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How Social Media Nurturing Gets You More Results

31 Oct

Social media nurturing has to be a requirement for all businesses. Businesses have turned social media automation into something that seems to resemble broadcast radio by posting large volumes of tweets and updates occurs fast with automation tools. Now imagine every business, regardless of their industry, doing the exact same thing.

Automated postings have inundated social communities to a point that no one is listening anymore.

Unfortunately, businesses have over-used social media automation tools to be the end of their marketing efforts. They are seeking efficient (not necessarily effective) ways of getting their message out as fast and as low cost as possible. Low cost to these businesses includes low to no labor. These quick tactics are not effective and do more harm than good.

The question we have to ask ourselves is how effective is broadcasting your message in bulk? How effective is it to wait for people to come to you? With every business broadcasting to the social communities, how likely is it for someone to listen on the other end? It is more likely people have become numb to the broadcasts.

4 DON’Ts of Social Media Automation

The reliance on social media automation tools can put a business at risk of ruining their social community presence. First, we must recognize social media marketing to be about relationship marketing. If the audience doesn’t recognize there is a real human being behind the business account, they are not likely to stay engaged.

  1. Don’t make auto Direct Messages part of your social media strategy.
  2. Don’t treat scheduled messages as a one size fits all tactic.
  3. Don’t forget to analyze your scheduled messages for results.
  4. Don’t forget to read the articles you’re sharing for quality.

Over-reliance on marketing automation tools will create the opposite effect over time. Consider balance between using marketing automation tools and your time.

Getting Past The Noise

Nurturing your social media activities does not mean you need to drop your social media automation. Rather, nurturing is about augmenting the automation with real relationship marketing.

There are two simple points to understand when it comes to nurturing your social media marketing activities.

  1. Pick one quality post and nurture that post for one week and only one week. This one post will be more effective than 10 broadcasts from social automation.
  2. Nurturing is about bringing people in your conversations. Waiting for someone to maybe like or comment on your post is not going to do the trick. The difference is active social media marketing versus passive social media marketing.

The nurturing process is about spending 15 minutes or less each day. Imagine putting on a reporter hat on and interviewing those who you have selected to bring into your conversation. You are soliciting for their help, opinion, knowledge, experience, and expertise. You’ll see how much people would like to share their thoughts. This process does need you to keep asking questions to keep the conversation alive.

Your Social Nurturing Activities

The list of activities to nurture your social media marketing is not that long and completed in 15 minutes. The activities below are best suited for LinkedIn. The concepts are similar in other social communities:

  1. Select a post you would like to nurture on a Monday.
  2. Add a comment to your post followed by a question and tag three people in your connected network.
  3. Tagging means you are going to add their First and Last name to the post. In LinkedIn, as you type a name, the people in your network will appear in a pop-up menu for easy selection.
  4. The people you have tagged will receive an email telling them to visit your post to include their comments.
  5. Come back to your nurtured post in 24 hours.
  6. If no one has responded, don’t give up. Add another comment and tag three different people.
  7. If you received a response, Like that person’s response and comment about what they said to keep the conversation going.
  8. In your next comment add three more people.
  9. You can like your own comments and your post to give it added exposure.
  10. The more activity on this post they more likely that others will see the post and join the conversation.

Does it help to know your network? Yes. Start with people you know will engage with you. Later start tagging people who have a high volume of connections. Each time others comment on your post, their entire network sees their activity. This means they see your post too. This is how viral marketing gets going.

Depending upon the success of a post you may decide to sponsor the post for even more exposure. Planning this up front will be helpful since you need to start this type of conversation from your company page.

In LinkedIn, you may wish to start a post and nurture the conversation in the Pulse Post section. This opens the conversation up to the entire LinkedIn network. In Pulse Posts other people can see your posts without a connection to you. Since the Pulse Posts are open to the public, Google will see your activity, too. This improves your chances of showing in search results.

Social Relationships Take Time

Nurturing your social media activities is helpful to present your knowledge and authority on a subject to your network. I would recommend visiting the profiles of those who have commented on your posts. You can then Like their activities along with commenting on one of their posts without solicitation by them.

You are now showing respect for their efforts and your relationship marketing is well underway. This has a much better possibility to become real revenue generating business!

6 Tools to Develop an Outstanding Social Media Marketing Strategy

2 May

In today’s technological world, it seems that social media dominates everything. This can make it difficult for a company to stand out. Big companies as well as smaller companies and entrepreneurs will be all over social media, trying to gain the attention of customers. All of this can make it harder for the less social media-adept companies to get a foothold among their competitors.

All of these companies want to get in on the social media craze and use it to their advantage, to advertise and market themselves to all the users out there. But there are so many different social media channels out there, and so many different ways to market on social media. What can a company do to make themselves stand out among the crowd of other companies on social media? What strategies are there they could use?

1. Twitter.
Twitter is a very popular social media channel. It’s a great way to build a following and keep in contact with your customers. However, it can be tricky as it limits your posts to 140 characters, and it’s fast-paced. It’s demanding in that it requires constant communication with your followers. If you can handle that, one way to stand out on Twitter is to send a thank you any time your company gets mentioned. Try to respond to questions the same day, or within the hour if possible. Add symbols and emoticons for a fun twist to your posts as a way to cultivate interest in your posts while also making them shorter and easier to read.

2. Facebook.
Facebook recently changed up their algorithms, so brands are getting less exposure. This makes it more important for them to stand out. One way for this is make short and simple posts. Longer posts tend to not perform as well. Also, asking questions rather than making statements tends to increase interaction.

Pinning posts is also a good tactic, especially for drawing attention to current specials or important information. Experiment with Facebook ads, too.

3. Images.
Use images when you can. It doesn’t matter what it is — a photo of a favorite celebrity, a pretty landscape, a cute animal, a colorful infographic or a fun GIF. A photo or animation will catch the eye and more than likely make them stop browsing long enough to look. It will also help with your SEO optimization. Videos also work well for this.

4. Content.
Content is king. Remember that. Once your image has caught their eye, the viewer will be looking for the content behind the photo. What they read will determine if they click through. So provide content that will make them want to click. Be sure to keep your target audience in mind when creating your content. What will catch their attention? What are they looking for from you? What answers can you provide to their questions?

5. Build a community.
Don’t just look for followers. Build a community with them. Put some personality and humor into your brand with your posts. You want to be “social”, after all. That means you need to entertain your followers once in a while. And remember to converse directly with your followers. Interact with them. Like and respond to their posts. Retweet them. And ask them to interact directly with your posts.

6. Campaigns.
To keep your audience engaged, you need to be engaging as well. One way to do that is run cross-channel campaigns on all you social platforms. But while anyone can run a contest or campaign like this, to stand out you need to make yours have a charitable, inspirational, or emotional component to it — something that will tug at the heartstrings of whoever is reading about it. If your company is already involved in some sort of volunteer work, this is a good way to inspire and engage followers. How do you do this across channels? 1. Tell a powerful story. Use short quotes about if you have to, and link back to your website so they can find out more. 2. Brand your campaign with a unique name and hashtags to make it memorable and stand out.

These are just a few ways to make your social media marketing stand out. Good luck!

4 Ways to Use Social Media Beyond Marketing

11 Apr

Social media is much more than a marketing tool. Businesses are beginning to realize the power of integrating social media teams (and their insights) into other parts of the business. Why? Because as social media marketers, we are one of the first points of contact with customers both directly and indirectly. We have an front row to candid, public conversations and troves of audience data that can be used to create a better experience for the customer.

Here are 4 ways to use social media beyond marketing

Product Development

If your business is based on a physical product, take into account any positive or negative comments to help you develop your next crowd pleaser. Which leads me to…

Feedback

Feedback on anything. Ask your customers questions about what they didn’t like, what they want to see, where you can improve and create surveys related to your product. Your audience is a gold mine of information, all you have to do is ask!

Extend the Life of Content

Social media is a perfect way to extent the life of evergreen content, or give you ideas to refresh old pieces. Use networks like Twitter to link back to older content pieces that provide info that is still relevant (remember to switch up the messaging!). You can also fill content gaps with older content. Take a look at the social chatter happening in your audience – you may have an old piece that may just need a few statistics updates and new graphics to share.

Testing & Borrowing Content for Offline Initiatives

If your company put together a great video, or created an infographic that got a lot of buzz, use it offline! Test commercials on YouTube or Facebook, include online testimonials in brochures,use that popular infographic for conference materials. Not all digital content will cross over – but looking at what you already have could make your job a little easier.

I have been working in the social media marketing field for over 7 years and it’s been so amazing to watch the industry expand! Are there any ways you’ve used social media beyond marketing?

How to Sell Social Media to Upper Management

11 Jan

Social media marketing isn’t exactly new, but that hasn’t made selling it to upper management any easier. No matter the company or the industry, management cares about one thing: return on investment. To secure your desired budget allocation for social media, you’ve got to prove that it will produce positive return on investment.

How can you do that? By building a business case for social media that’s too strong to ignore! Follow these steps to educate upper management on the benefits of social media marketing.

If management still doesn’t “get” social media, start by identifying networks and conversations where you can add value. According to one recent survey of B2B marketers, 58% of respondents report LinkedIn as being the most effective social media platform. Twitter came in second with 24% naming it the most effective platform for their brands.

Perform searches for buyer-oriented keywords on both of these networks and bookmark the URLs of spirited conversations that relate to your products or services. For example, a medical device company might search for conversations containing the phrase “new imaging machine” while an IT services firm might enter keywords like “need an IT tech.”

The purpose of this exercise is to stop management from writing off social media as something that doesn’t make sense for your brand. By building a dossier of relevant social media interactions, you can offer evidence of opportunities to reach buyers on specific channels. After gathering this evidence, add it to a presentation or report that you present to management in an effort to make your case.

  1. Tie social media into your other marketing activities.

Social media will amplify your existing efforts to increase traffic and capture new leads, but management doesn’t know that yet. You need to show them.

As you prepare your case for social media, document the many ways it can help you meet other marketing goals. For example, it is now well established that:

  • Social media enables increased traffic from relevant visitors and more opportunities for lead generation.
  • Trade publications and their writers are almost universally active on social media, providing additional opportunities to form relationships with influencers.
  • For many B2B buyers, a vibrant social media presence indicates that a company is innovative, modern, and capable of providing valuable solutions.

Upper management already wants to increase traffic, connect with industry influencers, and provide value to potential buyers. Make it clear that social media is critical for meeting those goals.

  1. Show how you will measure success.

Management needs to know what success looks like. Thankfully, it’s possible to measure the success of many social media activities by analyzing specific performance metrics.

If your goal is to increase traffic to certain landing pages, analytics software can track the percentage of visitors arriving at those pages from social media sources. And if you’re trying to grow your email list or increase gated content downloads, marketing automation tools can show you whether social media interactions ultimately compel visitors to provide their contact information.

Some social media metrics (brand awareness, for example) are more difficult to measure. They’re still relevant to your success, but management is usually more concerned with data you can export to a performance report. For this audience, focus on concrete, measureable outcomes.

In the end, your objective is to convince upper management that not investing in social media would be a big mistake. Demonstrate how social media delivers positive return on investment, and it will be difficult for management to look the other way.

Social Media Should be Part of Your Marketing Budget!

9 Nov

Social media marketing, or SMM, is perhaps the best method to get one’s marketing message through. Both B2C and B2B companies are making it an essential part of their appointment setting and lead generation program.

And given several conditions such as the prevalence of digital channels and innovations in mobile technology, SMM has become a necessity for business survival. So much so that companies are spending a great deal in optimizing and creating their SMM platforms.

A report from the Wall Street Journal has found that SMM spending will experience a steady upsurge next year. Quoting a recent research paper from Duke University, the report says that spending will increase at least 11% in 2015 and 21% in the next five years. The report also states that expenditures in traditional advertising would “contract” by 3.

It’s obvious. Digital marketing methods are slowly taking the place of television, radio and newspapers in terms of stimulating brand awareness. But can we see this as a positive development?

It might seem inevitable that SMM would supersede traditional advertising, but we cannot ignore its negative implications. Certain factors need to be taken into account before a social media lead generation campaign is realized.

ROI tracking.

The most compelling challenge to SMM is tracking its impact on one’s sales pipeline. The same Duke University report says that only 15% of marketers can effectively measure their SMM campaign through quantitative approaches. Furthermore, only 40% were able to gauge their campaigns based on qualitative rubrics. The reasons are numerous as they are complex: fluctuating marketing trends, shifting buyer behaviors and preferences, big data management, etc.

