3 Things to Do Before Launching a Social Initiative

Social KPIs

You’ve successfully created one or more social platforms for your company and even built a loyal community online. You’ve made tracking your social growth a priority and now you’re ready for more! It’s time to launch your next social campaign (contest, giveaway), but what do you determine the objectives and keys for success?

Figure out your objective of the campaign. This part is important because without an objective, you won’t be able to drive the overall strategy. An objective is the reason WHY you’re launching this social initiative to begin with! For example, is it to drive brand awareness? Increase engagement? Get more fans and followers? Although each company’s campaign initiative will be different depending on the idea, make sure you choose one (or more) that you want to achieve!

State how you’ll measure success. Also known as Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s), these metrics are what you and your team will use to measure success with the campaign at hand and what will ultimately help determine your goals. Make sure that your KPI’s align with your overall objective. We suggest looking at Comments, Shares, Likes/+1s to start, but other indicators to think about include:

  • Overall views & unique views
  • Time spent on your site/page
  • Engagement rate on social platforms
  • Contest entries
  • New fans, followers
  • Newsletter/email opt-ins

Set goals for your campaign. At this point in the process, you need to develop a set of goals which will help determine a return on investment (ROI) after. To get you thinking, talk with your team to understand how long the campaign will run for, what will drive traffic to the campaign (including a specific number of posts/tweets and possible paid support), what are possible conversion numbers (entries, shares) and how much fan growth is expected.

Once you’ve completed all three steps, you’ll be able to better track your campaign online. Repeat this several times and you’ll add an economic value to each indicator to truly help you measure the value of the initiative in relation to how much you’ve already invested.

Got questions? Let us know below!

— Samantha

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The 2014 State of Digital Marketing (Infographic)

What are many marketers planning for 2014? A team at webmarketing123 surveyed 500+ digital marketers about their top goals and challenges when it comes to social media.

This infographic is especially interesting because 41% of B2B marketers noted that generating leads is their biggest goal in 2014, while a close 40% percent of B2C marketers say driving sales is what they hope to focus on. What surprised us the most was that only 25% of digital marketers are planning to invest their budget online in 2014 — much lower than we’d expect. Having said that, measuring ROI is still an issue for many marketers and will continue to be so into the future — a big factor that’s inhibiting many companies from investing in a strong digital/social strategy.

With the continued growth of social media, we’re hoping that more and more brands will become better educated of the benefits of a digital marketing strategy in terms of building an engaging community vs. measuring a direct ROI. Time will tell what will bring in the new year, but we’re excited to see what’s to come!

— Samantha

2014 DMR Infographic

Instagram Ad Success

levis

It’s been about 6 weeks since Instagram introduced ads to its platform — and the results look good. As we’ve mentioned before, Instagram started slow, allowing only 10 retailers to start posting ads, which included Levi’s and Ben & Jerry’s. Although Facebook has only released the results from these 2 brands, both have seen significant gains. Levi’s was able to reach an audience 47 times bigger than its follower count, while Ben & Jerry’s was able to reach an audience 29 times larger. Pretty impressive numbers.

Both brands were concerned that the numbers may have been inflated due to the novelty of the new ads. Because of this concern, they decided to pay more attention to numbers regarding ad recall and brand message awareness. Resulting from these ads, consumers were 32% more likely to remember the product highlighted than someone who had not seen it. They also saw a 10% jump in message awareness for people who were exposed to the ads. These are solid metrics, but information on how much these companies paid for these ads has not been released, making it is impossible to truly calculate ROI.

Personally, we think Instagram ads are off to a great start. We’ve seen a few ads on our feed which have been visually pleasing and even enjoyable. Hopefully this is how the ads will continue to be, however we have our doubts. Instagram put such an emphasis on making sure these initial ads were high quality, once more advertisers enter the game, the quality is sure to suffer.

Tell us: How did you feel about the new Instagram ads?

-Mike & Samantha

Best Metrics for Social Media Reporting

Measuring Social Media

No matter if you manage a small or large community on social media, one question always remains: What’s the most effective way to measure growth and effectiveness of one’s social efforts?

As any community manager knows, engagement and ROI is often difficult to measure. If you decide to focus on only one metric to measure success, you risk it fluctuating and negative results can occur with subsequent reports. When social platforms change, so do the way we need to measure them. Here’s what you should focus on:

1. Engagement: Although it shouldn’t be the only metric to measure, it’s definitely a good place to start. Engagement represents users (and/or current customers) interacting with your content and brand. By tracking overall engagement (comments, likes, posts, RTs, mentions, etc.) manually or with a program, you can determine how well your brand is doing within the community.

