An Essential Guide to Understanding Social Media Metrics & ROI

Over the last decade or so, there has been an explosion of growth in the social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ as well as other platforms including LinkedIn, YouTube and Pinterest. There is no denying that this is the era of social media and for the foreseeable future, the need for businesses to incorporate social media into their marketing efforts will only become stronger. After all, the rising stats of the social networks speak for themselves.

Measuring-Social-Media-ROI

1. Facebook has over 1.19 billion active users monthly. Basically, if Facebook were a country, it would be the world’s third largest.

2. 1 in 5 young adults aged between 18 and 25 uses Twitter. The social network is currently adding 300K users per day.

3. YouTube reaches more US adults aged between 18 and 34 than any cable network.

4. LinkedIn saw a 105% growth between 2011 and 2013.

5. 72% of online adults are social networking site users

In layman’s terms, whether you run a small, mid-size or enterprise level company, the statistics above clearly demonstrate that your customers are online. They are on the social networks looking for information and entertainment and interacting with friends, colleagues and brands. If you don’t leverage these opportunities for responsive communication and interacting with customers on a huge scale including those who are right down the street from you, make no mistake that your competitor will be doing just that.

Not to mention that social media can be a springboard for marketing success through other channels too because it takes your existing brand and solidifies it. It captures your company’s voice and propels it far and wide into the world opening up opportunities in other inbound marketing channels including but not limited to SEO, branding and public relations. Through social media, you can:

  • Build relationships with customers. These will then serve as the foundation upon which other aspects of your business will flourish including advocacy and loyalty.
  • Get feedback – on the social networks, information is shared at the speed of light so if you know how to take cues from your audience, social media can become an invaluable tool to gather insights and feedback.
  • And finally, when integrated with the rest of your marketing efforts including branding and PR, social media can help you create a scalable experience for your customers, which will, in turn, amplify and solidify your work.

So as a business, having a successful social media presence can have a far-reaching impact. But how do you know if you’re doing it right and your social media marketing efforts are paying off?

This is where social media metrics and ROI come into play!

The Importance of Social Media ROI

There is a bunch of reason why online marketing appeals to many businesses and one of them is the fact that you can measure nearly everything you do. Once you collect the data you need, you can derive actionable takeaways. The challenge it seems is to remember that measuring and collecting data is only effective if you know what to measure and why. The point is to measure any return on your investment (ROI). Read more

How to Use Hashtags On Facebook | A Quick Guide

Almost every other day, it seems like one social network or another is redesigning itself. This is not necessarily a bad thing; it’s just a lot for marketers to assimilate. The latest one from Facebook is clickable hashtags.

Facebook Hashtags

Facebook announced earlier in June that the social site will be rolling out Facebook hashtags after all. To many social media marketers, this comes as no surprise. There has been a lot of speculation about this happening for quite some time now but finally it’s official.

facebook-hashtags

For social media marketers, the launch of Facebook hashtags means that from here on, you will be able to integrate your marketing efforts across all the social sites including Twitter, Instagram and more, strengthening your social media branding. Furthermore, Facebook announced that down the road, there is a possibility that Facebook hashtags will be linked to paid ads, a significant step towards real time marketing.

About Hashtags and their Functionality

Hashtags, like you would know if you are on any of the following social sites: Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram, are used to turn phrases into clickable links. This helps people find posts that they are interested in. To create a hashtag, all you have to do is add“#“ alongside a phrase written as a single word (no spaces). For example #EqualityForAll or #PeopleLikeUs

When a hashtag is clicked, the user is redirected to a feed of posts that share the same hashtag. From there on, you can potentially join any public conversation, enabling Facebook users to link their posts to a larger topic already popular on Facebook.

With Facebook hashtags, you can now:

 – Search the social site for a specific conversation

– Follow an event or a personality just like it is possible on Twitter

– See posts that originate from other applications, for example Instagram

– Click on hashtags in the status updates of your friends and other Facebook pages

At the end of the day, Facebook hashtags is yet another way for Facebook to encourage engagement on the social site and create more monetization opportunities. Thanks to this new Facebook feature, your status updates about a particular topic can now go viral without the help of your friends.

Indeed, up until now, how successful you were at Facebook marketing heavily depended on the number of Facebook friends and fans you had but now there is no limit to how many people you can reach. We are talking about tens of thousands of people here.

Hashtag Tips for Facebook Marketers

If you’ve been using Twitter as part and parcel of your social media marketing strategy, you are probably very familiar with how hashtags work. Now Facebook hashtags is adding another dimension to the concept allowing marketers to effectively unify their message across the different social sites. This is an incredible opportunity that businesses now have to increase engagement and the discoverability of their promotions, events and content.

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Social Media Crisis Management 101 | How Some Brands Survived Bad PR

Social media is a powerful marketing tool in the hands of online business owners. When used right, the social sites can serve as two-way communication channels increasing engagement between businesses and prospective clients and building trust. Social media can influence business reach, impact and awareness, increasing website traffic and subsequently increasing sales.

social-media

The challenge however is building trust and loyalty. When people are liking your updates and retweeting your pictures, it’s all well but what happens when negative comments start making their way on your Facebook page or Twitter feed? How do you handle a social media crisis?

Some Ways Brands Deal with Bad PR on Social Media

1. Ignoring the Problem

ignoring-the-problemOn the social sites, especially Facebook and Twitter, it can happen that you are faced with a sudden crisis that you did not see coming. Maybe a customer decided to complain about a particular product and others decide to join the party. The worst thing you can choose to do in such an instance is to bury your face in the sand. Remember that not replying to a bad post or comment on your Facebook page or Twitter won’t make it go away.

2. Deleting the Offensive Post deleting-the-post

When someone leaves a bad review on your Facebook page or tweet something damaging about your brand, the instinctive thing to do is to delete the review but really speaking, this is an even worse approach to handling bad PR than ignoring the problem. If you delete a negative review that a customer made on Facebook or Twitter, you will only make the person madder. Remember that the average Facebook or Twitter user has 100+ friends and followers. A negative review from any one customer can go viral exponentially.

3. “I’ll Show You”

If a customer leaves an angry complaint on your Facebook or Twitter account, it does not help any viable purpose to respond in kind. An angry or defensive reply won’t get you anywhere except maybe make the problem worse with the malcontent. As the cliché goes, the customer is always right.

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iOS 5 Update – A Survey of the Reactions! Cast your Vote!

Following up our earlier post, “O Where Art Thou iOS 5“, where we tracked funny and interesting tweets by people who were eagerly waiting for hours for the update to happen. Now that iOS 5 is officially out, below we have 3 polls to track reactions to the new operating system from download experience to how they find the new OS.

Download Experience

Those who attempted downloading in the first few hours of the release did get updates quite slowly but speeds have picked up since then. There were also issues of not being able to install the OS because of “internal server errors”, “3200” errors and possibly some others but it seemed to be temporary and on second/third attempts it usually worked. It was an inconvenience though.

Overall Satisfaction

As a result of the heavy load on Apple servers, there were quite a few failed installations but on repeated attempts they did get successful.

Best Features

If you have any other comments or reactions to the new iOS5, please post your comments below.

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15 Powerful Tips for Marketing on Facebook

Finding a facebook-art-marketing-webinargood place to showcase your products, services and websites for free in the online world is a dream for everyone – Facebook has made this a reality. With half a billion Facebook users and thousands of online communities to choose from, Facebook has brought potential customers much closer to you.

It’s no big secret that Facebook can help you in online marketing. However, I know there are many of you who believe that just registering on Facebook is enough… it’s not. Your Facebook success story ends before it even begins!

There is much more to marketing on Facebook than just creating a profile.  Keeping your fans engaged is the key. Don’t be a brand, but be a community they love being a part of. In this article, I’m going to tell you how you can use the medium of Facebook to increase your customer base as well as retain the ones you have!

CREATE YOUR PRESENCE ON FACEBOOK

1.   Facebook Profile: By creating a profile for yourself or your business, you are establishing your identity. This will take you a long way in developing relationships with fellow users and in positioning your business. You profile lets you interact with people on a personal note, more so if it’s a local business. Here are some aspects of a profile page:

o    Profile Picture: Always put your best foot forward, which means usMAC profile pice the most flattering picture as your profile picture.  No matter what they say, a book is judged by its cover. I came across M.A.C makeup’s profile and thought it was really catchy with the colors used on the face. Hundreds of indifferent people with little time to spare are going to decide whether to add you based on your picture. So, make sure you get this one right!

o    Add Friends: After creating a profile, don’t wait for things to Facebook-Network-Marketinghappen. Add new friends every day and the word will spread that you’re on Facebook. Before you know it, you’ll be starting your day by accepting friend requests! However, make sure you don’t add more than 25 – 30 people a day as excessive adding can get your profile removed from Facebook.

o    Wall: This is your main platform to interact with Facebook users. Post messages on your wall and also comment on members’ activities, though, only when relevant. A cafe once commented on my status when it was something about food. And there! A personal connection was built in a second! I knew that I was going to visit this place more often. However, make sure you don’t spam people every other day or they may remove you from their friend list.

o    Photo Albums and Videos: Photos and videos are a great way to showCW-STM-vintage-albumcase the latest collection of your product. I know many people who love to see what goes on behind the scene during a photo shoot or while a baker does his magic in the kitchen. Moreover, the first thing most Facebook users check are photo updates. So take that camera and start shooting!

