• Act-On Software
    Act-On Software on November 18, 2014

    The Rules of Engagement on Facebook

    If you want to make your content sharable and searchable on Facebook, you need to have a thorough understanding of Facebook principles and the general rules that apply to content and behavior.
  • I just returned from a two week adventure in India. It was beautiful, challenging, chaotic and fabulous. The other night while suffering from extreme jet lag and unable to sleep, I was thinking about the upcoming Facebook Ad program and it hit me that we can learn a lot from the business owners in India.

    I just returned from a two week adventure in India. It was beautiful, challenging, chaotic and fabulous.

    The other night while suffering from extreme jet lag and unable to sleep, I was thinking about the upcoming Facebook Ad program and it hit me that we can learn a lot from the business owners in India.

    I spent 8 days in Rishikesh, in the north of India and the self-proclaimed capital of Yoga. There are dozens of yoga training programs offered in Rishikesh.  It’s also a holy city, located on the banks of the Ganges River in the foothills of the Himalayas. The city is teeming with tourists, yogis and spiritual pilgrims, both from the West and from all over India.

    Rishikesh MarketsThere are hundreds of shops selling trinkets, jewelry, souvenirs, clothing, etc., etc. Most of the stuff is similar, if not exactly the same, from shop to shop. So how does one shop standout from another to attract the valuable tourist rupees?

    There is a cacophony of advertising EVERYWHERE, and the shop owners frequently stand in the doorway shouting about their wares, engaging with people as they wander by, inviting them to enter their shop where they can move into their masterful sales patter.

    Shop owners do not sit in the back of the shop and wait and hope you’ll enter. They actively engage passersby with enticing offers. They have signs and ads and displays right in your face as you walk by.

    And it works. A smile, a particularly appealing invitation or beautiful bracelet catches your eye, and you’re in.

    The vendors in Rishikesh know they have a lot of competition and they know they are all vying for the same small niche audience. And, they work it, constantly. Their livelihood depends on it.

    We, online entrepreneurs, are spoiled. For years we have enjoyed using the free tools of the Web to attract new customers and clients. We rarely felt we had to pay for ads to attract eyeballs on our offers.

    But things have changed.

    There’s more competition for the same eyeballs. You can no longer sit at the back of your virtual shop and wait for people to notice you, wander in, and buy your programs and products.

    It’s time to get more vocal and be proactive about getting in front of your ideal audience. You don’t need to stand on a corner and shout to passersby. You do need get your message and invitations in front of them, though, and on the Web, that’s with ads.

    Facebook is one of the best platforms for targeting and reaching your specific niche of buyers.

    Facebook recently announced major changes to what your fans will be seeing in their news feed. Mari Smith summed it up:

    Note: the overly promotional content people don’t care for in their News Feed tends to be organic posts by Pages. Not ads. In other words, when Pages pay to amplify the reach and visibility of a specific piece of content, users are okay with that. It’s obvious it’s an ad and we’ve come to expect something more commercial in nature, right? A well-targeted ad, for a product or service that you actually need, is a wonderful thing.

    According to the people surveyed, these are the traits that make organic posts feel too promotional:

    1) Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app.
    2) Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context.
    3) Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads.

    Facebook says, “Pages that post promotional creative should expect their organic distribution to fall significantly over time.”

    If you don’t know how to create inexpensive, effective ads, you’re wasting your money.  It’s much better to learn how to create targeted ads and campaigns the right way. It will save you a ton of time, money and lots of grief in the long run. And, you’ll see better results.

    It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, either. In fact, for as little as $30 a month, you can create a steady stream of leads for your business. Wouldn’t that be worth it?

    • You have to know the 3 best ads for reaching your business.
    • You have to know how piggyback on the others’ success to target the right people.
    • You have to know how to create a campaign and set a reasonable budget.
    • And, you do have to be willing to invest in your business.

