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Posts from the ‘small business’ Category

Metrics for Social Media ROI

December 2, 2011

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Whether you are an agency or an in-house social media specialist, you are bound to have clients or supervisors barreling down on you for the ROI on social media. The single most common question that is addressed to all social media experts is:  How do you determine the ROI of all of your social media efforts?

I am going to give you tips on how to measure your metrics, but with the caveat that currently there is no real ‘formula’ to calculate ROI on social media. This post will provide you with ideas to create metrics that you can implement and modify for your organization.

After conducting thorough due diligence on how to effectively measure and evaluate ROI, I came across a very reputable expert in the market, Avinash Kaushik. He has had the most influence on the way I think about analytics and ROI.

Social Media ROI

Let’s start with the basics. Always keep an eye on the general metrics such as Facebook page likes, Twitter followers and total interactions. Evaluate the amount of interaction you have on your social media network per users (follows, likes, subscribers, etc.). This helps to determine the significance of your social network community. There is no point in having well over 10,000 followers on Twitter when you only have interaction with about 5 users. It is great to build both a strong fan base and following but it is just as important to ensure that you are consistent in engagement.

Total interactions are easy to calculate for Facebook through their ‘Insights’, however, it will take time when you are collecting data for other social networks. For example, Twitter will require that you add up the total number of times you were re-tweeted, mentioned, included in a hashtag, and added as a favorite tweet within the time period that you want to analyze the data (daily, weekly or monthly). For other social networks you may have to consider the number of shares, comments and likes, so make sure to take the time to determine what you truly consider an interaction for each network, respectively.

After you are done with the steps outlined above, you want to now break down the ‘interactions’ of your social networks. Focus on how users are interacting with the content that is presented. Here is where I will use some of Avinash’s terminology and ideas, while introducing new ones as well. According to my own analysis, consider focusing on the following factors: conversation rate, amplification rate, attraction rate, view ability rate and click-through rate. Let’s get started!

Conversation Rate

This is the true engagement for conversations in your social media communities. Conversations will be different depending on the network. For example, Facebook, Youtube, and blogs are focused on comments; however, Twitter is measured with mentions and hashtags. Calculate the figures for each network, and calculate how many conversations took place per post, tweet, or video submission.

Amplification Rate

This is the total number of times that your content was either shared or re-tweeted. Calculate the number of times that your posts or tweets were shared and determine the rate per post. You can take this one step further, and determine the reach of your content. Every time your post or tweet is shared, it is available for an entirely new audience, expanding the number of eyes that could potentially see it. You can also investigate and see what type of content is being amplified the most. This will go a long way in helping you understand your community a little better, and the type of content that interests them.

Attraction Rate

Ensure that your content is attractive to your market. Calculate the total number of likes or +1’s per post or the number or tweets that were added as a favorite per total tweets. The more that people like what you have to say or share, the more that people will care.

Viewability Rate

This stat is a little harder to find on Twitter, however, for other networks and mediums such as Facebook, Youtube and your blog, it is the total number of views or impressions per post. This is not as important as the other metrics listed above, but it is always nice to see how often your content is being looked at and if no one is seeing it, then you better find a way to get users to view it!

Click-Through Rate

Everyone shares links, whether it is a blog post, a highlighted product or content that you found on the web. However, there is no sense in sending and receiving links, especially in hopes that the end user will click on it. Efficiency is the name of the game; so I recommend using bit.ly, to help you keep a track of your outbound links. After you set that up, use this as a tool to figure out how many clicks you are receiving per link, measuring which content and times are best for content distribution.

Now that you know what metrics to follow, create an excel spreadsheet that will allow you to keep track of your social media networks. You will notice that some of the numbers will pose as a challenge, as you will be calculating them manually. Consider searching for tools that will allow you to calculate statistics that show your analytics. If you are a large brand, this is not a request it’s a requirement. If you have any suggestions on which tools work well for you, please leave a comment. I’m all about collaboration.

