Tag Archives: Social strategy

Should Engagement Be Valued Over Sales In Social Media Marketing

Social Media Confused BrandsIn a word, NO!  Engagement should not be valued over sales in social media marketing. Engagement is simply part of the required functions of social media marketing that leads to Sales, but only when done properly.

A report published by eMarketer last year states that brands believe consumer engagement and brand lift were the number one goals of their social media marketing. Consumer engagement represented a 17% increase in this goal, which replaced “positive sentiment” as the number one goal just a year ago.

The study further shows that in 2011 increasing sales was the number one goal of social media marketing, yet it quickly dropped below 50% by 2012. Now brands seem to be even more confused on priorities, as increasing sales is now cited as the leading goal by 58% of the respondents.

These new statistics seem to indicate to me that many still don’t have an understanding of how social media marketing is best utilized at the brand level. It also makes me think that confusion and lack of proper strategy and execution make changing the primary goal of their efforts an easier migration, then actually achieving real results. Scary? I believe so…

In just three short years, brands have modified their social focus from actually achieving results from the channel to the fluffy measurement of likes, comments and shares as a metric of success. So the question is, should engagement be valued over sales, or should engagement combined with a proper strategy lead to a focused sales, revenue and ROI metric approach?

Here are some questions that I think should be answered by most brands:

1) Is the Effort vs Return worth the time spent to obtain engagement?

2) Are you seeking False Positives in the form of engagement in order to measure how well you are doing?

3) Is the Activity you are performing to achieve engagement appropriate?

4) Is your Strategy and Execution wrong, therefore leading you to focus on engagement instead of sales/revenue?

5) Have you defined your Target Audience appropriately in order to actually achieve sales/revenue?

6) Are you avoiding Sales and Revenue as a top priority because you don’t really know how to achieve that?

7) Are you Changing Your Goals year after year to fit what you ARE achieving, instead of adjusting what you are doing to achieve what you know you should?

I think there are some significant flaws in the thinking associated with this report by the brands that responded. I believe there is a disconnect in understanding effective social media marketing and how to do it. I believe that the limitations brands are self imposing, prevent them from actually doing social media marketing in a way that achieves real results.

What do you think?

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Filed under Brand, Engagement, Marketing, Relationship, Results, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI, Strategy, Uncategorized

The Two Biggest Challenges Faced By Social Media Marketers [SURVEY REPORT]

As we continue our series from the survey we conducted on social media marketing, the question of overall challenges is the focus. We asked hundreds of social media marketers, agencies and brands what are the two biggest challenges they face with their social media marketing efforts. We were somewhat surprised by the top two answers and think you may be as well.

We asked what are: “The two biggest challenges I face with my overall social media marketing is?”

2 Biggest Social Media Challenges

 

A total of 36.5% of respondents said that Engagement and Sales/Revenue were the two biggest challenges they face with their social media marketing. We found it very interesting that some of the very things that impact both of these key result areas the most were ranked much lower. The key areas that ranked lower were Time, Relationships, Clicks, Content Curation and General Results.

Time 13.68% : Not too surprising is ranked number three is the challenge of time. We all know that social media marketing is very time and human intensive, but where you’re spending time or where you aren’t spending it, is the important part. We have found that most social media marketers spend most of their time on back office functions, not the front office functions that actually result in the two biggest challenges of Engagement and Sales/Revenue.

If your time is spent managing, scheduling, editing and hashtagging curated and marketing posts, you have less time to have conversations, build relationships and engage. These are the things that result in sales and revenue, therefore adjusting where you spend time by using the proper tools, such as Bundle Post is imperative if you wish to impact the Engagement and Revenue of your social media management.

Clicks/Traffic 12.82% :  Now this one is often a challenge to figure out for some. There are several distinct reasons or combination of reasons for this to be a challenge for a social media marketer. Sometimes it is just one of the reasons listed below, but more often than not, it is a combination of several that result in little click-through traffic coming from marketing efforts. Here are a FEW reasons why this tends to occur and questions you should ask yourself.

