Hopefully by now you’ve set up your business’ social media accounts and started engaging customers. The next thing you need to do is measure your performance so you can adjust your strategy accordingly. Like all other online marketing strategies in business, social media requires your constant attention and fine tuning to be an effective marketing tool. In this conclusion to our social media for business series, we will explain how to measure the success of your social media strategies using four basic measurement metrics.
1) Exposure. How many people saw your posts? There are different ways to get that information depending on the media, but exposure is measured by number of visits, views, followers, or fans. Many of the social media sites today provide the “insights” or analytics tools so you can compare various posts to each other and see which ones performed better than others.
2) Engagement. How did people behaved after they saw your articles? Did they share it, click to read more, like the post, or even add a comment? This is the kind of engagement you should look for analyzing what you post. When someone publishes a review on your social media, that’s another way users behave and it counts as an engagement.
3) Influence. Are you seeing users become brand evangelists for your company? These are people who have gone a step further to influence purchasing decisions from your company by posting positive reviews on social media, or perhaps they “share” one of your posts and recommend you to everyone who follows them. Other interested customers may respond to those reviews or recommendations by purchasing the product or service, thus creating the perfect social media cycle for your business. You can’t ask for a better scenario than others networking on your behalf and singing your praises.
4) Action. When someone takes the next step to inquire about your business online or request a price quote, or even purchase your products and services, that’s considered an action. This metric may not be easily measured depending on your business model because some customers may inquire offline, such as walking into the store or calling on the phone. That’s why it’s a good idea to train your team to ask “Where did you hear about us?” every time a potential customer asks about your business.
Measuring your social media performance is not your end goal, but rather a way to learn more about what engages people and what doesn’t. It can tell you a lot about your business too, through the eyes of the customer. Use the information you collect from your social media analysis to adjust your strategy, your campaigns, and your message accordingly. Learning from your customers and garnering their feedback is crucial to the success of your business and social media is a great platform to get that information.
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When I look at online reviews, first I check out the average rating (typically up to 5 stars). Then I look for the volume of the reviews, and finally I read a mix of the worst and best reviews. Usually when a company gives a sincere response to someone who’s given them a bad review, it turns the negative experience into a positive. For me, it’s very important how a company handles a bad situation; it tells me a lot about their customer service commitment.
Today, more than 90% of consumers now read online reviews, with the average star rating the number one factor used by consumers to judge a business. (Source: vendasta.com) So even if you would prefer customers not partake in this practice, you have no choice but to deal with it, negative or positive outcome. Besides, taking online reviews seriously is a great way for companies to quality control their products and services.
Check out these tips for managing customer reviews online:
1) Set up an appropriate online presence to get ready for customer reviews, such as Google+, Facebook or Yelp. By setting it up yourself and making it easy for customers to find you, you are in control of your own destiny.
2) When you get good feedback from customers in person or over email, thank them and ask if they would write a good review for you online. Happy customers are the best source of good reviews and you don’t want to miss the opportunity to capture their positive feedback.
3) Keep monitoring reviews on a regular basis. Receiving reviews is one thing, but it is just as important to keep checking in regularly so you can respond to them. It will show your commitment to your followers and customers on social media.
4) Respond fast to negative reviews. You have a limited window of opportunity to turn a negative review into positive one. Your prompt (and hopefully good and sincere) response will show your commitment to your customers!
5) Consistency is key. Make sure your brand is represented the same across all social media sites. You can’t say one thing here and another over there. If you are going to ask your employees to respond to reviews, you should have a standard and policy in place so they respond in the same (controlled) way across the board.
Don’t be afraid of customer reviews; instead embrace the positive reputation they can bring to your company!
Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at PSPINC! Wishing a fun and safe weekend for all our customers and friends.
When I first heard about Snapchat, it sounded like a social network for teenagers. I assumed this photo messenger service was for kids and not fit for business purposes. I was wrong. Snapchat can be another useful platform for marketing your products and services creatively, especially if your target audience is also on Snapchat. A similar network is Instagram. Both are platforms where you can share images and videos with friends and followers.
