Category Archives: Monitoring

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

How To Determine Topics For Your Social Media Content Strategy

Content is not the king of social media marketing, but it certainly is the starting point that drives conversations, action and results. Having and executing an effective social media content strategy is the difference between your brand being in social media and getting results in social media.

Social Media Content StrategyI have discovered that there are typically three to five main topics of interest that social network users are most attracted to. Those topics are typically different for everyone, so knowing what they are for your specific market is tremendously important.

I have also found that there are three basic steps that can help you determine the topics your social audience is most interested in.  Follow these steps and combine it with an appropriate volume of posted, curated, shared and your created content to get the best results.

Three steps to determine topics for your social media content strategy:

1) Know Your Audience – Knowing your audience is the most important step in the content strategy process. You need to clearly define who you are trying to reach, very specifically. Define them demographically (statistical characteristics), geographically (location or locations) and psychograhically (personality, values, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles).

*Don’t forget things like gender, age, income levels, etc.

2) Research – Once you have defined your clear target audience and know a few specifics about who they are, do your research. Here are some things to consider:

  • Current Customers – Ask your current customers this question… When you are on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc., what content topics interest you the most?
  • Competition – Investigate your competitors pages and social accounts. What topics that they post about get the most comments, likes, shares and conversations. Be sure the followers of those accounts are your target prospects also, or the information you obtain will lead you on a wild goose chase with your own strategy. Many brands social media marketing and content strategies are often focused on their peers, not their prospects. Don’t make the same mistake!
  • Search Engines – Use your favorite search engine to find statistics and information about your target audience. The internet has a ton of information, government and private studies, as well as news reports that will easily point you to topics your audience favors.

3) Test/Measure – After you have narrowed potential topics down to 5-10, start sharing news, blog posts and other content surrounding these topics to your streams. Aggregate content around then topics and post them in your newsfeeds consistently everyday. Measure the engagement, clicks, likes and comment rates around the topics. This will narrow you down to the top three to five that your audience most responds to.

Once you have determined your target markets three to five driving topics, you will want to slowly and steadily increase the volume of posts you are doing across the social networks you are focusing on. If you have properly identified the right topics of content to share, this will rapidly increase the amount of conversations, clicks and relationships you have in your community and more importantly get you on a path to improved results.

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Filed under Community, Followers, Marketing, Monitoring, Relationship, Social content management, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Marketing, Strategy

Social Media Content And The Social Selling Process [INFOGRAPHIC]

Content is so incredibly important in social media marketing. Many marketers and sad to say social media agencies don’t realize the true impact it has on getting to the all important return on investment results that are often missed. Social media content is a crucial part of the “social selling” process as well, so I decided to put together a little infographic on a process we use to show how content starts everything!

Social Selling InfographicOf course every business and industry is different and some of the steps and details will need to be adjusted for your specific brand. The important thing to note is that content drives the social selling process. Content is what starts conversations with your target audience.

There are few important steps I want to point out:

1) Content – Where it all starts. You need to know the topics your audience are interested in, then find and post articles, news and information that is valuable to them. You need to have enough of that content posted throughout the entire day, so that whenever your audience is online, one of your posts is seen.

*the quantity of posts per day varies from social network to social network. For example you would post much more frequently on Twitter than your personal Facebook page. You would post much less frequently to your company Facebook page than your personal Facebook page. Then of course there is LinkedIn, Google Plus etc…

2) Conversations – These are what build relationships. No matter whether you are a BtoB (Business to Business) service company, or a local restaurant, people tend to do business with people they feel they know and like. Since conversations build relationships, this is key to the social selling process. The content you are sharing should be so relevant, interesting and valuable to your audience that they like, comment and/or share it. That opens the door to a thank you and a personal or business question or conversation.

*be sure to focus the bulk of your conversations with those that are prospects for your product and service. Spending time in conversations with a dad in Ohio, when you are a local beauty shop in Texas doesn’t further your sales efforts. That doesn’t mean ignore those that are not prospects, just use common sense and your time wisely.

3) Explain – When a follower asks about you or what you do, you are now in selling mode. This looks very different from one business type to another. Give a short answer and always include a link to your brief video, marketing piece or webpage that you have previously designed for this specific purpose.

Be sure to only do this with someone you know is a prospect for your product/service.

*be prepared with posts that are already written to cover the various questions you might get and edit them specifically for the person you are speaking to at that moment.

4) Next Step – Do you know ahead of time what the next step is or should be in the social selling process? If you are a restaurant, do you have a special to hand off to someone to get them to come in? Does your BtoB service company have a demo procedure you can immediately plug into with the person? Do you schedule time on your calendar for soft invites for “Let’s talk” or “we should talk” options right at that moment?

Know exactly what your options are and what works, then drive down the appropriate path with each relationship as the conversation lends itself.

