iASP Client Login

Blog

Viewing tag: social media | View All

How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy - Part Five

How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy - Part Five

How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy - Part Five

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

If you've been following the series, we have now reached Part Five of our Six step journey to developing a Social Media Marketing (SMM) Strategy. 

In case you've missed the previous articles, you can catch up here: 

Part One - How to Perform a Social Media Audit

Part Two - How to Set Goals and Objectives

Part Three - How to Identify Key Target Audiences

Part Four - How to Plan Social Media Marketing Tactics

Next we focus on how to successfully execute a SMM strategy. 

Let's dive in… 


Part Five -  How to Execute a SMM Strategy 

Once a SMM strategy has been researched, planned and developed.. it's time to put the plan into action!

Execution is the process of delivering a SMM strategy and bringing it to life. 

Have you ever heard of the phrase 'Execution is Everything?'

Well, the execution phase of a SMM strategy is considered very important. 

The delivery process can be critical to the overall success of the campaign. 

Even the most highly crafted, well thought out strategies can fail, if a plan is not executed effectively. 

The execution phase of a SMM strategy can be a challenging process. It can require a significant amount of organisation, project management, leadership skills and team communication. 

When there are multiple marketing activities coordinated at the same time, there can also be more room for error.

If possible, formulating a team to take on various roles and responsibilities can help with the delivery process.

So how can you help ensure a smooth-sailing and well executed strategy?

Follow iASP Central's 3 step process: 


Step 1. Update Social Media Accounts 

The first step is to update all social media accounts. 

All business information and branding should be current and consistent across all social media platforms. 

It's important that social media branding reflects business values, goals and marketing messages. 

Ensure all images and written content is engaging and appeals to your primary target audiences. 

iASP Central Example: If your Facebook Business page features a high-quality business logo for the profile image, make sure this is visually consistent across Instagram, Google+ and LinkedIn. Or if your business has a marketing tag-line, be sure to include it in the description on all social profiles. 

Part 1 - How to Perform a Social Media Audit, provides steps on how to analyse key competitors social media accounts including their strengths, weaknesses and potential opportunities.  

A social media audit can help identify outdated information, improve visual branding and establish potential branding opportunities. Identifying branding opportunities can help set you aside from competitors social media.

When updating social media profiles, consider the following: 

  • Logos, Profile and Cover Images - Use high quality, professional, visually appealing images or video
  • Page Content - Update Profile Descriptions or 'About Us' sections to include current contact details, keywords, links and tag-lines that reflect strategy goals
  • Call-to-action - Include a CTA that strategically encourages customers to act. This could be 'Call Now' 'Message Now' or 'Visit Website'. A CTA can help with conversion rate and achieve sales goals. 
  • Update Profile Settings - Ensure your profile is fully optimised, that your Profile is visible to the Public and that your account is Verified. 
  • Consistent Branding - Make sure branding is visually appealing and consistent across all platforms. Use the same colour palette or filter for all images. Try using images that are bold, eye catching and effective.
  • Research and compare competitors social media profiles, what's working and not working for your competitors. Also research and find inspiration from other outside sources on social media. 

iASP Central Example: You have conducted a social media audit and analysed your three top competitors social media profiles. From the analysis, you can see that all of your competitors are using still-format images for their Facebook cover image. 

After researching video content, you understand that video is the highest engaging form of content on Facebook. 

You perceive a potential opportunity and decide to use a short-video feature for the Facebook cover image. This creates a point of difference from your competitors SM profiles and helps grab the attention of your fans when viewing your Page. 


Step 2. Execute SMM Activities

Running multiple integrated SMM activities requires high-level organisation and management skills. 

Organisation is the key to executing a solid strategy.

Part Four - How to Plan Social Media Marketing Tactics, can help you plan and develop a SMM strategy further, including: 

  • The SMM Activities to be carried out, including a template to help monitor activities throughout the process
  • A projected budget and template to help monitor spend during the execution stage  
  • A plan of the content to be released on social media, including an Editorial Content Calendar 
  • Delegated roles and responsibilities

Prior to the execution phase commencing, it' important to have a clear plan of the activities carried out and who is responsible. 

If you have a team helping to execute the strategy,  ensure they understand their individual roles and responsibilities during the process.

This will help keep SMM activities on track and running smoothly.

Nominating a project manager can also help to lead a team, monitor marketing activities and meet set goals.    

Good communication is vital when executing a strategy. 

Effective communication can help a team understand the challenges of the project, what's working well and how to best provide support if required. 

If you've selected a project manager, they can track and report on performance, help deliver completion of SMM tasks and  identify any potential problems.

When executing SMM activities, it's important to:

  • Refer to the strategy and goals to stay on target 
  • Analyse SMM activities and report on them weekly. If necessary, adjust SMM activities that are not performing
  • Monitor budget and marketing spend throughout execution
  • Stay active on social media - Post regular content, engage with audience and be timely in your responses 
  • Use templates and worksheet to help stay organised - Editorial Content Calendars,  Budget Spreadsheets, Runsheets etc. 
  • Monitor and report on KPIs
  • Communicate effectively with team members

iASP Central Tip:  Using an Editorial Content Calendar can help keep you organised during the execution stage. We have provided some example templates in the resources section of this article below. 

Step 3. Measure and Report on Performance

Analysing SMM activity performance throughout the execution process can help save efforts, costs and time. 

Examining data can allow you to make educated changes to SMM activities.

It's important to know which activities are generating return on investment (ROI) and which aren't. 

From here, non-performing activities can be changed or replaced by better performing SMM activities. 

So what types of analytics are available and relevant to SMM performance? 


Social Media Analytics can provide data and reporting on how well social media activities are performing. This includes content posts and advertising. Analytics can also provide key insights into target audiences, who is viewing and engaging with content. 

The data you choose to measure and track shouldl be based on your SMM goals. 


iASP Central Example: 'Skin Beauty' is an online e-store specialising in skin care products. The marketing team are planning to run a Facebook Ad to help increase sales for their skin care product. They decide to create an image ad aimed at a broad audience of women from 15 - 55 years old with interests in skin care. They set the ad budget to a maximum of $50 per day to help improve the visibility of the Ad.  

Two weeks into the ad campaign, the team review Facebook Insights and the ad performance. Upon reviewing Insights, they can see that the majority of clicks and interactions with the Ad are from women aged 18-25yrs old. While they are reaching the max budget spend every day, they are unsure if these clicks are converting into sales. 

Therefore the team decide to adjust the Ad target audience age group to 18-25yrs old and lower the daily spend to $25per day. 

This will increase the likelihood of Ads being displayed to a more narrow and defined target audience. They then focus on using the extra $25 to set up a Facebook Re-marking Campaign for visitors who visit the website and view this product. 

Using Google Analytics they can then track and monitor the conversion rate of customers who purchase directly rom the Facebook Ad. 

