Do the Metrics Matter?

There are several free services you can use to measure your online influence, most of them work the same way, they access your social media accounts and Look at how much you update your status’, how many people respond to your output and many connections you have or in the case of twitter how many people you follow and how many follow you. Some of them also take into account how many connections your followers have, and how influential they are, in order to give you an idea of how far your messages can potentially spread.

Although none of these metrics is bad they are limited … Well they are free so I don’t think we can complain about that too much! On the whole the more people you can reach the more influential you are.

There’s nothing wrong with that, with social media marketing, just like any other marketing, there does need to be a certain amount of focus on the numbers. If your message is only reaching a very small amount of people it is unlikely to recoup the value of the time you are investing in it. The problem with the metrics is simply that they don’t take your social media goals into account, and because of that they don’t score you accurately enough. The other problem is ours, that we set too much store by these results and end up changing our behaviour to achieve higher scores!

For example, as I am a social media strategist & trainer that specialises in helping smaller companies a lot of the people I connect with don’t have much idea how to use twitter. This being the case they may not follow back or may feel too shy to reply to something I have tweeted. It also means they have very few followers so if they are kind enough to re-tweet something I have said, not so many people will see it. These factors combine to effect my scores, to make them lower than if my followers had many thousands of followers of their own.

But people with 1000’s of followers aren’t my target audience! It’s quite likely that most of them won’t need my services! Not that I won’t follow someone with lots of followers – after all it’s not ALL about getting business, I use social media as a place to learn and have fun too! However if I were to dump all my ‘less influential’ followers and court just those with ‘influence’ to improve my score I would lose customers. I would probably also lose sleep as my conscience would be giving me a kicking! I feel quite strongly that social media can enhance the ‘I’m more popular than you’ train of thought – an attitude that does immeasurable harm to both parties!

Not only that but some of my followers with what would seem to be the least pull in social media circles have a lot of clout in the real world, and have given me all kind of opportunities, for which I am very grateful, from speaking at events to partnering on projects. These opportunities have opened doors to customers I may never have met online!

I am not suggesting you stop using these platforms, they can be incredibly useful! The three I like best are Klout Peer Index and the social list

Just use them with your eyes open and fixed firmly on YOUR goals and don’t be led astray by seeing that you are more ‘influential’ than so-and-so or trying to keep up with @thejones’s!

Don’t forget if you need help setting your social media goals and strategy I can help! Click here for more info!

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Video Killed The Radio Star … Is Twitter Killing TV?

Every time a new technology ascends we imagine it will mean the death knell for whichever technology was king of the hill.

But is this always the case? And will social media mean the death of television?

Let’s take a look back first, I suppose we could start with the gramophone, people worried then that this would mean the end of live music. But as we have found out, live music is not so easily killed off, and in fact it could be said that the gramophone and it’s descendants have promoted live music!

Television and in particular MTV may have killed off some radio stars but they certainly did not mean the end for the radio itself, nor did it mean that every music star had to be attractive to be successful, Susan Boyle is one of many proofs of that!

But of course some technologies have been made redundant by others, who do you know that still uses magnetic tapes or floppy discs to back up their data?

So is social media strangling TV? And if it is what does that mean for businesses?

In my view social media is having the same effect on TV as gramophones did on music. It allows larger groups of people to share the experience. This sharing enhances a lot of viewing experiences, as the mother of an eleven year old girl I have no choice but to watch Britain’s Got Talent and I find it is so much more fun when I can read the comments that range from the enthusiastic to the down-right sarcastic!

Of course this is not the only way social media helps television, people often recommend programmes through their twitter or Facebook accounts, and there are now sites like GetGlue and Miso which encourage this kind of sharing and build recommendations for you based on the programmes you already watch and like.

But what does all this mean for your social media marketing?
Should you start posting about your business at 8.30 on a Saturday night, and if you are advertising on TV should you stop bothering because everyone you want to be watching your advert has their head down and is tapping away?

When it comes to TV adverts they are actually more likely to be effective when a show that people want to experience with social media is on, this is because people are watching it live so cannot fast forward through the adverts, in fact I distinctly remember posts saying that the Yeo Valley Rappers should win the XFactor – that’s the kind of buzz marketers dream of!

If you can tie promotion of your company into whichever programme is causing a social media buzz all well and good, but remember people are using social media socially at this time … So posting numerous messages designed to promote you business won’t make you more popular.

It might be worth posting links to your blog or to other interesting articles as there will be people watching under duress that want nothing more than to let at least one eye escape to their iPad and a good article! But on the whole this is a time for you to be social and engage with people on a purely human level, share who you are and enjoy who they are. if they do become customers the fact that you are serving people you enjoy interacting with socially will enhance your enjoyment of your business!

Posted in Social Media Strategy, Traditional Media Twists, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Two Terrific Twitter Tools!

If you are using social media for business you want it to be effective and time-efficient – here are a couple of twitter tools that can help!