    I’m hosting Grow Your Business with Facebook Ads with Erin Tillotson, a Facebook ad pro. It’s a 3-part nuts and bolts program, showing you exactly what to do and why. No mystery. No “figure it out for yourself.” It’s practical and you’ll see exactly how to create ads that work and convert to likes, engagement and sales.

    In your business, I want for you to be found and seen and hired by the right clients and customers.  Because, when you’re successful, there’s a domino effect that spreads to those you serve and touch

    If you’re not getting enough clients, then I invite you to come on board and learn how you can put Facebook ads to work for you, without breaking the bank. There’s a huge untapped audience waiting to find you on Facebook. It’s time for you get out there so you can make a positive impact on their lives.

    Sounds good, right?

    Join us for Grow Your Business with Facebook Ads, starting soon, on December 3 (just in time to create your holiday ads!).

    P.S. The next 11 people to join get an invitation to attend a small group coaching Q&A session. That’s extra, personalized help for getting the best out of your ads.

    P.P.S. We have also added a private Facebook group for participants, so you can get ongoing, extra support during the program.

    Get started here.

    As internet savvy consumers scour the internet for #BlackFriday deals in the days before stores open for the shopping frenzy, whether you’re a retail brand or a small business, here are 5 helpful tips to help you win Black Friday on social media.

    Tis’ the season for shopping and increased social media engagement, whether you’re a retail brand or a small business, it can make all the difference this holiday season.

    According to a Yesmail Interactive report,  50 major retailers  social campaigns showed that engagement peaks in the days before stores open for the shopping frenzy.

    With Black Friday 2014 just a few days away, big box retailers like Target, Walmart and Best Buy have already began promoting their deals much earlier than in years past.

    As deal seeking consumers are turning to social media to find out who’s opening at what time and offering the best #BlackFridayDeals around, below are 5 helpful tips:

    1. Post Often and Use Hash-tags:  

    Leading up to Black Friday, including on Thanksgiving day, customers will flock online to research what deals are being offered at their favorite stores. 

    Use your brand’s print ad to create an editorial calendar with content you can schedule to post periodically across your brand’s social accounts.  Don’t limit posts to only Facebook, expand out to Twitter where you can use hash-tags such as: #BlackFridayDeals and #Thanksgiving to index your tweets into the search results.

    Twitter works very much like a search engine, tweet often using relevant (trending) hash-tags to optimize visibility. Instagram is similar in nature with hash-tags and stunning, print-like photography.

    Since last week, Best Buy has periodically tweeted out its Black Friday deals, as seen in the following example @BestBuyClick here.

    2. Monitor for Engagement: 

    Customers tend to tune-out what’s not relevant to them. While posting your brands Black Friday deals ahead of time is good practice, don’t clutter your feed with promotional content only.

    Instead, listen to what customers are saying about Black Friday – especially mentions related to your brand. Often times customers are already speaking about your brand however not always do they remember to tag your brand with the “@” symbol on Twitter, use social listening tools such as: Sprout Social or HootSuite to identify brand mentions.

    What’s great about Twitter is the aspect of being able to have 1:1 dialogue with customers and also prospective ones too. Ask engaging questions across your brands social media channels, such as: a family Thanksgiving tradition or what they look forward to the most about Black Friday – don’t forget those hash-tags.

    3. Post Opening/Closing Times: 

    Besides posting your holiday hours of operation on your brands website, be sure to also let your social communities know as well.

    Especially important on Thanksgiving, remind your customers through Facebook and Twitter what time your stores will be opening and closing on Black Friday.

    Something to keep in mind however, while your stores are open on Thanksgiving most likely your corporate or agency staff that run your brands social media accounts will be at home. Avoid a potential PR nightmare by having a person monitoring your social media handles throughout the holiday and engaging with customers as needed.

    4. Build Loyalty (and Grow Sales!) Through Rewards:  

    Who doesn’t want to save a buck during the holidays? Use increased brand awareness, website and social media traffic to reward your engaged customers.

