Back to basics: Measuring your social media efforts with unique acquisition channels

10 Dec

Most organizations are spending a considerable amount of money and resources on their social media marketing efforts. These efforts generally take the form of three types of effort – organic, paid and promoted (also referred to as owned, paid and earned). No matter how you label them, you should segregate them into three unique marketing acquisition channels in your analytics reports to correctly evaluate how effective your efforts are.

To segregate traffic driven to your site from various social media properties, you’ll need to configure custom channels in your analytics tool.

Defining custom social channels

Before starting any configuration changes, first decide not only the names of these new channels, but what they represent for your clients (both internal and external).

I’d recommend setting up the following three channels.

Paid social: Consists of any paid ads you are running on any social media property to drive traffic to your website.

Promoted social: All activity performed by your social media team where no additional marketing fees are required. Typical activities that fall under this channel include typical posting to your social media channels.

Organic social: Any activity that the general public (people not on your payroll) drives traffic to your site from social media. This includes a person clicking on a “Share This” icon on your blog post or perhaps just including a link to your site in a spontaneous social media post.

Once you’ve defined your social media channels, you need to define the medium definitions (for GA the utm_medium parameter value) to be used your generate a custom URL to track. The great news is you don’t need to do anything for organic social.

Here are some typical medium definitions (required by your analytics software) or make up your own. Note you can use more than one to refine your analysis at a later date.

Paid social: Paid-social, Social-PPC, Social-CPC, Social-display, Promoted-post

Promoted social: Psocial, Promoted, Post, Tweet

Remember, these changes to your analytics tool are permanent and will remain in place unless deleted. They will not impact historical data.

Repeating the benefits of custom channels

With this additional information, you’ll be more effective at evaluating which content is performing best and you’ll be able to compare its performance across the organic, paid and promoted social channels.

Another advantage is it will be much easier to compare conversion rates and goal achievement between different channels.

It is only by segregating paid from organic from promoted social activity that a complete picture of which activity drives which type of conversion.

The 10 Best Tools for Social Marketing Automation

3 Dec

Social media is where everything happens these days. With so many platforms available to a marketer, keeping up with the many tasks that social media marketing needs, is an uphill task in itself. Hence, in this article, we talk about 10 social media automation tools that can help you build your social media marketing strategy.

With an estimated 2.77 billion social network users in 2019, who are online virtually 24/7, you have to be quick and responsive in your social media marketing strategy. For this, you must automate tasks like sharing posts, scheduling, analytics, etc. to make the most of your time and resources.

There are tons of excellent social media automation tools that allow you to be efficient and effective with your marketing strategy and even improve the effectiveness of your campaigns.

What are the Top 10 Social Media Automation Tools?

1. Buffer:

Buffer is a hot favorite in the industry. It offers you a lot of flexibility to schedule and automate your posts. It also analyzes the performance of the posts, and provides a user-friendly interface to get you going in a jiffy.

Here’s what you can do with Buffer:

  • Get automated and manual support to schedule updates
  • Integrate and manage all social media accounts through a single platform
  • Schedule posts for preferred times, all at once
  • Measure social media performance
  • Get recommendations on the best time to post
  • Have multiple team members (maximum 25) access the same account (access specifiers for each member)
  • Schedule content on the go, with browser extensions and Android and iOS apps
  • Receive frequent updates from Buffer to adapt to ever-changing social media platforms
  • Unified interface for all major social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, Youtube)
  • Smart post analytics and reporting tools to track social content performance
  • Simplified content publishing and scheduling with the Calendar function
  • Active social listening to monitor relevant conversations and audience engagement

2. Agora Pulse:

Agora Pulse has a comprehensive feature set where you can plan posts, engage your customers with contests and quizzes, collaborate with your team, and perform advanced analysis. With an easy-to-use interface and timely updates about posts, tweets, messages, comments, etc., this platform helps you stay ahead of your competition and forge strong relationships with your target audience.

This is what Agora Pulse offers:

  • Unified interface for all major social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, Youtube)
  • Smart post analytics and reporting tools to track social content performance
  • Simplified content publishing and scheduling with the Calendar function
  • Active social listening to monitor relevant conversations and audience engagement

3. Buzzsumo:

Buzzsumo automates content discovery. It helps you find fresh content topics, channels, and the sources your competitors are using to reach your target audience. This way you can align your content accordingly.

Buzzsumo offers the following:

  • Search tool (search bar) for discovering content related to a keyword/phrase, and influencers who share related content
  • Content search filter for a location, domain, platform, etc.
  • Tracking for different platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.
  • Solutions like brand monitoring, influencer marketing, content curation and insights, content research and planning, competitor research, question analyzer, etc.

4. Hootsuite:

Hootsuite is a popular and affordable social media automation tool that can help you schedule posts on over 35+ social media platforms. It also offers an analysis of the content to determine the best time to post content, as well as real-time updates to keep a track of brand mentions and audience engagement.

Here’s what Hootsuite provides:

  • Tabs to organize, link, and schedule posts for all your social profiles in one place
  • Advanced search for sentiment analysis, location-based search, etc.
  • Customizable and insightful social analytics reports
  • Tracking of industry trends and campaign results to tweak strategies


‘If this, then that’ (IFTTT) is an automation solution that helps you use a combination of applets and services to connect various devices and apps to solve a whole host of automation problems. You have to set triggers (or conditions), and IFTTT will perform that action when a condition is triggered. For example, If a blog post is published (This), Then tweet this article link on my twitter account (That). So, every time you publish a blog post, IFTTT will automatically tweet it through your account.

You can use a combination of apps and services, from over 600 apps, devices, and companies to create a wide range of recipes, to scale your social media efforts.

6. SocialOomph:

With Socialoomph you can boost your social media productivity, and easily schedule updates. It also helps you monitor the social activity on your Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Tumblr, RSS feeds, blogs, and Plurk accounts. It is a social media management tool doubling up as an automation platform.

This is what SocialOomph offers:

  • Automation of post scheduling, image uploads, sharing, and profile updates
  • Blog post(s) updates and RSS feeds
  • New followers monitoring and automating direct messages to them
  • Supports you by converting emails from a personal email account to social media updates
  • Queues reservoir for evergreen content to be promoted (and reshared)


7. Sprout Social:

Whether you are a small business, an agency, or an enterprise, Sprout Social offers you affordable tools with exhaustive features, which include:

  • Scheduling posts
  • Monitoring competition
  • Tracking your keywords
  • Identifying influencers
  • Discovering mentions
  • Analyzing stats

8. MeetEdgar:

Apart from automating content sharing and posting, MeetEdgar allows you to re-share and recycle old content as well. You can create a content library where you can organize it by category. MeetEdgar will fill up your social media streams by recycling content from the library or ‘pulling’ content from the RSS feeds from various blog posts.

MeetEdgar also does the following for you:

  • Connect to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. through a web plugin from any mobile device
  • Auto refill queue from saved update archives
  • Set expiry dates for seasonal posts
  • Share evergreen content to increase traffic and audience engagement
  • Category-based scheduling tool to mix content types

9. SocialFlow:

SocialFlow is a one-of-its-kind tool, where content is scheduled based on real-time insights on campaign performance. You can add your content to the queue, and your posts will be scheduled based on actionable data – when your target audience is active, what are they engaging with, etc. It will use real-time data along with your business rules to determine what posts to publish, on which platform, and the best time to publish them.

10. TailWind:

TailWind is social media automation tool for visual marketing on Pinterest and Instagram. It is an all-in-one tool to discover content, schedule posts, monitor conversations, amplify reach, and analyze results.

Apart from that, TailWind offers:

  • Multi-board pinning, hashtag lists, bulk image upload, drag-and-drop calendar
  • Optimization of your Instagram and Pinterest schedules
  • Analytics and insights by monitoring KPIs, followers, brand mentions, likes, repins, boards and more
  • Creation of multiple posts from any website with a single click
  • Tracking activity and trends

Social media automation tools help you increase efficiency in your social media marketing strategy, and to scale your business and fully engage with your clients and customers. Anyone of these ten tools can help you improve your social marketing automation strategy for better customer engagement.

6 Ways to Celebrate the Holiday Season in Your Social Media Marketing

26 Nov

The holiday season is here. There are at least four major holidays and plenty of minor ones to go around.

All this festivity offers us unique chances to make a connection with potential customers. ‘Tis the season for savvy social media marketing.

You don’t have to drape your Facebook page in tinsel or string lights on your Twitter feed to catch the holiday spirit. In fact, the bigger, tackier celebrations are less likely to feel authentic, and more likely to alienate those who don’t celebrate a particular holiday.

