Standing Out on Twitter

twitter-logo

twitter-logo

Earlier this week, I saw an infographic from the brilliant Melonie Dorado which showed some stats for social media in 2013.  I was particularly drawn to the Twitter stats:

  • There are 500m Twitter accounts
  • 21% of the world’s internet population use Twitter every month

Pretty impressive stats, eh?  These stats say to me that there are a lot of people on Twitter (clearly!), but also that it is becoming increasingly difficult to get your voice heard.  So, here are 5 Twitter tips to help your voice resonate.

Use Hash-tags: Hash-tags are a great way of reaching out to new audiences, and tweets with 1 or 2 hash-tags show a 21% higher engagement.  If you use a hash-tag, then it becomes much easier for people to see your content and engage with it.  However, don’t over-do it – having lots of hash-tags can make a message tough to read!

Interact: Conversations and interactions make Twitter exciting.  So, ask questions and answer them as well.  You don’t need to be connected to another Twitter user to converse with them, so use the search function to find out who else is tweeting about your chosen subject.

Make Your Content Rich:  Articles are very easy to share on Twitter, but they are not always visually engaging, particularly as most article links are shortened.  So if it is appropriate to your objective, share some broader content – pictures, videos and of course Vine, which is a great fit with the attention-shortened Twitter user.

Have a Content Plan:  Some days on Twitter there is a lot of content to comment on or discuss.  However, on some days there isn’t, so you will need to have some content of your own to spark the conversation.  You should have a rolling 2 week content plan which is flexible enough to adapt when something else takes over the Twitterverse.  This will also encourage you to look at your content frequency, i.e. the number of posts per day.

Have a Contingency Plan:  One of the beauties of Twitter is also one of its most dangerous features – its speed.  Some of the best intentioned Twitter marketing campaigns have taken a turn for the worse because a group of Twitter users have ‘hijacked’ the campaign.  Before you start your campaign, think of every angle where the campaign could go wrong and plan your response.

I am sure that you have some great Twitter tips, so please leave a comment to share yours!

Facebook Marketing Tips

facebook-like

facebook-like

I saw an infographic earlier this week which stated that the toughest social network for businesses to manage was Facebook.  To some extent I agree, Facebook does have its challenges, but there are some simple things that you can introduce to your Facebook marketing which will make it work better for you.  Here are my 5 tips:

Make it Social:  Facebook is a social network, so be social!  The most successful Facebook campaigns encourage users to comment.  Comments have more impact than Likes on Facebook’s EdgeRank which determines which posts your audience actually sees.  So, ask questions, and keep the conversation going.  And if you start a conversation, monitor it.  The average wait time between a Facebook post and a brand reply is 7 hours – what does that say about how keen a brand is to hear from you?

Push the boundaries:  Facebook users are normally in a more relaxed state of mind than when they are on, say, LinkedIn, so tap into that mind-set.  Take risks with your posts, and don’t be afraid to be a little controversial – it is a sure fire way to get some comments, but make sure that you use common sense and judgment before being too controversial!  And don’t let your risky posts take you too far off-topic: this is one of the key reasons why users hide posts.

Invest for Success:  As touched on earlier, a Facebook user who likes your page will not necessarily see every post that you make.  Your audience needs to be as big as possible, and a quick way of growing your audience is to place a Facebook ad.  You can target them very specifically, and if someone likes your page from the advert, it will appear in their friend’s news feed – so one user could turn into a fan recruiter!

Watch your frequency:  There is no hard and fast rule about Facebook frequency, but you need to find the balance.  I would recommend 3 or 4 posts per day as this means that your audience should see at least one post from you per day if you consider that the half-life of a Facebook post is about 1.5 hours.

Recruit via hash-tags:  Not everyone is very optimistic about Facebook hash-tags (I wrote a slightly critical post here!), but as the tool is available, why not use it?  People who search using hash-tags may stumble on your post or page and you may get a like out of it.  If you never try, you’ll never know!

If you have a top Facebook marketing tip, just leave a comment and let me know.

8 Conversion Rate Tips

conversion rate optimisation

conversion rate optimisation

Conversion rate is one of the few metrics which has a direct impact on your bottom line – the more users you convert, the more sales, and the more profit.  So, here are 8 tips to maximising your conversion rate:

1) First things first – Your traffic should be of a high quality and of a reasonable volume to help your conversion rate.  This is the first step.  If your traffic is poor, you won’t see the benefits of your optimisation!

2) Where is the traffic – You should spend some time knowing where your traffic comes from – if it is from a particular referrer, then your content should be tailored to the tone of that referrer.  If its too different, the user will be put off.

3) The path to conversion – Imagine that you are sat over the shoulder of the user and you are telling them where they should click.  This is the path that you want the user to take, so make navigation through the path simple (Amazon do this well) – and don’t get in their way!

4) Know the best pages – Spend some time analysing which pages people spend time on, and which are the most popular pages on your website.  If you optimise the most visited pages, the increase in your conversions will be greater.

5) Know the worst pages – Which are the pages which users dislike?  Check out the pages with the worst bounce rate and exit rates.  This is where potential customers are dropping through the net (pun intended), and often small changes can have a big impact on poorly performing pages

6) The tipping point – There will be a point where the user will want to get in contact or make a sale.  Its tough to work out which page will be the one that convinces the user to act, so give the user as many opportunities as possible to convert – e.g. put a small contact form on every page.

7) Colour Clarity – Do green buttons or red buttons work best?  I have read cases for both, but bear in mind the colour scheme of your site.  If your site is predominantly red, a red call to action may get lost – so do some testing!

8) Borrow with pride – Your competition is probably focused on improving their conversion rate too, so take a look to see what they are doing.  Their audience is likely to be similar to yours, so feel free to borrow their techniques and see if they work

There are lots of other tips, but implementing just these will put you further ahead than the vast majority of other website.  Happy optimising!

LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn

LinkedIn

There are a lot of people who are looking to get the most out of LinkedIn.  There are millions of professionals on the network, and surely it can’t be too difficult to get the attention of the right people?  Well, there are lots of ways of doing this, but is a LinkedIn Group the answer?  And if so, what do I need to think about?

First Impressions Last:

The name and description of your LinkedIn Group is crucial.  Like search engines, LinkedIn uses the words used here to organise search results to people who are searching for groups.  If you are in a specialist industry, then use the keywords that people in your industry use.  And don’t forget the call to action in your group description – join, apply, click, etc., will all encourage people to join.

Rule 1 – Obey The Rules:

Although LinkedIn is comfortably the least trolled social network, it is still worth spending time pulling together your group policy and rules.  If you don’t think you need it, how would you deal with the following – someone who constantly posts spammy links; someone who is selling their product on your group; someone uses inappropriate language.  You need a policy and there are some great examples on the web that you can use to help you with your structure.

Lead from the front:

The group manager is a very important role, and should be someone who has the expertise to keep the conversation going.  They need to welcome new members, post new and interesting content, questions, polls and articles, recruit new members and become the face of the group.  In short, a lot of work, so be prepared!

So, we have answered some questions about LinkedIn groups, but should you create one?  Well, if you have a unique proposition, want to engage with a clearly targeted audience and are prepared to commit the time to recruit members and keep them interested with fresh and relevant content, the answer could well be yes.  But you must be committed to the long-term – failure to do this is the reason why so many LinkedIn groups just don’t work.

Facebook Hash-tags

facebook-hashtags

facebook-hashtags

Two weeks ago, Facebook announced that it was going to introduce hash-tags into its service.  This feels like an inevitable addition – Twitter and Google+ have had them for some time.

But how will hash-tags be different on Facebook, and what are the implications for marketers and Facebook users?

Will it be different?

One of the reasons behind the success of the hash-tag on Twitter is that you can use them to see new connections and new content.  However, Facebook is a very different network.  The vast majority of Twitter users have a public account, whereas the opposite is true of Facebook – most people are keen to keep their posts private.

This causes a problem.  If you search for a hash-tag, you will see company pages (which are public) and messages from people who you are connected to, or whose privacy settings allow their messages to be viewed publicly.  So, you won’t get a near-whole-world view of a subject like you do with Twitter.

Implications for User

As mentioned above, due to privacy restrictions, if you search for a topic, you will only see a limited number of results.  And I think that search results are going to be dominated by company pages, as their access is public.  This means that from a user’s perspective, the results might be a little salesy or corporate – not good, and certainly not like Twitter.  And if this happens, then users will stop using hash-tags entirely.

Implications for Marketing

For marketers, hash-tags seem like a great idea.  They work great on other networks and allow marketers to track conversations.  But I think that the structure of Facebook means that you will only see some of the conversation, not all of it…which will actually not help marketers.

I guess that Facebook is hoping that users will see the benefits of hash-tags and start to relax their account privacy settings, but I think the opposite will happen – if someone sees their posts appear in a search, they may be encouraged to tighten up their privacy settings.  For this reason, I fear that user adoption will be low in the medium term, which may mean that the idea never gets off the ground.

My view:

I can’t see how hash-tags add anything to the user experience that the Facebook search function doesn’t already do.  And I think that hash-tags don’t suit the fundamentals of Facebook from a privacy perspective.  Also, I worry that search results which contain lots of brand pages (not individuals) is a real threat to whether this even gets off the ground.  I fear that Facebook hash-tags might be a #fail.

