2014 has been another thrilling year in the world of social media, from Instagram reaching 300 million users, surpassing Twitter, Facebook’s continuous algorithm updates pushing organic reach to a plummeting death, LinkedIn’s new publishing platform giving users a powerful way to build their brand, and SnapChat establishing themselves as a bigger player by displaying advertisements and sponsored stories. These updates are just dusting the surface of social media changes over the past year, but what does this all mean for your marketing plan in 2015?
At its most basic, social media management software allows an organization to connect multiple social media accounts and manage, monitor and analyze interactions from a single dashboard. Most web-based SMMS apps permit real-time and automated posting to multiple channels; for example, the same post can be sent to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn with one click. Such tools, which are often provided as free or freemium services, allow individuals and organization participating in social media to keep track of conversations and evaluate what interests their followers and/or potential customers.
We all know that social media is critical to every business’s marketing initiatives (especially those in creative industries like craft marketing). Not having active social channels for your business is equivalent to showing up to work without pants; it’s embarrassing and not socially accepted. No one wants to be the idiot who shows up to work in their underwear, but what’s the point of maintaining social channels if they’re not adding value to your business? Well, there is none. You should be using social to do one or several of the following: establishing and growing brand recognition, gaining qualified leads, or improving customer relationships (ideally all three).
In my post last year covering social media strategy suggestions for 2014, I stressed tactics such as creating a social media marketing plan and sticking to it, going above and beyond in social media customer service, embracing mishaps, and so on. Let me assure you, these strategies are all still critical, but with the New Year upon us I have some new and improved tips up my sleeve to add to your social media marketing plan for 2015.
I won’t pretend to be an expert in analytics, but I appreciate the vast number of metrics available. Luckily, there are experts out there, like the fine people analyzing tweets at Buffer, Twitter themselves, and Kissmetrics, who are kind enough to give us a beginner’s guide to Facebook insights. Personally, I tend to watch post engagement (based on audience size) and URL clicks when managing social media because our goals are to expand and engage our followers while driving them to the site.
Twitter has experienced significant growth among the college population, as well as urban users making over $50,000/year – particularly white men over 65. Encouraging users to “click on a Tweet” is vital to ingraining your brand and telling your story on this platform. But what exactly does “clicking on a tweet” involve? Twitter measures clicks in a variety of ways, including:
Snapchat is a popular messaging and picture exchanging application that was created in 2011 by three students at Stanford University named Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown. The application was first developed to allow users to message back and forth and to also send photographs that are only available from 1–10 seconds until they are no longer available. The app was an instant hit with social media members and today there are up to 158 million people using snapchat every single day. It is also estimated that Snapchat users are opening the application approximately 18 times per day, which means users are on the app for about 25–30 minutes per day.
Creating a content calendar doesn't require complex software; you can create one in Google Docs or Microsoft Word. Planning out your content a month at a time offers you a distinct advantage: You can plan for holidays, scheduled product releases, newsletter blasts and more. Having a content calendar is a key aspect of developing a cohesive social media marketing strategy. - Kelly Samuel, Qode Media
This portion of research should be understandable and intuitive to you since your analyzing the business you work for. But if not, here are some ways that you can collect information on the structure of your business and its disposition toward social media, your business’ culture and its beliefs about social media, as well as the social media resources available at your business’ disposal.
A tool's analytics capability is the overarching factor that will determine its usefulness because it takes all of the types of information mentioned earlier, turns them into data, and then displays them visually in compelling formats. A tool can gather all sorts of data but how the analytics piece of the tool disseminates the intelligence—and delivers the insights—is key to whether or not it can be used to accomplish planned business objectives. These objectives can include driving marketing campaigns, forecasting possible brand crises, and revealing new markets.
YouTube is the number one place for creating and sharing video content, and it can also be an incredibly powerful social media marketing tool. Many businesses try to create video content with the aim of having their video “go viral,” but in reality those chances are pretty slim. Instead, focus on creating useful, instructive “how-to” videos. These how-to videos also have the added benefit of ranking on the video search results of Google, so don't under-estimate the power of video content!
TweetDeck is a social media dashboard application for management of Twitter accounts. TweetDeck interfaces with the Twitter API to allow users to send and receive tweets and view profiles. It was the most popular Twitter application with a 23% market share as of June 2009, following only the official Twitter website with 45.7% share for posting new status updates.
NapoleonCat.com is an analytics, engagement, and publishing platform for social media marketing. Users can publish on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter at once; plan their content with calendar and drafts; and include their clients and coworkers in the content design and decision making process with customized post flows. They also can curate their current and future clients while quickly responding to their questions and comments either via a private message on Facebook or through a comment on Instagram. Users can access in-depth analytics on any page or profile on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Google+ to track the effectiveness of your or your competitors’ marketing efforts. NapoleonCat.com also makes social media marketing automation and reporting possible and enables users to process email and SMS complaints. They can also invite their co-workers, clients, and support team to work with them. NapoleonCat.com was founded by Grzegorz Berezowski in December 2011 and is based in Warsaw, Poland.
Volume is by far the simplest social media metric that you should be measuring. Why? Because it’s not complicated to understand what level of volume (the size of your campaign) is giving you results. One thing that you should be aiming for with your social media marketing is generating interest from your ideal customer. In other words, you want more of your target audience to talk about your brand and/or your overall campaign.
Many people install a social media plugin and then forget about it – hoping that blog content will stand on its own two feet as something socially-worthy. But unless your respective social profiles are thriving in their own right, few people are going to take the time to share your content socially unless it’s somehow impactful to them, personally.
According to influential author Gary Vaynerchuck, native content is content which adapts to the unique factors of a platform that you are targeting. These factors include but are not limited to the language, culture and style. Which means the content approach that works for you on LinkedIn may not work well on Facebook, and vice versa. Since the way people interact with each other on these platforms is different, their response will also vary.
As a product of the Mark Zuckerberg generation, it is easy to understand why people are so obsessed with social media; for marketers, the potential to grow their business via these networks is endless. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ – these are some of the prime networks every company, big or small, young or established, needs to have an active presence on. It is now inexcusable for any business that wants to thrive to not be tweeting!
We love paid social advertising because it's a highly cost-effective way to expand your reach. If you play your cards right, you can get your content and offers in front of a huge audience at a very low cost. Most social media platforms offer incredibly granular targeting capabilities, allowing you to focus your budget on exactly the types of people that are most likely to be interested in your business. Below are some tips and resources for getting started with paid social media marketing:
What do you want to get out of your social Web participation? Why are you doing it? Are you trying to generate direct sales? Are you trying to offer a form of customer service? Do you want to build relationships with customers and boost loyalty? Your answers to these questions greatly affect the type of content you publish and the activities you participate in on the social Web.
It is imperative to monitor all comments and respond in a timely manner. Good or bad, all feedback needs to be addressed. If someone praises your product and/or service, thank them. If they have a complaint or concern, reach out to them. It is important to investigate the validity of the negative comment and address it immediately. Customer feedback can help you better understand reaction to your products and/or services (we will discuss further in next section).
This is a question we often get asked at LYFE Marketing, which is great, because we have the answer! You’re probably familiar with social media channels like Facebook or Twitter. But are you may familiar with how these channels are used to grow your small business? Identifying what is social media management to your business plays an important role in using social channels effectively to grow your reach and influence conversions.
This makes you better than most of your competition because when most of them would be failing to consistently post relevant content, you will be able to stick to your posting schedule. Which is a huge plus on any social network. Because once your consistency hits rock bottom, your social media following starts shrinking and your overall social media presence becomes weaker. In short, your social media marketing strategy helps you plan ahead and get the most out of your content.