10 Ways to Measure Social Media for Business

Is your business a social business? Companies that are making good use of social media should take the next step and measure the progress of their social media programs and campaigns. How do you know if you’re succeeding if you don’t have the numbers?

Today we’ll look at 10 ways that metrics can offer visibility into your business’s performance. You won’t want to chart all of these, but tracking a few well-chosen metrics — and incorporating the learning’s into your business processes — can contribute to the bottom line.

Customer Engagement

1. Engagement can take place offline and online, on your site, on your social networks and in real-world face-to-face events. By letting customers participate in conversations about your brand, you can improve your business, your products and your levels of service. Ultimately, customer engagement is key to improving satisfaction and loyalty rates and revenue.

Metrics to track could include:

  • Number of followers on Twitter, Facebook, etc.
  • Number of retweets on Twitter
  • Number of comments per blog post
  • Number of external widgets embedded
  • Invaluable assets as re-distributors of content
  • Customer reviews and ratings

Note: Such customer interaction can be invaluable in fostering a culture of community and in guiding product development. In addition, endorsements can be used as testimonials in marketing materials (with permission).

Sales & Profits

2. In the end, you business’s social media efforts need to not just generate customer goodwill — it should contribute to your company’s bottom line.

Metrics to keep an eye on include:

  • Track sales from Google referrals
  • Sales from paid search
  • Sales as a result of social network mentions

Dell said it made $3 million selling products to its Twitter followers on the strength of coupons and discounts that other Twitterers gladly passed along vi-rally as tipsters. And Blendtec’s “Will It Blend?” blender’s campaign on YouTube helped to drive a 500 percent increase in sales in 2010.  Just don’t expect the needle to move right away!

Search Marketing & Rankings

3. The importance of search engine optimization to your brand cannot be overstated: SEO & social media efforts should significantly increase your site’s visibility & performance in search results. It should also help you rank prominently for targeted items and increase your long-tail traffic. Identify and incorporate targeted keywords on major landing pages on your site. Strategically use keywords on social networks as well, such as Facebook. You can use links from Twitter or YouTube to claim valuable search rankings on your brand search terms. Tweets that rank for targeted keyword can lead to traffic from keywords that the site does not rank for.

Whenever someone shares content from your site on a social site, you get a link back and a submission history. Try to convert one-time visitors from Digg, StumbleUpon and other social news sites into long-term members of your community.

Traffic & Conversation Reach

4. Your business can produce the most gorgeous, well-manicured press releases in the world. But unless you get customers talking about your product or service and generating traffic to your website, micro-site or social networks, you’re missing the boat. Raw traffic is important, but you’ll want to measure traffic from segmented audiences that you’re targeting-people who are likely to follow you or more so, buy from you. Also chart the number of visitors to your social networks.

Brand Sentiment

5. The nature and purpose of public relations and external communications is changing from an industrial-era paradigm to one of facilitation and curation. Go with it — help create evangelists for your products or services among your most ardent fans. Word of mouth and the viral nature of sites like Twitter, Facebook and Digg can help shift your company’s key brand metrics.

You’ll need a more sophisticated set of metrics tools to gauge the following: Brand awareness, brand favor-ability, brand recall, propensity to buy, etc. (TV ads are measured in this way.) A positive brand associations via social media efforts can help drive clicks on paid search ads. Use a social media service to measure brand sentiment.

Public Outreach

6. The worlds of public relations, customer service and marketing are merging. Social media enables customers to interact with all channels within a company. Traditional metrics, such as column inches in newspapers and magazines, are becoming less relevant over time. Outreach to blogosphere & Twitterverse is becoming as important as outreach to media organizations. Consider creating a social media newsroom that offers bloggers and news organizations a rich set of multimedia, bullet-ed takeaways and quotes from key participants. Then track the number of mentions on social sites by using the bit.ly url shortener.

