“The State of Social Marketing Report 2015” Overview

I just downloaded and read the 2015 state of social marketing report from Simply Measured.  As we all know, social media isn’t a fad that is going away.  But, how big of a role does it “really” play in the marketing mix?  How much of the budget should it take up?  How much time should you invest into it?  These were all great things to learn about.  I even tweeted out some screen shots, so be sure to follow me on Twitter, @Linder83.

So let’s start from the top in my own words:

How large of a role should, or does, social play in the marketing mix?

  • Large enough that it has its own strategy
  • Large enough that if possible the “team” has more than just one person setting the strategy & executing upon it, looking at analytics, and writing the content

How much of the budget should social get?

  • According to the report, the breakdown should be the following – overall marketing budget should be 10% of the company revenue (this we should all know already), digital marketing should get 25% of that 10%, and social should get roughly 10% of the 25% –>this last number is on the rise!!!

How much time should you invest into social?

  • Ideally, enough time to set a strategy, execute upon it, listen & respond to your customers, analyze the metrics, write the content, and anything else.  The actual “time” depends on how large your team is and how large your business is, or how large your reach is and how many platforms you are on as well as how different the content is on each platform.

Relevant Quotes:

  • Modern marketers don’t have to make purely qualitative decisions. The data available for any digital channel arms marketers with the ability to quantify their entire social marketing process.”
  • Social is now viewed [as] a legitimate channel in the marketing mix, which means there are three distinct needs, just as there are in other areas of digital marketing, like email or web:
    • The ability to define and plan a social strategy.
    • The ability to execute on that strategy.
    • The ability to measure the success of the strategy and execution.”
  • 2015 is the year to focus on video on Facebook. Video has made a big impact for brands, and is a major component of Facebook’s strategy to keep users engaged on the site. Make video a large focus of your Facebook marketing plan.”
  •  “Regular tweeting is key to brand success. 74% of brands tweeted at least three times per day (including Retweets and @replies).
    • •Tweeting out links is becoming the social standard. The number of links tweeted by brands increased 72% from Q4 2013 to Q4 2014.”
  • Instagram is one of the fastest growing social networks in history…Instagram has become the go-to platform for users interested in both sharing visual stories, and consuming them.
    •  Publish at least one post per week. Seventy-five percent (75%) of top brands publish at least once a week.
    •  Don’t keep your brand off Instagram just because it’s not obviously visual. Many unexpected brands have found success on the network.
    •  Pay more attention to caption content than length. Caption length has no correlation with engagement levels.”
  • Over 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, and generate billions of views each day.
    • Know what your best type of content is, and maintain a regular schedule.
    • Reach out to communities that are relevant to your videos. “
  • Pinterest has been raising brand eyebrows for some time now due to its ability to connect social and commerce.
    • Be sure to use general, highly searchable terms in your pin description, the origin URL, and your original photo title.
    • Create a foundation of evergreen content: content that is not news-, time-, or even product- based, such as how-to images. This will increase the chances that your pins get recycled through Pinterest and retain their positions on the top of search results pages.
    • Varying your posting timing can expose your brand to different segments of the Pinterest population and lead to more exposure, repins, and followers.”
  • Tumblr has over 234.6 million blogs, with more than 110.1 billion posts to date, and has attracted some of the biggest brands in the world. This is largely due to the customization and creativity that Tumblr encourages. Brands on Tumblr can build a blog using one of the thousands of templates the network offers, or by designing their own in HTML. Few social networks allow this type of flexibility.
    • Use the tools that Tumblr provides. Their marketing blog (marketr.tumblr.com) and brand resources provide tips and tricks that any brand can use.
    •  Focus on amplification. Tumblr posts last longer than other networks, but only when created with longevity in mind. “
  • Google+ may be the most powerful social network you never use. Integrated with YouTube, Gmail, and several other services, Google+ has over 2.2 billion registered users…Despite criticism about declining adoption and low engagement, Google+ has attracted 78% of top brands, and 66% actively posted in the month of April.
    • By adding your circles and select individuals to your share settings, you trigger a notification for those users that you’ve shared a post directly with them.”
  • Marketing programs constantly evolve, and social media is no exception. The real challenge will be for social marketers to understand the relationships and inter-workings of other digital marketing channels, develop a common language with other teams, and continue to measure and improve programs.”

Lastly, go ahead and download this awesome report from Simply Measured!


Performing a Social Media Audit

(Updated on 8/25/2015: Check out this awesome social media audit checklist & template from Hootsuite)

The above sounds so easy, no?  Well, it can be but only if you do it all the time.  If the only thing you are doing while managing a, or several, social media account(s) for your business is posting or tweeting and failing to constantly be keeping an eye on metrics and the competition then you might be in for a rude awakening when your web traffic doesn’t grow, or you’re not getting as many conversions, or the conversation stops.

So what do you need to do?  I’m in the camp of constant monitoring of everything.  Ask anyone I have recently worked with and they’d say if someone mentioned metrics or being able to show an ROI for a marketing related activity then “I knew Linda would be happy.”  But it’s true!  It’s so difficult to prove the point of marketing.  It’s a lot of gobeldygook and “awareness” and “impressions.” But luckily, in this day and age you can even measure PR!

So what should you be doing?

Here are my 5 easy steps (also check out my Social Media sections, particularly the post titled The Statistics That Matter)

1. Create not only a monthly posting calendar but also a plan – what are you hoping to achieve this month? Set some goals and drive towards them.

2. What’s trending? What are people in your universe talking about? Make sure to weigh in on the topic, if applicable of course.

3. Measure, measure, measure.  Take the end of each week to assess progress and see what you’re doing well and what needs a bit of love.

4. Be flexible.  Don’t be so ridged in your planning that you don’t allow for spur of the moment changes.

5. Keep an eye on the competition.  What are they doing that could be interesting to look into?  What can you do better? How can you stand out?

Now, when looking at a full on audit, here is some expert advice that I’ll be sure to use:

10 Basic Steps to Perform a Social Media Audit
Performing a Social Media Audit
How to Perform a Social Media Audit
How to Perform a Social Media Audit Even if You Hate Audits

Social Media Management

It’s been a long time since I’ve written about social media but I thought in light of the topic, I would post my thoughts on the importance of a Social Media strategy on social media…to be more specific, on LinkedIn…so go ahead and jump over to LinkedIn and read my Social Media Strategy post, but be sure to come back to read about Social Media Management!

So now that you’ve read all about my 3 quick tips for how to get a social media strategy going, how do you manage multiple platforms and where do you even begin when it comes to a content strategy?  Well, take a look at the below graphic that helps with some of the mystery:

So, as the above shows, the basic steps for social media management are the following:

1. Research & Write
2. Publish Your Content
3. Social Broadcasting
4. Engage & Refer
5. Report & Refine

No WONDER this can be someone’s full time job! Steps 1 & 5 alone are a lot of work, so how do you plan and make the most of your 40 hour work week as a social media manager?

Start a calendar.

Based on your company and what product or solution it offers its customers know when those customers are most interested in your products, perhaps its a seasonal thing, and what exactly they want to know.

Let’s take an easy example and say that you’re in the pool business in the Northeast part of the country, you know that people will begin to open their pool around Memorial Day and close around Labor Day, those are your direct consumers, your B2C scenario.  However, from a B2B perspective, you need to be talking to your stores way before then, around March/April, to make sure they have stocked their shelves with the best product they can.  During those summer months, you should be sharing not only information about your product/service but also general pool related tips…how to clean & maintain a pool, fun pool games, pool safety, etc! You can recycle the same content just tailor it to each platform and perhaps do a bit of rewording so you can get the same point across.

But how do you come up with something to share? I go back to the calendar.  You need to have a plan in advance.  If the hope is to make people more aware of your company through social media, then share tips and general information, with a sprinkling of product related postings.  On the other hand, if you’re hoping to sell out all of your stock through your online store then post weekly sales through you social media outlets and in between, share good tips on how to clean & maintain a pool.

Now, where the fun begins is if you’re a company like Baquacil who sells their products nation wide. They haven’t even bothered with social media because they sell through distributors…and I assume hope they’ll do the marketing.  But for a company like Baquacil, they would need to be posting year round because in the West, a pool could be open all year. You would need to have a solid content strategy that covered all your bases and helped you meet all of your goals.

Good luck, and happy Memorial Day!

P.S. Here are some additional social media management resources:

Sprout Social –  “Sprout Social is a social media management tool created to help businesses find new customers & grow their social media presence.”

5 great tools to consider when managing your social media presenceSendible sounds amazing for brand management via social!

Hootsuite shares a great social media calendar & some great tips on how to best use your internal resources

The #, and why it doesn’t mean anything anymore.

To start off this post, here is a funny skit that Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake put together showing us just how ridiculous hashtags have become #stophasthaggingeverything!

A year or more ago I wrote a post about hasthags and how to use them.  At that point in time, hashtags used to mean something, at least to me.  A friend complained that she didn’t understand how they worked because a niece of hers was hashtagging everything, we should have known then that that would be the trend of the future.  I explained that a hashtag was essentially a key word one could search for something on, mostly on twitter.  Now, we have hashtag phrases and everyone spells and writes things differently so there is no rhyme or reason for how to search on something.  The news outlets use it, celebrities over use it, and regular folk just hashtag everything and create long run on words.

So as the title of this post states, the hashtag, as far as I’m concerned, doesn’t mean anything anymore and I would love to hear the teenager’s take on it so we can all foresee the future.

What did you do today?

Keeping Your Blog Content Fresh

When I found and article on this topic last week I immediately made sure to follow tip number 2 and write my posting on this topic.  Bob Fine shares his 7 tips on how to blog daily, which I used to do, and how to keep your blog content fresh.  I think one of the missing elements is coming up with a blog that will cover topics that you yourself are interested in and want to learn more about.  There is nothing worse than forcing yourself to write.  I do definitely agree with Bob’s 5th tip on flexibility.  This blog has evolved quite a bit, and I’m sure has room to do even more evolving.  It started with the name “Our Unemployed Life” and then morphed into “Career Advice 101.”  This change came when I finally was no longer unemployed but still wanted to share tips, advice and just have a place for general banter sometimes.

So without further ado, here are Bob’s 7 tips for keeping your blog content fresh:

1. Self-discipline
2. Developing more blog topic ideas than you need
3. Improving your communication skills all the time
4. An audience that cares
5. Flexibility in some way, shape, or form
6. Comfort with brevity and incompleteness
7. Tools to make you better than you otherwise would be

What did you do today?  Did you read or write a blog post?

P.S. And to support the image at the beginning of this post.  I always welcome guest bloggers.  Please leave me a comment with the topic that you would like to blog about and I’ll write back to you right away.

Hubspot’s Marketing Predictions for 2013

Hubspot has once again outdone itself and has put together a list of 20 marketing trends and overall predictions for 2013.  I won’t go over all of them but I do urge you to download the white paper.  Here are my 5 favorite predictions and tips:

1. Campaigns Fade Out…: “The notion of campaigns have been around since the golden age of advertising. Campaigns are a defined series of activities, tactics and channels that often revolve around a common theme. And yes, campaigns have been good to us. But here’s the problem; their structure is often times rigid and can’t keep up with changing customer behaviors and rapidly changing technology. Campaigns are generally short-lived and not triggered based upon real-time actions or data, which can put the marketer at a disadvantage.”

2. Marketing Becomes More Accountable for Revenue Generation: “A recent Fournaise Marketing Group study found that 73% of executives don’t believe that marketing drives demand and revenue. Ouch.  In 2013, that will start to change. Marketing will play a more critical role in contributing to revenue generation. Marketing activities will not only be measured on traffic and lead generation, but will further optimize processes that directly impact sales growth. And to do that, key performance indicators (KPIs) under the marketing department will change.”

3. Be Mobile or Fall Behind: “In 2013, marketers will finally list mobile as a major line item on their marketing strategy. Not only will there be continued investment in mobile optimized websites and email, but we’ll see mobile take a more important role when integrating with marketing campaigns. By the end of the year, mobile will become a more strategic and must-have channel for many businesses.”

4. Social and Content Impact SEO Even More: “Over the years, good search engine optimization (SEO) was all about knowing the tricks of the trade. The SEO of  tomorrow will be less about having the right H1 tag or the right keywords on the page and more about creating really good, original content that is socially consumed and shared.”

5. Inbound, Not Automation, Becomes Priority: “Just a few, short years ago, marketing automation was the ‘must-have’ on every marketers wish list. Unfortunately, the ‘set-it and forget-it’ mentality of automation, while nice sounding, resulted in an unhealthy process of churning a database of email through a set “nurturing” process until they were spammed to death. The promise of marketing automation starts to fail because it is not supported by a solid inbound marketing foundation. Essentially, not enough leads enter the funnel to keep the automated machine running…In 2013, CMOs and senior executives will allocate more resources to creating a strong inbound engine – generating interest, traffic, leads, and conversions – to support the demand generation engine.”

BONUS PREDICTIONS: Content Curation & the Importance of Context

“Content is king, whether you like it or not. Creating more and more content will be among the top priorities for marketing teams in 2013. In addition to the increase in allocating budget to content creation, we’ll find increasingly more curation services and “content marketplaces” that will help marketers deliver more in a content-heavy world.”

“To do marketing better in 2013, marketers will need to go beyond simply creating content to creating a personalized experience for their target customer that’s seamless across multiple interactions. These experiences will leverage context to make a company’s marketing jive with the searcher’s proclivities – the things you’ve learned about your leads over months and years of talking with them. The things they do, the things they say, the sites they like, the products they purchase, their happiness level with your company – all to have deeper and more meaningful relationships and better results.”

Thank you Hubspot for driving home the importance of Inbound Marketing!

What did you do today?  Did you read Hubspot’s white paper?

