Category Archives: Engagement

Social Media Marketing – Data And Results Matter

One thing that has become obvious about the social media industry is change. Buzzwords, new trends and even big surveys that measure the next thing big business is focusing on in social are a never-ending stream of change. Content, influence marketing, analytics, engagement, branding, ROI and lead generation are just a few of the described “priorities” in at least one of the last several years in the industry. This moving target priority method is not expected to be going anywhere soon.

Social Media Data And Results MatterAlthough fast paced industries such as social media marketing, e-commerce and mobile are in a constant state of advancement and change, the goals that marketers focus on need to be more focused. If every time a new fad or buzzword appears, and the focus and goals get drastically changed, you can expect that results and management support will also.

Don’t get us wrong, we realize that social media is constantly changing and the executional requirements right along with it, but without focus on a clear objective of why you are in social, what you are trying to achieve and a steadfast plan to measure it, problems will arise.

For Example:

In a recent Harris Poll, 88% of professionals doing social media marketing consider it to be “important”. The data further showed that 82% of marketers strongly or somewhat strongly agree that analyzing social media engagement data can help improve their bottom line.

The Challenges:

At the same time and despite the plethora of monitoring and analytics solutions on the market today, social media marketing best practices, results and objectives seem allusive. Here’s the numbers to back that up.

  • 84% of marketers said it helped them to engage with influencers like the media
  • 84% said they thought social marketing could enhance relationships with existing customers
  • 67% of marketers say that assessing the effectiveness of social media activities was a challenge for them
  • 62% said designing and overall social media strategy was a challenge
  • 59% believe that educating staff about social media was difficult
  • 56% have a hard time making sense of the data gathered through social media
  • 55% are finding it challenging to align social media strategies across departments
  • 44% struggle with executive “buyin” on social media importance
  • 42% said they find it difficult to know when to take action on data from social media

It is no wonder that organizations small and large alike are struggling to get real results from social media when general knowledge and commitment to required resources are at such drastic odds. Like any other component of business, data should drive decisions in social media marketing and the execution of the resulting efforts require commitment, experience and appropriate tools. If marketers and brands invested much more heavily on the front-end decision and commitment level of social media marketing, the decisions related to data, execution, strategy as well as tactics would be far more clear.

When social media marketing is executed with sound strategy and the commitment of expertise and resources are made, real measurable, dollar and cents results will appear. When and if they do not, one of the cogs in the wheel is improperly aligned. It’s not the medium that is the problem, it’s the fabrication of and the subsequent operators steering the wheel that determine whether social media is successful or not from one marketer to another.

 

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Filed under Analytics, Brand, Content, Data, Engagement, influence, Marketing, Monitoring, Relationship, Results, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI, social media tool, Strategy, survey, Tools

Relationships Are Built On A Foundation Of Trust

One of the things I think marketers forget about social media is that trust is a key factor in establishing, building and maintaining trust. It is the on AND offline foundation that all relationships are built from, yet so many do not consciously take this into account.

Social media relationships and trustWhat is Trust?

Trust is the reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing.

In a word, trust is confidence.

Taking it a bit further, trust is the underlying ability to rely on someone or something. it is a foundational element in all relationships, but THE crucial component in business. Trust is underlying because it is conscious and unconscious. It comes from the thinking consideration, yet is always behind the scenes affecting our gut level processes.

Some Thoughts On Trust:

- It is my firm belief that trust is earned, not expected or demanded.

- Trust comes from doing, not saying what you will do, but showing who you are and what your brand is about through action.

- Doing is the catalyst that either builds or destroys trust with ones following, community and prospects.

Trust In Business and Social Media:

Business relationships can be described as a connection with a person or brand that includes emotional and personal affinity, appreciation and trust. In today’s business world, the lines between personal and business relationships are highly blurred. In social media marketing they no longer exist in the traditional sense, in that business IS personal on many levels. Relationships often drive the connections, communication and willingness to investigate or buy.

