Are you measuring your social success?

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One of the most important, but often forgotten success factors in any social media marketing strategy is measurement. Benchmarking, measuring and analysing your results are very important. Why? Well if you don’t, how will you know if you are succeeding?

But what should you be measuring? Social media isn’t primarily about promoting your business or your content; it’s about engaging with your community. If you don’t consistently monitor and track engagement levels, you have no way of knowing whether your social media strategy is working.

Here are some of my suggestions on tools and measures that will help you determine how successful your social media marketing is:

Engagement

An engaged customer is a highly valuable one. Engagement can be anything from leaving comments, to participating in support forums, to leaving customer reviews and ratings and it’s a great way of determining whether your content is actually working. If you have a good level of engagement then you’ll know you’re on the right track. A great way of tracking engagement is through Klout. Klout enables you to connect all of your social media networks and will help you determine how well your content is performing.

The platform uses engagement metrics such as likes, retweets, shares and “+1s” to determine your overall engagement levels; in other words, how well your brand and your content are connecting with your audience.

Social Conversions

Tracking the number of website conversions that come from your social media content using website analytics is a very effective was to gauge your social-media marketing ROI.

Google Analytics‎, is a free website metrics tool. When you share a link to content on any of your social channels that drive people to your business’s website or online store, you can track how many people clicked on that link or shared it and much more via Google Analytics.

Facebook Insights

Facebook Insights are available alongside any Facebook Page that has over 25 Likes. The Insights are a great way of determining how many people are interacting with your posts.

Insights allow you to determine engagement, reach and likes to page. Insights allow you to drill down per post to compare which posts are the most effective.

Twitter Analytics, Twitalyzer, TweetLevel and Hootsuite

Twitter has a built-in analytics dashboard, Twitter Analytics. This tool is free, alongside Twitalyzer, TweetLevel and Hootsuite.

All of these tools will allow you to determine engagement levels on Twitter. Some platforms will track and display specific metrics such as most important followers, analytics for individual tweets, and the overall reach of your tweets.

Social Media Week 2014

For those of you who didn’t know, it’s social media week this week (22-26 September 2014). So to kick it off I went along to the first event in London held by Battenhall, a PR and social media agency based in London.

The event; Battenhall’s What’s Next in Social Media breakfast briefing was held in the trendy Soho Hotel, and the doors opened early at 7.45am. The event got underway with a pretty damn good breakfast, alongside networking with some of the other lucky peeps to have bagged a place.

The event launched its FTSE100 social media report for 2014, so I was excited to see some of the findings from it.

smw whats next

Drew Benvie, Founder of Battenhall (twitter.com/drewb) addressed the event with a welcome and a brief overview of some of the key runners in the FTSE 100 social media report. Burberry came out top with more than three million followers on Twitter, more than Coca-Cola’s 2.6m, and six times the level of its closest FTSE 100 follower Marks and Spencer’s (M&S). M&S’s tweets are pipped as the most engaging.

Drew said that Burberry is a role model for other brands on social media. He talked about the separation of Burberry’s customer service and main Twitter account, saying the distinction allows for the company’s vast following to enjoy creative tweets and experimentation with new apps.

ftse100       top performers

It was suprising to hear about how many brands (ones within the FTSE100), who are still not using social media as part of their marketing communications channels. It will be interesting to see how brands will favour with their audiences if they don’t start embracing it.

The event was then led by some of the team at Battenhall who all presented about their area of specialism.

What to include on your social media strategy for 2015

Private Messaging

Sam Mason, Client Services Director (twitter.com/sammyps) who talked about private messages and how they are becoming a front runner in the social sphere, used more and more widely to communicate with audiences. Private messaging allows brands to communicate with select groups/ audiences, relaying tailored, specific real time messages.

Most social media platforms now have private messaging functionality built in. This is one way the media shares news and world affairs. Channel 4 news recently used snap chat and WhatsApp and Snapchat to update its audiences on the Scottish Independence Referendum.

media na dworld affairs

Sam said that private messages are short-lived, so a great way to relay some key messages that you don’t want to go out to the masses. Some ideas Sam said private messages would be good for are Flash Sales and real time news. You could also promote events or commentary during a conference. Sam warned of sending spammy messages as private messages can be seen as an invasion of privacy, so avoid your communications feeling impersonal.