Lead Generation

7. Social media is becoming a funnel for lead generation. A number of tools now let you track business prospects through sophisticated filtering mechanisms. Use LinkedIn to connect with potential business partners and clients, and chart the rate of invitations accepted and follow-up communications acted upon. See which kinds of messaging are resonating.

Here’s an opportunity for your internal teams to work together to optimize your site for keywords and key phrases. It’s always better when potential customers come to you.

Customer Retention

8. We’re moving into an age of optimization and retention. Watch your retention rates as you start participating in social media. Over time, if your team uses social media intelligently, they should rise. Zappos, which uses Twitter, MySpace, Facebook and YouTube for its social media efforts, has exceeded $1 billion in sales. Some 75 percent of its orders are repeat customers. Make sure you monitor your repeat customers and shower them with love.

Cost Savings

9. In this age of cost-cutting, companies are looking to apply savings wherever they can. Cisco saved $250,000 by using social media rather than traditional PR and marketing to roll out its Data Center project.

Crowd sourcing has become an increasingly popular way for businesses to leverage customers and outside parties for savings. Consider how cost reductions can be applied in a way that benefits the bottom line while not infringing on worker rights or jeopardizing health and environmental standards. Then measure how each initiative contributes to cost containment.

Employee Recruitment

10. The brightest young minds coming into the workplace today live, breathe and understand social media. Show them that you’re a genuine social business and not just another company hunkering down in the wake of the social media revolution. Measure incoming employees’ sentiment about your company. What are they saying? What attracted them?

Measure exiting employees’ sentiment. Assign someone from human relations, with no stake in the matter, to conduct exit interviews. Assess their feedback — and take it to heart.

By JD Lasica of Socialmedia.biz

These are 10 ideas, but it’s not a complete list. List your ideas in the comments below.

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6 Ways to Determine If Need a VA to Manage Social Media?

Virtual AssistantThis is a follow-up to an earlier post entitled “What Is A Social Media Virtual Assistant?”

 

 

A good question that I am frequently asked-but before I answer, as a business owner, you will need to determine a few things to set a solid foundation for your social media plan.

1) Solid Marketing Plan? Do you have a solid marketing plan?  NOT just social media,which is still the foundation and fabric of your outreach. Remember, social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Comeoninside.com are all TOOLS). Just like in a tool box, some tools are more effective for some projects than others.
My biggest heartbreak is to see an overwhelmed business owner who thinks they “have” to be on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and YouTube all at the same time. The dirty little secret is, not all social media platforms are good for all businesses. Truthfully, if you are promoting a message to the wrong  Twitter followers for example, how much valuable time would you be wasting?

2) Social Media Platforms List. Make a list of the social media platforms you currently have a profile on (i.e. Facebook Fan Page, Linkedin, Twitter, YouTube, Come on inside, etc.) This will help you determine if you want to continue on these platforms.

3) Social Media Time. How much time are you or your team spending ENGAGING on these platforms? Not just pre-posting or “pushing” your info, but genuinely interacting with your Facebook fans, Linkedin connections, Twitter followers, etc?

4) Social Media Presence. How much time do you WANT to spend on any given platform? What type of engagement do your client desire? What type of relationship are your clients asking from you?

5) Determine Time Needed. Once you have a determination of the amount of TIME needed, then you will know if a social media  assistant is a good fit.
Your time has to be worth something. Just like you are an expert in your field, your Social Media VA would be the same managing your online campaigns for you.

Based on approved guidelines the Social Media VA would be responsible for:
•Connecting with various types of professionals
•Updating content and making sure the content is linked with appropriate keywords, seo, etc.
•Distributing blogs and events to various locations. A lot of work.
•A good social media assistant or manager will give you statistics on what your social media plan is achieving. Platforms include but not limited to: Facebook Fan Pages, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, etc.

I would recommend that a Social Media VA only answers or responds to people on your behalf, with the business owner’s consent. Some business owners will want to reply to negative conversations themselves, let’s say on Facebook or Twitter for example, or some will  leave that entirely up to you. So it’s good to have an experience or trained Social Media Manager to help you, if that being the case.

