So, you’re a small to medium sized business and you’re all set up on social media. Yeah?
You’ve registered accounts on all of the popular social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, and maybe a few others as well.
You’ve got someone on staff regularly publishing content on each of these platforms. Your latest sale, new products, the daily weather report, and that beautiful photograph that one of your coworkers took of the wing of an aircraft they recently flew home in from vacation. I’m sure it’s an absolutely beautiful shot.
You’ve asked all of your family and friends to ‘like’, follow and subscribe to your pages. You’ve asked your coworkers to do the same, and for them to get their families and friends to follow suit as well.
You’ve paid for Facebook ads and other similar products to drive traffic, followers and subscribers, and through all of these methods you’ve attracted a reasonably sized audience.
Here’s the thing; nobody gives a damn about any of this.
Nobody cares that you have an account on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.
If you’re solely broadcasting and republishing readily accessible information, nobody will care because there is no added value to ‘liking’ your Page, following your business, or subscribing to your social media channels.
And nobody is going to buy your widgets, or sign a contract with you just because you have X number of followers. It’s just not going to happen.
Nobody cares that you’re on social media; it’s about how you’re using these tools that will drive real results.
There needs to be a value proposition in place that will get people to stick around, be interested in what you have to say, and motivate them to be involved with your business or brand.
Are you even interested in the content you’re publishing and the interactions you’re having on social media?
If you’re not, you can’t really expect anyone else to be either.
This is, of course, a dramatic simplification of what it takes to generate meaningful results, but the point is that you need to be doing something of value and interest for you targeted audience – that is connected to your business and brand – in order to move the needle.
So, what are you doing on social media that’s going to generate meaningful results?
What are you doing for your business that you really care about?
It would be great to hear from you in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
Consumer research can help to inform critical business decisions to ensure those decisions result in a positive outcome.
But, consumer research can be time intensive, costly, and can yield questionable results as a result of the unnatural conditions under which participants are providing their answers and insight.
Have you ever thought about utilizing social media as a supplement, or outright replacement to more traditional consumer research?
Conducting consumer research via social media affords many benefits versus traditional methods such as recruiting for in-person focus groups. It can be significantly less expensive, you can question your audience at a moment’s notice, you are more likely to get genuine responses, you’ll avoid having a single overbearing participant sway the opinion of a larger group, and it’s more flexible and adaptable.
Following are a few ways that you can conduct consumer research via social media:
Engage your community
This is pretty simple, but I find is something many organizations overlook. Why not just ask your social media community a couple of questions to help you make your business decisions?
Particularly if you’ve cultivated a highly engaged audience, I’ll tell you from personal experience that they’ll be eager to participate in the direction of your business, brand, product or service.
One word of caution here is that you should try to balance questions you might have with the other highly valuable content you are publishing on an ongoing basis, and not over do the question asking.
Depending on what you are hoping to learn, perhaps you can simply listen in on conversations that are already happening on the social web about the topic that is of interest to you.
Commit to spending a good deal of time doing this, document what you are hearing, and identify patterns. Then, use this information to identify insights, understand popular opinions, and get a solid understanding of what people are thinking.
Setting up search streams in HootSuite, conducting Boolean searches on free platforms such as Social Mention, scouring blogs and other social media networks, and digging around on your favourite search engine are just a few ways that you can put your ear to the ground and find valuable information and insight.
Send out a survey
There are a number of free online survey services that give you some pretty solid features at little to no cost. Survey Monkey for instance, lets you create surveys with 10 questions and 100 responses for free. It’s an easy to use application that you really should take advantage of. Distribute the link to your survey on your blog, or on your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn communities.
Surveys are great because you can ask many questions at a time, and many online survey services will consolidate responses and serve them to you in easily digestible forms and tables.
As an alternative to online surveys, consider including a few survey-style questions into the registration process for your next Facebook promotion. If the reward for your promotion is compelling enough, registrants will be happy to take a moment to answer a few questions you have for them.
Have you ever used your social media audience for purposes of consumer research?
What tools have you used on social media for research purposes?
What tools have you found to be effective for social listening?
It would be great to chat with you about this further in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
During conversations I have with small business owners about social media marketing, I’m frequently asked about how they can acquire more Facebook fans.
As a matter of fact, I continue to find that Facebook fan acquisition is a huge focus of not only small business owners, but also brand managers, marketers and advertisers as well.