Three Stages Of Relationship Trust:

In social media marketing, there are three distinct stages of trust that brands and marketers need to be aware of.

Establishing – Whether a social connection will be established is often governed by first impressions. Similar to the offline world, a bad first impression will result in no further engagement with a brand, person or company representative.

In social media there are numerous components that make or break a first impression and determine whether you are going to be able to establish the beginnings of a relationship. Some of those are:

  • First contact: The first contact you have with a connection sets the stage. If that contact is spam, you have likely killed any possible relationship. What is spam in social media? Anything that tags or direct messages a connection while pitching what you do. There’s nothing worse to kill an opportunity of building a relationship.
  • Bio: Think of your social media profile/bio as your store front. If your windows are dirty, your message unclear or anything looks bad, your prospect won’t bother walking in the door.
  • Stream: Most people in social media check a new connection’s stream to see how they conduct themselves. They look to see if you are spamming or only posting about yourself or if you are engaging, sharing valuable content. What they see in your stream is what they believe they can expect in a relationship with your or your brand on social media. Remember – people are watching!

Building

  • Value: Building relationships is predicated on value. Do you provide selfless, relevant value to your audience? Do you share their content? Do you help them achieve their goals?
  • Grateful: Do you show you’re grateful when your relationships help you? When they share your content, do you thank them? Just as in real-life, showing thankfulness to relationships builds those relationships. Social media is no different.
  • Response: One of the most important ways to build relationships once they are established is to respond. All too often people ignore mentions, questions or conversations. Nothing does more to kill furthering of a relationship is to be “too good” to respond.

Maintaining – Maintaining trust you have earned is a continuation of repeated impressions and the three components of relationship building. It is active and ongoing, constantly being evaluated by others subconsciously. Your conscious choice to engage in relationship building advances the opportunity with the connections you have and dramatically increases them with the relationships you have in process.

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Filed under Audience, Brand, Community, connection, Content, Engagement, Followers, Marketing, Relationship, Results, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Spam

The Two Sides Of Social Media Strategy Are Very Different Things

The Two Different Sides of Social Media StrategyWe often see a lot written and taught about social media strategy and the importance it plays in the success of integrated, digital marketing today. Unfortunately, there are substantial differences between the two elements of strategy that are frequently overlooked.

Many consider strategy as something that you only do prior to or while you are implementing social media marketing. In fact, there are two distinct sides of strategy and they have very different definitions. Let’s define the differences between these two sides and outline some of the components of each.

The Two Elements Of A Social Media Strategy:

1) The Plan

By definition, a strategy is a careful plan or method for achieving a particular goal usually over a long period of time

It is extremely important to note that there are several critical key words contained within the definition of strategy. Let’s highlight the ones that stand out:

Careful – The term careful implies that time has been taken to thoughtfully research specific markets, competitors and audiences to ensure assumptions being made are accurate.

Plan – A plan contains specifics surrounding the information obtained during the research and are combined into a detailed plan that can be followed.

Goal – A goal is not a wish, hope or dream, but rather a detailed, specific desired result that combines measurable components that are tracked.

Long – As you should be aware, social media marketing is not direct marketing. It is marathon, not a sprint that focuses on the long-term effects of value and relationship building.

2) The Execution

In contrast to the first element of strategy, execution is the skill of making or carrying out plans to achieve a goal

It is one thing to have a plan, it is an entirely different thing to execute it. Think of your plan as a map that highlights the starting and end points of your social media marketing efforts. Think of the execution as the daily activities required to get from point A to point B as directly, efficiently and quickly as possible.

Caring the analogy further, if you knew you wanted to get to New York City and you were going to drive there from Portland, Oregon, having a map of the USA isn’t going to help you achieve that goal in any meaningful time frame. You need to know –

What – Are the streets, highways and routes you are going to take?

Mileage – How many miles per gallon does your vehicle get?

When – Are you going to stop to fuel up?

Where – Are you going to rest overnight on the journey?