Video, the one to watch

Steph Bennett, Senior Account Manager and resident Vlogger (twitter.com/stephsbubble) talked to us about video. Steph begun with a run through of the history of how video ‘used’ to be recorded and how things have completely changed. Now the most common device to film a video is the smart phone.

why video is the one to watch

Steph talked about the huge success of YouTube and how now so many of us use YouTube to not only watch videos, film trailers and adverts but also ‘hot to’ videos. This is a great way for brands to get some online exposure and convert their audience into advocates.

Jimmy’s Iced Coffee was mentioned as one of the leading brands using video effectively. You can check out some of his videos here.

Burberry used an Apple smartphone to record the runway of its fashion show, at London Fashion Week event. Videos and still images were posted to various Burberry channels, including Instagram and a slow motion video was created using a smartphone.

Hyperlapse videos; basically a condensed video which is sped up, was another example used as a way of sharing video footage and Phhhoto was another cool tool that allows you to create short videos using pictures.

So there are lots of great ways to create new and interesting social content to engage your audience. You just need to decide what will work best for your audience, campaign and message. We can now put videos into pretty much every communication we send out. Texts, Whatsapp, Snapchat and Slingshot which all allow ways of instant exchange of videos.

Steph talked about the #icebucketchallenge as an example of how video allowed pretty much anyone to take part and post their challenge online, sharing it with friends and family. Video allows us to make emotional connections through the content, which effectively empowers the bond between brands and consumer, just as they would do with friends and family.

The Internet of Things

Drew Benvie talked about how you can make your experience as a brand more interesting, using things such as apps.

internet of things

Drew talked about how we are all slowly reducing the length of time we spend using apps and talked about the predictions that one day there may be no more apps. His example rang true with me. He talked through how you check all your various apps, some of you may have a routine or you might just check them at random, but we check them just to see if we have any updates or if there is anything interesting to read, share or engage with.

Drew went on to talk about how brands will need to start working in the background on different devices in different ways and how brands will have to start planning ahead for these apps.

To download Battenhall’s FTSE100 report, you can do it here. I fully recommend it if you are interested in finding out about what’s changed in the social media economy and check out some interesting case studies.

To follow the conversation use the hashtag #SMWwhatsnext.

Developing an effective content strategy

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Image: with thanks to ensuite media

A massive success factor to any social media strategy is quality content. But the most common questions I am regularly asked is; how much you should post and share, and what type of content should you post? Well it’s easy really; you want to ensure that your content reaches the right audience and continually engages them without sacrificing quality.

The good news is, it’s easy to achieve quality engaging content that’s valuable to your audience, related to your brand and drives results for your business. It’s important to remember though, no matter how many platforms you have, always tailor the content for each one. Your audience is different on each one, so ensure it is relevant to each one.

Here are four easy tips to ensure your content is engaging and relevant to your audience, no matter how many platforms you might be using:

1. Develop a concise plan

A concise plan will allow you to think through timing, post structure and key message. Timing is crucial, and something that you will need to tailor as your audience online behaviour may change over time. Post structure is important as you will need to think about the length of your posts, what sort of image you will use alongside it; whether it will be a question or a statement. Each platform will have a certain character count, so it’s important you familiarise yourself with this and avoid posting half a message that could be cut off.

2. Plan it with a date in mind

A content plan works best in the form of a Calender. Plan your content right down to the exact date (and time) you are going to post it. There’s no hard set rule on how far ahead you plan it. This avoids the ‘hmm what shall I post today?’ A calendar will help inform your content and from the content shared; you’ll be able to see what’s working and what isn’t working in terms of the type, frequency, and quality of content.

3. Listen to what your audience have to say

It’s important to listen to what your audience have to say, just as much as it is for you to get your message across. Your audience could very well provide you with your next big idea for content.

4. Be creative 

Think outside the box with your content. A lot of people talk about the massive amount of content within the social space as ‘noise’. I would agree with this, all my newsfeeds feel noisy at times, but then there is that odd post that will stand out from the rest. Learn from these, and make sure your content stands out from the crowd.

