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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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, https://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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What is a Social Media Virtual Assistant

Find out what a social media virtual assistant does and how one can help you and your business.
Today, it’s essential and similar to brushing your teeth, that for businesses to develop and bloom, a social media presence is of utmost importance for thriving businesses. Mostly, it is due to people talking about your brand or product, negatively and positively.

Social media and the tools that they possess are extremely effective to reach millions of online users from around the world, verses a traditional website and definitely more effective than paper marketing because of technological advancement.

I know most of you’ve heard about Social Media, but have you begun the social media adventure yet?

I’m sure you feel that it’s important, but something is holding you back. Maybe you think it would take up too much of your time, or you just don’t have any idea where to start. One thing I know for sure…Social Media is here to stay.

A Social Media Virtual Assistant will help you to establish your social media presence, perform a variety of tasks, manage your social media accounts, and allow you more free time, so you can focus on your business. Social Media Virtual Assistants may even be helpful in areas that you haven’t even thought about such as researching and keeping up-to-date with social media marketing and how to help your business. They can also help to create a buzz about your brand or product through Facebook, Twitter, blogging, other social networks and forums. Outlined below are the major social media tasks they can perform for you.

A Social Media Virtual Assistant can:
<Perform Social Media Research, Strategies & Action Planning
<Setup Social Network Profiles
<Manage your Social Networks
<Use Marketing Strategies on Twitter, Facebook, & Online Video
<Manage your Online Reputation
<Perform Social Bookmarking
<Perform Article Marketing
<Perform Blog Commenting
<Post on Forums

So if you haven't taken the plunge yet, and don't really want to, or just cannot seem to find the time, now is the time to outsource all of your social media tasks to a Social Media Virtual Assistant.
This will help to create a more simple life and allow for adequate time to spend on the more important aspects of your business, as well as helping to increase your profits.

By Dawn Pigoni

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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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