What – Are you going to take with you to ensure you get there?

How – Much will the journey cost?

Stepping out of the analogy and back into social media, the second element of strategy requires knowledge, skill and resources. The proper tools must be deployed, using the tactics, quantities, targeting and engagement to achieve the plan that has been so painstakingly designed.

Be sure that you take every bit of the amount of time you spend on planning, on designing and implementing the execution side of your strategy. Execution is where the rubber meets the road and the difference between knowing where you want to go and being able to get there…

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Filed under Audience, Engagement, Marketing, Relationship, Results, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, social media tool, Strategy, Tools

Millennials and Social Commerce By The Data [Infographic]

Interest and discussions surrounding the 76 million millennials and their impact on social media, marketing and social commerce are seemingly increasing every week. Brands and marketers are seeking data to bolster their digital marketing efforts around this group, their interests and online patterns and rightly so. Millennials are unique in that they are not influenced by traditional ‘push’ marketing strategies as other population segments have been in the past and more importantly they have been raised with the digital world in place, rather than migrating to it as those before them.

Using data published in a report by UMass, we have created an easy to consume Infographic that contains the key points every brand and marketer should know. Following the infographic we break down some of the data points and include some takeaway action steps you may want to consider.

Millennial Social Commerce Infographic

The Data Highlights:

  • 35% of Millennials are likely to use a “buy” button on Facebook and 24% are likely to use one on Twitter, should those be provided by the platforms.
  • Facebook declines but is still the most popular platform among Millennials when looking to interact with companies/brands online. While their numbers have fallen slightly, Twitter and Pinterest have made modest gains. Fifty-five percent of respondents currently like at least one brand on Facebook (down from 62% last year). Twitter has 29% (up from 23%) and
  • Pinterest has 16% (up from 11%) of Millennials following or pinning a company/brand.
  • Hair, Beauty and Apparel continues to be the category in which most products are purchased by Millennials across all platforms studied.
  • Relative to users of larger platforms, Pinterest again has the highest online sales conversion rate. Fifty-one percent of Pinterest users make their purchases online exclusively compared to 16% of Facebook users and 35% of Twitter users. The user-friendly, highly visual design of the website facilitates information search and evaluation of alternatives. Pinterest makes the transaction process flow with optimal ease for consumers.
  • 48% of Millennials use smart phones to make purchases online and 21% use tablets.

Action Plan Takeaways:

If millennials make up part or all of the target audience you are trying to reach through social and digital channels, there are a few things you need to consider:

1) You will not be successful pushing your marketing on them. They have been raised in the digital and social worlds and therefore relationships, conversations, trends and transmedia approaches are required, not optional.

2) You will have to be highly active and effective on multiple social media channels if you wish to get and keep the millennial attention.

3) Having a clear and optimized mobile strategy that works with millennial usage patterns is also required. They spend far less time on desktops and therefore the channels and media types you employ must be optimized for mobile and tablet.

4) A strategy and plan for social commerce is required. This is how millennials want to purchase. Make it easy for them to do so.

5) Curate and Create content at much higher frequencies for this group. They are online more frequently and consume content when and how they want.

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Filed under Audience, Brand, Content, Curation, Engagement, Infographic, Marketing, Millennials, Relationship, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Marketing, Strategy

Social Media Content Curation, Marketing Messages and Results

In business, marketing and social media, time is money and results are important. With so many tools to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to spend time, effort and money in order to realize real, measurable results.

I want better results from my social media marketingKnowing that 75% of Social Media Marketers Want Better Tools and 88% Better Results [Report] it is no surprise that many are looking to improve their efficiencies and reallocate their time management toward engagement activities. Content curation, creation, evergreen content sharing, hashtagging and status update scheduling are crucial components to this time reallocation. However, being forced to use a myriad of readers, browser plugins and other clunky tools require far too many hours and resources in an efficient work flow to realize the best results.

