For many brands, one of the appealing aspects of social media is the opportunity to target and acquire new customers.
Marketers can also use social to learn more about existing customers and use that knowledge to increase the relevancy of your messaging.
But how can you do this effectively?
The tools already exist to monitor social conversations and unlock key insights into who to reach, how to reach them, and the right messaging to use.
For an easy two-step guide on monitoring and acting on social media conversations, take a look at our infographic below! It’s time social marketers went beyond simply counting ‘Likes’ and comments, and uncovered the deeper meaning of social conversations.
i am moving on - This VIPs Chicago package is ideal for the individual who has known heartbreak and is ready to jump back in. First, let the spa at dana pamper you up and down. This includes a 50 minute deep tissue massage, 50 minute custom facial, 50 minute leg and foot treatment, and topped off with a classic pedicure.
Now that you're ready for some Chicago nightlife, you'll be on top of the world at Vertigo Sky Lounge, sharing complimentary VIP bottle service for 3. Of course, we want your search for love to be successful long after your stay, so we'll provide you a complimentary one year subscription to eHarmony.com, plus two Vertigo Sky Lounge passes valid for a full year. We suspect we'll see you again . . . perhaps indulging in our romance package. rates starting at $1,193.00.
benefits: complimentary E-Harmony.com 1-year subscription bottle service at Vertigo Lounge for up to two friends shoppers delight spa package two complimentary Sky Passes to Vertigo sky lounge valid all year long
Images are one of the biggest trends of social media for 2012. While we often talk about the sites that are trending and the “next big thing” of social media, we seem to forget about the broader trends that have implications to our current and future strategies. Images are the hottest thing is social media right now. Visual content is the consistent thread across the sites and tools that are growing.
Why are images key? Because our brains can consume and process an image much quicker than text.
The Trend: Social Media is Becoming Even More Visual
Images in blog posts:We’ve known for a while that images in blog posts increase time on site and engagement (that is why newspapers and magazines have images).
Pinterest:The latest darling of the social media community is one of the most visual social networks out there. When you “pin” content the item that shows up with your pin is an image from the website. Pinterest is the quickest growing independent social network and sends more traffic to other sites than Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube combined. The quick growth of this highly visual social network points toward the desire to consume visual content. Facebook: Studies on Facebook page engagement rates show that photos get more engagement than text posts, with up to 35 percent more engagement for photos in the new Timeline view.
Instagram: Recently acquired by Facebook, Instagram allows anyone to take beautiful photos with their smartphone. Over a billionphotos have been taken through Instagram, and brands are also running contests and encouraging fans to share photos through the app.
Infographics: Infographics have emerged lately as a top tool for marketers. My company created an infographic on Cincinnati Social Media that was the No. 1 source of traffic to our site for the month, and got us picked up (with links) from other news outlets. An infographic is basically a visual way to tell a story, typically with data. The rise of the infographic shows that people want visual content. Flipboard: The most popular iPad app, Flipboard basically takes your news and social network feeds and makes them visual. They recently announced that there are 20 million Flipboard users.
All of these top social network trends have one thing in common: they show us the importance of images in content and in storytelling online.
Take Advantage of It: How To Get Amazing Image Content As social media becomes more visual, what can you do to take advantage of the biggest trend in social media? Here are some tips to help you get more from the biggest trend.
Each page should have a good image: Make your content share-friendly by having relevantimages. Not just a stock photo, but an image that helps tell your story so that it can be shared as a teaser for your content.
Create an infographic: If you have a design team, great. If not, use a tool like PiktoChart to create an infographic yourself. I created an infographic with PiktoChart in about an hour after the research was complete.
Create relevant images:Make your images relevant. Use photos with a text overlay to create a relevant and sharable photo. Look at most big brand Facebook pages or Pinterest for inspiration on the types of images that travel.
Tell your story visually: Rather than posting text, look for the opportunity to share your story through a visual chart, graph, or image. Think of creative ways to get your message across
More than half of online adults (61%) own and use a smartphone, e-reader device or tablet device. There is also a distinct inverse relationship between standard mobile device usage and smartphone usage driven primarily by age. Younger online adults are significantly more likely to own and use a smartphone than their older counterparts, while older adults ages 55+ are significantly more likely to own and use a standard mobile phone than younger online adults.
Memories and sharing socially are important to travelers connected with mobile devices. Eighty-six percent of online U.S. adults who had an overnight summer vacation took pictures while on their most recent summer vacation. Of those vacationers, 58% of them shared those pictures through social media during their most recent vacation.
Vacationers are active social sharers via Facebook first. Fifty-four percent of online U.S. adults who took photos on their most recent vacation report sharing pictures on Facebook during their trip and 55% percent report sharing pictures after their most recent vacations. Only 9% of report sharing pictures via Twitter during their trip, while 7% report sharing pictures via Twitter after their trip. Finally, 6% report sharing their pictures during their vacation via Instagram, while 7% report sharing their pictures after their vacation via Instagram. Overall and across all networks, 59% of online adults who took pictures on their most recent overnight vacation report sharing photos after their vacation, whereas 58% shared almost exclusively during their vacation.
Road-trippers prefer non-mobile GPS while driving. With 63% of online adults who took a summer vacation including an overnight stay used a car this summer traveling via the open road, 52% of drivers had a smartphone and drove using GPS preferred on-dash GPS for navigating while only 37% preferred their smart phones.
Social media marketing can be an effective way to generate exposure among potential new customers. Done right, that exposure can be translated into engagement, interest, and eventually, a sale.
Unfortunately, social media doesn’t always get the credit it deserves for that sale, especially when transactions do not take place on the web site.
Here are two approaches to tracking the business value of social media marketing in this scenario:
Create Goal (Soft Conversion) Values If a site visitor orders a catalog, asks for a price quote, or signs up to receive email communications, these are promising indicators that a sale is possible in the future. Once you establish the rate at which these types of actions result in a sale, you can assign an estimated value to them.
Here is an example:
ABC Truck Leasing publishes a blog about fleet management and promotes blog content through a variety of social channels. ABC tweets out a new blog post and gets a visitor from Twitter.
After reading the blog post, this visitor begins exploring the ABC web site and eventually fills out a “Request a Price Quote” form (either during the original visit, or on a subsequent visit). The form submission is recorded in ABC’s CRM system.
An analysis of data from ABC’s CRM system shows that 3% of all “Request a Price Quote” submissions eventually result in a sale and the lifetime value of a customer is about $6000.
If 100 “Request a Price Quote” leads are generated and 3% of those can be expected to convert to a sale, the total value of the leads generated is $18,000. But what about the average value of each lead generated? Armed with this information, ABC can perform the following calculation:
Now, through Google Analytics Social Value reports, ABC can see the total number of all “Request a Price Quote” conversions that came from social media sources, both assisted conversions (meaning that social media referred at least one of the visits leading up to conversion, but not the last visit) and last click conversions (meaning that social media referred the visit that immediately preceded the conversion). Even better, ABC can see an estimate of the average value of each lead generated from social sources.
Note the word “estimate”. The average number of people who fill out the “Request a Price Quote” form and subsequently buy is an average. The average number of people who convert to a sale is likely to change over time. Hence, the social value number in Google Analytics is an educated guess.
To avoid being accused of fuzzy math and/or measurement fantasy, the marketing team at ABC should validate the 3% average conversion number on a periodic basis. (Note: The volume of conversions and sales must be high enough to be statistically significant. In other words, an average of 3% based on 100 “Request a Price Quote” submissions and 3 sales would be highly questionable.)
Note that this can be done as a post-campaign analysis as well. For example, online coupons that are downloaded and redeemed in-store can be analyzed after the campaign is over. In this case, the final number would not be an estimate; it would be an accurate total count and value.
Connect The Dots Between CRM Data And Analytics Data If goal value estimates won’t fly with the powers that be, there is a way to connect the dots between actions taken on your site and an eventual sale. It requires integrating the data in your CRM system with web analytics data.
Here is how it works: When a sitevisitor fills out the “Request a Price Quote” form, this information is passed to the CRM system. In most cases (even with many free CRM tools like Zoho), you can configure your CRM system to issue a unique ID to the visitor who filled out the form.
This ID can be passed to Google Analytics via ecommerce tracking (Note: Your site must be set up as an ecommerce site to do this). By doing this, you are no longer constrained by the fact that Google Analytics gives you only an aggregate number of price quote requests sourced from social media. You can now put people and actions together, like this:
Using this data, you can calculate a number of rich social media metrics, such as:
The percentage of socially-referred visitors who submitted a price quote and eventually bought, compared to visitors from other sources.
The average time to close a social media lead (Request a Price Quote lead) compared to other sources.
The lifetime value of socially-referred leads who became customers compared to other sources.
Note that both of these approaches have advantages and disadvantages. In the first approach, the impact of social media can be seen further up the funnel (via assist data).
In the second approach, social media is tied to an actual sale, but only last-click sources are included in the analysis. Fortunately, these approaches are not mutually exclusive. In fact, some of the best examples of creative and successful measurement approaches are the result of experimentation with data generated in various ways from different sources.
Remember that even if you can’t formally integrate data sources like CRM systems and web analytics, you can still use data from these systems to make manual calculations that may help you make the case for social media investment.
For example, if you know that the LTV of a new customer is $6,000 (Source: CRM system) and you spend $18,000 per month on social media, your social media efforts must generate 3 sales per month to break even. If 3% of your leads convert to a sale, this means you need to generate 100 leads (Source: Google Analytics) from social media per month.
According to a recent ExactTarget report shared with eMarketer, while email subscribers still make up a majority of engaged followers, there is actually a little overlap in email, Twitter and Facebook fans. This highly-engaged four percent of users are every marketers dream, but how do you increase that number for your brand and continue to keep fans of individual channels happy? Get back to the basics, know your audience and diversify your offers.
If I asked what your business is getting out of their social media efforts, what would you tell me? Fans and followers? Likes? Comments? Maybe a few shares?
What does all of that activity translate to? Marketers will often argue that engagement on these networks strengthens brand awareness, increases loyalty and advocacy, and creates a propensity to buy. This can be true. Social media is often a great platform for pushing more content out to an audience, increasing possible touch points, and opening a dialogue between brand and consumer.
But, how do we measure the impact that social media engagement actually has on a brand’s sales? Where does the ROI actually come from? One way to find that payoff is to take the leap past engagement-only initiatives, and turn social media channels themselves into functioning sales channels.
When I mention selling via social media, salespeople often perk up while social media managers tend to shy away. Some say social media is the wrong environment for selling. They say that people don’t want to buy on social media outlets, they just want to ‘engage’ – mostly with their friends, and, if you’re lucky, maybe with your brand too. Additionally, all brands should tread carefully, or else they might frighten fans away from them, and into the arms of a competitor’s brand page where they can just laugh at funny photos and share the latest television ad. Fans are there for entertainment, and don’t want to be pressured by invites to make a purchase, they say. Well, this assumption is absolutely false. And, believing it will cost your brand money. The truth is that social media users want to buy. Your fans want to buy.
Want to test this theory out? Go ahead. It’s simple enough. Start by offering your fans an incentive, and then ask for the sale. Incentives are important for pulling people away from their news feed and onto your brand page. Users don’t mind following you, and they don’t mind spreading the word on something they deem worthy. But, you must tell them why. In fact, 58% of consumers cite coupons as the main reason they engage with a brand page on Facebook & Twitter. So, the best place to start is by meeting that desire and offering a deal.
What kind of deal should be offered? To get you started, follow these 3 tips:
Offer an Exclusive Deal – Fans don’t want to be offered the same coupon they can get in their weekend circular. They want something few others have access to. What’s more, they want to be the one to share it, so their friends can get the deal only through them. Exclusivity can turn a good deal into a great one, and give your brand a nice viral push.
Make it Worthwhile – The goal is to motivate action, right? So, $.10 off their next purchase isn’t going to cut it. Most data on this subject points to anything over 25% being the sweet spot for driving purchases. Make fans want to get this deal, and make it worth sharing with their friends to get the desired result. Put your consumer hat on for a minute. Would redeeming a $.10 off coupon be a top priority for you? Now how about $10 off of a $50 purchase? This difference will help a customer decide if they your offer is worth their time.
Offer it For a Limited Time – To get fans to act on your offer, you must persuade that action. A clear expiration date for a date in the near future motivates a fan to redeem it before the opportunity is gone. To keep this effect going, switch up your offer each month. Give fans a reason to return unprompted to see what you have to offer next. This keeps them engaged, keeps them sharing, and keeps them buying.
While we see social media spend as a portion of marketing budgets continue to rise, it should be understood that brands want to see their bottom lines increase as a result. There is no excuse for failing to bring in revenue when the opportunity to drive sales is there. Give your fans want they want in a brand to bring in real ROI and show the true value of social media marketing.
Your restaurant is on Social Media, but are you seeing results?
You started a Facebook Page, then one of your employees started a Twitter account for your restaurant and just this week that same employee also set up a Google Plus Page. Some of your guests told you they saw your Facebook Page, but you hardly saw an increase in customers this year.
A lot of restaurants are in this position.
They have done a bit here and there, they share a couple posts a week, or maybe even a couple tweets a day, but there is no plan, and no immediate benefit in sight. The Social Media Stars have to be lined up to bring you success, fortunately you can line up those stars.
Contests are the way to bring traffic to your social media channels, bring immediate awareness to the coolness factor of your restaurant and it gives the boost to people to come in now. Contests help your restaurant stand out online, it can increase the awareness and coolness factor of your restaurant, and it creates a reason for people who hear about the contest to interact with your restaurant right now.
So with that we bring you 5 contest ideas that have been or still are very successful for other restaurants.
# 1: Giveaway promoted inside your restaurant.
Inside the Cuban restaurant Havana Central, in Manhattan you can read and hear about their Giveaway Campaign to ‘Win a Free One Hour Open Bar for You and 9 of Your Friends.’ There are three ways contestants can enter the giveaway: 1st by Liking the Facebook page and writing ‘Open Bar’ on their Facebook wall*; 2nd by following the restaurant on Twitter and tweeting ‘@havanacentral Open Bar’; or lastly by signing up for their email list. Promoting a giveaway to your guests on the table, on signage or in the menu, makes most of your guests aware of it – and it helps get a lot of people participating in the campaign. It is great to bring awareness about the existence of your Facebook Page and other marketing channels, so you can be engaged with your guests when they are not in your restaurant.
*Updated: You are not allowed according to Facebook rules and regulations to have anyone enter a contest by writing on the Facebook wall, or liking a page or a post. What you can do is have someone fill out a form on the table in the restaurant as their formal way of entering and ask them as a condition to participate to either write on the wall OR tweet OR sign up for their mailing list. Thanks to Alice for sharing the link where you can read more about what’s allowed when you are doing Facebook contests.
#2: Facebook Vote for Fan of the Week
Let’s Yo Yogurt in Marlboro, NJ holds an ongoing “Let’s YO Fan of the Week” contest on Facebook. Customers take pictures of themselves with their favorite flavor of yogurt and post it to Facebook. People online can vote for their favorite picture. The person who gets the most votes wins a week’s worth of yogurt. Many people share these pictures with their friends, and it creates a viral effect. People will find out about this yoghurt place by seeing their friends post pictures on Facebook. Smart! Another example is Biggby Coffee, a coffee chain in the Midwest has their customers upload pictures from their travels around the world showing the Biggby Cup.
#3: Offer a Groupon deal
While many restaurants have lost money on Groupon deals, others gained new customers from it. But I will not recommend Groupon to just promote anything you offer for a sharp discount. It has to make sense. And for it to make sense, it’s better to come up with a Groupon unique offer that will not hurt your ongoing business. Can you organize a VIP party night with lots of food for a special price, offer a brunch? Or even offer baking classes at night, like New York City’s Butter Lane Cupcakes that offers two-hour class for 12 students at a time. Come up with a creative offering and use Groupon to attract the masses.
