Analytics: When To Pay Attention To The Numbers & When To Trash Them

numbers and numbers which do you pick?One reason I appreciate social media a bit more than traditional public relations is because with social, you have numbers that can be tracked and connected to your hard work unlike PR which can be powerful of course but elusive in terms of being always trackable. Likes, updates, tweets, followers, shares, comments, pins, hashtag usage and more are all ways to show that you are making progress (or not) with your social media but what numbers do you track and do you ever not pay attention to the numbers? Good questions!

Let’s begin with what numbers you track. Within Facebook Pages alone, for example, you can download insights and literally look at thousands of numbers presented in multiple ways much like google analytics so before you try to assess and report, go back to asking yourself these basic questions because once you have your answers, it should be relatively easy to pinpoint what numbers will be the most meaningful:

1. What are my long term goals for my brand?
2. What are my short term goals for the brand?
3. Who am I trying to reach?
4. Am I linking the above to my social media efforts?

If your long term goal for your brand’s online approach is to continue increasing brand exposure and your short term goal is to roll out a new product to present and new like-minded customers, then simply tracking how many more likes and follows you are receiving as well as comments and shares on Facebook, responses or retweets on Twitter, repins on Pinterest, likes/comments on Instagram as well as hashtag usage on all networks will tell you if you are on the right track or not.

But what if your long term goal slightly varies in that you still want to increase brand exposure and you still want to roll out a new product but you want to reach a completely new customer….a new demographic? This is where the numbers game gets tricky and where an experienced social media strategist brings value. Let me give you an example. An eco-brand we worked with had a core group of customers that were 100% engaged in a sustainable lifestyle but the brand wanted to increase exposure (and sales) by also reaching out to a more “everyday” person…someone who considered an eco-lifestyle valuable but didn’t live by it all of the time. We did many things to appeal to and bring on this new demo and I knew we found success by the kind of comments we began to receive especially on Facebook. These new followers, as they engaged with the brand, shared bits and pieces of their lifestyle which gave us hints that we had reached this new consumer. The numbers didn’t pick this up initially and some of the older followers started to fall off a bit which happens when you slightly vary your marketing approach so as we brought on the new followers the actual likes on the Facebook page deceivingly stayed the same when looking at the number showcased on the actual page. To the naked eye, we had not gained ground and might very well have been losing traction but close human observation told us otherwise so we stayed our ground and continued to move forward in this new direction of appealing to the general consumer which eventually revealed itself through the best numbers of all, increased sales.

So to answer both of the questions from above, for sure keep tracking your numbers for every social channel you participate in but don’t forget to use your listening skills and include your own observations when pulling together your final reports because it’s the combination of the two that help you track trends and achieve long term brand goals.

-Valorie Luther, Founder Creative Concepts

 

(image from Flickr via @laineysrepertoire)

Creative Concepts Touts Twitter Tips

Twitter tipsWhether you are a Twitter pro or tweet novice, Hubspot’s 50 Tweetable Tips You Wish You Knew Years Ago is a great refresher guide.

Many of the tips seem simple, but you would be surprised by how many people don’t have an image or a complete biography for their social media profiles.

Take a look at your Twitter profile and make sure it is filled in with links, keywords and images.

As far as sharing information, being helpful is key and keeping self-promotion at bay is best. Let your personality show through your tweets and don’t be afraid to start a conversation on Twitter. Creating Twitter lists is a great way to read tweets by topics.

Favorites are great to use as bookmarks for later reading or for showing appreciation for a tweet. Hashtags are useful when discussing by topics like #pr or #marketing so if people search the topic, your tweet will appear.

Optimizing your blog post title for Twitter is useful and gets more retweets. Using social share buttons and Click to Tweet makes your blog posts easier to share.

Using a platform like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck allows you to manage multiple accounts and schedule messaging.

Check out the entire list for more great Twitter tips.

What tips do you have for Twitter?

Image courtesy of SweetCrisis / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Creative Concepts Looks at Ways to Increase Press Release Visibility

infographic_multimedia2012Press releases remain an essential way to communicate corporate information to the media, bloggers and even buyers.

With the growth of the internet and online press release distribution services, there are ways to increase press release visibility to stand out from the rest of the pack.

One easy way to boost press release visibility is to add visual components such as photos and videos.

In a recent study of its press release database, PR Newswire found that 86 percent of releases did not include visuals. When visuals were added, exposure of those press releases skyrocketed.

