3 Reasons your Brand needs Social Media Analytics

As brand marketers we have long understood the value of Social Media marketing to engage with our customers not just by offering great value through awesome content but also as a very valuable cost-effective channel for customer service.  Though we have also seen in recent times organic reach falling and putting our brands before new customers has also got harder.

I love Social Media I’m happy to admit even if it’s not that cool to say among some of my friends outside of marketing.  Though even I have stopped talking about the potential of G+, still my worst prediction in an article of digital trends for 2014 back in 2013.  Hey we can’t always be right. Continue reading “3 Reasons your Brand needs Social Media Analytics”

9 Tips to fine tune your Social Media

Are your social media posts being lost in the masses?  Do you want to stand out from the crowd?

You probably feel that getting noticed on social media is getting harder, and in truth it probably is.  There are so many competitors vying for our short attention spans out there.  Fear not, all hope is not lost; its just more important then ever to have a fined tuned and active social presence.

Want to know how to keep ahead of the pack?  Grab your fans attention with these 15 tips:

1. Optimise your profile and cover images – They are often the first thing people will see.  Make sure your branding sticks out.  Each different social media platform has its own dimensions to work with, some are round and some are square. Continue reading “9 Tips to fine tune your Social Media”

8 things to consider for a Social Media Strategy

Social Media is an amazing tool for your business, it lets you connect and engage directly with your customers in ways that many older marketing practises just can’t replicate.  Though Social Media for business use is much more then just simply posting something to Facebook once in a while.   Every business no matter what size needs to have a Social Media strategy in place, this will help your business really get the most out of Social Media and prepare you for a stronger future.

Continue reading “8 things to consider for a Social Media Strategy”

The value of a Social share

Every Social Marketers aim should be to drive sales either by the more opaque methods like brand building or directly by product promotion.  In a previous article I looked at how Social Media engagement can influence purchase intent in this one I will drill down and look specifically at the value of Social Sharing – So pay attention Content Marketers!

We all know that a Social Share is one of the holy grails for organic growth on our Social platforms, but also sharing is becoming a powerful driver of product endorsement and purchase.

Online and Social Sharing

Lets take a moment to look at the make up of sharing.  It is beyond doubt that consumers are turning to online recommendations and content to make informed purchases.  A Social share is akin to  good old fashioned word of mouth, its also not a one way street.  Consumers may share your content which acts as a recommendation from them to their friends, but they might also share with you in the form of Reviews.  Lets take a quick look at the types of sharing:

  1. Social Sharing – Personal Recommendations, reviews, or opinions of your product via Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc) or via email.
  2. Consumer Reviews – Product and service reviews left by users on your site (Think Amazon product reviews) or on 3rd party review sites (Tripadvisor / Yelp)
  3. Consumer Ratings – Where consumers can leave a score review, generally most sites use a 5 star system (Facebook Reviews, Amazon, eBay)
  4. Professional Reviews – Either Paid or Earned professional reviews of products or services, a great content marketing opportunity (Car review websites)

For me this instantly asks the question, do you have Social Sharing enabled on your sites, eShop or blog?  Do you allow reviews and recommendations on your products or services?  Do you actively encourage reviews on 3rd party sites like Tripadvisor?  Do you have the correct sharing options?  I would recommend all the main Social platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIN if considering the B2B market.  I often see Pinterest missed off the sharing options on sites and would strongly recommend add it to the top level options are its ranked 3rd for sharing and surpasses email.

The real value of a share is based on 3 factor; Strength a Great review is better then a Good one, Who made the review – Family member, close friend, work colleague etc and finally Source where the share comes from.  Research has shown that strength is a much more influential factor than who made the review or its source in fact online sharing is almost roughly equivalent to word of mouth personal recommendation.   This is an important point for marketers a great review has far more value and return.

How can we use this to our advantage?  I am a firm believer in using customers as marketing partners, its not just companies like Apple that have product evangelists among its customer base.  Good audience research will lead you to your businesses evangelists and these should be encouraged and enabled to help you spread your message. In Digital marketing circles we often talk about earned content having more weight and I believe the same is true about earned reviews and shares.  In Social Media we often call these evangelists ‘Super Fans’ and there are a wealth or startups and social tool developers that can help you identify and foster these.

Conversely the impact of a negative review or share is just as strong in the opposite direction. I would advocate that any business approaches negative sharing in a positive and open manner.  As discussed in my article looking at the impact of social engagement on purchase intent  you can still influence consumers in the way you deal with issues, suddenly marketing becomes customer service and you have an opportunity to project brand and product values which can negate bad reviews and shares.

