Social Media ROI

Social Media & Business Strategy

Social media on its own is not a strategy; however, usage of social media should be paired with a business strategy to ensure alignment to the company’s goals. When beginning conversations about social media, be sure to discuss the goals and strategies first, and the specific tactics, such as social media platform and technical aspects, afterwards. (Wise, 2017).

4 Options for Business Strategy

Ansoffs-matrix

Retrieved from http://www.bluedonkey.co.uk/applying-ansoffs-matrix/

Once we understand our company’s direction, we can set goals and make plans to get ourselves there. Once we begin, then we can start measuring our tactics to see how well we are performing. This is the same with social media. First we need to understand our goal, determine which platform and type of content will help us achieve that goal, and then measure how well we are reaching our goal. (Wise, 2017).


Why Measure?

Measurements can be used to let us know if our business and marketing activities are on track, and allow us to see where adjustments may be necessary.

“It’s not just about the words, images, and videos we post online. It’s about the impact they have on our audience, and it’s about the impact they have on our business sales.”

SMART Goals

The SMART goal framework is an acronym that helps us develop solid goals and give us tangible direction on how to reach our goal.

The below image explains what each letter of the SMART framework means:

SMART-01-e1526503093187

Retrieved from https://fitsmallbusiness.com/smart-goals-examples/


Social Media ROI

Social Media ROI is hard to determine because of soft benefits, such as brand reputation, recognition, and connections, are not easily measured. There are many touchpoints with social media and it is hard to determine which one specifically generated a sale.

With social media, most people focus on likes and followers because it means popularity, but these are not considered actionable insights. Just because someone likes your post doesn’t mean they will buy your product.

The three most important metrics to take into account when determining social media ROI are:

Volume: Volume is defined by reach. Sometimes referred to as impressions, these are metrics that show you how far your content is reaching and is determined by likes, followers, fans, and how many of these people actually view your posts in time.

Reach Figure = # of Impressions / Total # of Followers

Amplification can also be useful to measure, and it is the amount of people who are sharing your content.

Amplification = Number of Shares / Total Number of Posts Over A Given Period 

Engagement: Engagement is based on reactions and responses to social media posts, such as likes, comments, shares, reactions, replies, retweets, re-posts, and more depending on which platform you are using.

Traffic: Traffic refers to the amount of people who are visiting your website, and how they came across your website. There are a few common methods used to access websites:

Organic Search: User clicks the link after using a search engine

Direct: User types the URL into the address bar

Referral: User clicks the website link on a different page.

Social: User clicks the website link on a social media platform.

To measure website traffic, you can use Google Analytics, or if you use a website platform that supports analytics you can use data generated directly from there.


Social Media Measurement Tools

Most social media platforms automatically generate data for users, especially if you have set up a specific business account with them.

Twitter: Twitter displays data for every individual tweet that summarizes how that specific tweet is performing, and also features Twitter Analytics, which displays data for the last 28 days prior if you are an advertiser.

Your goal should be to check in on these analytics regularly and to see a continuous improvement.

LinkedIn: The best way to determine analytics on LinkedIn is by seeing how many profile views your profile received, or if you’re posting, how many people are viewing your posts.

Facebook: At the top of your page there is a small dashboard showing a summary of your page’s performance. For more detail, click “insights,” to examine data over various spans of time.

Instagram: By clicking the graph icon in the top right (available on a business account only), you can view data on how many impressions your post has had, interactions on your profile, and audience information.


How to Calculate ROI

Return on Investment (ROI) = Revenue – Cost / Cost

Cost is the time, money, and other resources dedicate to each social media post, while revenue would be determined by how many sales were generated as a result of social media activity.


Conclusion

To show how analytics are views on various social media accounts, I will apply this knowledge to a local company, BML Homes, Facebook and Instagram profile. BML Homes is a small custom home builder and renovation located in Edmonton, Alberta and has a small social media presence but is determined to grow.


Facebook 

On a recent Facebook post by BML Homes they share a progress image of one of their current full builds. They have reach 117 people, and received engagement from 27 people, including 1 comment, 2 reactions, and 24 likes.

Screen Shot 2018-08-07 at 7.36.49 PM

Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/bmlhomes/


Instagram 

This same post was posted to Instagram. Here we can see the post’s performance, and its comparison to other posts by the company. So far, this post has not outperformed others in terms of reach, but has generated an equivalent number of likes and comments,

Retrieved from @bmlhomes on Instagram

Instagram also shows interesting demographics of BML’s followers such as location,  age range, and gender of followers.

Retrieved from @bmlhomes on Instagram


ROI of BML’s posts

At this time, none of BML’s posts have lead directly to a sale or revenue, however, the posts do have other benefits such as showing potential clients the quality of work performed and the company’s experience in their industry.

The above featured post cost the company roughly 2-3 hours of labour, including time to take the photos with a drone and to draft the post.


References 

Wise, L. (2017, Dec 1). Social media marketing: ROI. Lynda.com. Retrieved from https://www.lynda.com/HootSuite-tutorials/Welcome/504398/575521-4.html

 

 

Advertisements

Thought Leadership

What is Thought Leadership?

A thought leader is a trusted source of expertise and is recognized as an authority in their field.

In situations involving a lot of information and many decisions, thought leaders contribute by exercising the authority to be a decision leader. Being a thought leader is an opportunity to serve others with expertise, knowledge, and recommendations in specific areas.

Often times people associate thought leaders with celebrities; however, mentors, teachers, community leaders, family, friends, bosses, and coworkers can all be considered thought leaders. (Crenshaw, 2013).

