3 Tips For Trouble-free Monitoring On Social Media

Data: This one four-letter word can incite panic in the most stalwart of public relations professionals.

If it seems like there are numbers following you everywhere, that’s because there are. Website traffic, earned media pickup, social media engagement…Understanding these performance metrics and communicating them to others is an inescapable job requirement.

And as CNW Group’s Laurie Smith notes in her two part series, Social Analytics Danger Zones and MORE Social Analytics Danger Zones, it’s easy to lose your away among all of the data that’s out there.

Here are three ways to stay clear of trouble when monitoring and measuring your brand’s communications.

Pay attention to quality over quantity.

When working with analytics, it’s easy to hear what other brands are doing and get caught up in a number.

“More is not always better,” says Eden Spodek, a Toronto-based digital strategist. “What does it mean to have 5,000 Likes on a Facebook page? So you got 36 retweets on a tweet, but is that doing anything for you?” Case in point: She worked with one client who had a very small social media following, but a deeply loyal one that would respond with comments (and purchases) to most of her posts.

The quantity of social activity going on around your brand is only a fraction of what you should look at. Analytics can also give you a solid picture of how your content is being received and by whom, information that is critical to future campaigns.

It takes the careful eye of a PR professional to not accept the numbers at face value and provide context.

Avoid complacency.

Social media is tricky to nail down so when you find success, it can be tempting to try and replicate it again and again.

Although it’s ok to celebrate your victories and figure out what made a particular campaign successful, don’t allow your efforts to stagnate.

“You can get into a comfort zone,” says Gary Edgar, managing director of Ruckus Digital. And he doesn’t mean it in a good way.

Social media algorithms and best practices change all of the time. Even if something is working today, doesn’t mean it will tomorrow. You need to stay current on how social networks treat user content and you need to experiment with new tactics on a regular basis.

Know how to report your analytics clearly.

Analytics are not just useful at developing and improving your campaigns, but also demonstrating the value of your work.

However, if your executive team or clients don’t understand what they see in your reports, it’s all for naught.

The key is defining your goals and KPIs in advance so that everyone sees the same thing when they look at your numbers.

If the numbers aren’t telling you the full story, it may be time to invest in tools that provide more meaningful insight. Although free tools can get you started, social monitoring subscriptions offer in-depth analytics that help you gauge success and benchmark campaigns.

 

 

This article was written by Amanda Hicken from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


Building a Social Media Strategy in 10 Easy Steps [Part 2]

And so we continue our adventure in the Land of Oz, and finish the construction of our own yellow brick road with the last 5 steps towards building a social media strategy. For those who missed the first 5 steps, the post can be found here.

6 – Build a community

When it comes to our social following, remember that quality is better than quantity. It can take some time to build a successful community that is both targeted and rich with engagement. We all have to start from somewhere and the below tips may be helpful in picking our social media strategy up off the ground:

Use relevant hashtags
Share content on targeted groups on LinkedIn
Follow those who follow you
Interact with industry influencers

All of these things are easier to find with a media intelligence tool (hey, we make one of those) that helps you find exactly what you need to find.

7 – Be social on social

Since the evolution of social media, it’s much easier and faster for our audience to get in touch with us directly. Many of us have technology to hand, whether it’s on our phone, tablet or computer. Accordingly, we should be integrating after sales service into our social media strategy. We can even use social as a focus group as explained in a previous blog, social listening can unearth all kinds of trends to inform our social media strategy. What better way to retain our audience than involving them in decisions.

8 – Use social media to generate leads

Lead generation can also be fulfilled with a well thought social media strategy. That doesn’t mean to say we should be blurting out sales pitches on social. Rather, with the use of media intelligence tools, we’re able to find prospects and direct them to landing pages. Certain software solutions can also track folks through our sales funnel.

9 – Measure social media strategy success

So how do we know if our social media strategy is working? By analysing data for example post click-throughs, brand impressions and engagement levels. We can then adjust our social media strategy – if necessary – according to results. One key to social media strategy success is to find the right ingredients and differentiate. Easier said than done? Not necessarily! If we have specific information about our market, its trends and influencers, the mission becomes very achievable!