    Be generous; give away FREE products, gift cards, shipping, coupons and discounts to customers who engage with your brand leading up to #BlackFriday and on Thanksgiving too.

    Your ultimate goal is to get a customer to buy, whether it’s online or in-store, and it begins with making the customer feel valued.

    Outside of social media, email marketing is a great way to provide your customers with instant value through offers and keep them connected to your brand. Tap into your brand’s CRM, email or loyalty database and send an offer or two before Black Friday.

    5.  Build Brand Advocacy:  

    The holy grail of content marketing is in user-generated content.

    With expanded store hours and increased social media engagement comes an abundance of tweets, Facebook posts, Vine videos and Instagram selfies revolving around your brand, associates and in-store promotions.

    Embrace what’s unique about user-generated content, the fact that it’s not “corporate speak” or promotional by nature.  Through monitoring and social listening tools, retweet and share some of the best or funniest user-generated content involving your brand this holiday season. It might just go viral.

    The best way to build brand advocacy with customers is by showing them that you value their loyalty and authenticity. As part of your content strategy, ask your customers to tweet pictures from their shopping experience at your store or post a picture on your brands Facebook page showing what they purchased as potential gift ideas for other shoppers.

    Go a step further by incentivizing your most engaged brand advocates and you’ve won yourself a customer for life as well as the influence they possess over their network of friends and followers.

    Thanks for reading, Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. 

    It’s a great time to be a community manager. Companies big and small are starting to recognize that is a critical skill to help transform their organizations for a digitally connected world.

    It’s a great time to be a community manager. Companies big and small are starting to recognize that is a critical skill to help transform their organizations for a digitally connected world.

    Our mission at The Community Roundtable is to advance the business of community and research has always played an integral part of that – helping people understand the dynamics and management approaches that build successful communities. We’ve made great strides at the macro level with our State of Community Management report and our Community Maturity Model framework – so much so that we can now benchmark the maturity of an organization’s community management approach.

    It is time to take the same research approach to the role of the individual community professional and we are excited to announce the publication of our first Community Manager Salary Survey, made possible with support from Jive Software.

    This research is becoming increasingly urgent due to a variety of trends we see:

    • Lack of recognition of how critical the community management discipline is to digital transformation and the future of work. We believe community management is the future of management and a critical component to enabling the future of work.
    • Community professionals are increasingly frustrated because of poorly defined roles and lack of advancement opportunities.
    • There is very little data about community management roles, making it challenging for hiring managers to define well constructed job opportunities.

    So what did we find?

    • While there is still a lot of variability in skills and compensation levels in community management roles, there are distinct roles starting to emerge – specialist, manager, strategist and director. 36% of community professionals have been promoted within their role; an encouraging sign that organizations value the role and want to enable a career path.
    • At the executive level – community management is strategic – responsible for strategy, governance, program management and ensuring communities meet business objectives.
    • Performance measurements for community managers are still evolving – there is no one dominant measure being used to evaluate the performance of community professionals.
    • Organizations are still largely not supporting formal professional development resources for community managers like membership in professional development networks, training and coaching.

    Along with this research, we also published the Community Management Skills Framework, designed to:

    • Provide a common framework for understanding the skills required for community management.
    • Give community managers a tool to evaluate and develop their own skills.
    • Support hiring managers and HR teams as they define formal community management roles within their organization.
    • Look at and compare the skills of community teams so gaps can be addressed and existing skills can be leveraged.

    The full report contains specific data for internal (employee-facing) and external (customer and market-facing) community professionals – including average salaries, percent who get bonuses, profiles of skills and responsibilities by role, performance criteria and professional development resources.

    We would love to hear from you about what surprised you, what you think is missing and how you will use this data to further your own development.