Thought leadership can be used by businesses to generate content specific to their product or industry, and share that content to educate consumers, investors, and other stakeholders.

Internally, business owners and members of management teams can use thought leadership to inspire, educate, and engage employees, and even attract future employees (Li & Bernoff, 2011, p. 234).

Here is an example of what events and benefits successful thought leadership can deliver.

SEO-Benefit

Retrieved from https://www.internetmarketinginc.com/blog/how-thought-leadership-plays-a-role-in-seo/


Authority

How to determine your area of authority

  1. Create a list of your top 3 talents. Focus on areas you are gifted in, you love, and have skills in.
  2. List your most valuable activities (MVAs). These are activities that are worth the most per hour.
  3. For each item listed, determine if this is something people often seek “advice” from you for, or if this is an area that you would “like” to be a thought leader in.
  4. Identify where MVAs and talents check both “like” and “advice” and where your MVAs and talents may be the same.

Where your MVAs, talents, like, and advice align is likely where you should develop your area of authority. (Crenshaw, 2013).

Build and develop your area of authority

  1. Schedule time to develop your expertise in your area of authority. Start with one hour a week and progress to more hours as you develop.
  2. Select a mentor who has experience in thought leadership and who has already established success. You can look for a mentor within your company, within your network of friends and acquaintances, or afar to establish a relationship with a long-distance mentor. (Crenshaw, 2013).

Building Authority within a Company

The best way to establish authority within a company is to become a systems expert.

“A systems expert is someone in a company who best understands certain processes and procedures” – Dave Crenshaw

To become a systems expert, you must be experienced and knowledgeable about the process and procedures that people are seeking guidance in. You may have years of experience with the system, a special talent in the system, or you may have created the system. Regardless, your expertise in a specific system can make you extremely valuable to a company and can provide you an area of authority. A systems expert will learn from others to document systems and educate others.

Prior to becoming a systems expert, you must identify a need for a system expert in the company and ensure there is company buy in. Usually, company owners are too busy to document systems, so having someone volunteer to do so is pleasing to them, but make sure you ask first.

In a larger company, where systems are more established and likely documented, you may become a systems expert by ‘tweaking’ existing systems and making suggestions, but it is important to follow company protocol and avoiding stepping on others’ toes as you do so. Be sure to respect the owners of existing systems and bring your suggestions forward in a kind and respectful manner.

Documenting the System

What: A brief phrase summarizing the system, often beginning with “This system will…”

Why: Summarize the logic or motivation behind the system to convince people that the benefits of the system are worth the effort of following it.

Who: A list of the positions responsible for following the system.

With: The resources required by the system to ensure success.

How: A clear and concise outline of the general steps that need to be followed under the new system. Use bullet points and separate the system into smaller systems if necessary.

(Crenshaw, 2013)

Formalize the System

Once you have completed your documentation of the system, you will submit your report to someone at the company for review and approval. During this process, the reviewer will proof read and ensure that the voice of the system is aligned with the voice of the company.

Following review, you will incorporate the changes into the final version of the system.

One it is finalized, you can create copies and ensure copies are available to everyone who will be involved with the system. If the system is new, you will host training sessions in a way that is suitable to the size of the company. This may be one-on-one, in small groups or large groups. It is a good idea to have a system in place for feedback and questions to make further improvements and to encourage employee buy-in. (Crenshaw, 2013).


Building Authority in the Public  

Becoming a thought leader in the eyes of the public can lead to mentorship opportunities, private consulting, and a healthy online following that will increase your reach over the market (Crenshaw, 2013).

One way you can start establishing public authority is by writing reviews for products and services online, commenting on others’ blogs, or engaging with others on social media. Frequency and consistency are key in this area, as you will want to maintain a healthy presence to keep the interest of followers.

A more advanced way to establish authority is to pursue advanced education, training, and certificates. The titles you earn will show followers that you have the necessary expertise and knowledge regarding a specific topic and will promote trust.

Lastly, you can create your own social network or blog that can be used as a platform to share your knowledge and expertise. The main advantage of having your own platform is that you can control the dialogue and offer opportunities for your followers to interact with you. You can use this platform to store items from your library, so that others can view and read resources created by you. If you do create a library, ensure that you are updating your library consistently with new content. Library content can be articles, videos, brochures, or more. (Crenshaw, 2013).

The below image shows the variety of different forms of content that can be developed and shared by a thought leader.

gsf_tlimagewtmk.jpg

Retrieved from https://stevensonfinancialmarketing.wordpress.com/2012/08/30/thought-leadership-best-practices/

The most advanced method of establishing authority is have someone else publish your content and distribute it to others on their platform.


Conclusion

Thought leadership is an appealing option for many professionals, including myself, looking to establish themselves as a valuable member of their company or industry. This is especially exciting for me if it offers me additional opportunities to learn and share about topics I am passionate about.

Here I will outline the first steps of becoming a thought leader:

Talents/Skills/Passion Like Advice
1.     Interior design X X
2.     Gardening X  
3.     Sewing/Painting/Crafts X  

 

MVAs Like Advice
1.     Business Administration (book keeping, data entry) X  
2.     Website development/online content creation X X
3.     HR process development X X

Based on the above charts, it would seem the best areas for me to pursue thought leadership would be in business administration to develop website content and HR business processes, since these are areas that I have post-secondary education in and am currently being paid for, and as such, are valuable activities.