2.   Fan Pages: Facebook Pages, known as Fan Pages, are designed for businesses, brands, companies, products and celebrities. It enables public figures, organizations and other entities to create an authentic and public presence on Facebook. You can encourage users to become fans of your page and share information with them by uploading pictures, videos, status updates, hosting discussions and displaying wall posts. Unlike Facebook Profiles, Pages are visible to everyone on the internet and are generally better for long-term relationships with your fans, readers or customers.

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7 Awesomely Amazing Examples of Success through YouTube!

YouTube has become almost synonymous with online broadcasting. With millions of visitors per day, have you ever considered YouTube as a potential pool tool to build your brand and create customers?

Though a highly competitive medium, YouTube helps you reach your niche – whether you’re an aspiring film maker, makeup artist, politician or a comedian. Lately, we have seen many new ideas coming up in this medium and there is no limit to how creative or even eccentric you can get in grabbing attention.

Why It Works

When you see an interesting video on YouTube, you tend to post the link on Twitter, Facebook, or share it by emailing it to friends. They pass it on to their friends and the effect just multiplies and your message spreads rapidly, resulting in massive exposure. This approach, also known as viral marketing, doesn’t even have to be expensive. The reason we connect with these campaigns is because we understand the product better and the brand has a face. We identify the brand, making the whole experience personal.

Here, I have listed out some of the most innovative viral marketing hits on YouTube that you can learn from!

1. Will It Blend: The first campaign cost Blendtec, a company that produces blenders and mixers, less than $50. The team filmed a video featuring Blendtec’s co-founder Tom Dickson who said, “Will it blend? That is the question.” He made a smoothie of salsa, tortilla chips, Buffalo wings and Budweiser in the blender. Five days later, Blendtec’s marketing director excitedly told him that they hit 6 million views on YouTube. This was later followed by videos of blending golf balls, a crowbar, a video camera and iPod. My favorite is their latest, the iPad. Their online videos are still a rage and Blendtec’s online sales have grown by 500%.

2. America’s Got Talent: This is the latest one on the block. Their auditions are being done entirely on YouTube. You can record your performance even at home and upload it right away, giving an opportunity to many more. You can sit back at home while the judges and voters (viewers) decide whether you have it in you to take you to the next round. NBC and the producers of the show have partnered with YouTube to process the auditions online. Are we seeing the latest trend for reality shows here?

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The (Cool) New Kids On The (Social Media) Block

facebook-twitterTo imagine a time before Facebook is not only difficult, but honestly is a little depressing too. And I speak for everyone when I say, Tweeting has become an activity as natural as breathing. Thanks to Facebook and Twitter, the social media space will never be the same again. Though, they by no means invented social media, they have played a big role in reinventing it.

Inspired by the success these two have enjoyed, many have gone to town creating versions of their own, unfortunately not all have been met with the same amount of enthusiasm or success.

Today, we take a look at a few promising social sites, that will possibly help us answer the question a few of us have already been asking, ‘After Facebook and Twitter, what?’

1.    Foursquare – Since its launch in 2009, this location-based mobile game doing double duty as a social networking platform has found ready and easy resonance with social media enthusiasts and other early adopters. foursquare_logoIn almost a year’s time, Foursquare has managed to convince more than seven hundred thousand people to give it a try. No mean task that, especially in the first year, for a service that targets a niche market of mobile users. Little surprise then that it is being hailed as the Twitter of 2010. With over 20 million ‘check-ins’ happening everyday, even pathological naysayers will find it difficult to dismiss it as a fad.

2.    Gowalla
gowalla_logoThe fact that the next on the list is also a location-based social networking mobile game will readily attest to the importance of mobility and location in the social space. Though Gowalla originally got a head start on Foursquare, until the breakout success of its chief competitor, it was hardly able to mobilize that advantage. But a year on, things are certainly looking up for Gowalla, having tasted sweet victory by trumping Foursquare at SXSW to take home the best mobile app award for 2010. In comparison with Foursquare’s user stats, Gowalla’s 150,000 odd users may not look like anything worth writing home about, but over the last few months it has enjoyed a steady growth that is substantively impressive, as revealed by the recent deal with the Travel Channel, which echoes the Foursquare – Bravo Network deal, to integrate proprietary Travel Channel content (Food Wars to be precise) with the game.