For some, it’s as though fan acquisition is the sole measure by which they measure success.
Lots of Facebook fans… success.
Not so many Facebook fans… failure.
I’m not going to spend time in this post to discuss all of the measures by which success on social media can be measured; instead I’ll cut to the chase.
The real reason you’re probably reading this article is because of what’s promised in the title, so here we go.
The silver bullet for acquiring Facebook fans is… pay for Facebook’s ‘like’ ad products.
Well, is it really any surprise? Facebook is a publicly traded company, and as such, their number one priority is to their shareholders.
How do they reward their shareholders? Make money.
How do they make money? Sell advertising space.
In Q1 2013, Facebook’s revenue was $1.46 billion, 85 percent of which was accounted for from advertising sales.
Facebook wants – check that – needs you to pay for their advertising products.
What about creating killer content, organic impressions, virality, and fairy dust?
Okay, I might have got a bit silly with the fairy dust, but no matter how amazing your content is, I’m telling you that the fastest way to acquire new Facebook fans is to cough up some of your marketing budget and put it toward a well-run Facebook ad buy.
This isn’t to undermine the value of amazing content – if you have ever read another article on this blog you’ll know that I can’t shut up about killer content – but as a fan acquisition tool on Facebook, it’s really not the most efficient method.
A peek behind the curtain of big brands
Through my career, I’ve worked on some big brands with healthy marketing and advertising budgets. These brands have also had very healthy followings on social media.
Their secret? You guessed it, big money into Facebook ads.
Absolutely they create great content, but they’re also spending healthily to drive traffic to their Pages to get eyeballs on that content. If you get enough eyeballs on your Page, some of them will convert to ‘likes’, though having great content certainly helps this conversion rate.
For a bit of context as to what some brands spend on Facebook ads, you may remember from about a year ago (not one of my clients), that GM pulled $10 million from their Facebook ad budget… $10 million!
All of this isn’t meant to be discouraging. In fact, it should be the opposite.
It can be very difficult to acquire Facebook fans, particularly for small businesses. Once you’ve asked all of your personal friends to ‘like’ your Page, encouraged them to get their friends to ‘like’ your Page, asked your regular customers to ‘like’ your Page, and tried running a Facebook promotion that is against their guidelines in hopes of stirring up some ‘likes’, your fan acquisition can plateau quickly.
Don’t immediately think that your content isn’t great, or that your social media presence is all for not, just remember that it is in Facebook’s best interest to get you to spend a few bucks on ads.
So, if a strong Facebook presence is important to your business, and more importantly to your current and prospective customers, why not try spending a few dollars?
It doesn’t need to be $10 million, but experiment with small increments, whatever you feel comfortable with. Keep a close eye on the ads you’re running, learn and optimize as you go. Finally, when you get a sense for what your cost per fan acquisition is, consider setting up longer-term buys so that you can see a steady stream of new fans joining your community.
What methods do you find most effective for acquiring fans on Facebook?
Have you had success running Facebook ads?
How do you convert a click on a Facebook ad to a ‘like’?
It would be awesome for you to share your tips in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
Yeah, yeah, I know. It’s pretty ridiculous that I’m writing a blog post about not writing blog posts.
Anyway, indulge me, and maybe you’ll find something of value here.
Typically I like to write for this blog as my publication dates approach every Monday and Thursday. It allows me to write about the things that I find to be relevant in the moment, and pass along as much of that information to you.
As I’m sure you can relate – particularly if you work for, or own, a small business or start-up – life and work can get a little crazy at times. Work piles up, due dates approach, new opportunities present themselves, and who knows what else.
Things get busy, time is at a premium, and something has got to give.
For me, today was one of those days. Just unbelievably busy, but busy with great things. Lots of work and lots of opportunity. So, I worked on those things because they are important and took priority over pumping the same amount of time and effort into my blog that I typically do. And that’s okay.
It’s easy to get hung up about executing a social media strategy and ensuring that you never miss the publication due dates you place upon yourself. While it really is a good idea to get in the habit of making social media a part of your regular routine, you shouldn’t let other business obligations slip as a result.
So, what does this mean for you?
