“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

My Two Cents – Yelp App Updates

yelp

Disclaimer: This is an opp ed piece.

Who has the Yelp app on their phone? Raise your hands…

I do, and I honestly never ever use it.  Back when I was eating and breathing social media I would write reviews on there all the time and hence I felt the need to get the app on my phone.  Besides the fact that I never use it, it is also INCREDIBLY annoying that the frickin thing needs to up updated at least twice a week.  If they are minor updates, at least gather them up and do it once a week if you really need to.  But how many issues does the thing have?  And if they’re not issues and every single developer on their staff just updates things whenever they think of something new, perhaps there should be a funnel of approvals.

That is just my opinion.  Anyone else have a gripe about an app?

LinkedIn for B2B

 LinkedIn for b2bI’ll admit it, I’m struggling to keep up with posting weekly updates for my two company pages.  There used to be a time when social media was eating up the majority of my day.  I could look into ROI, learn best practices, try out new things and hope to grow our web traffic and lead numbers.  These days it has become just another task on the to do list that I need to get better at managing.

We have lots of great content to share I just need to be more diligent about sharing it.  So, I was happy to see a recent article about improving your LinkedIn content strategy.  Did you know that you will soon, or might be able to already, essentially blog on your site?  Apparently this was something that was open to just the chosen few but LinkedIn is opening up the functionality to more people and companies, it seems.  Learn more about it HERE.

So what’s your trick or tip to keeping on top of social media?

 

Creating Brand Embassadors & My Pinterest Page

On Thursday I listened in on a webinar titled The Social Employee: Transform Your Employees into Brand Advocates.

Here are the things I learned and wanted to pass on to you, my loyal readers.

* An every day employee is two times more trusted than a Chief Executive. (Edelman Trust Barometer 2013)
* 77% of consumers are more likely to buy a product when they hear about it from someone they trust. (Nielsen 2013)
* The first step in creating employee advicates is getting senior leadership engaged in social media so other employees feel like they can engage with customers as well.

Other interesting notes

* 78% of marketers say that their biggest challenge with content is “creating original content” and they don’t have enough time to do it

***Unfortunatelly the rest of the webinar was one big pitch for a platform called Social Chorus…

As I always say, it’s important to constantly refine and work on your skill set.  As I got more involved in other marketing activities I lost touch with social media, outside of creating a calendar for my work postings.  Hence why I knew I had to do something, and if nothing else at least check out a free webinar.

Wht did you do today to work on your special skill set?

P.S. Check out my new pinterest board dedicated to this nice little blog! :)

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.

The Job Search and Social Media

Once a month I get The Social Media Monthly magazine which covers a plethora of topics regarding…social media.  Well, in March the entire magazine was more or less focused on securing a job via social media, developing your career through social media, how to use social media to make employers chase you…the list goes on but I think you get my drift.  This issue was right up the alley of this blog.

For this week’s posting I decided to focus on sharing Erik Deckers article on the Five Steps to Find Your Next Job with Social Media.

1. Identify the Influencers – “The great thing about networks like Twitter and LinkedIn is that when you want to connect with people, including C-level executives, their administrative assistants aren’t gatekeeping you out…Be sure to rewrite the connection message on LinkedIn to explain why you want to connect (don’t mention the job; mention any connections you have)…To find these people on Twitter, don’t search for them there…Instead, Google their name and “Twitter.” Or do a bio search on Twellow.com.”

2. Connect with Them on Google+ – “Google uses something similar to “Balance Theory,” a communication persuasion theory, when compiling your search engine results pages (SERPs)…If you’re job hunting…share your items-especially the ones you wrote-frequently on Google+.  It increases the odds that your connections will see your content in their search results, and they’ll assume you know a lot about the topic.”

3. Use Google Author Rank – “When you find blog posts and magazine articles on Google SERP, you will occasionally see the author’s photo and name next to that entry.  That’s showing up thanks to Google’s newest algorithm, AuthorRank…AuthorRank is like Klout for writers…Protect your AuthorReputation…by only publishing good, valuable, sharable, non-spammy work…write good stuff that people want to share…make sure you have a decent-sized network of people who find you interesting…Don’t stuff posts with keywords…Don’t won a blog or website crammed with ads and poor-quality links…hyperlink your name in your bio to your Google+ profile, and include the rel+”author” tag…next, go to your Google+ profile, and update the Contributes To section to include that particular web address.”

4. Set up a Private Listening Column on Twitter – “Set up a list on Twitter.com (make it a private list, so no one else can find it), and add people in your target group-potential employers, colleagues, or even clients.  Communicate with these people as it’s appropriate; answer questions, make recommendations, retweet their blog posts and reading recommendations…set up more lists for industry-related terms, conferences, or issues, including hashtags…”

5. Blog about the Things They’re Talking About – “The best way to show people what you’re good at is to regularly blog about it.  It establishes your credibility, and it gives people a place to find you online…don’t be afraid to disagree if the situation calls for it…”

So what do you think?  Do you agree or disagree with these points?  With the world becoming more social this truly does look like the way that the job search is heading.  It’s so much easier to connect with someone on line.  I remember when I was job searching, I’d seek out the HR or hiring managers on LinkedIn and write them a personal note.  Now, I didn’t follow rule number 1 down to the T as I did mention that I had seen a particular job posting and hence my reaching out to them but none the less.  I think the point is to not use that incredibly generic, and in my opinion annoying, sentence of “I’d like to connect with you LinkedIn.”  There is no quicker way for me personally to delete your request to connect than if you were to send that to me.  If you can’t take two seconds to tell me who you are and why we should connect then that tells me that you’re just looking for more friends, and quite honestly, that’s not being professional. 

What did you do today?  Did you reach out to someone on LinkedIn?  Did you set up a private Twitter column?

No Paper Resumes Please. The new social norm?

A friend forwarded me and a number of her girlfriends an interesting job opportunity in New Hampshire.  Now, I’m not looking for a job but I couldn’t resist writing this blog post about it.  As the company website for Enterasys states, they were named as one of the best places to work as well as one of the top ten coolest companies to work for. 

Jump on this opportunity my pretties, but remember, they will not accept a paper resume, all applications must come in via Twitter!

Here are some guidelines to follow:

1. Recruitment for this job is between February 18th and March 18th.

2. All interested candidates should apply via Twitter to @ValaAfshar and use the hashtag #socialCV.  You can also DM and provide your LinkedIn url.

3. A minimum klout score above 60 is required.

4. A minimum Kred influence score of 725 and outreach of 8 or more is also required.

5. Applicants must have more than 1,000 active Twitter followers.

6. Enterasys will use Google and/or other available public profiles to search for publicly available data.

7. Marketing experience must be demonstrated via web content – i.e. blogs, community involvement, news articles and other searchable publications.

8. IT and enterprise technology background preferred but not required.

9. This is a Boston based position, working out of our headquarters location in Salem, NH.

10. The salary range for this position is $70,000 to $100,000+ depending on the skills and experience of the candidate.

So I ask you, is this going to become the new norm for Social Media job postings?

What did you do today?

Read more about the job and then go to Enterasys’ careers page to find out even more.  Hiring a Social Marketer – Enterasys