iASP Client Login

Blog

How to Create a Social Media Strategy - Part Three

How to Create a Social Media Strategy - Part Three

How to Create a Social Media Strategy - Part Three

Welcome to the third edition of the iASP Central series How to Create a Social Media Strategy.

Effective Social Media Marketing often starts with a detailed plan.

Creating a strategy can help drive goals, marketing activities and measure success.

If you've just joined in, here is a quick recap of iASP Central's six steps to creating a Social Media Marketing (SMM) Strategy:

  1. Auditing
  2. Goals
  3. Target Audiences
  4. Planning
  5. Execution
  6. Reviewing


In Part One - How to Perform a Social Media Audit, we reviewed social media profiles to determine which are generating the best return on investment (ROI).

Part Two - How to Set Goals and Objectives addressed the importance of creating detailed, specific goals using the S.M.A.R.T formula.

Next we focus how to identify target audiences, in order to develop effective marketing communication tactics.



Part Three - How to Identify Key Target Audiences

Engaging the right target audience is vital to SMM success.

Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter use the term Audience to refer to fans, followers or a broader social community.

Companies target specific audiences via marketing messages, through traditional media channels like television or radio, or online media channels like Facebook or e-Mail.

A target audience is a group of people who are likely to be interested in your product, service or offer, and who will be the target or focus of your campaign.

For example, you might target single men for a Valentine's Day promotion, or you might target working mums for a new product you are launching.

A target audience is often also referred to as a Target Market, a Target Group, or Focus Group.

Getting your marketing messages to the right people can be a tricky task! It can be the difference between marketing failure or success.

Marketing messages aim to influence, engage, educate or persuade consumers to react in a specific way. For example - to buy a product or to provide an email address.

But even the most creative SMM campaigns can fail if messages are not communicated to the right target audience.

To get the most out of a SMM initiative, it's important to understand an audience's demographics and underlying motivations.

Identifying key target audiences can help develop effective marketing messages and maximise ROI.

So what method can you use to help identify target audience?

We've put together a 8 step process to guide you:



Step 1. Define a Target Audience

The more you know about customers, the easier it will be to engage with them.

Ask yourself who are you targeting?

Brainstorm the following:

  • Who is your ideal customer? Who would benefit or enjoy your new product / service / offer the most? How would you describe them?
  • List their demographics including: Age Group, Gender, Occupation, Interests, Geographic Location, Income, Education, Values.
  • What products or services are they interested in? Why?
  • What social media platforms do they use?
  • Are they desktop or mobile users?
  • What patterns or similarities can you conclude?


Brainstorming practices can help create and identify different market groups. And you may end up targeting different groups with different SMM campaigns.

The practice of grouping customers who exhibit similar traits or interests is called Customer Segmentation.

By segmenting customers into groups, unique buying personas can be developed to engage them.

If you're having trouble identifying a market group, try these iASP Central Tips:

  • Review your Social Media Analytics

    Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn all feature analytics tools with detailed audience information.

    The Facebook Insights People tab features information on Fans, Followers and People Reached including age, gender and location.

    Twitter Analytics - Audience Insights provides key metrics in age, interests, language, lifestyle and gender.

    Twitter Analytics' Add a Comparison Audience tool compares audience demographics and interests to a broad Twitter audience.

  • Conduct a Survey or Pole

    Surveys are a great way to learn more about an audience on social media.

    Create a survey or poll to gain information about your audience, their likes, dislikes and thoughts on products and services.

    Twitter Pole is a tool to create voting poll posts. Poll answers can be viewed publicly or privately.

    Facebook apps My Polls and Simple Surveys are great tools to create unique surveys on Facebook.

    Survey Monkey is an online survey platform that can be integrated with social media and email marketing.


Step 2 - Understand Audience Motivations

Understanding an audience's motivations is an integral part of developing and identifying target groups.

Customer motivations are desires or needs that can drive a customer to purchase.

By identifying the motivations of an audience, it can be easier to establish how you can help them.

Creating a Buying Persona is a great way to predict the needs of your customer.

A Buying Persona is creative description or characterisation of your ideal customer, their behaviours and emotions.

To create a Buying Persona, it's helpful to think from the customer's perspective.

Ask yourself:

  • What help does the customer need? What problem do they need solved?
  • How do they feel? What behaviours do they exhibit?
  • What drives or motivates them to use social media?
  • What motivates them to buy?


