How to track social media marketing results

It’s easy to jump into social media without really thinking through how it will work for you.

How are you going to determine the results (in fact, in a lot of cases, what do you WANT the results to be? But we’ll come to that in a future post)?

What should you be measuring? How can you measure it?

This great infographic from Infographic World offers answers. Not only does it tell you WHAT you should be measuring, but it tells you the tools you can use to give you the information you need.

Click on the image to see a larger version.

tracking-social

 

Think Social Media needs to take up all of your time? Think again!

One of the things I hear the most is how people stay away from social media because they think it will take up too much time, or they stopped ‘doing it’ as it sucked up their time.

This great infographic from Dendrite Park shows that this needn’t be the case. In just an hour a day you could:

  • Curate content
  • Write blog posts
  • Manage Facebook
  • Deal with Twitter
  • Explore Linkedin
  • Add to Google+
  • Use Social Bookmarking
  • Track and measure through Analytics

The accompanying article is well worth a read and might help you to get a handle on the time social media actually takes.

social-media-thirst

Simplify your online marketing efforts in 7 easy steps

SIMPLIFYDespite what the snake oil sellers might tell you, there are no miracle shortcuts in internet marketing. It’s an ongoing conversation requiring commitment, effort and perseverance – but that doesn’t mean it has to be gruelling.

Smart planning can pay off, so here are seven tips to get you started.

1) Set up email alerts

Whatever your business, it’s important to track your brand’s internet mentions so that you can respond promptly to opportunities or criticisms, but running internet searches everyday is time consuming, so this is one job it’s wise to automate.

With Google Alerts you can set up multiple key words or phrases to be monitored. Choose the ‘comprehensive’ and ‘as-it-happens’ options and you will alerted immediately whenever Google indexes a web page containing those terms.

2) Subscribe to follow up comments

Commenting on a blog post or forum thread has numerous benefits – you will usually be allowed to hyperlink your name to your website, and if your comment is insightful, it may raise your profile among peers and potential clients. However, if your comment is responded to, you may need to come back to keep the conversation going.

You can’t revisit every post you comment on indefinitely, so always tick the ‘Notify me of follow up comments via e-mail’ checkbox and know automatically if you need to come back.

3) Recycle your blog posts

Go back through your old blog posts and see if they’re still relevant to your current audience. Bloggers often only promote their new content, but this isn’t giving due credit to your older work.

During your conversations online, look out for opportunities to mention an old post in relation to a current event and consider editing and re-publishing some posts to create a more contemporary version of some old material.

4) Share and re-share your pearls of wisdom

Once you have been blogging, tweeting and commenting for a while, you will have amassed a considerable amount of valuable advice. From time to time, review what you’ve written and extract the best pearls of wisdom into a central reference sheet.

When you have a spare moment, search through forums, message boards or LinkedIn Q&As for questions relating to your core topics. Chances are, you’ll already have ready-made advice on file. A word of caution though, while the core points will be the same, it’s important to make sure every answer is tailored to the questions asked– if you just re-paste your points verbatim, it’s essentially spam!

5) Don’t use all your best material at once

Lots of people take a town-crier approach to internet marketing – they just want to be the first and the loudest to get a new piece of information out. While being among the first to link to – or blog about – a new story can win you attention, it often pays to hold back.

Not all material is time sensitive, so if you’re online for an hour and find a dozen really useful articles on a subject, resist the urge to share one every five minutes. Keep a central record of valuable information and share it intelligently over time. That way, you’ll never be lost for things to say, and you’ll have plenty of inspiration for future blog posts.

6) Schedule your tweets

You can’t be on Twitter 24/7, so scheduling posts can be an effective way to make sure you reach different audiences at different times, and don’t miss out when you’re away from your computer.

Tools like Hootsuite and TweetLater enable you to schedule your Twitter posts, but be warned: repeatedly reposting items with identical wording is spam. As a general rule, vary your wording so that your posts aren’t duplicated verbatim, and limit yourself to three tweets, at least four hours apart for any one link.

7) Take a systematic approach and stick to it

People who struggle with interacting online as part of their marketing toolkit generally fall into two groups: those who lose momentum and forget to log in for days, thereby failing to engage people or retain followers, and those who log on with the intention of doing 30 minutes work, only to find they are still chatting several hours later. Either way, the problem is one of planning and efficiency.

The best way to get internet marketing working for you is to do a little bit each day, with some set targets that you write down and stick to. For example, “In addition to blogging once a week, I will log on to Twitter for an hour each day, comment on three blogs, have a couple of chats and post three links, one of which will link to my own site.”

Yes, there’s still a lot of work involved in internet marketing, but if you employ these time saving measures, it’s entirely possible to see a great return without breaking your back.

Need some help? Try my Social Media Marketing Mentoring taster for just£25!

 

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7 Things You Can Do To Make Your Content Social Media Friendly

socmedfpWhen marketing your website online through social media channels you need to do things a certain way. It’s a bit like redecorating your house; you could do it quickly and as cheaply as possible. But will it look good, and will it last?
In this article we’ll cover 7 things you can do to make your website content social media friendly. If you follow all the steps listed below you should stand a great chance of scoring highly with social media sites as well as effective search engine optimisation.

Let’s get started:

1. Include a picture
If you’re going to bookmark your blog or content, but it doesn’t have an associated picture with it, it’s not as attention grabbing. Think about it; when you’re on a social website and you see a picture next to text; you’re drawn to it.

2. Title tag
If you bookmark your content to a social site; your pages title tag is often used as the title. If your website has the title “My Amazing Blog | Updating daily with super cool content” it’s not going to grab the attention of others. Give each page on your website a unique and grabbing title.

3. Social media buttons
They’re so simple to install and most blogs come with them pre-installed! The buttons next to a blog that allow users to instantly add your website to their favourite social media sites are a great way to help your visitors help your online marketing.

4. Allow comments
Many website owners disable commenting on their blog posts. However, it makes your site interactive. It allows your visitors to talk to you personally. Even more so; it adds more unique content to your website. By enabling comments on your website you might get more people returning to check if their comments have been replied to.

5. Controversial comments
If you do enable comments, do you allow the negative ones? Not everyone is going to agree with what you say and debate sparks interest. If people disagree or even get angry over your content, allow others to read. You’ll soon have many comments and conversations going on.

6. Title for tweets
If you’re tweeting your updates; make sure your titles aren’t too long. Twitter has a 140 character limit on its tweets so just keep an eye out for titles that are too long. Sometimes you can still have an effective, attention grabbing title but without the length.

7. Easy to read
With modern communication channels such as Twitter and FaceBook people don’t always have enough time to read a long article. By making some of your content short but sweet you may engage more readers

If you can implement all of the above tips into your website or blog you’ll be well on your way to social media friendly content. You can expect to see more visitors to your website and an increased client database too.

Need more advice? Check out my Social Media Marketing Mentoring from just £25 a month!

 

10 Things to Post on your Facebook Business Page

tweegram(2)It seems so easy – click a few links and hey presto, you have a Facebook business page!

But then comes the hard bit – you need to gain ‘likers’, keep them interested, get them to participate, keep the page going on top of all your other efforts, don’t let it get dull and boring, not be too self promotional – AARRGGHHHH!! How on earth can you think of all that AND run your business?

Well, worry not, here’s a quick list of 10 things you can post on your Facebook Business page to keep it interesting and encourage interaction – feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

1) Questions – Update your status each day, but rather than telling people what you’re doing right now, ask them a question. It’s clear by looking at the statuses of people on Facebook (whether individuals or businesses) that asking a question provides a massive response. Let your fans and contacts feel involved – ask them a question related to your business right now.

2) Videos – It doesn’t even have to be your video! It could be a demonstration video from YouTube, a funny video related to your industry, or a music video if you like, but video reaches people that words sometimes don’t. If you have your own video, then even better; either way, break up the monotony of your page with the odd video to keep things interesting.

3) Links to sites other than your own – yes, we know it seems to go against the grain. You started a fan page to promote YOUR business, right? But people soon switch off if your page is nothing more than a list of links to your website, so show them that you’re not just in it for you. Post links to other websites – interesting blogs about your industry, funny stories, news items, even (gasp!) competitors sites occasionally. If some of these sites belong to your fans too, then you’ll inspire loyalty and may get the same in return!

4) Requests for more fans – ask your fans to use the ‘share’ button or the ‘suggest to friends’ link to share your page’s details with their friends on Facebook. It may not have occurred to them to do so, and if you don’t ask, you don’t get!

5) Links to discussions on your wall – if one of your posts isn’t getting the responses you want, it may be that people just aren’t noticing it! Post links to interesting discussions on your Business Page wall, and ASK THEM TO COMMENT!

6) Photos & pictures – again, a great way to break up the relentless words of a business page, photos tell your fans more about you and your business. Post pictures of your premises, your customers, your products or services, diagrams, cartoons, in fact anything that you have that is related to your business.

7) Links to your blog – If you use a plugin, you can do this automatically, but even if you don’t, when you post a new blog, link to it from your Business page – encourage comments and contributions – remember, no asking, no getting 🙂

8) Events – use the events tab to post details of time sensitive special offers, open days, launch days and more. It’s an often forgotten tab but can be very useful if you think about it a little differently 😉

9) Notes – the notes tab can be used for lots of different things; mini blog posts, testimonials, quotes, thoughts – anything that is too big to be put as a status update. It’s another way to add extra interest to your fan page

10) Thanks you to your fans – if your fans are interacting, then it’s worth taking the time out to post a public thank you to them every so often. You can do this by posting a status update and referencing certain fans by prefacing their names with an ‘@’ sybmol. You could go one further and offer prizes or giveaways to a couple of fans per month, given to those who interact the most and the best.

So there you have it – a quick and dirty list of ways to keep your Facebook Business Page interesting. Without interaction and interest, a page quickly becomes nothing more than a list of links, with no intrinsic valu whatsoever. Don’t let your Business page fade away!

No time to sort out your business page? Stuck for what to post? Fans not interacting or even following you? We might be able to help – check out our Free Facebook Business page offer.

Social Media Marketing – is it REALLY all that new?

new2Let’s be real – Social Media Marketing isn’t really all that new…

We were clicking, viewing, commenting and sharing, long before the term ‘social media’ was coined.

The world of business is going mad for social media, with a recent study suggesting 92% of businesses in North America are using it in some way.

This is exciting of course, but in this excitement, many seem to have forgotten that while some of the technology may be new, the phenomena is not.

In fact, this interactive methodology has been at the core of internet marketing since its very inception. Web pages are, after all, interactive and multimedia by their very nature. We were clicking, viewing, commenting and sharing, long before the term ‘social media’ was coined.

In fact, ‘social’ has always been as aspect of marketing. So, how can the lessons of the past inform the way we approach social media marketing today?

Mistaken identities

What is new to many businesses trying out social media for the first time is the idea of anything other than direct selling. On your website, if you want to you can say what you do, why you are the best at it, ask people to buy and no one will bat an eyelid. The same goes for advertising, of course. But in the social media space, this is not so. Or at least, it can’t make up the majority of what you say.

If you’re familiar with networking in the real world, this will come as no surprise, but if you’re not and you try to use your social media profile as advertising space, you’ll be sorely disappointed at the results. Put simply, your social media profile should be more akin to your whole business persona, not just the advertising part of it.

In real life, you wouldn’t just sell, sell, sell (I hope), you would be informative, knowledgeable and helpful. Knowing the value of word of mouth, you would build connections, have conversations and generally get involved in your community. You would take an interest in others and sometimes, your conversations would be with a view to selling, but sometimes they wouldn’t.

Once you think of it like that, your social media strategy should look a whole lot clearer.

Same game, new pitch

So once we accept that social media goes beyond simple advertising, what else can we learn from the marketing that went before? What can we do to ensure it’s not just chat for chat’s sake?

Three techniques that can work wonders in the social media space are: offering free information, helping promote others reciprocally, and giving exclusive offers to others in the online ‘community’. But, again, these techniques are much older than the space they now inhabit.