PR Daily recently wrote about the study and posted PR Newswire’s infographic showing how multimedia drives discovery in press releases.

The findings include:

• A text release with just one visual element sees a 92 percent increase in visibility.
• A text release with more than one visual element sees a 552 percent increase in visibility.
• A multimedia release with links to campaign microsites sees a 5,092 percent increase in visibility.

As you can see, simply adding visuals can boost the impressions of your release. What visuals work best for your business?

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Creative Concepts Looks at The State of Social Media for PR Pros

social mediaSocial media has quickly become an integral part of public relations and marketing (among other areas) over the last few years.

There are lots of observations about social’s role in public relations and marketing, but not many regarding these folks’ insights about social media.

Cision and PR News recently polled marketing and PR professionals about social media and created an infographic titled The State of Social Media for PR Pros. The goal was to “give a look into how PR and marketing pros view the social media landscape.”

The findings show the following:

  • Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the top three platforms used that businesses most actively engage with their audiences.
  • 36% polled use paid promotions in Facebook while other platforms have much paid promotions.
  • 45% have successfully pitched media contacts through social media channels.
  • The most trusted sources are online traditional and print publications.
  • The top three metrics to measure success are increased website traffic, increased engagement and increased followers.

While Facebook has the top engagement, many businesses have not been using paid promotions. Recent changes in Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm may persuade businesses to sponsor more posts for increased visibility.

PR professionals are still pitching through traditional tactics more than social media. The most trusted sources are also traditional news outlets and publications whether in print or online. While social media is an integral part of PR, the traditional methods are still important.

The top metrics are increased traffic, engagement and follower numbers. There is room for businesses to improve their metrics by looking at conversions and not just numbers. This is a more complicated process but one that will bring deeper insights to their PR and marketing strategies.

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Image courtesy of bplanet / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Creative Concepts Discusses Ways to Get Great PR on a Budget

pr tips for media publicityMany startups and smaller businesses don’t have blockbuster budgets for marketing and public relations.

Here are some PR strategies and tactics that are helpful to get coverage on a shoestring budget.

Forbes recently wrote “Three Ways to Get Great PR Without a Budget.” The article covers three topics that businesses can focus on to garner publicity as a newer kid on the block.

1) Focus on your story. Your business might not the be the largest or most connected in the industry, but you have a story to tell. Focus on your story, be authentic and communicate your company’s vision. Are you doing something different?  Have you partnered in the industry to offer something new?

2) Get technical. Take the time to really research journalists and bloggers covering your industry. Find new contacts and set up news alerts for not only your business but anything related to your industry to give you ideas to pitch when relevant. Also be sure to research local news outlets and let them know how you are connecting with the community.

3) Add value. Another way to build awareness is through partnering with other businesses with complementary products and services. Partnerships add value and can expand your offering to your customers as well as the media.

4) Another way to break through the clutter is to showcase your customers. If you have a customer using your product in an entirely new way, that makes an interesting innovation story. Talk with your most valuable customers and partners and help tell their stories – this builds potential for expanded reach and strengthens relationships with your best customers and partners.

How are some ways your business has received coverage?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Creative Concepts Reviews Instagram’s Most Popular Hashtags

ID-100254848What’s a Hashtag? If you are not familiar with the hashtag, it is a keyword formatted with a # sign that is a tag so people can search for conversations on that topic on various social media sites.

For example, #marketing, #socialmedia and #pr are industry hashtags that help people find information about these topics.

It is important to note that a status should only include one or two hashtags, according to social media etiquette. Some people use too many hashtags and their updates get cluttered with hashtags.

Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake’s hashtag skit made the term so popular that my fifth grade daughter came home the next day asking me what it meant.

Hashtags are commonly used on many sites like Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and even Facebook. You can also see what hashtags are trending in real time at any given moment.

Today we will look at Instagram’s most popular hashtags.

Business Insider recently wrote an article “Instagram’s Most Popular Hashtags” and reviews a few of the weekly hashtags that are popular today.

Man Crush Monday (#MCM) – People post pictures of their male crushes from celebrities to spouses.

Transformation Tuesday (#TT) – A fitness hashtag showing people’s transformations in health.

Women Crush Wednesday (#WCW) – Another crush posting hashtag for females.

Throwback Thursday (#TBT or #throwbackthursday) – A fun throwback picture of you when you were younger.

Flashback Friday (#FF or #flashbackfriday) – Not as popular as #TT but still used.