It’s better to celebrate the holidays on social media the same way you do everything: With your audience’s needs and wants firmly in mind.

Here are a few ideas for getting your brand into the spirit.

#1: Go Behind the Scenes

Your audience always wants to see the people behind the brand. During the holidays, those who are celebrating will enjoy seeing others celebrating, too. Snap candid shots of decorated desks, bedecked halls, and your annual office party.

Collect memorable holiday stories and favorite recipes from your co-workers, too, and share them with festive holiday portraits. Ugly sweaters and santa hats are optional, but encouraged.

#2: Encourage Your Audience to Share Holiday Photos

During the holiday season, most people’s thoughts turn to happy childhood memories. We recall the warm glow of the menorah, or waking up early to see the presents under the tree–these memories are indelible. For kids born in the 70s and 80s, these precious moments were captured in pictures that look pre-Instagrammed.

Encourage your audience to share their favorite memories and photos with your brand. Create a branded hashtag you can use on Instagram to collect cool retro holiday photos and the stories that go with them.

#3: Shine Light on a Worthy Cause

One of the most powerful ways your brand can get noticed this season is to turn the spotlight away from the brand. Instead, highlight a charity that your brand can support, and offer a way for your customers to lend their support, too.

#4: Focus on What Your Customers Need

This time of year consumers are drowning in a flood of holiday-related advertising. Everything from $500 cell phones to $40,000 cars are positioned as perfect holiday gifts. Every retail outlet is playing some variation of Christmas music non-stop.

It seems brands desperately want to put their customers in a holiday buying mood. But that’s not what customers want. They want ways to deal with stress, or help finding the perfect gift, or a moment of silent reflection. B2B companies want help making their budget for next year, closing out 2016, making sure their customers feel appreciated.

Take some time to think about what special wants and needs your specific audience has this time of year. Better yet, ask a few of them. You could end up creating some powerful, useful content instead of more holiday dazzle.

#5: Sum up the Year

Not every consumer spins a dreidel or stuffs stockings this time of year. But the vast majority do celebrate the New Year. It’s a time to look ahead and to reflect over the past year.

If Christmas carols or Kwanzaa lights don’t suit your brand voice, New Year’s is still a safe bet. Take the opportunity to tell your current and potential customers about your brand’s year. Let them know how the company grew, what you learned, and most importantly how you are planning on treating them even better in 2017.

#6: Highlight What Unites Us

This season is about more than lighting candles and giving gifts. It’s a celebration, as the quote up top reminds us, of being alive, being together, and being halfway out of the dark. Your brand can celebrate these ideals–family, togetherness, love–without committing to a single holiday in particular. Instead of singling out a specific group, you can remind everyone we’re all in the same group.

What is your brand doing to make the holidays special for your customers? Let me know in the comments.

10 Ways to Ace Social Media Marketing In 2020 And Beyond

12 Nov

As we inch closer to the end of the decade, the world of marketing will witness significant changes and social media marketing will be at the core of most marketing strategies. In this article, we look at a 10-step guide to emerging trends in social media marketing and how you can win at social in 2020 and beyond.

Social media marketing is essential to any marketing strategy in an era where everyone is online. In fact, the sheer number of social media users in the world in 2018 – 3.196 billion – is staggering. Social media won’t remain the same as it is now. What counts as a trend today will be obvious tomorrow.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to making sure your social media marketing strategy always stays current:

1. Social videos broaden horizon: The audience loves videos, and so do marketers. Videos are well retained by the human brain, are usually self-explanatory, and engaging. It is predicted that 80% of global internet traffic will be attributed to videos by 2021.

2. Moreover, live streaming of events, ‘how-to’ videos, product launches, behind the scenes, etc. is catching up with consumers and marketers alike. By 2020, videos will not only be used to create brand awareness and conversions but also become highly personal. Marketers will use videos for:

  • One to one communication – for e.g. Personalized videos to walk you through the features of a device.
  • Networking – As users consume more videos for entertainment and education, marketers will leverage this opportunity to build a community of loyal followers.
  • Visual content for online shopping – With short-form videos gaining traction, and shoppers preferring video ads and how to videos over other ad forms, marketers will sync social videos with their e-commerce strategy.

