As part of our first series of Facebook Lives on our free social media and digital marketing group, Social Souls – Sarah Kerrigan, social media evangelist and trainer at Jellyfish Agency, joined us for a LIVE. Sarah shared so many gems about how to optimise your Facebook Advertising campaigns. Talking, audience segmentation, how to optimise audience insights, getting your head round the practicalities of working with the Facebook Pixel and more… tune in here:
A few weeks ago, I decided to set up Social Souls. A private group specifically for people who have questions around social media or digital marketing.
Why set up a group? Well, pretty much, on a weekly basis, I get an email or a message asking me a question. Largely, the message goes something along the lines of…
‘Hi Michelle – in your capacity as social media ‘queen’, ‘guru’, ‘expert’ … (of which I am none by the way), … what do you suggest…, how do I do…, do you know how I…? Etc, etc.
You get the picture.
Don’t get me wrong, I love helping and supporting, I’m a natural educator – and where I can, I do. But the reality is, that … I don’t know everything. Yep, very comfortable putting that out there.
And really, honestly, who does?
I love the saying, ‘If you’re the smartest person in the room, then you’re in the wrong room’ – and I couldn’t agree more as in this ever-changing world of social and digital – we’re all continuously learning. It’s part of keeping up.
So, it got me thinking about the best way to facilitate a useful solution and voila – a group, titled, Social Souls was created.
I toyed with putting the group on LinkedIn – but then in reality, I asked myself the question, when did I last visit a LinkedIn Group? For some reason, Groups on LinkedIn seem to have significantly lost their momentum over recent years. Personally, I’m hoping there’s a resurgence because gathering a collective of like-minded individuals all with the purpose of sharing knowledge, asking questions and encouraging everyone to learn more and get smarter – can only be a good thing. Right?
For now, the group is on Facebook. After all – who isn’t part of Zuckerberg’s empire?
It’s early days – but so far so good. There’s a mix of industry professionals, educators, business owners, individuals, marketers, social media managers, PR and comms people. And the conversations and support are a plenty. In fact, this week, I received a telephone call, on my landline, (I know, unheard of), from one of the Social Souls – simply calling to say how much value they were gaining from the group and thanking me for pulling it together and curating content and questions. The main takeaway – people enjoy the group, are learning and finding it really useful.
As an avid reader, in fact, total bookaholic – when writing my latest book, ‘Get Social – Social Media Strategy and Tactics for Leaders’, (shameless plug pre-order if you wish ;), I was recommended to follow and connect with a few people. And a few of them had published books, so of course, as an author in the space, I’m always keen to learn from others. I was introduced to John Stepper, and his book, Working out Loud, which discusses real world examples of how working and workplaces are being transformed by ‘working out loud’. At the same time, (I often read in tandem), I started to read, Isabel De Clercq’s book, Social Technologies in Business. Isabel’s book, brings together 13 influencers in the social technologies space, each penning their own chapter and sharing their professional viewpoint. In fact, in many ways, her book is a perfect example of ‘working out loud’.
This also got me thinking about Social Souls – and the great things that were starting to happen just by simply bringing together a collection of people, with a shared purpose of supporting one another – with no other intention than to share knowledge and learn.
No selling, no pitching, no advertorials and certainly NO EGOs.
A safe place where people can feel free to ask ‘stupid questions’, in the knowledge, that no question is a stupid question – it’s purely an opportunity to learn, one to many.
Social Souls is also a great example of ‘working out loud’ – we’re all learning so much from one another. We share our views, our work, our experiences, our challenges – and the wisdom of the crowd provides practical real world, fast learning and support.
In fact, in a recent ‘live stream’ I did into the group, I called us a ‘smart organisation’. We are rworking smarter. Gleaning information from one another, cutting out unnecessary strife, hassle and time by learning methodologies and short cuts from others.
Someone else may have already tested and measured a specific tactic. And instead of one test going on at a time – perhaps 4 or 5 are being conducted – all individually doing their own work, yet bringing their work and findings back to the group – to glean insights collectively. Brilliant. We’re like a human algorithm.
If we were a true organisation we would be working really smart. No silos, no departments – just knowledge, learning, shortcuts and transparency. My kind of organisation.
This way of working is starting to happen. Yet it’s very much fertile territory. Social technologies in organisations are starting to break down silos allowing information to flow more freely. But what about bringing other organisations into the conversation? In Social Souls there are other ‘consultants’ in the social media space, a few of us, do exactly the same work. And that’s the real wonder. The fact that – it doesn’t even matter. We’re all learning from each other. Instead of keeping everything close to our chest for FEAR of someone stealing our ideas – we’re sharing our ideas and helping to generate more creativity, insight and know-how. We’re all learning smarter… faster.
So, here’s my big thanks to Social Souls, and everyone participating so openly and transparently. And teaching me a thing or two about the benefits of ‘working out loud’.
Meantime, would love to hear your views about the future of work, collaborative working, and not only breaking down silos within organisation, but breaking down silos within industries and sectors.
Over to you…
Michelle Carvill – Helping leaders and organisations to ‘Get Social’. Making a difference one leader at a time. Founder of digital marketing and social media agency Carvill Creative, Curator of Social Souls. Author of Get Social.