Spending on infrastructure.

Despite such projections however, analysts still see a rise in SMM budgets. A bulk of this will be dedicated to establishing vital lead management infrastructure. Spending in this instance will go to much needed upgrades and installing marketing automation software. Despite these activities however, marketers will still encounter the problem of ROI tracking. Unless an effective approach to this issue is realized, marketers will have to bear with inconsistent information about their online lead generation program.

What’s the prescription?

The only remedy at this point would be to focus on spending on quality manpower. Competencies in the field of B2B digital marketing are as good as having up-to-date marketing systems. Moreover, employing the services of a proficient B2B outsourcing company can also be a practical option, especially when you want to handle different audience interaction channels simultaneously.

Tips for Smart Social Media Marketing

26 Sep

We all know how it is, you get your hands on a social media position, or you start to run some serious social media for your business, and pretty soon it’s all going very wrong. You don’t know what you’re doing, and you’re making mistakes all over the place.

You need direction. You need some rules.

In this post, we look at the eleven unbreakable laws of social media. They are unbreakable because if you break them, well, some bad things happen. At the very least you may be looking at a wasteland on social media. At worst, you could be looking at a brand that is disliked.

 

Law One: Think before you post

Sounds like common sense? Well, it is. But you’d be surprised how many companies send out content on social media without considering the impact first of all. Whether it’s making an unfortunate comment about a competitor or losing your rag and going full on rage in a tweet, you need to always consider the impact of what you post.

Take a second just before you press ‘send’ or post’ every time. Read it through. Is it conveying the right message about your brand? Is it truthful? Is it going to hurt anyone?

Those are three pretty good test questions, we think.

Law Two: Always remember that real people are involved

This is a crucial one because it pretty much defines everything you do on social media. Remember that it is called social media and this all makes sense.

Every time you do anything on social media, remember that there are people involved somewhere. We talked about the impact in the first law. This law is about ensuring that you work hard to build and maintain relationships.

This means your branding has to be front of mind. If you are directly interacting with or at least broadcasting to customers and prospects, everything you do is part of the relationship building process. How are you acknowledging this in the way you write, post and share?

We’re not just talking about companies insulting their audience, that’s too easy. We’re also talking about how you build up a base of loyal people who actively look for your latest update. When you’ve achieved that, you’re starting to build relationships.

The upshot here? Make every post and update count towards the relationship you are trying to build.

Law Three: Listen and then listen some more

No company gets anywhere on social media unless it listens to what is being said online. Listen to what people are saying about you and act accordingly, obviously, but take that listening one step further and focus on what is being said about your industry.

The more you listen to industry news and opinion the more informed you will be.

It makes you a more professional outfit. When you’re selling, you can confidently say you know what is happening in your industry. It’s pretty safe to say not all of your competitors do this

Law Four: Be in the right place

This is important. Find out which channels your audience is on and don’t veer off the path.

Don’t be on Pinterest if you don’t sell to women. And don’t even go near Snapchat unless your demographic is under 18 (and pretty cool with it).

Be on the right channel so your efforts are not wasted. By not being on the right channel, you’re not just breaking one of our laws, you’re leaving yourself open to saturation and dilution.

.Law Five: Don’t follow people you shouldn’t

We’re not talking creepy stuff here. We’re just acknowledging that it is easy to connect with people who have absolutely nothing to do with your industry or niche because it means you simply get more followers, right?

But when you’re trying to market to the audience (and possibly spending money doing so) you’re potentially wasting time and resources. And when you get an embarrassing tweet in your stream from someone who has nothing to do with your true audience, it just looks bad.

Keep it relevant. Keep it targeted. You might get less followers but your followership will be of a higher quality and you will see the results in a higher engagement rate.

Law Six: Create great content

This is something that is incredibly hard to do unless you have a solid plan. Creating great content means ensuring that the post you put out there has some thought behind it and taps into what your audience wants to see.

Create exciting, visual content by all means, and share it too. But the moment you do anything mediocre, people will start to wonder why you are at the party.

If necessary, post less frequently. In our study on posting frequency we’ve seen that posting less frequently can give a boost to the organic reach of your posts.