At present, my biggest interest is interior design, and though I have the opportunity to contribute design ideas in my workplace, it is an area I would like to develop further. To ensure I am able to develop my expertise in this area, I am pursing my diploma in Interior Design Technology and read many blogs, articles, and books from successful designers and builders. In the future, I would love to do the same as these thought leaders and share my work with others on a platform such as a blog or social media page.


References

Crenshaw, D. (2013, January 3). Thought leadership. Lynda.com. Retrieved from https://www.lynda.com/Business-Skills-tutorials/Becoming-a-Thought-Leader/88535-2.html

Li, C. & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell: Winning in a world transformed by social technologies. Harvard Business School Publishing. Boston: MA.

Twitter for Business

What is Twitter?

Twitter is an online social media platform utilized by 300 million people worldwide to discuss trending topics, news, and more using 280 characters or less (Adams, 2018). It is a great place to participate in conversations, view current events, and share blog posts and relevant articles.

The goal of Twitter is to obtain followers to increase the reach of your social media posts. The more people who follow you and your business, the more people who will view, interact, and experience your products and brand.


Why use Twitter for business?

“The biggest benefit to being on Twitter is having another platform to educate, and engage with current and potential customers” – Megan Adams, 2018 

Twitter allows you the opportunity to reach customers and interact with your followers in real-time.

What do you need to know before starting?

Twitter is a time-sensitive platform and will require you to post frequently and consistently, reply to customers comments and questions in real-time, and engage with other brands and users. Draft a social media plan and be sure to allocate enough resources to maintain your presence.

When creating content, you should keep in mind that 80% of users utilize mobile devices to access Twitter and are usually active on Twitter throughout the day (Adams, 2018).

It is also important to note as a user and as a business, that Twitter no longer solely displays tweets in chronological order. Rather, they show users the tweet that they are most likely to care about first, including tweets relevant to certain interests, popular tweets that have been liked or retweeted many times, or promoted tweets by paid advertisement.

Know the Terms:

The below image features some of the most commonly used terminology on Twitter. Prior to launching your company’s Twitter strategy, you should familiarize yourself with the key terms.

Twitter also has an online glossary that clearly defines key terminology.

Screen Shot 2018-07-22 at 7.41.51 PM

Retrieved from https://visual.ly/community/infographic/social-media/15-most-common-terms-used-twitter-infographic


Getting started!

Create a Twitter Username

This is how people will identify you and your business so you want to be sure that your username is professional, appropriate, and identifiable. Here are some tips:

  • Make sure your username is relevant to your brand
  • Be specific and concise
  • Use your business name. If your business name is too long or the username is unavailable, try using an acronym or a shortened version of your name. To avoid confusion, you can include your full company name in the name or description of your account.
  • Use your personal name if you are a consultant or the face of your brand.

Signing Up

To sign up for Twitter, visit their website and click “sign up

Twitter will ask you for all of the necessary information and will walk you through the setup process, including asking what industry you work in or are interested in, what industries you wish to hear from, and what topics are of interest to you. You simply need to follow the steps and select items that are relevant to your brand to continue moving forward.


Set up your account

  1. Use a branded profile picture to ensure brand awareness and recognition. This will avoid confusion with company who may have similar company names and usernames, and will verify to your customers that your account is legitimate.
  2. Add a cover photo. Similar to Marketing on Facebook, you want to use a cover photo that generates brand awareness by showing your company’s work, a tagline, or an image that promotes your brand.
  3. Write your 160-character bio. This is your first chance to share your company’s description, mission, summary, and you have to be concise and creative. The goal is to grab the interest of users and inspire them to follow you. (Adams, 2018).
  4. Pin a tweet. Twitter allows users to pin tweets to the top of their timeline so you can ensure that this is the first tweet users see when they view your profile, even if it was tweeted months ago. This is great if you are new to Twitter and want to include more information about your business in a pinned tweet, or if you have an ongoing promotion and want to ensure exposure.

Build your audience

Lots of your Twitter content will be original information created by you and your business, however, since Twitter is based around conversations, you will want to follow and engage with other accounts as well to maintain your presence.

Remember, Twitter is just as much about listening as it is responding (Adams, 2018).

Who should you follow?

  • Businesses similar to yours to see what they are doing and what is new in the industry.
  • Industry partners, accounts your customers are interested in, and other local businesses, figures, and municipalities in your area to stay informed about what is going on around you.
  • Relevant news outlets, journals and periodicals, and blogs that are relevant to your industry.
  • If you have a personal brand, it is a good idea to connect with your contacts on Twitter, share their tweets and participate in conversations with them. Not only does this build relationships, it shows your followers that your brand is real and genuine.

#hashtags

Hashtags are a way to group information into categories that make it is easy for users to find information pertaining to a specific topic or event. When you apply a hashtag to a tweet, you are linking that tweet to many other tweets in the same category. When a user clicks the hashtag, they are shown the other tweets using that hashtag.


Best Practices for Posting on Twitter

  1. Understand your brand and how you want others to perceive your company.Are you humorous, sophisticated, casual, or transparent? Whatever your brand personality is, remember to stay professional, culturally sensitive, and consistent.
  2. Define your core marketing objective.Prior to starting a Twitter account or campaign make a plan, set goals, and set methods of measurement so you can ensure you are meeting your objectives. My advice is to use a S.M.A.R.T goals framework.
  3. Craft a great tweetby sending a focused message, linking your website or event, sharing educational or newsworthy information, answering a question, solving a problem or posting something entertaining. The goal is to inspire followers to engage with your messages. Include relevant hashtags, users, and accounts.
  4. Add media. Media such as video or photos helps you deliver a lot more information to your followers that 280 characters of text would allow. Not only does it offer more content, it also grabs your followers’ attention.
  5. Set a schedule. To ensure consistency and frequency in your posting, it is helpful to set goals to determine how often and when you will tweet, and to draft tweets in advance to ensure you have suitable content to maintain your schedule. Using programs such as Hootsuite, allow you to write and schedule tweets to be automatically posted to your account on the day and time you set.
  6. Advertise. To ensure your messages are viewed by more people, you can pay to promote your tweets so they will be shown to users who are interested topics, businesses, products, or people similar to you.

