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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.


Should You Re-tweet That Tweet?

Should You Re-tweet That Tweet?

Should You Re-tweet That Tweet?

Social Media is all about sharing. Sharing insights, sharing information, sharing opinions.

Not everyone is using social media at the same time however.

Some people use it throughout the day, others just a couple of days a week.

So how can a business ensure that their clients and followers see the information that is shared by the company on social media?

Is it acceptable to post the same information a number of times, or should the business focus on encouraging their followers to be following at the time the company shares their information?

At some point in time, a choice will need to be made - Should You Re-tweet That Tweet?

If we compare social media practices to real world social interaction practices, re-tweeting something you have already said could be compared to sharing a story with one friend about your children winning first place at the sports festival, then walking over to another friend and sharing the exact same story, and then moving onto another friend...

I've been to many a gathering and have seen people repeating their stories, and the crowd seem to clue on pretty quickly about what is going on.

People see this as overemphasising the story, trying to give it more importance than it may actually have, and they react negatively to it.

It doesn't matter if the story is a great tale worthy of being set in stone, more often than not the more times people see or hear it, the less they like it.

It's tempting to categorise re-tweeting a tweet (or re-posting a post) the same as "that guy with only one story", however, that's not the reality.

Unlike a real world social gathering, where everyone is present and with at least some awareness of things going on around them, social media followers are not always present and can be very easily distracted when they are on-line.

Despite the fact that around 10 million Australians are on Facebook every day^, few, if any, are actively there 24 hours a day, and with only a fraction of the followers in your network receiving each individual content item you publish the chances of a social media post being missed is extremely high.

This is why re-posting your social media content is an actually an acceptable thing to do.

Compare the practice to that of a TV or Radio station, who regularly repeat the top stories of the day.

It isn't because they don't have any new stories to cover, it is because not everyone tunes into the 7am broadcast.

If the information you are sharing is valuable enough, people will accept the repetition rather than reject it.

It is very easy to cross the line however, and come out looking like you're desperately trying for everyone in the entire world to know you have a new blog article on your website.

There are best practices and bad practices that you should consider when re-posting your content on social media.


You don't need to re-share every type of content.

The more valuable the content is, the more acceptable it is to re-post it.

While it might seem like a good idea to re-post a photo that received a lot of likes, re-posting the same photo won't be received the same way the second time around.

Generally speaking, the best type of post that can safely be re-posted is a link post  - be it a link to your blog or website, or links to other content you want to share.

Re-posting other content, especially those with the same image can look like you're platform is just stuck on repeat.


Change Up the Message

When re-posting or re-tweeting, don't re-post the exact same post / tweet - and be certain to change the image.

For example, if your typical link post looks like [Article Title] [Link] [Hastag], then try a completely different format when you re-post the link.

The second post could be a question related to the article followed by the link, or you could include a block-quote from the article followed with the link.

The more you change the format, the less your page will look like it is being managed by an automated script.


Get the Scheduling Right

When it comes to timing your re-posts, each social media platform has it's own requirements.

Twitter is very busy. A tweet can get lost among the clutter very quickly. And for this reason, you will want to re-post more frequently than the other platforms.

Re-tweet a tweet 2 hours after the initial post, then once the following day, then once the following week, and once the following month, and one more time 2 months after the first post.

Again, remember to change the content of the message so your feed doesn't look like you're just hitting 'repeat' every few hours.

Facebook and Google+ are much more forgiving. The lifespan of content is longer, and it is easier for people to follow up on what you've posted in the past week/month if they are interested.

It's safe to re-post on Facebook and Google+ a week after your initial post, following up again a month later.

When it comes to getting the balance right with your audience however, it is very much trial and error.

Consider what you deem to be enough, and not too much.

Try one schedule, and measure the results. If your followers mention something, or start to leave en-mass, then you know your current schedule is too much and you need to cut it back.


So there we have it.

Done appropriately, and with some attention to detail, re-posting your link posts is an effective way to ensure that your content has a longer lifespan, remains useful and accessible by your followers, and has the potential to reach a much wider audience than just posting it once and hoping for the best.



^Source: These incredible stats show exactly how huge Facebook is in Australia.



Resources:



Do you repost your content? What are you thoughts on the practice? Start a conversation on the iASP Central Facebook Page or Get in Touch.


Becoming More Productive on Social Media - Part Three

Becoming More Productive on Social Media - Part Three

Becoming More Productive on Social Media - Part Three

Not long ago, I started a journey to become more productive on social media.

If you've just joined me, you can read Becoming More Productive on Social Media - Part One, and Becoming More Productive on Social Media - Part Two.