Creating a buying persona can help develop a deeper understanding of a customer, their buying behaviour and how you can address their needs.

iASP Central Tip:Product Knowledge is key!

Product knowledge is very important.

Once audience motivations are established, you can best match a product or service to suit their needs.

Make sure you know the features and benefits of the products your marketing or selling.

iASP Central Example:

Fictional Scenario: An online e-store Beauty4Us sells all organic beauty products in Australia. They want to promote a new skin product via a SMM campaign.

Target Audience: After brainstorming they have identified their key target market as young women, aged between 15-35years old, with interests in beauty care and health.

Buying Persona: Young women who are looking to buy quality organic skin products, who value eco-friendly products at an affordable price. This audience is interested in understanding ingredients used in the product and how it can benefit their skin.

Motivation: This target audience is driven to find an affordable, organic skin solution online.

By pre-determining customer motivations and behaviours, effective marketing messages can be developed to appeal to their needs.



Step 3 - Create a Value Proposition

This step relates closely to your overall goals and objectives that were set out in Part Two.

Once the motivations and buying behaviours of a target market have been established, focus on why you want to reach this group.

What is your main motivation?

  • To sell a product
  • To build brand recognition / reputation
  • To promote a service or product
  • To create a lead or establish a relationship with a customer
  • Build social media engagement


Always keep goals in mind when developing target groups. It's important that objectives align with your customer's needs.

A Value Proposition is a statement that explains why a customer would want to buy a product or service. It's a unique statement that sets you aside from competitors, and explains the value a customer receives from your services.

Creating a unique Value Proposition is a great way to help your team better understand a target audience.



Step 4 - Research Competitor's Audiences

Conduct research to establish who competitors are targeting on social media.

In Part One - How to Perform a Social Media Audit we identify the social media platforms your competitors are utilising.

Using the audit results, review your competitor's profiles and report on the following:

  • Who is engaging with your competitiors content?

    e.g. Are people in certain demographics appearing more than others, such as a specific gender group, or age group, or people within or around a particular location?

  • How is their audience engaging with content?

    e.g. Are they liking, commenting, disliking or sharing the content?

  • What type of content are your competitors using?

    e.g. Is your competitor using image posts or video posts? What content is gaining the most attention? What language and tone are they using for their social media posts? What content is least effective?

  • What conclusions can you draw from reviewing competitors profiles?

    e.g. What content is most effective? What key demographics and interests do their audiences share? What motivates their audience to respond to content?

  • Who are your competitors tagging and engaging with?

    e.g. Are your competitors using cross posting or tagging social influencers? Do they post in social Groups or on specific Pages? Do they tag partnerships, sponsors or charities in posts?


By reviewing your competitor's social media activity, you can gain valuable audience information. Formulate different target groups based on your competitors audiences.

This will help you to find if you will be targeting the same audience groups as your competitor, or identify new audience groups that your competitor isn't targetting.

iASP Central Tip:

SemRush is a great social media tool for analysing competitor's Audience Insights . It provides detailed metrics on competitor's audience growth and key demographics.



Step 5 - Determine Audience's SM Platform(s)

Establish where your audience is 'hanging out' on social media.

Research the following:

  • Review social media analytics and locate where your chosen target audience spends the most time E.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest or Snapchat. It may not always be the Big 4 social media platforms.

  • Do your social media followers visit the company website?

  • Do they read the company blog or email marketing?

  • What other websites do they spend time on?


By understanding where an audience is spending time online, strategic marketing activities can be developed to reach them.

iASP Central Tip:Review Google Analytics!

Google Analytics is a free tool that can track and measure website and social network performance analytics. It allows you to track traffic to specific website pages and social media.

iASP Central Example:

Fictional Scenario: e-Store Beauty4Us research shows that their target audience of women aged 15-35yrs old are spending the a lot of their time on Instagram.

After reviewing Google Analytics they can tell this target group are also spending time on a beauty blog website, and are often viewing their video content.

Therefore creating video content and sharing it via Instagram could be an effective method to attract and engage this target audience.



Step 6 - Establish the Best Time to Target

What is the best time to reach your audience?

When are they on social media? Day, night, lunch or a specific time?

Publish your content and posts on social media at optimal times when most of your target audience is active on a social media platform.

iASP Central Tip:

Review social media analytics and find out when your audience is most active online.

Facebook Insights: The Local tab allows you to view the peak times a local audience is using and engaging on Facebook.

Buffer: Buffer is a social media scheduling tool which has a paid analytics option, to track audience insights from social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Google+. Buffer can provide metrics on the peak times to post content.



Step 7 - How to Reach an Audience

Determine the methods you will use to reach an audience.

How will you reach your audience? What methods will you use to contact them?

There are many ways to reach audiences via social media including:

  • Facebook Lead Ads - create a Lead Ads form that directs customers to a sign-up Form or direct webpage contact form.

  • Facebook Advertising and Instagram Advertising - create content targeted adverts that can be delivered to specific target audiences. Import customer's email addresses and create Custom Target Audiences and Look-a-like Audiences to directly target your market group.

  • Facebook Preferred Audience Tool - Create targeted posts to reach an organic audience using this tool.

  • Twitter Advertising - Create geo-targeted posts using details such as location, language, interests and country.

  • LinkedIn Advertising - create persona groups on LinkedIn and advertise directly to them.

  • Facebook Pixel - Installing Facebook Pixel allows you to re-market and track conversions. Display an ad who have recently visited your website or Facebook page. This is a great way to remind customers to take action after engaging with your brand.


Step 8 - Build a Relationship with Audience

The final step focuses on building a relationship with your audience and establishing trust.

Creating good content and reaching your audience via advertising is a great way to gain an audience's attention. However it's important to consider how you will get your audience to take the next step and convert them into a lead.

Establishing a personal connection with your audience is key. To do this, try to provide an offer or something of benefit to your audience. This is often referred to in marketing as a 'hook'. Showcase your customer service skills by offering value and assistance.

Think about the following:

  • How can you build trust with your audience?

    Respond to your audiences comments and queries in a timely, professional and personable manner. This can help establish trust and build rapport with individuals. Remember to respond as a 'real person,' be genuine in your approach and use language that is casual yet professional.

  • What can you offer your audience? What could you offer of benefit?

    Think about what you could offer your audience to establish a personal connection. Here are some examples:
    • Free one-on-one consultation to expand further on your services
    • Downloadable ebook with tips on your industry and how you can best help your customer
    • Tip sheet or downloadable PDF document
    • Discount or limited offer on services
    • Giveaway or competition


  • How will you turn a lead into a prospect? How will you follow up?

    Once you have established an offer, consider how you will follow up with your audience once you provide the offer.

    How do you plan to contact your audience?
    • Phone Call
    • Email
    • Newsletter
    • Printed letter or pamphlet
    • Text


    Organise your follow up method before you create the offer.

    In order to follow up, it's important to collect customer contact details. Incorporate this in your offer.

    e.g. If you are creating an offer on Facebook, we suggest linking the offer to a website Contact Form. A contact form will collect important contact details such as name, address, contact number and email. Once a form has been completed, the offer can be claimed. This provides you an opportunity to follow up in a more personal way and grow your relationship.


To conclude...

A well defined Target Audience can help ensure SMM messages are being sent to the right people.

By identifying the key demographics, behaviours and motivations of an audience, marking messages can be tailored to reach them.

This 8 Step process will help provide the main framework for a SMM strategy.

Join us next time as we focus on 'How to Plan and Execute Marketing Activities.'



Have you created target groups or audiences for SMM before?

What methods did you use?

Let us know on the iASP Central Facebook Page or Get in Touch.



Resources:


How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy - Part Two

How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy - Part Two

How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy - Part Two

Welcome to the second edition of the iASP Central series How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy.

Our journey began with 'Part One - How to Perform a Social Media Audit'

Part One provided an overview on how to perform a social media audit, in order to establish which social media profiles are generating return on investment (ROI) for your business. 

This time we're exploring setting goals and objectives for a Social Media Marketing (SMM) strategy. 

Part Two - How to Set Goals and Objectives 

SMM can be an effective way to build brand awareness and engage new leads for a business.

To get the most out of any SMM initiative, we suggest creating a plan with clearly defined goals and objectives.

Why set goals and objectives?

Goals are desired outcomes that you want to achieve with your efforts.

Goals provide a framework for a strategy and outline what you aim to accomplish.

Objectives are closely aligned with goals. Objectives are the detailed steps taken in order to achieve the goal.

Setting goals and objectives can be considered an important part of any SMM strategy.

Setting goals and objectives can help:

  • provide structure and direction for a strategy

  • improve SMM efforts

  • challenge and motivate team members

  • measure performance and results

So how can you create strong, realistic and challenging goals for you SMM strategy?

The answer: Create S.M.A.R.T Goals!


S.M.A.R.T stands for:

Specific

Measurable

Achievable

Relevant

Time Based


The S.M.A.R.T formula can be applied when creating goals.

S.M.A.R.T goals have a greater chance of being accomplished. 

Why? 

The aim of the goal is clear, specific and easy to understand. 

When goals are clear, it can be easier to apply the efforts required to accomplish the goal.

Broad and undefined goals can leave a SMM strategy lacking direction and clarity.

Let's dive a little deeper into the meaning of S.M.A.R.T...


Specific - Be specific!

When writing your goal, provide as much detail as possible about what you aim to achieve.

Always consider the following:

  • Who is involved in achieving the goal?

  • Who are you targeting?

  • What do you specifically want to achieve?

  • How will you achieve this goal?


iASP Central Tip: When creating a specific goal for your social media strategy, consider the following:

  • What social media platforms you will use? e.g Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn

  • Who will help to achieve this goal? e.g. a team or specific team member

  • Who is your target audience? e.g. age group, gender, interests, location


Measurable - include a metric in your goal!

Track and measure your performance by including key metrics in your goal. This will allow you to analyse the results.

iASP Central Tip: When adding a metric to a goal, consider the social media platform you are using and the type of metric you want aim for. 

Keep in mind:

  • Do you want to increase page likes, engagement, follows or comments?

  • What specific metric are you aiming for? e.g. 25 Likes, or 25% percentage increase

  • Which analytics tools will you use to measure the results?

We recommend using a social media analytics tool such as Buffer or Hootsuite to measure progress and results. These tools allow you to schedule posts and track important metrics. 


Achievable - Ask yourself is your goal achievable?

A goal can be challenging, but mostly importantly it should be realistic and attainable.

While it is great to have ambitious goals, if a goal is set too high, it can become counter-productive.

Realistic goals can help motivate a team and create a strong work ethic. Realistic goals can create a vision that with hard work, the desired outcome can be achieved.

Setting goals that are 'out of reach' can deter others from working towards the goal. It can also create a notion of failure from the beginning.

iASP Central Tip: When first setting goals for your SMM strategy, we suggest starting out small and try not to overextend the goal.

Goals can be adjusted throughout a SMM campaign.

For example, instead of aiming for a large number of Facebook Likes, such as 1000 New Page Likes in one month, start small with a goal that is in reach.

Review your results from the Social Media Audit performed in Step 1 and create a realistic goal based on this social media performance.

Depending on your Facebook engagement results, you may find that aiming for 60-100 Page Likes in one month is more realistic and achievable.

It may also help to break down the desired outcome into a shorter time-frame. E.g. Aim for 15 likes per week, an approx total of 60 likes per month.


Relevant - Create goals that are relevant!

Ensure goals are relevant to:

  • the project or campaign 

  • business values 

  • target market

  • employee skill level and team members

We recommend you steer away from goals that are not relevant to your business or your customer.

iASP Central Example Goal:

  • Broad Goal - To create open communication and engagement with our customers via our social media community.

  • S.M.A.R.T Goal - To increase customer engagement on Twitter, by aiming for 5 x Mentions per week over the course of 16 weeks. A total of 80 x mentions.

In order to understand the relevance of this goal, let's assume a large majority of your Twitter followers are customers. Therefore the potential to reach your key target audience via Twitter is very high.

The customers who follow your Twitter page are far more likely to engage with your brand, as it is familiar to them. So the goal is relevant to the business and key target audience. 

Now consider this alternative scenario... Your business has a LinkedIn Page that is not maintained regularly. It has a small amount of Followers, which consist mainly of employees.

Therefore reaching customers through the LinkedIn platform would prove to be far more challenging. As the page is not monitored, replying to comments would also be difficult. In this situation, including a LinkedIn goal is not as relevant.


Time-based - Set a deadline for the goal to be accomplished!

A time-based goal can motivate others, as it creates a sense urgency to meet the deadline. Time based goals also help manage team expectations, workloads and prioritising tasks.

After you have created the key goals, list the objectives under each goal. Objectives are the detailed steps you plan to take in order to achieve that goal. See our example below.

iASP Central Goal and Objectives Example:

Broad Goal: To increase brand awareness and build authority through the iASP Central blog

S.M.A.R.T Goal: To gain 100 blog subscribers from 1st August to 30th October 2017, to increase brand awareness and build authority in our social community. An average of 8-9 subscribers per week.

Objectives: 

 In order to achieve this goal, we plan to action the following steps:


How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy

How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy

How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy

Welcome to the iASP Central blog series that will teach you How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy.

Social Media can be an effective tool for communicating and sharing information online with current and potential stakeholders in your enterprise.

When businesses promote or advertise through these platforms, it's called Social Media Marketing or SMM.

Social media marketing (SMM) is a great way to reach new and existing customers. It can also provide an opportunity to send important messages about your products and services.

Being active on social media and posting regular content isn't a guarantee that you will capture the attention of customers (unfortunately!)

There is a vast amount of content available on social media. It can be tricky to stand out. So it's essential your marketing efforts are generating the best results.

One of the best ways to make sure you're on the right path is to create a strategy!

A well structured strategic plan could be considered a vital starting point of any SMM initiative.

Developing a strategy can be a short exercise or a detailed and lengthy process, depending on what you aim to achieve with your social efforts. In either case, the exercise may prove to be invaluable. A strategy can provide direction, help examine customer behaviours and measure performance.

iASP Central's six steps to an SMM Strategy are:
  1. Auditing
  2. Goals
  3. Target Audiences
  4. Planning
  5. Execution
  6. Reviewing

We will cover all six steps in this weekly series, to provide you with guidance and tools to help create a killer SMM strategy!

Not sure where to start? Read on as we begin with part one, a Social Media Audit.


Part One - How to Perform a Social Media Audit 

Our first step in creating a SMM Strategy is to perform a Social Media Audit.

Why?

An audit is an opportunity to review, reflect and evaluate your current position in the social media landscape.

It can reveal which social media platforms and practices are working for your business and which are not.

Auditing can also get your social media efforts back on track and help establish a plan based on your required outcomes.

After all there is no point creating an action plan, unless you have reviewed your current performance!

The aim of this audit is to find out which profiles generate the best return on investment (ROI).

Some businesses make the mistake of having too many social media profiles. This can end up becoming time-consuming, costly to maintain or forgotten all together. This is not always the best practice and can impact the return on investment (ROI) that media engagement delivers.

Instead we recommend researching social media platforms most relevant to your industry and your customers. Invest time into the ones that work for your business.

If you are starting in social media, you may want to begin with one or two platforms. Facebook or Google + are commonly used for enterprises.

Then once you are happy with their performance, you can look for opportunities on other platforms.

To further help, we have compiled a list of online analytics tools and templates to get started.

Follow these steps and you could be auditing in no time!


Step 1 - Set up a Social Media Audit Template

The first step of this audit is to set up an audit template or spreadsheet.

Use an audit template to record the data in one place, which will make it easier to review later on.

You can download a template or even create your own simple spreadsheet.

Record, organise and compare data collected throughout the audit process on the spreadsheet.

A spreadsheet is also easy for team mates to access and contribute to.

iASP Central Tip: If you don't have time to create one from scratch, there are a number of free templates available for download. We have provided some links in the Resources list at the end of the article.


Step 2 - Identify Social Media Profiles

What social media profiles are you currently using?
  • Facebook Business Page
  • Twitter Business Page
  • Google + Page
  • LinkedIn Company Page
  • Instagram Business Profile
  • Pinterest Business Profile

List them on the audit template or spreadsheet you set up in Step 1.

Remember that Pinterest account you may have created a few years ago but never used? Can't remember exactly? Could a past employee or family member may have set up a profile without your knowledge? Well let's find out.

How?

Perform a Google Search to locate the social media profiles associated with your business.

It's important to know which profiles exist, even if they haven't been maintained or updated recently.

This can help determine which profiles are beneficial and worth maintaining, versus those that aren't.

List the accounts on the spreadsheet, including the URLs and passwords.


Step 3 - Review Social Media Analytics

Reviewing analytics is an important step of this audit.

Analytics measure overall patterns, behaviours and performance.They convey how well a social profile is performing.

Analytics can include various metrics such as Reach & Frequency: The size and demographics of your audience and how often they were exposed to your campaign and Engagement: The actions users took such as new Facebook Likes or new Twitter Followers, sharing your content with others or visiting your corporate webpage

Where can you find analytics for social media?

Tools:
  • Facebook Insights
  • Twitter Analytics
  • LinkedIn - Company Page Analytics
  • Instagram Analytics
  • Pinterest Analytics
  • Google Analytics
  • Hootsuite / Buffer / Sprout Social - These tools compile analytics from multiple social media profiles in one place


The Process:
  • Go through each profile and review analytics
  • Set time frame - How far back are you reviewing? Are you recording current metrics or including past metrics?
  • Decide on the most valuable metrics
  • Record data on your spreadsheet

Sometimes there is so much data available, it can be difficult to know what is the most valuable.

To figure this out, ask yourself what you're aiming to achieve through each social media profile?

Example of aims:
  • To increase brand awareness
  • To generate leads
  • To increase engagement and audience growth
  • To increase traffic to website

At iASP Central, we focus most efforts on Facebook and Twitter.

Our primary target audience consists of current and potential customers for the iASP Technology Platform, which facilitates publication of corporate websites, e-stores and enterprise software applications.

Our current strategy is to engage our social media community, by building a hub of informational resources valuable to our clients.

Therefore the primary metrics we measure audience and engagement, number of followers and the amount of mentions the content we publish generates.

This is some of the data we find most useful to record at iASP Central:

Facebook Insights
  • Engagement Metrics: Page Views, Page Likes, Post Engagement, Reach
  • Posts - Top performing posts and posting times
  • People Insights - Fan demographics such as age groups and locations

iASP Central Tip: Facebook Insights feature a data export tool, that allows you to export a summery of analytics to a spreadsheet. It features a date range and data type export option, that provides data specific information on engagement, reach, impressions and more.

Twitter Analytics
  • Engagement Metrics: Tweet Impressions, Engagement Rates, Profile Visits, New Followers
  • Twitter Audiences: Key demographics, interests and geographical data
Buffer / Hootsuite
  • If you prefer to view all your analytics in one place, we suggest using a social media tool like Buffer or Hootsuite.
  • These platforms are designed to help manage multiple social media accounts such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google + Page and Instagram.
  • They feature real-time posting, content scheduling and more.
  • Both of these platforms offer free versions. The free version of Hootsuite provides basic analytics, however Buffer charges a fee to access analytics.

Links to these tools are included in the Resources at the bottom of the article.


Step 4 - Review Branding

Review branding across all social media profiles. Is the branding current and consistent?

Check for the following:
  • Logo - Is the logo high quality? Is the same logo used on all profiles?
  • Profile Images / Banners: Do they fit the space without being cropped? Are they consistent?
  • Profile Name - Is it consistent across all profiles?
  • Business Description - Is it current? Does it include relevant keywords?
  • Links - Are all links current and working? E.g. website, blog or product links
  • Brand Values - Does your branding reflect your core values?

Write down your findings on the audit spreadsheet.


Step 5 - Monitor Mentions

Find out when and where the business is being 'mentioned' online.

What are mentions?

Mentions are when your business name or relevant keywords are cited on the web. They can appear in social media, search pages, videos and more.

Monitoring mentions can provide more information on:
  • Social Media Audience - Who is citing, sharing and tagging your business on social media? What platform do they use?
  • Feedback - Are your fans supporting or critiquing? This can be an opportunity to reply to feedback that you may not be aware of.
  • Content - Which websites and blogs are referencing the business or keywords in their content?

iASP Central Tip: We recommend Mention.com. This free tool provides real-time alerts when your business name is mentioned on social media, websites, blogs and more.

Record top mentions on your spreadsheet.


Step 6 - Research Competitors

Now let's talk benchmarking!

It's time to compare your social media to industry competitors. By reviewing your competitors, you may discover potential strengths, weaknesses and other opportunities in the social media market.

Research Suggestions:
  • Who are your top industry competitors? Both local and national / intentional?
  • What social media platforms do they use?
  • What messages are they sending? Are they effective?
  • How would you rate their social media persona?
  • What are their strengths? Weaknesses?
  • How often are they posting? How many followers and likes do they have?
  • Do they use social media influencers to promote their brand? If so, who are they?

Tools:

Facebook Pages to Watch
  • We recommend using the nifty tool featured on Facebook Insights called Pages to Watch.
  • This tool allows you to add your competitors pages, to privately view analytics on their post performance, engagement and page likes. It compares your competitors analytics to your own page performance.

SEMrush Social Media Tool
  • The SEMrush Social Media Tool provides detailed reports on your competitors social media analytics and social media campaigns. The SEMrush tool can also track your competitors online mentions across the web.

Google Alerts
  • Monitor your competitors online mentions using Google Alerts. This free service sends an email report every time your competitor's business name is used online.

Step 7-Compare and Analyse

The final step of the audit is to analyse your findings! Let's take a closer look at your audit spreadsheet.

Review and compare the following:
  • Metrics - Key metrics including engagement, followers, likes and shares
  • Branding - Is it current or does it need to be updated?
  • Performance - Which social media channels are working? Why?
  • Competitors- How do you compare your performance?
  • Opportunities - Can you see any potential opportunities in the market? Do have a point of difference?
  • Conclusion- What are the top performing profiles? Which require more time and input? Should any be deactivated?

Audit Complete!

When you have finished conducting the social media audit, we hope you have a clearer understanding of:
  • The social media profiles generating the best ROI
  • Your current market position in the social media landscape
  • Other potential SMM opportunities

Continue to use your audit spreadsheet to track future data and examine the audit results.

Stay tuned for the next release in the series: How to set S.M.A.R.T Goals - Part Two








Have you completed a social media audit before? Were you surprised by the results?
Let us know on the iASP Central Facebook Page or Get in Touch.


A More Secure Web

A More Secure Web

A More Secure Web

If you publish a website - especially one that allows visitors to login and ESPECIALLY if you operate an e-store and ESPECIALLY if you use the iASP Technology Platform - please take a few minutes to review this article and take the recommended action without delay.

Last year Google made an announcement that read in part:

"Beginning in January 2017, Chrome (version 56 and later) will mark pages that collect passwords or credit card details as "Not Secure" unless the pages are served over HTTPS..."

Read the related article: Moving towards a more secure we

What Does This Mean?

Google has made a game-changing decision to pro-actively inform website visitors that the information they are entering is not secure if the web page uses HTTP and not HTTPS.

You can see an example of a non-secure page from the screenshot that we took just this morning of the Vodaphone website (see the blog image in this article).

While Google is currently limiting this new security measure to web pages that collect passwords or credit card details, they plan to label ALL HTTP pages as 'non-secure' in the future.

Not surprisingly, the Firefox web browser (which along with Chrome accounts for around 70% of Internet Users) has already followed suite by labelling non HTTPS Encrypted pages as non-secure. It would seem inevitable that Safari and Microsoft Edge will also comply.

This means that websites that do not offer customers the peace of mind of HTTPS face the significant risk of turning customers away to their competitors.

What is HTTPS?

HTTPS in an Internet Protocol that encrypts the data being send back and forth between a customer's web browser and a website.

Setting up HTTPS encryption requires the purchase, periodical renewal and installation of an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) Certificate.

An individual SSL Certificate is generally required for every individual domain name resolving to a website, however, there are multiple domain SSL Certificate options available.

SSL Certificates have various properties such as the level of encryption they offer, the amount of warranty paid to customers if a Certificate is issues incorrectly and more.

The purchase and periodical renewal costs vary significantly from only a few dollars to many thousands of dollars. Some providers offer sweetheart pricing for the initial purchase that significantly increase on renewal.

The renewal period for SSL Certificates is either 1, 2 or a maximum of 3 years as determined by ICANN, the global authority for this area of the Internet.

In some cases longer registration periods offer discounted registration costs, and importantly, SSL Certificates must be re-installed each time they renew, which involves a multi-step process that must be coordinated between the Certificate owner and the system administrator managing the related website server or network.

SSL Certificate installation for both new Certificate registration and subsequent renewals typically attracts a cost and therefore the longer the registration period the less the associated installation costs.

What are the Benefits for HTTPS Encrypted Websites?

  • Visible Security - Sites with HTTPS encryption display a secure padlock icon in the address bar that when selected confirms the identity of the website publisher to the visitor.
  • Privacy - End to end encryption of all data entered by visitors into HTTPS pages greatly increases security and reduces the risk of data theft
  • Search Performance Advantages - Secure websites may result in higher ranking in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) than non-secure sites

What are the Disadvantages for HTTP Websites?

  • HTTP pages will be marked as non-secure with an 'Information' Icon or 'Non-Secure' exclamation mark Icon
  • Search Performance - HTTP sites may be penalised in SERPs
  • Website Traffic - Website traffic may be effected if users choose to avoid non-secure sites

How Will This Affect iASP Clients?

Enotia Australiasia Pty Ltd. developer of the iASP Technology Platform, fully supports Google's new initiative to provide a safer web.

As a professional service provider adhering to best practice security policies and procedures, in addition to the actual security risks of non-compliance with Google's security initiative, our company's reputation, along with that of our clients, is at risk.