If you want your tweeting to be effective your tweets have to be read, and the more people who read them the more chance they have of resonating with people.

This is where Tweriod can help, simply log into their website with your twitter username and these clever people will present you with a range of graphs for weekdays and weekends that show you quickly and easily when you have your highest number of followers online.

As business tweeters we can’t be online all the time, and we don’t want to schedule so many tweets that we have one going out every five minutes – that’s a sure-fire way to get unfollowed! In fact I recommend you only schedule something like 20-30% of your tweets. Therefore it’s helpful to know when our scheduled tweets will get the maximum exposure. It’s also great because if you want to spend some time simply engaging with people you know when they’ll be there.

Tweepi is a tool that shows you who you are following that isn’t following you back.

Why should you unfollow those that don’t follow you? Well you don’t have to, if the information they give is useful to you, or amusing, then feel free to keep them! But if you follow a lot of people who don’t follow you back it raises red flags in twitter’s algorithm’s as spammers and bots frequently follow as many people as possible.

This means that twitter will actually block you from following more than 2000 accounts if less than 500 follow you back. This being the case it makes sense to clear out a lot of people who aren’t prepared to engage with you in order to make room for those that are.

What makes tweepi so good is that it allows you not just to see who doesn’t follow you but also to unfollow them there and then, and if you like you can do this en masse! This could save you hours!

Personally I prefer not to unfollow this way as I like to judge each one on their merits and there are a lot of people who haven’t followed accidentally, I did this myself the other day when I clicked to follow but accidentally double clicked leading to me instantly unfollowing! Tweepi actually encourages thoughtful unfollowing and it also it shows you who is following you that you are not following – helping prevent mishaps like my accidental unfollow!

I hope you find these tools as useful as I have, if you want more help making your social media use effective I can help, please do contact me!

Posted in Twitter, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Why Blogging makes you Better at Business!

Everybody knows that writing a blog can be excellent for business, and I’m sure you’ve heard that this is because it allows you to show not just your expertise but also your humanness to the world! A potent combination for any potential customer!

But there is another reason blogging is good for business and that is that it makes you better at business?

‘Blogging will make me better at my business?’ I hear you exclaim ‘preposterous! How does pontificating about my success make me anything but pompous?!’

Ok so maybe that’s a little strong but I know a lot of people who don’t blog don’t do so just because they are too English and worry that they are either not interesting enough or that they’ll come across as a show-off!

But blogging really can make you better at your business, and here’s how…

Everyday in business (and in life!) we learn something new, something that leads to us trying something new perhaps, or something that defines or redefines our business strategies, or maybe something that causes us to deal with staff differently. Whatever it is it has an impact on us, but lots of those impacts are short-lived, we don’t necessarily incorporate these changes into our routines. Often we even completely forget the thing we learnt on Monday that we found so illuminating at the time!

Blogging about what we learn is a great way of helping us order our thoughts and solidify them. Much like our schooldays where just learning something wasn’t enough we had to write an essay on it and hand it over to our teacher for them to see we had understood!

Blogging then is a valuable business practice, but do you have to publish your posts? Well of course you don’t have to, it’s not required by law after all! But I would argue that it is good for you to do so, the act of publishing means that you a) double-check your work and b) get feedback on it. This is one of the reasons I publish on discussion forums too as people feel freer to comment on posts than on blogs.

Maybe I’m lucky but I prefer to think people are kind as most of the feedback I get is positive, but the discussions often also contain additional things to consider which leads to new information, new ways of looking at things, new learning and of course new blog posts!

So if you are too shy, or too English to publish then don’t feel you have to – but do write essays on all the wonderful things you are learning and please be brave and share the information!

Posted in Blogging, Social Media Strategy | 2 Comments

To Follow or not to Follow?

Every time someone follows you on Twitter you are faced with a dilemma – whether or not to follow back!

I know a lot of people worry about following too many people and having their twitter stream filled with stuff they don’t want to read which will just waste their time.

I understand these concerns but If you use twitter for business, or even if you just use it for fun but have your business name and website address on your bios, there is one sure-fire way to leave a bad impression – don’t bother to follow back!

It’s the equivalent of having a shop but only allowing close friends and family to buy from you. Or of turning your back on someone at a party when they say hello to you.

Therefore the quickest way to create a great impression on Twitter is to follow back when you are followed.

There are spammers out there so I am not saying that you should follow indiscriminately, personally I have three criteria and if the follower matches at least one of them then I’ll follow back.

They are: Am I likely to learn something from them? Are they likely to find me / my tweets helpful? Do they seem friendly?

I judge this based on their bio (so do make sure yours is up to date!) and on the things they have tweeted recently. I usually give people the benefit of the doubt so even if their timeline does look a little broadcasty I will follow, after all you can unfollow people if they fill up your stream with junk!