Ever given out a free fact sheet to anyone that visits your office? Or helped out a person you meet at a conference by passing on the details of a third party? Or offered a ‘buy on get one free’ deal via your shop window?

These classic promotional techniques existed way before social media, so what’s the lesson here? A lot of social media marketing isn’t about reinventing the wheel, it’s about taking what we’ve collectively learned from other marketing activities (in our offices, at networking events, on our websites) and looking at how these can be carried through to our social networking personas.

Making it work for you

The beauty of social media is that the initial outlay is exceptionally cheap compared to many other forms of marketing. Get yourself a profile and then listen carefully to the buzz that’s happening around you. Follow people you’d like to emulate, and those you’d like as customers. Engage as a useful resource long before you begin to add straight sales techniques to the mix, and above all, keep it up. Again, just like any other form of marketing, social media is about keeping a consistent presence. Drift away, and so will your audience.

Need some help with your Social Media Marketing strategy? Give our Mentoring tryout package a try!

 

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Seven Sins of Internet Marketing

This article originally appeared on Business Zone

Untitled designNikki Pilkington looks at the mistakes entrepreneurs all too often make in a bid to get noticed online.

It’s so easy to start promoting a business online that many people seem to launch into it without much thought for the image they are portraying or the consequences of their actions.

Here are seven internet marketing faux pas, and the preferable alternatives.

1) Unfocussed, mass emailing

You acquire a huge list of random email addresses, tap out a nice salesy email about your business and send it out to everyone on the list in the hope that someone will find your offer relevant. Good marketing model? No. Spam? Yes.

Mass emailing with no target, and worse, no permission, is spam, pure and simple. Your mailing list should be entirely ‘opt in’ and the content you send should be relevant and useful to the recipients, even if that means writing slightly different mail outs for different groups.

2) Irrelevant content

You have read that lots of fresh content is the key to getting your site noticed, so you scour the internet for any free to use bits and pieces that vaguely relate to your offering and post them all over your site.

Posting any old nonsense on your site just to bump up content is a very, very bad idea. Not only could this be to the serious detriment of your credibility, it is also very unlikely to pull in relevant visitors, so you won’t benefit in real terms.

3) Content theft

In your quest for relevant, useful content, you come across some great posts on other people’s sites – perhaps even competitors. With a quick bit of cutting and pasting, you have reams of fresh, high quality content on your site.

Lifting content from other sites and publishing it on your own without permission is a seriously inadvisable. Unless clearly stated otherwise on the content owner’s site, you should always seek permission before republishing content. You should also include a credit and a link back to the original source.

4) Spamming forums

You want as many people as possible to hear about your new sales promotion, so you search for any forum with a relevant-ish topic and post your promotion verbatim on as many threads as you can. Before you know it, there are hundreds of references to your offer all over the web.

And the result of your efforts? You are seen as a spammer, banned from several forums, probably attacked in others, and people are generally rather annoyed with you. Remember, internet marketing via social media is about conversations, not shouting the loudest. By all means mention offers when they are relevant to the topic, but don’t expect to get results without putting time in to build relationships.

5) Falsifying testimonials

You’ve had a lovely new site developed for your new venture, and in the left hand column there’s a special section for displaying your best testimonials. In time, you’ll have some great things to put there, but right now, you’ve got nothing. You decide the best this to do is make a few up using generic names like Joan S and Bill P. It can’t hurt, can it?

Using false or unsubstantiated testimonials is another quick route towards losing any credibility and trust you command. Instead, use the space for something else and work on getting real testimonials by providing a great service.

6) Puffed up claims

Your company is newly formed, so you don’t feel you have many legitimately impressive claims to make yet. You know your employees have collectively worked for several blue chip firms, so you tell a little white lie and claim your company has served those firms. Well, it’s kind of true, isn’t it?

Bad idea. You could be threatened with legal action and suffer irreparable damage to your reputation. Be honest, work with what you’ve got, and publicise your achievements as they happen.

7) Abusing social media trends

Social media trends – the topics users are talking about most – can be a real temptation for internet marketers. Take Twitter, for example: it seems all you need to do is put the ‘tag’ for a current trend at the end of your ‘tweet’ and you’ll get seen. Who cares if the tag isn’t relevant if it gets you an audience? Well, your audience cares.

Abusing social media trends with irrelevant content has landed a few companies in hot water in recent months. Most famously, a ew years ago, a Habitat ‘intern’ caused some serious damage to the brand’s reputation when it put out promotional messages tagged with a reference to the Iran elections. Use tags honestly so that only those interested in what you offer will see your messages.

So the bad news is that it’s easy to get internet marketing wrong, but the good news is it is possible to get it right and get great results, so long as you have the time to invest and are willing to learn from the mistakes of others.

Want to get it right? Check out my Social Media Mentoring services!

 

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Online reputation management – what to do about negative reviews online?

What to do with negative reviews online_One of the great things about the Internet is the level of freedom of speech that exists there. If we experience bad service from a product or service provider, we can tell other people, so they can weigh up the pros and cons before choosing to spend their money with the same vendor. This has really accelerated the way that word of mouth travels via the Internet, allowing your best customers to sell your products and services for you through their positive feedback and reviews.

However, the trouble is, that the freedom of the Internet that allows people to have their fair say have also allowed people to use the same processes to damage your reputation online. Whether their comments are negative, truthful reviews written by people that didn’t get the customer experience that they should, or negative, fake reviews written by competitors, disgruntled employees or ex-business partners, it’s important to know what’s being said about you.

So what do you do with negative reviews? It’s all about managing your online reputation and there is a lot that you can do.

Okay, so what happens when you Google your company name and a string of negative comments appears on the front page of Google? No doubt you’ll start losing customers immediately and that could be incredibly costly for your business. Let’s face it, Google is the greatest shopping directory ever invented and if you come up negatively on the front page, you just have no idea of the damage to your reputation because you can’t count the number of potential customers that you lose from it.

The first step to take when you discover a negative review is to check its veracity or verify if the complaint is a genuine one. In lots of cases, it could easily be a lie published by a competitor or just someone out to cause trouble for your business.

The next step is to find out if there are more complaints like it elsewhere on the Internet. You do this by Googling ‘your company name’ plus words associated with negative reviews such as ‘complaints’, ‘feedback’, ‘scam’, ‘problems’, ‘bad service’. I’m sure you get the point.

If you’re absolutely certain that the reviews or comments are not genuine, then you can politely email the sites that are publishing those reviews and offer them your side of the story and ask if they would kindly remove it. The trouble is that not all review sites will let you challenge a review and some will just flat-out refuse to remove anything from their site, even if you have proof.

If they refuse to do anything or ignore your messages, then see if you can add a comment of your own to the site setting the story straight. This at least shows that you are aware of the problem and were willing to do something about it. If it’s genuine, you have the chance to please a disgruntled customer, if it’s fake, people will see that you made an effort to address the situation at least.

If it is indeed a genuine problem, use the opportunity to resolve the issue and post the resolution on that website. More often than not, if you successfully resolve the complaint, the complainant will remove the complaint from the site.

If neither of these simple approaches works, you may need to go deeper. You can post a message on your website that’s optimised for the same searches that bring up the negative review comments. Let people know that there are issues and that you are working to resolve them. This works particularly well if the complaints are lies, but obviously highlighting problems is not a great sales tactic.

If the negative reviews only appear when your company name is searched for on Google, then you need to drive the reviews off the front page by ensuring that your name appears positively enough times on the front page to push them further down Google into the abyss. Using blogs, review sites, online profiles and other high profile websites are great for this.

Ensure that your own site features plenty of positive reviews so that you can point out how ‘out of place’ and ‘wrong’ the negative reviews are.

The best thing that you can do is to set up a level of monitoring regarding your company and its online reputation. You can do this for free by setting up Google alerts or use an application that will regularly check what’s being said about you online. Remember, it’s vital that as a business trading on the web that you are absolutely 100% sure of what’s being said about you in the public forum of the Internet and take steps to respond accordingly to any negative reviews that you find there.

But if all else fails, it may be time to bring in an online reputation management specialist that can wipe the negative reviews off the net for you.

If you need help fighting negative reviews and managing your online reputation, then we may be able to help. Nikki Pilkington is an expert in Internet and Social Media Marketing, and in some cases can help companies to manage their negative reviews and increase their awareness of what’s being said about them online. To find out more, email nikkipilk@gmail.com

 

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How to grow viral sharing and visibility on Facebook

If you run a Facebook Business page, one of the biggest challenges you probably face is getting people to share and interact with your content. How many times have you posted something only to see the virtual tumbleweed blowing across your page?

This infographic gives some good advice on how to increase the sharing and visibility of your content – thanks to Squirrly.co for putting it together.

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Which of these mistakes are you making on Twitter?

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

Let’s be honest, using Twitter isn’t exactly brain surgery. A short 140-character message that you send out to your Followers is hardly a strain. Yet knowing how to effectively Twitter for Business without annoying people seems to elude even some of the sharpest minds. There is a Twittiquette and if you want to use Twitter to promote your business, you need to stop making these TEN irritating mistakes:

ONE – MOANING
There’s no better way to drive your followers away than spend your entire time on Twitter moaning about this and that irrelevancies. It’s fine to have an opinion, it perhaps makes people engage with you, but if you’re just there to complain about your love life, stop Twittering and go on the Jeremy Kyle show.

TWO – TXT ABBRVTNS
Stpd pple use txt abbrtns on Twttr! It might be good if you’re a cheapskate trying to save money on your mobile phone bill, but Twitter is free. Surely you have sufficient grasp of the English language to actually make your message fit into 140 characters without resorting to txtspk. Avoid looking like a twt by avoiding text abbreviations.

THREE – ADVERTISING FOR FOLLOWERS
One of the best things about Twitter is that people follow you out of interest or allegiance; they don’t follow you because you ask them to do so. By advertising for followers, you end up looking rather desperate, devaluing your current followers and distancing potential followers.

FOUR – WITTERING ON
By ‘wittering’, I’m talking about the frequency of your Tweets. If you spend a lot of time on Twitter, tweeting to everyone, all the time, very soon they’ll get sick of you. People soon sicken of anything they get too much of, don’t get blocked for wittering.

FIVE – STUPID NAMES
HotJenna may work for HotMedia but HotJenna sounds like a porn star. Your Twitter name is all part of your brand, would you put ‘HotJenna’ as your email address? The informality of Twitter blinds people to the fact that you are still representing and promoting your business online. Twitter is great for spreading the word about your company or business. It’s the Internet version of word-of- mouth.

SIX – SPAM SANDWICHES
As soon as Twitter became a useful business tool, some other tool started using it for spamming. By now, Twitter users are so used to being spammed, that they respond with enthusiasm and affection to human contact from real people. Don’t spam, make connections, people will appreciate it.

SEVEN – AUTO RESPONDERS
It’s just sloppy Twittering to care so little about your Followers that you just use Auto-Responders. How impersonal! How bad for business! It’s simple, Twitter offers a personal connection to people, if you disregard that, your followers will disappear faster than an MP with an inappropriate expenses claim.

EIGHT – FIGHT CLUB
Twitter is absolutely NOT a tool to help you gossip, bitch, bitch slap or attack people. I mean, it’s fun, but it’s bad for your image, your credibility and it leaves you looking like a petty bully. It’s okay to speak your mind, within reason, but it’s not a place to engage in fighting.

NINE – NO BIO
Once someone follows you, they may be interested enough to find out more about you. What happens when they find you haven’t even bothered to fill in your bio? They figure out that you’re not in this to make connections, it’s just another tool to try to get their business. Or perhaps you’re one of those people that signs up, adds people but never Tweets! Build credibility and relationships by adding a bio, go on, you must have SOMETHING good to say about yourself.

TEN – NO AVATAR
Nothing screams ‘I’m new to this’ like failing to brand your Twitter account with an appropriate Avatar. You can use your photo or your company logo, but being an egg or a comedy avatar just makes you look lazy, like you don’t care about the impression that you make on others.

So, if you’ve made some of these mistakes, and you want to make less, or you’d like to see your business grow as a result of using Twitter, why not take a look at my mentoring service where I can help you make the most of Twitter and more?

 

 

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