Why are we obsessed with vanity metrics? Like Love Island, we know they’re bad for us, but we keep coming back for more. There’s a guilty pleasure in notching up followers, or clocking more likes on a post. But measurements that involve sheer numbers, such as follower counts and likes, don’t actually prove very much. They aren’t particularly good indicators of how well you’re really engaging your audience.
Social media is not about hard sell, or building up fan numbers. It’s about you and the relationship you have with your audience. Like all good relationships, it’s about building trust, having meaningful conversations and connecting with the people that matter.
Don’t get stuck on vanity metrics (numbers which look good on paper but actually don’t help your business goals). Try to do what you enjoy. Not only will you be more successful on social media but you’ll also have more fun. And if you’re having fun and being genuine, you’ll get a better response from your audience. It’s a win-win.
Having a strategy – and sticking to it – is essential to build engagement. It’s worth putting aside a couple of hours to make a quick, high level social media plan. Two hours invested now will mean you reap rewards later: set out your intentions so you know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.
The Social Media Reboot is a mini version of my Social Media Launch Pack. It’s 4 pages of templates for freelancers, sole traders and micro businesses (where you’re likely to be managing your own social media – and you’ll find it easier if your online voice reflects you).
I’m a lightweight user of Google Analytics. My questions are simple. What do people like to read? Which links are they clicking on? What keeps them coming back? My goals are to improve engagement and ensure the stuff I’m writing is relevant.
As a consultant, I have to understand what my audience wants. It’s good for me to know if something is useful or interesting. And if people like a particular topic, I can give them more about that. And less about things they don’t care about.
Social media analytics (eg Twitter, Facebook) are useful. But Google Analytics is invaluable once people have actually arrived on your website. It’s the best tool to measure user acquisition, behaviour and interests. If you haven’t already done so, read how to get started with Google Analytics.
Once you’ve set up Google Analytics for your website, here are 3 easy ways to track the effectiveness of your social media strategy.
What should employers think about when writing a social media policy? How do you protect your brand? And how far are employees’ opinions your business? These were the questions posed by Richard Cook at the start of Monzo’s Open Office September on Tuesday.
It was great to be on the panel, along with journalists Holly Brockwell and Carl Anka and legal advisor Frances Coyle. Richard (a community manager at Monzo) chaired, and around 50 people attended. You can watch the full video above.
It was a great debate, with loads of input from the audience, and some passionate contributions on all sides. The main theme that emerged was that it’s not so much brands as employees who need protection.
News sites and blogs are great sources of topical content which you can share with your social media followers. You can take a few minutes each day to scroll through your news feeds, pull out any stories that interest you, add a comment and share the links.
But don’t push out all your updates at once. This equates to spamming and is a surefire way to make people hit “unfollow”.
Instead, you can schedule your posts. This means your interactions will be spread out evenly over time. You reach more followers and, more importantly, you reach followers who tend to be online at different times to you.
Sharing relevant stories and articles is a great way to grow your network and connect with your customers on social media.
My clients often ask how to keep their social media channels topped up with engaging content. Most small businesses don’t have the luxury of a a full-time blogger or content creator: social media is usually something that’s shared throughout the team – or done by one or two people with other demands on their time.
An easy way to keep momentum going is to have a create and curate content strategy. It’s up to you what you want the split to be. Mine is probably 90/10 in favour of curated content (content from third party sources).
Back in the 1980s London agency BBH came up with a brilliant ad campaign that is now their corporate mantra. The ad was for Black Levi’s and featured a single black sheep in a flock of white ones. The strap-line ran: “When the world zigs, zag”.
Identify a gap in the market and fill it with something different enough to be exciting but relevant enough to sell: this has long been the holy grail of marketing.
In the past, the best ideas depended on sheer creativity and gut instinct as much as market research. Today’s brands have an always-on, direct line to their customers.
On Tuesday I went to a school careers fair to talk about working in social media. Nearly all the pupils I met (aged 13 – 16) were already active on social networks like Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram; a couple had their own YouTube channels.
Some of them asked me how to become an influencer. They were keen to monetize their presence like Zoella or KSI. One of them simply wanted to know how to be famous. Most had questions about how to make the jump from using social media for personal social networking to using it for work.
Here’s the advice I gave:
1. Yes, there are YouTubers and celebrities who’ve become famous and made millions from their social media profiles. They probably make up less than 1 percent of people who earn a living through social media. Many of these (like Paris Hilton or Kylie Jenner) already had money and networks of privilege to help them. Others (like PewDiePie or Jenna Marbles) have become leading influencers through their own unique style and delivery – and sheer hard work. It’s not impossible but the odds will be stacked against you.
Getting influencers to talk about your brand isn’t easy. You need to be part of the online conversation to make an impact, and it’s tougher than ever for mainstream advertising to be the watercooler topic it used to be.
Because of this, global brands are relying on paid influencers more than ever. This relatively new market means a star like Kim Kardashian can command up to $500,000 for one Instagram post. Even celebrity pets are getting in on the action.
Back in the real world
But how do things work for the rest of us? With most businesses now using social media in one form or another, it’s important to amplify messages and engage with customers, users and stakeholders. Influencers are a great way to do that. But for financial, strategic or ethical reasons you might not want to pay.
Putting together an influencer list is relatively easy. From compiling a simple wishlist of people you’d like to see talking about your product or service (if you know your market well, you can probably do this off the top of your head) to using a paid social listening tool like Brandwatch or Affinio to take a deep dive into audience habits.
If you run marketing campaigns, manage a product or service, or develop policy, you’d probably like to know what people are saying about the thing you work on in real time.
There are many ways to do this but my preferred tool is TweetDeck (above). I like TweetDeck because it’s free, it focuses purely on Twitter (still the go-to channel for breaking news) and its desktop alerts enable you to keep on top of what’s happening – with minimum disruption to your workflow.
In this blog post I’ll show you how to track brand mentions by setting up a simple keyword alert using TweetDeck. The whole process shouldn’t take you more than five minutes.
1. Go to Tweetdeck and log in with your Twitter account. It does’t matter how regularly you use Twitter, or how many people you follow – TweetDeck simply needs your log-in to access the Twitter firehose. (If you don’t already have a Twitter account, you can set one up here).