10 – Take your time

As they say, falling to plan is planning to fail. Building a flourishing media strategy takes time, but if something was easily achieved it wouldn’t be half as valuable, right?  If we are equipped with the best tools, achieving success is ever more possible. But ultimately, what we really need is time, patience and practice.

Facebook vs. Twitter: Social Media Strategy Differences

During a recent #MarketingMinds chat, participants spoke of the differences between engaging on Facebook compared to Twitter. Although touched upon in the chat, we feel this deserves its own dedicated post. After all, if we know how engagement differs between the two most widely used social media platforms, we know how to adapt our social media strategy to accommodate.

Facebook vs. Twitter: Social Media Strategy Differences #1
Storytelling vs. Short bursts of Information

Facebook’s unlimited character updates make it the perfect channel for brand storytelling. Storytelling is important to feed into our social media strategy as our audience is more likely to buy if we nurture and flirt with them throughout each stage of the purchase funnel. We recently published a post on how flirting is one secret towards a successful social media strategy. When thought of like this, if we storm in and ask if a person would like to go out on a date before engaging they will find us creepy… and nobody likes a creep! The same principles apply to marketing. Facebook is so successful from a sales point of view because it’s the perfect channel for long conversations.

Twitter on the other hand is for short bursts of information. Sheena Cox, Key Account Manager at Meltwater explains, “Whilst all social media content has to tap into the here and now, Twitter is the Usain Bolt of social media channels. 140 characters is the fastest way to spread the word. Whereas Facebook content tends to keep conversations going for longer.” Due to the 140 character limit, we tend to see brands directing the audience to other sites rather than focusing communication purely on the platform. Don’t be afraid to share third party content on Twitter. The hashtag feature is often used by the audience as a social discovery mechanism to follow industry news; therefore our audience expects to see third party content to engage with.

Facebook vs. Twitter: Social Media Strategy Differences #2
Evergreen vs. Real-time content

shutterstock_129942332There’s a real weigh-up between real-time content and timeliness between the two social media channels and we must consider this in our social media strategy. Twitter is often thought of as a news outlet due to the real time nature of the platform. We tend to see shorter but more frequent posts on Twitter, with users and brands often providing a running commentary on situations (take Dunkin Donuts’s #DunkinReplay campaign for example). Consequently, the lifespan of engagement with content on Twitter is shorter. For those wanting to post evergreen content, consider Facebook as the medium as it is the outlet for on-going conversations, as Sheena Cox mentions.

Facebook vs. Twitter: Social Media Strategy Differences #3
‘Real Life Friends’ vs. Connecting with Strangers

Our Facebooks are typically full of people we’ve met. Whether it’s an old school friend, a family member or somebody we met travelling and made a deal to keep in touch with (we all know how that turns out!). Twitter, however, is less about ‘real life’ friendships. It’s perfectly normal for users to connect with strangers. This makes Twitter a great platform to build influencer relationships. There’s a hefty list of reasons why our social media strategy should aim to connect with industry influencers.

Facebook vs. Twitter: Social Media Strategy Differences #4
Knowing the Different Peak Engagement Times

likeaWhen building a social media strategy, it’s important to consider the best optimal time and day to post. As mentioned in a previous Meltwater blog, engagement for our own target audience occurs at different times. According to Fannit, Twitter engagement goes up by 30% on weekends, with the most optimised times being 1pm-3pm. For Facebook, we can use Meltwater’s Likealyzer.com to analyse whether our post timings are successful; here’s an example of Marks and Spencer.

Once we know the best time to post, we can use social media monitoring tools, such as Meltwater’s Media Intelligence platform, to schedule posts to ensure we don’t miss the best time slot for engagement and set up our social media strategy to flourish.

10 Ways to Get More Likes for Your Brand’s Facebook Page

In order to achieve success on Facebook you need an engaged community. Without one, there’s no one to see or read your content, making it difficult to build brand awareness and deliver ROI.

However, it’s not just about the quantity of Facebook Likes, it’s about the quality. You need to attract the right audience and engage them in ways that align to your business goals. Getting good results on Facebook involves equal parts common sense, understanding how Facebook works, and using free social media monitoring tools to help you fine-tune your page.

Here are 10 ways to increase quality Facebook Page likes for your business:

1. Optimise your Facebook Page Info

Most of the time, the only thing people see from your company’s Facebook Page is the profile picture, cover image, and short description. Make sure your brand’s images and description are engaging, encapsulate what your company does, and encourages people to like your page.

Don’t stop there, make sure you fill out as much of your Page Info as you can. Select the categories and subcategories that best describe your company, include your website URL, list your address, phone number, and hours of operation (if applicable). All of this information will help your page appear in Facebook & Google search when people are looking for companies like yours, which can increase your Facebook likes even more!

2. Post engaging content

It’s important to post engaging, entertaining, and interesting content on your business Page. Facebook constantly updates its Edgerank algorithm, and rewards posts that receive engagement (likes, comments, shares) with increased reach. Facebook will reward your content by letting your engaged users’ friends know on their newsfeed that they’ve engaged with your content.

facebook_newsfeed_stories

Recently Facebook announced that it will update its algorithm to track how long users spend reading posts. Videos are the best type of content to post on Facebook for capturing attention and driving engagement. But make sure the videos are at an optimal length to grab your followers’ attention and keep it long enough to digest the content.

3. Be active

People are unlikely to like your Facebook page if you don’t post regularly.

How often should you post? There is no magic number but many best practice guides suggest 3x a week to once a day.

You can also use your Facebook Page Insights and check out which days (and times of day) your audience is active on Facebook. Click on Insights > Posts > When You Fans are Online to find this information. Post at peak times when your audience is online and experiment with the timing of your posts to gauge when the majority of your followers are engaging with your content.

when_your_facebook_fans_are_online

4. Promote your Facebook Page, everywhere

Once you’ve got great content on your company’s Facebook Page, make sure you share your Facebook presence on all evergreen content you own and manage.

For example, promote your Facebook Page on your website (homepage, plus header or footer), your e-mail signature, marketing e-mail footers, business cards, and all other digital marketing materials.

Make sure to make it as easy as possible for your audience to get to or like your Facebook Page with one click. More on this below in #6 “Facebook Social Plugins”.

5. Invite your existing community

You have a community that’s easily within reach: employees, current customers, business & industry partners. They are likely to be your first advocates and find your content interesting and shareable. Why not send a friendly personal invitation to ask them to like your company’s Facebook Page if they haven’t already?

One way to do this is by simply adding a call-to-action in a personal e-mail (i.e. “P.S. Like us on Facebook“). Add a slide at the end of your presentations or webinars to encourage customers and business partners to remind them to like your Facebook Page, if they haven’t already.

For internal advocates, work with HR to make sure that your company’s Facebook page (and other social channels) are promoted in the new employee orientation and in any internal communications (e-mails, intranet pages, etc).

In addition, Facebook offers a Suggest Pages tool. When logged into Business Manager, click on Use Page > … (the ellipses button at the bottom right of your cover image) > Suggest Page. Connect an e-mail service or upload a .csv of e-mail contacts to send them an invitation to like your Page.

Facebook_Suggest_Page

Make sure you upload or connect to an owned list of contacts that you or your company have an existing relationship with (and not a paid ‘lead’ list). The suggestion message can come off as spam to people who don’t know you personally and leave a bad first impression.

As for your industry ‘buddies,’ find their Facebook Pages and Like them as your brand. To do this log into in Business Manager > click the Use Page button > click the Use Facebook As Your Page link (top right, in a skinny grey bar). It’s a great way to Like your industry partners, colleagues, & other influencer brands. Plus you’ll be able to view your News Feed as your brand and keep watch on what’s happening in your industry on Facebook.

