tools to measure whether social media is working

5 Tools That Will Tell You If Your Social Media Strategy is Working

A great social media campaign takes patience, thought and energy. The Return on Investment (ROI) is not always immediate, and many small businesses start using social media only to abandon it months later. The key to a successful social media strategy is customer “engagement,” which is defined as interactions in the form of likes, tweets, favorites, click-throughs, page views or even comments on a blog. If you have the type of business that does not get many Facebook comments or likes, for example, it does not mean your social media campaign isn’t working, but rather that you may need to dig a little deeper to analyze your customer engagement.

Understanding engagement is essential to figuring out the types of social media that will help grow your business. Here are five tools that will tell you whether your social media strategy is working.

Level of Engagement

One of the easiest ways to analyze social media success is to consider the campaign engagement relative to the average. The average engagement is lower than you might think, and I like to look at www.socialbakers.com for updated statistics. Socialbakers compile their data based upon monitored social media pages. As a rule of thumb, engagement of 1% or higher is considered good, but as the number of followers you have increases, the engagement level declines markedly so adjust your expectations accordingly. However, 1% engagement is a reasonable benchmark for a successful social media campaign.

Geographic Reach

If you use Twitter, tools like SocialBro can give you demographic information about your followers, including their geographic location and language.This tool will allow you to group your followers into lists and monitor what topics engage them, what times your tweets attract the most engagement and who the top influencers are in your area of interest. You can change the demographics and look at similar information in a competitor’s area or even a region where you may be considering expansion. For multinational businesses, SocialBro can help you see countries where you have pockets of followers, and you can tailor your content accordingly.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics

The ultimate goal of a social media campaign is not just engagement, but visibility for your business and website. Google Analytics, a powerful and versatile tool available from Google, utilizes the information it collects on customer searches to track how they are getting to your website. If your customers are finding your website with click-throughs from your social media, you can see it in your Google Analytics reports. The platform will also tell you whether the visitors to your site are new or returning, what pages they are viewing, demographic information about them, and how long they stay on your site.

Newsletter Subscriber Base

If you send out newsletter e-blasts, chances are you have sign-up widgets on your social media platforms. If followers find your social content engaging, they will seek to build a more substantial relationship with your company by signing up for your newsletter. Social media engagement serves as the introduction to what your company has to offer. The newsletter will allow you to have a more meaningful dialogue with your customers, so monitor whether your subscriber base is increasing alongside your social media campaigns. If you have a download or PDF you can give away to incentivize people to join your mailing list, even better.

Click-through Rates

Regardless of the social media platform that  you choose, you will be able to monitor the click-through rate for your posts, tweets, e-blasts or photos. The click-through rate will tell you how many followers actually clicked on your content, photo or link back to your website. It suggests that a follower is interested enough in your content to actually do something about it, so it is a key metric and will help you refine your social media strategy in ways that can better engage your customers.

Are you unsure how to tell whether your social media strategy is working, or is your company just struggling to engage with customers on social media? Resourceful Business can help you assess, realign and energize your social media strategy so you can engage customers and grow your business. Contact us for a conversation about your company’s social media strategy.

Clothespins in a Jar

Clothespins in a Jar: A Childhood Game That Will Improve Your Small Business

Summer is a wonderful time to retool a small company. The dynamics of the business often change, and the less hectic pace can provide the perfect backdrop to contemplate the to-do list. It reminds me of a childhood game, clothespins in a jar. When summer comes around, mothers sometimes ask their children what they want to do in the summer. The child will name a few things like trying the new neighborhood playground or learning to ride a bicycle without training wheels. The idea is written on a clothespin and put in a jar. The jar sits on the kitchen counter and the clothespin is removed from the jar once the activity is done. The goal is to have the jar completely empty before the fall when school begins and busy schedules resume. It is a fun game and a fabulous visual reminder all in one!

This summer, why not put a few clothespins in a jar for your small business. Select projects that you have not had time to focus on and either do them, or contract them out. Here are ten ideas to get you started and improve your small business:

Content Management

  • Produce a quarterly eBlast or newsletter and send it to your clients. The Return on Investment (ROI) is high when you find ways to keep in touch with your current and past customers. They will remember your company when you keep your brand in front of them in creative ways. Don’t succumb to the temptation to do a purely promotional newsletter, but rather develop original content so your clients will enjoy reading the eBlast.

  • Learn your website content management system (CMS). If your website is built on a platform like WordPress, learn how to upload your own pictures and edit the content instead of paying someone else to do it for you. According to WordPress creator Matt Mullenweg, almost 19% of the web now runs on WordPress, so understanding WordPress CMS is well worth the time and effort.

Social Media Strategy

  • Rebrand your social media. Have the banners, profile pictures and backgrounds customized to show your products, services and logo in an eye-catching way. Social media helps you engage with customers, show your brand and market your business too.