Just ensure you have quality at the heart of everything you do.

Law Seven: Be active

The most successful companies in social media share a lot. They know that people want to see good content, but the also know that every time someone shares their content, it helps spread it even further. Getting the word out means that your marketing is working. The more you share the better.

Share the relevant and quality content that you find, because that is just good manners. But also, now and then, share a blog post you wrote or an infographic you have designed. It all works out for the better because people will share it much further than you could imagine.

Identify when your audience is online. Optimise your posting schedule and publish new content on times of the day when majority of your audience is online.

Law Eight: Take it easy. Please

Head on over to Twitter now and chances are that you’ll find at least one person who is spamming you and/or creating an undying steam of worthless content that just keeps flashing up in front of your eyes. These people are annoying and they don’t understand rule number eight.

Social media takes time. Take it easy and stop updating like a maniac. Build relationships, but only do so when it looks like the other person would like to talk to you. This will mark you out as someone special in the horde, and will allow you to build ethical relationships in future.

Take your time, observe everyone’s behaviour, and then introduce yourself.

Law Nine: Interact and respond

If someone reaches out to you, and they don’t appear to be anything like scary or weird, then respond. It’s important that there is that reciprocity.

Check them out, if they look like someone you need to know, start a real conversation with them. Businesses have been built using this law.

Most companies ignore the messages they get and that is a social media failure.

Law Ten: Listen to the influencers

ILook for people in your industry who are influencers, disruptive people who are changing the way people think about what you do. Then listen to what they’re saying on social media. Take note, and follow their conversations. They know what they are talking about.

When you finally really get to know their flow and style, and subject matter on social, reach out. You may be surprised at what happens when an influencer enjoys your product so much so he or she shares it with their large and loyal audience.

Law Eleven (bonus law): Be consistent

One of the biggest reasons why people stop following others or start ignoring them at least on social is the ‘burst’ effect. This is where a business comes up with hundreds of tweets and posts and spends a few days sending them out there. After that the company goes quiet and ignores their own social media profiles.

When a business loses sight of Law Eight (check back in this post if you have to) and disappears, it looks really, really bad. Remember the last time you found out that a business just didn’t do what it said it would? Not good, right? Are you still doing business with them? We didn’t think so.

So there are ten (plus one) unbreakable laws of social media. Integrate this new understanding into your working life and you’ll soon start to see a return on your social media investment

Above all, let common sense prevail. A lot of what is outlined above in this post is just good old intelligent thinking.

Social Media Trends that will Shape Marketing Over the Next Decade

29 Jun

It’s 2015 and brands have figured out how to best use social media for business. The last decade was filled with trial-and-error attempts to succeed as the operating environment evolved. However, the same trends that created this environment have continued to develop and unless brands adapt, their efforts at digital engagement will be a waste. Marketers must update their strategies for social media, because over the next 10 years it will be:

  1. Evolving

The way consumers use sites and the way brands participate and engage have changed fundamentally over the past 10 years. Brands must discontinue the tactics that worked in 2005 and adopt customer relationship and engagement strategies that harness data for long-term growth.

  1. Shoppable

Social media has long escaped the scrutiny of the chief financial officer and it’s time for brands to monetize social media efforts. Fashion brands, such as Burberry and Ralph Lauren, understand this and have made their runway videos shoppable. Now, every brand should incorporate financial calls to action in social media content.

  1. Snackable

Consumers are finding it increasingly difficult to digest long-form content. When browsing, users want to get to the heart of the message as quickly as possible. The more snackable a brand makes its content, the more social it will be. Easy to understand means easy to share, which translates into better results for content and campaigns.

  1. Automated

Currently, ad placement and publishing in social is a manual process. This will evolve to better utilise data and computers. Most advertisers are already shifting display and video budgets into this type of media buying, and social media will follow suit. Why? All consumers hate ads because of interruption, irrelevance and clutter. Programmatic placement (the insertion of ads and native content into social media sites) can help drive context, relevance and efficiency of messaging.

  1. Connective

The power of our increasingly powerful mobile devices as social utilities are where great potential lies. The ability to develop transformative applications that connect individuals toindividuals but also societies to societies holds great potential.