Facebook Insights and Google Analytics have helped the team monitor their SMM performance and generate the best ROI.


Team KPIs 

Holding a weekly catch up with your SMM team can help keep your team and SMM activities on track. 

It provides an opportunity to review and report on SMM activity performance, team contributions and concerns. 

Using a Social Media Report can help track performance and important data. We have provided a SMM Report Template in the References section of this article. 

When meeting with your team for a Work in Progress (WIP) update, report on the following: 

  • SMM Activity performance and analytics 
  • Goal and Objective tracking 
  • Team KPIs
  • Potential obstacles and ETAs

Collect Important Customer Data 

When reviewing social media analytics and reporting weekly,  it's important to collect information about your customers. 

Collecting and analysing data about your target audience will help future campaign success. 

Collect information from your customers including Email Address, Location, Interests etc.  

Using a Facebook Lead Form or Facebook Poll can help you gain insight into your customers and your services. 

Compile customer data to form data bases. Segment your lists into new customers and existing customers. This information can be utilised to create email marketing campaigns in the future. 

Report on the customer data collected during your team catch ups. 


Now it's time to put your plan into action…

Deliver your strategy with precision and accuracy. 

Remember the key components of a strong execution are: 

  • Organisation
  • Team communication
  • Detailed plan of SMM activities 
  • Understanding team roles and responsibilities 
  • Measuring and reporting on performance  
  • Adjust and make changes where relevant 

Analyse and make changes to your plan and activities as you go, to ensure the best ROI. 

Have you executed a SMM strategy before? How did you execute your plan effectively?

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


References:

How to Create an Extraordinary Social Media Strategy for 2018

Implement a Marketing Plan

6 Steps to Successfully Execute a Strategy 

6 Essential Steps for Executing Your Social Media Strategy

7 Steps in Creating a Winning Social Media Marketing Strategy in 2018


Templates: 

Social Media Analytics Report Template 

Create a Social Media Content Calendar 




How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy - Part Four

How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy - Part Four

How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy - Part Four

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

If you've just joined in, you can catch up on previous articles:


Join us as we continue with Part Four - How to Plan Social Media Marketing (SMM) Tactics.

Part Four - How to Plan Social Media Marketing Tactics

When planning a SMM strategy, it's important to develop and implement effective marketing communication tactics.

SMM tactics are the action steps carried out to achieve set goals and objectives. These steps help to execute a strategy.

Marketing tactics are often referred to as marketing activities, strategic methods or promotional tactics. 

Marketing activities can help communicate important messages to specific target audiences.

For example, if you wanted to sell a product to a target audience on Facebook, sending a strategic marketing message about the product's features and benefits could help increase sales. In order to effectively communicate this message, the following SMM activities could be used:

  • Facebook Content Posts
  • Facebook Boosted Posts or Adverts
  • Facebook Event Invites
  • Facebook Re-marketing

With a large volume of social media marketing platforms and media available, it can be tricky to know which will marketing activities will drive the best return on investment (ROI).

If you've completed Part Two - How to Set Goals and Objectives and Part Three - How to Identify Key Target Audiences, you may have a better understanding of the goals and the target audience you want to reach.

The next step is to start planning the SMM activities that will support this strategy.

When choosing marketing activities, it's important to select activities that are relevant to your audience and business values.

Follow iASP Central's 7 key steps to help formulate marketing activities that drive results:

Step 1. Set up a SMM Activity Template

The first step is to set up a marketing activitiy template or spreadsheet.

This template can be used to plan and record the marketing activities that will be carried out.

Running multiple activities over a period of time is often an effective way to get marketing messages out there. It's important to stay organised when running different activities, so an activity spreadsheet will come in handy.

Here are some suggestions to include on your spreadsheet:

  • Marketing activities undertaken e.g. Targeted Facebook content posts
  • Platforms used e.g. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+
  • Target audience
  • Person responsible e.g. Team member, team or department
  • Expected completion date
  • Success indicator e.g. How will you tell if the activity is successful? What metric or goal must be met?
  • Cost of marketing activity

A spreadsheet can help to monitor activities and performance throughout a campaign. It can help a team understand their individual roles, as well as a place to contribute information.

iASP Central Tip: If you don't have time to create a template 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. Plan SMM Activities and Channels

Start planning the SMM activities you will carry out and list them on the spreadsheet created in Step 1.

This step relates directly to your goals set out in Part Two and the identified target audiences outlined in Part Three.

When planning SMM activities, remember to consider the following:

  • What message are you trying to communicate?
  • Who is your audience on social media?
  • What is the best platform to use?
  • What is the key time to reach your audience?
  • What is your end goal?
  • What date do you want to achieve your goal by?

On your spreadsheet, write down the marketing activities that will be performed and the relevant social media channels to be used.

Remember to list the expected time arrival (ETA) for the completion of each activity.

iASP Central Tip: There many ways to send marketing messages via social media platforms. Here are some suggestions:

  • Targeted Content Posts
  • Advertising or boosted posts
  • Lead Forms
  • Social Groups or Communities
  • Re-marketing
  • Event Invites
  • Cross promotional posts

When planning activities, it's important that the activities undertaken are relevant to your target market, strategy and business values.

Step 3. Assign Team Roles

Assigning team roles and responsibilities is an important part of planning SMM activities.

A team's contribution and efforts can impact on the overall success of a campaign.

Assign roles to team members that reflect their strengths, build confidence and motivate.

Ensure that you provide your team with clear and detailed information about their specific role and responsibilities.

When running multiple marketing activities, it's vital that team members understand:

  • Their individual role and expectations
  • Team roles and how team members are contributing
  • Overall goals the team is planning to achieve as a collective

There are many SMM roles that can be undertaken when running activities, here are some just to name a few:

  • Content Development
  • Community Manager or overseer
  • Social Media Advertising
  • Analytics and Reporting
  • Campaign Strategy

Once you have organised individual and team roles, write them down on the Spreadsheet created in Step 1.

Step 4. Set a Budget

Developing a budget is a vital part of SMM planning.

A marketing budget can help track spend, funds allocation and generated revenue.

It also helps to keep a team on target, and avoid over spending.

Before starting any SMM activities, try to estimate the projected costs of each activity. If your goal is to make sales, calculate how many sales are required in order to cover the cost of the marketing activities undertaken.

Tracking spend while running activities can help work out the ROI or where funds could potentially be better spent.

iASP Central Tip:There are lots of marketing budget templates available online. We have included some below in the resources section of this article.

Step 5. Plan SMM Content

The final step is to research and plan the content that will be released on social media.

Content is the foundation of any SMM strategy. It's a powerful tool that can help engage target markets, drive messages and create demand.

Content is the information or media distributed via marketing platforms. Content can include images, text, video, e-books, downloadable documents etc.