To quickly bring you up to speed, the QuickSprout Blog posted an infographic in May titled "How to Be More Productive on Social Media".

The infographic was designed to help social media community managers become more productive.

As a personal exercise, I am following the suggestions in the infographic to see what result, if any, it has on our iASP Central social media profiles.

To refresh your memories, the infographic split the daily tasks of a social media manager into 3 groups: Content, Community Management and Growth.

Content includes curating, crafting, posting and scheduling content for social media.
Community Management includes responding, listening, engaging and helping.
Growth includes measuring, analysing, planning and experimenting.

In Part I, I followed the Content group suggestions, which resulted in our content collecting activities being made easier and our content scheduling processes a lot more streamlined.

And in Part II, I followed the Community Management group suggestions, which has seen the establishment of automated monitoring that gathers all mentions of our brand name across the Internet, which has in turn streamlined and simplified and our social media engagement processes.

For the last leg of the journey, I'm going through the Growth related suggestions.

The infographic lists Tools and Steps to help with the daily growth management tasks.

The Tools:

  • Twitter Analytics
  • Facebook Insights
  • SumAll
  • Bit.ly
  • Google Spreadsheets
  • Buffer / Hootsuite

The Steps:

  1. Figure out the crucial metrics
  2. Log in to the various places where you collect data on your social media marketing.
  3. Put your top performing content and metrics into a spreadsheet, so you have one place to view everything.
  4. Analyse the top performing content to determine what's working so you can further test based on the following elements:
    1. Post Type (image, link, video, status updated, etc.)
    2. Post Timing (over a long period of time)
    3. Post Content (commonly used words, voicing, emotion, etc.)
    4. Post Formatting (link placement, hashtag usage, etc.)
  5. Take the common factors that you found from your popular posts, and integrate them into the future posts and tests.

Wow, this last leg looks to be a doozy. Let's get going.

Figure out the crucial metrics

Second only in importance to simply being on social media, is tracking your performance to gain insight.

Before you can start tracking your performance, you need to map out what to measure, and how.

The easiest way to decide what to measure is to ask yourself: What am I hoping to achieve from social media engagement?

At iASP Central, our current social media goals include encouraging our clients to monitor and participate in our social media community, which is aimed at website owners who share our passion for eCommerce, as well as to create a go-to resource to help our clients grow their on-line businesses.

Therefore, at this stage of the plan, apart from an interest in our audience demographics, one of our primary interests is in the level of engagement we are achieving.

We want to measure impressions (the number of people that saw the post/tweet), engagement (the total number of likes/favourites, shares/re-tweets, or comments/mentions for a post/tweet), engagement rate (individual engagement compared to our overall community size), and audience growth rate (to measure how fast our community is growing).

These metrics give us an idea of how well our content is performing, and how relevant it is to our audience.

It's worth noting that our key metrics are sure to change in the future. As our community grows and we'll look to achieve new goals from our social media activity.

Log in to the various places where you collect data on your social media marketing.

There are numerous websites and services that you could use to collect data for your social media metrics.

The infographic lists a few good examples.

The social media platforms all provide some analytics, in fact the Insights tab of your Facebook page and the Twitter equivalent give most of the analytics you could ever need.

Swayy, Buffer (which we now use courtesy of this exercise) and Hootsuite (we've been a Hootsuite Enterprise Partner for a couple of years now) also provide analytics of the social media accounts you set up in them, although the analytics they offer are more aligned to the content that is shared directly via these tools.

The infographic also lists a service called SumAll.

SumAll is a social media analytics and business dashboard. It's a free service - apart from their reporting tools, which attract a cost.

Without hesitation, I sign up and begin connecting all our social media accounts.

SumAll looks to be huge. You can even connect it to other platforms, such as Google Analytics, Shopify, WordPress, ZenDesk, even FitBit.

If ever there was a place to be overwhelmed with data, SumAll looks to be the place.

After setting everything up, I have a long list of statistics for our Facebook, Twitter and Google+ accounts.

So I now have a short list of websites giving me analytics data for our social media accounts.

Put your top performing content and metrics into a spreadsheet

Now for the really fun part.

To start, I'll add our last 5 Facebook and Twitter posts, and list the number of views/impressions, likes/favourites, shares/retweets each post received over that time.

I get this data very easily from our Buffer dashboard. I then compare it to the statistics on our Facebook Insights page, and Twitter Analytics page.

The numbers for our Facebook posts are fairly similar, but I can see that the statistics for our Twitter post impressions are a little off.

I'll need to look into this a little later on, but for now, onto the next step!

