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Webinars: Potential Problems and How to Fix Them

webinar disasters - be preparedIt’s every webinar marketer’s worst nightmare. You’ve painstakingly spent months organizing and preparing for an event that’s sure to be a hit—but most importantly, run smoothly—only to find disaster hits unexpectedly. What’s worse is that you were so focused on getting your presentation right that you forgot to develop a contingency plan for worst-case scenarios.

To help you prepare for potential webinar issues in the future, we look at some common mishaps, as well as how to fix them.

1. Your Guest Speaker Cancels At the Last Minute, Fails to Show, or Loses the Connection

Problem: Whether your guest speaker becomes ill, drops out for emergency reasons, or loses signal minutes into the event, the situation can cause any webinar marketer to sweat. Besides being unable to conduct your presentation, you have the embarrassing task of explaining to your audience that things have gone awry.

Fix: Don’t panic. Most people understand that things go wrong at the best of times. Simply apologize for the inconvenience and let your attendees know you’ll need to reschedule. As soon as you’ve arranged a new date and time, send out an email blast letting everyone know the details and invite them to re-register for the new session. Alternatively, you can record the webinar without an audience and then send your registrants the recording to watch in their own time.

2. Attendees Complain of Terrible Sound Quality or No Sound at All

Problem: No sooner have you started your presentation when your chat stream starts lighting up with messages from individuals who are experiencing sound problems. While some might stick around for a few minutes to see if things improve, there’s a chance that attendees will drop out and not return.

Fix: Even though you can’t fix all sound issues, especially if the problem lies with your webinar software provider or an attendee’s equipment, you still need to respond to anyone complaining about sound breakups, bad sound quality, or dead air. Besides apologizing for the interruption, you should let people know you’re doing what you can to rectify the problem, and then suggest that audience members wait for the recording. If there’s only one or two people experiencing issues, ask them to check the devices they’re using to ensure the problem isn’t on their side.

3. You Accidentally Hit the Wrong Button

Problem: If you’re moving your cursor around a lot during your presentations, there’s a possibility you may hit the incorrect button unintentionally. If you pushed a simple function like “mute,” you can likely undo what you did. However, something more serious may halt the broadcast or end the session altogether.

Fix: Depending on the webinar platform you’re using, you may be able to re-open your event as the webinar creator or host. However, there’s a chance that many attendees won’t rejoin. It’s best to send a follow-up email explaining your error and then add a link to the recording. You’re only human, so you should expect these types of mishaps to crop up from time to time.

4. You Lose Your Internet Connection, Mobile Phone Signal, or Power

webinar disasters losing powerProblem: Staring at a blank screen or listening to a dead line when you know there are hundreds of people waiting on the other end for you can be stressful. If it takes a while to get back online, the wait only makes it worse.

Fix: Although you can’t control outside forces, you can be prepared. Always use a landline if you’re calling in, make sure your devices are plugged in and fully charged, and choose a location that limits potential hazards. If there’s no way you can save the event when you’re able to get back online and reconnect, explain what happened in a follow-up email, and let attendees know you’ll reschedule.

The bottom line: be prepared for the unexpected. Don’t freak out in front of your live audience. Stay calm, maintain your professionalism, and be honest when things go wrong.

What’s the worst thing that’s happened during a webinar you’ve either hosted or attended? Share your embarrassing stories with us in the comment section below.

How to Set Up a Facebook Page

With more than a billion users globally, Facebook is arguably the king of social media platforms right now. Many businesses have taken advantage of the cheap and easy exposure the platform provides. If you are new to the social phenomenon, this post is all about how to set up a Facebook page for your business.

Step 1: Personal Profile

In order to setup a Facebook page for your business, you need a personal profile. Business pages can’t float around out there on their own; they must be administered by a personal profile. If you already have an account, you can use that. If you don’t have one, or don’t want to use your personal account, you can set up a new account by visiting www.facebook.com and filling out the basic fields on the home page.

facebook-home

Step 2: Start your Business Page

Once you have a personal profile and you’re logged in, visit facebook.com/pages/create. At this stage, you will choose the type of page you want to create. Read the selections carefully. You can undo things to a certain extent, but once your page is created, it becomes very difficult to go back and change things.

