• Three Key Measures to Know If Your Social Media Campaign is Working

    Three Key Measures to Know If Your Social Media Campaign is Working

    If you’re investing a sizeable amount into your social media marketing — particularly if you’re engaging a third party to run it for you — chances are you’re being bamboozled by numbers, percentages and marketing gobbledegook, under the guise of progress and results. Amidst all the spin, what should you be looking out for that will give you the best indication of how your strategy is performing?

    Having conducted a number of social media campaign audits analysing the work and outcomes of campaigns run by other agencies, it seems pretty clear to me that the value in a social media campaign comes down to a couple of key strategic outcomes. Not that some of the measures I’ve left off the table aren’t of any value, but for me, when all is said and done, there are three measures that if you’re not getting right, are probably an indication that the campaign is either too expensive for the results you’re getting, or you’re not getting any return at all.

    As a bit of a preface, and separate from numbers, I’d be looking at the content going out to your followers. If you’re not seeing a variety of content, and content of value — what do your customers want you to be sharing with them? — then I think there is some cause for concern. You should expect more than motivational quotes and still images on your pages. Are you getting good content from your campaign — strategic video, well-written articles and blogs, things that will spark a conversation and deliver genuine back and forth with your community?

    CPM

    As far as numbers go, the first thing you should be looking at (and it might seem obvious on the surface but there’s more to it) is reach. What you really want to know is how the reach numbers are being measured. If you’re being told that you reached 100,000 people this week, that might sound great, but who were they and what was the cost to reach that many people? What you really want to be finding out is, what is the Cost Per Thousand, or CPM. The reason for that is two-fold: firstly, if your CPM number is high — as in, you’re spending a lot to reach that many people — then that could be a sign that although you’re reaching those people, they’re not engaging with the content and they’re not noticing you.

    The flipside of that is, if your CPM is very low, then your social media team might be pushing your message to communities that aren’t going to help you make conversions. If you’re target market is Victorian teenagers, a really good way to keep that CPM value low is to push the content to India, Philippines, South America — areas with high volumes of people to help inflate the reach and deflate the cost… great on paper, but useless to you. So when it comes to reach, you want to know, what is the CPM and what is the demographic breakdown of the people being targeted.

    Engagement Rate

    The next measure is Engagement Rate. Again, marketers have been talking about ER for a long time, and it is important. How many people who are being delivered the content are engaging with it in some way? That is the clearest indication that your content is actually being consumed. There’s a lot of differing opinion about what is a respectable engagement rate. Many experts feel that anything above 1 per cent is acceptable, meaning that if one person or more engages with the content for every 100 people that it is served to (not necessarily 100 people who see it), then that’s respectable. But don’t just take this as gospel, because the truth is, that number differs from industry to industry. The average for the clothing retail industry for example might be up to four or five per cent, so being told that your content is enjoying an engagement rate of three per cent is actually below expectation.

    CTR

    Finally, you should be looking at Click Through Rate numbers. If there’s a link in the posts you’re serving, such as a shopping page or a learn more type of option, how many people are taking that next step? I think you most certainly want to be paying less than a dollar a click in terms of your ad spend. If this isn’t happening, then the reason to click might not be compelling enough for your consumers. This could be a problem with the content of the post, this could be a problem with the deal being offered, perhaps the targeting is off, the set-up of the ad is not as on point as it could be, or this could be a problem with the product or service you are promoting. Do people even want to buy it? If your CTR results are not strong I’d be looking at these reasons and try to isolate the problem across any and all of these issues.

    Beyond this, it comes down to whether there were conversions down the line. Did you sell units for the people that landed on the web page? There’s a bit more to that — a story for another blog post.

    If you’re interested in social media marketing without the spin, get in touch today.

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  • 4 simple way to improve your social media posts

    4 simple way to improve your social media posts

    Small things to work on that can add up to make a big difference.

    Recently, I saw a post in a social media marketing group on LinkedIn where someone asked a question about how to get more followers. The responses kind of surprised me; numerous people suggested posting three to five times a day — every day.

    Now, we can argue about whether that would work (research suggests it doesn’t) but my thought was: where are you getting the content to post that much?

    Too much

    If you’re posting external links to your website all the time, Facebook isn’t going to like that and will de-emphasise those posts. It wants you to stay on the platform, after all.

    So you can do that once a day, maybe. But you won’t get much action. What about your other two or three posts that day? You could write a blog. Cool, what’s next? Video is worth more than a single image — but it can’t be a YouTube link.

    See how difficult it can get? It’s not impossible but for many brands, it’s just not practical without repeating yourself multiple times — another thing Facebook (not to mention your followers) doesn’t like.