3.    Chatroulette
– I almost didn’t believe it when I first read that the most talked about social app on the web, Chatroulette, is the brainchild of a 17 year old. Andrey Ternovskiy of Russia developed Chatroulette ‘for fun’ with no monetization plans, so that he and his friends could ‘randomly connect’ with people on the web. A good way to describe Chatroulette is as an online ‘speed dating’ game aided by webcams, but a better way will be as a game of chance meetings online. When you play a game of Chatroulette, you are automatically paired with a random player, with whom you can chat (text or video) and if at any point you wish to terminate the connection, you simply ‘next’ that person to initiate another connection. There is an inherent creep factor to Chatroulette (anything that involves video chatting strangers is bound to have one) that could prove to be a dissuasive factor, but the kind of response it has garnered has been extraordinary and indicates a strong user preference for video-based interactivity on the web. From the looks of it, Chatroulette could very well hold the key to the limitless possibilities of interactive communication on the web.

4.    Yelp
– Think the yellow pages, a local search engine and a social networking site all rolled into one – that’s Yelp for you. yelpThough it is a little long in the tooth when compared with the other sites on this list (having been launched in 2004), Yelp’s true social powers were felt only post Facebook, and by that virtue, it merits a place on this list. Yelp has incorporated into it two of the hottest aspects of the web – social and location. You can search for local business, read user reviews of the same and build a network all at one place. That’s social networking with a purpose – really, what’s not to love about Yelp?

A few of these social services have already been made famous for their marketing compatibility, the others are in too nascent a stage for me to speculate on such abilities.
In the coming years, we may see them grow to give Facebook and Twitter competition, both as substantive social apps and as effective marketing platforms. What do you think? Will they lose momentum halfway through or will they succeed in sustaining the hype?

Social Media Marketing In The World Of Online Gaming

I am not a gamer, not even a casual one. To state I find it difficult to identify with those people who practically have controllers growing out of their hands would be almost redundant. I am not beguiled by Bejeweled nor have I felt an impulse to help Flo out with her Diner. Until a few months ago, gaming jargons that are now so popular on the Internet made little sense to me (now, they make a little sense because I looked them up in Wikipedia. Seriously, pwnd is not a word, it’s gibberish!). And for months now I have been stoically resisting various (separate) attempts by my friends to make a farmer out of me (No, I don’t want to be your neighbor, and I certainly don’t want to grow pumpkins!). But even I can’t deny that social games are the hottest trend on the web, and have gained enough impetus to change the social picture, and that marketers are practically chomping at the bits to capitalize on the massive marketing opportunity they present

Be it the wildly popular (and weird) games on Facebook or the social network-cum-location-based mobile gameFarmville
Foursquare, the interweb is finally alive to the as-yet-untapped promotional possibilities that social games offer. Evidently, games make social experiences ‘funner’; once accustomed to such a model, users will hardly be open to embracing a game-less one. (I can say this on authority, as I have had a similar experience with my 5-year-old niece and her broken Game Boy.) That and the fact that the social gaming market, in spite of being in its infancy, is worth a billion help me assume that this trend of social games will only grow bigger (but if that means more Farmville invitations, God help me!), and hence, I think fleshing out a marketing model based on it is, in fact, a great idea.

4squareClearly, more people are on to it. Foursquare must have foreseen this trend too, because four months ago, it launched its advertising platform, Foursquare for Businesses. And possibly taking note of the blitzkrieg growth-rate that it is enjoying, marketers are (already) lining up, hoping to cash in on it. Foursquare has already landed a deal with Bravo Media, the force behind Bravo TV – famous for its housewives and Padma Lakshmi. There are other early adopters, local businesses mostly, that are teaming up with Foursquare to promote their brand and fares. For example, when Foursquare player ‘checks-in’ at a local café that’s collaborating with Foursquare, he may end up landing some great discount deals, that are not available to the regular patrons. Read more

4 Indispensable Tips On Viral Marketing That Cannot Be Ignored

If your goal is to promote your business, whether it is online or offline, you cannot do better than to rely on viral marketing. Viral marketing, in case you were worried, doesn’t involve viruses; the term alludes to the super-fast rate at which viruses spread. Viral marketing involves relying on techniques that will help spread your (promotional) message through a ‘viral process’ and reach a web-wide audience within a short amount of time.

viralThe success of your viral marketing efforts depends on how expertly you play your social graph to use as a medium though with to push your message. However, if your message finds no takers, it can hardly go viral, which counts on people indulging in some furious sharing, and no one shares bad content. So, it would be a good idea to remember that a successful round of viral marketing needs both good content and some decent social networking skills.

