Generating Reports

*For a better view of graphics simply click on the image to enlarge

So, one of the best ways to learn something is to see it in action. In Sexy Little Numbers, by  Dimitri Maex, there is a great example of why you want to understand the numbers. Based on his teams assessment of Motorola’s 2006 phone sales in the China:

The expense of marketing as a whole generated 26% of Motorola sales. Advertising accounted for 55% of those sales, at only 11% of the total marketing budget! For every 10,000 yuan spent on advertising, 382 phones were sold. However the same spent on in store promotions only resulted in the sale of 96 phones. Assuming the industry average is a profit margin of 30% per phone sold, Motorola’s was more than double with every yuan spent on advertising yielding 15 yuan.

You have the ability to assess your efforts in a similar way. One, that will allow you to begin to make strategic decisions. One way to do this is to export the data you have from your various social platforms into Excel files (.xls). Start with one platform at a time, be sure to save your original data, simply copy and paste the data onto a new sheet to begin your analysis. For the purposes of this post we’re going to use Facebook as the platform we’re going to export our data from. You should know that you can export data related to your Facebook Page from two places, Ads Manager, which provides reports on any paid advertising you’ve done on Facebook, or from your Page’s Insights.

Ads Manager

From your Facebook Home Page/Newsfeed click on Ads Manager from the menu bar to the left of your feed, under Messages and Events. Once you’re in Ads Manager, select Reports from the left side menu bar. When you open the reports page it will default to your General Metrics for the last 30 days. Select the dates you want the report to generate from then proceed to determine what type of report you would like. Facebook allows you to view and export 7 different reports:

  1. General Metrics: provides you with an overview of each ad, reporting reach, frequency, impressions, clicks, money spent, and actions taken.
  2. Website Conversion: provides information on all ads that we’re driven to purchase or register on the landing pages you’re required to link to your ad.
  3. Placement Based Metrics: provides information on the placement of your ad, was it seen in the news feed or the right column space and was it viewed on a mobile device or PC?
  4. Responder Demographics: provides information on the people your content reaches, providing you with their age and gender.
  5. Page Actions; provides you with insight into the actions people are taking with your ads, how many are liking, sharing, comments and engaging with your content?
  6. Video Actions: looks specifically at the videos you post, how many people viewed or clicked on a particular video, did they watch the complete video, did they share like or comment?
  7. Application Actions: looks at the application associated with your page, for example you may use this when running a contest on Facebook.

FB Screen Shot 1

Page Insights

From your Business Page select Insights to generated reports related to your page and posts. Click export, this will open the Export Insights Data box. Select the dates you want the report to focus on, determine whether you want the report to be based on your page or post activity, then select the old vs. new export (doesn’t make a big difference) and click Download.

FB Screen Shot 2

Go a head and open the downloads of your data, don’t feel overwhelmed by all the numbers on the page. To begin to digest this information it’s best to work with Excel’s Pivot Charts. Simply select the information you desire to compare, copy and paste data by columns or rows, for the sake of this exercise I suggest picking two or three things to compare at a time. For example from the original document you may select the date column, the type column (photo, link, or status), and the lifetime post reach column to paste into a new sheet. On the new sheet select Insert Pivot Table using the data you just copied to the page. Pivot Tables can be confusing if you’ve never used them before, but in the latest Window’s version you can easily drag and drop information to determine where it can be viewed the easiest.  Once you generate your desired pivot table you can convert that table into a chart, which is even easier to digest. If you’re unsure of how to use pivot tables, there are tons of videos on YouTube that cover the subject. But when you finally get the hang of it here’s what you can do:

Analysis1

Chart A

Pivot7

Chart B

Based on Chart A we can see that the posts for this account performed better in Quarter 1 than in Quarter 2. With this one piece of information you could review all of your posts from the first quarter, looking for any patterns or theme. Run another report for Quarter 1 posts and you may discover that there is a time of day that works best for your audience or you may determine that certain events or posts really attracted a lot of attention from your audience. Chart B looks at the paid ads this account ran in Quarters 1 & 2. Based on the chart we can see that 2 ads did really well in relation to the cost of the ad. What we want to point out is the last ad, Website Clicks New…, and provide a little back story. That ad was part of a two week promotion for a paid live stream event. The cost of running this add was $166, that included the graphic art used in the promotion and the cost of advertising on Facebook through Power Editor. The results of this advertising we’re 7 attendees for the live in store event, 35 online attendees and resulted in this business netting $700. This resulted in about a 24% profit margin. This company was thrilled to see that a few minor changes to their Facebook advertising strategy could not only generate revenue but also drive traffic to their site and events. It just take some time and a willingness to experiment.

But maybe after reading this post you determine you’re just not up to this whole Excel thing… Well we stumbled upon a little free tool that can easily help you analyze your Facebook efforts, Wolfram|Alpha. Make sure your signed into your Facebook page prior to clicking the link. But it does do an excellent job with providing you with important data in a easily digestible manner. Here’s an example for the same account we used above:

Analysis2

Or if you utilize a third party sight such as Buffer, Hoot Suite or Sprout Social, you can generate reports through these sites as well that will analyze all of the platforms your have linked to that particular site. Here’s an example of what it looks like from Sprout Social:

Analysis3

 

As always we hope that you have found this post to be beneficial. Please be sure to leave us a comment below, we would love to hear from you!

Maintaining your social media

Untitled design (2)As a business owner, you’re constantly being told that building meaningful relationships with your customers is a key component of the success of your business. You hear all the time how you need to get on social media networks and get active. We, here at Purely Social, have been giving you tips for weeks on how to get started on Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin, and Instagram ( you can find the links to those articles by clicking on their titles), but we haven’t really touched on what to do after you get started.

Getting started on social media is only half the battle. Once you do get started, continuing and maintaining a consistent flow is the other half. As a business owner, your main concern is running your business. This may mean making necessary phone calls, taking inventory, placing orders, answering correspondence, maintain accounts… the list goes on. For a lot of you, maintaining your social media is the last thing on your mind when it comes to running your business. Even though you acknowledge that it is vital to the success of your business, you may simply not know how to integrate it into your daily routine.  As a result, you may not have as consistent of a presence on social media as you’d like to. You post on your Twitter account once a week, your Facebook account once a month, and started Pinterest , Instagram, and Linkedin accounts that you haven’t even touched. This is no way to achieve a successful social media presence.

If your goal in social media marketing is to gain a social media presence to grow your business, you need to keep yourself in check.

  1. Conduct a monthly analysis of the best times to post on your social media accounts. As your following grows, your best times to reach your fans will change. Tools such as Tweriod keep you up to date on when the best times to tweet on Twitter are. This article helps with figuring out which times to post on Facebook, and Iconosquare is perfect for learning the best time to post on Instagram.
  2. Once you have these best times to post, you can focus your energy into those time periods. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be clogging feeds all day every day to be successful. If your target audience is not online, then you’re burning energy that could be directed elsewhere.  Once you have those best times to post, you can just put those times into your scheduling tool (we use Buffer and Sprout Social).
  3. Consider composing a content calendar to help ease the pressure of coming up with content every single day. We have a whole series dedicated to best practices when putting together a content calendar.
  4. Make it a point during the day each day to check out what’s going on in your feed. You don’t have to sit there and stare at it, because you obviously don’t have time for that, but if you designate 3 times each day to take 20 minutes to scroll through your feed, engaging will be a pinch.

At breakfast or while you get dressed, you can catch what happened the night before and converse with the early risers; at lunch, you can scroll through will eating and catch what happened in the morning, and before bed you can catch anything that took place in between.