In fact, more time is spent managing these required tasks than is spent in conversations and relationship building, creating a significant problem for marketers. Time and content management are in constant challenge with efficiency and strategy, forcing many to invest time for required back office tasks instead of putting resources toward the things that do achieve social media results.

What If You Had 10 More Hours Per Week?

What if there was a better way to manage curated and marketing content in social media, that enabled you to be more efficient, strategic and effective? What if you could spend less time on the required activities and more time engaging, building relationships and getting results?

You Can…

It never ceases to amaze us when someone sees BundlePost in action for the first time. Our completely unique approach to social content management always gets the “Ah ha” moment and response as the new user realizes the incredible impact the technology has on their social media management.

If you’re tired of DOING social media marketing and want to finally start being strategic, effective and get real results, let us show you BundlePost in action. Tweet us to schedule a live demo today.

Tweet: Hey @BundlePost I'd love to see your Social Content Management System in action! http://ctt.ec/V6KGB+ Hey @BundlePost I’d love to see your Social Content Management System in action!

 

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Filed under BundlePost, Content, content creation, Curation, Engagement, Hashtag, Marketing, Plugin, Relationship, Results, Social content management, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI, social media tool, Strategy, Tools

The Significant Difference Between Autopilot and Marketing Automation

This last week we had a BundlePost user state that they wanted their social media marketing on “autopilot” and thought that’s what we did or advocated. Nothing could be further from the truth. Marketing automation and the term autopilot have no relation to one another in social media marketing. One is a carefully thought out and actively managed strategic component of an effective social media program, the other is liken to a drone with no pilot, mission or results.

social media marketing on autopilotIn the commercial aviation industry, millions of dollars are poured into the avionics and systems that keep aircraft in the air, comfortable for passengers and controllable by highly trained pilots. These systems are all integrated together to make the function we all know and understand as autopilot, possible. But what we never see is a plane placed on autopilot, without an experienced captain monitoring all aspects of the controls.

Pilots would never put their plane on autopilot, leave their seat and subsequently allow the plane to cruise unattended. Not only is that illegal and against all common sense and regulations, but it’s incredibly foolish and would be an accident going someplace to happen. On the contrary, there are two pilots in every commercial cockpit even though autopilot capabilities are on board. Both professional pilots are present, strapped in their seats and always ready and able to respond to any circumstance that arises.

Autopilot was never developed or designed to fly an airplane unattended, nor was it ever meant to be used as something to replace an experienced pilot. Advanced technology is designed to help efficiently manage some mundane human tasks, freeing up the pilots to ensure a smooth flight and potential problems or opportunities.

Let’s put some clarity to the differences between these two distinctly different marketing approaches as it relates to social media marketing. We will give six examples of each and provide a little detail as we go.

Social Media “Autopilot” Tactics -

Social media success does not appear by accident, or via automation, rather it can only be achieved through consistently executing proper strategy, activities and human interaction.

Accepted social marketing tactics do NOT include the following activity, tools or automation:

1) Auto-posting content from any source – This is not strategic, safe or effective.

2) Auto-tagging and posting messages – This includes things like newspaper posts that tag people you’ve automatically displayed on your Rebel Mouse or other newspaper pages, “top influencers tag messages” or any other similar tools or systems that auto-post to your pages, profiles or timelines. They are clearly automated, provide ZERO value to anyone (including yourself) and most people know this.

3) Automated Timeline or Direct Messages – We all know these are automated and not sincere as a result. We ignore not only the message you have automated, but we will likely ignore you hence forth.

4) Automated Retweet applications – Some of the newest horrid autopilot technology is the automated RT app. This little gem lets you select specific people/accounts and it will automatically RT their tweets at specific intervals. This is like an accident going somewhere to happen. It’s not effective, don’t do it.

5) Automated Pitch Tagging – We just connected (or have no relationship) and your autopilot solution tags me to pitch your link, blog, website, product or service. Have you ever wondered why email spam is now illegal? You’re doing the equivalent on social media and your brand and results will reflect it if you don’t stop. In fact many (including myself) report accounts that do such spamming, every time it happens. Wonder why your account gets suspended? Now you know.

