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Business Development & Marketing Cash Flow & Forecasting Finance General Turnaround

Measures to take when social media marketing isn't working

Ready for Tomorrow?Social media marketing campaigns should be aimed at engagement with a target market, whether interaction, reaction or a call to action.
Human beings are by no means consistent in their behaviour and may be affected by events or influences entirely outside the scope of a campaign, so it would be foolish to expect l00% guaranteed success from any campaign even if all the basics have been done well.
However, too many campaigns fail to achieve even moderate success which should be defined at the outset in terms of a measurable level of engagement.

Improving the odds of success

Assuming your research has confirmed that there is a market and a demand for your product or service and you have a clear picture of your ideal client’s profile, or even created an avatar, what can you do to weight the odds of campaign success in your favour?
Firstly, there must be a clear and measurable goal for the campaign. This might be the number of people requesting more information, downloading Apps, follow up calls or meetings set up, or orders placed.
Secondly, it is crucial to understand the language from the keywords or phrases your target audience is likely to use when searching for your product and use the language and vocabulary that will resonate with them in your social media messages.
However, once interest has been aroused and desired response achieved, a campaign can still fail if the desired engagement does not follow.
Campaign success will be improved by having a clear, user-friendly landing page for a prospect to visit if you have invited them to find out more or to book an appointment or place an order. Here, too, language is important as well as visual appeal. The next steps you want people to take need to be as few and straightforward as possible. Do the messages reassure them that you can solve their problem or cater to their interests?
All of this needs to be integrated into an effective sales funnel that takes a potential client through a series of clear steps to the point of purchase.

Measurement is a continuous process

Monitoring a social media campaign, like any other form of marketing, means keeping track of how it is performing, so producing data is a must. Some social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, provide statistics on size of audience and interactions directly on their sites.
In addition to the social media monitoring data, it is necessary also to measure and monitor what happens after the successful engagement such as the outcome of a sales call or meeting. In this way, the sales funnel can be reviewed to compare the cost, effort and success of different marketing campaigns, whether social media or other.
Two advantages of social media marketing are that it is relatively straightforward to measure while it is running and it is also easy to change if it isn’t working.

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Business Development & Marketing General Rescue, Restructuring & Recovery Turnaround

Use Twitter data to improve your marketing

Twitter offers valuable insights into your customers and their behaviour which can in turn be used to improve the way you engage with them.
It is important to understand the information available in Twitter analytics and what it is telling you. While there is a lot of data, like financial information, marketing information can be distilled into some key reports that are easy to monitor.
The data can be used to make adjustments to your marketing strategy and then check whether the new initiatives work. While others may implement your marketing strategy, you need to oversee the relationship with your customers.
Your involvement is important because you understand your business from the inside and in depth. Your marketing people may understand how to use Twitter and other social media tools to best advantage but they cannot hope to know your business in the way that you do.
Good communication is therefore essential in order to have a constructive conversation about your social media marketing strategy and in particular the tools like Twitter.

Talk to your marketing experts

screen shot of Twitter dataHaving looked at your Twitter analytics, you will have some idea of what posts have been most successful and those that have been less so. You might check timings and what impact they had on orders or follow up action by checking other reports. What are the factors that may have influenced these results?  Is it to do with the time of posting, the wording, the topic, use of visuals and hashtags? The answers to these questions are something your marketing experts should be able to help with.
Another thing to check is who have been your top Twitter followers each month and investigate further whether any of them are important influencers in your industry.
Another consideration is whether a particular geographic area is important to your business. If so, then it may be useful to adjust your Twitter settings so that you can monitor what is happening in that area that may be relevant to your business.
You can also use http://twitaholic.com/ to identify the most active Twitter users in your chosen geographic area.  If your Twitter activity can help you connect with these people they are potential advocates for your brand.
Refining your activity is going to take time, patience, subtlety and regular monitoring.  It is not something busy managers or CEOs will have the time or perhaps the skill to do for themselves.
However, understanding the basics of the analytics data will help to facilitate a more productive conversation about strategy development with those responsible for carrying out your social media marketing.

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Business Development & Marketing Cash Flow & Forecasting General Turnaround

Effective social media strategies need analysis

The use of various social media platforms is becoming established as a part of a business marketing strategy in the 21stCentury.
But how many businesses use data to monitor the results of their efforts, to check it is working and then to use the feedback to modify their activity?
We recently asked delegates at a business conference how many of them had ever seen Twitter or Google Analytics and were staggered when from an audience of around 120 senior executives only one put up their hand.  Yet in a global marketplace the digital world is crucial to successful business.
Over the next few weeks we will be looking at the data you can collect from Twitter, Google and Facebook and how you might use it.

First, finding Twitter analytics

an image showing Twitter analyticsIf your business has a Twitter account you can use it to login to https://analytics.twitter.com to find the data collected on your activity, known as Analytics.
You can also access analytics direct from Twitter by clicking on logo picture top right then select Analytics from the drop down menu.
You will find:
Home – a month by month summary and a last 28 day summary.
Tweets – a tweet by tweet summary of engagements, which is how many people have acted (commented/liked or shared your tweets) and reach, which is how many people your tweets have been sent to.  Top tweets help you identify what works and what doesn’t.
Audience – you can review your audiences’ interests and compare to other audiences. Top mentions help you find out who your fans are, who is promoting your business, who to thank.
You can change the date range if you want to look at how a particular set of tweets has worked.
If your business runs its own campaigns in-house rather than using a social media marketing expert this information is essential to assessing how effectively you are communicating.
Once you have collected the information the next step is analysing whether or not what you have been doing has achieved the results you had hoped for and if not deciding how to alter your activity so that it performs better.  That’s the subject for another blog.
For the moment it is worth just looking at the rich data available and considering how it might benefit you and your business. Should any of it become one of your KPIs?