Here are some handy dandy tips that you can fallback on in your hour of viral marketing need. (I love puns, can you tell?)

1. Giveaways. Everyone loves free things. Free makes everyone happy. I could delve into the exhaustive scientific studies that attest to these statements, but really, there is no need for it. The giveaway model always works, it works off the Internet, it works equally well on it too. You can offer ebooks or Internet tools, or even sample mp3s if your music is what you wish to promote, and set the ball rolling. Just ensure what you give away is not sub-standard junk that you won’t use yourself. If people like the stuff, they’ll share, talk about it and generate interest in your business. Read more

11 Simple Tips That Guarantee More Comments For Your Blogs

commentI am sure I am not the only one who burns with envy when the neighboring blog receives more comments than mine does, or even worse, the neighboring blog receives a glut of comments, while my blog can’t even muster one. Apart from making me feel that my blog and I should be living under a rock, it almost makes my persistent fear that my blog has no actual readers fairly real, which is no good for a blog or a blog writer’s self-confidence. It’s every blog writer’s worst, confidence-sucking fear – a post not receiving enough or any comments. So, how can any self-respecting blogger persuade his or her readers to leave [more] comments? To issue a confirmatory sign that all the efforts that go into the running of a blog aren’t in vain? To engage daily in a spot of virtual hand-holding so that the said blogger can grow strong enough to withstand future, commentless days without turning near-suicidal?
My dear fellow bloggers, today, I’d like to let you in on a few trade secrets that can help you garner more comments and increase your sense of blog-worth considerably… You are welcome!

1. Invite Comments
Yes, as simple as that. Let your readers know that you are keen to hear from them. inviteMost blog readers are expert lurkers, spending hours on end at a blog, but seldom letting their presence known with, you know, a comment. Regulars (especially) are usually a little in awe of the writer and hence a trifle embarrassed to comment. Think getting tongue-tied when meeting a celebrity, it’s a similar emotion. So, you the blogger should try your utmost to put your readers at ease, and let them know unequivocally that you’d like to hear from them.

2. Compel Them To Comment
Making your posts conversational, and peppering them with questions that invite your readers to share their opinions on whatever that you’ve written about is a stellar idea. While you are at it, ensure that the topic you’ve chosen is interesting enough; current, popular, even slightly controversial ones will give your readers an impetus to comment. For example, write a post about your take on the Tiger Woods ‘incident(s)’ and all the brouhaha over it, a topic that is current as well as suitably controversial, your readers will be more than eager to offer their two cents worth.

3. Reward Your Readers You may think that the posts you write are rewards enough, but if you continue in that perception, you might as well bid all hopes of comments goodbye. rewardsSetting up fun virtual prizes and awards can help acknowledge your readers’ presence and at the same time express your continued gratitude for it, and hence, can prove to be a surefire way to elicit more comments and evoke more loyalty from them. For example, you could set up Reader Of The Month or Best Comment of the Day awards and have the winners’ name displayed on your blog; it won’t cost you anything, but sure will make your readers feel cherished.

4. Guest Posts From Your Readers
Stir things up on your blog with a little reader interaction. Invite a reader, preferably a regular, to write a post for your blog. That’ll give the other readers something to talk about, you can be sure. In addition to providing more ‘flavor’ to your blog, such a move will help the readers feel more connected to you.

5. Reveal Your Soft Underbelly
Well not literally, of course. Adopting a slightly self-deprecating approach or talking about things you are spectacularly bad at, or even revealing the most irrational of your fears will make it easier for your readers to relate to you, and tell them that you are just like them, with your anxieties and silly fears and everyday problems. Having said that, you’ll have to strike a balance between being relatable and whiney; too whiney, and you run the risk of losing whatever few readers you have (and you don’t want that, no sirree, no).

6. Comment on Others’ Blogs – Do unto others what you wish they did to you; that is the first commandment in The Big Book Of Blog Commenting. comment1Linking opportunity aside, commenting regularly on blogs you enjoy can result in acts of reciprocation. Though not necessarily a quid pro quo deed, you can be assured that if you leave meaningful comments on other blogs, those bloggers will take note of it, and quite possibly repay you in comments.
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