6) Automated Engagement Posting – Imagine going to a networking event and when you introduce someone to somebody else, or tell someone about another persons book or product, the person you were referring to, took out their smart phone and played a recorded message. Or better yet, imagine that you were having a conversation with someone and a person or brand you’ve never heard of, jumped in to the conversation to tell you about their product all because he overheard you mention the word “fruit”.

Whatever you would do in real life, you should do in social media. Whatever you would never do at a networking event or walking down the street, don’t do in social. It’s not more complicated than that. Autopilot does not get real results in social media and will damage your reputation.

Consider this: If you and thousands of others are using such autopilot tactics in their social media marketing and hundreds, if not thousands are connected the same people, your autopilot tagging and posting are also appearing to the same person. What do you think the impression of your brand, product or service is when your automation is just like everyone else’s automation and being seen by the same person? I can tell you. You just became a brand or person they will not be doing business with.

“If your social media isn’t getting results you need less automation, more human & the right tools” ~@fondalo

Social Media Marketing Automation -

If you expect to get results there are a few social marketing automation functions that you need to be doing. Liken these activities as the aviation autopilot explanation we discussed earlier. You, the pilot are always there in the seat, but the plane’s autopilot can be running these functions for you.

1) Landing Page, Lead Capture, Email Drip Campaign – If you are using social media for marketing and do not have a clear marketing automation path for your prospects, you are undoubtedly not achieving the results you should/could be. Understanding your prospects click-through, registration and sign-up/order flow is extremely important and requires sales automation to be most effective.

2) Content Curation Scheduling – You must have enough relevant, valuable content in your social streams every day. It’s part and parcel effective social media. I am not referring to Retweeting or sharing other people’s curated content, but discovering and posting content that resonates with your audience. Though you should sometimes RT and share, you need to build thought leadership around the topics that drive your audience, and that requires you to aggregate and curate content they want. Scheduling these posts is a requirement, unless you have unlimited time and aren’t going to do the things that actually get results, like having conversations and building relationships. (I am being very sarcastic here. You must engage with your community if you expect results) You can either spend time posting content, or engaging and driving ROI from your efforts. Content curation scheduling is imperative!

3) Community Growth Targeting – Using tools that will help you identify your target audience and connecting with them enables you to grow your community and leverage the Social Media Connection Cycle. Finding and connecting with your customers and prospects across the social graph is extremely important. Doing it manually is cumbersome and extremely inefficient.

4) New and Evergreen Content Scheduling – When you create content in the form of blog posts and articles, you need to share that to your streams so your audience is aware. Posting it once is pointless, so you need to strategically schedule new and evergreen content multiple times when it is created as well as on an ongoing basis.

5) Scheduled Marketing Messages – If you have knowledge of something you will be doing on a specific day/time, scheduling your status update about it ahead of time makes perfect sense. Periodically scheduling marketing messages about what you do, that link to your landing pages (without tagging anyone) is appropriate and efficient. If you have done your other social strategy and activities effectively, you will earn the right to do so and people will read, click and share them.

6) Scheduled Graphics – If you are creating and posting graphics and photos to various social sites, you will want to ensure that you’re being consistent and frequent. You can’t be at your desk all the time and you shouldn’t be spending desk time doing such manual tasks. Scheduling this kind of content to your various social accounts is efficient and appropriate.

Wrap Up

There is a massive difference between social media marketing automation and autopilot. You need to know the difference and stop sheepishly replicating the activity other people are doing, when most of them are as broke and ineffective with their social media results as you are. Stop being part of the blind leading the blind and start understanding social media for what it is, not how the popular majority are using it (unsuccessfully). If you’re going to replicate what someone else is doing, you had better be darn sure that it is actually effective on the dollar and cents level and more importantly isn’t hurting your results instead of improving them.