    Businesses are faced with the reality that dominant social media platforms have become oversaturated with content from businesses of all sizes, with brands generating content faster than users can consume them. In response, Facebook and Twitter have both announced the arrival of new commerce tools, designed to give businesses a ‘call to action’ option that will help to drive sales through social media.

    The primary attraction for businesses using social media has traditionally been the ability to organically grow their audience and raise brand awareness on the platforms. However, with Facebook’s blunt announcement that organic reach is on the decline, if brands want to be visible on user newsfeeds, they will now have to pay to be seen. Businesses are faced with the reality that dominant social media platforms have become oversaturated with content from businesses of all sizes, with brands generating content faster than users can consume them.

    With the increase in sponsored posts and paid ads on Twitter, brands are now also competing with news companies for visibility. This is not particularly surprising coming from Twitter, a company that wants to redefine itself as an alternative news platform, with their combination of personal communication and real- time newsfeed a remarkably useful tool for those working in the media and entertainment industry.

    In response, Facebook and Twitter have both announced the arrival of new commerce tools, designed to give businesses a ‘call to action’ option that will help to drive sales through social media. Twitter has also moved to give businesses more flexibility when paying for advertising, and according to Forbe.com’s Jayson DeMers:

    “These objective-based campaigns, which are still currently in beta, will offer more flexibility including tweet engagements, website clicks or conversions, app installs, new followers and leads. These campaigns will be particularly appealing to small business owners who want to pay for results, not just for brand visibility.”

    It is early days yet, and businesses are sure to be testing this option out this holiday season, however it also represents a shift in how businesses may now view the role of social media in their marketing/PR strategies.There is a new focus on social marketing, with marketers using social media to drive “sales over status updates and commerce over engagement.”

    The average holiday consumer is now more likely to go to social media for information that will influence their purchasing decision, and Facebook and Twitter’s new ‘buy’ buttons would help facilitate smooth online transactions. If Facebook and Twitter’s new commerce capabilities prove to be useful for marketers, this may help to counteract the growing difficulty of organic reach experienced by businesses this year.

    If you are reading this, hopefully you have Google Analytics set up and ready to go. It is collecting data from visitors, but how do you get value from that data, and in a form that really helps you? The answer: through use of Goals.

    If you are reading this, hopefully you have Google Analytics set up and ready to go. It is collecting data from visitors but how do you get value from that data, and in a form which really helps you? The answer is through use of Goals, which let you measure how often users take or complete specific actions. (Otherwise known as a conversion).

    Before you can get going with setting up a Goal, let’s look at what we should view as a Goal in terms of Analytics.

    What is a Goal?

    There a few different types of Goals set up within Google Analytics for you to use:

    1. Destination Goals
      These are commonly known as Lead Goals or Success Goals. In essence they track the load of a particular page within the website which is shown once someone completes a given action. For example, a user completing a contact form. These are commonly used as a “funnel goal”: this simply means to count toward the goal, you must have loaded specific pages before landing on the destination page – if you visit one of my “thank you” pages, you won’t count towards my goal.
      Common use: Contact Forms, E-Commerce, Resource Download Thank You Pages.
    2. Duration Goals
      This type of goal allows you to look at how long users spend on a particular page or across the website, and you can set targets for when you want the goal to be triggered. For instance, on SEOAndy I have a goal to tell me if a user spends more than 15 minutes looking at an article – this tells me there could be something wrong with the structure of the post.
      Common use: Video playbacks, Blogs.
    3. Pages per Visit
      This allows you to set a goal of a specific number of pages to be loaded within a visit. This can be helpful to see how users interact with a site and whether more work needs to be done (for example on your navigation). If someone is visiting 15 pages, are they finding what they wanted, researching or simply stuck as to what comes next?
      Common use: Ecommerce, Blogs, Portfolio Websites.
    4. Event Goals
      These are goals counted based on an event trigger; this could be anything from someone clicking to social share your site, view a video, download a resource or click on an advert/promotion banner.
      Common use: Downloads, Video Playbacks, Portfolio Views.