 


Conclusion

To apply Twitter for Business, I have included a screenshot of my own Twitter account @ericalw_ and will review the positive and negative aspects.

Screen Shot 2018-07-22 at 8.26.36 PM


What’s Good! 

Visually, this page is appealing. I have included a current professional profile photo of myself as well as a cover photo that shows some of my personality.

I also have a recognizable username to those who know me from work, school, or outside activities. If I were to launch a business from this profile, I may consider adjusting my username to reflect the type of business I am involved with.

In my bio, I have provided some information about myself that tells my followers a little bit about who I am, what I’m interested in, and how I spend my spare time.

Below my bio I have include a link to my blog, so that users who are interested in me or my posts can read more about me if they are interested in doing so.

As you can see in this picture, because I am logged into my own account, I have posted my birthday, however that is not made public to my followers, which is a recommended practice for business profiles.

I am following 74 people at the moment, most of which consist of business magazines and periodicals, travel blogs, interior design blogs, local initiative from Edmonton #YEG, and my classmates. Considering how new this profile is, this is a sufficient amount of followers but definitely has room for improvement.


Suggestions  

The first suggestion I would make to myself is to pursue a higher quality cover photo. I enjoy having a cover photo that displays my personality, however, wish is was more visually appealing to look at.

The second major suggestion I have for myself is to draft some original tweets. At this point, I have only retweeted, liked, and shared articles on my feed (with the exception that I shared my last blog post). I would like to work on writing some of my own thoughts, expertise, and sharing that with my followers.

The last suggestion I have for myself is to follow more people, businesses, and organizations that are relevant to my interests and goals. This will allow me more opportunities to learn, listen, and engage with other users on Twitter.


References 

Adams, M. (2018, March 30). Marketing on Twitter. Lynda.com. Retrieved from https://www.lynda.com/Twitter-tutorials/Welcome/685036/722247-4.html

Marketing on Facebook

What is Facebook?

Facebook is a social networking platform that connects users all over the world and allows them to share posts, photos, videos, and chat with friends and family. It was originally designed for college students, but over the years has grown to promote businesses, job searches, an online marketplace, games, community pages, and more.


Why create a Facebook page for your business?

Most reading this post are already aware of Facebook and/or already have a personal Facebook profile for themselves, as Facebook has millions of users. Due to the popularity of the network, Facebook is a very valuable platform for business owners to use to expand their reach. Businesses can use Facebook to post content, start conversations, share photos and videos, and respond to customer questions, concerns, and comments.

Another great thing about Facebook pages is that they can be easily linked to other platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, and your company website, so you can share information from each of these accounts to your followers, or you can direct your followers to these accounts.

It is important to note that Facebook pages are different than Facebook profiles. Profiles are personal, belong to an individual, and have very different functions and privacy options. Pages are public, can be viewed by anyone, liked by anyone, and can promote ads and content. Facebook also allows users to create groups, which also serve a unique function.

Here is a more in-depth comparison of Facebook profiles, pages, and groups:

tavata-facebook-advanced-group-page-or-person

Retrieved from https://www.perfectbalancemarketing.com/advanced-facebook-training/


Creating a Company Facebook Page

To create a Facebook page, you will need to have a personal profile. This profile is what you will use to create, edit, and manage your Facebook page. Once your Facebook page is established, you can also add other administrators from your company so they can help manage the page (note: they will also need to have a personal profile before becoming administrators).

Steps to creating a Facebook page:

  1. Sign up and log in to your profile.
  2. Go to the arrow on the top right hand of your screen. In the drop-down menu, select “Create a Page”
  3. Select your business type from the list of options.
  4. Fill in the requested details of your business type: Your name, address, and category.
  5. Click “Get Started.” At this point Facebook will walk you through the final details of setting up your page.

Below are some key items to be sure to include on your company’s Facebook page, which can act as guidelines when you create your new page or edit your existing page.

  1. Include a branded logo as your profile picture. Not only does this look professional, it also clearly identifies your company and generates brand awareness.
  2. Include a custom banner that shows your company’s work, your tagline, or an image that promotes your brand and shows what you do in addition to your logo.
  3. Get verified. Verified accounts have a blue badge located next to their name, which means Facebook has verified that they are an authentic user. Being verified shows that you are a legitimate account and generates trust among customers.
  4. Include a short company description that clearly summarizes what your company does.
  5. In the About section, include a longer description about your company, how you started, your story, and your goals. This is your opportunity to answer some of your customer’s questions about who you are, what you do, where you are located, and how they should contact you.
  6. Add the contact information that you want customers to use to reach you, such as your company email address and phone number.
  7. If applicable, include your location and business hours by clicking “Edit Page” on the top right of you screen.
  8. Add photos and videos to your page to make it more engaging and visually appealing to your customers. You can create a photo album of images of your work, a specific project, a promotion, or your team.
  9. Include a call to action. On the top right of your page, underneath your header, there will be the option to “Add a Button.” This button can be a call to message your company, visit your store or office, or to visit your website or online store, which will generate more engagement from your customers.
  10. Choose a username for your profile. Your username is how people will tag you and is a handle similar to those on other social media platforms (ex: @flourish.bloomyeg).