6) Your Time’s Value in Dollars. Once you know the amount of time your company is spending on relating in social media, you figure out the cost to your business for those hours. If your team used those hours in a different area of your business – how much more successful will you be? That dollar figure is your new “marketing” budget for a Social Media Virtual Assistant. Their hourly rates will vary depending on location or specialty, from about $40 to $70/ hour. If you want expert results, then you will welcome an expert on your team as well.

By Angel Lebak of Virtual Assistant Social Media.com

Regardless if you hire a Social Media VA now or wait until your budget allows, social media management is quickly becoming a part of many companies marketing plans. So to be sure you have the accurate tools on hand to get the desired results, just click here for Contact information for RTJ Online-Social Media Assistant.

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How to Craft a Killer “Elevator Pitch” For Your Business

This article will explain the elements of a powerful elevator pitch and then walk you through how to craft your own.

What is an Elevator Pitch?

This is the 30-60 second business description of what you do and why someone should work with you. It’s called an “Elevator Pitch” because it describes the challenge: “How would you explain your business and make a sale if fate placed you in an elevator with your dream prospect and you only had the time it takes to get from the top of the building to the bottom?”

Why Is Having an Elevator Pitch So Important?
You only have 30-60 seconds to make a powerful first impression. The attention span of the average person is just 30 seconds before their mind starts wandering. The other reason is people have less time today. You need to grab them quickly or lose them forever.

Essential Elements of a Powerful Elevator Pitch
1. Concise. Your pitch should take no longer than 30-60 seconds.

2. Clear. Use language that everyone understands. Don’t use fancy words thinking it will make you sound smarter. Your listener won’t understand you and you’ll have lost your opportunity to hook them.

3. Powerful. Use words that are powerful and strong. Deliver the “Sis-Boom-Bang” to grab their attention!

4. Visual. Use words that create a visual image in your listeners mind. This will make your message memorable.

5. Tell a Story. A short story, that is. A good story is essentially this: someone with a problem either finds a solution or faces tragedy. Either type of story can be used to illuminate what you do.

6. Targeted. A good elevator pitch is aimed for a specific audience. If you have target audiences that are vastly different, you might want to have a unique pitch for each.

7. Goal Oriented. A great elevator pitch is designed with a specific outcome in mind. What is your desired outcome? You may have different pitches depending on different objectives. For instance do you want to: make a sale , gain a prospect, enlist support for an idea, or earn a referral.

8. Has a Hook. This is the element that literally snags your listener’s interest and makes them want to know more. This is the phrase or words that strike a chord in your listener.
How to Craft Your Killer Elevator Pitch

  • Write down what you do. Write it several different ways. Try writing it at least 10-20 different ways. Don’t edit yourself at all. You will edit later. This first step is for generating ideas. Don’t hold back. Ideas can be goofy, serious, wild, funny, or conservative. It doesn’t matter. The goal is to get at many ideas as possible down on paper.
  • Write a very short story that illustrates what you do for people. If necessary, the story can be long. You will boil it down later. Paint a picture with words.
  • Write down your objective or goal. Do you want to make a sale, gain a prospect, enlist support for an idea, earn a referral, or something else?
  • Write 10-20 action statements. This is a statement or question designed to spur the action associated with your goal.
  • Record yourself. You can use Dragon Dictation if you don’t have a recording device. Dragon Dictation is a free phone based service that translates your messages into text as well as providing an online link to the original audio.
  • Let it sit. Come back to what you’ve written with fresh eyes and ears the next day or later on in the same day.
  • Highlight the good stuff. Listen and read through what you’ve recorded and written. Then either highlight or circle the phrases that hook you with clear, powerful, and visual words. Obviously not all the words will fall into these categories. You still need connector words, but you want them to be as few as possible.
  • Put the best pieces together. Again you’ll want to write down several versions of this much tighter pitch. Tell us what you do and why people should want to do business with you. Include elements from your story if you can fit it in.
  • Do a final edit cutting as many unnecessary words as possible. Rearrange words and phrases until it sounds just right. Again, the goal is 30-60 seconds maximum.
  • Dress Rehearsal. Run it by as many people as you can get to listen to you. Get feedback from colleagues, clients you trust, friends and family.
  • Done for now. Take your final elevator pitch and write it down. Memorize and practice it until it just slides off your tongue naturally.
  • Continue to improve. Over time, always be on the listen for phrases that you think could make your elevator pitch more clear and impactful. And then test it out. Every once in a while you will probably benefit by starting from scratch because things always change: you, your business , your goals, and your clients’ needs.

