Data Sourcing & Analysis

 

Creating AContent CalendarWe hope that after last week’s intro into this series, you had some time to do some serious thinking about what success looks like for your business.

In the previous post, we discussed what you should be measuring from a beginner stand point, your inputs, outputs and outcomes. But you will need to look at much more if you want the complete picture, what you’ll need to look at is your business metrics. Business metrics looks at things like Market Share, Revenue, Profit, Average Order Size, and ROI. It is these metrics that allow you to access the overall health of your business and evaluate the impact of your social media efforts. But in order to do so effectively you will need to analyze one action’s impact at a time.

In Part 1, we were just beginning to touch upon data sources, the various software suites and platforms that store all of the information regarding your business. Let’s break down what these common data sources are:

  • Corporate Finance Systems: for many these systems bridge the gap between Accounting and Management. For these systems its all about the numbers, they look at everything from profits and losses to employee productivity to provide you with valuable insights to improve your business. Very often these robust systems are able to provide you with industry benchmarks and forecasts. Developers of these types of systems include but are not limited to  Intuit, Sage, Adobe and Oracle.
  • Media & Marketing Plans: maybe you did one before you went into business, maybe you didn’t. But typically if you take the time to do these thoroughly they can be a treasure trove of data and a great jumping off point when it comes to developing and implementing any marketing or sales strategy.
  • Customer Relationship Management Systems (CRM): these systems typically hold tons of data on your direct interactions with your existing customer base. Examples of commonly used CRM are Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, HelloWorld, Infusionsoft and Salesforce.
  • Market Research: which has never been easier in this digital age, are the surveys and polls you conduct with your existing customers. You’ll be surprised by what you will learn about your business if you only take the time to ask? Online services such as SurveyMonkey, make it fairly simple to get started.
  • Web Analytics: such as Google Analytics, provide you with insights on your website traffic, as well as your overall online presence.
  • Social Network Data: these are the insights provided to you by the social platforms you use.
  • Digital Ad Serving Platforms: online ads and banner management has never been more convenient and measurable then they are with Google Adwords. Your able to gain insights into the types of actions your ads invoke.
  • Online Videos: one can not deny that video is  becoming even more of an integral part of online marketing and social media. YouTube, by far the largest video platform, provides you with additional insights into the impact of your visual and media efforts

Once you’ve had an opportunity to compile data from all of your appropriate data sources, its time to analyze. Analysis is the ability to break down material into its component parts.  It is a process that serves to make improvements and streamline efforts. So it’s wise to regularly analyze your efforts. In Sexy Little Numbers, the process discussed is the A2A – Analysis to Action – framework.

Adopted from Sexy Little Numbers by Dimitri Maex

Adopted from Sexy Little Numbers by Dimitri Maex

It all begins with the data phase. This is going to require you to import all of your data into an Excel spreadsheet.  To simplify things you can utilize the Analysis ToolPak in Excel. During the analysis phase you want to figure out what worked and what didn’t work by asking the right questions. For Example:

  • Does one ad work better than another?
  • Does time of day and day of the week factor into a campaigns success?
  • Does length of campaign play a part?
  • Which products or services did well during a particle campaign?

From here you need to begin testing. What’s working, and what would the impact be on your business if you saw a small percentage increase or decrease? Knowing what doesn’t work allows you to re-work content, redistribute it, and analyze the new data. You have to be willing to do a little experimentation, going beyond A/B Testing and begin running A/B/C/D/E/F Testing.

Moving in the process from testing to share and execute, is the point at which action is required. In terms of the A2A framework the share step refers to sharing the insights of all the analysis you’ve done with your company’s team. Together you can begin to develop more engaging content and plan execution strategies based on the information your organization has.

Next week we’ll look at a hypothetical case in order to illustrate the process in action. As always we hope you have found this post to be informative. We want to hear from you so be sure to leave a comment below!

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

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!

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.

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