Social Success? How to Track Your Return on Investment

GM Social Success

If you are investing your time and money on social media marketing efforts, you want to know if what you are doing is working and how it’s impacting your brand. Likewise, if someone else is spending their financial resources on you to manage their social media presence for them, they need proof that it’s worth it. So, would you measure your social media success by the number of likes a Facebook page receives? Or by the number of Retweets a Twitter post gets? If you’re unsure about what insights actually matter on social media, you are not alone. 88% of marketers also want to know how to measure the ROI from social media. So, we are going to share with you all the information you need to track your social media return on investment (ROI) and the tools available that make it all easier for you.

Without goals there is nothing to measure. Every month you must determine what it is that you or your client wants to accomplish through your social media campaign. What is important for your company at this time? Do you need more traffic driven to your website to generate leads or do you simply need more people entering in your latest contest?  What is it that you want your followers to do after they read your content? Once you establish your goals, you will know what metrics need to be tracked and can begin to experiment with which tools can deliver that information to you.

What can you measure?

  • New followers/fans
  • Post reach
  • Interesting interactions and engagement
  • Site traffic
  • Lead generation
  • Sign-ups/conversions
  • Revenue increases

What tools can measure it for you? Facebook insights provides you with the information on things like how many page likes you have (the total and within the past few weeks), your post reach, and levels of engagement for each post. Using this information you can decide what time is the most beneficial to post to your fans as well as what type of post received the most attention. Additionally, if you received a lot of engagement from your promotion post and subsequently an increase in the amount of signups you received, you can probably attribute it to your social media efforts and not some freak accident. Utilizing tools like Google Analytics can reveal where most of your traffic is coming from whether it be Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, etc. If you are an avid Twitter user, Social Bro tracks your interactions, measures the effectiveness of your campaigns, and provides you with audience insights. Likewise, Hootsuite enables you to analyze your brand growth, receive social demographics of your audience, and identify key community influencers.

What do you do with the information once you have it? Create weekly-monthly reports. The best tip we can give you is to create templates for these metric reports. Doing so will not only save you time, but will keep your reports looking consistent so that you can more easily compare figures. If you need an idea of where to start, Rachel Melia created a sample reporting template for Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Blogs. Additionally, inputting your numbers into a report makes it easy to disseminate to your supervisor or client so that they can review the results and determine whether goals are being met. Similarly, your reports can be used to create your goals for the following month and highlight the areas you need to work on harder.

Remember: What works on social media isn’t static. This is what makes analyzing your ROI so important. You have to constantly review your weak spots and improve your strategy to overcome them and add value to your campaign.

Do you use a specific social media analytics tool that really works for you? Share your comments below, we love to hear from you!

Why Social Media Is a Must Have for Your Business

GM SOCIAL MEDIA MUST HAVE

With the ever-increasing technological world that we live in, you wouldn’t be surprised to find out that 74% of online adults use social networking sites. What you might not realize, however, is that only 55% of businesses are utilizing social media as a primary tool for their marketing strategy.  Over the past year, this number has been on the rise and is projected to grow exponentially over the next few years as more and more businesses realize the benefits of social media.

What this means for you:

Social media is strengthening your competition by helping them actively engage the public you aim to serve. How this happens is that social media networks provide a voice to often faceless companies and help them build relationships with potential consumers, even your potential consumers. So, if you aren’t on social media, your clients and potential consumers ARE (and it is likely that so is your competition!). Therefore, it is essential for you to get on the social media bandwagon because it is no longer merely a tool that gives you a competitive edge, it is a societal expectation that your brand has a social media presence with which they can learn more about and engage with you.

Did you know?

Social media is found to be the top Internet activity participated in, even surpassing email. This means that the public is spending more and more time on social media. So, ask yourself, who are you marketing your services or products to? Members of the public! So, shouldn’t you be on social media, too?  Additionally, out of the marketers that chose to utilize social media, 92% of marketers indicate that social media is important.

Here are a few reasons for you to consider on why social media is important:

  • Gives you the opportunity to learn about your audience. Who they are, what are their likes/dislikes, and what is it that they need from you.
  • Reaches diverse groups of consumers, thus increasing your exposure and expanding your fan base.
  • Provides you with the tools to easily find your target audience and increase the probability of marketing to those who actually need/want what you are selling.
  • Generates leads for one third of the cost.
  • Enables you to share information instantly with your followers. You keep them up-to-date and they inform you of how you are doing (Hello, feedback!).
  • Allows you to share information that links back to your website, instantly driving traffic from social media to your main hub to create long-term engagement.
  • Serves as a mutually beneficial platform where the consumer and company can build a more personal relationship that is otherwise not achievable.
  • Results in finding more customers. For example, 36% of marketers found customers on Twitter, more than 50 percent on Facebook, and more than 40 percent on LinkedIn.

Why a social media budget is absolutely necessary for your marketing plan:  

While it might be tempting to forego the cost (and experience!) of social media professionals, it isn’t advised (and that’s not just because we offer this service). Actually, we offer this service because we have seen what happens when businesses choose to go it alone. Too often, companies are so motivated to get involved in social media that they join every network possible, subsequently spreading their time and resources too thin and resulting in dissatisfied, neglected followers that are hungry for information. Likewise, without the knowledge and advice of a seasoned social media marketer, you risk damaging your company’s credibility by posting too much, not posting enough, posting the wrong information, and even posting the right information but at the wrong time or on the wrong network (there are just SO many factors).  But even companies who choose to handle their own social media accounts can no longer afford to do it for free. Social media networks are cashing in on the findings that businesses are using their services, and getting results! In order to stay relevant in the competition and get your information seen (and shared), you have to utilize paid Facebook advertisements, Promoted Pins on Pinterest, and Twitter’s mobile targeting. Thus, companies thinking that they don’t have time, energy, or financial resources to expend on a solid social media strategy is quickly becoming a thing of the past. So much so that social media marketing budgets will actually double over the next five years.

Why social media is (most likely) for you:  

Even after you have considered all of the information and data that reveals just how powerful social media marketing is for your business, you might still be unsure of whether or not it is right for you. Honestly, social media isn’t the most effective marketing option for every single business, but it is for most! When making your decision, it is important to realize that social media will not be the answer to all of your business woes. Likewise, you cannot just merely sign up for a social media account and expect followers to come to you without putting work into building relationships. You have to educate yourself on the best tactics, keep up with the latest trends, create, promote, and share quality content every single day, and spend time getting to genuinely know your followers. In short, social media is not a magical elixir, but it is a remarkable tool that is currently unrivaled for reaching and engaging your audience in a whole new way.  As previously stated, 55% of businesses are currently using social media networking to their advantage by making connections and getting their name more visible. The question is, why aren’t you doing something to ensure that your company isn’t forgotten in the meantime?

Do you have any comments or questions about social media? Share them below, we’d love to hear from you!

Put a Pin in It: 10 Beginner’s Tips for Pinterest

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As simple as Pinterest’s interface seems, whether it is a business or personal account, not everyone has quite grasped what they should be pinning, how exactly they should organize their pins and boards, and what it is that drives traffic to their Pinterest profile.  If you have never used Pinterest before, it is a social network that is filled with endless categories to sift through for the ideas that most “interest” you so that you can “put a pin in it”, essentially saving the idea to come back to when you are ready to start that project, buy a product, or return to a recipe. Once people have, for example, completed a project or made a recipe, they will usually return to comment on their experience and reveal whether or not they would recommend it to others. This is one reason (of many) that Pinterest is an important tool for many businesses. That is, if you make an idea appealing enough for people to want to try it and the idea consistently generates the expected result then the resultant word of mouth will drive more business toward you.

Anyway, we want to make sure that you are at the top of your game. Since pinning=winning, here are 10 Pinterest tips to bring you from beginner to pro:

#1: Check out the category “popular” for trending pins. The search results will be a compilation of all the pins that currently boast the most likes, repins, and/or comments. Thus, when you also like, repin, or comment on some of these popular pins, it gives your profile more visibility. However, avoid posting generic comments like “That’s cool” or “Great idea” because it may give the impression that you are not attempting genuine engagement. Something important to remember is to not post more than 2-3 comments in a single day or Pinterest may suspend your account for “spamming”, even if that’s not your intention.

#2: Pin and share photos. Just as on other social media networks, colorful photos and attention getting graphics receive the most likes and repins. Subsequently, to make your boards more appealing, they should have attractive cover photos to get more clicks and remember to change out these photos every once in a while.

#3: Detail what your pin is about. Provide rich content descriptions for each pin that tells the viewer exactly what the pin is all about. Remember, the more key words and hashtags that you use, the more easily it will appear in the correct search.

#4: Avoid pinning generic ideas. Generic ideas are boring and unnecessary; you want pins that are innovative and exciting. For example, if you pin a stock photo of a birthday cake to your “Birthday Parties” board, with the description of “make sure to have a birthday party”, it is going to be meaningless to your followers because that is such a regular idea that you don’t need to save it for later to remember. Instead, you want to pin ideas that will not just be useful for every day events but that will actually elevate them. Therefore, for your “Birthday Parties” board it is much more beneficial for both you and your followers too if you were to post an idea regarding how to set up the food table in the best way or pin some unique cake decorating ideas.

