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The Social Media Connection Cycle Explained [Infographic]

After many years in the industry, first as a social media agency, and now as a social media marketing software application, we have observed many cycles. As with most industries, there are cycles and flows that appear over time and social media is no different. Though not all social media accounts, brands or industry niches will experience the identical cycles, we have determined that those that really understand social media and are executing it well, will quickly recognize the flow I am about to explain. This concept is something that we have observed, modeled and used for many years, and still do today.

The cycle of engagement with your social media connectionsWithin your community there are ebbs and flows or “cycles” that occur. Though most social media managers are not consciously aware of this cycle, it is occurring nonetheless. So it is very important to understand the cycle, the components included within it and how it should affect your overall focus and subsequent results.

The Social Media Connection Cycle is a natural process that occurs within most social media communities. By community, we are specifically referring to the friends, followers and likes that are connected to you and/or your brand within the various social networks. All of these combined connections can be referred to as your community.

What Is The Social Media Connection Cycle?

The social media connection cycle is the flow of community connections in and out of the relationship sweet spot. This natural cycle is very similar to a businesses prospect, current and past customer flow and can even be seen in one’s individual relationships. Made up of the 5 components of your community, the connection cycle concept will help you visualize the sweet spot within your social following where the magic happens and the activities you can do to continue and grow that sweet stop.

Your Community – As stated above, your social community is “the combined connections you or your brand have within the social graph.” It is the envelope that contains the additional components and other elements of the cycle. The main “bucket” if you will.

Inside of this bucket are the 4 segments of the connection cycle including Relationships, New and Older Connections as well as Highly Targeted Connections. We will define these separate components and discuss their specific role within the cycle, then we will wrap up with the big picture.

First, the above Infographic shows that a “typical” social community is made up of 50% of Older Connections, 30% from Newer Connections and 20% from Highly Targeted Connections. Though the percentages from each of these segments may not be exactly the same for every company, marketer or niche, we have observed this to be a fairly typical scenario that makes up your overall community.

Active Relationships – At the center of the connection cycle are your real, active relationships. These are the connections that you know and engage with regularly.

The active relationship group within the cycle is comprised of portions of your connections that come from Older Connections, Newer Connections and Targeted Connections. Typically the percentages of these groups that migrate into your relationship bucket are as follows:

New Connections – 20% of these flow into active engaging relationships

Older Connections – 20% of these flow into active engaging relationships

Highly Targeted – 60% of these flow into active engaging relationships

It is really important to understand that Active Relationships are often not a substantially growing number or percentage of your overall community. What typically happens is that connections flow into and out of the active relationship cycle from the various connection types, while the overall number or percentage remains fairly constant. This is especially true when your community size is fairly static and not growing at a daily conscious pace. In fact if your social community is static or decreasing, it will often have a direct impact on the quantity and percentage of your active relationships within your social media efforts.

Older Connections – The ebb and flows of your connection types within the connection cycle are often least impacted by older connections, however by no means does that make them any less important. Think of your older connections as fluid relationship connections that periodically move in and out of the active relationship bucket over time. I often think of them as those friends that you get together with a few times a year, and it seems like you start right where you left off last.

The interesting thing we have discovered about older connections is that though only around 20% are inside the active relationship bucket at any given time, they represent about 50% of our new upgraded users in Bundle Post. The important point here is the confirmation that social media is a marathon, not a sprint. Long-term connections, even if they are not inside the active relationship bucket TODAY, do pay off in social media.

New Connections – New connections are made up of new followers, likes and friends that have “recently” connected with you on social media. Often times you can’t immediately establish whether they are a highly targeted connection, nor can they be considered an older connection, however they do represent one of the most important connection types within a healthy social community.

When your social media marketing consciously executes an effective strategy to grow your community, it has a powerful impact on your active relationships. Though new connections typically only make up 20% of your active relationship segment it is one of the factors you actually have control over. When you’re actively and continually focused on growing your overall community with new connections your audience grows, the number of engagement opportunities increase and it directly impacts your active conversations and relationships.

Highly Targeted Connections – The final segment of the connection cycle is made up of Highly Targeted Connections. I say “IS”, but I think the word SHOULD is probably more appropriate. If you are not consciously focusing on the connections within your community that are your highly targeted customers, prospects and influencers, you are dramatically and negatively impacting your social connection cycle. More importantly, your are likely not achieving the kind of results your social media marketing should be realizing.

The Wrap Up

The concept of the social media connection cycle is intended to help you visualize the dynamic flows within your social community. They are active, not static cycles that flow in and out of the central relationship zone, which is the “sweet spot” and where you should be spending your time, focus and energy.

Everything we discussed within this post is predicated on a few things. We are assuming you have a proper social media strategy in place and that you are executing it well. We also assume that you understand the quantity AND quality concepts related to consistent content in your streams every day, all day. And finally, we expect that you have set communication, conversation and rapid response as priorities for your daily social activity. If these assumptions are accurate, then visualizing the social media connection cycle throughout your daily social media management will bring new focus, understanding and opportunities to achieve improved results. Of not, then you are likely experiencing another kind of cycle that has nothing to do with real results…

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Part 2 – 18 Amateur Social Media Marketing Mistakes To Avoid

More Amateur social media mistakes to avoidIn Part 1 of our series on Amateur Social Media Marketing fails, we covered some of the more common mistakes we see on a daily basis. We are continuing our series with an additional nine mistakes that you really should avoid.

Again, we want to reiterate that this post is specifically for those that are using social media for marketing. We also want to restate that there are no steadfast rules to social media marketing, just best practices.

Everything in this post is designed to educate you on things that you may want to avoid and provide you with the details as to why.

 

Here are the 9 additional amateur social media fails:

10) Inviting Followers to Connect Somewhere Else - Someone walks into your store and someone on your staff tells them, “hey, it would be great if you went to our OTHER location on 5th street.”  How well do you think that will go over with your customer? If you wouldn’t do it real life, don’t do it in social media.

Your new connection has connected with you where THEY wanted to. Make the connection valuable and interesting enough for them to WANT to visit your other connection points.

11) Not Following Others - You’re so cool that you don’t care about anyone else but yourself? #FAIL When I see a social account that has thousands of followers/friends, yet follows very few of them back, I run!

There are typically only three reasons that they do this:

a) They’ve purchased friends/followers/likes to appear important.

b) They think they are really important and it’s all about them. (they don’t care about anyone else)

c) They have no clue about social media marketing -or- relationships.

12) Mass Event Invites - So you have a new event and you want everyone to be there so you click to invite people on your friends list. STOP! It is more than acceptable to invite people to your event that you have a relationship with and/or are in the city/state of the event you are promoting, but mass inviting your entire “friends” list is a huge fail.

Would you send invitations to everyone in your address book to a local Christmas party you are holding at your home?  If you answered yes, we really need to talk…

13) Cold Facebook Page Invites - Nearly identical fail to number twelve is mass inviting people to you or your clients Facebook page. If we had a dollar for every time we had been invited to like a page for a company that is thousands of miles away from us, about a product or topic we have no interest in, or from a person that has never engaged with us in any way, we would be driving a Bentley.

Build relationships first and earn the right to pitch what you do, your other social properties and events, etc. – And for the love of everything that is Holy, target your invites to people who are geographically or demographically appropriate! (*takes deep breath)

14) Cold Group/Community Invites - Groups and communities are great for some people and niche topics, but remember that many others don’t think so. Before you invite someone to your group or community, be sure they want to be in it. Recognize that the notifications and noise that many groups generate are much more than individuals want every day. It’s not about YOU!

Build relationships with people you would like in your group and ask them if they’d like to join. Randomly inviting people to your group is such bad form and annoying to most. You’re showing your newbie again.

15) Falling Asleep - Ok, not literally, but figuratively. The best way to kill your social media engagement is to not respond when mentioned. On the same note, the slower you DO respond, the less effective you are going to be.

16) TrueTwit Validation - Probably one of the biggest Twitter newbie fails is TrueTwit. Imagine starting out a relationship with a new connection telling them that you don’t trust them and you are also too lazy to look at their bio to determine if they’re real or not. THAT’s what you are doing by using the TrueTwit app.

Read more on the fail that is TrueTwit click here

17) Klout Focused - So you got Klout game? So what… We suggest that you spend far less time focusing on your Klout score (which can easily be gamed and has no relevance to your social media marketing skill, ability or results) and focus your time on actually getting real results.

Because you have a number that makes you feel important, does not change your pocketbook. Focus on real results and the things that you should be doing to get them.

18) Cluster Posting - Since social media marketing is not your “real focus” and you’re awful busy, posting 22 pictures in a row on Instagram every morning, 14 Twitter posts that same hour and 8 Facebook posts that afternoon makes sense. At least you got your required number of posts done today, right? Not so fast.

Cluster posting as we like to call it is kind of like the person at the dinner party that never shuts up, takes over every conversation and makes everything about them. Don’t be that person. Spread your posts out across the entire day, every day. Do it consciously, with intent. You’ll lose less connections, frustrate fewer people and most importantly get way better results!

Wrapping It Up

You really need to understand the why surrounding what you are doing in your social media marketing, not just the what. Understand the effect your activity has on your connections and the things you should really avoid doing. If you are just doing something because you saw someone else do it can be a recipe for disaster.

Did you miss Part 1? Read it Here

What stood out to you in this series? Is there anything you disagree with?

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