Show Me The Money!

Social Media ROISeeing the return on investment for social media can be difficult if you’re not sure what you should be looking at in your analysis or metrics. If you’re looking for the wrong things, there can be missed opportunities to capture a new target audience, or to fix your existing social media strategy to make better use of your time online. Here are some tips on how to measure real ROI for your social media work.

So what is it that social media can offer you? Forget about “increased loyalty” and the like. We want things we can actually measure.

  • Increased retention of your existing customers. Engaging with, and keeping, the clients you already have is cheaper, by far, than having to get new clients all the time. Building a sense of community around your brand online is a way to keep them engaged with your business and make them feel that you are engaged with them on more than a simply professional level.

  • Increased repeat purchases. Converting those likes and retweets into sales and referrals might be tricky at first, but once your clients get into the habit of spending money with you, they will keep doing so for as long as there is value in it for them.

  • Reduced marketing costs. Even if you’re paying to promote your posts on facebook, or for pay per click advertising, it can still work out to be significantly cheaper than more traditional methods of advertising. Money you save on marketing can be put to use elsewhere in the business, or on wage increases for your staff.

  • Feedback. People are only too happy to tell you what they think from the safety and comfort of their computer. They are less likely to give you criticism in a face to face situation or a written survey. Take the opportunity to ask your online community what they think about ideas, or if there was something they weren’t 100% happy with during the last transaction. No print costs, no phone bill, and free useful feedback – it’s a win-win situation.

  • Reduced customer service costs. If you have one person employed solely to answer the questions coming in on the phones, why not get that person online instead? It’s faster, cheaper and means your clients don’t have to stop what they are doing in order to get their question answered. They’re already online, so go online. Go to where your clients are.

  • Recruitment. Are you looking for a new staff member? Need volunteers to help you with that barbeque you’re holding at the community centre? Helping to organise a busy bee at the local school? Why not turn to your online client base? If you’ve been running the rest of your social media presence correctly, they will already be engaged with you and your business, so convert it into action.

When it comes to selling social media as a real and measurable platform for engaging with your client base, do away with elements you can’t measure and stick to things you can plot on a chart. It will make the time, effort and money spent on building your presence worth it. You will also be more able to see what works and, more importantly, what doesn’t.

Advertisements

Spam or Ham? Are your emails lawful?

Are you accidentally spamming your client’s inboxes? Are you up to date with the legal requirements for the marketing emails you send out? I will share the basics of keeping on the right side of the law when it comes to email marketing.

The Spam Act of Australia (C2013C00021) is the main legislation that you need to adhere to when you are sending out emails to anyone. The 60 page-long document details exactly what is and is not allowed when you are engaging in electronic communications. Thankfully, you don’t have to read the full Act. I’ve summarised it here for you.

Spam Can

image credits: Vince_Lamb on Flickr

There are three things to keep in mind when you are putting together an email campaign or sending out emails to your client base.

  • Do you have consent from the person who will be receiving the message?

  • Does your message have a clear indication of who is sending the message?

  • Does your message give the receiver an option to unsubscribe from the emails?

Sound simple, doesn’t it? Now, let’s look at each point in a little detail.

Do you have consent from the person who will be receiving the message?

Consent is either express or implied. Express consent refers to the person receiving the message subscribing directly to your mailing list, deliberately ticking a box agreeing to have messages or ads from you, or they have expressly requested from you over the telephone.

Implied consent is the grey area of consent. There needs to be a reasonable expectation by the person receiving the emails that you will send the messages. This can be through:

– an existing relationship with you and they have previously given you their email address;

– they’ve purchased good from you and have given you their electronic address in the general expectation there would be follow-up emails;

– the person receiving the emails has provided you with their address in the understanding there would be day-to-day transactions and that address might be used for additional communications;

– the receiver has registered a product online or a warranty;

– the person receiving the emails has conspicuously published their electronic address unless it’s accompanied by a message stating that it’s not to be used for the purposes of advertising material;

– the person receiving the emails has given you a business card with their email address on it and there’s a reasonable expectation the messages would be sent by email.

So, what should you do if you’re not sure if you have received consent to send marketing emails to them? Don’t send them emails. It’s really that simple. Remove them from your lists. If you are not sure that you have consent, you might get into trouble for sending the emails, even if you provide all the unsubscribe options required by law.

When in doubt, if you are making an option on your website for people to sign up to your email lists, give them “double opt-in” to make sure they understand that you will be sending them messages.

Does your message have a clear indication of who is sending the message?

The sender information to be included in the email is expected to be valid for 30 days after the message is sent. This is in case anyone needs to get in contact with you in a way that isn’t online. This can be easily included into the signature of your email.

Does your message give the receiver an option to unsubscribe from the emails?

Always include an unsubscribe feature in your emails. This can be as simple as a link to another page that automatically removes their email address from your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software or email lists. Automating this means less work for you and adds a surety that you’re not spamming anyone.

Spammy spam spam

image credits: timag on Flickr

So, there are three easy steps to make sure your email marketing campaign is running by the book.

  • Do you have consent of the people you’re sending to?

  • Have you clearly identified your business?

  • Have you given an unsubscribe option?

Got an hour or two to spare? You can read the Spam Act of Australia here:

Spam Act 2003 C2013C00021

The 404 page.

I have been thinking lately about the more forgotten corners of the web and what happens when designers are asked to design something they don’t think will add anything to the overall impact of the website they’re working on. The particular example I’m talking about is the 404 page.

Just in case you’ve never come across one, it’s what is displayed by your internet browser when it can’t find the page of the link you clicked on. There have been some awesome examples of cute, funny and otherwise interesting 404 pages in the past. My question for today is: “Does it matter if your 404 is cool?”

My initial answer was “Not really.” After all, it’s just a page for people to see that you’ve got a broken link, right? Well, not that you should have those because you’ve checked those links a million times… Haven’t you? Of course you have. Silly me for thinking otherwise.

But then I got to thinking. The 404 page is sometimes a missed opportunity to build some more love for your site or brand. In fact, all the “error” pages that a visitor can come across can be capitalised upon. Take for example some of these great pages that build more webby love for their sites:

My friend, Rebecca Jackson of Melbourne Water, shared with us a lovely story about the 404s for her company, which I happen to think are gorgeously cute. They also shine a spotlight on a community project the company is involved in, the Frog Census, which is something everyone should know about.

There is also this particularly cute 404 page from Github. Star Wars, tentacled kitties (or at least that’s what it looks like to me) and error pages – how can you possibly go wrong?!

Github 404 error page

Oh all of the webby loves!

So, have you seen some awesome 404 pages that make you giggle or “awwwwww…”? Seen some other error pages that helped you connect with a brand just a little bit more? Share them below!

EDIT:
Since posting this, I was sent the link telling the story of the Github OctoKitty. You can read it too!

I was trawling Huffington Post this morning and came across this, so I thought I would share:

Huffington Post 404

 

EDIT:

I came across this 404 yesterday and thought I would share. In fact, perhaps I ought to start a Pinterest board or Tumblr for these.

Frankolafratta 404

Book Review – “Buzzing Communities” by Richard Millington.

Disclaimer: This book was included as an addition to the attendee bags for the swarm conference held during September in Sydney, which I was the blogger for. I was not paid to review this book, and have decided to do so to spread knowledge about it under no reciprocal agreement.

 

"Buzzing Communities" by Rich Millington

“Buzzing Communities” by Rich Millington

This book is subtitled “How to build Bigger, Better, and More Active Online Communities” and boy does it teach that.

Having heard Rich speak at the swarm conference a few weeks ago, I was pretty excited when I finally got a chance to read this book. Since returning to Perth from Sydney, I have started a new full time position, as well as continuing my study, so “free time” is a mythical unicorn that frolics in pastures unknown to me at the moment. I tried to make a start of it on the plane home, but sleep was apparently more important as far as my brain and eyes were concerned.

Rich is the founder of the company Feverbee and The Pillar Summit. They run courses for professionals teaching community managers best practices for their groups. Should I get a few moments to take a better look into it, I would like to attend one. Oh free time, you special luxury you. ahem, but I digress.

This book is split up into clear sections, starting with how to manage your community, and what you need to know about your members. Within each of these sections are very straight forward chapters that describe in moderate detail the elements a community manager needs to understand in order to really get a community moving and building. There is also a good amount of information on how to properly sell the idea of building a community to higher management.

Perhaps the best section, from my view point at least, is how to really measure the return on investment for your community. We sometimes gets blinded by the warm fuzzies of community building and management that we forget that there’s only really worth and value to a company if you can show, on a chart or graph, what the community is giving back to the business. Rich manages to clear away the warm fuzzies, without hurting anyone’s feelings, and get down to the nitty gritty of it all.

He also does a great job of helping community managers define what success looks like. After all, if you don’t know what success looks like to you, or your management team, how are you going to know when you’ve achieved it?

He also includes a couple of great appendices at the end of the book. There is one describing some great online communities to go and have a look at, as examples of the principles he describes in the book. There is also a recommended reading guide, giving the reader a chance to go and build on what has been learned in his book. I particularly like when instructional books do this because it show a degree of humility on the part of the author, or that they want the reader to get more than what they can just offer them in the book they have penned.

I would recommend this book to community managers of all levels of experience, as well as marketing and PR teams who think they might like to develop a community for their brand. If both sides of the field know what is what when it comes to starting, redesigning or building a community online, then the outcomes can be much clearer and everyone knows where they stand.

 

Rich Millington’s book “Buzzing Communities: How to Build Bigger, Better, and More Active Online Communities” is printed by FeverBee and can be purchased through Amazon.com in paper form or for the Kindle.

Why Community Managers Are Needed.

If you have a group online, if you are trying to bring a community online, if you’re a brand trying to get followers through social media, then you need a community manager. It doesn’t matter how big you are, how many followers you have, or if you have someone who is happy to sit on Facebook and Twitter all day in the office, the field is so very complex that it isn’t a job that can be done annexed to another position. It is a role that requires specific attention to specific detail. These are the reasons why.

Reason One:

Would you allow a plumber to perform heart surgery on you?

Probably not. Or, if you would, you deserve all you get. Seriously. Unless, of course, they’re connected to a medical adviser on the telephone and you’re in a remote area, you’re probably not going to achieve a high degree of success. The same goes for community management. While it might have some similarities to marketing or advertising or branding, it’s just not the same. It requires a specific set of talents and skills that are very select and, unless someone is prepared to give the time to developing those skills, they’re not likely to just wake up one day and have them.

Reason Two:

Would you want someone not dedicated to an specific field to be a professional in that field?

In an ever changing arena, it is important to have someone who is prepared to sit down and watch trends, watch hash tags, watch what the community is doing and keep an eye on nastier elements. If you don’t, things will run away from you. This has happened time and time again in communities offline, as well as online. The mentality that your community isn’t so big as to need a community manager is a retroactively dangerous one. If community guidelines, communications strategies and crisis action plans are not in place from the very beginning, you are asking for an incoming storm to take you down.

Reason Three:

If someone is happy to tow the company line, will they stand up and tell you you’re wrong?

A community manager is your link to the outside world in such a way that no one else within your business can be. Retail staff, if that’s your field, don’t normally hear a lot about the way people are disgruntled or, if they do, once they leave the store, they no longer care. Online, a bad review, a criticising tweet is out there forever. You can’t take that down. You need someone who will stand up, tell you what people are saying and have the digital balls to tell everyone what is what. If the person dealing with your online community or customer base doesn’t have the hutzpah to take a situation in hand, then you are ruined online, and that is lost money.

That is just three darned good reasons why community managers should be one of the most prized employees on your team. They are you connection to the world online and offline. A good community manager will keep your brand strong online, which is where it matters most.

Social Media and Your Dream Job.

"Dream job" by ~hro

Use social media to aim for the stars – image: http://bit.ly/18CZQ43

We spend so much time on social networking sites, but have you used them as tools in the search for your dream job? Here are four tips to get those connections working towards your dream job.

1. Facebook.

Facebook logoMany businesses have referral systems for staffing, meaning existing staff know about openings before jobs are advertised. Letting your Facebook friends know you’re searching for a new job is one of the best ways to score an interview. With almost 40% of new US hires coming from staff referrals, you need to work those friends lists.

2. LinkedIn.

LinkedIn logoLinkedIn is “the world’s largest professional network,” yet many fail to keep their details current. A study by the annual ASX200 Social Media Report, social recruiting is on the rise in Australia, and LinkedIn is the number one site for checking applicants. Make sure you keep your profile fresh and your contact details current.

3. Pinterest.

Pinterest logoIf you’re a creative, you need to be using Pinterest as a portfolio. It isn’t just for cooking and crafts. Creatives in all fields are using Pinterest to showcase their work and funnel traffic back into their websites. Make sure to use appropriate tagging and keep any work you say is your work separate from that of other people.

4. Twitter.

Twitter logoIf you’re in marketing or communications, you should be on Twitter. Short “tweets” show that you get your meaning across quickly. Make your interactions meaningful, or they’ll be lost in the feed. Applying for a position? Follow the company and the executives. It’s the best way of finding out what’s new with the business and preparing for the interview.

Do you have any tips for using social media in the search for a dream job? Share your ideas with others in the comments below.

References:

Facebook.com (2013). http://www.facebook.com/

Jobvite.com. (2013). Recruiting Data Employment Statistics. http://recruiting.jobvite.com/resources/recruiting-data-employment-statistics-by-jobvite-index/

Linkedin.com. (2013). http://www.linkedin.com/

Linkedin.com, (2013). What is LinkedIn? http://www.linkedin.com/static?key=what_is_linkedin

Pinterest.com. (2013). http://pinterest.com/

Smith, Paul. (2013). LinkedIn tops Australian corporate social media, but YouTube on the Rise. http://www.afr.com/p/technology/linkedin_tops_australian_corporate_6zA5xqSFcMhu2zYTXccr3H

Twitter.com. (2013). http://www.twitter.com/

Twitter.com. (2013). Twitter Help Center. https://support.twitter.com/articles/166337-the-twitter-glossary#t

Walbridge, Andrew. (2013). Design Ideas. http://pinterest.com/awalbridge/design-ideas/