3. The rise of AR and VR: Experiential marketing has tremendous opportunity to engage customers and create memorable experiences for them. Virtual Reality (VR) can be used to bring to life a faraway event or a simulated environment, while Augmented Reality (AR) can add unimaginable layers of depth to real-life experiences. With social platforms pushing features like FB’s Oculus Rift Glasses, Snapchat’s Geofilters and Lens or Amazon helping users try on clothes virtually, marketers will embrace these features to entertain and engage their audience and boost their advertising revenue.

4 . Product search goes social: Today’s customers are tech-savvy and informed. 84% of people surveyed said they trust online reviews as a recommendation. Hence social proof like reviews, shares, likes, mentions, etc. are important. While you are busy advertising, your prospect is most likely looking for social recommendations or the popularity of your product. He is most likely to turn to social media to discover this information. According to a Globalwebindex report, 28 percent of users turned to social networks during their online product research. As users continue to flock to social media platforms, it is possible that social would go on to trump search for product research.

5. Social commerce – hit the buy button: The next logical step, when a user discovers you on social media is to provide him with a call-to-action. Social has commerce channels and can provide an easy, breezy shopping experience for users.

Marketers can supplement their ads with a buy button to optimize conversions. The addition of a buy button can eliminate the step needed for a website visit or app download. Though this trend hasn’t caught up yet, it can certainly add value and improve conversion rates.

6. Step up your sell game: People are hooked to online as well as offline games. Can you deny the popularity of Pokemon Go, Clash of Clans, Candy Crush and so many more? With 66% of men and 70% of women playing mobile games, and 54% of gamers being in the age group 25-44, games are popular across most demographics.

Brands can take this as a cue to investing in gaming apps for ads, creating exciting games for brand awareness, educating their customers, and making some sales in the process.

7. Insights get more profound: There is no shortage of data from social media marketing efforts. As more people converge on social channels, pulling data from different platforms and monitoring usage and preferences, can help you gather rich insights into consumer behavior and understand the customer journey better.

8. Unique content: There is too much noise out there, with everyone churning out content at a fast pace. Now, the need is to create customized content for every individual. It may sound ambitious, but an extraordinary amount of data you now have access to, along with emerging technologies, it seems possible. Most social media platforms are already customizing a user’s newsfeed based on his likes, clicks, and preferences. This trend will continue to grow, and marketers will serve content and ads handpicked for an individual.

9. Niche platforms for targeting: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. cater to mass audiences, but platforms like LinkedIn make it easier to connect with a specific niche. Niche social platforms will gain popularity and make it easier for marketers to focus on a particular user base.

10. Power of AI: Artificial Intelligence (AI) is in vogue. Combined with machine learning (ML), AI can help you automate mundane, repetitive tasks, perform predictive analytics, offer personalized recommendations, and engage your customers. Marketers will leverage AI along with social media data to:

  • Offer product recommendations
  • Make chatbots to provide customer support
  • Use ML algorithms to craft personalized and relevant messages
  • Identify business issues

Now that you know what’s to come in social media marketing, how are you preparing for the future? Let us know in the comments below.

Five Common Social Media Marketing Mistakes to Avoid in 2019

5 Nov

Every marketer today wants to make their brand presence felt. That is the reason why social media is being leveraged on a big scale.  Whether one owns an established business or a startup, social media marketing is something that everyone is using to reach and communicate with the customers. Doesn’t it make sense to be in a place where the crowd is? One often comes across some social media marketing activities that fail. While, on the other hand, some Facebook and Twitter pages become popular than the others. Many times, marketers observe that their competitors are doing better than them in social media marketing!

Everybody does make mistakes. How can social media marketers be any different? But the fact is, making too many mistakes can see the followers dwindle and their count drop. Indeed, it does affect the revenue of a business. As with all mistakes, the first step is understanding and becoming aware of them. It then becomes easier to avoid them in the future. Let’s discuss top five common social media marketing mistakes that one must avoid in the coming year – 2019.

1. Undefined goals and targeting the wrong audience. As a marketer, one may be working very hard, yet they may suffer badly if they aim and shoot in the dark. A marketer needs to ensure that they are not targeting the wrong audience. The key to success in social media marketing is to know and reach the target audience.

Most marketers commit one of the biggest social media marketing mistakes, that is, not properly defining their goals. Can anyone win without a goal? Once the goals are set, one can start working on their social media strategy and create a plan. For example, some of the goals that work well with social media could be to improve customer engagement or increase event attendance or increase website visits, etc.

2. Multiple profiles, over-promotion, wrong reaction. Creating more than one profile on social networking websites such as Facebook or Twitter will not only waste one’s time and other resources, but it could confuse the followers too. One will be better off focusing all their efforts in one direction, getting people to follow their business by creating a single profile in each of the commonly used social media platforms.

The social media platform is all about being social and communicative. Most visitors on a social media page hate promotional content. If too much time is spent on promotional activities, chances of losing followers or likes are high. So, it is advisable for marketers to avoid over-promotion and keep it effective and efficient.

In reality, being on social media is all about being “social” that is, one needs to have more and more conversations and engagements. Many times, one’s profile has updates but no participation in the conversation. Lack of conversation with followers can decrease the value of social presence. And, this aspect needs to be carefully addressed to. At the same time, one need not ignore a negative feedback. Doing so could even derail a social media marketing campaign.

The negative comments may not get much response from other users, but when people see something negative, though they may not comment on it, the damage is done. Negative feedback is not always a sign of a problem, most often it is simply criticizing the brand. Marketers should avoid censoring such users. React to those messages somehow, but avoid reacting harshly. They should respond to the negative comments in such a way that it will convert those negatives into positives! Equally important is to avoid deleting a negative comment. Instead ask the customer to call or email you, keeping the tone helpful and polite.

Reacting poorly or deleting posts can give a bad reputation that will be hard to shake. Avoid that!

3. Not putting a right strategy in place!  It is essential to define and implement the right strategy for social media marketing just as prior to starting any business, niche market, product, and audience are identified. On the contrary, by joining the social network, creating a profile, loading it with info, posting great stuff to attract attention and then suddenly disappearing is not going to help! Within no time the page is bound to turn into a barren land!

Followers will wonder why they are there, while others seeking answers and getting no replies will lose trust. And, so the social media presence could soon become a flop show! This explains, the need for a social media marketing strategy to be identified before going live on various social media platforms.

The social media marketing strategy must ensure to improve the presence of the business on different platforms and not let it drift. The main goal for any marketer in using social media is to gain likes and followers, and that is mainly to create a new source of sales leads. If one is not sure of their goal they will not attain it. Similarly, without a proper strategy in place, the entire purpose of social media marketing shall be defeated.

Therefore, to get success in social media, marketing strategy should have well-defined goals, target audience must be identified, tactics to be employed must be implemented, the right amount of time should be invested and proficient workforce should be employed to perform the tasks.

4. Automated link posting and not tracking analytics. Automated link posting gives an impression of a spamming site! It is the mistake many marketers make by posting back-links to their website. Automation eases the load on manual efforts, but randomness doesn’t pay, and it must be avoided.

There is no point in using social media without any insights. One usually measures the success of their SEO and e-mail marketing campaigns with an analytics software. Similarly, they should track and assess the performance metrics of their social media campaigns. One can easily use the metrics provided by the platform or utilize an external service or software to gain further insights.

By measuring the quality of followers, the popularity of posts, and the extent of influence to gain data will help in one’s future social media marketing efforts.

5. Not investing in video and neglecting paid advertising. The content one posts over social media channels are crucial, as posting repetitively – especially if it is self-promotional, the followers can get irritated or lose interest. Engagement can be increased by varying the type of content, like:

  • Business-related blog posts, articles, videos, and photos.
  • Links to external content that is relevant to the interests of followers.
  • Shares or retweets from other players.

Social media video marketing plays a significant role in the purchasing decisions of consumers. There lies a big opportunity in this area and neglecting it is not a good idea. And one needn’t have to shell out huge cash to make compelling videos on social media! Most smartphones have great camera abilities, and creating candid videos are gaining in popularity.

However, care must be taken not to post videos that are hazy, or with poor sound quality, or do not make any sense. In the coming year, the video is likely to account for eighty percent of global internet traffic. Therefore, it is advisable for any marketer to avoid the mistake of neglecting to invest in videos in the coming year – 2019.

Now coming to paid advertisements in social media – most social media platforms are pay-to-play for businesses. If one is planning to advertise on social media, it should be with a purpose and objective! Using platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest; the below goals are achieved:

  • Bringing traffic to the business website,
  • Building brand awareness,
  • Generating leads,
  • Boosting engagement with prospects, etc.

The most effective platforms with highest hits for general audiences are Facebook and YouTube. LinkedIn is ideal for B2B companies. Organic reach that implies reaching the audience using the news feeds on a page or as shared by friends on Facebook hovers under ten percent. It means that the likelihood of a post or message being seen by the target audience, over social media in general, is slim or negligible.

As one embraces social marketing, their social media strategy is likely to grow by including social media advertising. It may appear odd or even scary to move from an organic social strategy to investing real money!  But, it is always advisable for any marketer to avoid neglecting paid advertisement over social media in the coming year – 2019 and stay relevant and competitive.

Are you making any of the above social media marketing mistakes that we discussed above? Don’t worry; you can quickly turn it around for your business. Start with a fixed goal, know the target audience and follow the instructions mentioned above. If having any doubt or trouble there, always go ahead and reach out to a social media marketing expert  – it could save a lot of your time along with avoiding the social media marketing mistakes you have been making all along.

15 Social Media Marketing Strategies the Pros Use

29 Oct

More than 70 percent of small businesses plan on using social media for marketing this year, according to data from Infusionsoft. But not all of those businesses have an actual strategy.

Posting content here and there isn’t going to be as effective as going in with a real plan. Every strategy will look a bit different, but there’s no shortage of options to choose from.

Social Media Marketing Strategies

Here are some expert-approved strategies to promote your small business on social media.

Start with One Platform and Build from There

When you’re just getting started building a social media presence, it can be tempting to go all in and attempt to reach people on every platform. But this is a recipe for overwhelm.

I strongly recommend a conservative approach to social media, especially when starting out. I have seen many dive into social media and then fail to maintain their presence simply because they were overzealous. I’m not implying you shouldn’t review what new sites and tools have to offer, but I recommend that you carefully assess their potential benefits for your business before throwing time and money at them.

Create a Unified Presence

Whether you end up using one social platform or many, it’s important for people to be able to spot your brand anywhere online. It should look professional and consistent with your website and other marketing materials. So update your profile photos and/or header images to go with your branding. It’s also incredibly important to have a professional headshot for LinkedIn, rather than going with the standard avatar.

Put Yourself in Your Audience’s Shoes

Building a content strategy looks a bit different for every business. You’ll never post exactly the same content or topics as anyone else. However, it is always important to post things that are going to be interesting or helpful specifically for your target customers. So before posting new content, get in the mindset of your customer persona and ask what you’d want to see.

Use the RITE Formula

RITE is another formula that is used  to assess the viability of specific types of content. RITE = Relevant, Interesting, Timely and Entertaining. So essentially, consider every post with those characteristics in mind. Ideally, it will hit at least a few of those check boxes.

Aggregate Content from Your Audience

Sometimes the best way to get the attention of potential customers on social media is to re-post content from current customers. When you aggregate content about your business from other users, it serves as a kind of social proof. It shows people that others just like them use your product or service and love them, whether it’s an Instagram post of a customer wearing your handmade scarf or text from an online review.

Anyone can write a few sentences, slap a fake name on it and add a stock photo of a smiling face to create fake testimonials. But utilizing compliments, reviews, and testimonials from social media has a different effect.

Promote Reviews

Though social media posts are great, many people still trust official reviews more. Sites like Facebook offer a review function, so it’s a great place to promote positive reviews, which adds some social proof and also reminds other customers to share their thoughts.

Humanize Your Business with Behind the Scenes Media

Anyone can go to your website to learn the basics about your business. But people follow brands on social media to make deeper connections. That means you should show the person(s) behind your business in your post. Share a selfie or go live on Facebook to connect with people face-to-face. Share some video content from your office. Or even go live at a special event with your whole team.

People form relationships – and relationships are built on trust. Humanizing a business, especially with photos and videos, have often exceeded reach more than any other organic tactic we’ve tried to implement.

Host a Contest or Challenge

To really get people engaged with your brand, offer an incentive. Host a giveaway or raffle if people use your specified hashtag or post an image or video of your product. There are plenty of ways to personalize this experience to your particular brand and customers.

Monitor Conversations from Your Target Customers

Listening is just as important as posting on social media, if not more so. On social media sites we can eavesdrop on the conversations and understand what the needs really are and the emotions behind them. Listening to a wide range of conversations on social media gives you a perception of what people really think, unfiltered and, generally, unguided. Be a fly on the wall without an agenda of changing the conversation.