  1. Filtered

Increasingly powerful and affordable technology allows people to create more content than ever before. In fact, 90% of the world’s data has been created over the past two years. Because of this information overload, people will filter out messages to hear only what they want to hear, creating segmented and sheltered media channels.

  1. Integrated

Social media sites act as brand graveyards, filled with the tombstones of dead campaigns that were only meant to survive a single campaign. From TV commercials and billboards to microsites and social media accounts, brands must focus on using platforms for long-term relationship building.

  1. Chinese

China currently contributes the greatest percentage to global GDP growth. However, many Chinese social media sites remain focused on the local market. Over the next 10 years, these sites will shift their focus beyond the “great firewall” and enter overseas markets.

9. Empowering

Some brands, such as Dove and Nike, have discovered that supporting social good can have a greater impact than feeding individual egos. Other brands will follow suit and use social media efforts to look at the long tail, identifying opportunities to foster empowerment and equality aligned with brand values.

Brands must change their mindset to engage successfully in the future. Marketers must embrace their inner digital geek and learn to love technology. To harness trends, they must look beyond their borders, specifically to the east where Asia leads the way. Realizing that their current techniques are outdated will lead brands to new strategies for success in the next decade.

3 Tips to Maximize the Synergy of Social Media and Content Marketing

4 May

Are social media marketing and content marketingtwo disparate entities, or could they perhaps be a marriage made in heaven?

Unfortunately, many brands approach both as if one has nothing to do with the other. The simple fact is that social media marketing cannot function without content. If you have no content, you have nothing to share, tweet or post. Without valuable content, you cannot drive engagement on social media. Therefore, it only stands to reason that content serve as the heart of any successful social media marketing campaign.

With that said, unlike traditional content marketing, content within the sphere of social media marketing must serve specific purposes. To be effective, content for social media marketing must be designed to fit the parameters of specific platforms and, furthermore, must be developed to either generate discussion or provide an open dialogue for current customers. The tips below will guide you through the process of bringing social media and content marketing together.

1. A/B test content for effectiveness with your audience.

Simply publishing content on social media and hoping it sticks is not an effective plan. Testing a variety of content and messages across different networks can help you to determine which type of content resonates best with your audience.

If you only publish one piece of content and you do not receive the response you expected, you may never know exactly what was wrong with it. A/B testing can give you the insight you need to determine how to best connect with specific audiences.

2. Optimize content for specific social media networks.

Your audience can choose from a range of different social media networks. Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest, each social media network has its unique audience and features. Ignoring these unique qualities is tantamount to disaster in terms of social media marketing.

By contrast, taking the time to ensure that the content you publish on each platform is optimized for that specific channel will give you a far greater chance to connect with the audiences most likely to frequent that platform.

For instance, while Twitter has a strict 140-character limit and demands concise but powerful content, content on Facebook is far more flexible, but typically requires the inclusion of a photo or video in order to gain traction.

3. Tap your audience for ideas.

Take the time to ask your followers and fans for suggestions regarding the types of content that interests them. There are also tools you can leverage to determine the types of content most likely to gain traction in your social media marketing, such asNexalogy, which can generate a map of the types of topics that your followers and fans are discussing.

Social media provides a venue for giving your content its own voice. With careful planning, you can bring content marketing and social media together to create a highly successful social media marketing campaign.

5 Ways to Use Data to Inform Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

6 Apr

Being data focused can help support your intuition as a marketer and ensure your efforts are reaping results for your business. The same logic applies to your social media presence as data can highlight what’s working and what isn’t on each channel you’re active on.

These tips will by no means be an exhaustive list; rather, they will point you towards a host of free tools and techniques that will allow you to begin experimenting with data in your social media marketing efforts.

Combine Link-Tagging With Advanced Segments to Analyze Social Behavior

Anyone who has experience with social media marketing understands that the idea of “social media” as an inclusive whole doesn’t really exist. The sheer amount and differences between various social networks make it nearly impossible to treat social media as one distinct entity.

After all, you might be looking at the same person’s accounts across “social media,” but the behavior associated with their Facebook will vary wildly from their behavior on LinkedIn. This is why choosing the right social network is so crucial.

As if social media wasn’t complicated enough on its own, once marketing enters the equation it forces you to analyze and predict how a user of a certain social platform will behave once they make it on to your site or interact with your product.