Five tips to creating a social media content plan for your business

Effective, fun and relevant content is an essential part of any social media strategy. Social content is an immediate reflection of your brand image and the reason your audience will engage with you. That’s why it’s essential to build a content strategy into any campaign.

A well thought through plan will give you direction, ensure your messages are consistent and you are part of the conversation.

Here are some top tips in creating engaging, useful and dynamic content.

  1. Generate a content plan for at least, the next six months. Share exciting news, a new product launch, your business anniversary, and ensure a regular flow of content. This is an essential part of growing awareness, establishing an audience and fostering engagement. If you go quiet you risk losing your audience.
  1. Use proactive and reactive content. Planned content can be classed as proactive if you are actively planning and creating content over a long period of time. Part of your planning must also consider being reactive too. Answering queries and responding to negative or positive comments or reviews.
  1. Time your content. As part of your content plan create a calendar that considers what you are going to say and when you’re going to say. Make sure it’s relevant to where people are in their lives and the season. Nobody wants to hear about Christmas in January, but they will want to know about the January sales. Check out Google Trends, What’s Hot on Google Plus or trending Hashtags on Twitter or Facebook.
  2. Tell a story. A large part of social media is storytelling. Capture your customer’s interest and make them invest in your company story. The most successful companies are the ones that have gained our interest in their story to the point where we want to share it with other people. We want to be associated with them.
  3. Measure your success so far. A very important part of your content planning strategy should entail finding out what content worked and what did not. This has to be a constant process. Don’t waste time creating and publishing low impact content; focus on the themes that are proving successful and reflect this in your planning.

Good content may well be the reason why a customer decides to interact with you.

 

 

 

 

 

Five ways to use LinkedIn to grow your business

LinkedIn has become a well-known free network of professionals offering the opportunity to generate leads for business. LinkedIn provides information on users’ experience, skills, professional backgrounds and personal connections.

Here are five ways you can use LinkedIn to grow business:

  1. Establish a 100% profile. Setting up a LinkedIn profile is very easy. Simply follow the step by step guide to ensure your profile is 100% complete. Once it is 100% complete you become searchable. This will add to your social media presence online. Make sure you have a professional headshot and the minimum three recommendations to complete your profile.
  2. Grow your network: All accounts in LinkedIn enable you to join up to 50 groups. I would suggest joining all industry groups relevant to your business and any alumni groups related to your educational background. As a blogger I regularly share content with groups to share my thoughts and become a thought leader within my sector.
  3. Use it for research: When you are trying to figure out a way to pitch a prospect, your LinkedIn account is a good place to start. You can find people by company, industry and city or search for a specific name. I have personally found LinkedIn invaluable for researching prospects before meeting or contacting them. Look for any common contacts or interests to build rapport.
  4. Demonstrate your expertise: The Questions and Answers section on LinkedIn offers an easy way for you to share your knowledge in a particular subject or industry and become a go to person for tips, advice or solutions. If the person who asked the question selects your answer as the best, that will always appear in your profile as well, which adds another layer of credibility.
  5. Post at least one update a week: Make a habit of sharing at least one useful article that will be of interest to your prospects. Update a week, more if you can. This will then be shared with all of your connections in their home feed. This places you fresh in their mind.

 

4 Tips and Tools for an effective Social Media Approach

You might be just getting started with social media or already flying high. But are you doing everything to ensure the most effective approach?

  1. Use Social Media internally. Use tools to improve communication between team members and your best customers. Collaboration tools include: Wikis, Basecamp HQ and Sharepoint. Meeting tools include: Webex and Skype. Instant Messaging tools include: MSN, Gmail chat. Cloud computing tools include: Google Apps. Internal social network tools include: Yammer and Salesforce Chatter.
  2. Set the ground-rules and ensure you have a social media policy. Even if you are not officially using social media, chances are your employees are, so you need a policy. The policy should clearly outline how employees should behave online, what they should and shouldn’t say. You may also need a response guide outlining how you will respond to good and bad comments about your organisation online.
  3. Listen and respond. Social Media is a series of online conversations and all good conversationalists are great listeners. Listen to what the leading organisations in your sector are doing, listen to your customers and keep up-to-date with industry blogs. Try these available tools: Google Alerts, Socialmention.com, LinkedIn groups, Twitter search and Open Facebook Search. When you have listened and understand what people are saying and where they are saying it, start responding on specific industry blogs, joining Twitter discussions or starting discussions on LinkedIn.
  4. Measure. Everything online is measureable. Regularly check your analytics to see what is working and not working. Repeat what’s working and stop what’s not. Try using Measuring tools such as Klout, Radian 6, Twenty Feet or Sysomos.

