This article was originally posted on Rso-Consulting.com and can be found here.
Likes, shares, comments, and now hearts. Engagement is an important social media metric, but is it all you should be watching?
Social media engagement reminds me of the Skinner Box. Except instead of pushing the lever myself and getting the reward, I’m relying on users’ affirmations to give me that weird, endorphin-like high. Engagement means my content resonated, it entertained, and it effectively solicited the kind of reaction I wanted.
But while engagement is certainly a valuable social media metric – and one of the most commonly measured – it isn’t the only one. And in some cases, it isn’t the most important one either.
Engagement vs. Other Social Media Metrics
Let’s say your company is brand-new or just about to launch. You have very different needs on social media than a business with huge market presence. You must make yourself known (brand awareness), whereas the other business may be more focused on increasing sales.
Because you have different goals, your organization must measure your performance differently, too.
Your goal needs to correspond to a specific social media metric that tells you how well you’re doing – or not doing.
For a campaign focused on brand awareness, engagement is certainly an important metric. The goal is to get in front of as many social media users as possible, and to increase likes, shares, etc. in order to gain even more exposure. The more users who engage with your brand, the better for building your brand.
But for the company that is building a sales campaign, measuring conversions is a better fit. The business needs to see which social content is getting users to click and then buy the product or service. The goal is to sell more, so the business must be able to see whether or not their social media is aiding this initiative.
Some campaigns may even combine metrics. But that’s a whole other post. For now, just know that while engagement is a very good social metric, it may not be the most effective one to help you reach the goals that are important right now.
*The original article can be found in ASPE’s ROI November/December Newsletter. Interested in more articles like this one? View the most current newsletter here.*
Social media is booming. Hundreds of millions of people around the globe use one or more social site every day, with some jumping from service to service to get their fill.
This alone should be enough to excite you about the future of social media marketing. If you take the right approach and are willing to tweak your strategy when necessary, the sky is the limit.
For a better idea of just how big social media has become, consider this information shared by Mediabistro earlier this year:
“Did you know that Twitter has 255 million active users who collectively send 500 million tweets each and every day?
What if I told you that there are more than 50 million Facebook Pages, that 20 billion photos have been uploaded to Instagram or that 5 percent of all selfies on social media are shared on Snapchat?”
Now that we have that out of the way, there is no reason for your business to ignore social media marketing any longer.
If you have come to the conclusion that now is the time to focus more time and resources on this part of your business, there are steps you should be taking. There are also things you should avoid at all costs.
Here are five common social media marketing lies that could kill your momentum before you ever get started:
1. More followers is always better. There is nothing wrong with wanting to increase your number of followers, as this will give you a solid sense of accomplishment.
But did you know that higher numbers do not always pay off when it comes to social media marketing? Your goal should not be to increase your follower count as quickly as possible. Instead, you should focus on those who are interested in engaging with your brand.
Think about it this way – you aren’t going to generate much interest from people who don’t care about you, your business, or what you have to say. On the flip side, there are people who are interested in your brand and the messages you promote. These are the types of followers you want and need.
2. Social media can generate traffic, but it does not convert well. This is one of the biggest lies circulating. It is also a lie that has sunk many social marketing campaigns over the years.
Do you think the biggest and most reputable brands in the world would be using social media if the traffic didn’t convert? Do you think Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn would be publicly traded companies if all these services were unable to provide high quality traffic?
This does not mean that every person who comes to your site from a social media service is going to convert into a buyer or client. What it does mean is that you can most definitely generate interest through social media. From there, once these people make their way to your site, you can use a targeted approach to increase conversions.
Not sure if this is true? Do this: use Google Analytics to set up goals associated with your social media traffic. This can help you determine what you are getting out of traffic from each site.
3. Social media marketing is the right strategy for every company. There is no denying that this is a big lie. There are companies that can leverage social media time and time again, using it to generate traffic and increase profits. And then there are companies that have no chance of succeeding, either because of their industry or other constraints (such as a lack of time).
If your company does not typically generate income from the internet, there is a chance that social media will be a waste of time. Of course, you will never know for sure until you give it a try.
4. Daily participation is a must. One of the primary reasons people shy away from social media is because they are afraid of the time commitment. They don’t want to get started because they are scared of missing a day of updating their accounts.
If you have something unique to share every day, good for you. If you don’t, however, it is not a reason to avoid social media altogether.
Let’s put it this way: it is better to share high quality information on a semi-regular basis than to push daily updates that don’t offer any real value.
Don’t feel pressured into updating your social media properties every day. If you have something to say, say it. If you don’t, there is nothing wrong with taking a step back for the time being. Just don’t let too much time pass between updates, as you don’t want to turn off your followers.
5. You shouldn’t take the time to interact with your audience. Whoever started this rumor was probably somebody who didn’t want to take the time to interact and converse with their followers.
If you are going to use social media, you should expect people to engage with you on a regular basis. There will be times when you are praised. There will also be times when you receive negative feedback. Either way, it is your job to respond. It may be more enjoyable to respond to positive feedback, but if somebody has something bad to say, or disputes your update, don’t be shy about stepping in.
Note: some companies have dedicated Twitter accounts for customer care and support, such as Nike.
There is a lot of good that can come from social media marketing, but if you believe these lies to be true you could find your company missing the boat.
Social media is a constantly evolving media with new trends and changes in how people use it. For some, their social media channels will remain the eternal time wasters while others will capitalize on the relationship building nature of it to bring in new business. Although no one can predict the future, here are some expected trends based on what has been happening in the social media world.
New networks will keep popping up… and dropping out
It is no surprise that new networks will continue to pop up as we saw some new ones in 2014, like Ello which promises to not sell user data and and Yik Yak which allows users to share anonymous posts. Most people are pretty concerned about their privacy so a channel that claims to not collect data can be appealing to people who are pretty uncomfortable with the information they provide to certain channels (Facebook) every time they connect. With the shared challenges of gaining and keeping users though, we will likely see even more new channels proliferate in 2015 and drop out of the game in 2015. And some of the newer guys will find their 15 minutes of fame coming to an end.
You are probably familiar with some of the general rules for social media. You know better than to push out promotional messages 24/7. And you have also heard that it is considered a bad idea to post the same exact thing on every single channel. When you do that, it is clear that your social media “strategy” is pure automation which will have people wondering if there is a real person hidden there somewhere. Of course you know too that it is important to engage with people across channels. With some of the basic “rules” laid out, let’s dig in and look at some tips for the tough part: developing and creating content for each of these channels.
There seems to be a new channel popping up every day. Once you master a channel, you then hear about the next big thing that you have to go and learn. In this post, we will focus on the three most people are familiar with: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Let’s start with Facebook.
Clearly the big one when it comes to social media, Facebook has more than 1.3 billion users so it is the one channel that has the attention of most brands. The great thing about content for Facebook is the number of ways you can distribute it. You can have a poll, links and photos, with new features coming all the time. Facebook is the place where people can have a little more fun and show a lighter side – as long as it still fits within the guidelines of your brand. Tell a story. Make people laugh. People seek entertainment when they are surfing on Facebook.
Read nearly any blog post written in the last three years about social media, and you’ll inevitably find a reference to the “online conversation.” You need to demonstrate thought leadership. Your social media pages are a forum for customer feedback. We’re seeking to further engage the community. There’s a lot of online chatter about this.
Millions of conversations happen online every day, about an equally-large number of topics. Because social media allows brands to enjoy direct access to potential customers, marketing gurus are constantly encouraging companies to join these conversations. Unfortunately, some companies go overboard. For example, who else hates this comment:
“Great article, Joseph. My company actually does a lot with this topic. You should check us out at companylink.com.”
Forget any kind of real dialogue — this is a monologuing sales pitch. It’s not genuine, it’s annoying, and it does anything but make me want to hear about your company. Obviously, this is not the ideal reaction.
This brings online marketers to a crossroads. How can one join this “online conversation” without sounding like a billboard? How do I contribute something and have it reflect positively on me? Can I comment/tweet/post and not include a sales pitch? The answer to the last question is a resounding “YES!” Answers to the other questions are a little more (more…)
A while ago, I helped plan, market and host a week-long event geared toward helping entrepreneurs. The event, called Triangle Entrepreneurship Week, consisted of two to three panels per day covering everything from small business legal needs to business sustainability. (If you’re in the Triangle area, I highly recommend you check it out.)
Like most event staff, I had several jobs throughout the process, but my main job was to manage the Twitter feed — both in the few months leading up to the event and during the event, in the form of live-tweeting. This was my first experience in such a role, and I had no idea how much to tweet so I decided to err on the side of too much. I’m sure I was quite a sight, furiously typing away, trying to make sure I didn’t miss any quotable moments. All in all, I tweeted about 1,000 times, and 600 of those tweets were “live.”
The entire experience was phenomenal. Throughout the process, the @TriangleEW account grew from about 550 followers to 1,000. (Note: I helped two years ago, so the numbers are different now.) We had a lot of engagement with the event hashtag, something like 1,200 tweets were composed in total.
No one can forget the Target scandal last Christmas, when millions of cardholders had their information stolen and the stock plummeted. The list of companies is growing longer and longer of who have been hacked and some sort of data has either been stolen or changed. The newest version of this scandal occurred in early April when US Airways sent out a shocking tweet to 420,000 followers. The tweet was in response to a customer complaint about a delayed flight. The response tweet included a dirty photo of a woman doing erotic things with a toy airplane. The worst part is that the picture remained online almost an entire hour after the tweet was sent out before someone corrected it, but at this point it had already gone viral. That day the scandalous tweet even beat out the announcement of the Pulitzer Prize winners in the trending topics.
