Tag Archives: Content Strategy

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

Social Fishing – Give The Fish What THEY Want, Not What You’re Hungry For

Over the last week, I have had live conversations with a few brands, individuals and marketers on the topic of social media content strategy. After receiving multiple questions from the various parties on these calls, I thought a new analogy to explain social marketing was needed.

Social media marketing is like fishingHere are some of the questions that were being asked:

How often should we post on social media?

What kind of content should we be posting?

Do these questions sound familiar? They should. They are the cornerstone to being effective with social media marketing.

Here’s how I answered these and other questions…

Let me share the analogy with you

Imagine you are a fisherman, woman or person and your job is to find, attract and catch fish. Without fish, you don’t eat and you have nothing to sell to the fish plant that processes fish for other people who want to eat fish but can’t/don’t fish. Without fish to sell to the processing plant, you have no income to survive on. So you fish…

If your livelihood depended on being good at fishing, you should probably know what kind of fish you need to catch. If you know what kind of fish you want to land, you had better know what type of bait they are attracted to and use that to fish with, rather than whatever you happen to be hungry for.

Let’s dive deeper…

If you’re going to be successful at catching fish, there are a few things you need to do.

1) Know what type of fish you are wanting to find, attract and catch.

2) Know what live bait, lure or tackle those specific fish are attracted to.

3) Have the appropriate lb test line that will support the fish size you are trying to catch.

4) Have the proper fishing poles, reels and other gear needed to catch and land the type of fish you are looking for.

5) Know where to find the fish you are trying to catch.

6) Have your fishing pole in the water at all times.

7) Have more than one fishing pole in the water at all times.

If you are fishing every couple of days. rather than every day, your chances of attracting or catching a fish is far less likely. If when you fish, you cast once, reel in and then go home, you are definitely not going to be successful. If the bait you have on the end of your line is a sandwich, but the fish you are trying to catch only hit on worms, you will not catch any fish you are targeting.

Let’s bring these fish home

In social media, you are fishing with content. You need to know what your target audience (type of fish) is interested in and share that content (bait) 80% of the time. Posting only a few times per day on social media will ensure a tiny percentage of your audience sees anything you post, therefore you need to have poles in the water all day, everyday to increase the likelihood your posts (lines in the water) are seen.

If you are fishing in social media, using content, graphics and status updates that are only about you, your brand or your content, it is like fishing for cod using a sandwich you want to eat. You must share content that your target audience is attracted to and get’s them to bite. Your posts need to be everyday, all day and of the variety that your target audience responds, clicks, shares, comments or likes.

When you have a fish on, you slowly reel it in. If you try to immediately land the fish, you will likely pull the hook out and/or break the line. You must patiently work the fish by reeling it in slowly (having conversations and building the relationship). When you have skillfully and patiently brought the fish to the side of the boat, you can bring it INTO the boat.

If you’ve done this well, some fish will gladly hop right into your boat for you by asking what you do, requesting information or signing up on your website. Some fish will require a net and more careful attention before trying to bring them into the boat.

At the end of the day, be sure you are giving your fish what they want, and not chumming the water with your food, leftovers and interests.

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Filed under Audience, Brand, Content, Marketing, Relationship, Results, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Marketing, Strategy

4 “Not So Obvious” Reasons Good Content Curation Is Important

We all know, or at least you should, that having enough relevant, selfless, valuable content in your streams is highly important. Curating great content from sources outside of your own, in large enough quantities on a daily basis is the center of any effective Reasons Good Content Curation Is Importantsocial media marketing strategy. That selfless value provided to your audience is what tends to spark conversations, establish thought leadership on various topics and earns you the right to “pitch” your stuff.

Beyond the more clear reasons that curated content is effective and used by so many in social media, there are a few not so obvious reasons that you need to be aware of. Understanding these additional objectives when curating enough content in your streams will help you expand what you are doing and the results you can achieve.

But first, what do we mean by “good” content curation?

1) Enough volume in your streams every day, all day. For example, if you don’t have 20 posts a day on Twitter, you’re not being seen much. People aren’t logged in all day watching their newsfeeds, so you have to ensure no matter when they login on any network, one of your curated posts fly by. More about posting quantity

2) Relevant – The content you curate into your streams should be focused on the 3-5 topics that drive your audience when they’re on social media. What are THEY interested in? What drives them to click, comment and like? It’s not about you and what you do, it’s about them and their interests.

3) Unique – The curated content you post in your streams will get the best results if it’s “off the beaten path”. In other words, don’t share the same popular content and sources as everyone else. Be sure the content you curate in your streams is unique and not something your audience has likely already seen, read and shared themselves. You may also want to check competitors streams to ensure your topical curated content is unique from the sources, sites and authors that you are sharing.

So let’s get a little deeper and discuss other human responses that normally occur when your content curation is really good.

4 Not So Obvious Reasons Good Content Curation is Important

Timeline Checks – New connections that you friend or follow often first check your timeline before accepting your request or following back. When your social streams are consistently full of interesting, relevant content, no matter when a prospective connection happens to check your timeline, they will see value and accept/follow back at a MUCH higher percentage than if you don’t have good, consistent content curation in effect.

Attraction – A huge advantage to the proper execution of a great content strategy is attraction. Nailing your topical curation strategy and executing it every day, all day will result in more of your target audience finding YOU. As your consistency and strategy align, you will grow an extremely targeted community at a much faster pace.

Under The Hood – Really good content curation will spark conversations with your audience. If it doesn’t, your strategy or topics are off and you need to make adjustments to your topics, sources and volumes.

You want your audience to learn that no matter when they look, your streams will always have something valuable for them. When you’ve got it right, conversations will result. As your conversations increase, you build relationships and get your connections to want to know more about you. Most do so by clicking to view your bio on that specific social network.

Click – If you’re properly curating, attracting and engaging with the right audience AND your bio is well thought out, it can also drive your connections to click-through to your site from your bio.

Do you see the natural relationship flow that content curation done well can facilitate in your social media marketing?

Do you understand the nuances that proper social media management can achieve?

What changes do you need to make in your social media execution to leverage human behavior to improve your results?

These not so obvious advantages to exceptional, consistent and valuable content curation represent the culmination of what is called social selling. Understand the underlying human activity the typical social network user completes as a normal course of what we discuss in this post, then take the time and effort to ensure your targeting, strategy, quantity and consistency are inline to realize the additional benefits consciously.

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Filed under Community, Content, Curation, Engagement, Followers, Marketing, Relationship, Results, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Social Selling, Strategy

How To: Expand Local Business Social Reach Through Content Creation

Even the smallest brands and individual online marketers need to create relevant content for their target audience. It’s about creating thought leadership in certain topics, staying top of mind with your audience and driving traffic to your site through your blog or other social platforms.

Expanding Social ReachThere are many types of content creation that marketers and small brands can and should be doing. Some of the types of created content are; Blog posts, video, images, graphics, infographics, email newsletters, landing pages, events. Most of these kinds of content creation can be done with limited resources, using smart phones or by outsourcing to experienced small agencies.

Expand Your Social Reach:

One of the important and often overlooked reasons consistent content creation is so important is that it provides the opportunity for local businesses and small marketers to expand their social reach. By consistently creating content that is relevant and valuable to your target audience, you also generate content that other social media users want to share.

At the heart of effective social media marketing is sharing or “curating” relevant content from others. In fact, when done properly, about 80% of what a social media marketer posts should come from sources other than themselves. This means that they need recent, relevant content on a daily basis and a lot of it!

Some How To’s:

  • Be consistent with at least 1-2 blog posts per week. Make it easy by using images and videos you capture in and around your daily work and personal activities as the basis for your posts.
  • Optimize your posts around locality and topics both your audience and content curators are interested in.
  • Share your content with hashtags both your audience and content curators are using and following around your locality and topics.
  • Write for legacy, not always events. In other words, create content that is not event-driven but is timeless and can be posted, read and consumed long-term, not just for a specific date or event.
  • Identify and build relationships with social media accounts that post and share about local content frequently. By developing these relationships, they will likely find and share your content as well.
  • On the day’s you publish your posts, schedule shares on Twitter up to 3-4 times across the day and once on other social platforms.
  • ALWAYS include at least one graphic in your posts.
  • Share the graphic from your blog post on image networks like Instagram and Pinterest with a link to the blog post it came from.
  • Share your legacy content in your social streams repeatedly over time.
  • Start conversations with your target audience when they post something that is connected to one of your recent posts. As the conversation develops you can mention a blog post you did on the topic and share the link. (when appropriate)

Some Never Ever’s:

  • Never tag people/accounts when you share it on social media. We call this spam. Earn relationships that want to share your content.
  • Don’t create content that is only and always about you, your company or what you do. Instead create content around what interests your target audience at a rate of 80% and 20% of your blog posts should be about you, your products, services and specials, etc.

Content creation can be a very effective way for local businesses to drive traffic to their website. It is best done when it adds value to the target audience and is not-self centered. Include outreach campaigns to develop relationships that need your content for their social media strategies and always thank those that mention and share your content.

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Filed under Blog, Content, content creation, Curation, Infographic, Marketing, Relationship, SEO, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Marketing, Spam, Strategy

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