Truthfully, predicting how a user from any given platform will interact with your content is almost impossible until you have lots of data to work with.

Luckily, there is a relatively simple and free technique that will allow you to pinpoint which network your traffic is coming from and begin to measure and analyze how that unique traffic behaves.

This tactic actually utilizes two separate tools, the first of which is Google URL Builder. As outlined in this fantastic video by KISSmetrics, Google URL Builder is a great free tool that allows you to assign various identifying information to any link to your website for viewing in Google Analytics.

What link-tagging will allow you to do is to append different identifying information to the same link depending on where it’s place (to clarify, this is done manually). You can see how this begins to solve the problem of getting a sense of how different users on different platforms behave.

You can take the same exact link, add unique UTM parameters to it and see how different people react based on whether they came from Facebook, Twitter, AdWords, etc. Even better is that Google Analytics will automatically add this data to your reporting to see which source converts the most, which provides the most engaged visitors and more.

To take this even one step further you can utilize Google Analytic’s Advanced Segments tool to cross-reference and analyze these tagged links even further.

Google’s segmenting options are truly staggering, but just some of the things they can allow you to do is to funnel all the UTM’d links from one campaign into a single segment and then allow you to determine the behavior based on such categories as first-time vs. returning users, age-range and demographic make-up, what types of technology they were using and a lot more based on the sharing of links around a single or multiple campaigns.

Suddenly, just using two free tools, the very complicated mess of data coming from your social networks can start to come into focus and you can begin to tease out actionable insights from this information as long as you’ve got a few specific goals in mind that you’re trying to analyze against.

Use Google’s Content Experiments to Run Consistent A/B Tests

One of the most valuable tools in a social media marketer’s arsenal are A/B tests. These kinds of tests allow you to isolate specific variables and to quickly and reliably pinpoint what works.

In my previous post I gave multiple examples of large companies that utilize split-testing to great effect. However, in all likelihood, major brands like BuzzFeed and Refinery29 are running fairly sophisticated and frequent tests on their properties, which isn’t the approach every business needs to take on their own website.

Worry not though, Google Analytics comes to the rescue yet again and provides all users of their free tool the ability to quickly and (relatively) easily set up A/B tests of their own.

All you need to do to carry out your own A/B tests is to set up one or two variations of your page (for the sake of controlled experiments, keep these changes minimal) and to set up a goal for these pages (say a click on a sign-up button, the download of a resource or a conversion) and Google Analytics will take care of the rest.

They will automatically redirect a predetermined percentage of your audience to all the variations you set up and will gather and analyze the results.

This feature can greatly impact your social media marketing because it allows you a quick, versatile and easily repeatable way of testing landing-pages and other additional touch-points impact on the experience visitors from social media are having on your website.

Perhaps the biggest hurdle that social marketers face is how to seamlessly direct users off of social platforms and on to their site with as little friction as possible. The ability to test and optimize these touch-points to minimize friction can be a major boon for maximizing your social strategy’s effectiveness.

Leverage Facebook Insights to Discover Optimal Posting Volume

One of the most robust analytics tools available to marketers besides Google Analytics is Facebook’s Insights tool.

Although it is relatively new compared to Google Analytics, Facebook’s developers have been expanding functionality like crazy and in the process have been giving its savvier users access to reams of valuable data.

Not only does Facebook’s ad product allow for a great degree of information about your promoted posts, it can actually tell you a lot about every single piece of content you share. Even more useful is the in-built ability to take this accumulated data and export it to a spreadsheet that can be analyzed in Excel.

Having access to this data and analyzing it can yield some pretty crucial insights. One key question that nearly every social marketer has is “how many times per day should I be posting?”

This topic has been written, and analyzed to death. However, all of these figures can only be averages at best, and social media best practices will likely vary for your business based off your audience and industry.

Facebook’s Insights tool can give you a much more precise picture of your ideal posting volume using a few easy steps. The first of these steps is to go to your “Overview” tab within Facebook insights and you should see an “export” option. Choose post data as your data type and decide upon a date range of your choosing.

From here, you can download your data in a spreadsheet-ready format and then open it in a program like Excel to analyze your data. To determine your ideal posting volume group the posts by day and compare the data averages in the “Lifetime Post Impressions” and the “Lifetime Engaged Users” columns.

