[By Jeff Androsko]
With awesome tools like HootSuite and TwitterFeed, automating your social media is as easy as scheduling a meeting with your colleagues. You can pre-tweet and synchronize your reach efforts all in one centralized communication hub.
But before you go all "SkyNet" on your audience and your social media strategy becomes self aware and turns on you, there are a few things you should know about turning your Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook push into a robot.
Keep the "Social" in "Social Media"...
It's one thing to have a program in place to schedule tweets that automatically post on your Facebook and LinkedIn profiles (that kind of synergy is good), but if you are going to strategically tweet, post and share content on your social media platforms, understand the nature of social media is predicated upon the operative word "social". If you leave opportunities for interaction unnoticed, be prepared for negative social media karma.
Know Your Role...
If you have been monitoring your sharing, you should already know how many followers you have, what they like and how they interact with your content. A golden rule of automation (let's call it "The Tweetmatic Equation" for fun's sake) is that for every automated action on a social media site, be prepared for ten minutes of monitoring for every post. Feel free to expand your reach, but be enthusiastic and poised when a chance to connect arises; automate your sharing but humanize your interaction.
Give and Take...
Once you see opportunies to connect with interested individuals (those who re-tweet, re-post, thumbs-up, comment on and share your content), make sure you return some of the love and check out their material. Even if it is total crap, find a silver lining and make some comments. Burning bridges and leaving efforts to interact completely unanswered will chip away at your online clout, eventually making you a greedy social media participant. Think of your social media marketing as a joint effort with public relations.
Your social media automation and pre-planned content sharing is like the DeLorean from "Back to the Future"... you can either treat it with respect & understanding to harness its true power like Marty McFly & Doc Brown... or you can squander it and squash any real social credibility you could have built like Biff Tannen. The choice is yours... and yours alone.
To learn more about social media interaction, best practices and sites, sign up for our webinar today!
[By Tony Popowski]
Professionals in the business world (rightfully) tend to be results-oriented people. Working in the marketing
field, I'm always interested in obtaining quantifiable results for a marketing campaign or initiative. Especially from a financial perspective, I like to see what's working and what's not. The best way to do this is to measure a program's return on investment, more commonly known by its acronym ROI. Finding out a campaign's ROI is extremely important - it helps you plan for future marketing projects.ROI = (Gain from investment - Cost of investment) / Cost of investment
However, there is a component of the inbound marketing
strategy that should shift its gears away from looking for a definite ROI: social media marketing
. Business owners want "hard numbers" to prove that social media isn't a waste of time, so they want to know what their ROI is for LinkedIn
. I think this occurred because many professionals doubted social media's legitimacy at first.
As a person who cares a lot about ROI, I think this is understandable. However, ROI is the wrong performance measure to focus on when we talk about social media. Instead of ROI, we should take look at ROO
, or your return on objective
For example, LinkedIn is designed in a great way to help you connect with new leads. Particularly, you can do this through your connections' connections, the groups section and advanced search function. Therefore, your objective
for LinkedIn is to find x new companies per month as leads. If you find more than x new companies every month, LinkedIn has successfully accomplished your objective. Therefore, LinkedIn is has a great ROO.
Some people may counter with, "Well, if none of the leads from LinkedIn end up converting into clients, didn't you waste your time? Isn't your ROI on LinkedIn zero dollars
, thus rendering social media useless?"
While this isn't totally the wrong line of thinking, I would disagree with this notion. There are a lot of factors that come into play throughout the entire sales cycle. In today's digital and information filled economy, people don't make immediate decisions. You have to nurture leads throughout the sales cycle.
After you've obtained x leads on LinkedIn, you should theoretically have a lead nurturing campaign
in place that adheres to inbound marketing principles. However, let's say you don't - you just let your leads from LinkedIn sit there. You don't follow up with informative newsletters with a consistent email marketing
program. When your leads visit your website, you shout out outbound messages
instead of providing valuable content with downloadable information. Because your leads weren't followed up with properly, they don't convert into sales. This isn't "LinkedIn's fault"; this is an overall marketing strategy fault.
Overall, social media is an integral part of any marketing program. However, it's important to remember that social media is a tool
, not a magic wand. Instead of focusing on the ROI of your social networking usage, establish an objective for each of your sites and measure your success in relation to your objective.
[By Jeff Androsko]
The sales and marketing game requires you to think like a consumer. You may think you are in the heads of your business' target audience, but take a step back and think about the types of marketing messages you are sending on your website, brochures, advertisements, social media posts and postcards.
Transcending the "I Me My Our" outbound business mentality can be difficult... but if you don't recognize the mindset and buyer personas that comprise your target audience(s), your website will never be as successful as it could be. Here's why...
Take a minute and don't pay any attention to what's going on around you. What's the most recent purchase you made?
Did you know exactly where to go to get this item or service? Did you research better prices, alternatives or read customer reviews before committing to a purchase? Did you have anyone to answer all the questions you had about your desired product or service before you spent your money?
These are all attributes that make up one's ability to make educated purchases. Now that the internet is the world's main source for information, how do potential buyers find you? And when or if they do find you, what kind of answers and solutions are you giving them?
Here are three golden steps towards freeing yourself from the shackles of outbound speak and turning your website visitors into leads:
"Administer the Count"
Get on your internet browser and go to your website. Now, on each page, count how many times you say the words "we" and "our". If this task seems monotonous and you're racking up the "we's" and "our's", chances are you're talking about your company too much. It's ok... it's quite common and traditional when businesses put up websites to act as digital brochures. Check out this helpful guide to biting your tongue and providing actual solutions to your online visitors' inquiries.
"Become a Buyer"
Go to your home page. Pretend you are someone who just found your website with intent to shop around. Are you being corralled towards another page of the website which will give you the answer to your question(s)? Is it easy to find what you are looking for, or are you just reading information about the company. Are there simple forms to contact the company if you are interested in their product or service? A "bounce" (in website analysis-speak) is the rate at which a visitor lands on your website, doesn't find what they're looking for on the first page, then leaves. Make your content count by providing tangible solutions on every page; think like you're buying.
"El Network de Social"
One of the best way to practice inbound conversion is to get active on your favorite social media outlet. Run a small promotion or contest (i.e. "Fill out this form on our website and be entered to win a free iPod Shuffle") by setting up the rules and benefits of the event on your social media. Then link back to a page on your site dedicated to said promotion. Getting in the habit of going social to drive traffic to your domain will stimulate your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as well as create buzz in online communities.
A ton of business owners think they know what the average consumer is looking for, but until you trade places with them, it makes it more difficult to anticipate buyer habits and trends. You have precious little time to capture the attention of your web visitors. Are you boring them with talks of how awesome you think your company is (save it for the "About Us" page), or are you dancing with them; giving them solutions and easy communication tools so they can remember how easy and fun it was/is to purchase from you?