2. Sentiment: Often thought of as a difficult metric to measure, sentiment is very helpful to understand and could ultimately better your customer service efforts. “Social listening” is a hot phrase in the social world, but truly understanding what your customers are saying about you online can help you determine how your brand is currently being viewed and where you could improve within the community in the future.

3. Conversion: This metric is very important because every business wants to determine how their social efforts are translating into actual sales. Typically, social managers use Google Analytics and other tracking measures (query strings, etc.) to see how visitors find you and ultimately purchase products. Creating unique coupon codes or links to specific website pages will only help you stay organized.

4. Leads: Leads are measured because they will (hopefully) evolve into conversions for your company. Being able to predict future conversions from the tentative leads you’ll receive will help shape your overarching digital strategy. Don’t forget to also focus on measuring traffic from social media sites to help count such leads.

Tell us: How does your small business report social media? 

— Samantha

5 Social Media Tips NOT to Follow

Danger, Turn Back!

As social media strategists, we always talk about the best practices to implement — but rarely do we discuss which not to follow when executing a digital program. Here are a few tips to stay away from to be as successful as possible on social media:

1. Place all of your attention on one platform. Although it’s suggested to focus on the larger social platforms such as Facebook or Twitter to reach the largest audience, neither one is the end-all, be-all. Instead, take the time to find out where your audience is and try various platforms to determine where your business will be the most successful.

2. Have a presence on every social platform. We encourage you to try new platforms, but they may not all be the right fit for your company. Instead, choose a few that you see the most engagement on and be mindful not to spread yourself too thin. Remember: it’s quality versus quantity!

3. You should automate all of your posts. We’re all for scheduling tweets or posts to help make your life easier, but the majority of your content should be done in real time. Why? Because your company will come across as being more authentic, which will translate positively across platforms to your audiences, creating more brand loyalists.

4. Delete negative comments to protect the company. It may seem natural to delete not-so-flattering commentary about your business to save face, but it actually makes your brand look less transparent. Embrace all comments from users and react in a polite manner to increase the chance of changing a fan’s opinion, instead of pushing them away.

5. You don’t need to pay a cent with social media. Yes, many social platforms are free to use, but don’t be fooled! A successful digital strategy typically includes having a budget (whether small or large) that support an individual or team to monitor and engage with fans on multiple platforms, obtain analytics to measure ROI better and fund advertising or sponsored posts to get your message to the largest number of fans possible.

Tell us: What other tips would you recommend brands NOT to follow on social? 

— Samantha & Mike

Engagement Valued More Than Sales

For those who choose to venture into the social unknown, there are certain goals and expectations that must be established before seeing success. Although a true return on investment (ROI) has never been easy to measure, many other obtainable outcomes can be considered to help push a brand into the mainstream, including engagement.

According to a 2013 survey of US marketing professionals done by Pivot Conference, the top goals of social media marketing (SMM) for brands included brand lift and consumer engagement. These numbers are up in comparison to last year, when positive sentiment ranked higher on the list. Having said that, many marketing professionals are beginning to understand that it’s less about the positive reaction from fans and more about keeping consistent engagement numbers high with Likes, RTs and Sharing. The more a consumer interacts with a brand (whether positively, negatively or neutral), the more likely the brand will stay top of mind for them.

Pivot Conference

From the survey, the most interesting decrease lies with how marketers currently view the importance of sales. Although in past years this goal ranked highest, brands now understand that a direct relationship between SMM and sales is hard to quantify. As a result, companies must find different ways to reach their fan base that will guarantee such an activity will eventually lead them down the purchase funnel. Although round-about, many social media platforms demand engagement before sales.

Those brands that still place too high of an importance on sales may demonstrate that they don’t fully understand how to amplify themselves successfully within the digital space and the online social media space in general.  No matter how you go about it, engagement and brand awareness are vital to keeping a brand’s messaging above the clutter of mainstream marketing — way before one can even begin shopping!

Pivot Conference

Overall, it’s apparent that the social media industry is constantly evolving. Such an evolution has forced marketers to reevaluate their current strategies, especially to include more importance on brand awareness and lift. Although many of these newer social media marketing ideas go against the grain of traditional marketing, we’re interested to see when SMM will be fully accepted and what impact it will have in future business and sales.

What are the top goals of social media for your business?

— Samantha & Mike