By K Stone of Life Learning Today

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10 Efficient Tips to Keep Your Personal Life and Still Be a Social Media Rockstar

I think we can all feel confident when saying “social media is here and here to stay.” What we probably are not so comfortable with is juggling our social media endeavors with our personal life. I’m sure social media doesn’t take away all of your personal life, but it can impose on it greatly if you aren’t careful. There are probably people who haven’t even begun to dabble in the social media
world for fear of not having time or it taking up too much time. Great point! However, at this point in the world, you really can’t afford not to be a part of social media. In either case, listed below are 10 tips to avoid losing out on life and how to manage your social media time.

1. Just Skim: When beginning a promotion, most of the first phase is conducting research and reading. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, blogs or websites, to cut down on time spent, just skim it. By doing this, you can pull what you feel is worth spending your time reading and not have to worry about the rest.

2. Use your RSS Feed: Be selective when subscribing to different RSS feeds, but definitely use it. Any information you want to catch up on will be listed there. These same rules apply to who you follow on Twitter and newsletters you subscribe to. Choose wisely and be sure whatever it is adding value.

3. Consider a Timer: If you’d really like to manage your online time, set an allotted amount of time dedicated for this. It may help to set a timer and when it goes off, you’ll know it’s time to move on to something else.

4. Automate whenever possible: Automating can be the key to your online happiness. When you have autoresponders or auto content generators in place they can save you scads of time. An easy and quick way to implement this might be your newsletter sign-ups. There are a variety of systems that will allow you to easily automate sign-ups. Even if you have a giveaway for signing up, the system can handle this too

5. Consolidate, Don’t Reiterate: If you are trying to keep up with everything, your Twitter, Facebook, Squidoo and a blog, there are ways to minimize updating them all. You can do so by doing it all at once. “How?” you ask. All of these programs can be linked together so when you update one, it will go out to all social media accounts. Many of these sites can be linked together and to a main site. This main site can be your blog, if you wish. Twitterfeed is a great place where you can update your Twitter, every time you update your blog. Your Twitter can be linked to Facebook and Squidoo.

6. Develop a Routine: Dedicate a specific time for social media on a regular basis and stick with it. It should be long enough to update your blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

7. Stick to Essentials: The internet can be considered a great influence on “lost time.” One second you’re looking at a TV listing, and then something about how to make money online, and then possibly an ad for shoes we just have to have. Four hours later and you’ve found new interests in paranormal studies, cherry tomatoes and how to move to Alaska. Stick to what you were planning to do and then leave. Also, over time you will learn where to spend your time the best and it will get easier to stay on track.

8. Don’t be a Follower: Many people may give you their advice on which sites are the best for what. The thing to do is to decide which social media tool will benefit your needs the best. You don’t have to use them all, and if one isn’t working for you, go try a different one.

9. Plan: To make sure you’re spending this social media time wisely and to its full advantage, it may be good to make a simple plan. With your “dedicated social media time,” knowing to stick with the essentials and a routine put into place, developing a list of “to-dos” and goals around these should help you to stay focused. If you’re focused and determined, you’re bound not to waste any time.