Analyse the top performing content and find what's working

In this step, the infographic is suggesting that I look at the characteristics of each post, to try to identify the types of content that our audience engage with the most (or to put it another way, enjoy the most).

Of the posts that I listed, two were links to our blog articles, two were shared images, and one was a shout-out link.

The two posts for our blog articles had the most engagement overall, followed by the shout-out, and then our Friday Funny posts are receiving the least engagement.

Because I have only just set up our social media accounts into the analytics dashboards, they don't have a lot of historical data to show me yet.

However, if I look at our top tweets in Twitter Analytics, as well as our top Liked posts in Facebook Insights, I can confirm that our blog posts are our top performing posts.

Our shout-out posts get more engagement on Twitter than they do on Facebook, but our Friday Funny posts get more engagement on Facebook than they do on Twitter. 

That's an interesting insight. Which leads me into the very last step of my journey...

Take the common factors that you found from your popular posts, and integrate them into the future posts and tests

In discovering that our Friday Funny posts aren't getting much engagement on Twitter, it is now time to start experimenting.

I know that our posts are always scheduled to be published at the same time, every Friday.

So as a test to see if I can improve that engagement on Twitter, I'll schedule them to post at a different time. I'll try this new time for a month, and then switch back. Over time, I can compare the different times to see if there is a noticeable difference either way.

An alternative test would be to drop the Friday Funny posts from Twitter, and try something different for our regular Friday posts.

And although our blog posts are receiving the most engagement, again I can test out different posting times to see if we get a greater engagement by sharing them when more of our audience will receive them.

I really have jumped into the rabbit's hole now.

The End

At last, I have arrived at my destination.

At the end of the final leg on my journey to becoming more productive on social media, I have:

  • Determined and documented the metrics that I want to track and measure from our social media engagement.
  • Gathered a number of analytics sources I will use to collect our social media data.
  • Created a spreadsheet that I will use to manage our social media data.
  • Identified our top performing posts on social media.
  • Identified some common traits amongst our top performing posts that I can integrate into future posts.

Having embarked on this journey, I'm now a little older, a little wiser; and I can definitely say that I am now more productive on social media.

A thank you to QuickSprout for the inspiration and guidance.

This journey is a worthwhile effort for anyone who is using social media for their business, regardless of the level of your social media presence.

If for no other reason, you will end up with a pocket full of tools and a semi-automated, streamlined process to make managing your social media voice much easier.

You will transform yourself from the chaotic "just-post-it-now" type, to the "its-scheduled-to-go-next-week" type almost over night. And you should also find the quality of your posts increase as well.

I will do a follow up article in a few months to have a look at just how more productive I have become, and how much of an improvement it has made to our social media efforts, to make sure I don't just have the appearance of being more productive.

One Last Part

One last thing I would like to mention.

The infographic has some advice at the very end for the super busy and those that want to maximise their time on social media.

Using just Feedly, Buffer, and the social media sites themselves, it suggests the following:

  1. Start by re-sharing your most popular content.
  2. Visit your most-trusted content sources. (add them to Feedly if you haven't).
  3. Use the management tool to clean up all of your queued content.
  4. Respond to and engage with all the notifications in the social channels directly.

Just reading this part, I can see that these steps listed are fairly similar to how I was managing our social media before completing this three part journey.

Hopefully I have moved beyond this now, but it is good to know that I was already heading on something of the right track beforehand (according to the professionals anyway).

This last piece of advice is great for the social media managers who aren't interested in the numbers as yet, and are purely focused on gathering, managing and sharing content to first establish their own social media audience and community.


I hope you enjoyed following this journey.
If you too have taken the journey to becoming more productive on social media, I'd love to hear from you. Or if you would like to discuss my journey with me, feel free to hit me up on our iASP Central Facebook Page, or Get in Touch.

Becoming More Productive on Social Media - Part Two

Becoming More Productive on Social Media - Part Two

Becoming More Productive on Social Media - Part Two

Last week I started a journey to become more productive on social media. If you've just joined me, you should read Becoming More Productive on Social Media - Part One too.

To bring you up to speed, the QuickSprout Blog posted an infographic back in May, 2015, titled "How to Be More Productive on Social Media".

The infographic was created to help the reader cut back on the number of hours they spend on social sites, and teach them how to be more productive on the social web.

As a personal exercise, I am following the suggestions in the infographic to see what result, if any, it has on our iASP Central social media profiles.

To refresh your memories, the infographic split the daily tasks of a social media manager into 3 groups: Content, Community Management and Growth.

Content includes curating, crafting, posting and scheduling content for social media.
Community Management includes responding, listening, engaging and helping.
Growth includes measuring, analyzing(sic), planning and experimenting.