What’s Next?

So, you have created your page, but now you need people to “like” and follow it! The easiest and most affordable way to generate interest in your page is to invite your friends from your personal profile to “like” your page.

Another effective way to generate interest in your page is to promote your page through a paid advertisement to your target audience. Facebook is a great place to advertise because they are affordable and make it easy for you to market directly to a select demographic such as certain genders, age groups, interests, and locations.


Posting on Your Page 

Posting content on your page is the best way to ensure your customers are engaged and interested in your business. The key here is to post frequently and consistently, and include images, videos, or links to ensure your content is interesting. Remember to stay true to your brand by using marketing copy.

To feature a post, or ensure that a critical post is viewed by your customers, you have the option to pin a post to the top of your page. This means that even if you continue to post other content, this post will remain at the top of your timeline and will be the first post viewed by your customers when they visit your page.

Best Practices for Facebook Posts 

  1. Decide on a frequency and post consistently to keep customers interested and aware of your company.
  2. Timely content. Be aware of holidays and special events so you can post about things that are relevant to your customers. Also, be aware of current events to ensure your posts are culturally sensitive.
  3. Use high quality photos. They look good, create a positive impression, and stand out on a timeline.
  4. Post about specific events or deals so that customers are informed.
  5. Include a call to action. This tells customers what to do, and encourages them to interact.
  6. Post quality, not quantity.

Conclusion

In this example, take a look at the Facebook page for Flourish & Bloom (F&B), a local plant design curator in Edmonton, Alberta.

F&B is an independently owned and operated business based on education and consultation. They do not have a bricks and mortar business, and operate mainly online. They utilize their website, blog, Instagram, and Facebook to share content with their customers.

In the below photo we can view their Facebook page and analyze what aspects they are doing great at, and what areas could use improvement.

Screen Shot 2018-07-15 at 9.09.25 PM

Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/flourish.bloomyeg/


What’s Good!

Visually, this page is awesome. They have a professional (and beautiful) logo as their profile picture, and have their company purpose stated in their custom cover photo.

On the top right of the page, you can see that F&B has utilized a call to action by adding a button calling for customers to reach out and “Send a Message.” In addition, as customers access the page, a message box appears in the bottom right hand corner prompting them to interact with the company.

In the About section customers can view information such as the phone number, the website, hours, and another prompt to “Send a Message.”

You can also see on the timeline, that F&B has pinned a post to the top of the page. This post explains what their company aims to achieve, which is key because they are a new business. By pinning this post, they ensure that all viewers see this post before viewing any other content.

Their content is also really well done. They use high quality photos and have clear, grammatically correct writing that is interesting and easy to read. Their posts are consistent, frequent, and more importantly, engaging.

To view more posts from Flourish & Bloom, check out their website and Facebook page


Recommendations

To enhance this page, F&B could develop their about section and explain more about their company, their purpose, and their goals. Right now this information is included in a pinned post, but it would be beneficial for this post to be permanently available and accessible on the side bar.

Another recommendation is to replace “Local Business in Edmonton, Alberta” on the top right hand side of the page, with “Curated Plant Design in Edmonton, Alberta” to highlight what the company’s purpose is in a single line.

To further promote this account, F&B can apply to be a verified Facebook page to enhance their professionalism and they can also promote their page to their target audience to generate more exposure to their business.


References

Adams, M. (2018, March 9). Marketing on Facebook.Lynda.com. Retrieved from https://www.lynda.com/Facebook-tutorials/Welcome/659287/714234-4.html

LinkedIn

What Are You Doing Wrong?

Many people use LinkedIn as a billboard and not as a tool. It is common for people to create an account, add some information about themselves that they would have on a resume, and rarely check back to make continuous updates or to share information.

Another key mistake people make on LinkedIn is trying to achieve connections in quantity, but not quality. It is more important to have quality connections than it is to have many connections. The general rule of thumb is to only connect with people who you would feel comfortable introducing to one of your current connections. 

On LinkedIn, profile and visibility are key. You should look good online if you want people to be interested in you and offer you opportunities. This means having an up-to-date profile with quality information that displays your professional and personal brand clearly to your network.

You want to stand out as a top professional in your field and you want to look good to your connections and especially to those who are searching for you on LinkedIn. A quality LinkedIn profile has the ability to attract new prospects and advocate for your organization or brand. To maintain engagement, you need to be credible and be active on the platform.

So how do you get started?


What to include

Your Name

This seems obvious, but here are some extra tips to make sure your name appears as you want it to, and also allows people to search for your and find you even if they are unaware of the spelling of your name:

If your name is frequently misspelled or has various ways of spelling, add different versions of your name somewhere on your profile. Ask others how they would spell your name and add them to your profile so your profile comes up during a search even if they spell your name wrong.

If you use an alternate name or if many people recognize you by your previous last name, you can include an abbreviation of your name, or your maiden name, in brackets between your first name and last name.


Profile Picture

It is very important to have a profile picture, especially one that is professional.

Your photo should be a current headshot with a neutral background where you are looking straight into the camera, preferably smiling.

To maintain a professional appearance, avoid drinks, kids, animals, group photos, improperly cropped photos, selfies, and out of date photos.

There is also the opportunity to add a background picture to reinforce your personal and corporate brand.