  1. Lack of -or- Improper Strategy – Do you truly know who your audience is and what they’re interested in?
  2. Lack of Topical Thought Leadership – Are you posting topical content that drives your audiences interest or are you mainly retweeting or sharing content others are posting?
  3. Lack of Consistency or Volume – Are you scheduling social media posts everyday, all day at the appropriate levels, or are you sporadic, inconsistent or not doing it at levels that are even being noticed?
  4. Lack of Value – Do your posts provide selfless, relevant value to your target audience on a consistent basis?
  5. Not Enough Marketing – Are you sharing 10% to 20% of your posts that market you, your company, products or services, or are you rarely even mentioning your online properties, content and landing pages?
  6. Too Much Marketing – Are you posting primarily about you, your company, products or services?

These are some of the reasons that none of your friends and followers are clicking through to your website, content or offer pages. Understanding that you have to first provide value, get into conversations and build relationships in order to get traffic and clicks is extremely important. Simple conversations create interest that can get a connection to have more interest in you or your brand. Many times those conversations cause a connection to even read your bio and click to your site contained within your profile. Get into conversations with your target audience about anything THEY are interested in and see what happens to your clicks and traffic.

General Results 5.13% : We think that Engagement and Sales/Revenue would fall under this category as well, but we did not want to assume and add it to the top two challenge numbers. We also believe that Clicks/Traffic and Relationships are also under this heading, therefore we will leave this challenge as it is.

Relationships 4.7% : Relationships in social media are created through conversations, just like in the real world. Often times the reason relationships are not being forged is due to too few conversations with the proper people. If you are finding that relationships are one of your big challenges, I suggest that you take a look at these three areas:

  1. Your Target Audience – One big mistake people make is that they build communities that are not their target audience. Often the like, friends and followers many marketers attract are that of their peers and competitors, not their prospective customers. Be sure you know who you are trying to reach and connect with them, not your peers.
  2. Your Content Strategy – Another error made on the relationship front is content strategy, especially when you are missing on number one above. If you have not clearly defined who you are trying to reach, you are definitely going to be off on the types of content you are curating and creating for your streams.
  3. Where you Spend Time – Be sure you have the proper tools and processes in place. If you’re spending time everyday curating content and not engaging with your target audience, you will be hard pressed to establish relationships easily.

Follow this formula – “Content leads to conversation, conversations build relationships and relationships result in ROI.” – Get each step down properly and you will see a massive improvement on the quantity and quality of relationships you develop within the social graph.

Content Curation 3% : The biggest shock to us was Content Curation falling to one of the lowest challenges facing the hundreds of social media agencies, brands and marketers that answered our survey. Why? Well if people truly understood this challenge and had it under control and managed properly, we would not see Engagement and Sales/Revenue as the top two challenges. Proper content curation, with the proper topics/strategy, at the appropriate volumes will spark engagement, sharing and conversations. It’s where everything starts.

Adding content creation, proper levels of marketing your products and services, along with the all important strategy work is imperative to achieving social media marketing sales, revenue and ROI. All of this must be approached at the selfless value and relationship level if you’re going to be successful.

Here are the previous Survey posts in this series:

The Top Social Media Dashboards And Tools Marketers Use [SURVEY REPORT]

The Importance And Challenges Of Social Media Content Curation [SURVEY REPORT]

Where Social Media Brands, Marketers And Agencies Spend Their Time [REPORT]

 

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Filed under Brand, Content, Curation, Engagement, Followers, Marketing, Relationship, Results, Retweet, Social content management, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI, Strategy

50 Random Things I Have Learned About Social Media Marketing

After years of being in this industry, I have seen a lot. Changes, improvements, trends and scary little secrets that still tend to shock me even though I should be numb to it by now. Though I have never read a book or taken any classes on social media marketing, I sure have done a lot of it as an individual, then an agency and now as a brand.

50 Things I've Learned About Social MediaI have decided to create a list of 50 things I have learned about the industry. They are in no particular order and by no means is this a complete list. Just some things I decided to jot down that I believe might be helpful for our readers. I think you will find there is something directed to the beginner, all the way to the industry professional. Some are simple truths you may already realize and others are opinions I have formed through thousands of conversations and connections over the years.

50 Random Things I Have Learned About Social Media Marketing:

1) Social Media is a marathon, not a sprint.

2) You will make mistakes. Embrace them and move forward.

3) Consistency is the most important thing over the long-term.

4) Curating topical content is important.

5) Relationships do result in revenue.

6) Most have no idea what they’re doing.

7) Consultants and speakers are going to kill this business.

8) Do not listen to Social Media Marketing Celebrities.

9) Social media is really hard when done right.

10) A majority of social media marketers connect and engage with their peers and competitors, not their prospects.

11) The last thing we need is another social network.

12) Helping others selflessly is rewarding in and of itself.

13) Automating anything directly to your streams is not effective.

14) Using TruTwit to force new connections to prove they’re human is a beginner epidemic.

15) Most industry apps and tools are created by people who have never successfully done social media marketing.

16) Other than keynote speakers, many travel to and speak at events at their own cost/expense to pretend to be important.

17) Facebook leadership doesn’t have a clue what their customers really need and want.

18) The more immediate you respond to new comments, follows and engagement, the more likely you will get more.

19) Content isn’t king, getting real results is king. Content is part of the process.

20) Don’t pay attention to what industry “leaders” say, just watch what they do.

21) Quantity AND quality matter. It’s not an either or, but BOTH.

22) The proper tools are required. Too many people frequently try all the new tools as a distraction in order to avoid doing what they know they need to do. This is counterproductive. Find tools that solve your biggest problems ONLY, then execute with them.

23) Many social media “professionals” are arrogant and impatient with newbie ignorance or mistakes, instead of helpful.

24) The people in the industry that have the least experience, knowledge and skill call themselves Experts, Ninjas and Gurus.

25) Social media marketing changes weekly.

26) A proper social media strategy is required if you expect to get results.

27) Big brands are the worst at social media marketing. They don’t do it properly and they don’t have to.

28) Don’t pay attention to or try to replicate what big brands do in social media.

29) There is only one steadfast rule in social media – DO NOT SPAM!

30) People connect with people, not brands or logo’s they’ve never heard of. Humanize your brand.

31) SMB’s need to leverage personal and business social accounts to be most effective.

32) Most SMB’s should stop spending time and resources to learn from “experts” and hire a qualified social media agency.

33) Your mobile device must be deployed in real-time with your social accounts if you want to be successful.

34) Google Plus is NOT a replacement for Facebook, nor will it “kill” Facebook.

35) If you are holding or attending more than 2 Google Hangouts on air “shows” per week, you may need to evaluate your bank account, time management and priorities.

36) Most social media “consultants” are broke.

37) Most social media marketers don’t post frequently enough.

38) A blog is not required for every business. Content creation is required for every business.

39) Only retweeting or sharing other people’s status updates isn’t a strategy.

40) Posting quotes everyday isn’t a strategy.

41) Most marketers have not spent the time to clearly define their target audience and what drives them on social media.

42) The only place that “If you build, it they will come” works is in Hollywood.

44) Effective social media marketers don’t take nights and weekends off from engagement.

45) Social media is the center of online digital marketing efforts. Integrate it into everything you do on and offline.

46) Proper social media marketing that gets real results, cannot be hired for $50/mo.

47) There are a ton of classes and content about how to do social media marketing. Be careful what you read.

48) Most social media agencies are solopreneurs that are great at social media marketing, but need help at making it a profitable business.

49) Social media is like a parallel universe to the real world. What you would never do at a networking event, you should not do in social media.

50) Analysis paralysis will stifle your social media results. Do more, analyze as needed.

Again, this is not a complete list of what I have learned, just a random compilation that crosses all aspects of the industry. What have you learned?