Beginning of Facebook business page process

Notice that you have 6 choices. If you are a regular business with a physical location, most of the choices are obviously not for you. It can get confusing, though, when you see “Company, Organization or Institution” and “Local Business or Place.”

These two account types are very similar, so if you end up picking one over the other, there may not be much buyer’s remorse for you. If you are a small local business, choose the “local business” option. If you work for a large company or organization, choose the “company, org, inst” option. The bonus with the local business option is that you get to enter address information. Most local businesses owned by sole proprietors benefit from having address and other contact info out there on Facebook. Big companies do, too, but to a lesser extent. Especially if they are not retail locations.

Step 3: Enter Basic Information

Basic information entered on FacebookIf you chose the “company” option, you just pick a category and type your business name. If you choose the “local business” or “place” option, you have some extra basic information to enter. Put it all in and click “get started.”

Step 4: Add More Information

In the next step, you’ll be prompted to enter some “about us” information, a profile image and other basic info. It is important that you add as much information as possible because this will all appear on your business page profile. For example, links to your website, your business address and phone number will all be available to your prospects.

Basic Information on Facebook

After you get through the basic information, you’re done! You will be taken to the admin area of your business page. From there, you can invite people in your network to like the page, write your first post or add more images and milestones to your timeline.

 

Do you have any tips for first-timers setting up their Facebook business page? Let us know by commenting below.

13 Stupid Mistakes to Avoid When Creating and Hosting a Webinar

common webinar marketing mistakesCreating and hosting a webinar isn’t easy. You’re not simply throwing together a last-minute YouTube video for your business and then posting it online. There are so many moving facets that go into the process, you need to prepare well in advance in order to create a great experience for attendees. After all, if your shoddily put together webinar scares away leads, you’re essentially wasting your time.

With that said, let’s look at 13 common—and completely avoidable—mistakes newbie webinar marketers make.

Mistake #1: Working outside the realm of a webinar marketing plan.

If you approach your webinars with a “let’s just wing it” attitude, you’re planning to fail. No marketing program in the world works that way, so you can’t expect a successful outcome for your webinar if you’re not applying the basics. Make sure you develop a project schedule that includes milestones, activities, and deliverables along with a webinar marketing plan that maximizes reach, influence, and ROI.

Mistake #2: Developing boring automated reminder emails.

There may be quite a bit of time between the moment someone signs up and the moment the webinar starts. Therefore, a series of automated reminder emails is crucial for maintaining interest and keeping your event in the minds of registrants. You don’t want to send out dull emails, though. They should be informative, they should be captivating, and they should leave people wanting more.

Mistake #3: Failing to practice.

Attendees will know right off the bat whether you know what you’re doing. Besides the flawless presentation of your materials, the transition between slides, speakers, and talking points must be smooth. That only comes with practice, so make certain you spend some time rehearsing with your team a few days beforehand.

Mistake #4: Using a webinar platform that consistently gives you problems.

If a particular webinar platform or service frequently causes technical issues, it’s time to change providers. We often hear the pros tout the benefits their favorite service, but the reality is you need to find a stable and reliable one that works for you. Test out a few webinar platforms before you make your final choice.

Mistake #5: Neglecting to consider all timing aspects of webinars.

When we talk about timing, we’re talking about everything from the date and time of the event to the length of the webinar and the time you actually begin your presentation. Besides setting a schedule that’s convenient for your core target audience, you need to ensure your webinar isn’t too long and that you begin on time. No one likes to wait around for things to start, so be professional and avoid agitating your attendees before the event even begins.

Mistake #6: Designing a complicated and lifeless registration page.

Conduct a quick search for webinar registration pages and you’ll quickly see which ones are likely to be effective and which are not. If you want people to sign up to your event, a concise, simple, and compelling landing page is definitely the way to go.

Mistake #7: Forgetting to create opportunities for interaction.

webinar interaction QAYour content alone won’t satisfy your viewing audience, especially if you’ve created it around a boring topic. Interaction is key to ensuring people remain engaged, so throw in a Q&A session, polls, or surveys when appropriate. You can even use the chat function of the webinar platform you’re using to keep the conversation going or create a dedicated hashtag for social media interactions.