5) Ongoing – Whether or not the person/company becomes a customer after going through the social selling process, you will always want to go back to monitor and engage. If you have established a relationship and know they are a prospect for you, monitor their activity for opportunities to share their content and/or engage in additional conversation. This goes for those that become customers and those that do not. I can’t stress this enough.

As you review the social selling process inforgraphic and the details I have outlined here, you should be asking yourself a few questions.

  • Is the content we are sharing interesting to our audience?
  • Are we getting frequent comments, likes and shares from our community every day, all day?
  • Is the engagement we are getting from prospects for our product or service?
  • Do we know which followers/fans in our community are our prospective customers?

If the answer is no to any of these four questions, your content strategy, topics, frequency and targeting is most likely off and needs considerable adjustment. Additionally, appropriate social CRM solutions should be immediately employed to enable you to better focus time and efforts on the right conversations with the right people.

P.S. – Don’t SPAM!  That is all… :-)

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Filed under Community, Facebook, Fanpage, Followers, Infographic, Marketing, Monitoring, Relationship, Social content management, Social CRM, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI, Social Selling, Strategy, Twitter

Social Media Content Types Explained [Infographic]

Content drives everything in social media. It’s where everything within the space starts, comes together and ends up. Seriously, think about it. If nobody was posting anything there would be no conversation or reason for being here.

Many times people misunderstand content and it’s various forms. We tend to think of content in terms of a blog post we share, some news article, a video or photo, but content goes much deeper than that. Social media content comes in numerous forms, from posting what you are eating, to conversation to a quote. It’s plain text, text that drives someone to click a link and/or everything in between.

As I was contemplating content and it’s front and center role within social media marketing, I began to envision a fun social graphic. I wanted to create something that helped people break out of the norms and look at content in different ways. I wanted it to be fun, engaging and thought provoking. Enter Anya Downing of Engage Marketing and Design, my branding and Infographic partner and the queen of branding and story telling.

During our strategy call about social media content, I expressed my ideas related to the project. We discussed the different content types I wanted to cover and the descriptions and details to be used. Passing off the details, Anya did her magic that incorporated something I am well known for… Coffee!

Here is what we created:

Yes, this Infographic is fun, but don’t stop there.

1) Think about these various content types and how you are or are not utilizing them within your social media marketing efforts.

2) Consider where you are missing on providing value and opportunities that can spark conversation and further relationships.

3) How can your social media content efforts be improved through utilizing more content types to connect with your audience?

4) Create a plan to execute these things into your program and closely monitor the results.

5) Use the results from your monitoring to make final changes to your efforts.

Finally, be sure your thinking around social media content and your marketing strategy is human. Be sure your audience can make a human connection and relate to you!

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Filed under check-in, Infographic, Monitoring, Social content management, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Strategy

A Real Example of Effective Social Media Monitoring and Engagement

Last week I was watching TV with my baby boy (@Sprout TV) and saw an interesting commercial for something called the Total Bib. It kind of made me chuckle, which caused me to tweet something like “Total Bib reminds me of something out of a Saturday Night Live sketch”. The tweet received a few laughs and comments, but viral twitter post it wasn’t.

A few hours later, I received a reply tweet from @TotalBib thanking me for the mention and engaging me in conversation. I was pretty amazed since I was not following them previously, they were simply monitoring the stream. They simply took the time and made the effort to do some simple monitoring of the Twitter stream to identify opportunity.

They then took it a step further by taking the time to review my bio to recognize I am a single father, as well as someone with a little bit of influence in the social graph (despite what Klout says :-) ). Putting two and two together, these bright folks then engaged with me in a DM conversation that lead to them sending me one of their Bibs for my two and a half year old.

I am not writing this post to promote Total Bib, nor am I returning the favor for their gracious free gift, however it certainly has achieved some exposure and social media cheer leading.  My motivation for this post is to show other businesses the power of social media monitoring within your marketing program and how to capitalize on that monitoring after it identifies target market.

There are two main points to take from this:

1) Listen/Monitor: Whether using high-end Social Media Monitoring and Analytics tools such as Mantis Pulse Analytics or Twitter Lists, Google Alerts or simple Twitter searches, small through large brands should constantly be monitoring for mentions and opportunities to find and engage with their target market. Many opportunities are missed by companies that fail in this area, so planning is required.

2) Take Action: Once you identify your brand or product being discussed in the social graph, take the time to follow the person, engage them in conversation and evaluate the opportunities. Partnerships, special deals or straight forward relationship building should be your focus. We all want to feel important. Make them feel so and it will benefit your social media marketing tremendously!

Your social media marketing strategy must include monitoring along with all the other required components. Finding and capitalizing on opportunities through this added piece of your social media management will certainly pay dividends.

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Filed under Monitoring, Social Media, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Strategy, Twitter