Now that you have a method to organize your social media metrics, it is now time to determine the true financial impact for your brand. Check back for the second part of this post to find out how these numbers and conversion rates can help you determine your actualized ROI.

via socialmediatoday

Facebook’s New Analytics Reminds Businesses to Engage Fans

November 28, 2011

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In the past several years, businesses large and small have come to realize the positive impact of engaging their brand-loyal public and — more importantly — potential customers, via Facebook Pages. While fan pages are typically seen as a destination for users to remain privy to brand news, a recent comScore report shows that a Page is really just the place where content resides, as fans are 40 to 150 times more likely to consume branded material in their news feeds than on the actual fan page itself. This discovery led to Facebook’s expansion of “Page Insights,” including new metrics and analytics designed to constantly remind business owners of what truly matters: engaging content.

Facebook utilizes an algorithm that ensures the most relevant content for each user finds its way onto that particular user’s news feed. The relevancy of this content is determined by a number of factors, including how many times it is liked, shared, commented on, etc. When fans of a company interact with branded content, it can then be passed on to their friends and their friends’ friends. With fan acquisition as the main motive behind the Facebook strategy of most businesses, it is helpful to learn that friends of fans are more likely to visit a brand’s store, website and even purchase a product than the average, uninfluenced consumer. In addition, the average friends-of-fans group for the top 100 brand pages on Facebook is 34 times larger than the fan group. This means that a business can often have greater influence amongst its second degree connections, and the virality of a page’s content can be directly related to the success of a business. So, ultimately there’s a need for better insights into Facebook content consumption.

Facebook’s Advertising Communications Manager Elisabeth Diana states that the “one of the purposes behind Facebook Page Insights is to provide all page admins with ways to understand how to reach and acquire new customers.” New metrics have been created in order to provide businesses with not only information about how people are interacting with a brand Page, but also a glimpse into how people are connecting with the Page’s content in other parts of Facebook.

One of the metrics added to Facebook’s Page Insights is “People are talking about this.” This set of data counts stories that are eligible to appear in a user’s Newsfeed, such as any likes, wall posts, comments, shares, questions answered, RSVPs to events, Page mentions, photo tagging and location checkins. The metric allows the page administrator to know what posts have proven the most compelling and interactive.

Another metric added to the equation is the metric of virality, which allows for insight into how viral a particular post is. Virality is determined by dividing the number of “people talking about this” by the reach (the number of people who actually saw the content). Diana notes that because virality is a percentage, whether a business is large or small, the metric “can be used to compare across all Page posts.” The virality metric allows page admins to analyze the success of individual posts and will hopefully lead to an improved page strategy through a better understanding of the audience.

Along with these new metrics comes aesthetic changes as well. “Whether you want to get into the deep end or wade in slowly,” Diana says, Facebook wants to make their Page Insights “digestible for everyone, easy to sort and actionable.” She says most of the heavy numbers have been removed from Page Insights, but “for those needing something a little more data-intense, there is always the option to export to a spreadsheet.” Either way, Diana and Facebook promise that “this is just the first step in enhancing Page Insights for small businesses and brands; there is more to come.” In the meantime, however, Facebook will continue to prompt business owners to provide their audiences with the most engaging content possible to guarantee the greater reach and better sales.

by , via Mashable

5 Ways to Turn Social Customers Into Brand Ambassadors

November 22, 2011

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With the advent of social media channels, customer service has forever changed. Consumers are no longer willing to sit and listen to classical music on hold. In today’s age of hyper-responsiveness, customers expect instant responses from support reps on very public online platforms.

Instead of shying away from social media, smart businesses will leverage their social channels to spread a positive brand reputation, to connect happy customers and to step up their customer support efforts.

Consumers aren’t eager to blast negative messages about your company – unless your brand is unresponsive. I recently learned at an IBM conference that customers are five times more likely to post something positive than negative, and that companies usually have at least 10 warnings before someone posts a negative comment.