10. Hire a Social Media Virtual Assistant: Ultimately, if you don’t feel you have time to even start a social media quest, or if you’ve tried and it’s just not for you but you still want to take advantage of all the awesomeness that it can bring, hiring a social media virtual assistant is another option and a fantastic idea. For example, http://regjackonline.com can help you quickly, effectively, and it’s affordable. Reggie at RTJ Online, can help create, manage and update all of your social media needs, which can be WAY more rewarding than doing it yourself if you feel like you’re in a crunch. So don’t miss that dinner date! Cruise on over to his website and see how many things he can do to help guide your social media presence, while keeping it updated and running efficiently.
By Dawn Pigoni of http://besocialworldwide.com

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5 Reasons You Need A Social Media Manager

Virtual AssistantBusiness owners around the globe are asking themselves whether or not they need a social media manager. However, more and more of them are noticing the popularity of social media, but don’t know how, where, when, or why they should jump on the bandwagon themselves. They notice their colleagues, peers, friends, children, and family have jumped on board, on a more personal level. But, what so many of them fail to see, is that their present and future customers have jumped on for a ride too!

Right now, as you read this, your customers are flying down the road going mach 5 with no end in sight. They’re enjoying themselves too while reading/writing reviews, articles, comments & opinions on your business. They’re chatting amongst themselves (and to the rest of the internet world) about their latest visit, what their experience was, and even how it bugs them that Sally the cashier always seems “nice”, but never says thank you when they are leaving.

Wouldn’t you love the opportunity to be in that cart flying down the road too? Do you want to know what your customers are saying about you? Do you want to be able to effectively converse back with them? Wouldn’t you love to hear, first hand, about their experiences? Wouldn’t it be great to know how they felt about Sally so you could enforce stronger cashier policies?

There is no excuse for you not being in that bandwagon yourself. If you want to continually grow your business every year with the goal of higher profits and better ROI’s, then you need to be in that cart. Most importantly, you need to be sitting in the cart as strategically as possible so your customers don’t mistake you for luggage!

If the last four paragraphs didn’t provide you with enough reasons as to why you need a social media manager…don’t fret! Here are five more:

1. Contrary to popular belief, just because your 14 year old niece has a Facebook account, that doesn’t mean she could (or should) create your own businesses fan page. Hire a professional. Your goal should be to have a better social presence than all your competitors. Better website, Facebook, Twitter etc. Hiring someone who has extensive knowledge on the platforms best suited for your business will benefit you enormously. Social media is so constantly evolving, that you want a professional handling yours that you know is up to speed with the latest tools, platforms, & strategies.

2. You must have a well thought out social media strategy if you want to succeed. You must have a plan. One that will provide a road map for you so you don’t get lost. You need to be consistent with your content and most importantly, you need to make sure your content is *valuable*.

3. Just because you already have social media platforms in place, that doesn’t mean you are using them correctly. If you have a Facebook business fan page or Twitter account that gets updated once “every now and then” (when you find the time) … you’re in trouble. It actually looks worse for your business to have inactive pages than not having any at all. Also, you want them all integrated together so they are working for you, and not the other way around.

4. You need someone to remind you -not- to be a broadcaster! It is extremely easy for someone to “hide” you on Facebook and “unfollow” you on Twitter. So easy, it can be done with one click of the mouse! You need someone helping you develop content strategies that are focused on providing engaging valuable content that people enjoy reading and make them feel comfortable enough to join in on the conversation. One of the most successful companies at doing social media is Zappos.com. Check out their Facebook site to see what I mean about engaging content.

5. Having a social media manager saves you, the business owner, time (our most valuable asset). Even though an effective social media campaign requires an “all hands on deck” approach to be effective, having a social media manager undoubtedly saves you time. They can provide you with a road map and content strategy that should make it easy for you to distinguish what is considered good and bad content. They also could take away the burden of having to log onto your computer and manage comments and updating content regularly on all platforms. They do all that for you leaving you more time to concentrate on your livelihood … your business!
By Krysty Petrucci facebook.com/TribalMedia

Now it’s your turn. Have you jumped on the social media bandwagon yet? What has been your experience thus far? What have you had difficulty with? What seemed surprisingly easy? If you haven’t jumped on yet- what’s stopping you?  What are you waiting for?

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How Will You Brand Yourself?

If you are thinking of starting a small business and you’ve identified the market and you’ve found a niche – or a position that you feel comfortable with, now you need to think about how your are going to brand yourself.
What type of branding will you use?

Here’s a definition of branding according to Business Dictionary.Com: Entire process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product (good or service) in the consumers’ mind, through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers.

Basically you can go one of two ways. A personal brand or a business brand. What are their differences and advantages?

Personal Brand: In a personal brand you are simply branding yourself. For an example: If you are an expert at something or want to sell yourself as such, then you might want to think of going with a personal brand. In other words you are selling yourself. You can set up a blog, website or a column of some sort and build a following of “you” and promote your business from there.

Business Brand: With a business brand you are promoting the business itself, whatever that business may be. If you are selling a product or services or if you are building a “brick and mortar store,” on or offline, then you might want to think of a good business brand that will identify something unique about your business. Don’t forget the definition of the term.

One advantage of a personal brand is if you feel that in time you might want to promote something else or branch off from your original niche in some way, then you can do so without having to re-brand so-to-speak, because it can be accomplished under your personal brand.

But if you are building a business and just want to stick with a certain name or brand, then you may want to go with a business brand. One advantage of this is in time the brand itself will take on value, if you decide to sell down the road.

What Is Needed: With a personal brand you would need a good professional photo of yourself and a nice biography that will tell us about you. With a business brand you will need a good logo and a catchy tagline, one that will tell others what is unique about your business. A logo and tagline can be included if you go with a personal brand if you like, but it’s a key factor to a business brand. This is something that will make your company really stand out among the rest.

Do Your Homework: There are plenty of information out there that will provide you tips and ideas as to how to brand yourself. There are several blogs on branding, what taglines you can use, and websites that will help you to create your logo. Just do a simple search. Give it a lot of thought. Because when it comes to starting a business, there is nothing more important as to how you brand yourself.

By Reginald Jackson at RTJ Online .

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Why a Growing Need for Social Media Managers

There used to be a time when you could look up towards the sky and see an advertisement in the form of an airplane, tugging a banner saying “Come Eat at Sloppy’s Joe’s!”, or the Goodyear Blimp flashing an advertisement for their famous tires. Traditional advertising methods for local businesses used to be the yellow pages, newspaper, radio and television. But times have changed. Though people still watch television, read the newspaper and listen to the radio, the internet and satellite radio have changed the way people advertise. In this age of cell phones, individuals are seldom in reach of the yellow pages and amazingly, now individuals can get the news from their i pods!

With growing popularity of the social media platforms, businesses, small and large, are forced to change the way they promote themselves. With Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and You Tube, people are spending a lot more time on the internet and a lot less time thumbing through the yellow pages. Running a local business successfully today absolutely requires using social media. Companies like Coke, Home Depot and Ford Motor Company are already utilizing links to multiple Social Media platforms. And Pepsi Cola this year has pulled out of the Super Bowl to concentrate on social media. And it’s even been projected that by the end of this year, 97% of all retailers will be marketing their products and services on Facebook.

With this new trend, corporations are now seeking assistants to coordinate campaigns for these social media platforms. For that reason, social media manager is now a new hot buzzword that’s all over the internet. Let’s face it; businesses do whatever they have to do to reach potential customers. And right now, they’re all over the Net. Interestingly, the job site Simply Hired is currently advertising over 19,000 positions of social media specialists of some sort for businesses of various sizes.

So can you appreciate why there’s a growing need for “Social Media Managers?

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