Engage on Social Media to Increase Purchase Intent

Engage on Social Media to IncreaseI’m a keen proponent of businesses engaging on Social Media, and by engaging I don’t just mean posting content to your various platforms and then thinking your marketing job for the day is done. I mean really engaging with your audience.  I see a lot of businesses that neglect the simple aspects of Social Media engagement, they post to Facebook each day, but never reply to comments, rarely if ever respond to ‘Posts by Others’ the same can be said about their Twitter presence also, just posting and never retweeting or replying and very very rarely looking for opportunities to extend beyond there own Feed.

Going beyond SEO, Branding and Marketing, new research has found that Social Media engagement can increase the purchase intent of your audience.  If we think about it increased purchase intent is of course the whole aim of your Sales and Marketing output.

What should you be doing with your Social Media?

Remember that Social Media is not just about pushing your marketing message, its a two way conversation.  Its part customer service, part sales, part marketing, part branding and you really need to work on all these parts to have a successful return on your Social Media involvement.  But what we are going to concentrate on in this article is how you respond to your audience on Social Media and the value that brings.

We all know that good customer service is key to good customer experience, but what Bazaarvoice.com  found is that good customer service on Social Media really does affect how your audience perceives your business.  Here are some of their top findings that should have any business owner or Social Media manager listening:

  1. Audiences that saw a brand’s response to a negative review, their overall opinion of the product and their intent to purchase more than doubled compared to when they saw a negative review without a brand response. 

I’ve often worked with businesses that have deleted or ignored negative comments on Social Media, or in worst case scenarios responded negatively in return like it was a personal account and not a business.  This finding just shows that responding to to negative comments has a benefit far beyond the simple customer service angle.

      2.When brands responded to a review in which the product owner misused or demonstrated a significant misconception about the product, shoppers who saw the brand response were 186 percent more likely to purchase than those who didn’t.

We all probably had customer comments like this where the user blames your product for there own incompetence or where the issue is down to the good old didn’t RTFM.  By offering not just good customer service in resolving the issue in your response also go that little bit extra to offer guiding explanations on how to properly use  the product, this can also help clarify future customers who could be checking comments and reviews for a similar issue.

      3.Brand where responses offered to refund, upgrade, or exchange a disgruntled customer’s product for a different model,  meant shoppers were 92 percent more likely to purchase than shoppers who saw no response.

Again here it comes down to actively displaying good customer service to build your customers purchase intent.  I often advocate taking trickier problems and customers off-line by responding to comments with an invitation to resolve the issue via email or direct message.   Once the issue is resolved though don’t just leave it at that, go back to the post and add an update comment, not so much for that particular customer but more for everyone else – Hey we fix your issues!

 

So here we clearly see that Social Media engagement is a massive opportunity not just for customer retention but also when it comes to potentially new customers.

 

 

6 Great Tips to increase your Facebook reach

In a previous article I talked about how Facebook EdgeRank is dead  and what implications this has for Business Page owners and Facebook Marketers.   I also promised to put together some ideas on how you could get the most out of your Business Page.   Now we all love social media, but as a Business Page owner we want to use Facebook as a business tool also and that means getting our message across to the widest audience possible. The more people see our brand message then more chance we have of converting a like into a sale.

So without much further ado, here are my tips for increasing your Facebook Pages reach.

1. Get more likes on you Facebook Page.

The more likes the more potential audience you have.  So get promoting your page.  I see to many  pages that are just built and then left to their own devices.  You need to promote your page at every opportunity; make sure its on your website on every page, on your emails, business cards, in store if you have a physical location, on your other Social Media.

Now a word of caution I would advise against using agencies that promise you more likes, they are generally worthless and a waste of money.  Having 1000s or 10,000s of likes is no use if its not an audience that is relevant to your business.

Try Facebook adverts for increasing your likes.  Its pretty cheap to do a quick campaign.  Again its important that you target your Facebook Ads correctly and relvant to your business, Only operate in Germany then make sure you target only Germany.  You can segment your ad audience further so a Dive centre should run ads to Facebook users who have interests that include PADI, Scuba Diving, SSI, SDI etc.   You can do this easily using the interests filter on the Ad manager.  Stay Tuned for a article about this.

Got a mailing list?  then check out this article about uploading contact lists to Facebook

Before you start building likes though, check out the next tip as this will help.

2. Post Awesome content.

If you post great content then users are more likely to like your page, and of course once they have liked it and see your great content in their News Feeds they are more likely to engage with your page.

So what is great content?  Well take a look at your News Feed, I bet the posts that stick out are the ones that are visually appealing.   So quality images are a must not only do they stick out from our every filling News Feeds but they also tend to tend to get the most comments, likes & shares.  These comments, likes & shares then increase not only your pages engagement value in the Facebook algorithm but they also help get your posts and brand seen by more people.  Its important to review you page and you Facebook Insights to see what is successful and what isn’t, there is no point generating content that you might think is great but you Fans don’t like.  Remember its a business tool and not a personal account.

3.Encourage Engagement with your posts.