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Filed under Audience, automation, Blog, Brand, BundlePost, Community, Content, content creation, Curation, Engagement, influence, Marketing, Relationship, Results, Retweet, Smart Phone, Social Aggregation, Social Media, social media automation, Social Media Marketing, social media tool, Strategy, Tools

Adjusting Social Media Inputs To Realize Desired Output

There are several things to be said about effective social media marketing. One of them is that social media is not static. If you’re being effective with a social media program it is often because you are doing many things right, not the least of which is continually making adjustments.

Adjusting Social Media inputs to improve output resultsThe famous quote from Albert Einstein says it best – “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” There’s not many other places that this phrase holds more true, than with social media marketing.

If you are not getting real results with your social media marketing, there is only one reason. What you are doing in one or many areas isn’t correct. Lack of results in this space isn’t because social media doesn’t work, it’s simply due to missing activity, improper strategy or most importantly improper activity that is preventing your desired results.

You need to ask yourself a simple, but extremely important question and answer it honestly. Not only do you need to do this, but you also need to be prepared for the answer you uncover.

Are you getting the results you expected from your social media marketing efforts?

If you are able to be honest with this question and accept the real answer, then you need to weigh the options.

Answer = No

If you have answered this all important question honestly as a resounding NO, then you need to make some adjustments to what you are doing. But you can’t make adjustments for adjustments sake. You need to know what you don’t know and that requires information.

There are not too many other marketing disciplines that have a bigger learning curve than social media. There are so many best practices, tools, mistakes and resources required, most professionals take years to get up to speed. What’s more? Things in social media change on a daily basis, making the learning curve even more challenging.

Ask yourself these questions:

1) Do you know what you don’t know about social media marketing?

2) Do you have the time and ability to learn what you don’t know and execute it well enough to get results?

3) Are you spending more time learning about social media, then you are executing it effectively?

4) What 4 things are you currently doing in your social media program that are alienating your audience and results?

5) Do you have a detailed strategy and is it the correct strategy?

Hard questions aren’t they? Doing social media marketing is easy, getting real results is not. You may need to make some adjustments. What are your options?

Learn – There are many books, consultants and courses out there that teach social media marketing. I suggest doing a lot of research because many are from people who have never really achieved social media success, other than promoting their celebrity, books or training.

Invest – One option is to hire a social media professional or agency to handle it for you. Find one that has the experience and expertise to execute your social media management well. Tip – If someone tells you they can do that for $500/mo or less, run. It takes far more than that to make social effective.

Refocus – Another option is to seriously consider whether your brand, product or niche can be effective using social media and/or whether you can afford to invest the time and money required to make it a success. I personally believe almost every single market can be effective with social, but that only depends on having the proper knowledge, experience and resources.

Answer = Yes

If you answered YES to getting the results you expected, you’re not even close to finished. Fine tuning and refining what you’re doing will uncover new opportunities to increase your current results. At this stage of your social media efforts, discovering which components of your strategy and tactics are the ones that are contributing most to your results need to be accurately identified and leveraged.

Ask yourself these questions:

1) Do you know the tactics, strategies, topics and content that is getting the best results?

2) Do you know which of these are not getting the best results?

3) What activities need to be adjusted upward to increase the results you are getting and how much of an increase of these activities is scalable?

4) Does removing less effective activities impact your overall results positively?

5) What missing components could be added to what is working well to increase your net results.

Now let me be very clear. When I say results, I am referring to REAL results. Things like traffic, leads, walk-ins, sales and revenue. I am not referring to soft results like engagement, likes, followers or branding. While these are also important metrics to track, they are not the measurement of whether your social media is actually getting results or not.

There are millions of marketers, brands and people spending an exorbitant amount of time attempting to execute social media marketing. At the end of the day, just like any other sales or marketing efforts, there needs to be a return that can be measured against the input of time, resources and money. Failure to understand this will doom your social media marketing to activity, low optimal output and little meaningful results.

 

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