are fully capable of learning with Google Analytics. It is one  of the best tools you can access as a business with a website and social presence. Extract reports that allow you to view your metrics at a microscopic level.

With all of these metrics tools you now have some good information you can put to use. The data you collect is your guide to creating the best content for your audience at the right times in the most visible place. This is key information that you will want to have handy as you begin to lay out your content calendar.Taking the time to map out your content ensures that your messaging will be on brand and takes the guess work out of your daily social media engagement. Keep in mind that you want to leave room for the unexpected.

Let us know your questions about metrics. We’d love to hear it! You can either @ us on Twitter, or leave a comment below. We love to engage!

Content Calendar Part 1

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…