We’re pretty much at the start of a brand new year. And while we are on the subject, I’d like to wish you a very Happy New Year – are you looking forward to 2018? I certainly am!
I predict exciting developments ahead for marketing and social media this year – and if you take a look around at those predicting which trends are likely to have an impact, they agree.
So, what are the top predictions I hear you cry! Well… the main standout so far is yet again, video – both live streaming, recorded and ads – and how ‘video’ is set to continue to dominate our social media feeds.
At the beginning of last year Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, had said, ‘I see video as a mega trend’ – and sure enough here we are 12 months down the line and video consumption continues to rise. In fact Cisco forecasts that by 2021, 82% of all consumer internet traffic will be video. An incredible figure, but it doesn’t feel like we’re so far off that right now.
The amount of time people spend on social media continues to increase year on year – we only have to take a look at our own behaviour as well as those around us to work that out – and so the opportunities to attract and engage with new and existing customers using video are certainly set to increase.
The majority of the time we spend on social media is via our mobile devices, so the battle for mobile video attention will only get tougher. And of course, whilst the platform of video is one thing, it’s the content aspect which is the all-important factor. To truly engage, content, regardless of media, has to be relevant. The challenge we as publishers face is not just about getting video views and clicks, (but that too is a factor), but primarily it’s about getting that relevant video in front of your target audience and understanding what they do after they have watched your video. Analytics in Facebook and Instagram Lives currently give you some decent indications on how many people have viewed the video content, when, and for how long. And undoubtedly improved forms of analytics will evolve to be able to help businesses to achieve specific, and more importantly effective, business outcomes.
Jump forward a year and it will be interesting to revisit where we are with video in our feeds and indeed in our marketing and communication strategies.
Here at Carvill, whilst I love to get my musings down in written format – so too will we be picking up the pace with video. Facebook Lives, online training videos, webinars and even a podcast are all on our broadcasting horizon.
We’ll be using video for personal branding, thought leadership, training and education, how to, problem solving, FAQs, demos – it’s pretty much on the agenda to ramp up our competence and activity with video in all of these areas. And encouraging our clients to either start or build upon their video activity.
My question to you therefore is – what you are doing around video content and how can you make video work as part of your communication strategy?
Michelle Carvill, business and marketing consultant, author of The Business of Being Social, speaker, founder and Director at Carvill Creative.
Just finalised my third book: Get Social – Practical Strategies and Tactics for Leaders – to be published by Kogan Page in May 2018.
For information about how team Carvill can help you or your team with building meaningful connections with your audiences – simply get in touch.
Looking for conversation and support around digital marketing and social media when you need it? Become a Social Soul. Join our brand new, FREE to join Social Souls Facebook Group – the place for conversation around modern marketing, making things happen and mindset. Because… in an ever changing world of digital marketing and social media there are NO stupid questions.
You or your business may already be fully engaged with social media. All may be going brilliantly. Your social activity is a huge success. Your audiences are engaged. Your campaign and channel strategies thriving. Your ROI clear and positive. If this is the case, then STOP reading this article, as it’s not for you.
This article is for those that are frustrated with social media activity. That frustration may manifest from personally feeling that you’re not doing enough, not knowing where or how to start or that you’re just not getting the results you desire. Or it may be the case that you’re frustrated that social isn’t being given any headspace in your organisation. There isn’t any buy in from the CEO or senior management.
If you’re still reading – then right now – I want you to think differently. I want you to forget the words ‘social’ and ‘media’ – and instead, I want you to contemplate the following words:
Customer Engagement strategy
Customer communications strategy
Customer outreach / feedback strategy
Perhaps these words / concepts aren’t as ‘current’ as the two words we’re forgetting right now – but if you think about the bigger picture – they give a far deeper meaning to the tweets, posts and pics shared as part of ‘social’ ‘media’ activity.
Every strategy should start with the question – why? Why are we/you doing this?
This approach helps you to uncover your purpose. You can then work backwards from your purpose. Figuring out the various steps required to get there. Helping you to be specific and bring some clarity to what you’re looking to achieve via social channels.
So your question right now is Why? Why are you doing/wanting to do social media?
The answer you get then steers all that you do. If you’re doing social because it’s 2017 and that’s what all businesses now do – then I suggest you stop doing it and go back to asking the ‘why’ question. Doing social just because everyone else is – is not a strategy.
For CEOs or senior leaders that consider ‘social media’ as nothing more than a time wasting, non-direct revenue generating distraction – (whether that’s your thinking or you’re hopeful to change someone else’s thinking) – opening your eyes to the deeper meaning and talking of client / customer engagement, communication strategies, outreach / feedback strategies, can help to overcome the short-sightedness.
Social media channels are enablers. Enablers to assist you to achieve necessary client / customer / new business engagement. Used as part of an integrated campaign or channel plan, they can steer or enhance activity. You may lead some activities via social channels – or you may plug-in social to support other channel activities.
