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The Social Media Connection Cycle Explained [Infographic]

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

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

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

What Is The Social Media Connection Cycle?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Wrap Up

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

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

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Filed under Brand, Community, connection, Content, Engagement, Followers, Infographic, Marketing, Relationship, Results, Social Media, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, social media tool, 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

Manipulating The Facebook Newsfeed With Content

As many of you know, Bundle Post also launched a funny social pic blog called social graphics. We produce a ton of images for it and it has received incredible response and results in short order. You should check it out too.

Part of the strategy for the blog was not just creating and posting the images, but also being able to share links to the pics and uploads of them to various social networks. Since we knew funny, social media related images are like candy to babies with our target audience, sharing them on Facebook was an focused part of the strategy. The response, sharing and engagement has been incredible, directly attributed to multiple new users of our software due to the conversations and relationships that have resulted.

Over time, I noticed something I did not expect. As I uploaded the pics to Facebook, I started to watch the relationship between when they were posted, the activity around it, shares, likes and comments. I also paid attention to what happened when activity all but ceased and how it was connected with the Newsfeed algorithm.

What I discovered was that you could manipulate getting your images and posts back into the Newsfeed on Facebook without reposting it. Simply liking it, or commenting on it hours after the last engagement on the image would release it again into the Newsfeed to some or all of your friends. This would inevitably start another round of activity, likes and conversations, resulting in a longer life for your content.

This experiement was only conducted on my personal Facebook profile and not our Bundle Post fanpage. However, since we use my personal profile and business page for building relationships with our community and most of our engagement is driving from my personal accounts, it clearly worked effectively.

Give it a try and let me know what results you get with your content marketing on Facebook.

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Filed under Facebook, Social content management, Social Media, Social Media Content