For those of you in charge of twitter accounts at your companies, we all know that this is a worst case scenario and the social media specialist at US Airways more than likely wet themselves. Even though we all make honest mistakes at times, this is much, much graver than just a simple spelling error. Investigation later revealed that the photo had been tweeted at American Airlines (who just merged with US Airways) and in an attempt to report the picture, the URL was accidentally copied into the response tweet from US Airways to the angry customer. So how are you going to keep your social media accounts out of this shameful limelight? Here are a few tips:
Although we might not ever know who sent out the embarrassing tweet, it is still important not to share your social media account passwords with ANYONE. This might seem impossible (don’t we all have a companywide password sheet?), but there are ways to restrict access to certain users. With products like HootSuite you can assign levels of authority to different users. For example, a junior employee could be given “draft only” access where they can compose a tweet but are unable to post it without permission from a user with more access. (more…)
Learn to Maximize Your Business and Sales Potential through Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Linkedin and more in this social media training course.
Getting Creative with the Blue Bird
Breaking through the noise of social media can be a challenge like no other. With 500 million tweets sent per day, you may feel a little “fluttered” when it comes to creating your own unique messages. Thankfully, your social best practices (as provided by Twitter) are included here to get you started.
1. Short and Sweet – the way to Tweet!
Are you familiar with the KISS principle? The idea of keeping it simple can be easily applied to your tweets. Keeping your tweets short and to the point can go a long way. Twitter is all about simplicity. With a 140 character limit, users can easily read and digest information from your brand on-the-go with very little time investment. Remember to also keep your tweets conversational – think of the brand voice and the person behind the Twitter handle. Channel that inner voice and share it!
2. Tweet Early and Often:
The early bird gets the worm and if he comes back for more worms? Even better! Twitter is focused on frequency and just-in-time access to information. New, social happenings, and relevant business information will keep your followers engaged and interested in what your brand has to say. An inactive Twitter account tells users there’s no one home and who want’s that? Depending on your audience, purpose of social media, and overall objectives, you may find your social sweet spot. Cast a wider net with tweeting a few times a day and then modify your tweeting frequency based on the engagement you see from your followers. Twitter also encourages that you set up a Tweet schedule and “Make it a Habit.”
Ladies and gentlemen of the marketing world, there’s a war going on. When Facebook announced Instagram could now play videos, I imagine someone at Vine hit the panic button and started shouting, “All hands on deck!” Blog posts like this one poured onto the Internet, and a great debate began. Six looping seconds or 15 filtered seconds? What’s going to reach the largest segment of my audience? (I secretly am wondering if the entire world forgot about YouTube, but that’s an entirely different blog post.)
While this confusion hasn’t affected the amount of times Instagram has been shared on Twitter, Vine share count has tanked. As Marketing Land reported, the volume of Vine links on Twitter slid 40 percent in one day alone. Clearly people are reacting to the news, but I don’t believe either platform has definitively won the war. Or debate. Or whatever synonym you choose to insert.
People aren’t fleeing Vine; they’re just distracted. Instagram’s video now possesses the sexy “newness” that Vine previously held – I’d be shocked if the level of vine.co shares on Twitter had stayed constant. I predict in a few weeks, things will return to normal. Which brings me to my point: the two platforms are too different to necessitate a choice. (more…)
We’ve all seen it. The brutal capability social media has to brew mean and thoughtless words and behavior. Many of you have already seen Jimmy Kimmel’s “Mean Tweets” skit where celebrities read mean tweets about themselves. Whether or not all these tweets were legitimate, the skit nails an unfortunate truth on the head: people mixed with social media can be a recipe for disaster.
Perhaps you yourself have been a victim of this virtual pit of wrath. Maybe you have been among the near 50% of the population who has been directly bullied over social media. Maybe you’ve quiver over that vague “I can’t stand some people” tweet by a friend or colleague, wondering if you could possibly be the source of their repulsion.
Maybe your company has been negatively impacted by social media meanness. It’s obvious how the internet can promote your brand, but when your business “oops” is amplified times a thousand or made into a public spectacle, suddenly you wish you could sink back into the good ol’ days of technology non-existence.
Whether it’s in your business or in your personal life, here are few kind ways to use social media when everything around you seems mean:
Endorse or Recommend a Colleague on LinkedIn
It takes less than a second to endorse someone for a skill, so next time you take notice of a colleague’s skill, publically praise them on LinkedIn through an endorsement. If you have a little more time, consider writing a recommendation for someone you’ve had a good amount of experience working with. A well written recommendation can be incredibly helpful for that person’s LinkedIn page. (more…)