  • Integrate social media on your website. If you don’t have clickable, visible links to all of your social media platforms on your website pages, get a developer to add them for you. Once you integrate your social media, make sure to manage it.  See my previous blog: Stop Ruining Your Business with Social Media.

  • Come up with a promotion for your business and post it on social media.  One of my favorite Facebook promotion ideas is to have your customers post a picture of your product and how they are using it. Have them post the picture on your social media company page with a comment about their photo.  Offer a prize for the most creative picture, then ask if you can use it in your marketing!

    hire a quickbooks ProAdvisor

Finances

  • Get your business finances in order. Hire a QuickBooks Proadvisor or bookkeeper to set up a proper chart of accounts for your company and get all your revenue and expenses entered. Create a quarterly management report on QuickBooks and start to look at year-on-year comparisons of your business performance.

  • Keep track of your expense receipts in an organized way so you and your bookkeeper are not scrambling at tax time. Figure out a system to get company receipts to the bookkeeper in a timely fashion throughout the year. In addition to having documents at your fingertips in April, you will run your business more strategically by being on top of expenses.

Blogging

  • Start a blog, and then learn how to properly post it so it is optimized for search. By creating original content and developing a blog, your website traffic will improve. The market will also start to look to you as an expert in your field. Be patient, as sometimes it takes time for original content to produce results.

Website

  • Have your website redesigned so that the pages are fluid-width, responsive and they properly adjust to any screen size or mobile device. Website elements should adjust to accommodate desktop computers, iPads and mobile phones. If you have an e-commerce platform embedded in your website, it should be responsive and work on all devices as well.

Small Business Strategy

  • Allocate time each day to read. It is amazing how much knowledge you will gain by just reading 30 minutes per day in your field of expertise. Order subscriptions, find newspapers or electronic newsletters that have great articles and information in your company’s area of expertise. Set time aside to read them each day and stay informed in your field.

These ideas are just off the top of my head, and there are many more that will be specific to your company. So, this summer, if the pace of your business is a little less frenetic, create your own to-do list. Construct a visual reminder, your very own clothespins in a jar, and get motivated to dust off projects that you have been meaning to do. Need some assistance? At Resourceful Business, we can help with website design and redesign, QuickBooks, content management, blogging, SEO and small business strategy. Contact us.

social media for business

Stop Ruining your Business with Social Media

For many business owners, social media has become part of their marketing strategy. Whether it be Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn or Google+, small businesses will choose a preferred platform or two, do promotions and advertisements or engage with customers. The ability to upload pictures makes tinkering with social media fun too.

All too often, however, a busy owner sets up a social media account and then uses it haphazardly with limited results. To really see customer engagement, the effort must be consistent and thoughtful, and of course, all of that takes time. So, here are a few telltale signs that you should stop doing social media for your business and utilize a content management firm instead.

You don’t know what a pixel actually is

Social media platforms permit the administrator, often the account owner, to upload graphic images and customize or brand the site to help visually identify the business. There are banners, profile pictures, logos in differing sizes and backgrounds. When you go to upload an image, usually the social media template will tell you the optimal size. When working with a LinkedIn banner, for example, a message displays,

“ PNG, JPEG, or GIF; max size 2 MB. Image must be 646 x 220 pixels or larger.”

A pixel is picture element, or one of the small points on a graphic image. If you upload an image that is too small or of the wrong dimensions, it can be stretched, appear off-center or blurred. Even when the social media templates let you check a box to “resize” the image, the end result is often distorted, cut off or blurry. Logos and images are easily edited with available software and will look crisp and eye-catching when sized correctly. A content management firm can give your social media platform a polished, professional look by creating correctly sized, custom graphics for your social media accounts.

writing a blog

You haven’t written a blog in 3 months

You know that it is helpful to create original content and you started a blog a few months ago. You wrote your first blog and posted it. You keep thinking about the next great topic, but have yet to write your next blog and it’s been three months. You are unfamiliar with terms such as H1 and H2 headings, sometimes written as “Heading 1, Heading 2,” tags, or hashtags which can appear in your website content management system (CMS). So, chances are that even if you are posting your own blogs, you are not taking advantage of the different ways to optimize search for your content.

A content management firm can write your blogs based on topics you provide or ideas they generate themselves. They will agree an editorial calendar with you, so blogs and content are produced consistently You can read drafts, approve them and then the content management company will post the content for you and optimize it for search.

You don’t actually have a social media content strategy

Social media content is sometimes divided into what is referred to as the “Rule of Thirds.” One third of your content can be product and service related, so it can have a promotional element. One third of your content should try to establish a rapport with your target audience. You can write about local events in your community or just your thoughts, and this content may not necessarily be related to your product. One third of your social media content should pull from other sources or articles in your field and try to establish you or your company as an expert in the area of specialization.