Professional Headline

Your professional headline is located underneath your name and profile picture. It should include what you do professional, your personal title, special characteristics or interests, and is a great place to add a conversation starter. To ensure your headline is visually appealing, be sure to use dividers between titles.


Location

Use the zip code of your work address so people can find you within 35-mile range of your work unless you are looking for a job closer to home, then it is beneficial to put your home address so your searches are closer to that address.


Industry

You can only choose one, so be sure to choose the one that you think people will search for you by or will recognize you by.


Contact Info

Many people have a work email and a personal email, or if you are self-employed or seeking new opportunities, you likely have a professional email to keep professional inquiries separate from your personal messages. Be sure to include your professional email addresses and instant messaging accounts only, and ensure that your usernames and social media handles are professional.

For example, if you are still using “soccergirl08” from the email you created as a teenager, it may be time to create a new email address for professional endeavors. The same goes for Twitter, Instagram, or other social media accounts. If your accounts are strictly for personal use, it may be a better option to create a new account for professional endeavors and networking. These professional accounts are the ones that should be listed on your LinkedIn profile.

To indicate how you would like people to interact with you (email, instant messaging, social media, etc.), you can add some text in your current experience section.


Your Summary

Include a bit of text about the company you work for, such as their slogan is and pair it with a short description of the business. Following this statement, you can add a short description of what you do for the company. If necessary, you can also add what you do not do if you find you are getting a lot of inquiries regarding areas of the business you are not involved with. To keep things interesting you can add some personal information (as long as it is professional) which will help people strike up conversations with you.

Another way to make your profile stand out is to use Rich Media, which is using various types of multimedia platforms such as video to make your profile more intriguing to viewers.


Your Experience

LinkedIn is not an online database for resumes and you want to focus on presenting your results, not just your CV.

Current Experience

Similar to your summary, you want to include some information about the company you work for and your job title and a detailed description of what you do on a daily basis.

Consider the following questions when writing about your responsibilities: Why should people contact you? When should they contact you? Why are you the person they need to speak to?

Focus on your results by providing as much tangible information as possible, such as numbers, percentages, or overall performance information. The better your readers understand what you have accomplished, the more likely they are to want to work with you. Be careful not to disclose sensitive information about projects or clients that would go against your company’s policies.

Prior Experience

In your previous work experience you want to highlight what your roles and responsibilities were, what you enjoyed about your job, what you learned, what you accomplished. Again, the more tangible information you can share, the better, however, you should still never breach confidentiality.


Create Your Own Brand

Professional Honours

In the Accomplishments sections, be sure to list any awards or honors you have received that are relevant to your field of expertise. If you wish to share accomplishments that are unrelated to work experience, you can do so in the Hobbies and Interests section.

Projects

Projects are a great way to share with clients and colleagues the type of work that you have been involved with in the past, and is great way to showcase specific work experience. You can add projects by going into the Accomplishments and clicking Projects.


Publish Content

Though often underused, LinkedIn has a global reach, and is a great place to publish professional content pertaining to your field of expertise. Not only does publishing information increase your chances of connecting with more people across your industry, it also verifies your level of expertise by showing that you can generate quality content. To share content on your profile, click on Publish an Article and be sure to add photos, Rich media if possible, and headings to increase engagement.

Here are some additional benefits for publishing and consuming content on LinkedIn.

Screen-shot-2014-07-30-at-22.57.26Retrieved from http://buzzsumo.com/blog/linkedin-becomes-professional-content-channel/


Skills and Recommendations

On your profile, you can select your skills and your connections will have the opportunity to endorse you for. Be sure to list skills that are relevant to your field, and specifically, add the skills that you think make you stand out as a professional. You can include up to 50 skills, so consider adding specific, niche skills, as well as broad, general skills to increase your scope.


Education

Education history has a bigger impact than many users think. Rather than simply listing your educational institution and credentials, consider adding your field of study, your grade, activities, motivation, how you changed, or projects or thesis completed. Though many of your connections are not concerned with when exactly you graduated or attended school, adding your years of study is key for people to find you when they search for you, especially for past classmates.


Make it Personal

Add in personal touches such as interests, hobbies, volunteer experience, and more to appear “more human” and to increase your personal brand. Adding information that contributes to your personal brand


What’s Next? 

Create an Action Plan to Update Your Profile

The above information can be a little overwhelming and updating your profile all at once could be very time consuming. To be sure you follow through with your profile updates and apply all that you have learned, create an action plan using SMART goals.

Specific: Add a summary, more specific work experience for current and past roles, and add key skills and recommendations to be endorsed for.

Measurable: Create a checklist including each additional and check back weekly to see what has been accomplished.

Attainable: Using the knowledge provided, this goal is attainable over time.

Realistic: With the timeline listed below and the resources provided, this goal is realistic.

Timeliness: Spend 15-20 minutes a day updating your profile rather than doing one large update. Aim to complete your updates within 2 weeks.


Conclusion 

To summarize the above information, I have included a before and after comparison of my LinkedIn account prior to making updates to my profile.

Before Improvements

In the below image you can see that I have an up to date professional photo, as well as my job title, and location. I am missing a summary section, and my headline is very boring.

Screen Shot 2018-07-06 at 8.43.52 PM

In the below photo, you can see that I have previous work experience listed, as well as my current and previous educational experience. I do not include description of my experience, roles, responsibilities, or a description of what I study and participate in at school.

Screen Shot 2018-07-06 at 8.44.03 PM


After Improvements 

The first improvement I made was adding a more descriptive headline to showcase that I am employed as an administrative assistant and also pursuing two university degrees: Interior Design Technology and Business Management. I also added a summary containing information about my current workplace and my education history and goals. Unseen updated information consists of adding my work postal code to my location so people can search for me easily.