When you are looking at this daily information you will notice that your user engagement will increase on days you posted more, but will do so only up until a certain point. The days that you posted more than your audience was willing to interact with will actually show a downswing in engagement.

The ideal posting volume for your page will be the number of posts at which user engagement just began to dip.

Use Facebook’s Conversion Pixel for Cross-Device Tracking

No picture of social media marketing is complete without taking mobile into account. Over 60% of all social media activity occurs on a mobile device.

The problem is that casual mobile use is much less likely to directly lead to the conversions that are at the center of marketer’s focus. However, even though mobile social ads drive different results from users than desktop Facebook ads, they may nudge the user to buy in the long-run.

Such multi-click attribution modeling has been a thorn in social media marketer’s sides for quite a while, and has made the task of monetizing mobile very tricky. With that being said (and with millions of potential ad dollars at stake), Facebook has recently devised a way to track purchases across devices.

In order for Facebook’s cross-device tracking to work you must install a Facebook conversion pixel on to any pages whose conversions you are aiming to track.

Once you have installed the pixel, then any ad that you run that points to a tagged page will have report generated that not only tracks the regular likes, reach and engagement; the report will also generate in-depth information about the journey a converted customer took from the time they clicked your ad all the way up until they made a purchase.

Facebook’s statistics already show that nearly one third of users who show interest in a mobile ad will later convert on desktop. Figures like this can help give you a much more accurate picture of how successful your social advertising actually is at driving results.

Without this kind of attribution, all of these assisted conversions might have been getting credited to another channel a user last clicked on before taking an action, and you would be getting a flawed impression that your social media marketing wasn’t working or was having a different level of impact.

Such an error can rob you of just as much revenue as spending money on ads that aren’t working, so I cannot stress the importance of taking the time to do this.

Combine Conversion Data With Social Segments to Determine ROI

One common critique of social media marketing is that it is far-removed from the bottom line, but in reality it is just hard to measure. However, just because social ROI is difficult to quantify doesn’t mean there is no value to social media marketing (in fact the opposite is often the case) but what it does mean is that you have to get inventive with how you weigh this important metric.

While there are a few paid tools that can help you measure your social ROI, combining a few of the free tactics we have outlined above can help you arrive at a rough idea (by no means exact) of your social ROI without investing in any costly tool.

The first necessary step in this process is to find out the approximate value of a visit from social, which you can do using link-tagging and segments.

For example if 1% of all FB visitors converts on a set goal of a campaign, and the average revenue of that goal is $50.00 then the average FB visitor value is $0.50.

Once you have that number you can look at your FB ad insights and see how much it cost to get a single click and determine if that click cost more or less than $0.50. If it cost less, keep on spending until either the average value of the visitor goes down or the average acquisition cost goes up.

There are certainly ways to get more granular with this number (for example, working cross-device tracking into your measurements), but just having a rough idea will put you leaps and bounds ahead of the competition and will also help steer you clear of any significant wastes of time, money and energy.

The techniques listed here are by no means an exhaustive list, but they should help demonstrate the types of tools at your disposal and the various capabilities they give for data-driven social media marketers who are willing to leverage them.

As you continue your path towards becoming a data-driven marketer, stay focused on constantly working with tools like these to develop new insights and to test your assumptions. If you are diligent with your implementation, you will quickly realize the benefits of incorporating data into your social media marketing.

Marketers Can Now Target Facebook’s 92 Million Expats

23 Mar

Facebook recently announced a new advertising targeting feature that gives marketers the ability to reach the 92 million expats on Facebook.

The feature enables marketers to target expatriates living within a given country or people from a specific country who are living abroad. Such nationality-specific targeting is currently available for people from Brazil, Indonesia, China, South Africa and India.

In a blog post announcing the new targeting product, Facebook said Middle East airline company Etihad Airways tested it last fall before the Indian holiday Diwali. There are 27 million Hindus on Facebook who live outside of India, according to Facebook. “Using expat targeting, Etihad connected with expats with messages about traveling home for the holiday,” the post said, “reaching 536,00 Indian expats living in the Middle East, leading to 700 bookings and a 50X return on investment.”

Expat targeting is now available worldwide on all Facebook ads interfaces.