5 Common Social Media Mistakes

social-media-mistakes-1

Social media is very important, and hardly a day goes past when I don’t see another amazing statistic about the scale of social – 1.1bn Facebook users, 46k videos per second on YouTube, 500m Twitter accounts.  Phew!  But social media is not as easy as you think, particularly for brands. 

To prove how tough it is, I have highlighted five mistakes that you will see every day on social media which are easily solved. 

1) What’s the plan?  What plan?

If you don’t know where you are heading, how are you going to know when you are getting there?  Without a plan before you start posting on social media, it’s going to feel like a lot of hard work.  Big gaps between posts (while you’re working out what to do next), and not being able to react quickly to interaction will expose you.

2) Its social media….that’s social media:

A lot of brands use social media as an outbound communication channel.  This is using social media, but not being social.  Unless you are a news organisation, this tactic does not work.  At best it looks like you are disconnected from your audience, and at worst it feels like spamming. 

3) No comment…

All brands want to avoid confrontation, and in order to minimise the chance, often no opinions are offered at all.  This is a bad move.  The top of your organisation will have a view on the stories of the day, and normally sharing these will help consumers engage with your brand.  However, use your judgement to know what is shareable and what isn’t – see Chick-Fil-A. 

4) Don’t ABC – ‘Always Be Closing’:

Every brand will want to measure their ROI from social media.  And the temptation is to sell, sell, sell.  But social media is all about building and developing relationships, so that’s where your focus should be.  Nothing wrong with the odd sales message, but don’t lose your focus from developing the relationship. 

5) What’s a metric?:

Although you can’t see this externally, it is pretty clear which brands have metrics in place.  You should be tracking the level of sentiment, the number of referrals to your website and linking social media to your CRM system to understand what value social media is adding to your business.  If you’re not tracking this (and more), you won’t know if social is working for you.

Most of these mistakes are fairly straightforward to solve, and even if it takes some time, avoiding these mistakes will put you ahead of a lot of other brands on social media! 

Image courtesy of socialmappmedia.com

Get More Facebook Likes

Facebook Like

How to get more Facebook Likes

 Facebook Like

One of the most common questions floating around social media is how do we get more Likes on Facebook.  So, to help everyone out, I have pulled together my top 10 tips to do exactly that! 

1)  Is Facebook right for us?  Yes, Facebook is the world’s number one social network with almost a billion members, but it is important to ask yourself is my audience amongst them?  If you have a B2C (Business to Consumer) business, the likelihood is that your consumers hang out on Facebook.  But if you are B2B (Business to Business), Facebook may not be right for you.  Job one – work out where your audience is. 

2)  Start with your friends.  When you have just started a Facebook business page, you will have zero likes…but don’t worry!  Your easiest likes will come from people who already know you.  You can recommend a page to your Facebook friends if you have a personal Facebook page – ask nicely and you’ll have some likes to start you off!

3)  Create a really engaging Facebook Timelime.  For brands, Timeline is an excellent opportunity to post engaging content about the history of the brand – see the Burberry Facebook page for a great example (don’t miss the 1970s photos!). 

4)  Link your Digital World.  Put links to Facebook and your other social networks onto your website – inserting social media buttons onto your website is easy, and it gives customers a chance to get a sense of what your business is all about. 

5)  Offer users incentives to Like your Facebook page.  Consumers love coupons and discounts, and Facebook is a great platform for people to use them and share them with their friends.  If they do share it with their friends, your page will appear on their friend’s newsfeed – a new audience!

6)  Reach out to the community.  Make sure that you are following other pages from your Facebook business page – suppliers, customers, industry experts, prospective customers.  You will see their updates, and often they will follow you back. 

7)   Publicise Facebook offline.  You can help to drive traffic and Likes onto your Facebook page by putting your Facebook page URL onto off-line communications and onto the signature of your email.

8)  Be social!  It is a social network, so get social!  When you are posting, you can tag other Facebook pages – just type the @ symbol and then the name of the Facebook page you’d like to mention, and they will see that you’ve mentioned them.

9)  Always post great content.  One of secrets of Facebook’s success is that content looks great on it – share a mix of text updates, photos, videos, links, polls or questions.  You want people to interact with the message, so bear this in mind when posting. 

10)  Advertise.  Only use this as a last resort.  You should not need to use it, and unless you have a brand which people already recognise then  it is not likely to work for your page.

And finally, don’t forget to measure to see how you are getting on – Facebook insights can be very detailed. 

Hope you like the tips, and I hope they work for you – if you have any top tips that I have missed, leave a comment and let me know.