The demographic for Snapchat and Instagram are similar yet different: Snapchat has over 100 million users and growing, with more than 50% of them over the age of 25. 77% of the users are said to be college students, and there are more women than men, 70% vs. 30%. Instagram has 400 million users, only 25% of them are U.S. domestic, and it is said to be the second most engaged social network after Facebook today. 90% of users are younger than 35 years of age.
On Snapchat you can send a “snap” which is a particular photo or video to one or more friends and it will disappear after a maximum 10 seconds once it’s viewed. You can also opt to send a Snapchat “story” which broadcasts a collection of snaps to all of your followers for the duration of 24 hours. Basically, your graphic or video snaps are on loop for a day, and your followers can view them as often as they want in that period of time.
For business purposes, you can Snapchat company news and sneak previews of your products and services, and engage users that way. It can work in your favor to use this time-sensitive social media. For example, you can take advantage of short-lived snaps and stories when there is a time limit to a marketing campaign. And it creates a sense of urgency for followers to act much more quickly.
Alternatively, Instagram photos and videos are meant to be permanently online. You can include hashtags that categorize your posts and makes them eligible to be found by a universal search of that tag. You can cleverly start your own hashtag campaigns and get users to participate in the buzz around your hashtag in order to draw in more loyal followers. It’s an easy and creative marketing strategy. As a bonus, people also appreciate how the filters on Instagram improve the light and quality of their photos, making them appear more professional than they are.
If you have products or services that are visually marketable, you can show them off to followers on Snapchat or Instagram with photos, graphics, coupons, tutorials, re-shared customer photos/reviews, and more. Even if you are a service-oriented company, you can find visual ways to show what you do by uploading tutorials and informational videos or graphics for your follower base (i.e. customers).
With Snapchat or Instagram, my best advice is to learn what the users are like, learn their interests and see what’s popular, search hashtags, and create a visual strategy that appeals to your customer demographic in those social media outlets. And don’t forget to stay with your story, meaning don’t veer from keeping your posts business related if it’s a business social media account.
With faster internet connections and a growing number of smart phone users, people look at video content more than ever online. From getting help on “how to” video manuals to watching shared social media content on YouTube, Facebook, and other media, more people prefer to view videos over text these days.
YouTube has over 1 billion users, launched in 88 countries, 50% mobile user access, and about 5 billion videos are watched daily at an average 40 minutes per session. That says a lot about the power of YouTube. Even the Presidential debates were streamed live on YouTube, as some of you probably know. It is said the second debate had 124 million views on YouTube last month.
Besides the fact YouTube is a strong social media platform for sharing your message, it also boosts your SEO with video search results if you do it right. After all, Google owns YouTube and it indexes videos in its search engine like it does any other content page. So, you can start your own “YouTube Channel” and utilize the power of video content to get more exposure to your website. It doesn’t have to be professional commercial-grade clips, either. I’m talking about the videos you might have on your phone.
Here are the basic steps for setting up a YouTube channel for your business:
On a computer or in a mobile browser, make sure you're signed in to YouTube.
Go to your channel list.
If you want to make a YouTube channel for a brand account that you manage, you can choose it here. ...
Fill out the details to create your new channel.
There are many theories on how Google ranks your videos in its search results as well as on YouTube, but the fundamental instruction remains the same when it comes to optimizing the page: Put the descriptions and keywords on the page accordingly, and stay with your message.
You might be surprised how people react to your “video manual” next time you upload to your channel.
Check out our PSPinc YouTube Channel
and you’ll not only learn more about our web hosting company
, but you can see how YouTube is a great social media resource to market a business online.
Google is not your typical social media; we think of it as the search engine that it is. We use it to look up everything, anywhere, all the time on both our computers and our mobile devices. It’s as though we would be lost without it because Google is our road map through our daily life.
Managing information for our web hosting company
on Google has been very confusing because we have to stay on top of what’s going on with their shifting policies. But since it’s impossible for us to ignore how much information Google delivers to our potential clients online, we’d better make sure our information listed on Google is accurate.
This is where we need to discuss setting up your Google+ account.
When you search for a business on Google, you see the star ratings and reviews on the right column or on the local map searches. That is generated by Google+ which is yet another social media site where you should claim your business, share your contact information, blogs, stories, and make networking connections.
At the end of last year, there were more than 1.5 billion Facebook users, whereas there were 300 million Google+ users. This might make Google+ seem less important than Facebook, however, Google+ goes well beyond the social media network and puts your information out on the search engines giving it a far broader reach. Google even lists photos from your Google+ page in its search results. And you don’t have to do any extra work, simply post the same articles you’re posting on Facebook to your Google+ page.
How do you start a Google+ page?
First, you will need to open a Google+ account by going to http://plus.google.com.
If you already have a Gmail account for other Google tools such as Analytics, Google My Business, and such, you can use the same Gmail account and proceed to the Google+ icon from the top right menu in any Google site, including google.com.
If you have not claimed your business at Google My Business, you might want to take this opportunity to do so at the same time. Google My Business is a tool that lets you manage your company’s brand, the locations, contact information, and your online presence across Google search results. They do require you provide a physical verification of your location with a post card to legitimize your business. By doing this you gain control of your locations and other information from the dashboard that prospective clients may see. Get started at https://www.google.com/business/.
View and follow our PSPinc Google+ page
to get a better understanding of how it works.
A while back, I was asked to review the social media strategy for a company that contracts with large corporations and some federal government agencies. According to management, they had not yet set up social media accounts. After spending a few hours online to see what info I could dig up about their company, to my surprise, I discovered they did have a Facebook page already established. Strange, right?
The company’s Facebook was claimed and established by their employees, and the unregulated posts included photos of a karaoke party with many of the employees tagged in them. I don’t need to go into detail, but you can imagine this kind of representation was not appropriate for a company page. Whoops!
I am pretty sure this was an innocent, albeit, irresponsible mistake by whoever started the company page as a way for them to share party photos with their colleagues. But the lesson here is that you should search your own company online and make sure it’s not being misrepresented in any way. It also reminded me of a legal case known as PhoneDog v. Kravitz.
"PhoneDog v. Kravitz, No. 11-03474 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 8, 2011), was a case in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California about whether Twitter accounts and their passwords could be company property or trade secrets. In this case a mobile device news website PhoneDog sued Noah Kravitz, its former employee, after Kravitz refused to turn over password information for the Twitter account he developed and cultivated during his employment. When Kravitz asked the court to dismiss this case, the court held that Twitter accounts and their passwords (as described by PhoneDog) could constitute trade secrets and that failure on behalf of the employee to relinquish an account could constitute misuse of a trade secret or "trade secret misappropriation." This case is often cited in arguments for the importance of including clauses about social media account ownership in employment contracts." - Wikipedia
It is important your business claims ownership of any current or future social media sites. Sometimes people in management rely on younger employees to engage and manage their social media sites, which is fine, as long as you make sure you have clear rules in place for it. As long as it is clearly distinguished as a business page versus an employee’s social or personal page. And it would help to have a clause in your employee contract that all admin rights and login information must be turned over upon employee termination or resignation. Protect your company’s image and make sure you are well aware of what’s being put out on social media about your business.
Last week we covered the topic on choosing the right social media platforms for your business
. Once you’ve chosen which sites are relevant to your business and set up your profile, then what? Check out this list of best (and worst) practices for your business on social media:
Update your Status Regularly
A page that sits stagnant without an update will get deserted or forgotten by its followers, as it shows you don’t care or have much to offer. If you don’t give a regular status update you might as well not have a page at all because it’s not doing you any good. Posting at least once or twice a week to your page will show a commitment and grow your followers.
Keep it Simple and Personal
People generally don’t take the time to read long status updates. Your social media status is for you to introduce
what you have elsewhere, like a blog article or product page that may have quite a bit more information. Also, if your status lacks a personal tone and feels more commercial to your audience, you may lose their interest, so let your personal voice come through.
The beauty of social media is the ability to engage readers. It is perfectly fine to ask people for their opinions and feedback. After all, social media is all about making connections.
Include a Visual
The first impression matters and people’s eyes are more often attracted to a visual of some sort, so use photos and short video clips to capture your audience’s attention.
Respond Every Time
When readers comment on your post, you should respond. Not responding shows you don’t care. If you get negative feedback, hoping it will disappear will not solve your problem. You can often turn negative feedback into a positive experience for readers if you respond with sincerity.
The most important piece of advice is to be consistent – on posting regularly and in how you deliver your message. The tone of your voice should fundamentally remain the same across all of your social media accounts and for every status update you make.
If you decide to get your business presence out there on social media, make sure you work it and own it!
Your business doesn’t have to have a presence on all social media sites; that would be a lot to keep track of, especially if you’re small enough where you don’t have a dedicated marketing person or department to manage it. And truthfully, some sites may not be very relevant or beneficial to your business model anyway.
For example, if you are a consumer product company, you may want to focus on Facebook, Instagram, and other consumer-oriented platforms. But if you are a B2B service company, you may want to be visible to those who are on LinkedIn instead.
Instagram is all about photo sharing and end users will not read anything longer than a few hashtags. So if you have a product that is more visual, a bakery for example, Instagram is the perfect platform to show off your baked goods and entice customers to buy from you. But if you are a tax return service provider, lacking the visual appeal of a product, Instagram will not benefit you in the same way. The tax return service provider, however, may benefit by sharing a short informative video (commercial) on YouTube.
To figure out which social media sites are right for your business, first you have to define your audience and your brand story. When you do that, you’ll be able to place your business on social media sites that are relevant to your customer base and show off your product or service in the best way possible. Just remember, the social media sites that you engage in socially may not be the same platforms that work to promote your business.
Here are some questions for you to think about when considering where to build your company’s social media presence:
- What is your story, your brand, your product or service?
- What age group are you targeting for your business?
- Where do your consumers spend time and seek information from?
- Why do they want to purchase from you?
- Where do you want to be known?
Even within the consumer-minded social media sphere, you have several choices as to where to promote your business. Depending on how you would like to deliver your message, you will be able to choose different websites to join. But choose wisely - you don’t need to waste your valuable time trying to keep up with every single one.
We always talk about how social media changed our way of life, but what is it really? This month, we are going to cover the basics of social media so you will be able to take advantage of this powerful tool for your business.
Let’s start with the definition:
“Social media are computer-mediated technologies that allow individuals, companies, NGOs, governments, and other organizations to view, create and share information, ideas, career interests, and other forms of expression via virtual communities and networks." - wikipedia.org
The true birth of it came about when a new concept called “Web 2.0” was introduced in the early 2000s. Web 2.0 is a concept where users generate website content, and multiple ways to communicate collaboratively and easily on various platforms. That concept gave birth to many internet applications such as social media and blogs.
Social media is a Web 2.0 based application that goes a step further - it facilitates the online connections of individuals and groups. When we hear the word social media, we always think of Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and such, but with this definition all user-generated content sites such as YouTube and Wikipedia are also social media outlets. We can even stretch it further to include online shopping sites that share user reviews and comments.
In our society today, we literally build our social connections virtually, and social media is the platform to do that. For those of us who are in business, it is vitally important to understand social media, what it is, and how it can benefit our companies. We cannot ignore the fact that social media is the new way to be seen in business, and if we do it right, it can be a driving factor in our success.
So what is coming in the near future?
There are a several predictions for how we may see social media evolve, but here is what we think you should look out for:
- Live streaming videos
- More photos, less words
- More segmented social media for interest groups
Please visit us throughout this month for more articles about social media for businesses.
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