6. Use Facebook Social Plugins

As we suggested earlier to promote your Facebook Page on your website, you can do so with some free Facebook Social Plugins:

The Facebook Page Plugin lets you easily embed and promote your Facebook Page on your website. Just like on Facebook, your visitors can like and share the Page without having to leave your site.

Facebook Page Plugin

The Comments Plugin lets people comment on your site’s content using their Facebook account. If people wish to, they can share this activity with their friends in News Feed as well. It also contains built-in moderation tools and special social relevance ranking.

7. Use data to entice new community members to like you

This step goes hand-in-hand with #2 “Post Engaging Content” and helps inform your overall content strategy.

You’ll need to use a specialized, data-driven tool. For our purposes, I’m using Meltwater’s media intelligence platform to illustrate an example.

Let’s say I have a pizza brand. To learn more about my target audience’s interests, I create a social search for “pizza.” Based off my search data, people who talk about pizza also talk about wings, food, cinnamon, crust, and hot dogs. Also, it looks like the hashtag #itsfoodporn is also associated with people into pizza.

pizza word bubble meltwater dashboard search media intelligence tool

This information is great to have when you’re wondering what to post on your Facebook page. By posting content that your audience is interested in (for example, sharing a photo of wings + pizza with the hashtag #itsfoodporn) your audience will share your Facebook post with their friends and help you get more reach.

8. Pay to play with Facebook Ads

You need to pay to play in order to be seen on Facebook today. Facebook has a large assortment of ad products to choose from with some of the best targeting options available on social.

By utilizing the data you found above along with contact lists of your known community and the assistance of a Facebook pixel, you can get your content seen by the right people to build your Facebook community. Plus, all Facebook Ads offer the option to show a Like Page button to people who see your ad but don’t already like your page. Win-win.

Here’s a quick breakdown on ad objectives, which can ultimately lead to more Facebook likes:

  • Boost your posts – get your content in front of the right people. Target by interests or upload your owned contact lists to show content to known targeted audiences. You can also test Facebook’s Lookalike audiences tool and create a target audience that shares similar interests and demographics of your current customers, prospects or Page fans.
  • Promote your Page – find people on Facebook who are the right fit for your business using location, age, and interest targeting. Another great ad product to test the lookalike audience tool.

facebook_ads_for_likes

You can test and experiment with different types of ads to see what works best for your organisation, and make sure you choose the option that allows Facebook users to like your page directly from the ad.

9. Run a contest

Companies run Facebook contests all the time to get build their audience and get more likes. If you decide to do so, make sure your contest follows Facebook’s Promotion Guidelines.

Some quick guidelines: make sure your contest is fun, easy, relevant to your audience – and encourages users to share their result(s) and participation with their friends. Don’t forget to utilise Facebook Ads to promote your contest. And If you use an app to run your contest, make sure it’s mobile-optimised.

10. Use social media monitoring to measure, analyse, and learn

Use Facebook Insights to find useful metrics on your Page performance. You can view metrics like reach, number of engaged users, engagement rate, and new Page likes. These metrics will help you understand what’s driving your likes and engagement, so that you can adjust your posts accordingly.

You can also use our free Facebook analytics tool, LikeAlyzer to get personalised recommendations for your company’s Facebook Page.

Did I forget something? Have a question about any of the suggestions above? Please add a comment and, if you like the post, feel free to share it with your friends.

P.S. Now that you know how to get more likes for your Facebook Page it’s time to make sure you increase the reach of your Facebook content. Read more about this in Get the Edge in EdgeRank: 5 Facebook Marketing Tips.

P.S.S. Don’t forget to Like us on Facebook if you haven’t already.


This post was originally written by Robert Rydefalk and revised July 10, 2015.

6 Steps to Proving Our Worth: Social Marketing ROI

Social Marketing ROI
If you’re in any marketing discipline that isn’t measured on an immediate sale and, consequently, leads to your budget being hit first when things are tight…

What does social media do for us, anyway?