So now you’re posting great, video, photo or blog content (with an awesome image) but you are still not seeing that increase in comments or shares that you thought you’d get after doing tip 2.  Well this is were tip 3 comes in.  You need to encourage engagement with your posts.  This is very simple.  Very simple.   Instead of just posting up a great photo of a Turtle and waiting for the likes you also want to add a question – Have you ever seen a Turtle on a dive?  Now your page fans will also comment.  Now to take that to the next level you would post a photo of a turtle with a question and link it to a blog article or webpage.

Facebook-engagement-tips

Now you’re using engaging content to drive business opportunities, simple isn’t it?

4. Keep Posts short.

Facebook only displays a limited amount of text before it adds a read more link to expand your post.  So try get your message dialled so all the important information and the link appear in the unexpanded view.  If i’ve scrolling down my News Feed I may not click on the Read More link so that means the important part of your message is lost.  If you have a lot of text, try and rework it to keep it short and it might be better to spin the longer text into a blog article and link to that.   Google the internet acronym TL DR.

5. Post Regularly.

Your Fans will never all be on line at the same time, so make frequent posts 6-10 a week.  Check your insights also as there is a handy report that tells you when most of your Fans are online.  If your Business Page has an international audience then make sure you post at times that cover all international time zones.  If you can’t post every 8-9 hours then try posting the same content spread over a week at different times.  In fact don’t ever be afraid to recycle good content at different times, its not spamming as a lot of your fans will probably not have seen the 1st post anyway.

Don’t worry if its late at night or out of business hours, you can use the schedule post function in Facebook quickly and easily.  Just click on the clock symbol on the bottom left of the status update box and add the time you require.

6. Respond to Fans as the Page.

Social Media is a 2 way conversation, don’t use Facebook to just broadcast.  Interaction with your Fans is an important tool for increasing page reach as it shows to Facebooks algorithm that you are engaging with your Fans.  Its also a great way to build a relationship with your fans.   So make sure you check the comments on posts regularly and respond to questions or just like comments that you find are worth it.  Also don’t neglect the posts by others section of your page, engaging here is very important.

These are just some quick tips anyone can implement quickly on their Facebook Business Page with minimal effort and will help you increase reach and make sure people read your posts and hopefully become your next paying customer.

If you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments and I will try and respond to them.

Facebook Contests and Competitions

As I was putting together a promotional post for our latest Facebook contest at work the thought struck me, do other marketers  actually know the ins and outs of Facebook contest rules.   Especially as these rules changed in the middle of last year.    So here is hopefully a useful overview of running a Facebook contest.

The biggest change has been to Facebook attitude to running contests or promotions via your timeline\posts.  Before Facebook required all contests to be run via a 3rd party application. Now this has changed, in fact since 27th August 2013.     Facebook says this is to make it easier for businesses to run contests, and I fully agree even if its more likely that most businesses were ignoring their rules anyway (especially SMEs)

Facebook Timeline Contests OK

Now you no longer nees to use a 3rd part App, such as Wildfire or Shortstack and you can run contests via your Pages timeline (its still forbidden on personal timelines).   This not only makes it easier and of course cheaper but also lets you run many more adhoc and spontaneous contests.

What exactly are you allowed to do?  Facebook says Pages can:

  • Collect entries by having users post on the page or comment/like a page post
  • Collect entries by having users message the page
  • Utilize likes as a voting mechanism
  • Require people to like a post and/or comment on a post to be entered
  • Require that someone post something directly on your timeline to enter (could be a text post or a photo)
  • Use likes as a voting method (either liking a post or photo on your timeline)
  • Require that someone message your page to enter
  • Announce the winner of the contest on your page
  • Require that to win the prize, entrants come back to your page to see who has won the contest
  • Use a Like button plugin on a website as a voting mechanism
  • Use an app plugin to post an entry to your contest directly on your page
  • Run your contest through a Facebook app

That seems pretty straightforward.   So now you can Post say a picture and ask fans to comment or like it to enter the contest.

Facebook contest rules

Though running larger contests and promotions such as photo or video submissions it still makes sense via the 3rd party apps.   But the advantage of the new ruls as mentioned above is that we can now work with social media, our main enagement happens via the posts and timeline and we can react quickly and use this to leverage our page enagement.

What can we not do?

There are still some rules that restrict us and we need to be aware of:

  • Require that people share a post or photo to be entered
  • Require someone to post something on their own personal timeline or a friend’s timeline to enter
  • Require people to tag themselves in a photo to either vote or enter
  • Have anyone who likes your page be entered to win ( as contest does not take place on the timeline)

The main points here for me are that we can’t use sharing as a requirement, but this should not stop us from asking users to share the contest.  Second that we can not ask or require users to tag a photo as terms of entry.   You can find some good examples of what is allowed and what is not on Facebooks Page Promotions announcemnt

A full break down of the Facebook Page terms