#4: Offer a discount for specific people every day
Let’s Yo Yogurt which is featured above, also features the “Let’s YO! Name Fame” game on Facebook. They pick a name every day and customers with the same name receive 50% off on a cup of yogurt. When people with the name of the day come in to get their discounted yogurt, they usually bring non-qualifying customers with them and increase your foot traffic.
#5: Value your customers checkins’ on Location based networks
Foursquare and Gowalla are probably the largest mobile communities that appreciates people checking into a restaurant, and offer them a reason to come back for more. Scvngr is a platform like FourSquare where people can check in and do challenges inside the restaurant that the restaurant owner or other guests have set up.
“Each customer comes in about 2.4 times in two months, that’s more frequent than our other guests who may come in five or six times a year.” – Christopher Mahl, senior vice president of brands at Scvngr. He attributes the increase to mobile users who are checking in or exchanging information using an app that that allows them to “bump” phones.
If you haven’t set your restaurant up on these location based networks, set it up, in most instances your restaurant is already on there, as your customers will take care of that. You can see how many people check in to your restaurant and how often. Offer the person who visits your restaurant most often (The Mayor) – a gift, maybe a free drink or a free appetizer or recognition – this motivates other people to become the mayor and therefore come back often to get that title. The Matador in Fullerton California does that really well, they promote the mayor of their restaurant on large screen TV’s behind the bar.
You can also offer a freebie to people who come in after a number of times, so when they come in for the 5th or 10th time they unlock a freebie. Another great incentive to have people coming back for more.
So, there you have it. 5 contest ideas that will bring in traffic to your restaurant.
It’s not enough to just create an amazing contest, you need to promote it. If people are not aware of your contest, they are not able to participate or spread the word about the contest to their friends and family – the people you are trying to reach. So make sure you promote it and bring awareness to it to your guests and on your marketing channels.
Have you had any success with contests? I love to hear about it in the comments underneath.
I know many of you hate the term “expert”. It’s like the frustration-filled cry of the internet, second only to “down with Comic Sans”. But we all strive to excel at something, and be perceived as doing so.
Today Facebook begins the roll out of “Page Post Targeting Enhanced” allowing Pages to target their posts to segments of fans with certain genders, ages, Likes, and other characteristics so they can tailor market messages to specific audiences. For example, a business could tell teens they’ve got “swag” while telling adults they’re “reputable”.
Until now, Facebook Pages could only target posts to fans of certain locations and languages, but the social network just told some admins that the new targeting options are opening to a select number of Pages today and will roll out to all Pages over the next few weeks. The tool could make Pages even more useful to marketers and convince them to pay for ads to buy additional fans.
The news comes from a member of a closed Facebook group for social marketers, who wrote that he received the following info from Facebook:
“Page Post Targeting Enhanced
Today, we will start rolling out an enhanced version of Page Post Targeting to a small percentage of Page Admins. Over the next few weeks, this will become available to all pages. With this new feature, Pages can now target their posts to certain fans in the news feed who meet specific criteria such as age, gender, location, language, etc.
All content will still remain on the Page since this is the only way to allow friends of engaged fans who don’t meet the targeting criteria to see viral stories (i.e. David likes a post.. )”
Despite formally announcing the new feature to Page admins, Facebook gave me its standard “We are always testing new features across the site. We have nothing further to share at this time. However, we’ve learned the full set of characteristics that can now be targeted include:
Age Gender Interested In Relationship Status Education College Grad: College Name, Major In College: College Name, Major, Years In High School Workplace
Plus the old options — Language, and Location: Country, State, City
Page Post Targeting Enhanced will let Pages publish different content to different fans, or word their marketing messages differently to maximize relevance. For example, Ford could target posts about economical hybrids to 20-year olds while pushing discounts on SUVs to 40-year olds.
That could translate into more traffic and awareness driven, and lead marketers to become even more dependent on Facebook. And marketers, get your thinking caps on. These new options mean if you’ve got a smart strategy, you could publish a non-stop stream of posts all tailored to different audiences. You’re no longer have to wait until your last post falls off the news feed, you’re only limited by your imagination.