Mistake #8: Failing to record the webinar.

Besides the fact that some registrants may not be able to attend your live event, there will also be those who want to listen to your presentation again. Recording your webinar and then offering it on demand will ensure you maximize your marketing mileage and boost conversions.

Mistake #9: Failing to follow-up with viewers.

Unfortunately, your job doesn’t end when you close the event. You need to establish and build relationships with attendees in order to reach your webinar and business goals. A follow-up email series is usually the best way to do that. Make certain you set up your emails to funnel people through a program that eventually gets them to take the action you want.

Mistake #10: Slacking on the promotion of your webinar.

If you think you can simply create a registration page and the Internet will take care of the rest, you’re sorely mistaken. While you don’t necessarily need to leverage every marketing channel, a comprehensive webinar marketing plan should include promotion through social media, email marketing, paid media, your website, and your blog.

Mistake #11: Creating a dull webinar slide deck.

If your slide deck looks like a novel, we’re sorry to tell you that you’re doing it wrong. A good PowerPoint presentation includes key talking points, relevant and engaging visuals, and a great design. It shouldn’t be crammed with information you simply read to your audience as you run through each slide.

Mistake #12: Failing to set up alternative options.

You can use the best equipment and software in the world, but it won’t eliminate the potential for things to go haywire. Therefore, it’s a good idea to have backups in case you run into technical challenges before or during the presentation.

Mistake #13: Recruiting an inexperienced host, moderator, speaker, or techie.

Team members who know what they’re doing within their given roles can keep your event from turning into a total disaster. Performing a dry run is a great way to figure out potential problems with certain team members so you can either fix those issues or replace the person with someone who has experience.

When all is said and done, creating and hosting a memorable webinar lies in the planning. Start by avoiding these 13 rookie mistakes and you’ll be well on your way to a successful webinar that generates results.

Are you making one or more of these webinar blunders? If you’re an experienced marketer, let us know some of the errors you made when you first started. We’d love to hear your stories, so drop us a line in the comment section below. 

Social Media Manager Tools For 2014

As social media experts gear up for the year ahead, it’s crucial to evaluate the old marketing toolbox and add plugins, applications, and services that can potentially bolster campaigns. With so many new options entering the market on a yearly basis, it’s almost impossible to choose the best tools for monitoring your brand, understanding your audience, and staying connected. Fortunately, our 2014 list can help you narrow down the choices.

In previous posts, we’ve covered some great social media manager tools that we’d still highly recommend today. These include:

Following are some of our 2014 recommendations for your growing arsenal of social media marketing tools.

Social Motus

Social media manager tool - Social Motus

Although Social Motus was only established in 2011, this social media data analysis tool has quickly become a popular option among the pros. Besides helping you manage Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts, this all-in-one program offers everything from monitoring, publishing, engaging, and discovery to analytics, real-time feeds, and conversion tracking. Pricing starts at $15 per month per user, but you can test out the service with a free 30-day trial. If you’re an Internet marketing consultant or belong to an agency, you’ll be pleased to know Social Motus also offers a White Label option so you can rebrand the dashboard as your own when providing social media management services to clients.

Swayy

Social media manager tool - Swayy

Finding and publishing engaging content that speaks to the interests of your audience is crucial for social media success. Swayy helps you do just that by dropping relevant posts into your dashboard so you can read and choose what you want to share with your communities on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Besides the content discovery aspect of the tool, the software will even provide hashtag suggestions for your posts, as well as analytics that show you which pieces of content are the most effective in growing your community of followers. Swayy plans range from free to $49 per month depending on your needs.

SimplyMeasured

Social media manager tool - SimplyMeasured

When you need detailed data regarding your social media presence, few tools can compare to SimplyMeasured. This service not only allows you to manage, organize, and analyze your brand’s data on all major networks, but it also provides a complete snapshot of your social media performance, competitive analysis’ for Facebook and Twitter, Instragram and Youtube channel reporting, and data on social traffic. All accounts include Google Analytics integrations, Bitly and Klout tracking, influencer and trend analysis, and more. Although there are five different levels available with basic plans starting at $500 per month, there is a free 14-day trial period so you can test the tool first.