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Business Development & Marketing Finance General Turnaround

Good complaints handling is crucial to SMEs’ survival

Ignoring or handling a complaint badly can be the death of an otherwise perfectly sound small business.
While many companies have in the past got away with ignoring complaints, social media is making it easier for them to be held to account. And in a competitive market, customers can choose where to shop which can have a swift and dramatic impact on a business.
The recent tribulations of Thomas Cook and how it acted following the death of two children from carbon monoxide poisoning in a holiday cottage in 2006 are a good example of how badly things can go wrong.
Particularly relevant to many SMEs are the client feedback websites like TripAdviser, Trivago and Trustatrader that can influence a purchase decision.
So what are the crucial steps that should be taken if something does go wrong?
All businesses should have a complaints handling procedure and make sure all employees are briefed and follow it.
It should include the steps to be taken:
Firstly, the person who receives the complaint should apologise and take the full details of what has happened.
Secondly, someone with authority to act should be alerted as soon as possible and they should let the complainant know they are taking responsibility for dealing with the complaint and deal with it promptly.
Thirdly, in an age where people regularly put their complaints onto social media the SME should publicise its apology as widely as possible and how it put things right.
We would advocate that speaking to customers, feedback forms and satisfaction questionnaires during and immediately after the client interaction will highlight potential problems that can be nipped in the bud, long before they become a serious grievance.
Remember also that even if the problem was caused by a supplier or sub contractor, or happened under a previous regime that cuts no ice for a complainant with a grievance.
How does your company handle complaints from unhappy customers?

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Business Development & Marketing Cash Flow & Forecasting Finance General Rescue, Restructuring & Recovery

The power of networking via Social Media

Cash strapped businesses cannot ignore the need to maintain their visibility and risk losing existing customers who may assume they have disappeared, nor can they risk not having a way of finding new ones.
Despite any lack of cash, entrepreneurs should be innovative and find ways to best use their time to promote and grow their business.
Many people use networking as a great way of doing business by going to functions or attending a regular local networking club such as BNI. With effort and discipline networking can grow a business by generating leads and making introductions. It works best where a close-knit team work together to promote each other’s business.
Networking via social media online can be similarly effective and have the benefit of offering you scope for establishing some highly valuable relationships with people anywhere you want to do business. Unlike face to face networking, location is not a barrier.
Like face to face networking, social media networking is not a short-term fix; both require time and effort to build relationships which in turn produce results.
It takes a while to find your feet but a start is to participate in online discussions to find other like minded networkers. Like networking clubs, finding the right online groups takes time but there are plenty to check out on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or Google+.
In addition to finding the right group you need to find the right social media for you and your business. It is no good being on Facebook if the people you most need to connect with tend to be on LinkedIn.
Building the right group is also important. It is no good having lots of followers or members if you aren’t working together to establish a mutually beneficial relationship. Having 10 Followers on Twitter who
Follow each other and work together by promoting each other and actively referring leads to each other is far more valuable than having 1,000s of Followers or even worse, Following 1,000s of others.
If you are lucky sometimes your message ‘goes viral’ but it takes practice to find a message that others are genuinely interested in. Like all forms of networking, the hard sell on social medial puts people off, but a Tweet, post or comment that is genuinely interesting or valuable turns its readers on. If inspirational or engaging they may share it, and then you might get lucky.
The challenge is to make it work for you. Perhaps you can respond by sharing an inspirational comment for others!

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Business Development & Marketing General Rescue, Restructuring & Recovery Turnaround

Quality v quantity in social media marketing for SMEs

 

Part of the job of transforming a company in difficulty is finding a market. While the immediate crisis is often a lack of cash, the more fundamental ones relate to funding, sales and margins that are necessary to drive growth and we regularly see a failure to effectively market the goods or services.

A case in point is the use of social media, where it is easy for a small company to find itself running ever faster to stand still and to no effect whatsoever by trying to keep up with all the latest advice on frequency of posting on every available outlet .

How often, for example, do you ‘follow’ someone on Twitter or read their blogs because their insights impress you, only to eventually ‘unfollow’ them because the quality of their posts has deteriorated as the frequency has risen?

For the time-poor small business owner attempting to produce a high volume of good quality material for the ever growing list of platforms including LinkedIn, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube and more, it is an exercise in fantasy if they don’t have the time, knowledge and writing skills to do it well.

The DIY approach can damage your company’s brand, especially if it isn’t thought through or properly implemented.  

Far better to have a clear understanding of the company’s target customers, which media they use and what sort of information they value. This can then be used to develop a marketing strategy based on clear goals, whether to generate awareness or generate inquiries and a marketing plan for implementing the strategy. Your strategy might include marketing via social media as a very personal means of communication.

While business owners need to be involved in social media, especially in approving the strategy and monitoring its implementation, there are a number of ways to achieve this without doing it all your self or abandoning it to others. There are plenty of social media marketing firms but SMEs might consider outsourcing specific tasks to one or several specialists. This might be someone carrying out research for relevant topics as a source of content, drafting blogs and posts, editing them in consultation with the you, then posting them online to media that you specify. 

Over time the right specialist can help you achieve your social media marketing goals with the minimum of your time and cost.

In our view quality trumps quantity every time and it is better and more cost effective to produce fewer well-researched and presented pieces than to swamp the e-waves every day because that’s what some “guru” has advised.  Developing your brand may take longer but quality content will not damage your brand unlike trivia that may lead others to ‘unfollow’ you.

Please share your own experience of social media and also any techniques that might benefit others.