As all iASP Systems require an administration login via user-name and password, and are therefore already being flagged as non-secure unless they are HTTPS encrypted, as advised in the client bulletin distributed on February 21st:

From July 1st 2017 all iASP powered websites will be required to use HTTPS encryption.

This means all iASP Central websites will require an SSL Certificate to be purchased and installed prior to June 30th. 

As indicated in the client bulletin, all Enotia clients are free to purchase the certificate of their choice from any third party vendor, however, the Enotia Network Administrators must install all certificates on our network for which costs will apply.

Additionally Enotia is offering turn-key SSL Certificate registration and subsidised installation services as part of our on-going service offering.

Enotia clients are welcome to contact us anytime, but will be contacted personally regarding this important matter over coming weeks regardless.

If you are concerned with the security of your website or would like more information on purchasing an SSL Certificate, please contact the Enotia Support team on 03 9855 8517 or Get in Touch.




Resources:





Australian eCommerce Trends & Predictions for 2017

Australian eCommerce Trends & Predictions for 2017

Australian eCommerce Trends & Predictions for 2017

2016 was an odd year for eCommerce in Australia.

The shopping year started off slow, and many retailers were predicting a lack lustre year for themselves.

Yet, the NAB Online Retail Sales Index has estimated that Australians spent more than $21 Billion online between November of 2015 and November of 2016.
If you recall, Australian online shoppers spent $17.6 Billion in 2015.

The statistics support both sides of the story though, showing that Australian consumers did ease off their spending habits for the most part of the year, but (seriously) made up for it in November and December.

The good news is the outlook for 2017 is for another year of positive growth for eCommerce in Australia, with the predicted trends suggesting that this will be a year for significant changes in the industry.

Mobile

Mobile eCommerce will continue to grow as it has been.

But the prediction for this year is that the focus will be on improving two keys areas: SEO and Payment Methods.

Mobile & SEO

Last year, Google announced that it will be splitting their current search index into two, one index for mobile search and another index for desktop search, with the mobile index becoming the primary search index.

In response to this, we should see eCommerce websites focus on improving their efforts in local SEO, as well as improvements to take advantage of the shift to Voice Search.

If you haven't heard the term Voice Search before, we suggest you read up on it. We've included a link in the list of resources at the end of this article.

Mobile Payments

New payment methods that aren't as cumbersome as entering Credit Card details every transaction are also predicted to trend this year in Australia.

Last year contained a lot of buzz about mobile wallets and mobile payments, but stalled once Apple and The Big 4 banks started to battle for control of the Australian market.

This caused a very slow uptake of mobile payment technologies by consumers in Australia, and online stores were happy to continue with the options they were providing.

Now that the dust has settled, online retailers should start to incorporate mobile payments into their eStores as they start to see more demand from their customers.

Traditional store owners will also move to align their offline payment method options with their online payment method options (such as PayWave or Apple Pay or ANZ Mobile Pay) as a way to improve their customer shopping experience.

Chat Bots

Chat Bots are predicted to be the next big thing in 2017.

Down here in Australia though, we don't predict that Chat Bots will take off as much as in larger markets, such as the United States or Europe.

The ultimate decider in whether Chat Bots become a useful tool for eStores will be the Australian customer.

If Australian shoppers don't find a Chat Bot to be both a convenience and a delight to their shopping experience, they will ditch them faster than an out-sourced call centre.

Unless they're done very well, Chat Bots may end up in the same vein as Chat Support plug-ins that were touted as the next big thing in Customer Service.

To the Australian customer, Chat Support has turned out to be more of a gimmick than true customer service and resulted in the technology (and the companies that use them) being viewed negatively.

Amazon Invasion

Of course, the big shake-up predicted for eCommerce in Australia this year will be the entry of Amazon Australia into the market.

Amazon announced last year that they were coming to Australia.

At the time of writing, Amazon had not yet officially launched their Australian arm, but no doubt every sharp business owner that sells products will be keeping a tight eye on them.

No one knows how the Australian market will change once Amazon officially open, but predictions are that it will hurt, and hurt badly.

Competition is good for the consumer though, so it will be interesting to see how Australian eStores respond to counter the hit to their business.

iASP Central Tip: The best way to prepare for Amazon is to refocus your business plan to offer something that Amazon cannot. Products, offers, experiences - anything that will differentiate your business from what Amazon can offer.




Resources:




Do you own an eCommerce website? What do you think will be key for eCommerce in 2017? Start a conversation on the iASP Central Facebook Page or Get in Touch.