Let’s face it – without getting caught up on B2B or B2C – let’s just contemplate P2P – people to people. There are more than a billion ‘people’ logging into Facebook daily. (And that’s just Facebook – remember there are many other channels where people spend serious amounts of time). Some of them will be your customers or your potential customers. If social media is where your customers are – then shouldn’t you be building the channels into your communication / engagement plans?
If you’ve got stuck in your thinking of what social is and why you do or don’t do social media – I ask you to step back and really answer the ‘why’ question from a strategic perspective. And then do a bit of a business reality check to address any potential gaps:
What’s your customer engagement plan / program?
How do you actively listen to what customers are saying about you / your business?
Where do you source ideas for relevant and engaging content?
How do you engage those customers/prospective customers who are active on social channels?
Is there an integrated communications strategy in place?
To those that still think of ‘social media’ as activities which are not business critical, then calling these important endeavours ‘social media’ – isn’t really doing anyone any favours.
So stop calling it social media – and step into the bigger picture.
Of course, this isn’t the first study in this arena.
Back in 2014, I recall writing a piece following research on how computers were impacting human behaviour – in that study, it showed that browsing Facebook was associated with ‘lower life satisfaction’ and a decline in mood – but interestingly, browsing the internet generally, didn’t have the same negative impact.
The negative impact was found to be unique to Facebook use.
Whilst Facebook is still the most popular social network – with more than 1 billion people logging in daily – people aren’t actually using Facebook to be ‘social’. Only around 9% of Facebook users’ activities involve communicating with others. The ‘social’ aspect is therefore really low – with the majority of people either posting random pieces of content or passively consuming content by spending the majority of time browsing and scrolling through feeds.
Two key aspects associated with decline in mood and lower life satisfaction were identified in all three studies:
1) When presented with looking in at other people’s perceived perfect lives – photosof fabulous holidays, friends having a fun, date nights, weddings, achievements – rather than feeling good for your friends, you can start to become envious – you and your life may start to feel inadequate, and this in turn leads to a decline in your mood.
2) Then there’s the other aspect – the time that you spend. You start to feel bad about being under productive; remorse sets in about wasting your time looking at what’s going on in others’ lives. You question why you do it – how sad must you be to spend so much time looking at other peoples’ lives. No life of your own… etc etc – and so the self-fulfilling negative cycle continues.
But… here’s the good news:
Simply being aware of the above two points can make all the difference to how you let your Facebook activity impact you. Knowing that your time on the channel may have a negative impact helps to eradicate those negative feelings.
So to take action and to keep that negativity at bay…
1) Be aware. Understand that too much browsing is going to potentially decline your mood. Catch yourself if you start to feel inadequate, dull or sad – and get off the channel quickly. Phone a friend, speak to your family – do something nourishing and truly social.
2) Limit the mindless browsing. Give yourself a limited time to check up on your social activity – this way, if you invite a bit of discipline into how much time you spend on the channels, you won’t give yourself a hard time for spending an hour being unproductive. Instead, limit your time to a 10 minute catch up – and pat yourself on the back when you log out and get back to other things.
3) Don’t make social comparisons with others on your Facebook feed. The majority of posts made are ‘hero’ posts – people sharing the best moments, celebrations, happy times. It’s rare people post about their fears or insecurities – so stay realistic and see it for what it is.
4) Be truly social on social – social channels aren’t all bad, they can be brilliant for networking, for business and for support. There are loads of Facebook Groups that are really useful, that are fabulous communities for people to come together to be supportive of one another. They’re not just a platform where people post the best times of their lives – but really useful social networks. Check out local groups in your area – and tune into ones that you’re interested in – there are mum’s groups, craft groups, support groups – you name it, there’s a community.
5) Get social offline. And of course – make the majority of your social activity, truly social. Get offline and get personable. Pick up your phone and don’t head for the keyboard to text – but instead make a call, have a giggle with friends, or just chat about how you’re doing – how they’re doing. Just be social. We’re social animals, we need that connectivity.
So if your social activity is making you ‘low’ – remember these 5 simple points, understand that it’s normal to feel bad and why – and remember all the great stuff that’s good about your life.
Just because you’re not publishing it on Facebook doesn’t mean it’s not a beautiful, worthy, nourishing and fulfilling moment. Enjoy…the joy this Christmas.
When you click onto your Twitter profile, you’ll notice that there is a button labelled ‘Lists’- not knowing what it means or what it does – you, like me, may have always ignored it. However it is a really useful way of tidying up your feed and grouping together your favourite tweeters, if used effectively.
Lists are just what they say they are. They are a list of Twitter accounts, which you can communicate with. They can be used to focus on just one topic – for example talking to a group of your old college friends or following a group of journalists in your industry. By having just those relevant people in your list, irrelevant tweets from other people you follow become invisible. You can choose to have your list as either open or private. By it being open, the public can see your list and the tweets that have been sent within it. However if you choose for it to be private only the people within that list can see the tweets, which makes it more personal.
Another great thing about a Twitter list is that they help you find new contacts and new people who you can interact with. In order to create a Twitter list you:
Login to Twitter
Click on ‘create a new list’
Choose a name for your list
Decide whether you want it open or private
Click ‘create list’
And now you can add users and search for new people to add to your list.
The only rules to having a list is that you can’t have any more than 500 people in one list at one time, and each account can have a maximum of 20 lists assigned to them.