Crowdbooster

Social media manager tool - Crowdbooster

This popular platform is a firm favorite with experts as it offers social media managers listening, scheduling, monitoring, analytics, and exporting capabilities. It also highlights influential followers, lets you track audience growth, and offers intelligent suggestions for improving campaigns. Plans range from Bronze to Platinum with $9 per month being the starting point for basics.

Raven Tools

Social media manager tool - Raven Tools

A little different from other options, Raven Tools offers a complete Internet marketing toolset that’s perfect for social media managers wanting a comprehensive solution. In addition to monitoring and management software, users gain access to features that cover the areas of online advertising and SEO. Social media features include team management, automated sentiment analysis, keyword searches, analytics, and CRM integration. If you run large-scale digital campaigns and you prefer the convenience of managing everything on one dashboard, then give Raven Tools a go. Their Pro packages cost $99/month while their Agency packages start at $249. There is a free 30-day trial available if you want to test the service without any obligations.

 

Are there any social media manager tools you’d recommend for 2014? We’d love to hear about them so drop us a line in the comment box below.

Free, High-Quality Web Development Tools

Web design graphicWhen you are starting out as a novice web developer, or maybe even if you are pretty good at making websites, it can be difficult to afford some of the mainstream development tools out there. I was super surprised to find out there are a number of completely free (and high-quality) coding programs available.

Aptana Studio

This one is probably one of the richest free programs I’ve ever used. It supports a lot of different development environments, and there are many different customizable features. For instance, you can select from one of many different default profiles for text color in your documents, or you can customize the color of the code. If you are focusing on more than just HTML and CSS, this is a good one.

Netbeans

NetbeansAnother good program for those focusing on many different languages is Netbeans. Really, though, it is best for applications built using JavaScript. If you are brand new to development programs, this one is not for you unless you are a fast learner. It has a big learning curve. One of the best parts about this software (other than it being free) is that the creators have a ton of support documentation and tutorials on the website. It’s really great when you can find a free application and lots of documentation to go with it. It’s also a good program if you are into HTML5 and CSS3.

Notepad++

Notepad++Yes, I know, this is probably the most basic text editor out there, but I have to include it because sometimes less is a lot more. Notepad++ is a step up from the original notepad because you can actually get some development work done. It color-coordinates your code, lets you know when there are basic errors, and allows you to save in virtually any file format. If you are brand new to development, this one is great. It won’t tell you or suggest how to write anything, but there aren’t any confusing tools to learn or get in the way of basic programming. If you are learning the basics of any language, this is a good one to write it with.

HTML-kit

HTML-kitThis is another simple one. It’s like Notepad++, but a little more robust. The cool feature on this one is its search functionality. If you are at all familiar with web development, you know that scanning through lines of code is tedious as…well, it’s tedious. The search function in HTML-kit suggests lines of code in your document as you type. You can also use a drop down menu to select what kind of snippet you are looking for whether it be ids, classes, comments or whatever. The interface is also a bit more like a web development program instead of a text editor. Note that there is a free version and a more full paid version.

Alleycode

Alley-codeThis is a web editor with a twist. I like the features in this one, but there are some big drawbacks. The main thing that concerns me is that it hasn’t been updated in a while, so use it with caution. The reason I mention it here is that it has some cool and relevant features for web designers in today’s world. The most notable are the search engine optimization features. There are some built-in features that allow you to check architecture of your pages for SEO like meta descriptions and other meta tags, and also seeing your page rank on the Alleycode website. Another cool feature is that you can see your updates in real time on their website. I would investigate this one further before you go ahead and use it extensively, but it’s worth looking into.

Chrome Elements Panel

ChromeYes, I know this isn’t an editing program, but I wanted to mention it as a very handy web development tool. In case you are not familiar with it, the Chrome browser (from Google) has an excellent web development tool called the Chrome Elements Panel. You can activate it either by right-clicking while looking at a web page in the Chrome browser, or by pushing F12 (also while viewing in Chrome browser). A panel will appear at the bottom of your screen showing the HTML code on the left that makes up the page and the corresponding CSS to the right.

As you hover your mouse over the HTML tags, you will see the sections highlight on the page above. You can expand and contract the contents of elements on the page by clicking on little arrows in the code. One of the coolest and most useful features is that you can make edits to the code and see how the changes will affect design right on the page!  Note that this is not really editing your code, and only you at that exact moment with that machine and that browser can see the changes. It’s a fantastic tool to figure out why something isn’t behaving like you want it to or to see how a change will affect something before you do it.

You can learn more about the elements panel here: Chrome Elements Panel

 

What free programs or tools have you found useful for web development? Join the conversation by commenting below.

What You Need To Know About Webinar Dry Runs

Want to know how webinar marketing pros make the delivery of virtual presentations look super easy? The secret is simple: they practice. While you may believe that hosting this type of event is about knowing your content and cues, the reality is that managing a live webinar requires expert multitasking. After all, you’re dealing with technology that may just decide to abide by Murphy’s Law when you least expect it. For that reason alone, you need to schedule a run-through of your webinar a few days before the event to ensure you’re as prepared as can be.

What should you be doing during webinar dry runs?

A Webinar Dry Run ChecklistWebinar Dry Run

  • Introduce your webinar team members and presenters to each other if they haven’t already met. If guest speakers have any questions or require assistance, they should know whom to turn to for help. This is also a great opportunity to encourage participants and generate enthusiasm around the event.
  • Make certain everyone knows how the webinar software, tools, and features you’re planning to use work. You may need to pull out tutorials, user guides, and other training materials to conduct a quick recap for those who aren’t too familiar with the webinar service provider you choose.
  • Conduct a review of your webinar agenda and make sure everyone knows what their action signals are. If there are any persistent issues, now is the time to work them out and finalize changes. Ideally, you want to have your presentation materials loaded before you do a run-through so that there are few interruptions during your practice session.
  • Check your equipment to ensure everything is in working order. This includes an audio test, features check, and recording check. To avoid any nasty surprises, make sure everyone joins your webinar dry run from the computer they’ll be using for the live event. With the equipment check, you’ll need to test:
    • The compatibility of each person’s equipment with the web conferencing service you’re using;
    • Sound quality (use a good headset and eliminate background noises or echoes);
    • Phone-in options;
    • Plug-ins;
    • Recording abilities;
    • And features such as screen sharing, organizer or moderator controls, muting, and chat options.

If you have the resources, you might also want to consider having backup equipment in place if something malfunctions.

  • Run through your presentation and record it for reviewing purposes later. What you want to pay attention to here is the time it takes you to present your content, as well as the overall flow of your slides, visuals, and other materials. Ask yourself whether your webinar talking points are captivating enough, whether interactive elements such as polls are in an optimal position, and whether transitions between speakers is smooth. Also, take note of each speaker’s tone of voice and the pace at which the individual speaks.
  • Review your dry run recording and note down any problematic areas.
  • Adjust your presentation if needed, work out any technical problems, and answer any unresolved questions. Once everyone is happy with the outcome, you can wrap things up and wait for the real thing.

The last thing any webinar marketer wants is to be ill prepared or encounter technical glitches at the last minute. Practicing will ensure you know your content, cues, and webinar software. Be smart and schedule a dry run to eliminate unnecessary issues and ensure all participants are comfortable in their given roles.

 

Do you perform dry runs for your webinars? Is there anything you’d add to this checklist? Share your suggestions with us in the comment section below.

How to Develop Engaging PowerPoint Decks for Webinars

PowerPoint decks are a great teaching tool. They’re super easy to create, and almost anyone can use the software to develop their own.

Perhaps that’s the problem.

With the wrong designer behind the keyboard, a PowerPoint presentation can be an absolute disaster. In many cases, they’re boring beyond belief. Big chunks of text, swooping bullet points, random clipart, and dissolving screens—it’s truly the stuff of nightmares.

To ensure you don’t give your audience a headache or put them to sleep, consider the following tips for developing an engaging PowerPoint Deck that gets your message across.

1. Plan Your Presentation

Plan Your PresentationA little forethought about the way in which you want to present your content can go a long way to ensuring your webinar success. Map out the various elements of your presentation and then decide how you want to bring them to life.

If you’re unskilled in the area of design, consider hiring a professional freelancer or searching for great slideshow examples online. You may find a creative trick or two that would work well for the topic you’re presenting.

2. Create Enough Slides

Don’t limit yourself; this isn’t a situation where less is more. Jam-packed slides simply aren’t pleasant to look at, so don’t be afraid to create lots of slides. Just make sure you keep each one focused on a single concept or talking point. You’ll have a much easier time capturing and maintaining the attention of your audience members.

3. Add an Interesting Welcome Slide

Attendees generally arrive at different times. While some may connect a few minutes early, others will join at the scheduled time. You’ll even have a few viewers who drift in a minute or two late. Whatever the case, every one of these people should see a warm welcoming message on a branded slide that sets the tone for what they can expect during the webinar. A great presenter headshot, sleek design, title text, welcoming message, and embedded background music will ensure viewers don’t drop out before the presentation even starts.

4. Choose Your Design or Theme Wisely

A clean, simple design is definitely the way to go with PowerPoint webinar presentations. Just make sure you subtly include your brand elements on each page so you’re not only consistent in your marketing efforts, but also reminding your audience that the content, thoughts, and ideas offered are linked to your business. If you’re changing the design or theme on a particular slide for any specific reason, make certain it complements the other slides in your deck.

5. Use Relevant, Engaging Visuals

Relevant, engaging visualsThere’s almost no excuse for having lifeless PowerPoint presentations these days. From basic clipart, animations, and slide transitions to screen grabs, graphs, and other catchy visual material, you can keep your audience entertained and engaged throughout the length of your talk. As a bonus, many webinar tools and software solutions allow you to add interactive content, such as polls and surveys, at just the right moment.

As a final note, be sure to add slides that briefly introduce the presenter or guest speaker, provide a quick overview of the agenda, offer additional resources, and end off the presentation with contact info and a call-to-action. You’ll also need to proofread your content so that you don’t stumble upon embarrassing mistakes when you’re in the middle of your webinar. Line up your powerful PowerPoint deck with a great vocal presentation and you’re sure to have a winning webinar on your hands.

 

Are you using PowerPoint to create your presentations? Are there any other webinar presentation tools you’d recommend? We’d love to hear from you, so share your thoughts, tips, and advice with us in the comment section below. 

6 Ways to Make Your Social Media Content Management Easier

If you’ve been operating within the online marketing world for a while now, you’re likely tired of having the phrase “content is king” rammed down your throat. It’s a simple concept, yes. However, the actual management of your content assets can be a pain when you’re implementing a multifaceted plan that’s integrated with a comprehensive social media strategy. There’s just so much content—both original and user-generated—that many people have trouble staying on top of things.

To help you make the process of social media content management a little easier and less frustrating, consider the following six tips.

1. Establish an Effective System

Social Media Content ManagementIf your social media editorial process is a mess, the chances are your social media content management is a mess, too. When you’re running a complex marketing campaign, it’s crucial to set up a system and organize your team in a way that allows for maximum effectiveness. Establish clear roles, identify the right individuals to perform the right tasks, and ensure your content workflow, optimization, and distribution processes make sense for your business. You’re dealing with far more than a simple social media editorial calendar here, so make certain you spend quality time refining your system.

2. Choose the Right Listening and Monitoring Tools

While most social platforms offer sufficient capabilities to track conversations, there are tools specifically designed to dig deep and key in on relevant discussions and topics that will feed your content development strategy. In addition, they consolidate conversations from your social media assets into one stream, so you don’t have to waste precious time checking each feed obsessively. The important thing is that you select a tool based on your business needs. Although some options are free, others don’t come cheap, which means you need to ensure you research several available social media listening and monitoring tools before you make a buying decision.

3. Pick a Good Social Media Management Tool

Whether you opt for a free social media management tool or a paid solution, you’ll find that good software with extensive functionality can make content management a breeze. Manage multiple accounts, schedule posts, collaborate with your editorial team, discover optimal times to post content for maximum engagement, manage user-generated content, reply to inquiries, participate in conversations, and more. The best part is you can do all this on a single dashboard. There are thousands of tools out there, so test a handful and then select the one you or your team find the most efficient.

4. Become an Expert Performance Tracker

You can create and publish every type of content you like, but there’s no guarantee you’ll be effective. With social media measurement tools, you can determine whether your content produces results, figure out which pieces generate the most bang for your buck, and track the overall market value of your content. Monitoring your performance lets you establish and focus on key areas that deliver results while eliminating ineffective tactics and dud content.

5. Avoid a One-Man Juggling Act

Juggling Social Media ContentWhether you’re a solopreneur or part of a small team, social media content management can quickly go haywire if you plan to do everything on your own. The process usually requires more than anyone in a full-time job can handle, so you should consider delegating or outsourcing certain tasks where possible.

Think about it. Larger businesses have content marketing directors, content creators, editors, community managers, analytics specialists, and others within the organization working together to make their content marketing and social media programs work. Hiring someone to write your social media snippets or manage your content schedule can eliminate unnecessary pressure and give you an opportunity to focus on tasks that are more important.

6. Use Time Trackers

Social platforms can be addictive. Before you know it, you’re sucked in and spending hours at a time following a trail of content that leads to Nowhereville. A simple time tracking tool will help you manage social media content projects and identify areas of inefficiency.

Ultimately, your aim should be to create plenty of useful, relevant content you can feed your hungry social communities regularly. Ensuring your streams are full helps keep your brand top-of-mind.

 

Do you struggle with social media content management? Maybe you’re a pro with favorite tips or tools to share. Drop us a line in the comment section below and share your thoughts on this topic.

Measuring Inbound Marketing Results

measuring-inbound-marketing-resultsSometimes what we do in marketing is based on intuition or common knowledge. Most of the time it is based on data. Having logical and accurate data helps us make the right decisions on where to focus our resources and our efforts. For inbound marketing online, collecting data helps us gauge how effective an initiative was. What metrics do you focus on, though? Is it visitors to your website? Downloads of content? Leads? Sales, followers, likes and interactions?

Define What your Inbound Marketing Results Should Be

As a business professional, I often have a lot of things running through my mind every day that I have to complete. Sometimes there are so many things that it’s easy to work myself into a frantic state that I have a lot to do. It helps to lay out clear goals for the day so that I know exactly what needs to be completed right away and what can wait.

For your inbound marketing activities, it’s hard to measure what you’ve accomplished without first defining a goal. You have to define what you want your results to be, or you will have a really hard time measuring your progress, or even knowing if you’ve accomplished anything.

For companies marketing their businesses online, there are a lot of common goals such as generating leads, making more sales and delivering good customer service. You don’t have to use a common goal or anyone else’s objectives, but you should have something you are aiming for. It may be brand awareness, engaging your target market, maintaining an active presence online or to grow a network.

Measuring Inbound Marketing Results

Once you have an objective or goal, then you can start thinking about how you can measure it. If you have an uncommon goal or something where part of your conversion takes place offline, you may have to get creative. For the sake of this blog post, we will focus on measuring a common goal related to inbound marketing: generating leads.

Measuring Lead Generation

For almost any company, the basic formula for measuring the success of a lead generation campaign is figuring out he cost per lead and eventually the ROI (return on investment) for the campaign as a whole. Running campaigns online makes the much easier to do than in the physical world.

Cost per Lead

In order to track this, you have to note your costs in building, launching and running the campaign. For example, AllState Insurance recently ran a campaign where they provided 30 minutes of free Wi-Fi on Delta planes in exchange for users’ name and address information.

In order to successfully come up with a cost-per-lead for that campaign, marketers would have had to keep track of what it cost to develop that idea, implement it and run it for a specific time period. The cost per lead is then simply the cost of the campaign divided by the number of viable leads they were able to generate. Notice it’s not all leads, just the good ones.

return-on-investmentMeasuring ROI

On the other side of that campaign, marketers would have to reconcile the leads they did generate and follow up with sales in order to come up with ROI. The basic ROI formula is ROI = (Gains – Cost)/Cost. Naturally, AllState would have gotten a lot of people (perhaps some not even of legal age to purchase insurance) taking advantage of the offer. By wading through their collected data and pulling out only those leads viable enough to produce sales, they can calculate their cost per lead.

In the end, follow up with sales (if marketers aren’t following up on their own) is an important part of the process. Only by getting the final amount of customers who actually signed up for a product that AllState offered can marketers measure the success of the campaign.

To illustrate, if it cost $22,000 to design, launch and run the campaign, and it produced 2,300 viable leads, the cost per lead is simply $22,000/2,300 = $9.57 per lead (roughly). Sales follows up on those leads and is able to convert 50 prospects. Let’s say the average policy they sold nets the company 600 dollars annually per customer for a grand total of $30,000 or a return on investment of roughly 36%.

Measuring the Offer

AllState may also want to measure the effectiveness of their process of getting people to sign up for their offer of free Wi-Fi. For this task, there are a multitude of tracking platforms available such as Google Analytics, Get Clicky and others. Google’s product is by far the most flexible and comprehensive for the money (free).

Testing is incredibly important before a campaign is launched. Marketers should design multiple versions of campaign landing pages and use methods such as A/b/n or multivariate tests to determine which version converts better. Tracking platforms like Google’s have these features built in. You can alternate traffic to be sent to different ads and collect data on which one was most effective.

There could be a lot of potential goals for your inbound marketing campaign but in general (if you are looking to make money), you should be focusing on metrics that will help you measure results that can potentially generate revenue.

 

How do you measure your inbound marketing results? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Social Media Manager Salary

Social Media SalarySo you are stepping into the mainstream marketing world and realizing that your business needs to get serious about social media. The industry itself is so new that there really isn’t a professional background or pay grade to follow in your hiring practices. You would be surprised to learn what professionals in jobs already available are making.

Location has always influenced salary ranges for any positions as costs of living vary in different regions of the country. The other thing that makes salary ranges for social media managers fluctuate is the size and type of company that they go to work for.

New York, New York

It’s no surprise that this city has positions that offer the most for social media management and strategist positions. Jobs range from 46K to over 70K; however, the range brings with it some misleading elements. For instance, will this person only be responsible for managing the company brand on social media accounts, or do positions tend to encompass other branding and marketing related tasks?

California

There are multiple cities in California that have high wages for social media management and strategist related positions. At the low end of the scale for copywriting type positions, entry level people can expect anywhere from 22K to 32K. Beyond that, management and executive positions enjoy ranges of 70K to over 100K.

Boston, Massachusetts

Here is the first city in the list where top salaries of social media executives dip below 100K. Salary ranges for mid-level jobs are in the same ranges as the other top cities before Boston; however, at the low end, the range is much higher from 22-50K.

Washington D.C.

In line with Boston (perhaps related to its proximity and size) is D.C. Salary ranges are similar here to the salaries in Boston. Social media specialists and strategists can expect to make around 42K-56K. Executive positions are also in the high 90s.

citySalaries in other comparable major cities around the U.S. are pretty much in line or close to the major cities named above. There are some key differences in pay rates, though, that are directly related to the types of duties these professionals are expected to have responsibility for.

For instance, if you are walking into a mid-sized company in the Midwest and doing some basic social media presence development and management, don’t expect to clear 50K. In fact, positions where responsibilities are limited to only writing copy or managing accounts tend to pay a lot less than their manager or executive level counterparts.

It isn’t all that uncommon to see businesses meshing social media strategist and oversight in executive positions with people already in traditional marketing roles. In these instances, professionals are taking on a lot more responsibility than just managing the company’s brand online or in a social space. They are also taking on more traditional marketing roles.

too-many-hatsAnother characteristic of many job descriptions that I look at — as well as feedback I get from colleagues — is that no two social media positions seem to be alike. For instance, one company may want to focus on a few social media networks and that’s it.

Conversely, another company may want a social media professional to generate content for and manage a blog on top of managing multiple social networks. Still others may want their people to take on added responsibility outside of only managing social media networks.

Takeaways

If you are actively involved in the social media and web marketing community, none of this is news to you. If you are interested in pursuing a position in a social media related field, it helps to understand that these positions are still finding their footing in the professional world.

Marketing directors and business owners and others looking for folks with these skills are still working on defining the duties that these jobs encompass.

 

What are your salary expectations for social media management? Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.