    Now that we’ve a basic grasp of what types of goals there are, let's get one set up.

    Action: Open Google Analytics and follow the steps below. This practice will make it easier for you to set up your own goals in future.

    Setting Up a Goal

    STEP 1. Within Google Analytics click Admin and then in View (right col) click on Goals. Then click Create a Goal.

    Note: Goals do not save until you complete the creation process, exiting the process before then will mean the loss of your Goal and you will have to set it up again. However, Goals can be edited at a later point if you notice a mistake.

    You will now see a screen displaying a number of different templates. These suggested templates are the most common Goals, and will cover 99% of website actions and goals. If you can’t find one you need you can click “custom”, however we won’t be covering that in the article.

    Google Analytics Goal Setup

    As you can see the templates are split into 4 categories (revenue, acquisition, enquiry and engagement), within each of these are a number of options and the descriptions as to what they cover.

    For the purpose of this example we will be using the Enquiry template for “Contact Us” – this is a Destination based goal, meaning that to be reached the user must hit a given page.

    STEP 2. Select Contact us and Click Next Step.

    setting up goals in google analytics

    In this section you will now see the types of Goal available for this given target. It can still be any of the ones listed above, in most cases one will be pre-selected, if not refer to the above section on types of Google Analytics Goals.

    STEP 3. Name your Goal and Select Destination, then Click Next Step.

    Destination Goals are what are known as Boolean, either something happens or it doesn’t – in this case someone has to land on a given page or not -you can also in Google Analytics say someone must land on part of the site with a given part of the domain …

    STEP 4. Define your Destination page

    For me it is /coach/thankyou
    Note you do not need to include your domain (eg seoandy.net) in your destination.

    using google analytics to track goals

    For example ThankYou.html would be a singular final destination, however someone clicking a link on SEOAndy with a url including /go/ is also a destination and goal even though what follows /go/ (eg seoandy.net/go/vote ) would be a goal. 

    You can now define whether the goal has a value, in this case it doesn’t but if you are asking people to sign up for a website at £5 a time but don’t use an e-commerce platform you could make the value £5 such as to know how many times this given goal is completed and its true value to you.

    Note: e-commerce websites can track transactions within GA, you don’t need to set up as a goal.

    STEP 5. Creating a Funnel

    Now although optional, doing this will prevent you from getting false positives within your goal counting and ensure your data is accurate.

    1. Click to turn On the funnel (shown below)
    2. Give each step a name and relative url (as you did with the final destination)
      You do NOT need to enter your final destination as a field here.
    3. If a step is required check the relevant box.

    setting up goal funnels in Google Analytics

    In my case the person is required to have been through the /coach/ (seo training) page before reaching the thank you page to complete the goal. In the case of ecommerce websites this would be the checkout pages.

    Tip: You can add as many steps as you want or need, just remember if steps are optional not to mark them as required.

    STEP 6. Verify the Goal (optional)

    Verification of the Goal will ensure it is set up correctly, however if you have only just set up analytics or do not yet see many conversions on a regular basis this won’t help – thus it is optional.

    STEP 7. Create the Goal

    You will now see the Goal in your Goals Dashboard along with information about the conversions in recent days and whether or not it is recording. You can toggle on and off recording, this means you keep the data if things change or the site is relaunched – deleting a Goal will remove the data from your account (don’t do it).

    STEP 8. Sit Back and Have a Brew

    As with all things it can take a few days for you to see results appear in your full dashboard.

    TIP: In the “real time” dashboard you can select Conversions and “Goal Hits” to see if any goals were reached in the past 30 minutes.

    STEP 9. Check your Conversions

    A few days after click in to “conversions” in your Google Analytics Dashboard and click Goals you will now be able to see the number of conversions for that goal.

    Take Action

    Now it’s your turn. I want you to set up a goal today in Google Analytics for your website. Once you’ve set it up leave a comment and let us know how it went.