Ask Questions

Another way to learn more about your customers is to simply ask what you want to know. Ask an open ended question to start conversations or host a poll on Twitter or Instagram to get some quantifiable data.

Stick to Your Own Voice

One of the keys to social media is consistency. Another is authenticity. People who follow you want to feel like they actually know you. So don’t constantly switch between posting techniques or tones or change up your content whenever there’s a fleeting trend. Instead, go for an authentic approach and actually post how you would when talking to a friend. If you have multiple people posting to your account, make sure they understand the voice you’re trying to convey or even have a similar style naturally.

Customers are media savvy and can see through a fake facade very quickly. Therefore, increasingly, people prefer to stick to brands that have a unique, individual voice, especially when it comes to the service industry where personal branding is everything. In a competitive marketplace, authenticity also stands out as one of the most appealing traits.

Don’t ONLY Automate

Automating social media posts can save you a lot of time when it comes to things like promoting blog posts or aggregating content. But you shouldn’t rely on it solely. Set aside at least some time each day to check in on your network and look for opportunities to start conversations.

The benefits of automation for marketing and time/costs savings is enormous. However, automation should not replace the human element when it comes to marketing on social media. Find ways to connect with your followers in a genuine, empathetic, human way, as often as you can. Building an authentic relationship with your audience goes a long way in ensuring that they will continue to enjoy your brand, recommend it to others, and stay loyal customers for a long time to come.

Host Regular Live Sessions

There is one increasingly popular tactic that allows you to show off a behind the scenes view of your business while also increasing follower engagement in a really authentic way — live streaming. You can host live sessions on Facebook or Instagram at a set time each week or month so your audience knows when to tune in. Then you can also repurpose that content.

One of the biggest benefits of live streaming is the engagement and all of the feedback that you can get from your audience in real-time.There’s also the added benefit of the longevity of the replay and one of the things that you can do with every play is convert it into an episode for your podcast.

Host a Flash Sale

If you want to increase sales quickly, you might host a flash sale that’s only available to people who follow you on social media. You can even unload surplus goods just by posting photos on Instagram or Facebook and having people bid in the comments.

Monitor Your Mentions and Respond

The thing that really sets social media apart from other communication methods is that it’s a two-way street. You don’t just broadcast messages to your audience — they use it to get in touch with you. So it’s super important that you monitor those messages regularly and respond.

This can result in hard feelings and missed opportunities. When people engage with you on social media, they expect a response promptly.

Should I Outsource My Social Media? 6 Questions to Ask Yourself

22 Oct

With every other Instagram star being a social media guru these days, it’s common for businesses to ask themselves whether they should look into outsourcing their social media efforts.

The day-to-day tasks of running a business are generally enough for the average CEO, causing social media marketing to fall short on the priority calendar.

Social media marketing is its own beast and requires a special attention and level of creativity. Frankly, it isn’t for everyone.

If you’re going back and forth on whether to outsource your social media marketing, ask yourself the following questions first.

1. How Much Time Do I Have to Devote to Managing Social Media?

Time is the biggest reason businesses look to outsourcing their social media.

Social media isn’t just about scheduling posts.

You actually have to invest time in:

  • Tracking your brand mentions on social media.
  • Monitoring the conversations that are happening.
  • Trying new growth hack methods.
  • Responding immediately to any inquiries.

All of this needs to happen 24/7, too.

To say social media management can be done by setting aside 1-2 hours a week is really quite hilarious.

The time you invest in managing your brand’s social pages and image can’t be categorized into a lump one or few hour time period. It is something that requires constant attention and generally in small intervals.

This is especially true for brands that have large followings and receive question after question through their social pages.

For those smaller to medium-sized businesses who argue, “Well, I don’t have tons of followers, so I just post and I’m good,” I hate to break it to you, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

If anything, the brands that have smaller followings have even more work cut out for them as they try to grow their followers organically and through paid methods. Talk about overtime. 

There are tons of excellent growth hacking methods to get your follower count as high as Nike, but to execute those methods it takes lots and lots of time and energy.

Social media isn’t a one and done type of strategy. You need to continually be optimizing your followers and be social online.

2. Do I Know How to Be Social Online?

Social media isn’t an excuse to hide behind a computer and not actually talk to anyone. You still need to talk to your followers.

There’s truly an art to being a social butterfly online, and not everyone has the knack. Let’s be honest with ourselves.

