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

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.

Effective Automation

(Yes, It’s possible and yes, you’re overthinking it)

So a few weeks ago, we had a great conversation about automation with a couple of our friends on Twitter, Phil Glutting and Charlene Kingston. Since we noticed that this is a popular topic among small business owners and new marketers, we decided to share with you.

Automation is a great way to multitask if you’re very busy and want to establish a social media presence without having to be actively posting. However, Auto DMs are plaguing Twitter and absent tweeters completely contradict the purpose of SOCIAL media. When we asked Phil and Charlene their thoughts on the matter, we were really enlightened by the response. Check out the whole conversation below and on storify for the full effect.

Here are a few quick tips on making your automation more effective that we were able to pull from the conversation:

  1. Just stop with the Auto DMs! @ replies are more personal and easier to start conversations with. You can even automate the @ replies with many of the Twitter tools available.
  2. Follow up your @ reply with a greeting, don’t use the message to sell yourself. Just be courteous and try to begin relationship building.
  3. If you must automate try this method: Schedule a few tweets to be posted during the day and add to the conversation throughout the day in real time .
  4. As you grow, modify your strategy. What worked with 1500 followers will not work with 11500.
  5. Always do what makes your community interaction better, not what’s easier for you.

What have your experiences been with automation? Are you pro or anti automation? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below or @ us on twitter!

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3 Ways to Optimize your Hootsuite Usage… besides Automation

If you’re a business owner in today’s world, chances are you never feel as though there are enough hours in the day. So the last thing you have time for is wandering down the rabbit hole of social media. You know that social media is important for connecting and engaging with your customers, but creating a solid presence on any platform takes time… time you do not have.

Like many business owners you may choose to automate your posts through apps such as hootsuite or buffer. Automating your social media can save you time and energy but, be careful automation removes the real-time engagement. See our post Is Automation Making You Antisocial, for best practices.

3 ways to optimize your Hootsuite useWe believe that one of the best uses for Hootsuite is when you’re promoting an event or product and you are directing people to your site with a link. For example, say you host a weekly meet-up or Google hangout. Consider scheduling 3-5 posts a day promoting this upcoming event. Your scheduled posts should just include links not attached images, as they will not appear in the newsfeed unless people click on them ( and we all know that very few will click). So don’t waste your time posting content that most likely will go unseen. In these instances I recommend drafting the posts from a mobile device on twitter or scheduling the post directing in Facebook. Consider taking 1 day to draft up the week’s posts and keep them in a word document that will allow you to easily copy and paste the post into Linkedin or Google+. Consider shortening links with bitly.com versus the link shortener in Hootsuite. At this point most people know that owly.idhafd…etc. is a Hootsuite post and therefore automated. I have found that automated tweets can be a real turnoff for some.

Today we would like the discuss the top 3 ways to use Hootsuite other than scheduling posts

1. To watch your feeds all from one place: You probably don’t have time to check each platform multiple times through out the day. With hootsuites free membership you can attach up to 5 accounts that you wish to track on either Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Google+. So from the home screen you can watch your feeds for all of these platforms in one place in somewhat real time.

2. To monitor hashtags. If there a particular hashtag that you troll or follow, you can use hootsuite to follow that hashtag in real time.

3. Run Reports: This is one of the best reasons to use an app like hootsuite! Generate reports that show the results or your efforts as well as compare your efforts across multiple platforms