Content Marketing is the practice of developing strategic content to communicate marketing messages to an audience.

When developing a content plan, it's important to create content that is relevant, educational and engaging.

So how can you create high-quality, effective content?

Follow iASP Centrals Key Tips:

Research Competitor's Content!

Knowing and understanding what content is working, and not working, for your competitors can give you a head start!

As suggested in Part 1 of our series, completing a social media audit can help you reflect and evaluate on your current position in the social media landscape. It also allows you to analysepotential opportunities for content development.

Find Content Inspiration!

Conduct research within your industry to find content that inspires you!

Finding content ideas can help to create fresh, interesting and trending content that will allow you to engage your audience more effectively.

We suggest using BuzzSumo, an online keyword tool that allows you to find popular relative content on the web.

Hashtag research can also help you discover new content to draw inspiration from. We recommend using toolsKeyhole and RiteTag to conduct hashtag research.

Use an Editorial Content Calendar!

An Editorial Content Calendaris a schedule of the content you plan to release on social media.

It helps keep content organised and provides a clear outline of the date and time content will be released.

When running a SMM campaign, a content calendar can help keep content on track and ensure it's consistent and timely.

Plan and list content on the calendar including:

  • Type of Content Post - E.g.Video, Blog Post, Live Video, Image Post
  • Social Media Platform -E.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn
  • Target Audience - E.g. You may have more than one Target Market you're trying to reach on social media, so list which specific audience your post intends to reach
  • Marketing Message E.g. What is the marketing message conveyed? Does the post promote a specific product or service?
  • Release Date and Time
  • Scheduled Post Information E.g. Is this post scheduled for release? What platform is is scheduled on? Buffer, Hootsuite, Facebook Scheduled Posts?
  • Engagement Levels E.g. How many likes, shares or interactions did the post receive

iASP Central Tip: There are many Editorial Content Calendars available online for download, we have provided some links in our resources section at the end of this article.

Create Unique Content!

Content is everywhere online!

Therefore, creating unique 'standout' content is the trick to getting a message across.

Content Creation can be time consuming and costly, especially if it involves design or a team collaboration.

However there are a number of online tools available to help assist with writing and designing content.

We suggest using Canva,a free design tool to createeye-catching visual content or branded images. Canva is an easy-to-use online program that allows you to design content posts and images specifically for social media. You can also post directly from the platform to a social media profile or page.

When creating written content, establish a unique voice and tone that correlates with your target audience.

For example, if your target audience age group is between 50-75years old, it would not be appropriate to use modern slang or catch phrases in your language and written content. Adopting a more mature tone could help relate to this audience.

To write catchy headlines or subjects for your content, we recommend using Hubspot's Blog Idea's Generator or Coschedule's Headline Analyser.

Hemmingway Editor is a free grammar tool that highlights grammar errors and makes suggestions to simply sentences. We use this tool regularly at iASP Central when creating content, as it helps to keep sentences clear and succinct.

Use a Social Media Scheduling Tool!

Social media scheduling tools allow you to manage and organise social media posts from one place.

We suggest Buffer or Hootsuite as our top social media scheduling tools. These platforms allow you to streamline posts and schedule for release ahead of time.

Using an editorial content calendar along with a social media scheduling tool will keep your content and team organised.

To Sum it Up....

Plan, develop and implement SMM tactics that support your strategy.

When planning marketing activities, budget and content,use the available marketing templates to help assist you and keep organised.

Ensure the activities carried out relate directly to your target audience, goals and business values.

Join us next time for Part 5, as we focus on the execution of SMM tactics and how to review and report on key analytics throughout the process.



Have you developed social media marketing tactics before? How did you implement them?

What marketing activities did you use?

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

References:


Marketing Activity Templates:

Budget Template:


Editorial Content Calendar:




How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy - Part Three

How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy - Part Three

How to Create a Social Media Marketing 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.


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.

Becoming More Productive on Social Media - Part One

Becoming More Productive on Social Media - Part One

Becoming More Productive on Social Media - Part One

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.

Cutting back the number of hours I spend on social sites is something I want to do, and becoming more productive on the social web is something I want to learn.

I thought it would be a great personal exercise to follow the suggestions in the infographic, and see what result, if any, it had on our iASP Central social media profiles.

It is also knowledge I felt would benefit our regular blog readers, so I thought it would share with you - my journey to becoming more productive on social media.

Before I start, I'll briefly share our current social media strategy so far: iASP Central has a Facebook page, a Twitter feed, and a Google+ page.

We regularly post our blog articles, and a regular #FridayFunny post, along with shout-outs of new websites that we publish for our clients, and occasionally we share links to articles that we consider to be important or valuable to our client base.

We also have a Klout score of 45 (at the time of writing), because I read about Klout when first starting as our social media manager and thought it would be cool to test it out.

Now before heading off on my journey, I will first work out what I am going to be doing.

The infographic splits the daily tasks of a social media manager into 3 groups: Content, Community Management and Growth.

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

For the first leg of this journey, I will be going through the Content group suggestions.

The infographic lists some tools and 5 steps I can take to help me with the daily content tasks.

The Tools:

  • Content Sources: Nuzzel / Digg Deeper / Swayy
  • Gathering Tools: Feedly
  • Streamline Tools: Pocket / IFTTT
  • Scheduling Tools: Buffer / Hootsuite

The Steps:

  1. Feedly to gather content.
  2. Setup Pocket's automatic intergration with Feedly to add articles to your list with 1 click.
  3. Setup IFTTT (If This Then That), so when you "Favorite"(sic) an article in Pocket, it will automatically be sent to Buffer queue.
  4. Collect stories, you can grab anything and everything that catches your eye or seems like it might be helpful for your audience to read.
  5. Comb through the curated content and remove anything that doesn't apply.

Reading through these steps, I notice some familiar names of tools that I have heard of from other sources. Many I haven't heard of before though.

And now, to head of on the first leg of the journey.
Let's see how I go.

Step One - Set up Feedly.

Before I get to Feedly, I notice that the infographic has listed a few websites as content sources, so let's have a look to see what they are.

Nuzzel - Nuzzel is a website that allows you to collect all of the articles shared by your social media friends/followers in one easy source. This sounds pretty handy, so lets sign up.

I link Nuzzel to our Facebook and Twitter accounts, and almost instantly I am given a list of articles, ordered by share popularity (shared by friends / people we follow).

If anything, it looks like Nuzzel will be a good way to see what topics our peers are sharing and discussing. I can also configure Nuzzel to send me an e-Mail once a day with a list of the most shared articles for the previous day.

Digg Deeper - Digg Deeper "now shows you the most-shared stories from your Twitter friends". Just like Nuzzel, I connect Digg Deeper to our Facebook, Twitter and Google+ accounts and it gives me a list of articles being shared on our Twitter feed.

At first glance, to be honest, I'm left feeling confused. The interface is difficult to navigate. The posts listed as being the most shared aren't going to be useful for our audience.

Either I haven't set it up properly, or we aren't the right type of user. In either case, I'm going to keep an eye on it to see if it turns into more after time.

Swayy - Swayy "helps you discover the most engaging content to share with your audience on social media based on their interests and engagement".

After signing up, like the two before, I get a dashboard of articles that are suggestions for me to share. Rather than being a list of the articles being shared by friends however, Swayy appears to provide a list of articles from unselected sources that relate to us.

Compared to the first two, Swayy looks swish. It will provide me with analytics of the articles that I share through the website. It provides a list of topics matched for our audience, based on our profile (after connecting our Swayy account to our Facebook and Twitter accounts). Swayy also has a browser plug-in to make it easier to share articles that I find while surfing the web.

So after all of that, I'm left feeling like I have at least two good sources for content to share that I know is going to be relevant and valuable for our social media audience.

Now let's have a look at Feedly.

The first thing I read upon loading the Feedly website is "All your blogs, organized, and easy to read.".

It looks like I'm going to gather all of the blogs and websites that I regularly check for articles into one list. There is no need to sign up, I simply log in using our Twitter account.

Then I search for all of the blogs and websites that I read and use as content sources. Feedly recommends a minimum of 3. I pass that target without any effort.

Feedly has a free account, which you can use to share to Facebook and Twitter. But to share to other websites such as Buffer, Hootsuite or IFTTT (which were mentioned above), you need to upgrade to the Pro account. This will be interesting then.

Step Two - Set up pocket.

Pocket is a website/browser plug-in combination that allows me to mark a webpage / article I am reading for future reference.

After signing up to the Pocket website, and installing the plugin, I test it out by visiting the QuickSprout article, and clicking the plugin button. Success! I saved my first item to Pocket.

Viewing the article in my Pocket List, I can share it on Facebook/Twitter/Buffer, and I can assign tags.

Pocket seems pretty easy to use. I can see it replacing the folder of bookmarks I maintain for Good Articles to Share. Now I just add them to Pocket.

Step Three - Set up IFTTT to automatically schedule Pocket favourites into Buffer.

I've heard about IFTTT before, though I heard it referred to as If This Then That.

It allows you to write scripts (or recipes, as they call them) to automate things you do every day. For example, you can set up IFTTT to automatically tweet a photo on your Twitter when you upload a photo to your Instagram. It sounds pretty amazing.

After signing up, I'm given a list of recommended recipes, and I have to say, it looks promising. I can do things like automatically update our twitter profile picture if our Facebook profile picture changes, or send myself an e-Mail when the President signs a new law (wait, what?).

Getting back on task however, I want to create a recipe to automatically add an article that I favourite in Pocket into our Buffer queue. So the first thing I will need to do is create a Buffer account.

Setting up a Buffer account is relatively straight forward, and after connecting our 3 social media accounts to it, I'm now ready to set up a recipe to link Pocket to Buffer.

There is probably already a recipe to do this, but I want to learn for myself, so I create a new recipe. It's surprisingly easy.

First I select Pocket for the IF part of the recipe, and select which of the available recipe ingredients I want to use.

Next I search for Buffer for the THEN part of the recipe, and again select from the options.

Then I put it in the oven at 180 degrees for 45 minutes... no, I click Create, and it's done. Now to test it out, which takes me to...

Step Four - Collect stories.

Going back to Feedly, I search through the many, many lists of articles from the blogs I added before, and pick three.

Using the Pocket browser plug-in, I save the articles to my list. Then I view the list on the Pocket website, and click the star alongside each to Favourite them.

Now, I'll check our Buffer account, and lo and behold, the three articles are sitting there, scheduled to be posted to Facebook.
It's all working.
So now there is one final step for the first part of this journey.

Step Five - Comb through the curated content.

And looking at the Buffer schedule, I definitely want to do this.

Because of the limitations of the IFTTT recipe, the scheduled posts only have the title of the article, along with the tags I set in Pocket when adding the article to my list.

This is a bit too simplistic for me, so I manually edit each, and add a little more to the posts.
Save, and they're ready to go.

Phew! I made it!

So at the end of the first leg on my journey to becoming more productive on social media, I have:

  • Found two new sources for content (which also highlights content that our peers are posting).
  • Gathered all of our content sources into a single source.
  • Set up a post schedule and streamlined the collection and review of our shared posts.


Of course, I have lots of tinkering to do with all of the new accounts and services that I've just signed up for.

I need to test Buffer to make sure it is posting messages correctly, and in a format that suits our needs.
I need to check that everything is linked together properly and communicating properly.
And I want to play with IFTTT a little more to see what else I can automate.

But once all the kinks and creases have been ironed out, the whole set up should hum along nicely.
Now I just need to train our other staff to use it too!

Next week, I head of on the second leg of my journey to becoming more productive on social media - community management tasks.
Stay tuned!



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.


How Much Is That Like There In The Window?

How Much Is That Like There In The Window?

How Much Is That Like There In The Window?

6 Steps to Better Social Media Campaign ROI

In our last blog article - How Much ROI Should Social Media ROI If Social Media Could ROI? - we considered what a reasonable expectation of return on investment (ROI) from social media is, from the point of view of a small business trying to build and grow their on-line social media community.

To quickly re-cap, we essentially concluded the expectation of a ROI on social media can be like the expectation of winning the lottery. Don't play the game expecting to win, play to be in the game.

Of course you shouldn't leave it all to chance.

Review and analyse the effectiveness of your activities to determine those that generate the most engagement and adapt your strategy to suit.

Counting the number of Likes and Re-tweets each post you publish receives will most likely only result in heartburn and ulcers, but that doesn't mean expecting a ROI for certain social media activities is insane, in fact it's very rational, especially when expectations are framed within the context of the following.

So, let's look at our 6 Steps to Better Social Media Campaign ROI:

Step #1: Set a Goal - What is the primary aim of the campaign? Are you aiming to increase your eStore sales during a promotion? Are you trying to collect new business leads?

Step #2: Define a conversion - What action or result will count as a 'hit'? Following the two examples above, a conversion may be a completed sale, or submission of a Contact Us form.

Step #3: Differentiate & Measure Conversions - If the goals you have set are similar to goals you have for your website, which they likely will be, you need to determine how you will differentiate conversions generated through your social media channels against conversions that were not generated through social media.

In the case of sales, it may be by counting the number of sales that used a particular promotional code that you only publish on your social media channels, or in the case of submitting a form, you may track submissions through a dedicated form or via a shared link that contains a variable. Depending on your analytics tools, you may be able to track visits to your website (or a particular page) that originated from social media websites that end with a completed sale or form submission.

Note: The iASP™ platform features a highly functional affiliate and referral tracking system that automatically tracks the source of visits, enquiries and sales.

Step #4: Calculate your return - How much was each conversion worth?

There are two methods you can use to determine this:

  1. Using data: Calculate the average total of the orders you received during the campaign (as per your tracking analytics). Or you can calculate the average lifetime value of the leads that you received over the campaign.
  2. Use a guesstimate: If you don't have enough historical data to help you, make an educated guess. For example, how much would you estimate to earn from your new customers? How much would you estimate customers spent?

Step #5: Calculate your investment - How much you spent on the campaign?

Your investment costs will be the total of things like:

  • How much it cost to plan, execute and manage the campaign.
  • How much it cost for graphic design.
  • How much it costs for the analytics tools you are using.
  • How much you paid to boost/promote/advertise your posts.

Step #6: Crunch the numbers - Now it's time to calculate your return on investment using the simple formula:

ROI = (Return - Investment) / Investment.


Summary:

Don't be disheartened by the results of any individual campaign, the key is to test and measure and evolve an approach that over time connects and engages with your audience.

Remember that social media can be very hit and miss. In our experience content generates engagement both above and below expectations.

The element that many people seem to overlook in social media analysis is mood and emotion. It changes from time to time in humans, and mood is very difficult to measure because it can be affected very quickly and very easily by factors so far removed that not even those affected couldn't tell they were being affected. For example, my football team just lost, so now I'm not in the mood to read a post I normally would.

The key to success is adaptation and experimentation.

Review your campaigns, try to identify why they did or didn't perform. Keep trying something different and comparing the results.



Resources:



How you ever calculated the ROI of a social media campaign you ran? How did you go? Let's discuss on our iASP Central Facebook Page, or Get in Touch.


How Much ROI Should Social Media ROI If Social Media Could ROI?

How Much ROI Should Social Media ROI If Social Media Could ROI?

How Much ROI Should Social Media ROI If Social Media Could ROI?

Trying to calculate success on social media* is similar to trying to determine if your joke will be funny amongst the group. To then determine if the time and money you put into the joke was worth the laughs, that is equivalent to calculating the Return on Investment (ROI) of your efforts on social media.

I mean sure, a couple of people chuckled and you got a few thumbs up from your friends, but are you really going to pick up stumps after a lacklustre response and go find a better group to socialise with? One that will laugh really hard at ALL your jokes?

Yes, reviewing the analytics of your social media efforts is a valuable exercise, as it allows you to identify the level of interaction you have with your audience and adjust it accordingly with the aim to hopefully increase your level of interaction (and as all honest social media managers will agree with, we mean hopefully). But to expect a set level of financial return from your social interaction is lunacy. It's basically saying that the only reason you are there is to make money, which, if you said directly to your social media audience, would cause them to instantly unlike and unfollow you, guaranteeing that your social media ROI is now zero.

For a small business, being on social media is like giving good customer service. You don't have to do it, but doing so creates a special connection with some of your customers who then go on to speak good things about you. A positive result that isn't achieving great returns, but it is a better result than the alternative.

Another metaphor I could use is that social media presence is like putting $5 in a savings account every week, or like planting the seed of a fruit tree in the back yard. You aren't going to get any immediate returns, instead, you're looking for future growth. And maybe 5 - 10 years down the track, after giving the tree enough nourishment to grow and the right conditions to grow in, you'll be rewarded for your efforts with plentiful fruit, just ripe for the picking. Or just as likely, you'll find that you should have checked the soil first because apple trees don't grow in clay you num-num.

Our advice has always been to get on social media, in the very least, on the major platforms. Then, just maintain a presence that suits your business, and suits you. Don't feel that you need to compete with the big leagues. You don't need 10+ posts every day, posted at the optimal time to get the most views. I mean, if you compare that to real-world social dynamics, someone who feels the need to say something every few minutes is regarded as an attention seeker, and in most social circles that is a turn-off.

Think about how much you socialise in the real world, and how much your customers socialise in the real world. Are you out every spare moment? Catching up with friends, meeting new people, making new acquaintances? Or do you only socialise now and then?

Co-ordinate your social media presence with your real-world social presence. Post as often as you would go out (I don't mean post at the same time that you go out, just as often).

So throw away the short-term social media ROI targets. Invest as much time as you can or want to into your social media socialising. Make it natural, don't force it. The social media community will treat you the same way you treat them.

And who knows, 5 - 10 years down the track, the compound interest on your regular $5 deposits might hit the roof, and you find a pot of gold waiting for you at the end of the social media rainbow.

*Author's Note: Allow me to clarify further. This article has been written for small business readers in mind, who have social media goals along the lines of establishing and growing an on-line community. Their social media Return on Investment is measured in terms of audience engagement and audience size.

If you are marketing and advertising on a larger scale than your website/store-front window, then yes, you will likely have a need to measure the effectiveness of single campaigns in your social media channels against the campaigns in your other media channels.

You will need to determine how views and likes and favourites and retweets compare to broadcasts and impressions and reach. You will then need to create models that estimate how many likes and retweets converted into direct sales, and compare it against how many television advert views converted into direct sales. All this so you can then decide how much the $$ you put into social media compared to the $$$$$$$$ you put into advertising on traditional media channels.

Or you could just justify it like a company justifies spending $$ on t-shirts, hats, mugs and keyrings to hand out at a conference. You'll create a bit of brand awareness from the few people walking around with your logo on their head or in their hands; and you might get two people actually call you for work. Unless you were the life of the party, in which case you may get 10 people call you and slightly more brand recognition.

If you really must know how valuable your social media efforts are in terms of creating leads or sales, then journey onto our next article: How Much Is That Like There In The Window?

Investing in social media is like investing in a lottery ticket. It may pay off, and it may not. You can buy several tickets in all of the games every week and still have average returns, and every now again you might get a big win. It's true, you've gotta be in it to win it, just don't go blowing your budget expecting to win big.



Further Reading:



What Return on Investment do you set for social media? Are you reaching it? Let's discuss on our iASP Central Facebook Page, or Get in Touch.


Will Social Media Shopping Change the eCommerce Game?

Will Social Media Shopping Change the eCommerce Game?

Will Social Media Shopping Change the eCommerce Game?

Last week we gave you our Review of eCommerce Trends for 2015, which took a snapshot of the predictions from some of the industries' thinkers and influencers.

In our review, we found that improving social commerce is a big part of the plan for this year.


The term "Social Commerce" has been around for the best part of a decade, and refers to the use of social media to support and influence the buying decision of consumers while they are using social media platforms.

The customer was still required to leave the website to complete their purchase however. The platform wasn't the marketplace, just another marketing channel.

This seems set to change in the very near future though, with announcements from the three most popular platforms - Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest - that they will all be introducing shopping services for their users.