If you just really don’t have the energy, creativity, or will to be a virtual social butterfly, don’t be.

If you have the time, there are tons of resources to teach you how to connect with people virtually and become this type of butterfly for your brand.

Maybe you do have the time and want to learn how to connect with your demographic socially, go for it!

One of the biggest pieces of advice I can give you though is to know your audience.

If your audience is just as introverted as you are they’ll most likely continue that introverting in how they communicate online.

Instead of being on flashy social media pages like Instagram or Snapchat they may be hiding in forums or casually browsing Pinterest.

Wherever they may be mimic your customer, go where they are, talk like they talk, create content they’re comfortable with. Don’t be an extrovert in an introverts world.

If the idea of this is making you cringe, it would be best for you to outsource your social media to an agency who has done work for another business within your industry.

This is someone who knows how to talk to be a virtual social butterfly to youraudience.

3. Have I Established My Brand Voice? If So, How Unique Is It?

Brand voice is everything on social media.

Again, know your audience but also know your brand before you even try to connect with your audience.

  • Are your posts funny and sarcastic?
  • Do they only have calls to action and demands?
  • Are you capitalizing on every big news story?
  • Or are you more of a DIY mom who has a 10-year old blog?

All of those voices are entirely different. Though most agencies will, not all agencies are great at mimicking your brand voice.

The first step here is to get your brand voice down. Once you have it, never lose it!

Then, document everything you possibly can about this voice.

  • What words should this voice use?
  • Which ones should it avoid at all costs and never ever ever ever use?
  • Who are other companies who have a similar brand voice?

The more you document, the more you’ll see if this is something you can trust in another brands hands to help manage for you or if you should hold onto this baby yourself.

After all, you’re the one who created it.

In short:

  • If you have a well-documented brand voice, a good social media agency will be able to send you example copies for your approval until you feel at ease that they get it.
  • If you’re still trying to find your brand voice and are at the beginning stages of this strategy, now isn’t exactly the best time to outsource your social media management.
  • If you’re going to outsource anything, hire a social media consultant to help define your brand voice for social media and then take it from there.

4. Do I Have Content or Do I Need Content?

One way to do social media is to be completely hands off and let a social media agency do all of the work for you, which can even include creating the content to share.

If you have your own content to share, I’m not saying it’s a deal breaker and you should just suck it up and manage social media yourself.

What I’m saying is that if you’re struggling to figure out which type of content to produce, or if you should reshare that ebook from three years ago, it’s worth outsourcing your content production to a professional.

This professional is going to need a good debrief about your business, how and why it operates, who it’s ideal and actual customers are, and what kind of content materials you already have.

From there, outsourcing content may be the best move for your business.

You can still manage the social media in-house, but without the worries of trying to figure out what kind of content your followers actually want to see.

5. Can I Afford to Outsource?

Social media agencies, independent contractors, and content creators all come at entirely different price ranges.

Sometimes, their price ranges are less expensive than your in-house social media manager. Other times not so much.

Outsourcing social media could cost anywhere from $500 to tens of thousands of dollars a month, all depending upon the following factors:

  • What kind of outsourcing: Freelance (least expensive), agency (middle), or enterprise (highest)
  • What the monthly deliverables are: More posts and content creation = higher price
  • How long the contract length is: Longer contracts = price cuts
  • Social media tool subscriptions: Sometimes agencies require you to have your own account
  • Social media advertising: Because organic is no longer good enough

Let’s not forget about the time it takes for you to email back and forth, edit, approve and review reports.

Here’s a look at everything that comes with in-house costs of social media management:

  • Employees (salary, benefits, etc.).
  • Social media tool subscriptions.
  • Content creation.
  • Social media advertising.
  • Strategy development and measurement (time and tools).

If you go the freelancer route, you’re certainly saving money on those benefit coverages, but it may not always be the right path. You’re still looking at investing:

  • Your management time.
  • Your communication time.
  • Content creation.
  • Social media advertising.

6. What Should I Do?

So, which one is right for you?

It depends on tons of different goals and factors, most which we hashed out above.

To put it simply, if you’re already head over heels with to-do lists and the idea of carving out extra time to do another task is making your other eye twitch, do yourself a favor and outsource. It will be the least time-invested resource.

Though, don’t forget, it will still require a bit of your time and movement in your budget.