P.S. This post got mentioned in Hubspot’s list of mentions.

Social Media Plan

This is a MUST share for everyone who is looking for a better way to manage a social media calendar. We all have our own way but if we don’t at least explore other options then we will never learn.

So in my attempt to learn I sampled upon a great article about the 9 social media tips to help small business and I plan on implementing tip number four in my future social media post planning. I truly think that having an idea of what your general plan will be will make creating a post for each day of the week much easier.

Now, are you ready for the best part? At the end of the article you may notice three links, don’t overlook them. It’s true that the best is left for last because the last link leads you to an Excel spreadsheet that will help you with your social media plan!  Now let’s all thank the Inbound Marketing Company.

What did you do today?

Siloing Your Social Media

So in the last two posts I shared with you Lee Odden’s opinion on the first two issues that people face with social media.  To recap, those two are, not relating your social media KPI’s to your business KPI’s and talking about the five “sins” of social media, failure to plan, only talking about yourself/your company and the other three :).

His last take on this topic is that often times marketing folks silo social media from other functions. These companies need to become more of a social business in general.  What he means is that marketing, PR, and sales shouldn’t be the only ones out there creating buy in from current and potential customers.  Every function of a business should be truly customer facing, even customer service and HR.  All five of these functions within a company should help build a community and a true brand.  The marketers of the company shouldn’t be the only ones creating interesting editorial pieces highlighting how great the product and brand is, we should all be recruiters for our company.  Help your business become more social!

What did you do today?

P.S. There are so many great things that I am learning from this social media seminar.  If you’re curious what these presenters are presenting on, you can follow #IETraining on Twitter on Wednesday’s and Friday’s between the hours of noon and two, eastern time.
P.P.S Read this article about the online training!

Planning for Social Media Success

The last post was taken from a webinar led by Lee Odden and I told you that in this, and the next, post I would share the other two issues with social media content.

So, the first issue, as covered in the last post was not relating social media to true business and overlooking how each KPI relates to the other.  The goals must relate!  The second issue includes five sins of how you broadcast your social content.

1. Failure to plan – just because the platforms are free does not mean that you should go at this important component of your marketing mix without a plan.  I am always creating posting schedules for the month ahead so that I always know what I am posting.  I can always add to it, but I at least have a base to go off of.

2. Self Promotion – At first, you may want people to know what your company does or makes but don’t just talk about yourself. Once it’s been a few months and you feel like people have a good sense of what your company is about, move on to being a thought leader.  Provide your followers with news that they may otherwise had to search for before.  Make them come to you on their own.

3. Give to get – Again, you want to create a community.  You want people to know that you’ll listen to them and that they can also rely on you.

4. Content isn’t great unless it’s shared – this is what social media is all about.  You may have some amazing case studies, but no one knows about them.  Share them with your audience!

5. Analyze – metrics are key, this is the only way that you’ll know what is working and what isn’t.  What do your followers respond to? What do they dislike?

The failure to do the above may send you into a tail spin and will me than likely make you fail.  Don’t fail!

What did you do today?

Stats to Work With

I am currently enrolled in a six week web conference entitled, Social Media for Business.  Yesterday we had our first two sessions on Creating Digital Leadership in a Social World, moderated by Erik Qualman, and Building Your Social Media Strategy in 8 Simple Steps, moderated by Krista Neher who dialed in from SXSW.  Just as I shared what I was learning during my Inbound Marketing classes through Hubspot I also plan on sharing tips and stats that I think are truly interesting from these 19 sessions.  So brace yourselves, this is going to be a long and sometimes deep dive into social media for business but I’ll keep it light and share the most interesting factoids with you.

So, here are the incredibly interesting facts I learned from Erik:

* 92% of people under the age of 2 have a digital shadow!!!–>That is insane!  All those baby photos parents post are creating a digital shadow for their kids!
* 91% of pre interview research is done online by recruiters
* 35% of people who were initially going to be brought in for an interview are told not to come in due to something that was found out about them online!
* Multitasking decreases your IQ by 10 points–>don’t text and drive or talk on the phone and type an e-mail!
* We are interrupted every 11 minutes at work and it takes us 25 minutes from that interruption to get back to what we were doing
* Write down TWO things that you must accomplish in a day. This will make you feel like you really accomplished something and didn’t just spend the day in meetings and answering e-mails

Finally, think about writing your life compass in 140 characters. Erik encouraged us to think about what we want our life to mean and summarize it in 140 characters!

Krista focused on creating a social media strategy and went through the 8 steps to do it successfully.  There really is no point for me to rephrase Krista’s words when she has a very eloquently written article titled 8 Steps to Building Your Social Media Strategy.

What did you do today?