Caturday (#caturday) – For cat lovers on Saturday. Heh.

Selfie Sunday (#selfiesunday) – Self explanatory!

Here is a real-time list of the top hashtags currently on Instagram.

Obviously these are curtailed to personal use and there is a business side of Instagram. And using your brand as a hashtag isn’t the only way to utilize hashtags on Instagram.

Check out the top 3 Instagram Trends for Marketers and see how businesses are utilizing what was once a consumer focused site.

How are you using Instagram for your business?

Image courtesy of bplanet / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Creative Concepts Suggests Strategies for Handling Negative Feedback

social strategies for negative commentsAs marketers build their online brand presence, one critical area that needs to be addressed is how to handle negative feedback.

Social Media Examiner’s recent research shows that marketers are not prepared for negative feedback.

A recent eMarketer report found that more than half of marketers do not have a plan to handle negative social media posts.

Create a Social Media Policy

If you don’t already have one, now is the time to create a social media policy.

When creating a social media policy or guideline, be sure to include a comment policy and post it publicly on your website as well as social media profiles.

Also specify what language or comments are off limits that might get people blocked from the community.

How to Respond

The worst thing you can do when facing negative comments is not to respond at all. Make sure you respond within the first 24 hours. If the issue needs more attention, then suggest a call or an email address and solve the problem offline.

Poyntner suggests putting together a response plan similar to the Air Force’s flow chart plan. It is a simple, visual guide for your employees to follow when negative comments occur.

Take the Lead

Once the plan is in place, a proactive approach that your company can take is to monitor for all types of online feedback.

Setting up Google Alerts with your company keywords further ensures you are keeping an eye on your brand.

What has worked for your brand?

Creative Concepts Looks at Social Strategies for Public Relations

ID-100256490The intersection of social media and public relations can be a complicated union.

Brands and businesses need to incorporate a process that places social media within the public relations strategy.

Forbes recently wrote “Winning Social Media Strategies for Public Relations” The article highlights social media tips for public relations professionals pulled from a pool of experts.

Here is the list of tips for better social media strategies in public relations.

1. Be brief and don’t be boring. Twitter has forced us to write in shorter snappy snippets. Images combined with messaging are powerful on Instagram and Pinterest. Brevity is key for a sound social strategy.

2. Be newsworthy. Don’t be afraid to tie into a news story. Offer your opinion on it as an expert.

3. Be helpful. Find and follow media folks and offer help. Become a valued resource and keep the sales pitches out of social.

4. Avoid Facebook. Depending on your business, Facebook works with a few strategies such as community outreach, building groups and other brand promotions. But for many other public relations initiatives, you are better served utilizing other social media networks.

5. Be live. Be responsive and real to the public on your social networks. Customer service and crisis communications are key areas in which social networks can extend your reach to customers.

What are some ways your business uses social media for public relations?

Image courtesy of hyena reality / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Creative Concepts Examines Facebook Page Changes

ID-10075433New updates seem to come out weekly on social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Some updates are simply cosmetic and some updates completely change your marketing strategy for that network.

Social Media Today recently wrote “Your Facebook Page’s Organic Reach is About to Plummet.” Organic page reach has been falling since Facebook has focused on building advertising opportunities on the platform. Historically, Facebook organic page reach fell from an average of 12.05% in October, 2013 to 6.15% in February, 2014. With the newest algorithm changes, organic reach is expected to be at only 1 – 2%.

This Facebook strategy means that businesses with pages will need to pay to play. Their free “trial” is over. Facebook will need to be a budgeted promotional line item. It can still be a very effective advertising tool, but at a cost.

For consumers, Facebook will remain free to use. The downfall for people using Facebook is that their newsfeed will be peppered with more advertising.

What can a business do when social networks make these types of changes?

The most important part of a digital marketing strategy for your business is your website. This is property that you own online and can control. Your website should be the central hub of your online presence. Creating a blog and sharing your expertise is also an effective way to utilize your website and introduce prospects to your company.

Facebook is still an extremely effective promotional tool. If your business page has fans, you already have a group of interested prospects and customers. And with Facebook’s detailed demographics, it is still one of the best ways to reach a targeted group of people at a lower cost than tv, radio and the like.

Social media networks can be channels used to broadcast your messaging, but the central hub of your business online needs to be your website.

 

Image courtesy of smarnad / FreeDigitalPhotos.net