Let’s face it, unless you are a real superstar you shouldn’t be aiming to have 50,000 followers and only be following 50 back. And even if you are a star it might be worth taking a leaf out of Stephen Fry’s book – he has almost 2.5 million followers but he follows back over 50,000!

Posted in Social Media Strategy, Twitter, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Building a quality audience using Facebook Groups

Facebook recently changed the way groups work and although there are many advantages when it comes to marketing your business there are also some disadvantages.

The way groups used to work was that someone would set up a group, invite people to join and start discussing things, creating events etc. But importantly as an admin of a group you could send a message to every single group member at once, whether friends of yours or not, it was like an email campaign within Facebook.

With the new version of groups this is not possible, if you are admin of an old group you still have access but groups started since the change at the end of last year, do not.

One of the disadvantages of the old groups was that people could join them and then never think about them again! (unless the group’s admin used the message function to communicate with you!). This is because there were no notifications of things that happened in the group and even if a friend of yours posted on the wall of a group you were both members of it would not show up in your news feed. In fact the only time anything to do with the group would show up in news feeds was when someone first joined them, seriously limiting the possibility of them going viral!

If you want to use an old style group to promote your page on Facebook, the best way is to comment on other people’s posts, politely, and add a link to your page. This way the person that wrote the post will at least get a notification, although no one else will, so doing this frequently is important. This is very time-consuming however.

You can also write blog posts that show you know your field and post them onto discussion forums but the quickest way is to look to see who the administrator of the group is and approach them. They may agree to sending out a message on your behalf, they may even allow you to become an administrator yourself which would allow you to message as often as you like, I know I don’t need to remind you to use this privilege regularly but not over frequently! If you are the admin of an old style group maybe you could offer to do the same in return?

New groups have one very important feature that allows membership to grow very quickly. They give you the ability to add anybody you think would like to join, and you don’t need their permission to do this. Although this can also means that it can diminish very quickly and you risk irritating the very people you want to prove valuable too.

One way to avoid this is to send a message to each person before you add them to let them know what you are doing and why, and letting them know how they can leave if they wish too. Good manors, but very time-consuming!

You could also add a paragraph saying this to the introduction that all the group members will see. This solution isn’t as personal but it’s better than nothing, once the group is established you can remove this.

New groups do have the distinct advantage of notifying members whenever anything new is posted which keeps interaction going. You can post any promotion, link announcement or discussion safe in the knowledge that people will know something’s been posted and may well go into the group to se what’s happening and view your post. This being so make sure you offer them links to your page, blog, website etc as often as is appropriate.

So what types of groups should you look for? Well that depends on your business, if I manufactured dolls house furniture for example, I would join a group for doll’s house enthusiasts.

It’s also often a good idea to join groups that are geographically based, the county I live on has plenty of these and being a member of them certainly has it’s advantages as people often want to do business with other local businesses.

Building your audience is often the most time-consuming thing about social media, which is why so many people neglect this area, but spending even 30 minutes a week will reap results. But if you want to reach a lot more of your ideal clients now instead of in 6 months or a year then please feel free to call me!

Posted in Facebook, Social Media Strategy, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How to choose a Social Media Strategist

The world is suddenly full of Social media consultants, strategists, trainers and managers and this proliferation of specialist can end up causing more confusion for those wanting to dip their toes into the water than ever! Partly this is because of a new training course that sprung up in January of this year offering to train people how to become social media managers even if they had no prior experience of it!

So how do you decide who is the right person to help you and your business?

Well first think about the size of your business and your desired market – do you want to reach local customers or are you looking at a national or even international market? How much of your business is or can be done online? Do you serve just the business community, sell directly to end-users, or do you help both? This way you can start looking for people who specialise in helping business like yours.

Have a look at what your competitors are doing with social media – and more importantly look at the social media people that they are following on twitter (or connected to on LinkedIn or facebook!). They may be using them professionally or they may just be getting useful information from their blogs etc, either way it won’t hurt for you to follow them too!

Ask your fellow business people for recommendations, even those whose businesses are totally different from yours may be able to point you in the direction of a social media star you may not otherwise have found.

Don’t choose right away! Take your time and follow a selection, read their blogs, like their facebook page and really get to know them. You don’t have to interact with them much at this stage, just observe what they are doing and saying. Do they walk the walk or just talk about it? Is the information they give away useful or is it just a sales pitch? Do they have a reasonable amount of followers on twitter etc … after all if they can’t use social media effectively for their own business they are not likely to be able to do much for yours!

Lastly, when you are ready, start a dialogue with them, see if you feel you can trust them just as you would any other business supplier. A good strategist will ask you how else you promote your business and want you to use social media as part of a marketing mix that is complementary, for example if you use a PR firm to get you into glossy magazines the social media part of your campaign should be ready to pick that up and promote it too.

I hope this helps you find your way through the maze, it’d be great if it led you to working with me but whoever you choose or even if you stick to going it alone I wish you every success!

Posted in Social Media Strategy, Uncategorized | 2 Comments