Predictability of Social Media Marketing Campaigns

predicting social media resultsSocial media marketing is matured. It’s not in its infancy anymore – we see less hype and more proof of results. There is a clear industry transformation from guesstimation and vague resemblance of meaningful KPIs to a more scientific approach with measurable results and data analysis.

Here are some facts related to social analytics:

  1. Over a year ago Google added social analytics section to its analytics platform. So now businesses can analyze not only direct conversions coming from different social networks, but also assisted conversions, which is extremely important. As with any type of marketing only low percent of visitors convert right away, and addition of assistant conversions helps to provide better picture of actual commercial impact of social interactions.
  2.  Major social networks now have their own analytics tools that could be used to dive in and dissect every aspect of user interactions – we have Twitter analytics, Pinterest analytics, Linkedin analytics for company pages, and of course Facebook analytics. Facebook analytics, especially after recent addition of Facebook insights, is by far the most comprehensive analytics platform around. And it is freely available to all Facebook advertisers.
  3.  While Tumblr and Instagram do not have their own analytics yet (to the best of my knowledge), you can use Google analytics and the whole slew of 3d party analytics tools to analyze various aspects of social media activity in these social networks.
  4. Of course, 3d party analytics tools are available not only for Tumblr or Instagram, but for the majority of social networks, big and small, general and industry-specific. They are spreading like wildfire catering to particular business needs to further enhance social media analysis.

The ROI of social media marketing campaign is still one of the most difficult factors to predict in digital marketing industry due to highly volatile chain effect.

On Facebook, likes and comments can cause increased post shares and vice versa – which in turn can increase post feed ranking – which can increase organic reach – which can increase exposure.

On Twitter, favorites and replies cause the literal growth of a tweet (when viewed from Twitter platform, it appears larger than non-engaged tweets) – which increases tweet visibility – which can spur the number of re-tweets – which can stimulate organic reach – which can increase exposure.

On Google Plus, Pinterest, Linkedin and other social media channels we can observe similar chain reaction as well.

(Dashes in examples above are used to visually demonstrate a chain effect.)

In essence, each of these steps can potentially cause a butterfly effect and turn your campaign into viral hurricane. Unfortunately, you never know which auction will cause this viral effect or whether it will be triggered at all during your campaign.

Viral side of social media marketing is uncontrollable and can’t be calculated in advance, it’s not reliable and should be considered as a pleasant (and sometimes huge) bonus.

While viral effect is unpredictable, usual results of social media marketing campaigns can be predicted with pretty much the same probability as the results of PPC marketing and other paid advertisements.

Companies that run professional social media marketing campaigns rather than treat social marketing as a sporadic activity,  know their metrics (ie: normal reach, traffic and conversions for tweets/ Facebook updates/ Pinterest pins, etc.), and can use them to deliver predictable and desirable marketing outcome.

Plus, with a roaster of analytics tools to track and analyze each step of the campaign, it’s now easier to identify the most successful episodes and use them as building blocks in future campaigns.

After all, this is what social media marketing strategy is all about – test, identify the winning combination of campaign elements, engage, build influence and reach, drive traffic, increase ROI, enjoy new customers. Rinse and repeat.

Posted in Main Category, Social Marketing, Social Marketing Secrets | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

There is No Such Thing as Social Media Marketing!

social media marketing and seoThis title is a bit of exaggeration, but it sure got your attention, right? Let’s continue.

There is no such thing as SEO. There is no such thing as Online Branding. There is no such thing as PR. I can go on and on.

While a few years ago such statements would be absurd, now we need to look at a bigger picture. All those marketing disciplines still exist, yet they shouldn’t be considered as stand- alone strategies anymore. They all are a part of digital marketing, and can be effective only when working together.

Let’s review a few examples.

Social Media Marketing and SEO

Google states that social signals are not important factor in gaining first page position in SERP. It’s a myth. There is no correlation between strong social signals and rankings. While this may or may not be true (I would advise you to take official statements with a grain of salt), the fact is social signals do impact SEO, at least from the indexing point of view.

If search spiders do not “live” on your client’s site, and only visit it occasionally, the easiest way to get new page indexed within minutes is to reference it from influential social media account (doesn’t matter whether it’s Twitter or Facebook). This is not a theory. We’ve done it thousands times.

PR (public relations) and SEO

You might wander what public relations have to do with SEO. Until recently there was a clear sequence – SEO experts helped to optimize press-releases to rank better in SERPs, then after a mass-distribution through PR aggregators, those press-releases generated a massive array of inbound key-word targeted links which helped the overall ranking of a site and specific pages.

Theoretically both departments could work as stand-alone units without the necessity to be in constant contact with each other. Not anymore.

Enter the era of Google penguins otherwise known as killers of duplicate content. Google frowns upon massive press-release distribution that generates a lot of duplicate content. And while it might benefit your company from PR perspective, there is a good chance your search rankings will be negatively affected at the same time. Today press-release creation and distribution requires a careful balancing between PR objectives and the realities of search ranking.

Social Media Marketing and Public Relations

While PR department doesn’t have to collaborate with SM department during the development of PR campaigns, PR advertising and branding dollar will stretch much further if these campaigns are coordinated and supported by related social media activities.

If you’re seasoned marketing executive, I am sure you can easily think of at least dozen examples that support this point of view. Your comments are welcome.

Posted in Main Category, Search Engine Optimization, Social Marketing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Biggest Mistake about Local Business Marketing That Hurts Local Businesses

the biggest local marketing mistake

What is Local Business?

First of all, let’s clearly define what type of business can be classified as local business. Business can be called local if its customer base is limited to a local area.

Local area could be a town, a county or even state (in some cases). Local business services should be available within a reasonable driving distance from its customers. Usually local businesses sell tangible goods and services rather than digital products. Generally, such services are not suitable for shipment to other areas.

While people could go online and shop worldwide for a huge variety of products and services, it doesn’t make sense to search, for example, a barber who is located father than 30 minutes drive away from your house. Other examples of local businesses:

  • Beauty salons and tattoo shops (if your wife wants to do manicure or pedicure, she usually wants it now), and you won’t fly to another state to get a tattoo too (pun intended).
  • Restaurants and bars (you have to be physically present to eat. Sure, you can order the food online, but still it should be within a short driving distance, you wouldn’t want to wait for Chinese takeout for more than 30 minutes).
  • Dentists and other doctors (need medical help? I don’t think you would be inclined to drive far away to find someone who can ease the pain.)
  • Martial art studios and yoga instructors (want to get in shape? You have to train at least several times per week, so remote location is out of the question).
  • Roofing services, handymen, electricians, plumbers, landscaping services (umm, let me picture this: you need to fix your roof or your toilet, and you’re searching online for someone thousand miles away…yeah, that’s not going to happen).
  • Auto dealerships (while you can buy car online, you won’t go in another state for an oil change or regular car maintenance services).
  • Real estate agents (unless you want to buy in another state or country, you would want someone who knows local real estate market).
  • Accountants
  • Lawyers
  • The list goes on and on.

I think you get the picture. All these products and services are important for comfortable life, but they are not easily transferrable outside of local area.

Here is the good news for local businesses: due to the very nature of local services, they have less competition. Local business owners don’t have to compete in the world market, all they have to do is stay ahead of competition in their local area. Instead of competing with millions other similar businesses they just have to outsmart a few dozen of them.

Here comes the bad news: the majority of local businesses have rather vague understanding of online marketing, and even those of them who have a website tend to promote their business using traditional methods – newspaper ads, local business listing, local business directories, yellow pages, etc.

The return on investment on this kind of advertisement shrinks every year, yet business owners are still clinging to these outdated promotional methods because it’s hard to embrace, let alone understand “the other world” – the world of digital marketing.

Of course local owners have heard about Facebook and Twitter, may be even about Linkedin or Google Plus. But hearing about these social networks is not the same as making them work.

The Biggest Mistake about Local Business Marketing

The biggest misconception that drives local businesses to the ground is that they think that they have to hire someone local to help them with their marketing problems. Unfortunately the folks in their neck of woods might not have expertise required for increasing marketing ROI (return on investment).

Here is how my initial conversation starts with more local business owner than I care to count: “Yeah, you know a lot about all this new media stuff, and probably could do something for my business, but you’re in New England, and I am in Texas/ Colorado/ North Carolina/ Arizona/ UK/Australia /Fill-in-the-blank/…, so you can’t help me”.

Dear local business owners, local business marketing does not have to be provided by someone from your town. Yes, your services are limited to your local area, but the choice of marketing consultants is not. All this online marketing and new media “stuff” is in the cloud, and it can be accessed from anywhere in the world.

Your social media profiles can be created, optimized, and even managed from any city in the world. The same goes for your website, and your mobile site or app. You just need to find the right company that can take your current monthly advertising budget, and use it to steadily increase your revenue, bring more clients and customers for your business by utilizing the cutting edge online marketing strategies, tools and resources.

Speaking of the “right company”, for a limited time I offer free 15 minute marketing consultations for local businesses (local as in businesses serving location-specific customers, not in local – limited to my current location). So click the link above to reserve your spot, and bring your local business to the new level!

Posted in Branding, Internet Marketing, Main Category, Search Engine Optimization, Social Marketing | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment