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!

Trading ca$h for followers

BEWARE OF TRADING CASH FOR FOLLOWERS (1)

As a business owner on social media, your followers are pretty much your bread and butter. It’s a given that without any followers on social media, you’re obviously not reaching your target market, but with all the wrong followers, it’s probably just as ineffective.  You’ve probably seen posts like the one below offering blank number of followers for blank amount of money and wondered: “should I do it?.” The short answer is no. From our research, there are several real services out there with which you can purchase thousands of followers for a set amount of money, so you can go from 0 followers to 5,000 followers in a short amount of time for the right price, to seem more legit, but why not?www.purelysocialmedia.com

  1. When you buy followers you don’t get to choose any demographics, so you’re just getting a bunch of random people following your page. You can be as diligent as you want to with your posts and provide the perfect information at the perfect time for your target market, but the problem is your pool of followers is a wreck. Even if all the followers you purchased are actual real, active accounts (which is highly unlikely), the chances that they are also your target audience is slim. As a result, you end up stuck with a bunch of followers that couldn’t care less what you’re posts are about, which brings us to the next point: interaction.
  1. Your social media influence scores are based on your interactions with others (Kred) and how you drive others to interact with you (Klout). If you’re active on your social media accounts and are constantly engaging with others, you’ll have a decent Kred score, but if nobody is interacting with you, your Klout score will suffer. If you had grown your following organically, you can be pretty confident that your followers are interested in what you have to say and motivated to engage with you. With purchased followers, you’re probably dealing with a lot of random accounts that are either mostly automated, fake, or dormant i.e, no one is engaging with you. This is not good; engagement is a key component of familiarizing yourself with your audience. When you engage with your followers, you can get a feel of who they are and can begin to develop your customer profile i.e, their likes and dislikes, feedback, preferences… all things that can help you to customize your product or service to better speak to your target audience.
  1. You could end up spamming your followers. Some of these services that allow you to buy followers automatically opt you in to send out multiple automatic direct messages to your followers. This not only includes the followers you bought, but ALL of your followers. This could damage relationships that you’ve previously established and cause you to appear incredible (not the good kind).

All in all, buying followers is more of an aesthetic solution. You will appear to have more followers and a high influence, but you will not be in line with your goals. Therefore, in our opinion, buying followers is pretty pointless. It’s much better to have followers that are truly interested in your business, or at the very least, your industry; otherwise, you’re wasting your time putting effort into your social media profile.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter. Have you tried buying followers, or do you know anyone who has bought followers? What was the outcome?

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

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…

Is your ego getting in the way of your social media success?

Today just looking through the highlighted posts on WordPress and I came across The Daily Post article, Don’t Undermine Your Comment with a Plug and it got me thinking…

Is your ego getting in the way of your social media success?

As a business or an individual with a service or product to promote chances are you are on one or more social platforms. Your objective is typically to grow awareness, build engagement and ultimately sell a product. But if you’rE fixated solely on making a sale, then I’m sorry, my friend, growing a significant presence on social media will prove to be a challenge.

Keep at the forefront of your mind what social media was originally created for. At it’s essence, social media helps people connect with 1other individuals who share their likes and interests. People are not on social platforms to be sold, they are on them for the engagement and entertainment they experience. The fact of the matter is that people are very good buyers! Thanks to the internet many people will do extensive research before making a purchase, comparing features and prices amongst competing brands. The problem for businesses big and small is not getting lost in the sale. People buy from people and businesses that they know and trust. Developing these relationships takes time! The most successful brands and individuals utilizing social media today realize this and do it well. If your goal is to have a large following that’s loyal then you better bring some serious value to the table.

  • Daily you should be freely providing this value as well as opportunities for your followers to interject with their own experiences and knowledge.
  • The best way to grow is to get out there! Follow and read the content that other individuals in your space are sharing.
  • Engage with people that have larger active followings by commenting with genuine interest or praise.
  • When followers reach out, reach back! Whether it’s positive or negative feedback it’s an opportunity to learn from a potential customer and possibly change their opinion of you, based on your response.
  • A little gratitude can go a long way! People love to be publicly acknowledged, show them how much you appreciate they’re interest in what you have to say!

To Follow Back or Not To Follow Back, THAT is the Question…

Should you follow everyone who follows you on Twitter? So you’ve got your Twitter set up and you’re gaining followers. All types of people are following you! Some have similar interests, some you’ve followed first, some are completely random. As you go through your Twitter notifications and see who followed you, this button looks back at you asking whether or not you’d like to follow them back.

A few are obvious people who you’d like to follow, others not so much. What do you do? Do you follow them back simply because they followed you?

(Bird image credit:  http://www.designcontest.com/twitter-all-stars/)
(Bird image credit: http://www.designcontest.com/twitter-all-stars/)

This is the question that business owners much like you and I struggle with regularly. If you haven’t noticed already, there are several apps dedicated to discovering and unfollowing people who do not follow you on Twitter (and other social media platforms), and people have no qualms about unfollowing you simply because you don’t follow them. Is this something you should be concerned about?  Well, it depends.

While you shouldn’t be too picky when it comes to who you should follow back,  we think you should still be selective. Monitor your Twitter regularly, take some time to take a look at the bio and tweet history of those who follow. By doing this it is more often than not simple to tell who’s trying to sell you something, who’s spamming you, and who’s genuinely interested in your content. Quite obviously, you should follow those whom you believe to be interested in your content and not follow those who aren’t. This requires you to pay attention to your notifications, which you should be doing anyway since you’re engaging with your Twitter and not just automating or broadcasting.

Understandably, there are those of you who are far too busy to monitor your Twitter as often as you might need to. That’s where we come in! <– shameless plug ;)

That being said, we see no reason to follow EVERY person who follows you. After all, people who are genuinely interested in your content won’t unfollow you simply because you did not follow them back. Those that do unfollow you either are no longer interested in your content or only followed you because they wanted you to follow them (more on that later). Here at Purely Social, we pride ourselves at building an ORGANIC following meaning no buying followers, no following people just so they can follow you, but building a true presence, in which you follow people who you’re genuinely interested in and people follow you because they want to. Plain and simple.

Questions? Comment below mention us on Twitter @purelysocialtip.  And if you liked this post, please, please, please don’t hesitate to share! Follow us on Twitter for more hints and tips!

Image credit: imgarcade.com

Image credit: imgarcade.com