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Filed under Brand, Content, Curation, Engagement, Facebook, Google Plus, Marketing, Relationship, Results, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Marketing, Strategy

How To Know Your Social Media Content Strategy Isn’t Working

Determining what isn’t working within your social media marketing strategy is imperative. Your content strategy is often one of the areas that is off, and the reason your efforts are thus far in vain. If you don’t have a proper social media content strategy it will affect the rest of your social media marketing results. Identifying the key indicators pointing to what’s not working is extremely important.

Social Media Content StrategyWhat are a few of the signs that the content strategy you are using with your social media marketing isn’t working?

1) No Shares – One of the biggest things you should be seeing that will validate the topics and content you post about are shares. If you’re not getting a fair amount of RT’s and shares of the content you curate, post and create, your content strategy is missing the mark.

2) No Engagement – When your community likes and comments on the content you are posting to your streams, you can infer that the content types and topics you are posting about is resonating. But lets be very clear here. I said likes AND comments. A subtle thing many miss is that likes without comments is not a good indicator of relevance. You’re looking for both likes and comments that show your content strategy is connecting with your audiences interests.

3) No Clicks – One thing that is often overlooked is the measurement of traffic to YOUR websites, landing pages and content. When you have nailed a curation and creation content strategy, you will be providing consistent content that resonates with your audience and opens interest in content you create and more importantly an openness to investigate what you and/or your company actually does. If your social media posts about you and your services aren’t generating traffic, it’s a good indication that nobody cares what you post.

4) No Leads/Sales – At the end of the day, social media marketing needs to be about results. It needs to be about more than just clicks, engagement, likes and community size. If your content strategy is working and you have speaking to the proper audience with the content you curate and create, it will lead to conversations and then relationships.

Earning relationships should be your focus from the beginning. Providing selfless value through content posting, content creation and shares will open conversations with your community. As those conversations increase, relationships are formed, thought leadership is established and relationships grown. Through those relationships you will also generate inquiries, leads and revenue.

If you have the proper content strategy in place and are doing the proper activities surrounding what you post, likes, comments, conversations, clicks, traffic, relationships and sales are the result.

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Filed under Community, Content, Curation, Engagement, Marketing, Relationship, Results, Social Media Content, Social Media Marketing, Strategy, Uncategorized

The Most Overlooked Social Media Success Method

As a social media software firm, we spend a considerable amount of our activity within the social graph. We are constantly engaging in conversations, evaluating metrics and reviewing people’s streams and profiles. As a part of this normal process we and many of you engage in regularly, we began to notice things that though subjective, provide valuable insight on social media success.

Or dare we say, lack thereof.

Social Media ConsistencyThe most glaring thing we are noticing is a lack of consistency on the part of many social media “professionals, consultants and agencies”, as well as the average SMB brand. What do we mean by lack of consistency?  Every single day we see social media accounts that RT or comment on one of our posts, then upon reviewing their stream we find they only post a few times per week (if that) and most of their status updates are responses or RT’s of other people’s posts.

Here is a theory we have formulated and have deployed for many years in this industry:  Proper Activity Leads To Results

The most overlooked successful activity in social media is activity itself! Consistent, daily activity…

You’ve heard the phrase “Out of sight, out of mind” haven’t you?  In fact we hear from our users and brands that we consult that “just the consistent hashtagging and posting of relevant content all day, every day using Bundle Post results in a major impact in clicks, traffic, conversations and relationships”.

In social media marketing, consistency merges with activity to drive results. Given that you have a proper strategy of topics and subject matter your audience finds interesting and relevant, and you combine that with a consistent stream of curated content, engagement and conversations, you get results. If there is no consistency and therefore sporadic activity or the wrong activity, results decline or are non-existent. It really is that simple.

What does consistency look like?

1) Freeway – If you were to think of a social network newsfeed or timeline as a freeway and all the cars flying by on that freeway to be status updates, you would understand the importance of consistency much easier. You see, social network users do not stand at the side of the freeway all day long, every day. In fact they show up on the side of the freeway, logout, come back again later and so on.

