21 November 2012

Measure Your Twitter Engagement

I use social media to drive traffic and Twitter is an important part of that strategy.  What I have noticed is that even when a blog post starts to age and loose traffic you can still get a spike of page views.  These spikes of traffic are brought about by retweets, of that I am certain.  So I asked myself how can I monitor and record how many retweets I get and what do I need to do to get more retweets.

My favourite Twitter tool is Commun.it.  In addition to suggesting who to follow and who to unfollow, it has great Twitter stats.

commun.it screen shot

Above we have a month on month report of Twitter activity.  I do check to see that the number of retweets that I receive are increasing.  I would put this down to a combination of tweeting the right content which makes the right connection with the right people.  Its about engaging with someone as passionate about your subject matter as you are.  Commun.it also calculates your reach which is the total number of people who could potentially see your retweets or mentions.  Naturally you like to see this figure go up, unlike the example above for some reason.

Klout, PerrIndex, Kred, TweetLevel and PeekAnalytics all measure influence.  But influence is a direct result of engagement.  What I like what about Klout is you can go to the page of someone with a higher Klout score and see what type of content gives a higher level of retweets.  I need to point out that there is a lot to be learnt from this.
For the cusious amongst you, tools that measure the influence of your content include mPACT Pro, TRAACKR and Appinions.

Additional Twitter engagement tools include:
Topsy http://analytics.topsy.com/  This gives the number of hits to your website/blog from Twitter.  I confess I wonder how accurate this is.
TwitterCounter http://twittercounter.com/  This shows the growth in your followers and following.  It predicts the number of followers you will have in 15 days but it does not measure engagement.
BufferApp http://bufferapp.com   Allows you to schedule tweets and gives stats on your tweets such as number of times retweeted, how often favoured and reach.

Experiment with these tools and establish a favourite to keep a check on your Twitter engagement.
Do let other how you handle engagement!  Chris

15 November 2012

How To Write Your Own eBook

When it comes to internet marketing, we all know digital products are the thing to sell.  eBooks fall into this category. Writing your own ebook has the advantage of positioning you as an expert and maximising your sales commission.  Its also an automatable and low cost/low risk way to deliver an information product. 
I have been wanting to write an ebook for some time and thought I would share the following research with you.  The big questions are always:
  • how to pick a subject matter
  • how to break the work down, so its not overwhelming
  • how to create the content
How to pick a subject matter.  Consider the following criteria:
It should address a  hungry market.
It has to something you are interested in.
It doesn't necessarily have to be something you know about, it can be researched.
Avoid any fads or time sensitive topics as you want your ebook to sell for years to come.
Make sure books have been written on the subject matter.  If your topic is too new you will waste too much time convincing people that they need to read about your chosen topic.
Make sure people are actively looking for your subject matter that way you are supplying to the demand.
One great expression I came across was "pain sells better than pleasure" meaning its easier to sell to someone who is looking for a solution to an uncomfortable problem.  The psychologists amongst you will know that everything we do takes us away from pain and towards pleasure.  If you can solve a universal problem, people will want to read your book.

How to break the work down.  Every book needs an outline.  There is no need to reinvent the wheel here.  Having chosen a subject matter, go to Amazon and search the contents of books on your subject matter.  List the repeated topics covered.  These will form the backbone of your book.  Add to these topics to bring the number up to about ten.  These will become the chapters of your book.
Now that you have chapter titles, it becomes easy to concentrate on your content.  You are now dealing with manageable chunks.  The next question is how long should each chapter or your ebook be?  I have found varying answers to this.  Probably the best answer is make it just long enough for the reader to feel that they are getting value. 

How to create content.  You have options here. 
You can always Google it or research the subject matter by reading other books. 
You could buy a Private Label Rights (PLR)  book on the subject matter and edit it. 
You could outsource it through the likes of Odesk, eLance or others.
You could interview an expert on the matter.  This is popular and creates interest, provided you know an expert or you know where to find an expert.
Or you could simply write it yourself.  Simply start typing away and then cut & paste.
Personally I am writing a series of blog posts one at a time with the hope of stitching them together.

I hope this will encourage you to write your own ebook.
Your comments are always appreciated.  Chris

6 November 2012

Social Media Strategy - Why You Need One

There are times when I tell people that I am a social media consultant and I get an "Oh Yeah!, you mean Facebook and Twitter" style reply.  While Facebook and Twitter are both social media platforms, their strength lies in how they support each other AKA the strategy. 