    So if you’re able to make 20+ individual pieces of content every week, Mazel tov!

    For the majority of us, though, we have to pick our moments — and think harder about what we’re posting.

    Not enough

    Then there’s the opposite problem: brands not posting enough to make any impact.

    One issue we sometimes run into to is getting clients to understand that one piece of content is just one piece of content. Sometimes it’s hard to convince people that you need a whole content plan and a brand’s whole existence doesn’t have to exist in one single piece of content.

    And yes, one piece of content can mean lot (shout out Gary Vee) but once that one video you worked on for hours is gone, what’s next? What’s coming down the pipeline tomorrow?

    You need to strike a balance between frequency and quality. Post often enough that your followers know you’re there — but give them enough quality that they’re not bothered by your posts and continue to be a fan.

    There are a few simple things that can help with this.

    4 (very) simple ways to improve your social posts:

    Work on your post text

    This is a big one a lot of brands get wrong straight out of the gate. Aside from the basics — spelling, grammar, inappropriate content — is your post too wordy? If you’re linking to an outside website through a bit.ly link, is your link appearing under the fold (or the ‘read more’) because the post text is too long? Is there a more succinct way to get across what you want to say? You might need less text than you think, especially if your video, graphic or link headline is enticing enough.

    Work on your messaging

    If you’re trying to inform your followers, is the message of the post clear — or are you meandering on the way to your point? Is your post clear about what it wants from your fans? Is there a call to action? You’d be surprised how often I’m not sure what a brand’s post is trying to promote, even when it should be obvious. If you have a graphic, is the graphic simple enough to understand if someone is just scrolling through — or eye-catching enough to make people stop and look at it?

    Work on your interaction.

    Engagement works both ways, so maybe sure you’re involved in the commenting as well. Are you replying to comments on your posts? This is particularly important when you’ve invited interactions with your post. And if you’re not — why not?

    Work on your variety

    Make sure you have variety in the type of post you’re doing.

    Video is more valued by the Facebook algorithm but you’ll soon burn through all your video content unless it’s all done in an on-the-fly style — and if that’s the style you’re going for, more power to you. Changing things up takes the pressure off somewhat.
    Variety also goes not just for variety of media (video, images, blogs etc.) but variety in the format of posts. For example, motivational posts, promotional posts, polls and educational content.

    All of which boils down to:

    Work on your content

    Not every single piece of content needs to be a masterpiece — but it does have to have a consistent level of quality to keep your followers, fans and customers subscribed. Think about what would be useful or entertaining for your fans and work backwards from that.

    It’s really hard to be a brand on social media these days. Things that used to work don’t anymore (remember ‘tag a mate’?) and it can be a constant struggle to keep up with all the changes. But one thing that will always put you in good stead is having good content that people want to see from you and will engage with.

    If you want help improving your social media content, get in touch today.

    Image: Unsplash
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  • Finding an avenue: Seek out your opportunities to succeed

    Finding an avenue: Seek out your opportunities to succeed

    What your business can learn from the teen Microsoft Excel champion.

    CNN recently covered the story of Kevin Dimaculangan, a 15-year-old who has just become the world’s Microsoft Excel champion.

    How does one become a Microsoft Excel champion?

    Well, firstly, there has to be a competition to enter. And there is one: the Microsoft Office Specialist World Championships, held in Kevin’s home state of Florida in the US.

    (By the way, what a great bit of marketing for Microsoft to set up a competition to crown champions at using their software.)

    Then a kid like Kevin has to be interested (or, sure, pushed) to excel in, well, Excel. In Kevin’s case, it’s because his teacher offered prizes to high achievers. In fact, he says he didn’t even know the program until that class.

    All this is to say that in order to be great at something, there needs to be an avenue for that skill to flourish.

    Avenues

    Nobody became the best at the piano until the piano had been invented. Then we had piano prodigies.

    Nobody knew how heavy someone could deadlift until someone set up a competition to test it.

    After that happened, there was a number to beat and people do it consistently.

    For myself, I know that when I’m writing a short story, knowing I can submit it to a journal or story competition gives me a word limit, a deadline and a goal to work towards. Maybe I’d write a story anyway, maybe I wouldn’t.

    Another example: When I started at Hook Media, I really wasn’t familiar with video editing. But because that’s one of the major things we do, I was provided an avenue to learn and now I edit some portion of the video work we do for our clients.

    So, what’s this got to do with business?

    For one, keeping your eye out for opportunities that you might succeed at could be a boon for your business. Entering your work in a competition, going to a corporate function you usually wouldn’t attend, taking on some pro bono work — any of these could be the chance you need to take things to the next level.

    For two? Not being put off by the constant stream of new platforms and services that are constantly cropping up.

    For some businesses, it’s been nothing but a hassle entering the digital sphere. Some might even wish things would return to a simpler time, before social media, maybe even before websites. But there’s no getting that genie back in the bottle.

    Adapting

    Like the print media before it, many small business were slow to adapt to the promise that digital and social offered.

    But the smart ones saw it was a new avenue. And therein lay opportunities.

    Even for businesses like ours, built around harnessing the power of the digital for businesses, we too can get overwhelmed at the sheer number of new platforms and services.

    But we give them a go and often they flourish.

    For you, this might mean simply putting yourself out there. Take on a client that’s in an unfamiliar industry. Offer a service that you’re good at but would like to get better at.

    Try Instagram Stories. Try boosting your social media posts. Heck, try actually managing your social media if you’re not already (of course, there are places that can help you out with that, hint hint.) Engage that content agency and see what they can do for you.

    On the flipside, if you’re a potential client, take a chance on an unsolicited email or cold call. Take that meeting. You never know when the right avenue will open itself up.

    Takeaway

    When you have a reason to do something, you might surprise yourself as to what you can achieve.

    So seek out the avenues that will help you succeed (or at least have the potential for you to succeed.)

    And if you know what you want and no avenue exists yet — create one. (My former colleague Ali Adey is doing great things at the moment with her SheMentors events, for example.)

    Give yourself the opportunities that might allow you to succeed. That allow you to, well, excel.

    If you want to find new avenues for your business, get in touch today.

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  • The bigger picture: Why one piece of content is just one piece of the puzzle

    The bigger picture: Why one piece of content is just one piece of the puzzle

    Don’t be so hard on yourself, marketers and content creators. One piece of content is just one piece of content.

    Have you ever agonised over the final edit of a short video? Or drafted and redrafted to craft the best words for the text of a post? Or pulled your hair out over which hashtags you use for your motivational image?

    If you work in marketing or content creation at all, you have. We’ve all thought we could have executed something better and we imagine that if only a few small things got tweaked, the outcome would have been greater.

    But it’s (mostly) nonsense.

    Why?

    In many ways, social media is a numbers game. No, not data, though that can be useful too. The number I’m thinking of is about posts, of individual videos, photos, website links and articles. The number of discrete pieces of content that make up your brand’s strategy.

    Think about it: There is so much content going out every day across all the platforms, filling our screens. And there will be more coming tomorrow. Getting too wound up about any one individual piece is misguided. You’re missing the bigger picture if you’re only focused on one brushstroke.

    Social media content is about getting the attention of your followers, fans and potential customers. (As Gary Vee says, attention is the asset.)

    What will hold their attention and keep them coming back for more is consistent content. Not one great video every second month — unless that’s your model (see below) — but daily pieces of content that will engage and entertain your audience.

    Remember, the algorithms these days mean that many of your followers won’t even see some of the stuff you post. Which is why it’s important to keep posting. You never know which post will hit big, after all.

    And as long as you’re not annoying them, your audience will be thankful for the diversity of content — and of the consistency of your output.

    But, but, but…

    I should add this caveat: sometimes it is the right strategy to focus on only a few high-quality pieces of content.

    Large companies used to a more traditional marketing roll-out strategy will usually cycle their social media posts around a current campaign. And that’s fine — if that’s their strategy.

    But for a smaller business that’s more agile and able to take advantage of social media, it’s less about any one piece of content and more about the overall branding impression.

    Quality control

    None of this is to say you should abandon quality. Not at all. You should strive for a high level of quality not matter what you do.

    Nor am I suggesting you don’t need to put money behind your content so it can reach more people.

    On the contrary, you should be boosting posts and creating ad campaigns both to gain followers and to sell your products and services.

    What I am suggesting is that when you try to craft one piece of content to be the solution to your marketing problem, you’re not thinking about it the right way.

    Individual pieces of social media content are like buses. There’s always another one coming down the line.

    So don’t be so hard on yourself. Be consistent, do great work — but don’t lose sight of the bigger picture.

    If you want help with social media content creation, get in touch with us today.

    Photo: Pexels
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  • Why your thing has to be good first

    Why your thing has to be good first

    If you want people to pay in the future, your free thing has to be really good: LinkedIn, Spotify and the freemium model.

     You know what I find strange? That the freemium model of business — that is, you get a base level of something for free and you can pay for a better version of it — seems to be built around the idea that ads are terrible and nobody wants them.

    So, on Spotify’s free service, you’ll get barraged with ads in between songs, including in-house ads that say things like ‘Isn’t life so much better without ads?’ Yes, I agree Spotify, it is.

    But don’t the clients for these ad-supported services get annoyed that their audiences are constantly being told to upgrade so they don’t have to endure ads? You have to wonder.

    Perhaps it’s more accurate to say that, in the freemium model, the free version in general is deliberately hobbled in some way.

    After all, while ads are the way many freemium services pay for the ‘free’ part, sometimes it’s additional features are the lure.

    This is the case with LinkedIn.

    Now, I have to assume that part of LinkedIn’s strategy is to make its base model functionality really annoying so you upgrade. However, at $55 per month, I’m not yet in a financial position to find out if that’s the case, so I’m just speculating.

    (By the way, are they kidding with that price? That’s what you pay for Adobe CC.)

    Considering Facebook is free and LinkedIn isn’t, let’s do a little comparison in terms of UX.

    Free LinkedIn vs. Free Facebook

    Despite being free, there are basic things that Facebook gets right that LinkedIn doesn’t seem able to. For example:

    • Notifications opening in a new page, instead of a floating panel. This means that if you want to check your notifications, you have to leave your place in the newsfeed or open them up in a new tab.
    • Tagging. Uniformly, tagging sucks on LinkedIn. Nine times out of ten, if I type @ and then the name of the company or individual I want, it either won’t provide me a list of the correct accounts or nothing will happen at all.
    • Data on sharing. Did you know you can share posts on LinkedIn, just like on Facebook? Have you ever been notified directly of this? Probably not. It’s even worse if you have a business account.
    • The way articles display. That is, not at all. Wouldn’t it be great if all the articles (formerly ‘Pulses’) that LinkedIn’s users create existed on an easy-to-find main page, much like Medium’s home page? You’d be able to see which articles are getting people talking, what’s been recently published and it would give less-popular users a platform to generate some reach outside of our own networks. This would be one big way LinkedIn could really differentiate itself from other social networks, beyond just it being ‘the Facebook for professionals’.
    • Groups are even worse. On Facebook, posts from your groups will show up in your feed, so you can see what the conversations are. On LinkedIn, good luck even finding where your groups live. Discussions from them don’t appear in your timeline, meaning there’s little engagement with posts and you rarely get notified about them beyond a weekly email.

    So, are these just bugs or has LinkedIn made the platform worse for free users?

    Make your free thing good

    The irony is, if I was sure of a better service/UX with an upgrade, I might consider it. None of this is to denigrate LinkedIn. On the contrary, I enjoy LinkedIn for its business insights, connections and general no-nonsense communication (at least compared to Facebook, people are relatively polite). It’s just that when they can’t seem to get the basics of a social network right — or how people actually use social networks these days (i.e. mobile-first) — it doesn’t inspire confidence in me to upgrade.

    This brings me, in a roundabout way, to my actual point: if you want people to pay for something later, you have to make the free thing really good first.

    The reason, perhaps, we’ll put up with ads on free Spotify is that the base model is actually a really good and valuable service if you’re a big music fan. And if you do upgrade, you’ve likely done so because you recognise that Spotify Premium is what you already like but better.

    Similarly, whether you choose to upgrade on LinkedIn or not depends to some extent on how good the base platform is (you know I love you, LinkedIn, I’m just foolin’).

    All this applies to social media marketing too. If all you give your followers for free is sales-speak and ads, they’re not going to want to click through to your website. Or buy your product. Or sign up for your newsletter. They’re not going to want to join your premium closed group that costs $10 a month — Unless you’ve shown them value in what you’re giving away.

    This is where content creation — good content creation — beyond just advertising and marketing can really help your business. This isn’t a new idea either. It goes all the way back to pre-digital media.

    Adding value, adding customers

    My publishing hero is William M. Gaines, who published Mad Magazine without ads for 44 years. And when he finally had to succumb to market forces and put ads in the magazine in 2001, people largely accepted it because the audience knew that Mad Magazine had great content.

    So don’t think of a great thing, then deliberately make it less good just to charge money. That’s just gross — not to mention uncreative. Plus, it most likely won’t work. At least not in the long term.

    You have to demonstrate that you can deliver what you’re offering by making your free offering great. Then find a way to augment and add value to it so that your built-in audience of fans and followers will want to pay for that access, that product or that service. (Podcasts do this really well, by the way.)

    If you can show people through quality free content why your business is worth investing in, before long you’ll have some very loyal customers.

    If you want help with your social media content creation and management, get in touch today.

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