To finish with, Twitter can be very chaotic at times, and so by having a list it allows you to interact with only the people you choose to interact with. By being on someone’s list you are far more likely to be found by the right tweeter.
Thanks for listening and stay tuned to our blog for more helpful Twitter advice.
Written by Eliza Bennett – Eliza is a 16 year old student at Furze Platt Sixth Form, she is currently on work experience with Taylor Alden PR Company and Carvill Creative.
Facebook Live is a valuable new addition to the thriving and liveliest social network of them all.
Whilst other video streaming services already exist – Periscope, Meerkat and Blab – there’s no doubt that with 1.65 billion active monthly users – the sheer scale of users gives Facebook Live all it needs to dominate the live streaming space.
So, what is Live Streaming?
Pretty much what is says it is. In just the same way you can post a status update or photo or pre recorded video to you Facebook newsfeed, you can now stream in real time.
How do I start my own live broadcast?
Creating your own live broadcast is really simple.
Go to your Facebook App (you’re probably going to be recording via your mobile – right?).
When you click on ‘Status’ – to create a post – you’ll see in the bottom menu bar to the right of the camera icon, a person in a circle – broadcast icon.
Simply click the icon – and you’ll be taken to a screen where you can type a Title / Description for your broadcast – and you can choose who you want to see the video – ie: friends / public etc.
Then all that’s left for you to do is select the Go Live option.
But that’s the simple bit…
So whilst setting it up and getting started is pretty simple – of course, if you’re going to be using this feature to assist with marketing your business or brand – then as with all other marketing activity you do, you really do need to do a little planning and prep.
After all – during the broadcast there’s plenty of opportunity for people to interact with your video – not only will you see a viewer count but you’ll also see the live comments and reactions.
So you if you’re doing the broadcast as a marketing activity, rather than simply a spontaneous live stream of an amazingly talented busker – then you will want to make sure as many people as possible know about the broadcast. And of course the broadcast lives on.
Once you’re streaming live – to finish the broadcast you simply hit the “Finish” button. The video will then be posted to your timeline, so those who may have missed out on the live broadcast can view it at their leisure.
You’ll also be able to save the video to your camera roll.
So you’ve got this great, simple way to record live video and have video saved to your timeline – to share with all that visit. And of course, there’s the opportunity to do some Facebook Advertising and ‘BOOST’ your Facebook posts to broaden the reach of your content too. So, with all that in mind – let’s look at some ideas for great content and tips to drive engagement and make your broadcasts really work for you.
Broadcasting Tips and Ideas
If you want more people to see your video – consider tagging friends you think would be interested when typing the video description. This will send them an instant notification alerting them to tune in. And of course, if they share it to their friends whilst streaming – the broadcast audience just got a whole lot wider.
Another method is to post a Facebook status update telling friends that you’re going live at a certain time. We suggest offering at least a days’ notice – close enough so that people will remember but also enough time to make sure they don’t miss it. It may even be that you set up a ‘regular’ broadcast slot. For example – Small Business Marketing Tips at 10am every Tuesday. As mentioned earlier – Facebook Ads are available for you to promote your broadcasts too – if you want more people to tune in – then in just the same way you would promote an event, promote your Facebook Live via ads. And of course, there are lots of other channels you can use to promote the broadcast too – Twitter, email to name just two.
There are so many stats advising us that engagement rates online are short. That our attention span has waned and now all videos must be short and to the point – as users are likely to drop off after just 30 seconds. Whilst this may be the case – there’s definitely evidence to show that when a user is engaged with relevant and purposeful content – they will stick around. Most TV programs are minimum 30 mins as are the majority of podcasts. So perhaps it’s not about our attention span but our interest span. It’s interesting that Facebook Live enables you to broadcast for up to 90 minutes – that’s more than you get on any other channel. Our recommendation is that you test engagement levels – start to see when people drop out – the platform is as yet too new to provide any robust insights into what the optimum Facebook Live broadcast looks like. So for now – test and measure.
Engagement is all about the content – and if the content is relevant to the audience, they’ll stick around and hopefully, come back for more. There’s so many directions you can go with your broadcast – here are just a few ideas for you to consider:
Interviews with people in your organisation. There will be expertise within your business – whether it’s the CEO, marketing team, customer service team, practitioners or IT gurus – there is useful knowledge to share. Interviewing ‘experts’ about practical things – talking through some FAQs or tips and advice – interviewing people not only provides some useful content, but also gives some insight into your team and who they are. After all – people do business with people. And it’s a great way to build trust and for people to see the ‘whites’ of the expert’s eyes.
Product updates. It may be that you’ve just added a new feature to a product – perfect opportunity to showcase live exactly what’s changed – and the benefits. Often things are tricky to communicate via the written word – are far simpler in video show and tell – perfect opportunity to use live streaming.
Events. If the event is live then why not broadcast it. This means that even those delegates that couldn’t make the actual physical event – can still attend ‘live’ – via Facebook Live. It doesn’t have to be the whole event – it may just be the keynote speech you want to share and capture.