#5: Know what you’re pinning. Don’t pin anything that is offensive or conflicts with your brand or statement you want to make. Likewise, don’t pin things that are not interesting to you or your followers or really, what’s the point? So, make sure to click and review all content before repining so that you are aware of what that pin says about you.

#6: Follow people with similar interests. Not only will those with similar interests be more likely to follow you back but by doing this you make yourself available to the great content flowing from their boards and you can be the first to pass it on to your own followers.

#7: Make your boards be specific and the title appropriate. When you name a board something like “Outdoors”, the viewer doesn’t know exactly what to expect if they click on your board. “Outdoors” could be ideas for yard landscaping, activities to try outside, or even camping equipment. So, it is a good idea to make your title specific and to only include pins that are relevant to that title. For example, if you have a board titled “Party Ideas for Little Boys” then do not pin wine party ideas to that board (yes, we are exaggerating here to make a point).  Additionally, don’t be afraid to have a little fun with your titles to make them stand out, but refrain from making it so abstract that a new visitor won’t know what they are clicking on (or they won’t click at all).

#8: Multiple boards are preferred.  This is the aspect of Pinterest that lets you go be wild and free and make a board for everything that interests you. The more boards you have, the more opportunities for your pin and profile to be brought up by someone’s search. So, the minimalist in you has no need to compact all your ideas into the least amount of boards because more people prefer to have a diverse selection of material to look at. Therefore, if you have a board that is named “Style”, you could separate it into multiple specific boards like makeup, nails, jackets, shirts, shoes, and so on.

#9: Fill your boards up. As previously stated, you are more likely to attract followers if you have a variety of boards to look at but making sure those boards are filled with lots of content that the title promises is just as important. If you were a follower, you wouldn’t waste your time following someone who only had 2 pins located on one single board because you know that you aren’t going to be getting very much content to pass along to your followers from them.

#10: Reorder your boards. The boards that receive the most likes or repins should be organized in the top row of your profile so that they are the first ones viewed upon visiting your page. If you are just beginning, place the boards that are more important to you or that you predict will generate the most interest first.  Also, for your boards to appear in someone’s categories search, you need to categorize your boards correctly when you create a new board (i.e., just choose the category most relevant to your board from the drop-down menu and if your category isn’t listen select “other”).

*BONUS TIP: If you have a business account, remember to link and verify your website address when setting up your profile so that people know that it isn’t a fake, which makes you more trustworthy.

 

We covered some of the most important tips that will get you revamping your profile or starting one off right. Happy pinning!  

 

Did we leave something out that led to your Pinterest success? Share your comments below, we love to hear from you!

3 Simple Ways to Optimize Facebook Relations

FaceBook Keyboard

Facebook was created to be an outlet for like-minded individuals to come together and share thoughts, ideas, opinions, reviews, etc. without being influenced or pressured by corporations. Yet, many people assume that since Facebook is a social media giant that it is the best place to plaster your sales pitches on every wall possible. We frequently see this mistake being made by new businesses and even well-established ones that are just not using what little time they have effectively.

Should you do it just because everyone else is doing it? Absolutely not. There is a delicate balance required in reaching and engaging with your target audience while showing them what all you offer, instead of selling to them (relentlessly) what you offer.  More importantly, rather than dropping ads just anywhere and hoping for a lead, here are 3 simple ways to get better results on Facebook.

 

#1: Stop Trying to Sell, Sell, Sell

We know that times may be tough and it might be crunch time, but believe us when we say that selling your heart and soul out on Facebook is not going to get you anywhere (it may even negatively impact your business!). Instead, set time aside each day to actively engage your target audience by liking some interesting posts on your feed, replying to comments, asking questions, and possibly even helping people for free if the opportunity presents itself! I know, it sounds crazy because nothing is ever really free….I mean….what’s the catch? The point is that if someone on your newsfeed is requesting a recommendation or needs help in some other way that you can step in and help out, they will remember your company through your good deed. By doing something nice for them without expecting anything in return, you are humanizing your business and leaving a positive impression with a potential future consumer. The point is, you can spend all your time trying to have a million static followers, but it doesn’t do you any good unless you have built genuine relationships with your followers to make them want to care about what you have to offer.

 

#2: Don’t Let Your Content Get Stale

We sometimes get so wrapped up in professionalism that we forget to have a little fun. You need to share content that is already getting attention and create original content that is interesting enough that people will choose to follow you for more. For example, a big hit right now on social media are motivational/inspirational photos captioned by quotes.  Actually, research has shown that pictures in general receive far more attention than text only posts. With that said, sometimes people just need a break from the monotonous business related posts and want to see something like a funny picture or .gif to brighten their day.  Likewise, while stock photos are sometimes a necessity, don’t be afraid to snap a photo of someone around your office being goofy. Again, this lends a human element that businesses on Facebook so desperately require in order to not be passed over as just another business fishing for sales.