 

 

 

10 Top Tips to Enhance Your LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn is an excellent networking tool to help you achieve all of your professional goals. LinkedIn provides a tool for headhunters, clients, customers and new businesses looking for partners or opportunities, so it is important to ensure your LinkedIn profile reflects who you are, what you can offer and why you are such a valuable connection.

LinkedIn’s capabilities allow you to see who is viewing your profile for business opportunities, engage with your target audience through the sharing of information, ideas and posting on groups, identifying relevant people who may help you in your current position, company or long term career and positioning yourself as a thought leader within your sector or industry.

LinkedIn can also be utilised as a very useful and worthwhile CRM tool, which is regularly updated by each profile user.

Here are 10 ways you can enhance and optimise your LinkedIn profile:

1. A Detailed Profile

A LinkedIn profile is similar to a CV, where you display your past education information, work experience, skills, current work position and profile picture. You can follow LinkedIn’s Profile Completion Tips when editing your profile.

Besides that, adding a profile headline and summary also helps to make an impression and make you stand out.

The headline gives you a professional ‘identity’, an opportunity to showcase some of the more detailed parts of your profile, hidden away from viewers who are not connected to you. A summary offers a way to reflect your personality, which can complement your CV if an employer were to view your profile.

 

It is also important to use keywords in your headline, summary and throughout your entire profile. The keywords could consist of your main passion or profession and will help your LinkedIn profile turn up more often on search engine results.

a sarah

2. Temporarily turn off activity broadcast

If you have had LinkedIn for a while and have already connected with people, updating your profile will fill their feed and your wall with update notices. This means that if you happen to choose to update your LinkedIn with ‘old details’, for instance, if you are finally coming out as the Director of x that you are, your connections will think that you’ve only started in the job recently.

By turning off your activity broadcast temporarily, you can silently update your LinkedIn profile without letting the world know.

activity broadcasts

To do this:

  1. Go to ‘Settings’, and under ‘Privacy Controls’, you should be able to see ‘Turn on/off your activity broadcasts’.
  2. Click on that and another overlay window will appear allowing you to uncheck the option.

After saving these changes, other users won’t be able to see every detailed profile update you have made. You can choose to leave it off or turn it on after you have finished editing.

3. Proofread your entire profile

Just like any other tool/ application used in the professional world, you wouldn’t want your LinkedIn profile to have any grammatical or spelling errors which will of course not reflect well on you as a professional.

It is also important to word your profile summary and important information effectively so that it is communicated well with the audience in mind.

Try putting yourself in the eyes of the reader and see if you understand what your profile is about. It may also be helpful to have someone screen through your profile for a second opinion or to point out any errors that you may have missed out.

 

4. Do not lie about anything

This is fairly obvious. Lying is not tolerated in the professional world, especially when you can easily get caught. This is also true for information on your LinkedIn profile with details like your education and job history.

Not only is it very easy to check and confirm just about anything on the Internet, it is also a sign of how ethical (or non-ethical) you are. Appearing untrustworthy is never good for business.

5. Customise your profile URL

By default, your LinkedIn profile URL will consist of random alphanumerical characters. However, you can elect to have a customized profile URL by going to Settings > Edit Public Profile > Customize Your Public Profile URL. Or Edit profile and click on edit next to your URL under your header.

public profile

Pick the name you would like to display on your vanity URL. Your profile URL will bear your name, something like uk.linkedIn.com/in/SarahWillis. You can even take it a step further by making sure that your vanity URL for LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are all the same, for added coverage.

customize public profile

 

6. Add a Profile Picture

People want to know what you look like, so always add a photo on your profile. Often before meetings, conferences or events people will look you up just to find out a bit about you, and adding a photo gives that familiarity.

Ensure the photo reflects you as a professional and portrays you in the way you want your clients to perceive you.

Use a high quality, recent profile picture of yourself, which appropriately describes your role in your industry.

7. Use LinkedIn logo’s on your website

LinkedIn has a few different designs of profile badges that can help you promote your LinkedIn profile.

To find these badges, go to ‘Settings’ and then click on the link to ‘Edit your public profile’. To the right, you will see ‘Profile Badges’. Clicking on Create a profile badge will bring you to another page where you can choose from the many designs available.

You can use the HTML codes of these badges to use on your blog, website or other forums that you frequently use. When users click on these badges, they’ll be automatically directed to your LinkedIn profile.

profile badges

8. Contribute and be active on LinkedIn Groups

Groups on LinkedIn are a place for members to share and participate in a professional setting in a specific industry or area of interests. There are plenty of groups for job seekers your university alumni, specific professions and a variety of associations from all over the world. Being actively involved in these groups could lead you to make new connections or new clients.

groups

9. Personalise LinkedIn invite requests

When trying to make a connection with a fellow professional, you have to send them an email request. The request is already standardised but it is always a good idea to personalise the notes. The receiver would at least get an idea of who you are and give them an idea of why you want to connect. You wouldn’t just hand over a business card to someone without introducing yourself, so think of LinkedIn in very much the same way.

10. Use LinkedIn Applications

LinkedIn has applications that you can add to your profile to enhance your profile in different ways. For instance if you are a keen blogger, then you might want to add the WordPress app to your profile which lets you sync blog posts with your LinkedIn profile.

applications

If you make or edit great videos and want to show it off on your profile, you could use theSlideShare or Box.net app that enables you to embed videos in your profile.

Here are some extra tips

1. Add LinkedIn To Your Email Signature

A great way to get connected with clients or people you are working with is to add your LinkedIn profile link to your email signature. This indirectly increases the exposure to your LinkedIn profile, helping you to make connections, even when you are not actively doing so.

2. Connect LinkedIn With Twitter

Under your LinkedIn profile Settings, you can choose to connect your account with Twitter where you can either display Tweets on your LinkedIn profile, or share LinkedIn posts on Twitter.

If you want to display only certain Tweets with your connections on LinkedIn, you can use the #in hashtag on your Tweets where only those with that hashtag will be displayed on your LinkedIn profile.

As you continue to improve the content within your profile you’ll notice that your profile ranking, searchability, and number of people viewing your profile will most likely increase.  The more visible you are, the more visible your brand and company will be, so it is also important to ensure all staff have an updated and optimised LinkedIn profile.

  1. Export your Useful Connections

You can export your connections into an excel file. Go to connections, and at the bottom of your connections you will see export connections. Export a CSV file here.

connections
  1. Tag your Connections

You can not possibly be expected to ever remember each one of your contacts, and if you wanted to group all your contacts and access them all quickly, e.g. Marketing contacts you can do so by ‘tagging’ them. You can do this easily by clicking on the connection and ‘Edit Tags’ and just adding relevant tags. Your connections will not be notified.

 

Six signs you are using social media wrong

Using social media as a marketing tool can reap rewards for your business. When used correctly, you can successfully promote yourself, brand, or product. But if something goes wrong online, you can risk harming your reputation, both personally and professionally. It is important to consider what you should and shouldn’t be doing with social media to market your brand. So I have put together six signs you could be using social media wrong. I hope this will make you think about your current social media strategy and if you need to change it, before it’s too late!