I have been one of those beleaguered folks looking for meaningful KPI’s to show senior management that things like The Twitter had a viable business purpose.  Those of us in “softer” marketing disciplines (PR, brand, community, events, social media) have traditionally had a very difficult time quantifying our efforts to prove out what we’re doing to higher-ups accustomed to the cut-and-dried metrics of direct marketing disciplines (SEM, direct mail, display).  Traditional PR and socially-driven program measurements like “ad value” and “impressions” are guesses that media outlets have applied to their real estate in order to provide numerical value to earned media, and these metrics can cause a raised eyebrow among C-level execs who want clear, quantifiable social marketing ROI. (For more on this, check out this article on vanity metrics.)

Relationships aren’t best measured by a single interaction

Those softer metrics are fine for what they are, and “awareness” is actually a perfectly valid business goal: customers don’t usually give it up on the first date just because we winked at them.  But in the case of social marketing metrics, we have the technology to measure engagement.  First, though, we must differentiate between a direct marketing discipline and a relationship marketing discipline.  Direct marketing leads to single-sale conversion, and its metrics are very simple.  We send an email or post an ad with a prompt to buy, and a certain percentage of those people will buy.  The customer journey is clear, linear and trackable.

Now, established brands can indeed use social media channels for quick, direct sales: Clif Bar, for example, once used Twitter to sell an overage of bars at a reduced price.  But this effort was a direct marketing campaign that happened to be on a social channel, not a social marketing initiative – and that’s another article (and it’s covered in this social channel strategy overview).  For the purposes of this article we’re going to talk about the fuzzier side of marketing, which is to say the relationship marketing discipline.  Social marketing is, at its core, about building relationships.

Relationship marketing disciplines are nurturing models that serve a multi-touch awareness effort.

twitter birdClick to tweet

Advocacy can’t happen without awareness

social marketing ROI
A typical sales funnel starts with awareness and ends in purchase, but an ideal customer journey ends in advocacy. Relationship marketing disciplines like social marketing typically touch the customer at the top and bottom of this funnel.

Relationship marketing is a nurturing model that heartily embraces awareness as the beginning of the customer path to sale, and carries with it an understanding that most customers will need multiple touches (read: impressions) before they buy something from us.

That said, in exploring the difference between traditional monologue marketing and social dialogue marketing, we’ve discussed the importance of action-based social marketing metrics (read: a click).  These metrics are important not just because the ultimate goal of social is word-of-mouth, but because this sort of measurement allows us to both follow a customer and set up a reporting process that will please the people wondering why they’re paying someone to fiddle around on Facebook.  With that in mind, setting up a workflow to make sure that every social marketing effort we undertake ties to solid metrics looks about the same.  So, without further ado:

6 Steps to Having An Answer to “What Does Social Media Do for Us, Anyway?”

 

1. Make sure that the social marketing effort is servicing a larger business goal

As discussed in the deep dive on social media campaign strategy, our social marketing needs to be crafted with a solid business goal in mind.  Once we know what we’re trying to accomplish, it’s a lot easier to measure it.  Don’t try to get more Twitter followers; look to engage targeted social communities and specific influencers that make sense, and craft a Twitter campaign whose success will leads to more followers organically. It’s here that having a good media intelligence solution comes in really handy: influencers are a critical part of our communications programs, and figuring out who to engage (and how to do it) is much easier with a tool that gives us the answers.

2. Use an action-based engagement metric for the first round of tracking

In social marketing, this amounts to a click. If we get their attention, what do we want to do with it?  Do we want them to share?  Click off to a landing page?  Actually purchase something?  Participate in a contest?  Here is where have to understand what sort of action works toward those larger marketing and business goals.

One thing to note here is that people don’t typically like to leave the native app, and herein lies the rub of social media marketing: while we say that our Facebook and Twitter pages are owned media, they’re not really owned – they’re rented. Nowhere is this more evident than when we want to understand how those Facebook likes led somebody to engage on our owned properties. Facebook’s been stripping away various functionalities over the past 2 years that used to allow brands to capture more information from their Fans, ostensibly because it improves the user experience. With that in mind, setting expectations to engagement higher up in the funnel (rather than direct lead capture) is the best bet.

TIP: When reporting out successes for the quarter, we should include all the earned social media shares for any content we marketed both onsite (like blog posts) and offsite (the social shares attached to a Facebook post that was shared by someone else, or the shares attached to an article that was syndicated). Keeping track of the social shares on paid, earned and owned properties helps provide a more holistic view as to what’s working – and why it matters.

3. Follow those clicks

If we’re fine with just understanding what content is engaging folks, measuring the engagement on our social channels themselves (and keeping track of the message amplification therein) is good enough. But if we really really want to use our social media properties to drive people into the purchasing pipeline, that click needs to take them off-site – and that means that we can track them. This level of tracking is typically for those of us who live in an online purchasing model. That said, even if we’re selling cat food in a local store but have an online presence, it’s nice to know what content on our site is keeping people engaged. (And if the “Prettiest Cat Contest” is bringing people in droves, we might consider taking online orders.)

At this point, we need some sort of analytical tool that follows the customer – and we probably need to use a tracking pixel for the landing page and/or UTM’s on the original URL for tracking. Marketo, for example, can tell us how many folks who read this blog post end up asking for more information about our products (thank you, kind friends) – and this is the level of detail that helps social, PR and content marketers understand what content is actually driving leads. With that understanding comes both a better understanding of what content customers want to consume (making this a better experience for them), as well as quality reporting that senior management can appreciate.

Another thing to look at is referring URL’s, which is a free metric from Google analytics. This can be particularly helpful for PR placements, the success of which are notoriously hard to track (beyond the usually-public social share number). If we earned a “New York Times” article and suddenly the NYT is showing up in that same time period as a referrer, that’s something to note.

4. Prompt leads to the next step of engagement

Now that we got his number, it’s time to use it… wisely.  Yes, we should wait at least 3 days.  If we have an email nurturing queue set up to add teeth to our social marketing program, so much the better.  If we don’t, we might consider getting one set up.  It’s up to us to determine how engaged and interested our leads might be in our product. Working with our demand generation team here (if we have one) is a great way to build bridges internally, and make sure that the folks we’re sending along are being welcomed appropriately.

5. Follow these leads through the funnel

Leads may ultimately convert off an e-mail or a sales call, and it’s up to us as the Social Media Manager to make sure that multi-touch attribution is considered and counted toward our own social marketing KPI’s.  Most affiliate models credit the originator of a new lead with the sale; our company may have a last-touch model.  Whatever the revenue attribution model is, it’s important for everyone that might touch a customer to understand where that customer has been touched along the sales cycle. This is another place wherein good software with great analytics come in very, very handy.

6. Report up in a format that helps the boss understand success

Senior executives are busy, but they do like to know what’s going on in our social marketing world – especially when revenue is down.  We might not have to do a Power Point deck, but it never hurts.  (Well, the doing of those slides hurts those of us generally pained by such exercises, but they’re almost never a bad thing to have.)  Keep reporting consistent, both in format and in schedule.  Some things I’ve learned over the years are summarised in the somewhat crude but entirely heartfelt matrix below:

Executive Thumbs-Up Executive Thumbs-Down
Data visualisation Vague explanations
Short bullet points Reading expository statements
Real numbers compared against KPI’s Made-up metrics without hard data
A traceable path to ROI ROI?  *Shrug*

 

Manage up and stay strong, fellow relationship marketers

At the end of the day, it’s important that our higher-ups understand that getting people to click on a Twitter link is easy, but unless we’re a known brand with lots of followers and we’re having a deadline-driven sale, chances are that our social marketing has more to do with awareness and nurturing relationships than closing the deal – and that’s as it should be.  Social marketing programs usually have an indirect but strategic connection to business goals, and proving our value doesn’t have to mean an immediate sale off a click.  However, we must understand and demonstrate how our efforts encourage the prospective customer along the happy path to a sale, loyalty and – if we’re really lucky – advocacy on behalf of our brand. (For more on that, check out this article on why brand advocacy matters.)