Happy customers who get their issues resolved tell an average of four to six people about their positive experiences, according to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs. It pays to treat your customers well, not only for the repeat business, but also to gain the positive word-of-mouth consumers now broadcast across social media. Satisfied customers can become your most influential brand ambassadors. They’ll help to answer customer service questions posted online and also tout their own positive experiences with your business.

Here are the five best ways to turn customers into brand ambassadors through customer service.


1. Be Fast


When a customer turns to social media for a support issue, he expects a brand to generate the fastest response possible. According to a recent UK study, 25% of social media users expect a response within one hour, and 6% expect a response within 10 minutes. If you allow a support issue to dangle for too long, you risk being perceived as a company that either doesn’t know the answer or doesn’t care enough to reply promptly.

Remember, most people on social networks aren’t itching to post negative comments. They only do so after a bad experience. Therefore, don’t give them enough time to have a bad experience.


2. Be Visible


Private and direct messaging on Facebook and Twitter is all well and good, but when it comes to customer service, it’s best to be totally transparent and visible. The answer you give to one customer could, in turn, help thousands more. Think of each post and interaction as a resource that future customers can reference. Not to mention, customers will be more apt to direct friends to your page with their own questions.

Social media sites foster an online community around your brand. Watch how customers discuss and respond to your products so you can join the conversation and better understand the community that supports your brand.


3. Be Consistent


It’s vital that you ensure all customer support answers remain consistent across the web and across all social channels. If a common question is posted on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, then each response should communicate the same solution. Conflicting answers create confused, unhappy customers. Just as people expect consistent experiences with your products, they also expect consistent service across all of your channels. Brand accuracy drives confidence and credibility, and helps build brand loyalty among your customers.


4. Be Organized


If consistency creates brand ambassadors, then being organized is equally paramount. Admittedly, the cross-company integration and management of social media continues to be challenging. Maintaining a successful social media presence on just one network is a full-time job. Trying to do it over multiple networks is impossible if your support staff isn’t properly organized.

Customers can spot disorganization a mile away, especially online. However, if you demonstrate that your company support knows what it’s doing, you’ll earn the respect and trust of brand loyalists. Organization goes beyond knowing who does what on the support team; it’s also vital that everyone on the team is on the same page. Each team member must know where to seek reliable answers, and each must source information from the same place.


5. Be Human


As cool as Siri is, she still hasn’t crossed from digital assistant to human entity. Until then, your social media customer support should remain as human as possible. On the bright side, social networks already take the formalities out of conversation. It’s one of their biggest draws.

Therefore, a customer’s name isn’t “Inquiry #83kd4z.” She’s Christie from Denver. People respond best when they feel like they’re talking to other people. Your customer support should make customers feel as if they’re posting a normal question on a friend’s wall. Creating that kind of relationship with your customer should be the priority of any company.

Using customer service to create brand ambassadors isn’t the Herculean task it once was. Social media is presenting countless opportunities to turn your company’s support system into an open, interactive community, where customers can share their positive experiences with one another and spread the good word about your products and services – all on your behalf.

By: , via Mashable

5 Steps for a Successful QR Code Marketing Campaign

November 14, 2011

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While the debate rages on whether QR codes are a passing fad or a marketing phenomenon, those little suckers continue to pop up all over the place. From product packaging to retail signs and even to food, almost any surface in the universe seems fair game for a QR code.

However, if brands deploy QR codes merely to claim they are using the latest social media marketing tool, then QR codes are doomed to fall in the “fad” bin, never to realize their full potential. The task for marketers is to use this interactive tool to deliver useful and meaningful experiences to their users.

So, how can you assess whether you are using QR codes to their full potential? Although very few QR marketing statistics exist, here are a few tips for businesses looking to deliver a meaningful QR code experience.


1. Define Your Purpose


The first thing to realize is that QR codes can be as much about utility as they are about marketing. The more your QR code enhances or streamlines the lives of customers, the more engagement you can expect. As such, the most important step in making your QR campaign a success is to think clearly about the purpose of your code.

  • Is the purpose to provide an instructional video, a photo catalog of products, contact information or product suggestions?
  • Or are you looking to incentivize mobile purchasing behavior through coupons and loyalty rewards?
  • What is the advertiser hoping to garner – an email address, social media engagement, a phone call?
  • Are you seeking to provide information about a single product or about the entire brand line?

The clearer you are about the purpose of your campaign, the easier it will be to discern whether your goals have been achieved.


2. Call On Your Customers


Now that you have defined your purpose, craft a customer call to action. Think of your QR code as a doorway, only you need to explain what’s hidden behind the door. The brief text sitting next to your code should be the world’s shortest elevator pitch.

For instance, you’ll see high scan rates if your code says, “Scan this code for an exclusive gift” or “Scan this code for our lowest price.” Be sure to explain any incentive associated with the code truthfully — it will increase trust, consumer interaction and the overall return on your campaign.


3. Design and Usability Is Key


Understand that looks matter. Ideally, opt for a designer code rather than a black-and-white checker box. Designer codes earn higher scan-through rates, look better on your materials, and even provide an element of security to assure users that this is indeed the brand’s QR code (and hasn’t been somehow covered over).

In addition, the design of the mobile landing page is critical. The cardinal sin in QR code campaigns is directing users to your desktop website. Not only does a desktop site provide little added value over what a user could have obtained without the code, but the site usually looks and functions terribly on a mobile phone. If you do not have a mobile-friendly version of your website, consider using one of the many available tools to create one. Using one of these platforms makes it easier to update content in real time and track campaign analytics.


4. Measuring Scans


The most important metric of a QR campaign should not be the number of daily scans. Rather, the length of engagement time that your code is generating should be a marketer’s primary indicator of campaign success.

If people are spending two to three (or more) minutes on a link, the campaign is a success. The power of a QR code is to transform the user experience from a “quick glance” to a “deep dive.” When users spend a lot of time on your QR site, it shows that you have developed something captivating — a brand worth the interaction.

On the flip side, having a low number of scans should not discourage the advertiser, although generating zero scans is a definite red flag. If no one is scanning the code, it’s likely that something is wrong its scanability, or that its placement is not conducive to scanning (think high-up ads on the subway).

Another thing to keep an eye on is the number of scans over time. If your QR code has been constant displayed (e.g., in your retail window or on your cashier counter), you should see a long tail of interactivity as people continue to engage with your code. Achieve this by providing fresh content and incentives. Unlike other marketing vehicles (TV commercials and newspaper ads) that typically only generate one big spike in impressions, QR codes allow businesses a consistent promotional tier. If the number of scans drops to zero after the first week, this is a sign that there wasn’t enough allure to the experience.


5. Social Metrics


Finally, businesses should look at the points of interaction beyond the QR code experience to judge the success of a campaign. Did a business receive more hits to its website, more followers on Twitter, more fans on Facebook? While trying out the latest high-tech marketing tools is fun, we must ultimately be driven by results.

The QR code experience is limited only by your imagination. The more creatively you can provide a meaningful customer experience, the more interaction your QR code campaign will enjoy.

QR codes provide metrics by tying real-world marketing (outdoor signs, magazine ads, etc.) to the mobile web. By being imaginative, purposeful and experimental with campaigns, advertisers and consumers alike can reap rich QR rewards.

by: Hamilton Chan, via Mashable

Using Social Media To Leap From Startup To Established Business

October 13, 2011

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There are an estimated 27 million plus small businesses in the U.S. alone. If you’re one of those startups, you know how tough it is to get your message out about the innovative work you’re doing and the products, services or technology you’re producing. Your very success depends on getting the word out to the right target audience who need your solution and making sure you stand out from the crowd.

The trouble is with that many other brands, businesses and public figures vying for peoples’ attention it can be hard to do that in a way that is actually meaningful. You have to compete with the best of the best in order to get noticed.

While no startup should be afraid of competition, what about when you’re faced with a competition where startups are pitted against other startups? Great things, according to Dealmaker Media, who did just that during the summer of 2011.