Screen Shot 2018-07-08 at 7.41.01 PM.png

In my Experience section, I have made improvements by adding short descriptions about my roles and responsibilities in my current and past workplace. In my prior experience, I highlighted key skills that I learned and developed while employed at the company.

Screen Shot 2018-07-08 at 7.41.16 PM

In my Education section, I have added short descriptions of the types of classes I am studying in each program, and a summary of the courses I completed during my Human Resource Management diploma.

Screen Shot 2018-07-08 at 7.41.23 PM

Finally, to increase engagement on my profile, I added my prior volunteer experience at a community drop-in program for girls grades 2-6.

Screen Shot 2018-07-08 at 7.44.48 PM


Next Steps 

As I gain more skills and experience in the workplace and contribute to more projects, I will add this information to my profile. To further improve my profile, I will set aside time every day or week to make improvements to my profile and to share content via the LinkedIn platform.


References 

Verdonck, B. (2017, February 3). LinkedIn profiles for social business success. Lynda.com. Retrieved from https://www.lynda.com/LinkedIn-tutorials/Welcome/512777/581571-4.html

Google AdWords

What is Google AdWords?

Google AdWords is a form of pay-per-click advertising, which is a method of advertising where the owners of the ad only pay based on results, or more specifically how often their ad is clicked on by consumers.

So what is AdWords and how does it work? AdWords is an online advertising platform created by Google. It allows you to identify words that are related to your business, product, or service, and then puts your advertisement in front of users who use Google to search those same key words. When they click on your ad, you pay a small fee for the service. The purpose is to put your product or service in front of the consumer when they want to see it.

Benefits of AdWords

  1. Precise Targeting: AdWords allows you to choose your ad location, the time and day your ad is shown, the demographics of the people who your ad is showed to, what type of device they are using, and more.
  2. Budget Control: There is no minimum spending requirement to get started with AdWords, which makes advertising within reach of what your company can afford to spend.
  3. Measurability: If your ad isn’t getting clicked, it likely isn’t working. This pay-per-click model makes it easy to identify which ads are successful and which are not. The data generated by measuring how many clicks, how many clicks turn into leads, etc. can help you make better decisions about your business.

How Do I Get Started?

Define Your Business & Goals

The first step to any marketing campaign is to identify what you are looking to gain as a result, and setting goals to get there. When setting goals, it is helpful to define your objective, the motivation of your customers, your company’s effort, and key performance indicators (KPI).

Define Your Product

Whether you are advertising a physical product, a service, or information on your site it is important to understand your product before launching a campaign. A helpful tip is to make a list of the products you want to advertise for along with their definitions.

Define Your Customer  

Pursing the right audience is key to success because you want your ads to be shown to the people who are looking for your product and services. By understanding your typical customers age, gender, educational background, career, living arrangements, location, income, and web access, you can build Personas for your customer and identify how to target your advertising campaigns.


 

What is the Difference Between AdWords and AdWords Express?

AdWords Express is a scaled down version of AdWords that is simpler, automatically managed by a third party, and is ideal for small businesses who are local and niche. However, there are some drawbacks such as less access to measurable data, less advanced ad formats, and more. Before you consider using AdWords Express, see how the two products compare in the image below:

adwords-express-vs-adwords

Retrieved from https://searchenginewatch.com/sew/how-to/2374899/know-your-platforms-adwords-vs-adwords-express


Keywords

Keywords are words are phrases used to match ads with the terms users are searching.

How do you choose the right keywords?

Using the same language as your customers are using to search for the product they use. Rather than selecting key words that reflect internal terminology, you need to select keywords from the vocabulary of your customers.

  1. Think like your customer
  2. Group all of your keywords based on themes
  3. Be specific
  4. Use the Google Keyword Planner

What is the Google Keyword Planner?

The Google Keyword Planner is a product designed to make it easier for you to select keywords that will generate successful ad campaigns. It allows you to search for keywords relevant to your business, and will show you the average monthly searches for that keyword and will identify trends. Once keywords have been selected it allows you to create your plan and share it with others, before activating your campaign.


Text Ads

Text ads are the most popular format of advertisements used in Google AdWords and are likely what you will be required to write if you pursue an ad campaign.

So, What’s In a Text Ad?

Every text ad is comprise of the following:

  1. Headline: Your opportunity to grab the attention of the viewer
  2. Web Address: Is the link to your webpage that will be displayed underneath your headline
  3. Two Description Lines: This is your chance to describe your product in minimal detail so your viewer understands what value your company can offer them.

adwords-copy-sell-your-car

Retrieved from https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2015/04/21/adwords-ads

How To Write a Text Ad:  

  1. Highlight what makes your company unique and different from your competitors.
  2. Use a call to action such as call now, sign up, book now, or get a quote
  3. Use sales terminology such as exclusives, prices, or promotions
  4. Match your ads to your keywords by including keywords your targeting in your ad description to create ad relevance.
  5. Match your ad to your landing page such as a contact form, an information page, or a shopping page.
  6. Experiment by creating 3-4 ads for each ad group and test out which ads perform better than the others.

 


AdWords in Action

For this example, we will apply AdWords to an advertisement for a custom home building company.

Step 1: Define Your Business

Our company is a small, local company who does high end custom renovations or full builds. We typically do one major project a year paired with a few smaller projects. We are currently trying to secure a project for next year. Our goal is to run an advertising campaign that will direct customers to our website for information, and prompt them to email or call our business so we can initiate an in-person meeting with them.