Behind the scenes. Perfect for sharing insights as to what’s going on behind the scenes – could very well be just a regular day in the office – or some new artwork that’s arrives, the new office dog, new décor, new layout, before and after etc – the possibilities are vast.
Practice Makes Perfect
And finally, live streaming is live streaming. The charm of live streaming is the ‘real time’ relaxed and very ‘human’ aspect of it – so you don’t want to ‘over’ polish it. However, at the same time, you don’t want to switch people off by having a camera that’s jumping all over the place causing mild vertigo, dodgy sound so that your content is illegible and odd camera angles which only showcase your forehead.
It’s worth putting in a little bit of practice so that you know that you’ve got a good ‘shot’. Perhaps use a tripod – and experiment with different backgrounds / settings etc . Again, depending on your objective – then the prep will be different.
So that’s it – hopefully, a relatively simple explanation on how to get started – and some useful ideas and pointers.
Look forward to seeing some of your Facebook Live streams – simply tag me in and I’m there…
Lately I’ve had several opportunities to speak to groups of people about their social media activity.
When I’m testing where people are with social – and asking which channels they’re using – Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest and LinkedIn are always commonplace. So what about Twitter?
Twitter always seems to be the one that most people have the biggest challenge with. In fact when I dig around a little, it appears that for those that have never ventured onto Twitter – there’s genuine ‘fear’ of doing so.
I’ve been a huge Twitter fan for about 7 years now. For me – it’s just got better and better. Sure – you still get people talking about their lunch, cats and other potentially irrelevant stuff. But if you can see past the noise – let me showcase just 5 things that may tempt you to give it a go. (I could give you many more reasons than 5 – but I try to keep my blogs short ;)).
Why I love Twitter
1) It’s a brilliant network
Twitter is an incredibly useful platform to connect with people. When I was writing my first book – I needed to get permissions from a significant number of people and organisations.
Faced with the task – I immediately took to Twitter. Using Google search and Twitter’s search, it was a relatively simple task to locate the people I needed to speak to and tweet them. Before I knew it – I had made relevant connections, was able to grab further contact details and continue our conversations in a far more effective way.
I remember being really surprised at just how many people responded to questions and requests I was making. People that really ‘get’ Twitter – understand that it’s about building relationships – it’s a two way conversation. Of course there’s a whole load of people, brands and businesses on Twitter simply using it as a publishing platform. Pushing out noise about themselves to irrelevant audiences and never listening or engaging – but, that’s not using Twitter smartly.
If you set out to build relationships and have authentic and useful conversations – then Twitter is a highly effective platform. Checkout the regular Thursday chat #TwitterSmarter – where conversations happen each week about the best use of Twitter.
2) It’s real time
Twitter is the place where you can find out about pretty much anything – in real time and immediately see what other people think too. News tends to break on Twitter first. You can see topics that are trending and join in conversations.
3) Search function is ace
Just as 59 million of us in the UK are dependent on Google search – I am equally dependent on Twitter search. The search function on Twitter enables you to type in any keyword or string of keywords to see what’s going on in the Twittersphere – right now. There are of course more sophisticated ways of using Twitter search – in much the same way as Boolean search for Google. Where you can be specific about location, person, words etc. Take a look here for more if you’re keen to do some smart digging around..
4) I can tune in to exactly what I want
Twitter connects me to the people, publishers, brands and influencers I want to hear from. I have total choice as to what I tune into. It’s interesting that more than 40% of people on Twitter have never even sent a tweet. They’re not on the platform to talk or network – but rather just to tune in to the newsfeeds they’re interesting in.
When you want to tune into your favourite celeb, footballer, artist, author – or want to be entertained by the latest tweets from comedians or writers – it’s highly likely they’re on Twitter sharing their news by the minute.
From a business perspective, you can tune into what’s happening in your landscape, trade press, influencers – even competitors – and of course, your clients / customers too.
The beauty of Twitter is that you can tune in – by following someone – and if what they’re saying doesn’t fit for you – then you simply tune out – by unfollowing them. The choice is yours.
5. It’s short, simple and to the point
When I first encountered Twitter all those years ago – I do remember thinking – huh – what nonsense. How can people have conversations in 140 characters. But those clever silicon valley boys knew what they were doing. The fact that Twitter is so succinct and to the point – is one of it’s finest qualities. The feed is easily scannable – and if you’re interested in something and there’s a link – you can easily go off piste for a bit – explore and then come back.
And if you don’t have time to read the bigger picture – then you can simply – favourite it and come back to it when you do have time.
So that’s it – just 5 of the reasons why I love Twitter. If you haven’t explore Twitter yet – then perhaps start by simply tuning in to the stuff you’re interested in. And if you’re on there but not quite sure it’s working for you – check out the many Twitter articles on this blog – to optimise your presence.
Whilst we can all get bogged down in ‘doing the doing’ – I find it so rewarding and energising when I take the time to get out and about to talk to people.
The last couple of months have seen me doing a number of talks – all about a similar and popular topic.
February saw me talking at The Chelsea Design Club about the practicalities of making social work for design businesses. Early March I joined Robert Harding at The Photographer’s Gallery to speak to a room of photographers about ‘getting social’. And just last week I joined the team at LinkedIn in the UK HQ to talk about social and ROI – and last week I joined Richmond Event’s Digital Marketing Forum – again, focusing on ROI.