In the previous article, I followed the Content group suggestions, and resulted in our content collecting activities being made easier and our content scheduling processes a lot more streamlined.

For this second leg of the journey, I'm going through the Community Management group suggestions.

The infographic lists Tools and Steps to help with the daily community management tasks.

The Tools:

  • Mention
  • Commun.it
  • Manage
  • Flitter
  • e-Mail notifications

The Steps:

  1. Reply (or schedule the reply) to all mentions of your name/brand across the Internet using a tool called Mention.
  2. Double check the notifications section inside all your social media channels for missed interactions.
  3. After addressing the mentions, start engaging.
    1. Respond to the post comments.
    2. Respond to any direct mentions.
    3. Answer any questions involving your product.
    4. Answer questions about your niche and industry with the use of Hashtags.
    5. Engage with your customers or influencers.

So here we go, onto the second leg of our journey...

Step 1: Reply to all mentions of your name/brand across the Internet using Mention.

Mention positions itself as a real-time media monitoring application.

You can sign up on the website for a 14 day trial, after which, you can upgrade, or as the website says you can fall back to their free account, which allows you to manage one alert.

After signing up, the next step is to create an alert.

An alert will collect all mentions containing a keyword, typically your business name. If you go into the advanced settings however, you can expand on this to include variants or other keywords, up to a maximum of five.

After creating your alert, you next manage your sources and languages. In most cases you would select All Sources, and we'll just monitor the English Language for now.

The last step is to integrate your social media profiles and website.

At this step, I have trouble. I can't finish the process. I have no idea why, as I was able to link our Twitter and Facebook profiles successfully. It seems to be an issue with our website.

After a little investigative playing, I find that it is adding our website as a keyword in the alert step. Because I had already added 5 keywords, after adding the website as a keyword, I was over the limit. A bit of poor usability feedback there...so I remove a keyword, and shabang, I can complete the set up process.

Now I'm taken to more steps: to invite users, set up access to additional devices and platforms (skip and skip), and finally I get to have a look at my alert results.

Straight away we have 6 mentions listed, although, all but one are from our own Twitter account. The settings for our account seem to indicate that our own social media mentions (our own posts, tweets, etc) will be ignored, but they are showing up anyway. I think I'll need to leave this for a few days to process and settle itself down.

The next step in the infographic is to reply to all mentions of our name or brand.

There is only one, a blog which gathers and lists articles about social media, that has included my first article (!!). So I set up a reply to thank them for including our article. So simple.

Now that that's done, let's move on to the next step.

Step 2: Double check the notifications section inside all your social media channels for missed interactions.

I check our Facebook and Twitter accounts for missed interactions, and aside from messages asking if we want to buy likes (which we aren't into), there are none.

That was an easy step, though hopefully you'll have more interactions to reply to when you do this for yourself.

Step 3: Start engaging

Now that I have everything set up, engagement should be a lot easier.

I'll continue to monitor my alert results on Mention. But for now, I have nothing to engage with. So I've reached the end of the second leg.

That was all relatively simple.

Summary

At the end of the second leg of the journey to becoming more productive on social media, I have:

  • Created an alert on Mention that is gathering all mentions of our brand name across the Internet.
  • Replied to all recent and relevant mentions.
  • Set myself up to be ready to engage future mentions.
I definitely want to do some research on social media etiquette and advice for engagement on social media.

For example, I want to know when I should favourite and when I should be replying? Should I favourite a mention? Or is it better to reply? Or do I favourite and reply and retweet every mention?

I mean, I don't want to be "that account".

I'll also take this opportunity to list some other real-time media monitoring applications, if Mention isn't your cup of tea.

Hootsuite is recommended by many, if you only want to monitor the social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc). Tweetdeck is useful for monitoring Twitter. And lastly, Google Alerts might also be useful for you.

They all work fairly similarly, gathering and displaying results of posts or tweets that mention a keyword or phrase. They're also handy to keep a finger on the pulse of particular terms, allowing you to see what other people are saying about terms relative to your industry.

I see many social media gurus using multiple monitoring applications to keep a blanket watch over the Internet. Some applications monitor particular sources and channels more effectively than others, so using more than one can ensure that you aren't missing anything.

Of course, by just keeping a regular eye on your own social media accounts, you will easily be able to monitor and engage your immediate social media interactions with your direct audience.

Many of these other applications allow you to sniff out the indirect mentions and conversations (like people discussing your brand in forums for example).

Next week, we head off on the third and final leg of the journey to becoming more productive on social media - and the topic is Growth.
Don't miss it!

If you have any questions or comments about my journey so far, hit me up on our iASP Central Facebook Page, or Get in Touch.