Competing For Glory

Dealmaker Media wanted to identify the most promising start-up companies in Canada and provide them with an opportunity to pitch at the GROW Conference in Vancouver, so they used the Strutta platform to make that possible.

Entrepreneurs were asked to nominate their companies with a video submission and company description on the competition microsite. Entrants encouraged friends and fans of their company to vote during an initial round of public voting that determined 25 semi-finalists. A panel of prominent investors and entrepreneurs from the U.S. and Canada then selected the finalists to present their business at the GROW Conference.

The Winning Result

The contest received 70 high quality entries, which generated more than 2500 votes. Content was shared more than 1000 times, with the top “viral” entries generating nearly 500 clicks apiece. Nearly 80% of the people who registered to vote in the competition opted in to receive emails from the conference organizers.

Not only did the Startups get a lot of buzz and recognition, but the conference was a big success and now has a healthy base from which to grow. Mircea Pasoi, cofounder of Summify, a service that summarizes your social news feeds, and one of only four companies who won the opportunity to pitch investors, summed it up this way:

“The online voting competition for Grow generated a lot of excitement, we were checking the rankings in the office every day! It was extremely easy to submit our entry with the Strutta platform and we knew we could trust the votes as being real, which made the competition both fair and fun.

To generate votes we shared our entry on Twitter and Facebook from the company account and our personal accounts. We also promoted the content in our daily email summaries, so that people that actively use our service could vote for us. It was actually great to see how various stories about the GROW competition began to trend amongst our users and helped spread awareness about Summify.

Being part of the competition turned into great exposure for us because we ended up in the top finalists and had an opportunity to present to a huge audience, including prominent investors.”

Video is a great medium to get your story out in a succinct yet compelling way. With YouTube being the second largest source of search, it’s no wonder that almost every startup now has a demo video on their homepage to introduce their visitors to why they should start using their product or service.

Taking that one step further, and producing a video that speaks not only to your customer but to the potential investor, as this competition did, actually forces startups to do the ground work on their entire unique selling proposition and their long term viability.

Couple that with the sharing medium of social networks and encouraging startups to ask their user base, fans and prospective customers to vote on their solution, is a great way of creating goodwill and a unique learning environment for those watching the videos.

Oli Gardner, Co-founder and Director of Marketing at Unbounce, landing page optimization, who won the most popular vote said that:

Having the opportunity to compete in a contest with startups from all across Canada was an inspiring challenge for Unbounce (we’re pretty competitive). The Strutta contest platform made it fun for everyone involved; for marketers in our company this meant constantly hitting the refresh button to see if more votes were coming in (in real-time), and for our customers (existing and some new ones that came from the promotion) they got to see a more personal side of us through our video presentation.

We took a multi-channel approach to promoting our entry, including: emailing our customers, adding a message inside our app, social media updates (Twitter, Facebook) and personal emails to contacts in LinkedIn. We did it in stages as needed to gain and then maintain the lead position in the contest, “unleashing” a new technique or leveraging the contacts of another team member as the contest progressed.

Seeing our customers rally behind us in support (along with hundreds of well wishes), and become invested in our success was amazing. We had people keeping in touch throughout the whole event asking where we were in the standings, and asking if there was anything else they could do to help! We’re tremendously lucky to have such loyal fans in our customer base – and the simple process of asking for a vote helped build stronger relationships with those customers.  On a different note, having to create a compelling video made us refocus our messaging – which is always a great exercise.

The Next Steps

Taking this competition idea even further, one would think it’s a wise idea for these startup companies to run their own competition, using an application like Strutta – which can be used as a microsite, or a Facebook application, or Wildfire, another Facebook application that allows you run competitions via a landing page. The power of competition lies in peoples’ abilities to be motivated to take positive action to engage with your brand.

There’s nothing like the present to make that happen. Whoever is willing to take advantages of these tools and technologies within the social media sphere will create an impressive platform from which to leap from startup to established business success story.

by: Natalie Sisson, via Forbes

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