There’s no doubt about it – social media ROI is indeed a hot topic.
So, what’s the magic ROI formula? What should people be measuring and what should they expect to see?
Of course, in all realms of digital marketing we’ve got data coming out of our data. Big data truly exists – and there are dashboards a plenty that will enable us to track our customer’s every move.
As a marketer, I do love data – BUT I only ‘truly’ love and respect data that is really useful.
Measuring what matters
And so that brings me to what I consider is really key for measuring ROI when it comes to social media.
I love the saying by Zig Ziglar – ‘Those that aim for nothing hit it with remarkable accuracy’. And I find this is particularly true when it comes to measuring what matters with social.
With social channels, you get a lot of data – much of which is highly visible. Followers, retweets, shares, engagement etc – and of course we can be measuring these aspects. But to really understand social media ROI – I believe you really have to be very clear on what it is you are looking to achieve at the outset.
It’s common knowledge that it’s unusual for social channels to behave as direct marketing channels – so sales directly achieved via Facebook and Twitter are unlikely to be anywhere near as direct as from other sources. So stating that you want 50 direct sales is potentially unrealistic (however, this does depend on activities and sector).
So, it’s about being realistic about what can be achieved via social and where social makes an impact. The wonderful Gary Vaynerchuk aligns social media ROI with the brilliant question, ‘What’s the ROI of your mother?’ – however, whilst I agree with much of what Gary V states – I do believe that there are some practical ways to measure social media ROI.
To review some of the more practical aspects of social activity:
Increase Brand Awareness
Here you may very well be asking:
Are we growing relevant followers? Note that relevant is a key word here.
Establish Credibility and Trust
Are we getting endorsements/shares from influential people?
How is our audience responding to these influencers?
Are those influencers extending the reach of our audience?
Connect with your Audience
Is your audience responding well to your content?
Is the content you share encouraging engagement?
What levels of shares, reach and discussion is our content achieving?
Find New Leads/Drive Sales
Is social activity bringing people back to your website?
Have we achieved a certain amount of sign ups / downloads etc.
How is social helping us to convert to sales / customers?
The above areas are by no means the only aspects you need to be considering – each campaign activity you undertake will have it’s own objectives. For example: you may set a target of partnering with 10 key influencers in your space – or connecting with influential bloggers. Once you have identified metrics that really matter – and have set off with the end in mind. Then, and only then, can you have any idea whether or not your endeavours are truly hitting the targets. (Remember, what Zig said – right!).
Having objectives at the outset can really steer your activity:
I have a very simple ‘let’s clarify objectives’ model:
What does success look like? What objectives / outcomes are we looking to achieve?
What metrics / evidence do we need so that we can measure progress?
What discipline will we apply to ensure we are continuously monitoring and learning?
Of course, these aspects don’t just apply to social – and once you know what it is that you want to achieve – and what those metrics / indicators look like – you can even start to apply a monetary value to them so that you can you work out exactly what ROI looks like.
Let’s create a rudimentary example to clarify the £ point:
Let’s say landing a guest blog on a pre identified influential blog has a monetary value to you of say, £500. If you therefore set a target of 5 such guest blogs over the quarter – then if you achieve the target – the monetary value (return) is £2500. Make sense?
In the world of social media – finding return on investment is possible – particularly if you have set out with very clear objectives. Therefore, don’t just dive in an engage – before you do – remember to do your planning and set out those objectives – start with the end in mind.
That way – measuring the ROI of social is a whole lot simpler.
This week I did a talk to a group of photographers focusing on how they could be utilising the social platforms to help them achieve objectives.
It was no surprise that Instagram was the most popular social platform for the photographers – however, it was a little surprising that not one of them had heard about Instragram’s ‘Weekend Hashtag Project’ – a great engagement campaign from Instagram, that could make all the difference to your visibility.
So let’s walk through what happens:
Every Friday Instagram announces the weekend challenge. As you can see – last week, it was all about sights and sounds – the goal to make videos with interesting or ambient, or natural sound.
You then simply add the relevant hashtag- (in this case #WHPsightsandsounds) to photos and videos when uploading them over the weekend.
You can only upload your own visuals and we believe (although we haven’t tested this as yet) that only images and video actually shot over the weekend are eligible. (So you can’t upload from a past library) – which makes sense right – because after all, it is a ‘weekend project’.
The weekend project challenge is announced every Friday via the Instagram blog – and the team here @carvillcreative stay tuned via tweets from the Instagram Twitter account (@instagram). The #WHP is always consistent – so you can take a look in Instagram using the search tool to see the vast range of projects executed so far.
Every Monday Instagram then selects some of their favourite ‘projects’ and showcases them on their blog and social platforms – which can ignite some serious attention. Those featured (and it’s arbitrary) – they really don’t just showcase popular Instagrammers with thousands of followers, as you’ll see – people with as few as 10 followers have been showcased.
So, if one of your objectives it to get noticed on Instagram – then start tracking the Weekend Hashtag Project – it may just be that all the fun you have taking part in the project, may just reap some serious rewards.
No matter what social media platform you are using, you’re bound to have noticed the increase in videos appearing in your timeline. It could just be a funny viral that’s being shared over and over again, or perhaps a slick, high budget, celebrity endorsement. Whatever it may be, online videos are fast becoming the leading marketing medium, with the potential to take over from TV ads.
More and more brands are now on the continuous lookout for ways to grab our attention (and our cash) using social media videos to make their product stand out from the crowd.
At this time of year especially, the buzz is even greater. Retailer John Lewis used social media to launch their Christmas ad last month, with the hashtag #ManOnTheMoon all over Twitter. And what did we all do? Liked it, Shared it. It’s so easy to do, and that’s what makes it work. You don’t have to be in your living room, watching the TV to be targeted. With a mobile phone or tablet, you can be reached anywhere..
How we create videos now has also contributed to this rising trend. With the right app, nearly anyone can create a fairly professional looking video. It doesn’t always need to be complicated, it could just be a matter of getting your phone out and capturing the moment at just the right time. Originality is key…and humour, we all feel compelled to share something we find amusing.
Last year, we blogged about the importance of a Video Strategy, so find out what is working for your audience, what is liked and more importantly perhaps, what isn’t. Facebook now have Video Metrics to help with this, you can find out all sorts of valuable stats about your video posts.
So as 2015 comes to an end, we predict 2016 will be huge for Social Video as brands realise that video really is leading the way when it comes to content marketing.
It was back in 2009 (blimey almost 7 years ago now) when I blogged about right person, right message and right time.
The post largely focused on direct mail – and the fact that many of our clients were challenged by the fact that they were getting low response rates to their one hit wonder marketing attempts.
Of course, in the past 7 years – everything has changed and yet nothing has changed. The sentiment in the blog post I wrote almost 7 years ago remains the same – it’s just that tools, channels and technologies enable us even more with our endeavours to get the right message to the right person at the right time.
However, whilst the tactics haven’t changed, the playing field has. There’s now more content delivered to consumers daily than ever before.
With an abundance of content around – and technology at our 24/7 fingertips making whatever we need accessible to us – then there’s real skill required to get into the hearts and minds of your audience.
However, the practical tactics I talked about in 2009 remain:
1) A clear understanding of the purpose of the mailing (what need is it fulfilling).
2) Accurate and relevant targeting (the benefits may be great but if they’re not relevant to your audience – you’ve missed the point).
3) A way to compel and involve the reader to take action and respond.
So let’s take a look at the winning combination: Right message, right person and the right time.
Targeting is the first step in any campaign. Question your logic: who are you trying to attract? Who do you want to reach? Targeting is easier these days, but you still have to have systems in place to learn as much as possible. You need to have some knowledge of your audience, in order to be able to target effectively.
A great start to targeting is utilising existing customer information, their user behaviours, the journey they’ve taken to reach you and where possible, ask questions during your purchase processes where relevant to find out more about them. Such information should enable you to identify with them – understand what motivates them. The more you have the more you are able to profile them into segments that focus on them as real people rather than ‘batches of behaviour’. The more your know, the closer you can get, the more personalised you can be – the more authentic the relationship you can build.
There are many tactics and ideas for making your communications ‘stand out’. And indeed some businesses spend enormous amounts of money on gimmicks, creative and incentives both online and offline.
It’s worth remembering that what customers (aka people) are really looking for is relevance – they are far more likely to respond to a mailing which has an offer they are interested in, than to one which has a great design or gimmick, but is of no relevance to them.
Indeed, it’s easy to get carried away with the ‘attention grabbing gimmicks’ – this is the fun stuff. And whilst the ‘whacky’ designs may catch attention – what all communication experts agree on is the importance of ‘relevance of message’. In a time strapped world, if you’re going to ‘show up’ and be useful, then you need to be as relevant as possible.
Experts agree that the creation of the ‘message’ needs research and planning.
The focus of the message is to win attention and encourage your readers to take action. Some key tips to consider when crafting your message:
Be yourself – personalise communications as much as you can and demonstrate a sound knowledge of your audience’s business dynamics (if relevant) and a clear understanding of the obstacles they face. If the reader believes you have empathy with their situation – they are far more likely to engage with your message.
Don’t talk too much about yourself – readers are interested in what you can do for them – not what you do. Focus on the opportunities your products and services present for them. A good mantra is to uncover the ‘benefits of the benefits’. If you’re too ‘feature’ focused – you’re missing the critical element of what’s in it for them.
Use the words ‘you’ and ‘your’ as much as possible and minimise the ‘we’s’. This will warm up your messaging considerably.
If there is an offer in your message – then be direct about it – and get the value proposition or the offer in early on in the communication. If you can save them £500 immediately (and if that’s a relevant message to them) – then tell them this in the headline. And of course, repeat the offer again at other points – don’t let them miss the opportunity.
Make it easy for people to buy/engage/take action. So often I read communications where I’m thinking – ‘what do they want me to do’. Be sure you have clear instruction of how to take action.
Be sure to keep any response mechanisms (in order for people to engage and take action) as simple as possible and where relevant provide a few response options. Don’t stipulate that orders must be done ‘online’ – as that may present an obstruction to buy.