  1. Keep track of your progress. It’s as simple as recording your number of followers each week and tracking your analytics on whichever tool you choose to use. How will this keep you consistent? Well, it will help you monitor your growth and make you stay on track. For example, if you know you gain 30 followers weekly on average and one week you only gain 10, you know that you need to step up your game.  Also, by keeping track of your progress, you remain an active part of your social media marketing strategy. Rather than just marketing blindly, you can check whether or not what you’re doing is working and make necessary changes immediately.

In maintaining a social media presence consistency is almost as key as content. You can have spot on content, but if you post infrequently at random times, then it’s pointless. It’s important to achieve a rhythm and once you achieve that rhythm, it’s important to keep with it. If you fall out of rhythm, you end up having to do the work all over again which hinders growth.

Tell us what methods you use to stay consistent, or what obstacles you’ve come across in trying to stay consistent.Do you agree with the 5 methods we’ve shared? We want to hear from you! Talk to us in the comments below, email us, or @ us on Twitter. We look forward to hearing from you all!

Intro to Measuring Your Social Media Efforts

Measuring Success

This series is based on the wonderful teachings found in Sexy Little Numbers by Dimitri Maex

This week we wanted to dive deeper into analyzing and measuring your efforts when it comes to utilizing Social Media Marketing for your business. After the Content Calendar Series post on Metrics one of our fellow Social Media Marketers asked if we could give some insight on the analysis side of things. So we took the time and did some homework, looking for the best insights on the subject.

***Side Comment: There is a lot of information on the internet, but very rarely do we feel that it provides real insights. So as great as the internet is, we believe some of the best insight and advice you will ever get can come from a book. Take the time to visit your local library, many Social Media Marketing books are quick and easy reads that are just chock full of great advice!

In our Content Calendar Series, Part 2 we discussed setting up metrics to measure your success. At this point, you know that you need to be calculated with your efforts while remaining flexible in what may come. But when faced with all the data you’re able to collect, things can start the get fuzzy. For many business owners it can feel like numbers overload. Fact of the matter is the answers to the questions you have are there but you have to know which ones  to focus on to avoid the overwhelm. And as we write this post we too begin to realize this will have to be another series. For, in order for us to give you the insight you need in an easily digestible manner, we will need to break it up for you in order to go in depth.

What’s your KPI? How do you measure your business’ success outside of social media?

Do not overlook the significance of identifying what indicates success for your business. Many make the mistake of not taking the time to sit with themselves or their staff to define what the key indicators are. Only from there can you start to set clear objectives that you would like to achieve with a campaign or your overall social media presence. Be sure to prioritize these objectives; success requires a level of planning and effort…. Don’t skimp on the planning! Big brands can spend up to weeks with an entire team planning just one social media post. Don’t just assume you’re going to wing it and then knock one out of the ball park! It could take you months to harvest the fruits of your social media labor.

Skip this part and you’ll soon learn that everyone has a their own definition of success for the company. Which, for you, will only equated to wasted time, effort, and money! Once you’ve agreed upon the objectives, review each one to insure it has a metric (a standard of measurement), a benchmark (rates your performance among the competition), and a time frame. Those that don’t, rework to fit the criteria. Without these three elements your objectives are merely desires.

You want your objectives to be SMART:

Smart Objectives

SMART objectives are your Key Performance Indicators. Establishing and implementing these measures, requires you to take things a step further with Action Learning Indicators. These indicators tell the story behind what drives certain KPI’s. See, it’s not enough to just measure your KPI, you also have to understand what factors will cause a metric to go up or down. For example, say you’re currently running a marketing campaign to drive ticket sales for an event. You may say we’re going to run a 4 week campaign with the objective of selling 100 tickets, and based on past event ticket sales you may begin the campaign confident that you’ll achieve this objective quickly or driven to hit a new target. Either way there are a ton of action learning indicators that you could associate with this objective such as from what platform or ad did the sale come from, what time of day was the purchase made, where is the customer from… Which ties back to your understanding of your audiences’ online intended actions.

Untitled design

Adopted from Kolb, D.A (1984) Experimental Learning

Now you have what you need to begin getting down to the good stuff… Tracking how well you’re actually doing!

This is where the data comes into play. Like many small businesses, chances are that the data is spread out all over the place, but you can export reports from the various platform ad managers and your Google Analytics into Excel. Sourcing the data is only half the battle, we also have to create a plan to measure the performance of our efforts.

Back to metrics, there are three basic types that you need to be looking at:

  1. Input: The investment, typically money, you make in obtaining a specific outcome. Look at how the money is being spent, it’s not enough to set a budget and allocate funds. You have to take it a step further, it’s not always easy to account for every penny’s effectiveness but you can look at the results yielded and determine where to focus your attentions. Wouldn’t it help to know what ads work best on which platforms or discover where to divert funds from.
  2. Output: In terms of social media, it’s all about the engagement. What is your audience’s immediate response to your campaign? Understanding how people interact with your content gives you the ability to tailor it and improve your audience’s overall experience with it!
  3. Outcome: Did you or did you not achieve your goal? When accessing the effectiveness of a campaign there are a few questions to consider:
    • How many people know about your services, products or brand?
    • How many people like your services, products or brand?
    • How many people would think about buy from you?
    • How many new customers have you attracted?
    • How many are loyal to your brand? Loyalty should be based on your own definition, specific to your brand.

Do the work now and you will begin to find what works best for your brand. To be continued…

As always we love hearing from you so please be sure to leave your comments below or email us at PurelySocialinfo@gmail.com

Auto DMs Part II: Why do people still use them?


AUTO DMs Part II

So we went on a mission, as promised in Part I, to find out the reasons behind why people still continue to use Auto DMs  and the findings were very interesting. Let’s put our science hat on and go over the details lab experiment style, well loosely lab experiment style.

Theory:

Going into this experiment, our theory about Auto DMs was that Auto DMs were a waste of time. It didn’t make sense to us why people were using them given their current reputation for being spammy, annoying, or necessary. We’re human *shrug*and we realized that we may have been a little… ok a lot biased with our opinions about Auto DMs and not really considering the other side.

We hypothesized (with our science hat *wink*) that we must have been missing something and therefore, in order to remain a semi-neutral party, embarked on a mission to discover what it was that we just weren’t getting. Sometimes you need to play devil’s advocate with yourself to make sure that you’re not being myopic.

Procedure:

We responded to each of the 22+ Auto DMs we received last week along with some others we had never previously responded to with the same simple message:

We’re conducting a study on automatic direct messages and why people use them. Care to share your thoughts?

We obviously didn’t expect everyone to respond or for all of our messages to get through, but to be honest, we did end up having some great conversations with those who were able to respond.

Data:

Total messages sent: 34

Total responses received: 8

Total messages unable to be sent: 17

Total messages sent successfully, but unanswered: 9Auto DM Results

So basically, we were unable to respond to half of the people who sent us Auto DMs  because we they weren’t following us. If you consider this at a larger scale, think about half of the relationships you’re attempting to form being shot down. I suppose it’s worth the effort if the other half are being closed upon, but if you look at our results, we received less than 25% success in responses. 24% of the people we were reaching out to actually responded and the remaining 26% didn’t. This could mean a number of things ranging from lack of interest to people just not checking to see if anyone responded to their DMs.

If you’re trying to close a deal or generate a response with your Auto DM, the rate of people who are actually interested could be even smaller than that.

Decision of Results:

The 8 responses we did receive were very interesting. There were some people that had no clue that DMs were even going out from their account. How? We have no clue. Some people answered our initial question and were unresponsive when we probed more. Others admitted that it was just a trial run and they were no longer using it going forward, and there were some (very few) that were using  it proudly and claimed that it was working for them. From that pool here are a few of the best conversations we had so you can see the conversations for yourselves (we’re in blue):

Convo 1convo 1

Convo 2convo 2

 

Convo 3convo 3

From these conversations we venture to say that Auto DMs are given a bad rap. They’re not entirely all as bad as they are thought to be, because it does provide an opportunity to connect with someone on a private personal level; however, given the bad rap we’re not sure that it’s worth the effort. Given that social media platforms are a public entity to interact with a vast amount of varying people from varying backgrounds, it only makes sense to keep in line with that and have public conversations that others can join in on. It gives an opportunity to meet new people. Direct messages seem to go against that.