In my humble opinion a social media strategy is what turns your content into traffic, traffic into leads and leads into sales regardless of your business type. 
I'll say again


You can start with either end of this equation.  If you know what level of sales you wish to generate as a result of your online presence, you can figure out the level of leads you need based on your conversion rate.  Knowing the number of leads you need gives you the amount of traffic you need to generate based on your opt-in or squeeze page success rate.  This in turn gives the amount of content required (for a given time period)  and the level of social media activity required to achieve that traffic.  All levels of this equation are measurable and can be recorded and compared week to week or month to month.

Naturally a strategy needs to be resourced.  Someone will have to generate or be responsible for collecting content.  Social media is the mechanism that spreads your message (the content) through the various social media platforms.  One platform reinforcing the other for maximum reach.  You can post to several social media platforms at once using social media aggregators such as HooteSuite.  Can you see that this is a strategy not just the use of Facebook or Twitter in isolation. 
In the case of this blog, I announce a new post via the activity feed on LinkedIn.  The new post is also woven into the conversation on Twitter several times and a link to the post goes up on Facebook.  Facebook mentions whats happening on Twitter and vice versa, not always but occasionally.  I'm finding that more and more followers onTwitter take that introductory moment to push for a LIKE on Facebook, why not.  Posts become guest posts, there is StumbleUpon and things like RebelMouse. Dont forget YouTube.
Its interconnectivity, not just "OhYeah!, Facebook and Twitter".  

 A word of caution, if you are selling cement mixers and nothing else, its difficult to generate universal appeal and keep the conservation going.  Universal appeal and constant conversation are a prerequisite for promoting a product or service online.  If your business constantly has the newest must-have product, your job will be easier.

Possible Anomalies
If you are promoting a brand online without the intention of selling online, your sales can naturally occur offline.  Online brand promotion still needs a social media strategy.  Likewise if you are promoting a social issue such as health and/or safety you still need a strategy to maximise the reach of your message and get an offline result.   Fire departments are actively using social media to announce the type of fire hazard that is commonly seen at a particular time of year and seeing a reduction in fires in return, as an example.
If you are a charity, you may not be generating sales but you will be receiving income in the form of donation having found those who are most likely to be interested in your cause.

Have I made it sound too easy?  I'll cover the details of leads and sales conversion in later posts.  I did plan to monetise my blog after all.

3 November 2012

Social Business

I was only recently introduced to the term "social business" as a result of a talk given by my local IBM office.  Whether you are a stand alone affiliate marketer or a large corporation, its fair to say that from a business point of view we tend to think of social media as a marketing tool only.  But the true social business uses a more integrated, across the board approach that includes:
  1. Human Resources.  Linkedin is the platform of choice here used by recruiters not only to recruit those seeking jobs but to recruit passively through recommendation.  Creating a better employee fit has lead to a 26% increase in revenue per employee.
  2. Marketing.  81% of purchasers now receive product purchase advice from friends and followers on social media sites.  Having the right content on your site that addresses potential customers' problems will create customer engagement, create trust and build your brand.  Getting customers to review your products will create more trust for the next customer to buy.
  3. Sales.  Social businesses have seen a 49% increase in customer retention through connecting with customers and relationship building in dedicated communities. 
  4. Customer Service.  Customer feedback can be analysed and responded to faster.  If you have a gripe about a product you have bought, send a tweet about it and see quickly you will get a response.  Social businesses want to resolve these issues quickly as they know the damage that can be caused to their brand. 
  5. Product and/or Service Innovation.  A 66% reduction in time to market have been recorded using social media.  Receiving test group feedback to a new product or service introduction is easy with social media.  A crowd sourced initial response can be used to tweak your product or service resulting in higher sales. 
  6. Supply Chain.  Social integration with suppliers is also vital.  It leads to quick problem solving and gives more opportunities for future product/service development and collaboration. 
If you are a web designer or app developer bring social media into all tools. 
Put social sharing buttons on the top right not bottom right of the landing page. 
Create content that will interest crowds and that individuals will want to share.
Social media networks are putting more people on line than ever before.

I would like to hear how social your organisation is and where social media has made the biggest improvement.  Many thanks, Chris.

PS I came across a more clinical term for "social business" today.  It is "behavioral economics" :)