#3: Start Up Some Competition

There are so many various ways to run a competition on Facebook. Consider the following example, if your company sells t-shirts you can tell your followers that every person that sends in a photo of themselves adorned in your company’s t-shirt will be automatically entered in to win some sort of prize. Even if the prize is simply more merchandise with your company’s logo on it, people love to receive free items and it doesn’t hurt that they are advertising your company in the process!

 

Now that you have learned these simple ways to engage your audience and build up your business to customer relationships, log on to Facebook and try them out!

 

Do you have more Facebook tips that have led to better customer relations in your personal experience? Leave us a comment below, we love to hear from you!

Social Media Tactics – Top 5 Tips and Tricks for Twitter

Wing

 

We already answered some of the most asked questions about Twitter and now we want to give you our top 5 exclusive tips and tricks for taking your business to the next level on Twitter.

 

#1: Keep Your Tweet Short and Sweet

Keep in mind that people who are checking their Twitter accounts are usually scanning quickly through just a few top Tweets in their news feed and let’s face it, attention spans are on the decline. So, the question is, how do you hook future customers for a click? Try using Tweets as a headline. If you cannot think of a catchy title, try quoting from the actual article instead.

 

#2: Make it Interesting

Make sure that you base your content on interesting and intriguing information so your customers will want to stay updated and “follow” you just about anywhere. Always be on the lookout for fresh and exciting news so that you might be the first one that delivers that news to your followers, which makes you appear to have first dibs on the best content out there.  Basically, get to know your audience and write about what you think they would enjoy reading.

 

#3: Let a Picture Do the Talking

Use a colorful/attention grabbing graphic in your content. Do you want to stand out on the Twitter news feed? Of course you do. We’ve got one word: Picture! Not everyone uses them but they should. No, we aren’t talking about selfies…  We are talking attention getting graphics that reach out and grab those Twitter skimmers and tell them to “stop, look, and listen” to you and your brand.

 

#4: Utilize the Right #Hashtags

Check hashtags before you use them and make sure to do your research on the best option for your next Tweet. Helping you find that perfect hashtag is a snap with these amazing tools so you can grab the attention of your audience.

 

  • Hashtag.org:  Hashtag analytics report on how that specific hashtag has done in the past 24 hours and also estimates how well the hashtag will do in future hours based off of its past 24 hour performance.
  • TagboardThis amazing website helps you search potential keywords or hashtags and tell how well it’s currently doing. Tagboard also lists a few of the top recent Tweets featuring that keyword, including pictures and full content of that Tweet.
  • Hashtagify.me: This site helps you search the top 10 trending Twitter hashtags by using keyword definition. Hashtagify also displays top recent Tweets by keyword, and helps you find a related keyword based on the one that you were searching for – Just in case you need a backup, right?

 

#5: Find the Best Time to Tweet

Good news! Finding a formula for your business doesn’t have to be rocket science. There are amazing analytics tools out there that help you and your company find out when your customers are online with no stalking required! Social media reports can be conducted to collect data in order to find the prime time that your customers are usually online, Tweeting, and interacting on their accounts. This data will reveal the “prime time” that YOU need to be online, Tweeting, and interacting on your account. Social media reports can also tell you what days are more active during the week, which in turn, shows you what days YOUR company should be more active and attentive on your Twitter account as well. When you Tweet at the prime times for your audience, you get the most out of your post!

Looking for the perfect Social Media Marketing (SMM) tool to help with your company’s analytics needs? You can try a quick search for “Twitter Analytics Tools” or check out a few of these awesome links below:

  • SocialBro: With a ‘Best Time to Tweet’ report by SocialBro, a free account will run an analytics report based on your top 100 followers to help you get the right idea. This report will also suggest the best time to Tweet to your audience, give you the rundown on the latest hot keywords and hashtags, and provide you with visual charts on where the majority of your followers are located in the World Wide Web. Why should you know this? Because this information will assist you in selecting the right content to share at the right time for your audience. Fist bump, bro!
  • Hootsuite:  Social Media Reports have never been easier than with a Hootsuite Analytic Report. These quick and easy statistics are pulled from previous account history. These reports now show which of your Tweets were most retweeted and mentioned in the past. This feature helps you gauge a better time to Tweet in future and you can also view a graph displaying the detailed summary of how well each of your Tweets did from your account.  This is one app that is not just for the birds…get it? Hootsuite also has an amazing little feature called “Autoschedule”, this option will help you select a time, based on the results of your past Tweet history’s peak performance, and “autoschedules” them for that time in the future.
  • TwitonomyIt’s not just fun to say, it’s pretty helpful too! Twitonomy helps you create a detailed and visual analytics report on anyone’s Tweets, retweets, replies, mentions, and hashtags. It can also help you monitor your interactions with other Twitter users like mentions, retweets, and favorites as well as get actionable insights on your followers with the Followers Report to name a few.
  • BufferBuffer helps you schedule and track the analytics of your Twitter content. You can also schedule upcoming Tweets and get some great suggestions on future content and updates.

 

Hopefully, these tools will help you always know WHEN to send out that awesome content that you have been just itching to share! After all, what good is a Tweet if no one is online to read it?

If you follow these basic steps to socializing Twitter-style you will be well on your way to effective social media success one Tweet at a time. Don’t forget to Tweet us @Giant_Marketing about your travels through the Twitter universe!

Got more tips or tricks? Leave us a comment below, we love to hear from you!

Facebook is Banning WHAT?! Changes Are Coming

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Beginning January 2015, Facebook recently announced that they will begin analyzing your promotional posts to decide whether or not they fit new standards and contain enough quality content to be dispersed to your fans. While you may feel that Facebook’s continually limiting nature is going to do a number on your business, their intent behind this newest change is still honorable from a user perspective. What they want to accomplish is ensuring that Facebook stays a community that encourages engaging interactions and builds genuine relationships. But before you start stressing out, we are going to review what kind of posts will be a big NO-NO and tell you the simple changes you can make so that this new standard affects you and your business as little as possible.

The 3 types of posts to AVOID:

  1. Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
  2. Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
  3. Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads

The People Have Spoken and They Don’t Want To Click Here Buy Now.

Facebook asked users what they could do in order to improve the Facebook experience and members responded that they wanted to see more of what they cared about. Now, whether that is breaking news, humorous photos, motivational quotes, or otherwise, we can assure you that “promotional posts” were not at the top of these lists. Therefore, Facebook wants to limit the amount of posts that merely aim to push products in blatant ways. Now, when we use the term “blatant ways” we are inferring that you can still offer your products but there are just different ways you need to go about it. For example, posts that go something like this, “Check out and make sure to purchase our hot new product” or “Click here and buy for only 3 easy payments of 19.95” would fall under the “too promotional” category and would not be published to your fans. Instead, a revision of these types of posts that would be acceptable would contain quality content (like a personal experience or possibly a background story) that offers insight into what your product offers and lets the reader decide whether or not they want to purchase it.

 

No More Contests? Not Exactly…

We believe that Facebook is just referring to the many posts we sometimes see of others promoting random contests and sweepstakes that have nothing to do with their website or company (or much of anything for that matter). So, if you provide plenty of context for your company’s promotion or sweepstakes (not just the rules and regulations) and lend more credibility to it by hosting it on your website or blog so that it doesn’t look like spam, then you shouldn’t have an issue getting a good competition going! Moreover, if you are putting out original content on Facebook regularly that is sending your followers back to your website, blog, or mailing list, you could just put the promotions for the sweepstakes on those actual sections and avoid Facebook’s regulations altogether (but we suggest that no matter your choice, you avoid the “sell no matter what” mentality).

 

Don’t Recycle Your Content

If you are already purchasing Facebook ads to get your promotional content out there, refrain from copying and pasting the same ad content into a regular post. You don’t need to overkill your readers with the same “buy this” content. While Facebook allowed you to do it on your ads because you paid to be able to do it, they won’t be allowing you to take advantage of that by also pasting it into a free post. It shouldn’t be a big surprise that a company is not down with letting you get “2 for the price of 1” unless otherwise specified.

 

The Bottom Line

Post reach for Facebook business pages have been on the decline for quite some time now and you don’t want to waste your time by creating “too promotional” posts that will never be seen by your fans anyway. Likewise, the more you post things that your fans don’t want to see, the more Facebook will optimize their experience by not having them view other posts from your page that they may have actually wanted to see. So, the only way to increase your post reach is to make sure that you are only putting out the quality content that your fans actually want to see. That is, the more you post things that people want to see, the more Facebook will start throwing those posts into your follower’s newsfeed mix and VOILA you get your time to shine. Just remember to share things like stories, quotes, and personal experiences with your fans and in the end they will be more likely to come to you for the products or services they need.

Do you think that Facebook is going too far with more regulations or do you agree with their business decision? Share your comments below, we love to hear from you!