However, if you are going to use Direct Messages as a form of marketing here something to think about. Instead of using automatic direct messages, type them by hand and be a little more personal, an instant response seems robotic. Nobody will fault you for not saying thank you for following immediately. It shows you’re human when you take a little more time to respond and make it worth it. The 8 people who responded to us were actual genuine people who cared about connecting with us, but unfortunately, there are several people who don’t even respond to their Auto DMs simply because on the preconceived notion that Auto DMs are crap. Our suggestion is to start off with an @reply to say thank you initially; from there you can move over to the direct messages to carry on the conversation.

That being said, we don’t have AS MUCH resentment towards Auto DMs as we previously did, but we probably still won’t ever use them. We will, however, at least make an effort to check them and continue with this experiment to see why people still use them and whether or not they are using them effectively.

As always, let us know your thoughts. If you have anything to add or any personal experience with Auto DMs, (positive or not) tell us about it in a tweet or email! We love chatting!

 

 

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!

Auto DMs Part I: The Annoyances

 

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I know we’ve mentioned Auto DMs in several of our posts, but I think it’s time that this nuisance gets its own spotlight. If you follow our blog, you know firsthand how passionate we are about Auto DMs. For some reason we have yet to uncover, people seem to love using them. We’ve received 22 Auto DMs from people we’ve followed just within the last week. The sad part is that we actually like some of these people and don’t want to unfollow them (not yet, at least) but the Auto DMs are just so freaking annoying.

We’re going to assume that the offenders do not realize that Auto DMs are turning people off and creating spam explain it to you in more detail this time.

If your main goal in creating automatic direct messages is to reach out to new followers and thank them for following you and to show that you care, you’re actually sabotaging yourself. Automatic direct messages have established a reputation similar to that of a pop-ups and spam email; they’re really quite annoying; twitter is a platform that has a reputation of speed. Users go on quickly check notifications, scroll through the timeline, and tweet. The way the Direct Message box is set up ruins the whole flow of that fluidity. It’s out of the way off to the side in a separate area of the Twitter layout and kind of takes users away from the conversation.

Picture it like this: you’re at a party having a great conversation with some friends and associates with similar interests when out of nowhere a random person saunters over and pulls you to the side for a really important private conversation. You go with this person off to the side to have this conversation and the person says something like “I just wrote a book about [_________], let me tell you about it.”

are_you_kidding_me

Wouldn’t you just be completely bewildered and befuddled as to why they had to pull you aside to say that, especially since you were in the middle of a really great conversation? Wouldn’t it be just a little rude that they not only interrupted you, but also had the audacity to promote themselves after you only just met them and it’s completely unrelated to anything you were previously discussing? It’s rude, impersonal, and unprofessional.

With @ replies it’s a much more friendly and personable approach. Rather than send automatic messages to people who may or may not be able to respond, you actually create an open forum for communication rather than just pretend to.  If you’re really low on time, you can even set up and customize automatic @ replies to specific groups if you’d like with several different Twitter tools. It’s not something we’ve ventured to do just yet, so we don’t have too many details, but if and when we do, we’ll fill you in.

That being said, we’re going to go on a mission to find out the reasons behind why people choose to use Auto Dm’s. We’re going to reply to all of the automatic responses from people we’ve followed within the last week and come back here with our results. Stay tuned! And hey, if you personally use Auto Dm’s, tell us why. There’s two sides to every story. We’d love to see the other side! Either @ us on twitter, email us, or respond in the comments below!

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 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…