Great content also demands a variety of inputs to keep it interesting. There should be slideshares, videos, hyperlinks to interesting articles and lots and lots of pictures. If you don’t have the time or inclination to focus on an individualized content management strategy using a variety of mediums, then it would be better to let a content management firm do it for you. A content management firm can offer your business a monthly plan which may include fresh content, posting of the content, blog writing and monthly metric reports. Simply put, good content demands time, originality and a lot of reading, so know when the time has come to hand the task over.

Do you need a vision for your social media strategy or someone to implement it? Contact Resourceful Business today, and we will help you design and execute an effective, engaging social media strategy. Contact us.

President's Day Lessons for small business

Presidents’ Day Lessons for the Small Business

Presidents’ Day is around the corner, and it is worthwhile for the small business to stop and think about why we remember two of our great Presidents, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Their place in history extends far beyond their historic actions and ideas. Rather, their legacies are also defined by moral character, tenacity and tactical skill. As a small business owner, it occurs to me that each of these traits also define a great business. Here’s why.

Moral Character Grows the Client Base

History remembers Abraham Lincoln as a President that perceived slavery to be a fundamental evil; and therefore, he worked tirelessly to abolish it. His morality and view of slavery became the basis for his actions as President. Similarly, a small business must have a strong moral character in all that it does; because without one, it will never build lasting client relationships. A strong sense of morality will guide the major decisions of the business and underpin client relationships.

In fact, one of the most rewarding aspects of my business is interacting with clients. The one-on-one time that I spend with a small business owner establishes a foundation of trust.  Personally, I have found that if I look a client in the eye and give him or her advice, (s)he will usually take it. It is because a business that develops a reputation of integrity combined with a track record of working solely in the interest of the client becomes a very valuable ally.

For example, there are some services that my company helps clients with, and we simply pass through the costs with no markup. Our clients are always pleasantly surprised. But it is not a stretch for us, because our business grows when we represent clients honestly, work solely in their best interest, and build the relationship. Our business is unique in that it offers many different services, and invariably, clients start with us in one product line and then add another. If we can be trusted in one area, then we earn a presumption of trust in another. Perhaps in the case of Abraham Lincoln, the nation’s belief in his moral character earned him the chance to move forward with his difficult domestic agenda.

It is the moral character of the business, in effect, which grows the client base.

lessons for small business

Tenacity, but with Focus

Tenacity is one of my favorite words. It means, “the quality or fact of being very determined.” Particularly when a small business grows quickly, an owner can feel overwhelmed. Leads seem to come in from everywhere, time is sparse, hours are long and simple tasks like paying the bills go out the window. In those times, tenacity is critical, but it must be with focus. Successful small business owners work extremely hard, are determined to pursue their passion which underlies the business and commit the time to doing so. But as the business picks up, time management and the ability to focus on the key goals are critical.

Where should you focus?

  • Cost control and expenses
  • Client relationships and maintaining an on-going dialogue with your customers
  • Follow-up conversations and work on running projects and current initiatives
  • Key strategic objectives that are core to the business

Therefore, continue to pursue important deadlines, client relationships and projects with tenacity, and concentrate on key business objectives if you must do some picking and choosing. If a business is not executing particular aspects very well, it may be prudent to shed them if they are not core to the business. Don’t be afraid to make these types of difficult decisions to retain your focus.

Be Tactical and Smart, or Lose Ground

George Washington is often remembered as the general who crossed the icy, Delaware River on Christmas Eve during the American Revolutionary War. It was a turning point in the morale of the Continental Army and a bold strategic move. He knew that without the element of surprise, his army had no chance against the Hessians.

When I spend time with a new business, I am often caught off guard at how often the team has fallen into a pattern of complacency. The owners have taken a view that it seems to work, or at least it works well enough. Business is humming and no one on the management team has the time to contemplate the next downturn. What revenue streams could be jeopardized?  Should they be bolstering other areas of the business just in case?  On occasion when my company is brought in for strategic planning, I often hear, “Let’s think outside the box.” I always respond, “But, the answer might be in the box.”

Tactical thinking means planning ahead and envisioning scenarios different from the status quo. It means developing initiatives in anticipation of a changing environment often using resources you already have. It does not necessarily mean that the business needs a complete overhaul or change of course.  It does mean that management needs to look at different scenarios and be prepared to act. Let the competition be complacent, like the Hessians, who assumed that the holidays would be a time of rest. Use surprise in your favor and be prepared to move in a different direction even when your competitors do not.

For a great example of the importance of forward, tactical thinking, see the Wall Street Journal article, “Apps are Wrecking Mom-and-Pop Pizza Shops.”

So, this Presidents’ Day, consider whether your business conducts itself with moral character, tenacity and tactical smarts. If you don’t think your company passes the litmus test in any one of these three areas, contact us and we will help realign your strategy.