Very quickly, social media will transform from a marketing channel, into a marketplace.

Or will it?


There are some major limitations in being able to purchase products on social media platforms.

For example, it will be difficult to convince consumers to purchase a bottle of Coca Cola on Facebook. People buy that product when they are thirsty and want to consume shortly after. Buyers won't wait for it to be delivered.

People won't buy their groceries through social media either.

Woolworths might post an offer for a particular item; but allowing the customer to buy it then and there will result in a loss of the sales they would otherwise gain when the customer shops at one of their stores or on their website; not to mention the delivery nightmare single-item sales will create for them.

Then there is the other end of the spectrum.

Items such as high-end electronics or white goods, where consumers invest a lot of time researching and comparing similar brands and products before purchasing, will also be difficult to offer for sale on social media platforms.

The customer still needs to leave the platform to do their research and comparison, and so you lose the benefit of offering the product for sale on the platform in the first place.


Realistically, the new shopping feature being added to social media platforms will primarily suit one-off, impulse purchases.

Products that businesses are already "selling" on social media such as clothing items or fashion accessories, but who then need to arrange payment and delivery for the goods separately.


For the majority of businesses that are on social media, it is likely that being able to sell directly to their social media audience will not be any more practical or convenient than it is now, and it is not likely to change their social media strategy.


For the most part, eCommerce and social commerce will remain much the same as it is now. In the short-term at least.



Resources:



What do you think about the social media 'Buy' button? Share your thoughts with us on the iASP Central Facebook Page, or Get in Touch.


There's More to Social Media than Facebook and Twitter

There's More to Social Media than Facebook and Twitter

There's More to Social Media than Facebook and Twitter

The team at iASP Central were very pleased when we heard that one of our longest serving clients had received an award on an international social media website.

Eclipse Handcrafted Furniture were recently awarded the Houzz Best of 2015 Service Award after being rated at the highest level for client satisfaction by the Houzz Australia community.

Their award isn't a reflection of their presence on the Houzz website, it is a reflection of their contribution to the Houzz community. The service their staff provided to their customers left such an impression, that members of the Houzz community felt it enough to share their experiences with the rest of the Houzz community. And in such a small, but like-minded community, the result was significantly louder.

For us, this is a perfect example of selecting social media platforms that best suit your business goals and your social media goals.

Believe it or not, there are more social media platforms available than just Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Yes, these platforms have the largest number of users, and therefore the largest potential audience. But the Facebook community, and the Twitter community (commonly referred to as the Twitterverse), are so large that it becomes very difficult to break through the clutter of competing posts to encourage interaction that is more than just off-the-cuff likes, favourites and retweets.

Eclipse Handcrafted Furniture have a social presence on all of the major social media platforms - Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, and Youtube. I would go so far as to say that of all the platforms they use, they have found the most valuable interaction with their followers on Houzz.

Houzz Australia is "a platform for home renovation and design, bringing home owners and home professionals together in a uniquely visual community." For a manufacturer and retailer of hand-crafted furniture, joining a social media community such as Houzz Australia is a move to target a specific audience, which is difficult or expensive to do on larger platforms. In doing so, Eclipse Furniture have removed the half-interested and not-at-all interested users they would otherwise get on the larger social media platforms, which allows for more meaningful connections to be made with people who share a common interest with the business.

It is similar to presenting your business at a small Trade Show specific for wooden furniture, rather than presenting at a Home Expo. Although smaller, the Trade Show will attract people looking for wooden furniture. They know why they are there, and you know why they are there. While the Home Expo, even though it will attract a significantly larger number of people, it will also bring people that are there for other reasons, and you spend your day trying to attract over people who simply aren't interested.

Our advice, while it does require a bit of extra time, planning and work, it can be well worth the effort of seeking out other on-line communities that exist on the World Wide Web. Whether it be on forums, smaller social media platforms, in chat rooms or on other parts of the Internet. You never know what type of friends you can make.


5 Steps Towards Joining International Social Media

5 Steps Towards Joining International Social Media

5 Steps Towards Joining International Social Media

As the saying goes: business is booming somewhere, you just have to find it.

The Internet has removed many barriers to International business, allowing trade virtually anywhere and at any time and Social media provides business with platforms to communicate and interact with customers like never before.

So it makes sense that if you are going to trade internationally, your business should also socialise internationally.

Global Social Media Communities

In an article published just last year, eMarketer estimates that by 2017, 2.33 billion people will use social media networks around the world.

While Facebook and Twitter are household names in Australia, other countries have developed their own on-line communities.

China, for example, banned websites like Facebook and Twitter, yet nearly half the population are active on their local social media networks. That's over half a billion users that can't be reached through Facebook.

Other countries also have smaller social media networks that are popular amongst niche groups of people, for example Google+ in the United States.

With a little planning and preparation, new business opportunities can be created by branching out into social media communities that would typically be overlooked.

The 5 Steps to Get There

Planning and executing a global Social Media Strategy for an international target audience is very similar to planning and executing a Social Media Strategy for a local audience.

There are 5 steps to follow before joining any international social media network (with a few points to consider along the way):


  1. Select your target country and target audience.

    Points to Consider:

    • What language will you communicate in?

      Targeting countries that speak English will be easier, but don't dismiss countries that speak a foreign language just for that reason. There are many translation services that can be used, such as Google Translate, or see it as an opportunity to learn a new language.

    • What cultural differences should you be aware of?

      The last thing you want to do is offend your audience, so take the time to learn what is acceptable, and what is not. You don't want to get caught out giving the O.K sign when it doesn't mean O.K in a different language.

  2. Identify and join the networks used most frequently by that target audience.

    Points to Consider:

    • How does the audience use a particular social media platform?

      Take the time to learn how your selected audience use and connect on their preferred platform. For example, is it professionals networking, is it a forum style platform, or is it used like Facebook?

    • Individual or combined social media accounts?

      Think about whether you will make one account and post all content from it or make different local accounts for each country you are targeting. It might help to hire a social media manager who will be able to keep track of multiple accounts and respond to queries on all of them.

  3. Create and share content that appeals to that target audience.

    Points to Consider:

    • Individual or shared content?

      Different audiences will respond to different content. You can maintain consistency by sharing the same content across audiences, but ideally, create content that is tailored for your individual audience tastes.

  4. Engage and communicate with the target audience regularly.

    Points to Consider:

    • How will you manage the different time zones?

      Social Media requires interaction - joining conversations, replying to comments, and reacting to situations as they unfold. How will you business manage these events outside of opening hours?

  5. Measure progress. Refine and repeat.

    Points to Consider:

    • How will you measure progress?

      Just as you are tracking and measuring your progress on local social media platforms, how will you manage your key performance indicators on other social platforms?

You could combine several countries into one strategy and target a shared audience; or you could have individual strategies for each country, allowing you to target individual audiences with greater focus.

Get Out There, Be Seen, Say Hello

While creating a presence on social media networks in other countries might not result in direct sales immediately, it will create brand recognition and allow you to build reputation in new markets.

Be seen enough, and before too long, people will start to consider your products and services in their buying decisions.

You might not think that your product will sell in other countries, but it could just as easily become the next must-have craze that your local customers didn't catch on to.



Further Resources:



Are you planning to go social in other countries? Share your strategy tips with us on the iASP Central Facebook Page, or Get in Touch.


If you Post It, Will They Come?

If you Post It, Will They Come?

If you Post It, Will They Come?

5 Content Marketing Fundamentals

A well planned and executed content marketing strategy is no longer optional in order to stand out in the crowded digital landscape.

Content marketing is now a mandatory component of any Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategy and a powerful way to give your audience a great experience of your brand.

Content marketing helps attract new visitors and build a loyal audience, which generally leads to increased conversions. Content marketing as defined by the Content Marketing Association is the discipline of creating quality branded editorial content across all media channels and platforms to deliver engaging relationships, consumer value and measurable success for brands.

For most of small businesses, all media channels and platforms typically means a corporate website, some Social Media engagement and hopefully some level of pro-active marketing in the form of promotional e-mail campaigns or other digital or traditional media advertising.

To point you in the right direction, we've listed 5 Content Marketing Fundamentals to help you plan and develop a content strategy that delivers on your investment.

1. Plan: Know your Audience and Objectives

Before you start chalk out a plan.

You may not have all the questions to begin with, let alone the answers, but beginning with why, who, when and how is a good place to start.

Who are you talking to and what areas of your business is of interest to them? How will you communicate and engage your audience?

Remember - it's all about building a community interacting with your brand!

2. Be Prepared to Spend

Ongoing creation of high quality content is neither easy nor cheap.

As a professional in your industry you are well placed to set the content agenda, but if you're talents (and time availability) don't allow you to be hands on in the entire process you might consider outsourcing as an option.

Here at Hub Com Digital, our management team develops an editorial calendar containing the topics we want to focus on for the coming weeks.

We then internally work up an overview for each individual content piece.

In the case of an article that will be published on our company Blog as well as our Social Media platforms, we would first develop the overall premise of the article and give it a working title. We then attach a couple of suggestions for a headline and send all that information to our graphic designer to create a suitable image for the article.

The articles themselves are either entirely written by our internal staff, or outsourced to external professional content developers, who write the actual article based on the premise / title and headline suggestions we provide.

3. Content for Brand Building

Gaining respect for your brand is not easy. It's the outcome of a process containing many steps over time.

Relating information about the evolution of your brand and your journey to the present gives credibility and builds empathy.

When planning your content marketing strategy, be sure to include reference to your origins, what motivates you to succeed and what motivates your customers to keep coming back.

The aim here is to create personal connections with your audience and reinforce what your brand represents.

According to Robert Rose, Chief Strategist at the Content Marketing Institute, telling the story of your brand can be likened to conventional story telling at a level. In a post on CMI, Rose lists out ten steps divided into three broad categories which will help you understand how to create content that captivates and enthrals.

4. Content for Reputation

On-line reputation management, which involves the maintaining of your digital reputation as well as dealing with negative public feedback, has become a thriving business today. Many of us have Googled the names of companies along with keywords like 'negative', 'bad' to check the reputation of companies (and people) we are planning to deal with.

While most reputable organisations are unlikely to be subject to an attack like the infamous case where a large number of websites attached the keywords 'miserable failure' with a link to George W Bush's official biography page hosted by the White House, the reality is that social media networks have given customers a powerful platform and dealing with negative feedback - whether it is true or not - is an increasingly important part of modern business operations.

A pro-active content marketing strategy distributing positive content on-line is a powerful way to mitigate the damage of an attack. It also pays to have a solid policy for dealing with negative feedback in place. Refer to our Blog article: Five tactics to address negative customer feedback.

5. Content for Search Performance

Search Engines like Google are making it increasing difficult to manipulate their search rankings artificially. Google's documentation clearly states they reward "high-quality" sites, and by this they mean websites that give "great user experience" and "fulfill information needs".

Just as Google rewards "high-quality" sites, it penalises sites for "low-quality content". Before embarking on your content marketing journey have a look at this important article on building high quality websites in the Google Webmaster Central Blog.

Summary

A content marketing strategy requires a significant commitment of resources. The impact is not usually instant and mistakes can be very costly.

On the other hand, the long term benefits from building and nurturing a community centred on your business are coveted by many for good reason.

Want to discuss this some more? If you would like to know more about content marketing or about anything in this article please let us know on the iASP Central Facebook Page, or Get in Touch.


Why Facebook Likes Just Got a Whole Lot Better

Why Facebook Likes Just Got a Whole Lot Better

Why Facebook Likes Just Got a Whole Lot Better

In a recent announcement on their Developers Blog, Facebook outlined a game-changing inclusion to their Platform Policy.

The new policy reads:

You must not incentivize people to use social plugins or to like a Page. This includes offering rewards, or gating apps or app content based on whether or not a person has liked a Page. It remains acceptable to incentivize people to login to your app, checkin at a place or enter a promotion on your app's Page. To ensure quality connections and help businesses reach the people who matter to them, we want people to like Pages because they want to connect and hear from the business, not because of artificial incentives. We believe this update will benefit people and advertisers alike.

You can view the full details here.

The policy change is aimed at curbing a practice known as Like-Gating - better known as "Like our page to get access to" or "Like our page to go in the draw" - which up until now, has proven to be an effective way to get a boost in page Likes in a short amount of time.

The new policy is also in line with Facebook's current promotions policy prohibiting the practice of sharing posts to gain entry to a competition or access to content.


Hub Com Digital Likes This

The new policy makes sense. It is to discourage the fake Like culture of Facebook and give more value to a single Like. As Facebook stated, the policy change has been made with the aim that people will Like a page because they actually Like the page (or page owner), giving a clearer indication of true followers rather than just a number of contest entries that haven't engaged with the page since.

It also means that companies will need to work harder to gain a Like by increasing their engagement, improving the quality of their content, and giving Facebook users a legitimate reason to Like their page.


The Like-Gate Alternative

The replacement strategy for Like-Gating is being referred to as Action-Gating - encouraging actions that generate true engagement from the user, such as providing some details or answering a survey in return for valuable content (or a competition entry).

This method is already a successful practice on websites, and it makes sense to use the same practice to generate leads on Facebook as well. The information that is collected this way is far more valuable than 1000 fake Likes on a Facebook page.


Further Reading:

What is your opinion about Like-Gating? Did you ever like-gate on your Facebook page? Or do you think the practice is right to be banned? Share your thoughts with us on the iASP Central Facebook Page, or Get in Touch.


To Tweet or Not to Tweet?

To Tweet or Not to Tweet?

To Tweet or Not to Tweet?
The power to publish directly via the web came with responsibilities and over the last 21 years business has had to adapt to this new reality.

Then along came Social Media - with it's own perils - did you know all content published on Social Media platforms is subject to regulation under Australian law...including all comments and visitor interaction?

Social Media has delivered the most powerful marketing tool to business since the Internet itself, but the moral of this story is there are big traps for young players.

Before engaging in Social Media activity, be sure you understand the legal responsibilities - and the terms and conditions of the various platforms you use.

For more information about the Australian broadcasting standards see the ACMA website and some popular Social Media Platforms terms of use pages are here:










2 Crucial Practices for Social Media for Business Novices

2 Crucial Practices for Social Media for Business Novices

2 Crucial Practices for Social Media for Business Novices
We all know that, for most businesses, social media is an invaluable tool. Everyone has advice and everyone has multiple accounts, but what if you're new to social media for business and want to take baby steps and learn the ropes?

The quickest way to build confidence and get you on the road to effectively managing your social media is to educate yourself. We recommend that you read as much as possible on the subject (Mashable.com is a great resource!) and get your hands dirty in a monitoring tool. There are a variety of social media monitoring platforms out there to help you schedule content, respond to relevant issues, and provide customer service, but if you're a novice, tweetdeck is one of the most straight forward tools.

With all the reading you're doing, if you're still not ready to post, you can keep an eye on keywords. Set up tweetdeck searches for your business name, words relevant to your business, an potential new clients. For example, if you have an iPhone repair shop in Geelong, you could set up a search for "iPhone repair Geelong" in tweetdeck. When a tweeter posts about their broken screen, you can respond directly. It couldn't be easier.

Is Social Media a Good Choice for Your Business?

Is Social Media a Good Choice for Your Business?

Is Social Media a Good Choice for Your Business?
A big part of our business is dedicated to helping our clients successfully engage in Social Media.

We see the positive effects every day, but Social Media is not for every business.

Here's our Social Media compatibility check-list:

  • Audience:
    Does your product / service appeal to an audience that justifies the effort?
    If you supply specialised parts for an aircraft manufacturer chances are you won't appeal to a large enough audience to deliver return on investment and your efforts to engage customers could be better spent elsewhere.

  • Shareability:
    Is your product / service something your audience will be happy to share with their friends?
    Treatments for certain diseases may not be something your customers are happy to tell the rest of the world they are using!

  • Resources:
    Do you have the time, money and people with the knowledge and skills required to successfully engage in Social Media? If you don't have the people on staff, do you have the resources to out-source?
    Social Media requires a long term investment of time and money, but that's only part of the story.
    Social Media requires a team effort from all stakeholders in your business and demands a level of knowledge, certain skills and importantly the motivation to be successful.

If you're not sure whether or not Social Media is right for your business, here's my number 1 tactic: look at your competitors!

If your competitors are successfully growing communities and engaging their customers it means you can check off Audience and Shareability from the list, and this will probably provide you with all the motivation you need.

So it becomes a matter of Resources: Time, Money and People (either internal staff or out-sourced personnel).

More about this over coming weeks.


Even Facebook Encounters Security Bugs

Even Facebook Encounters Security Bugs

Even Facebook Encounters Security Bugs
Last week (Jun 21st, 2013) Facebook announced a security bug that exposed users' personal contact information. In a post on the Facebook Security Page, Facebook explained that some of the information that the site uses to deliver friend recommendations was "inadvertently stored with people's contact information as part of their account on Facebook". As a result, anyone using Facebook's Download Your Information tool to download their friends' data were presented with information that should have remained secure.

This bug affected 6 million users.

What's more shocking is that it's been live since last year, but was discovered only last week. Although the security team fixed the bug less than 24 hours after it was detected, this highlights the fact that even with a strong technical team and massive resources , it is impossible to ensure that no bugs exist. This is worrisome as social media continues to integrate deeper into our daily lives.

How to Plan Meaningful Content

How to Plan Meaningful Content

How to Plan Meaningful Content

The most difficult part of any social media continuous marketing strategy is to generate meaningful content. It can be daunting, but a content calendar is a great way to start.

Choose topics relevant to your business and plan the days that you'll write about each topic. Schedule staff to contribute because, ultimately, their skills and relationships with clients comprise the knowledge and capabilities of your business. It's also great to periodically reference industry related news, but be sure that you choose reliable sources.

Remember that it's important to keep your company's voice consistent, so all content should pass through your Community Manager before it's shared with the world.


Why do customers leave without saying goodbye?

Why do customers leave without saying goodbye?

Why do customers leave without saying goodbye?

It was fun while it lasted...

I talk to businesses worrying about customers posting negative feedback, but a customer can do something far worse: Leave, without even saying goodbye!

Don't rely on customer feedback to highlight problems...in reality customers are more likely to just move on if they encounter barriers to your offerings.

Case in point: A client recently created a promotion-code based offer on Facebook.

Plenty of followers claimed the offer, but no sales resulted...on investigation the code wasn't set-up properly, but nobody complained...they just didn't buy anything!

Tactic: There is a second powerful lesson here...many online systems behave differently according to login status: be sure to test everything is functioning properly from your customers perspective... on this later...


Five tactics to address negative customer feedback

Five tactics to address negative customer feedback

Five tactics to address negative customer feedback

With the emergence of social media, customers are becoming increasingly savvy about how to effectively focus the spotlight on poor customer service, products and other sub-standard business practices.

In today's competitive environment transparency and integrity are vital, so if you have skeletons in your closet, it's more important than ever to clean up your act.

If a customer exposes a legitimate issue with your customer service, your products or your other business practices (if only I had a dollar for every time that's happened to me over the last 25 years), these five tactics have proven highly effective in my experience:

1: The best and only policy is (and always has been) to respond honestly and quickly.

2: Respond directly to the feedback within the platform it was submitted, even if you plan to action the issue in other ways. For example, respond to comments posted on your Facebook wall with an answer on your Facebook wall, even if you plan to telephone the customer directly.

3: Be sure your response is polite and professional. It's a good idea to frame responses with the mindset that they might appear on the front page of a newspaper...as has happened to some operators who didn't consider this possibility.

4: Don't feel any obligation to be overly specific, but if possible provide a brief explanation of how or why the issue occurred and if relevant how you will address the issue in future, for example:
"We had a power outage that afternoon, which explains why our telephones were off-line. We're consulting with our provider to investigate options to mitigate this in future".

5: Regardless of whether the customer is entitled to any formal compensation under your terms of service or in respect to any warranty, consider how you would want to be responded to if you were in your customers position. Even a token offer of compensation can be a very powerful display of empathy, however, be sure any such offer cannot be misconstrued as patronising.