If you do not have enough consistent, valuable content (status updates) in your stream every day, very few are seeing your cars driving by. Even worse, you are not providing any value to your audience that have connected to you and therefore you are completely out of sight and out of mind to your audience.

If however, you have a consistent stream of shared, curated and created content in your streams every single day from morning until night (at appropriate levels for each network), you begin to attract conversations, shares and likes of the content you are posting. In turn, the conversations and shares around your posts build relationships that can turn into sales, web traffic and real results.

By increasing the quantity and quality of the posts you make every single day, you also increase your overall reach, clicks, shares and conversations that your social media marketing will achieve. As long as you are not just sharing about you or throwing up a ton of “mud on the wall”, hoping it sticks, but rather are consciously understanding your audiences interests and posting the topics that drive them online, it becomes a numbers game at a certain appropriate level, your results increase.

Quantity + Consistency + Quality =  MORE Reach, Likes, Shares, Clicks, Traffic, Engagement and Relationships (Real Results)

2) Engagement & Response – When you pivot to achieve the posting consistency mix correctly, the next consistency requirement to focus on is Engagement and Response. If you think of engagement as outreach to your audience and response as what it sounds like, then you might have an idea of what we are discussing here.

Consistently look for opportunities to START conversations, share content from and otherwise engage with your community. Likewise you should consistently respond to comments, conversations, shares and other activity that your target audience does to amplify your content, message or posts. These are the activities that build relationships and earn your brand the right to discuss what you do within your community.

Consistency is the most overlooked and underutilized success method in social media marketing. Merging these consistency elements into your daily activity will completely transform what you currently realize in results.

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Filed under Bundle Post, Community, Content, Curation, Engagement, Marketing, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Strategy

The Importance And Challenges Of Social Media Content Curation [SURVEY REPORT]

This is our second blog post about the results of a large social media marketing survey we connected with hundreds social media marketers, brands and agencies.  We first wrote about the time requirements of managing and scheduling posts for social media marketing and how the respondents spent their time. In this post we are going to focus on the results of the survey questions that focused on content curation within social media marketing.

Content Curation Survey ReportWith the entire survey we really wanted to understand where and how social media marketers spent their time, what their challenges were and where the needs exist. Related to content curation, we attempted to determine its perceived importance and effectiveness, as well as the challenges social media marketers face with the function.

From our first piece written about our survey results, we know that 75% of social media marketers are spending at least two or more hours per day on scheduling social media posts, which includes curated content. But we wanted to know how many believed content curation to be very time-consuming.

We asked them “How much they agree or disagree with the following statements about content curation”

1.  66% answered Agree or Strongly Agree that Content Curation is very time-consuming for social media marketers.

We know that back office, time-consuming tasks within social media marketing has a direct correlation with how much time can be spent on the things that actually get results. Time spent on things like commenting, conversations and relationship building suffer when proper time is dedicated to the time-consuming tasks like, finding, editing, hastagging, scheduling and posting relevant, valuable content in your streams that resonates with your audience.

2. To the Statement: Content Curation is most effective when it is done consistently – 95% Agreed or Strongly Agreed

Marketers clearly believe that consistency matters when it comes to content curation if you are going to be effective. However, due to the time-consuming nature of these tasks on a daily basis, marketers often have to prioritize them to the back burner in favor of engagement and relationship building efforts that can’t be ignored. At the same time, 95% of social media managers state that consistency is how to be effective with curation. A substantial quandary.

3. While the majority of 56% said “I need to spend less time curating and more time and resources on engagement“, 32% where undecided.

This statistic was very interesting to us because 66% said content curation was very time-consuming, yet only 56% said they need to spend less time. A HUGE 32% said they were undecided on whether or not they need to spend less time. We believe the reason for the undecided answer might be their less frequent use of curation as compared with the 56%.  With 60.3% of respondents identifying themselves as a social media agency, consultant or a brand, more likely to post curated content more frequently on a daily basis, the disparity makes more sense.

4. Respondents were split on the statement “Finding relevant content to post is the most time-consuming“.  42% agreed, while a close 41% disagreed, leaving the remaining undecided.

We found this very interesting as well. We believe experience, type of respondent and the amount of tools employed by marketers and agencies may account for the split.

5. When asked if “Editing and scheduling curated content is the most time-consuming“, 47% of social media marketers said they agreed.

Once you find content to share, you still need to curate it by editing the text of the post, hashtag and schedule it to go out when and where you want it to publish. Nearly half of those surveyed struggle to keep up with this time-consuming process.

This was backed up by a recent study published by eMarketer which explains that “…curation is not as easy as simply finding and sharing content. Organizations need a strategy, and a calendar, and most marketers report that every stage of content curation is still a struggle for them. Even a majority have trouble just sharing the items they do find.” The research noted that upwards of 52% were struggling with effeciently sharing content they discover.

6. Moving from basic content curation questions, we asked if they “always properly hashtag curated content they schedule“. 53% said they always do and still a large 32% said they do not.

Always is a pretty definitive word, to which over half agreed with such consistency in their efforts, while one-third said they do not. This reflects the growing importance and perceived value of hashtagging posts within social media marketing.

Here is a look at all the statements and results together.

Survey on Content Curation

It is very clear that social media marketers are in agreement that consistent, frequent content curation is extremely important to an overall social media marketing and content marketing strategy. They also agree that when done properly it is time-consuming and better processes and tools are needed to improve this challenge.

What are the challenges you face that prevent you from being consistent and frequent with content curation?

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Filed under Agency, Brand, Content, Curation, Engagement, Hashtag, Marketing, Relationship, Results, Social content management, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Strategy

Hey Facebook – Instead Of Repeating Posts I’ve Already Liked, How Bout…

Facebook Newsfeed IssuesYesterday morning I was catching up on my far too many, overnight Facebook notifications. As I finished my follow-up on comments, likes and tags I attempted to whirl through my newsfeed to see what everyone was up to. Scrolling, refreshing and opening various pics and articles I began to consciously notice something that I have unconsciously been aware of for several months. Repeated status updates in my feeds. Have you noticed this?

“I have a really good idea Facebook. How bout instead of putting hundreds of updates in my newsfeed that I have already seen/liked, instead you put the content from all those pages I have liked that you say can’t fit in my stream anymore because you can only display a certain amount of posts everyday in a users newsfeed… ‪#‎Rocketscience‬”

Example:

Facebook Newsfeed Issues1Just this morning as I was wrapping up this short post, I liked and commented on this graphic in my newsfeed by @AnyaDowning. It wasn’t 40 minutes later when the image I had already seen and engaged with was back at the top of my newsfeed. Really?

I have shared this YouTube video a lot recently, because it really breaks down the issues Facebook has really well. It will give you a really good perspective on what’s happening and why.

If there really was an issue with too much content and status updates that are relevant for users that Facebook page owners and brands need to pay Facebook to access users they have already paid to acquire, why are we being shown the same content over and over in our feeds? Shouldn’t Facebook show us the content from the pages we have liked instead of this useless duplication?

This among many reasons is why I think brands, marketers and social media agencies need to reevaluate their Facebook and over all social media marketing strategies. Not the WHAT or HOW, but the level of involvement using Facebook pages. Increasing activity and effectiveness on other social networks where your audience is at the highest concentration makes a lot of sense, even outside of the recent Facebook mess.

And here’s a another question for Facebook…  Do you realize that you are killing yourself?

For more on my thoughts on this and what you can/should be doing given the changes to Facebook, read Facebook Declining Page Reach: 9 Experts Weigh In

What are YOU doing differently with Facebook pages?

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Filed under Agency, Content, Facebook, Fanpage, Marketing, Social Media, Social Media Marketing