  1. Hello? Is there anybody out there? One of the worst things you can do is ignore your audience and potential customers. Social media is all about the conversation. If you’re constantly just making statements and not asking questions or engaging with your followers, then you’re missing out on the big benefits that can come from true engagement. Never ever just ignore a negative comment and delete it. Trust me. It will come back to bite you on the bum!
  2. Why does no one want to follow me? Gaining followers isn’t a perfect way to measure social media success. However, if your social following isn’t growing as a result of your marketing efforts, you need to revaluate your strategy. Try to come up with something new that will engage a larger number of people across wider demographics.
  3. Lost for words. The number-one cardinal social media sin is not posting on a regular basis. If your followers can see that you haven’t posted in the last few days, weeks or months at a time, they’ll either not bother to follow you or just won’t engage at all.
  4. Who needs a plan for this sort of stuff? I know social media is instant, but it also requires a lot of pre planning. The companies that get the best results are those that develop an overarching strategy for connecting with their followers. If your business doesn’t yet have this in place, invest some time in planning some goals.
  5. One size does not fit all. Do you auto post all of your updates across all your social channels? Twitter and Facebook are very different channels and each warrant tailored content, across each one to suit its audience. Always think through who you want to target and ensure your content is specific to your audience and the platform you are posting on.
  6. Just go away! You ignore or worse, delete negative comments. No matter how ‘good’ your brand is, negative comments will happen. And when they do happen, there’s only one way to deal with it. Respond. Say you’re sorry, ask for their details and private message them or take it offline.

 

How SEO friendly is your social content?

Writing-SEO-Friendly-Content-image

So you’ve just about nailed your social content, but are you considering how SEO friendly it is?

For 81% of consumers, search influences what they think about a company (Weber Shandwick) and of companies that invest in content marketing, 78% use paid search and 69% use SEO to increase audience discovery of that content (eMarketer.)

Search engines will favour high value content in search results. Social media sites favour sharable, linkable content. So by combining smart social media and SEO tactics you can create a competitive advantage for attracting new customers whether they search Facebook, Twitter, Google, YouTube or blogs. You can in turn bring more targeted traffic to your site while increasing your rankings. So bringing both social and SEO together can be a very powerful way of boosting your website traffic.

Here are five top tips to help give your social media posts an SEO boost:

1. Include your keywords

Ensure your social content includes the keywords that will help people to find your content. Your brand name is also a keyword, so try and also include that where you can.

2. Put it in context

Google’s algorithm, Hummingbird aims to understand the intent behind web searches rather than just the keywords used. Put your keywords in context within social posts.

 3. It’s a popularity contest

Have you ever mentioned someone who is widely recognised, with a huge follower base? Try it! Mention them when you share your content. If that influencer’s followers see it, maybe that influencer will also share it or mention you. You could also try asking industry experts with a high follower number to share your content relevant to their industry. If you don’t ask, you don’t get!

 4. Say it with a picture

Content that is visually appealing is ranked higher and more likely to receive click through and shares, therefore being ranked much higher. A post with an image is less likely to be missed by someone scrolling through their feed. You could also add a descriptive keyword in the image name.

 5. Add Share Buttons within Your Post

You can add the simple ‘share this’ buttons, but there is also a way now that people can share your content with options to share quotes or other sentences they find interesting within your posts.

 

4 Tips and Tools for an effective Social Media Approach

You might be just getting started with social media or already flying high. But are you doing everything to ensure the most effective approach?

  1. Use Social Media internally. Use tools to improve communication between team members and your best customers. Collaboration tools include: Wikis, Basecamp HQ and Sharepoint. Meeting tools include:       Webex and Skype. Instant Messaging tools include: MSN, Gmail chat. Cloud computing tools include: Google Apps. Internal social network tools include: Yammer and Salesforce Chatter.
  2. Set the ground-rules and ensure you have a social media policy. Even if you are not officially using social media, chances are your employees are, so you need a policy. The policy should clearly outline how employees should behave online, what they should and shouldn’t say. You may also need a response guide outlining how you will respond to good and bad comments about your organisation online.
  3. Listen and respond. Social Media is a series of online conversations and all good conversationalists are great listeners. Listen to what the leading organisations in your sector are doing, listen to your customers and keep up-to-date with industry blogs. Try these available tools: Google Alerts, Socialmention.com, LinkedIn groups, Twitter search and Open Facebook Search. When you have listened and understand what people are saying and where they are saying it, start responding on specific industry blogs, joining Twitter discussions or starting discussions on LinkedIn.
  4. Measure. Everything online is measureable. Regularly check your analytics to see what is working and not working. Repeat what’s working and stop what’s not. Try using Measuring tools such as Klout, Radian 6, Twenty Feet or Sysomos.