Step 2: Define Your Product

Our product is full-service, high end, custom, residential builds or renovations. We are primarily looking for a large build or major renovation project, so these will be the products we focus on in our campaign.

Step 3: Define Your Customers

Our customers are typically homeowners in the Edmonton area, are established couples and families looking for a permanent home, and are middle to high income earners.      

Step 4:Choose Your Keywords

Using the Google Keyword Planner, our company will search for keywords such as “home builder,” “renovator,” or “renovations” to identify past trends and which combination will generate the most amount of searches for our company. Because most of our customers are not industry professionals, it is key to avoid using technical industry terms as our keywords. Therefore we will lean more casual language for our keywords. To help identify this vocabulary, we will ask past and current customers how they found our company and what they searched for during their research so we can better understand the language they are using. We will also add this knowledge to our Personas.

Step 5: Write a Text Ad

We will highlight that we are a full-service home builder and renovator because offering the amount of services we do in-house is a big differentiator for our company.

Our call to action will be to call now or email now, because we want our viewers to contact our company so we can share more information with them and set up an in-person meeting.

The page we link to our advertisement will be the contact form on our website that will provide viewers with the information they need to get in touch with us.

Step 6: Measure Your Results

We will monitor which ads are successful and which ads are not and compare the keywords and language that generates the most success for our company. By measuring the amount of clicks and leads generated by each type of advertisement, we can determine where it is best to spend our money when it comes to future advertisements.  


References

Batesole, B. (2017, September 5). Google adwords essential training (2017). Retrieved from Lynda.com https://www.lynda.com/Marketing-Lead-Generation-tutorials/Google-AdWords-Essential-Training/368574-2.html

Learning to Write Marketing Copy

What is Marketing Copy?

Marketing copy is written material that encourages consumers to buy a product, take action, or join a cause.

Marketing copy is usually communicated through use of a website, a print piece, a letter, or brochure, where layout and visual content are key to making the message appealing to readers.

Marketing copy is often the first touchpoint for many consumers and can be referred to as their first purchase, because it is something they buy with their time.


Types of Marketing Copy

Brochure: Brochures are a beneficial form of marketing copy when you want to deliver a “catch all” message to your customer including your product information, a call to action, and background information about your company.

Direct Marketing: With direct marketing the single call to action is prominent, making it a beneficial method to sell. Direct marketing is all about the pitch and can be delivered in the form of video, posters, websites, email, and more.

Posters: Poster messages carry short messages, often using the text as a visual element, and are ideal to communicate a message about your company’s brand, key information, or to direct customers to your business or webpage.

Script: Script is the written work behind a non-written message such as a speech, video, or audio message.

The One-Liner: The one-liner is a simple, often clever and creative, message that can be delivered in the form of a business card, a social media post, a billboard, or more.

The Product Description: This is used to describe exactly what you are trying to sell or communicate to consumers and can be included in a brochure, a poster, or a website.

Medium: Medium refers to how the marketing copy is being delivered to customers on their choses channel. Examples of media are online, print, and radio, while examples of channels are websites, social media platforms, and mobile.

Style: Style refers to the various ways marketing copy can be written to appeal to your audience. Types of style can be education, laughter, the scare tactic, the straight shot, or the hard sell.


How Do You Write Marketing Copy?

  1. Prepare: Gather your tools such as a laptop or notebook, water, or anything else you think you will need to get started.
  2. Identify your audience, collateral, and the style you think will work best. One of the best ways to write copy is to write it with your specific niche market in mind, rather than trying to reach everyone with a broad message. Write this out and keep it next to you while you write so you stay focused on what exactly you are trying to achieve.
  3. Begin free writing to get some ideas on paper to help generate creative thoughts and key wording that can inspire your formal writing in the next step.
  4. Create a first draft: Start writing for a set amount of time. You do not need to write in any sort of order. In fact, it is recommended that you write the body of your work first and your introduction last.
  5. Follow the general rules of marketing copy:
    • Address the reader
    • Your customer is not an algorithm
    • Sarcasm doesn’t work
  6. Polish your draft by editing, proof reading, and re organizing the message in a way that will best appeal to your readers.
  7. Write and test your headlines: Your headline is what you will use to draw your customers in to your message so it is important you pick the best one. A great way to test your headline is to use Google Consumer Surveys, to send out a one question survey asking customers which headline they prefer.
  8. Give customers a reason to keep reading by including enticing summaries in your writing, or by including a table of contents so they know what to expect and can see the value in your copy right away.
  9. Use typography to organize your copy, breaking it into sections with headings, breaks, and lines so it is visually appealing and easy to read.

Rewriting Existing Copy:

The best way to rewrite existing copy is to review and improve the copy without actually rewriting it at all.

The first step is to ask the original writer for background information on the brand, the style, and the collateral so you have a better understanding of the piece. As you review, you want to edit for structure, conciseness, active voice, punctuation and grammar.

For webpages, it is key to edit for readability and visual content so the information is easy to read and is easy to for the user to locate on the site. For product descriptions, information should be clear and short, so there is more room for visuals of the product. For social media, ensure your message is the same across all platforms, and edit your posts regularly to ensure they are not tone-deaf to current tragedies or controversy.


References:

Lurie, I. (2014, May 30). Learning to write marketing copy. Retrieved from Lynda.com https://www.lynda.com/Business-Online-Marketing-tutorials/Writing-Marketing-Copy/149250-2.html