A key aspect to all effective communication is ‘timing’. It’s very difficult to know exactly when your target customer is ‘ready to buy / engage or take action’. Of course, there may be some seasonal opportunities which determine an opportune time – and so consider this when planning. But remind yourself, that it still doesn’t provide any guarantees.
Timing is exactly why ‘one hit wonders’ are extremely rare – if evident at all. More often than not – deciding when to communicate, email, target – is more of a case of what you can internally manage and resource.
And that’s fine – provided that you don’t plan on doing communications or campaigns in ‘isolation’. By this I mean – that you do not attempt to attain the elusive ‘one hit wonder’ – but instead plan an integrated marketing campaign of which direct messaging is one component.
Regular communication is the only solution to the ‘right time’ problem. Even with sophisticated consumer behaviourial profiling, knowing just ‘when’ a customer is ready to buy – requires skills beyond the realms of our 5 senses. Of course, marketing automation helps us to keep moving those interested in what we’ve shared forward – but again, be sure all communications are as ‘human’ and personable as possible. Often – automated communications are obvious. I know I’m being marched through a funnel – albeit a sophisticated one. So make the experience as personable and personalised as possible.
Having continuous conversations with your audience is key as even if your offer is amazingly compelling – for many of the people you target, it may simply be a case that now is just not the right time for them. However, 6 months down the line – it may be the perfect time for them. And so – regular communication, providing genuine value with each message, allows you to build ‘share of mind’, loyalty, and eventually ‘hit the mark’.
Let’s think about it this way. Research in ‘sales activity’ tells us that the optimum number of times you need to ask the customer to buy in order to gain a positive result is 7. This tells us that regular communication is necessary to achieve the end objective.
So – right time, right person, right message, six simple words – yet a whole load of complexity in getting it right.
In a sea of sameness and overload of marketing messages, consumer offers and choice – making your marketing activity authentically personable and meaningful has never been more important. So taken on the challenge of complexity, commit to getting close to your audience so you genuinely understand their needs – and you’ve got a whole lot more chance of getting the right message, to the right person at the right time.
My message to you is that if you’re not investing time in learning – then you’re just ‘churning’. And my guess is, that’s not proving to be very effective.
Pinterest is now one of the fastest growing social media platforms – but there are still many business owners not using it!
We encourage all businesses – especially those who are product based, to be on Pinterest. Not only does the platform allow you to save creative ideas, but it’s also brilliant for small businesses that need to reach millions of people easily.
In order to improve your engagement on Pinterest and get even more exposure, we’ve put together a few strategies for you to start using:
Pin content that isn’t just your own
If you’re pinning other users content, it gets the attention of the original pinner and shows everyone that you’re an authentic, active member of the Pinterest community.
Don’t use hashtags – use rich pins
Instead of using hashtags, try using rich descriptions to make your content more searchable. Remember, details are key – but don’t make it too long – you want your audience to be able to pick up content quickly and easily.
Create pin it for later links
Just created a new blog post? A great thing that people are now doing on Pinterest is creating a ‘pin it for later’ board. By giving your readers the option to ‘pin the post for later,’ the reader can easily pin your blog post to their ‘read it later’ board on their own Pinterest account. This gives your audience a different an easy way to catch up with your content.
Use rich pins
Rich pins are an excellent way to make your content stand out and give your products more visibility. Rich pins means that you are able to pull extra information right on the pin itself.
Like other social media channels, a consistent sharing strategy is vital to get more exposure, followers and re-pins. The best strategies behind Pinterest engagement is to pin as much as possible – when you can.
Once you’ve put these simple steps into place you should start to see more engagement on your Pinterest account. Feel free to share your experience or ask any questions by tweeting us @carvillcreative.
So Facebook are feeding our ongoing need to add an emoji to everything we post or respond to. The ‘Like’ button doesn’t quite work with all Facebook posts and it can often lead to misinterpretation. We all feel awkward ‘liking’ someone’s bad news posts but currently that’s all we can do to say we’ve read and acknowledged.
But soon, with the new Facebook Reactions feature we’ll have an array of ‘emotions’ to choose from – introducing Love, Haha, Yay, Wow, Sad and finally, Angry.
Facebook consulted with sociologists to help decide what they think their users would use most – and the new Reactions seem to cover most emotions that we’re likely to share. In the ‘mobile’ world we now live in, hitting a Reaction button should work well. But the question is – will this reduce the number of comments we write? Probably…
For Facebook business pages, the number of Reactions they receive will be valuable and shouldn’t be ignored. Like online reviews, the more Love’s and Wow’s, the better. How people are reacting to a brand or business’s posts, even with just a click of a button, will give a great insight into their customer’s perception. Page owners will also be able to see the ‘reactions’ to all their posts within page insights in the same way that it currently shows all their likes.
Ireland and Spain are the lucky guinea pigs who are trialling the Reactions first, their mainly national base of friends was the reason for this and also because one is English speaking and the other obviously not.
As of yet there has been no mention when all users will be able to express their Reactions – but we’ll be sure to let you know as soon as we hear anything.