Don’t worry about ensuring that your social media activity is executed with 100 percent precision. Producing killer content and having high-quality interactions on a regular basis are important, but if you miss one of your own publication due dates, don’t sweat it. People will value the experience they have with you on social media, and they’ll stick around. Most people probably won’t even notice.
Social media is only going to work for your business if your business is in amazing shape. So make sure it is. Don’t sacrifice your ability to handle more important business-related responsibilities for social media. If you’re spending all sorts of time on your social media marketing, or writing for your blog, but you’re not making things happen for your business, your priorities are probably out of whack and it’s time to re-think how you’re going to achieve your broader business goals.
Have you ever caught yourself prioritizing social media activity over things that are probably more important?
Let me know in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
Image Credit: Veer
Video is a great addition to virtually any content mix. It’s highly engaging, is a great way to humanize your brand, and can provide incredible value to your consumers, to list just a few benefits.
For small businesses, producing video content can be challenging for several reasons.
Hiring a production house is expensive.
Self-shot video can lack the quality and polish of professional video.
A lack of experience makes the thought of producing video content nerve-racking.
All of these reasons are valid, but none should deter you from producing what could be amazing video content.
So, how can you produce killer video content for your small business?
Following are 10 steps to get you started:
1 – Dive in
Arguably, this is the most important tip I have to share. Just dive in and commit to producing video as part of your content mix. If you’ve never produced a video before, this will be the biggest barrier.
2 – Figure out how you can add value to your consumers with video
Probably the worst thing you can do is not having a plan for how you can add value to your consumers with your video. You’ll need to educate, entertain, or provide utility to your viewers, so before you get going, figure out what your approach is going to be and what the basic subject matter of your video will be.
3 – Script what it is that you want to convey
To ensure your video tells a cohesive story and adds value in the way that you’ve planned, do yourself a favour and write a script.
If you’ve never written a script, not to worry.
An easy format to follow will be to create a document with two columns and write your dialogue or audio in the left hand column, with corresponding video in the right hand column. This format will allow you to map out what the finished video should sound and look like.
4 – Get your equipment in check
Chances are that you already have a few equipment options for shooting a video in your possession. Virtually all digital cameras have a video recording function, most smartphones are recording video in HD these days, and a huge number of computers are equipped with webcams. Each device has its own pros and cons, but which is the best choice for your early videos is up to you, though they’ll all probably do the trick.
5 – Determine where and when to shoot
This can be really important. If your video requires shooting on location, then you’re set. If you’re video is an educational piece that could be shot anywhere, choose a location that is well lit, and is quiet with little to no ambient noise so as to not interfere with your audio. It’s pretty bad when a video that relies heavily on audio can’t be heard.
6 – Set up your camera
A tripod can be your best friend. If you don’t have a tripod and you’re just getting into shooting video, try setting your camera up in a stationary location so it doesn’t shake around, which can result in jittery video that’s difficult to watch. Desks, shelves, tables, stools, and ledges are everywhere – take advantage of them.
7 – Test shoot, review and optimize
If you haven’t shot video before, or are using new equipment, you’ll want to consider shooting a short segment and reviewing the resulting footage before filming your entire video.
Take a few minutes to check your footage to ensure everything looks great, the framing is as you envisioned, and that your audio is crisp and clear. If any adjustments are required, you’ll be thanking me that you made them after reviewing a short segment of footage rather than when you’ve invested more significant time to complete your entire shoot.
8 – Hit record and go for it
No need to look back now. Just hit record and go for it. Anyone appearing in your video should be comfortable and confident with all of the planning and preparation that has gone into this, so there’s no reason for them to be anything but. Not only will being confident make your shoot go more smoothly, but it will be picked up on in your final video and result in a better ‘performance’.
9 – Review and edit
When your shoot has wrapped, review your footage to ensure you’ve captured everything required and begin editing. Even if your entire video was shot in a singe take, there are some basic things you’ll want to edit. For instance, cut dead footage at the beginning and end of your video so that when your consumers press play, your video gets right to it. You might also want to optimize your audio levels, add a title, or include a call to action that will work toward your objectives.
10 – Publish
This is the best part; you get to share the fruit of your labour with your consumers. Publish your video to the social media networks that your community is actively engaging on – YouTube, Vimeo, Dailymotion, Facebook, Google+, and on.
If you have any tips for how small businesses can produce great video content, or you’re doing it yourself, tell me all about it in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial