What The 2015 Pan Am Games Can Teach Us About Social Media

The 2015 Pan Am Games officially closed last Sunday in Toronto and although the city still has the Para Pan Am Games to look forward to, this occasion gave the city and the entire country a chance to reflect on the achievement of its athletes and the process of hosting a major multi-sport event.

The lessons were plentiful and the opinions of experts and the general public alike shifted slowly from the opening ceremonies to the closing ceremonies. At the end of the day, the event was deemed a success by a vast majority of the commentators. Here at Incline Marketing, we always like to learn from successful organizations and events, so after examining what the Pan Am Games did right, we came up with four lessons from the event that can be applied to building a successful social media strategy. Here they are:

Plan For The Worst And You’ll Get The Best

Negativity reigned supreme among a majority of the local media and among the public before the Games started. The traffic was going to be absolutely, insanely horrible, no one was going to show up to the events and the newly built venues would be white elephants for decades to come. The Pan Am organizers heard these dire prophecies and worked hard at creating strategies to combat them. In the end, everything worked out as close to perfect as they could have, thanks in large part to the preparation of the organizers and volunteers.

A lot of people like to spout worst-case scenarios about social media too. For example, people fear that it opens them up to too much criticism or that the money/time spent on social media efforts is a giant waste. However, if you can plan effectively, you can take much of the sting out of these nay-sayers. Draw up a plan to deal with negative comments or sudden crisis on your social media platforms. Have guidelines that you and other staff should follow when posting to the organization’s Twitter account, Facebook page, etc. Develop strategies to measure your return on investment and achieve your goals. Having these plans in place will ensure that you’re prepared for the worst, but will most likely achieve the best.

Exclusivity Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up To Be

Part of the success of the 2015 Pan Am Games was its high level of accessibility. Tickets were relatively cheap and plentiful. Events were spread out across southern Ontario so people from different regions could take part. Open events, such as concerts, were held almost every day of the Games in popular spots. These are just some examples of how the organizers made the event inclusive and drew the attention of thousands of people that critics said would remain apathetic and disengaged.

There are many organizations that tout exclusivity as the ultimate reason for not only their success, but their very existence. In rare circumstances this may be true, but using wide-reaching exclusivity to draw an increased customer/membership base is generally an out-dated concept. When your organization makes content easily accessible through its social media channels, it is being inclusive. This inclusiveness gives people a sense of belonging, increases engagement and builds a community that people want to be part of. This is nothing but a win-win for your organization and its target audience.

Pride Is Powerful

Every single day throughout the course of the 2015 Games, Canadian athletes would say they performed at their very best because of the home crowd. When thousands of people are cheering you one and celebrating your every victory, no matter how big or small, it’s natural to want to work as hard as you can and give back to your supporters. The athletes were greeted by a wave of national pride and they rewarded Canadians with a record number of Pan Am medals.

Shining the spotlight on people’s accomplishments has a hugely positive effect on them outside of athletics too. Social media is a great vehicle for recognizing people in your community or a member/customer who has done something special. Highlighting their achievement in such a public way is an opportunity to show appreciation for the people who help make your organization a possibility. Just like support from fans, recognition in other industries is a two-way street. If your organization recognizes how hard you’ve worked to accomplishment something, you’re going to be more likely to renew membership, volunteer on a committee, subscribe to a newsletter or attend their next event.

Engagement Begets Engagement

By the time of 2015 Pan Am Games were winding down last week, the conversation was not about if the event was a success (there was no doubt it was), but if Toronto should host more international sporting competitions. People wrote about bringing the Track and Field World Championship or the FIBA World Championships to the city. And of course, the biggest clamour was for another bid on the Summer Olympics. This signalled a huge shift from the prevailing notion at the start of Games that Toronto was just too darn apathetic for a major multi-sport event to take off. But because the Pan Am organizers did such a good job at engaging the citizens of the city, Torontonians are wondering where they can get more.

Social media has these same addictive characteristics. The name of the game for a multi-platform strategy is engagement. The purpose of Twitter or Facebook or Instagram is to connect with your organization’s target audience and get them engaged and invested in the organization’s efforts, both online and offline. When engagement is fostered through social media, it becomes easier for your audience to see opportunities to get involved in other areas. That may be volunteering or attending events or simply referring your organization to their friend. The point is, engagement snowballs; when you make it easy to connect with your organization online, you open up your audience’s eyes to possibilities that exist in all areas.

How To Treat Current Events And Trending News On Your Organization’s Social Media Platforms

Navigating the news on social media is a tricky business. Not only is there so much of it to wade through on a daily basis, but because of the 24-hour news cycle and the way we use technology, one story might be popular for what seems like a split-second before another takes it place.

The pace by which news is delivered these days is enough to make you throw up your hands in frustration and declare that you’re over it all. Not so fast! Capitalizing on current events and trending topics can be an important part of content marketing for your small business, association or non-profit. However, it has to be done right or your efforts will be in vain, or worse, backfire on you.

We’ve put together a list of newsy dos and do-nots to help you find your way among the maze of current event topics and use them to your advantage on social media:

DO keep tabs on current events and trending topics

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to get wrapped up in routine and miss something that your organization can comment on or use for its blog, Twitter account or Facebook page. Look at at least one national and one local newspaper a day and keep your eyes peeled for interesting pieces on the trending topic sections on Twitter and Facebook.

DO NOT post about a current event if it doesn’t relate to your organization at all

Your organization’s online community listens to you for a reason; you provide good quality content on topics that they are interested in. They find the information you put out valuable because it is information they can use or relate with. If you are posting about news simply because it’s popular, but it has no ties to your organization, it can leave your audience confused, disgruntled, frustrated and bored. You might get away with it once, but don’t make it a frequent practice.

DO set up a keyword alert on Google News

Google: The ultimate tool for newsies everywhere. The Google News tool is a great source for news from around the world. Setting up a keyword news alert will help you and your organization find articles to share and ideas for blog posts and videos. It will also keep you in the know about the latest trends and topics. As a bonus, the alerts can also help you find mentions of your organization in the news that can be shared or addressed.

DO NOT have a knee-jerk reaction to negative news on your organization/industry

The news you find online about your organization or your industry may not be all sunshine and rainbows. There will always be negative reviews or an opinion piece that throws criticism in your general area. Firing back right away is always the quickest way to create a PR nightmare. Instead, take some time to build a well-thought-out social media response and ensure everyone in the organization is on board with it. Don’t wait a long time to make your case, but have a strategy in place before you do.

DO be respectful when considering a social media post about a tragedy

Tragedies in the news are a sad reality and our first reaction is often to join the many others who are sending messages of support to victims on social media. However, many companies have seen a backlash against social media posts mentioning tragedies, such as 9/11. Before you post about a tragedy, think very hard about how appropriate the message is and its relevancy to your organization. Consider if a day of social media silence is better or if a post from your personal account would be more appropriate.

DO NOT wait too long to post about relevant news

In the sections above, we’ve mentioned that you should pause before posting about current events. However, this pause shouldn’t be too long. The 24-hour news cycle makes it easy for you to blink and miss a trending topic. Create a framework for dealing with breaking news on social media so that when it happens, you can cut down on the time you spend weighing the pros and cons of posting about it and get in on the action.

DO give a fresh perspective on a piece of news that has been trending for a while

There’s only so much of the same basic run-down of a news story that people can read. If there is a trending event that has been popular for more than a day, brainstorm a fresh way to cover it. Tackle it from a different perspective, find a different angle, make it relatable to a different audience and talk to people who no one has talked to before. Being fresh will give your audience a reason to read your material over the same old stuff.

DO NOT hesitate to break news yourself

There’s no rule saying you can’t make the news! If your organization has a newsworthy point of view, tidbit of information or an innovative new way of doing things, make it known to the world. Develop a strategy to market the news through social media, including which platforms you’re going to use, what your message is going to be, how you’re going to keep it fresh, which audience to target, how you’re going to make it newsworthy to the media and how you’re going to handle any potential criticism.

5 Places To Find The Best Content For Your Social Media Accounts

There’s a common phrase used to explain a basic principle of social media that says content is king. However, the platitude doesn’t mean a whole lot if the throne is empty. In other words, you have to find content first before you can think about how you’re going to use it to rule social media.

Finding good content to post to your organization’s social media accounts is often not an easy pursuit. It takes time, know-how and a keen eye. You also have to know where to look. With the mountain of information that is readily available online, finding the content that provides the right kind of value to your target audience can be like finding a needle in a haystack.

Luckily, we’ve taken some of that hay out of the equation by putting together some suggestions for where to look when searching for good content. Hopefully with these five tips, you can find that needle much quicker.

Hashtags

When you want to know the latest on a certain topic, issue or industry, a hashtag can go a long way. If you’re not familiar with the power of hashtags for finding content, it works sort of like this: Twitter is a huge ocean of information being put out by millions of people. If you try to go fishing in that ocean, the chances of catching a fish are slim. Hashtags are like the streams, rivers and ponds that flow from the ocean. They are smaller and more contained, meaning you’re more likely to find a fish if you go searching there.

Find a hashtag that relates to the sort of content you are looking for and explore the content that people are posting to that hashtag. For example, we like to monitor the Association Chat hashtag (#assnchat) for all the news and views on the association industry. People are always posting blogs, articles and expert opinion on this hashtag, the best of which we share with out followers. One of the best ways to find a hashtag that fits your purposes is use hashtagify.me, a site that allows you to type in one hashtag and discover the most popular hashtags associated with it.

Magazines, Newsletters and Other Publications

There is no shortage of specialized publications for the industry you are posting about. If you look hard enough, there are magazines and newsletters and just about everyone, from pet grooming to turfgrass management to hair styling and everything in between. These publications usually contain well-thought-out insights from experts and often include new studies, perspectives and opinions. Many of these publications have online editions as well as hard copies, meaning they can be a source of content for your social media channels.

These magazines, newsletters and other publications are not hard to find. Many trade associations publish their own magazines that they make available online as well. Check out the national or local association to see if you can get access to their publications. Businesses and bloggers often send out weekly or monthly newsletter that you can sign up for as well. Put together a list of publications that you can subscribe to and a list of others that you can check on a weekly basis. Combining the two lists will help keep your content cupboard stocked.

News and Trending Topics

Chances are, over the course of a week or month, there will be more than a few times the news and your organization’s interests intersect. That’s why it’s important to keep on top of current events. When you can share interesting news, whether it’s hard-hitting journalism or a human interest story, your audience can relate to or can use in some meaningful way, they will find both the information and your organization valuable.

There are a few great ways to keep tabs on current events. The first is to set up a Google News Alert. Set an alert that will notify you every time a certain word or phrase is found in the news. This can be more basic, such as “golf” if you are in the golfing industry, or more specific, like the name of your organization. Another way to keep up with the news is through the trending topic section on many social media platforms. For example, keep an eye on the Twitter trending topics. Over time, the trending topics are often configured to match up with the content of your tweets. By keeping an eye on these topics, you can see what everyone is talking about and get in on the action. This way, you won’t be lacking for content.

Your Staff, Board or Customers

Two heads are better than one, so imagine how great five, six or 20 heads would be for finding quality content! You have a lot of great resources at your disposal in the form of your colleagues, board of directors, customers, staff or others that you work with. Most of the time you’ll find that if you simply ask, people will be more than willing to brainstorm with you, point you in the direction of content or pass on some of their own ideas. These ideas are some of the best because they help you find a new perspective that might be lacking in your current content line up.

The best way to go about finding this type of content is to simply ask. Section off half an hour or an hour every week to gather your staff or colleagues together and brainstorm ideas or share content they found during the past week. Create a document on a program such as Google Docs that allow your board of directors to jot down ideas or share blogs, articles, opinions or other forms of content. Create an Idea Box at your store, office or headquarters where customers, members or volunteers can drop off suggestions on which content to cover. All these methods will help keep your content calendar full for a long time to come.

Make Your Own

Whether you have exhausted all your resources and are still lacking content or are just trying to supplement a full schedule with your own take on things, creating your own content is a great idea. Not only do you have full control of original content, this type of social sharing helps drive traffic to your website, increases awareness of your brand and lets you share information that is most valuable and most important to your target audience.

Creating your own content can come in many forms. You can start a blog, a YouTube channel, create infographics, post a Facebook album or make an Instagram account. The best part about using this method of content creation is that it offers the opportunity for so much variety. With a YouTube channel, you can share how-to videos on your Twitter account. With a blog, you can share an interview with a member or an infographic on your products on your Facebook page. There are countless chances to be creative and share great content by creating your own!

The 5 Things Every Social Media Manager Should Do On A Daily Basis

Contrary to popular belief, social media management is not a black hole that devours all the minutes in a work week.

Don’t get us wrong, crafting the right content, engaging your audience, raising brand awareness and extracting return on investment from social media is not a quick endeavour. However, it doesn’t often require a full-scale blitz from Monday to Friday, especially if you’re running social media accounts for a small business or a small to medium-sized association. You don’t even need to post content every single day, depending on the platforms you utilize.

No, social media isn’t something you need to spend 40 hours a week on, but there are certain tasks that all social media managers should do every day to be successful. They aren’t time consuming or complicated, but they are necessary to achieve great results for your organization. Here are five social media duties you should make sure to check off your to-do list every day:

1. Write Down and Review Ideas for Future Content

Brainwaves are a great thing. When they hit you, it makes you feel like a genius and they help you get excited to create great content. There is a downside, however. Brainwaves usually fade after a while and then you’re stuck trying to remember your amazing idea without much success. This puts your firmly back at square-one without fresh content to publish on social media.

To protect against losing your awesome content ideas, create an “idea bank” where you can record your best thoughts. Visit the list at least once a day to add your new ideas and review the existing ones to see if any of them could be used on that day or in the near future.

Bonus: Make your “idea bank” accessible to your colleagues as well. Idea swapping in the workplace has the potential to not only make everyone’s job easier, but also help everyone stay up-to-date with your online efforts.

2. Reply to Notifications

You schedule may or may not call for daily posts on social media, but your audience has their own timetable. They can engage with your organization whenever they feel the urge. This instant access to your organization is on the best elements of social media, but it also keeps you on your toes. Notifications can range from a question about your organization to criticism to a friendly word about your services. Regardless of the intent, all notifications should be addressed on a daily basis at the very least.

When you get into the office in the morning, fire up your computer and check for any notifications on your social media accounts. Take the time to respond to them. Your members, customers, etc. will appreciate the timeliness of their response. If you answer their question about store hours or address their criticism about your association’s most recent event soon after they’ve asked/reached out, these individuals will feel valued and will get the information when it is most useful to them. This increases the odds that they will engage with your organization again and the chances they will invest their time or money in your organization. When you act quickly, your audience will see it and appreciate it.

Bonus: Audience engagement can give you great ideas for future content. Checking notifications on a daily basis ensures you don’t miss a great opportunity.

3. Read The News

One of the most basic goals of news is to help people make informed decisions. The best kind of decisions you and your organization can make are informed ones, ones that are based on the current environment your members/customers are living in. In other words, your organization doesn’t exist in a vacuum, so don’t act like it on social media. Reading the news every day can help you stay out of this we’re-in-a-vacuum mentality.

Stay up to date on the news that matters most to you. Make the effort to follow news-makers and news outlets that are most relevant to your activities as an organization. Take at least 10 minutes every day to browse their content. You may find a great article that will your association’s members or an interesting article that you know your customers will appreciate. The same goes with hashtags or groups that often act as a catch-basin for industry news; take 10 minutes to browse these sources too.

Staying up to date on the news will also help you coordinate your response to certain events. For example, if a new law is passed or a natural disaster happens that effects your members, you will be able to quickly respond to it on social media, making your organization a go-to source for reliable information and helpful support.

Bonus: You never know when your organization’s name could pop up in the news. When it’s in a positive light, you don’t want to miss an opportunity to highlight it. If it’s criticism, you don’t want to miss out on responding to it or acting on it to make your organization better.

4. Search For Your Organization Online

If you and your colleagues are doing your jobs well, there will be people talking about your organization. It might not be every day or even every week, but at some point, someone will mention your association or business on social media and you’re going to want to know about it.

Keeping track of notifications and reading the news are two great steps to finding what people are saying about your organization, but comments can sometimes fall through the cracks of these searches. In order to capture all the chatter, go a step further and search for your organization on social media. Doing this on a daily basis will ensure you don’t miss out on anything that’s being said about your organization, good or bad. It will give you an opportunity to address any problems or highlight any compliments. Be sure to search hashtags and groups in addition to using the general search function on each platform.

Bonus: If the individuals that are mentioning you aren’t tagging you in their posts, responding to them will make them aware of your presence on social media. You may even recruit a new follower and potential brand ambassador by simply searching your organization on social media.

5. Review Your Strategy and Results

Your daily social media efforts are all part of a larger scheme which likely includes an editorial calendar, a run down of past results and a list of benchmarks for the future. These are long-term considerations that don’t usually effect your daily activities on social media. However, keeping tabs on your plan will help you make critical decisions on those days when it’s absolutely needed and will help your efforts more successful.

When you get to the office in the morning, take a minute to check your editorial calendar and make sure the content you’re planning on publishing is still more relevant, engaging and timely than anything else that has come up. Making the necessary changes could boost your engagement and can even save you from an embarrassing gaffe.

Also make sure to check your recent results on social media and compare them with past results and desired benchmarks. If you make daily notes about your progress, it’s easier to recognize when you fall far behind your goals and are slipping well below your past results. When you can catch it quick, you can make adjustments to your strategy and get your accounts back on track without further damage to your ROI and your account’s long-term health and success.

Bonus: Keeping track of your results on a daily basis saves time when you’re preparing your weekly/monthly/quarterly report on your social media efforts. Instead of spending 10 hours on collecting and parsing the data, you can spend 15 minutes a day and have all the numbers waiting for you when report time rolls around.

Social Media Lessons Your Organization Can Use Offline Too

Social media is most likely a small (but obviously important) part of your operation. Your association or small business is also concerned with the other types of marketing, programs, services and general upkeep that takes up a day. This doesn’t mean social media should be moved to the back burner or taken off the stove entirely when doing other critical tasks.

There’s a lot to learn when mastering social media management for your organization, but there’s also a lot to learn from your efforts that can be applied to other areas of your business or non-profit. Applying some of the strategies you follow online can help you build creative solutions offline as well. Here are four ways your social media savvy can translate to your organization’s other duties.

Handling Criticism

Nothing takes the spring out of your step like a disgruntled member or an angry customer. It happens to everyone. It’s unavoidable. You can’t please everyone all the time and people are going to make you aware that they’re not happy when their expectations are not met.

One of the most pervasive fears about being on social media is the negativity that is inevitable from putting your organization out on any platform. What many people don’t know is that social media is the perfect place to deal with individuals who want to take your organization to task. It allows you access to the criticism in the first place, it gives you the opportunity to connect with the complainant one-on-one and also lets you show how you have followed through with creating change from someone’s bad experience.

The lessons you learn about handling criticism online can be applied to real life. Take the time to handle each complaint personally. Avoid sounding like a robot with a standard phrase that sweeps all negativity under the rug. Follow up with the person who had a bad experience and show them how you have addressed the issue. Lastly, if the criticism is out of bounds and disproportionately effects the your other members/customers, be respectful, but walk away from the fight before it becomes one.

Developing Loss Leaders

A large part of social media’s effectiveness is about driving traffic to your organization’s website. For example, tweeting a link to your association’s blog on its website or pinning content that leads to your businesses’s site allows individuals to connect with your organization through content they find valuable. This is what often makes social media a loss leader; it gets people in the “door” to explore other services your organization has to offer.

It may be a good idea to take a page from social media and develop other loss leaders in your organization. For example, offer your association’s new members a chance to come to its annual conference for free. This gives new members, many of them new and with small budgets, a chance to see how your association can benefit them and help them develop their careers. You may lose money on their attendance, but it may lead them to invest in your association long-term while spreading your organization’s benefits far and wide through word of mouth.

Community Involvement

Social media is all about connecting with communities and building your own. That’s why Twitter chats are so popular and Facebook groups reach into the hundreds of thousands. Integrating your organization into these online communities broadens your audience and provides value to your target demographic, giving them more incentive to invest in your association or small business with their hard-earned money.

Creating a strategy to be involved in your community outside of social media is also important. As a small business, don’t be afraid to invite other local shops and business owners to collaborate on an event. The saying, “United we stand, divided we fall,” is never far off the mark.

Similarly, encourage your association to get involved with local association’s that serve the same industry as yours, especially if you’re association is a national one. Plan events on a local level, tailor your advocacy plans for specific regions and strategize ways in which your board of directors can work within their community to spread the word about the work your association is doing.

Data Analysis

Any social media manager worth their salt will tell you that analyzing the data is crucial to determining the success of their efforts and making the necessary improvements to increase the benefits. You need to keep a handle of what the numbers mean and how they tie together to effect the big picture.

The same philosophy goes for your offline efforts. It’s important to know how your members or customers are using and reacting to certain programs, initiatives, services and products. For example, conducting a well thought out survey after your association’s annual conference will allow your organization to target the areas of the event that worked well and those that need to be tweaked or scrapped altogether.

Working With Twitter Analytics, Or, How I Stopped Worrying And Learned To Love The Data

Welcome to the wonderful world of Twitter Analytics! It’s a place where fancy stats fill seemingly endless rows and columns of Excel Spreadsheets and funny terms like “Detail Expands” run rampant. It’s truly an astounding place.

Okay, enough of the mythical-world lingo and hyperbole. Twitter Analytics is a great resource for small businesses, associations and other organizations that want to figure out how Twitter is helping them. The platform gives anybody with a Twitter account access to reams of data. We’re here to help you sort out what’s what and how the numbers can be translated into an action plan for your marketing strategy.

First Thing’s First

Before you go charging into the forest of numbers with reckless abandon, you need to know one important thing; you need to know your goals.

Knowing what you and your organization want to achieve with Twitter is critical to parsing the data and making meaningful connections.

For example, if your association wants to drive traffic to its website because that’s where people are most likely to sign up as members, it’s probably more advantageous to focus on the flow of Twitter users to your links and profile page. If you run a food truck and want as many people as possible to know where you are, you will most likely want to know how many people are seeing your tweets.

Knowing your goals will help turn a mish mash of numbers into something you can actually use to make the most out of your Twitter efforts.

The Basics

Retweets, Favourites, Replies and URL Clicks

These four categories make up your most basic engagement stats on Twitter. These elements are the most in-your-face form of interaction as you can see and keep track of them even without Twitter Analytics using your Twitter account or simple programs like Bit.ly.

The numbers tied to these interactions can tell you a few things about how your efforts are paying off. The more Twitter users that interact with your content using these forms of engagement, the more value they are getting from your organization. When someone retweets your link or favourites a tweet, it means they found value in it. These interactions also help your content get shared, specifically retweets and mentions. If you see a growing number of these interactions from your Twitter account, it means your organization is interacting with more people, its reaching more people and its increasing in value.

Another stat you can gather from these numbers is the cost-per-interaction. Add up the number of retweets, favourites, replies and URL clicks and divide it by the amount of money spent on gaining these interactions. The result is the amount of money your spent to get one interaction. When this number decreases, the return on investment increases.

The Next Level

Impressions

Impressions are the number of Twitter users who have seen your tweet. These are the people who have laid eyes on your content, but haven’t necessarily interacted with it in any way. This doesn’t mean they aren’t paying attention to what it says; it could mean they just scanned it quickly or it could mean they saw a tweets about a sale you’re having and made a mental note to go check it out after work.

The real value of tracking impressions is to know how large your reach is on Twitter. If you’re using Twitter to get people involved in your cause or to buy your product, you want a lot of people to see your marketing and you want to see a steady climb in the number of impressions you receive. If you’re only focused on reaching a specific set of people, impressions are not as important if you’ve achieved your reach.

Calculating your cost-per-impression can tell you how much bang for your buck you’re getting. It follows the same formula as cost-per-interaction (total divided by cost). This will tell you if it’s costing you less to reach a larger audience than it did a month ago and will help you determine whether to tweak your Twitter strategy.

Average Engagement Rate

Your Twitter account’s average engagement rate is the result of dividing the number of engagement by the number of impressions you received. This will give you a more in-depth look at how effective your efforts are in attracting involvement and adding value to people’s day.

A few things to note: On a Twitter Analytics spreadsheet, engagement rate is posted as a decimal, such as 0.0211345. This can actually be seen as a percentage. In this example, the engagement rate can be rounded to 2.1%. This means that out of the number of people who say your tweet, 2.1% of them engaged with it. Engagement is defined by Twitter Analytics as a variety of elements which include retweets, favourites, replies, URL clicks, hashtag clicks, profile views, detail expands and follows.

The great thing about finding your average engagement rate or even the engagement rate for individual tweets, is that it can tell you how many people are actually acting when see your content. One of the biggest questions is about finding social media return on investment is, how do we know the people who are seeing out stuff are actually investing in it? Engagement rate helps you determine if people are taking the next steps in investing time and money in your organization. First they see it (impressions) and then they are exploring it (engagement rate). The more time they spend exploring your content, the more chance there is that they spend money on your organization.

The View From The Top

Hashtag Clicks

If you use Twitter, you know all about hashtags. Twitter Analytics allows you to track a small, but powerful, part of how your hashtags are working to help your organization.

Twitter Analytics tells you how many people clicked on a hashtag that you tweeted out. This can be especially helpful to organization that create their own hashtags for events or initiatives. For example, if you are an association that has created a hashtag for its annual conference, you can track how many times your hashtag was clicked on from your Twitter account before, during and after the event. If you are a small business that has started a hashtag that encourages people to share stories about their experience with your product, you can track your account’s success in promoting this hashtag using Twitter Analytics.

The value of knowing the number of hashtag clicks is knowing if your special events marketingon Twitter is being effective. It allows you to see if you need to improve your efforts to build an online advocacy program for your association or you should try something different the next time your small clothing store has a sale.

User Profile Clicks

User profile clicks calculate the number of times Twitter users clicked on your main profile from a specific tweet. Finding the total user profile clicks allows you to see whether your tweets are making Twitter users interested in your organization as a whole.

The value of determining user profile clicks is much the same as engagement rate. When people go to your profile, they can find out much more information about your organization. They can see your cover photo, which gives them a taste of what your all about. They can see a description of your services, your tweet history and, most importantly, can follow the link to your website. The possibilities for that person to discover more about your organization and invest in it are endless.

Tracking user profile clicks gives you a view on which tweets are encouraging people to take the next step and explore your organization further. This can be especially advantageous for organizations who are looking for new customers or that want to attract people to their website. For example, if you are a small business with an online Etsy store, a tweet that takes someone to your profile may mean they click on the link to your Etsy shop and from there, it may mean a sale.

Three Ways Your Organization Can Freshen Up Its Social Media Content

Social media is often a “What have you done for me lately,” game and if your answer to that question is, “What we usually do,” your organization might be in trouble.

Nobody likes seeing stale, monotonous content on social media. For example, if your organization’s tweets consist of two republished articles and a page from your website every single day, your followers might go elsewhere for their daily dose of creativity and engagement.

You might be saying, “Well, we do the same thing again and again because it works. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” You’re very right, you need to be consistent in giving your network what they want and if tweeting three republished articles every day gets engagement from the right people, you’re doing well. However, fresh content and the usual, reliable content can coexist on the same social media account. Fresh content is a way to engage a wider audience, highlight more value and set you apart from the crowd.

Look at it this way; your house could look absolutely amazing with antique furniture and classic paint colours, but if you still have that ratty couch you pulled from the dumpster in your college days, that’s all anyone is going to be looking at. Add a fresh couch and it completes the entire home.

If you’re stuck on how to inject some newness into your content, fear not, we have your back with these three ideas:

1. Get Tweeting, March Madness Style

It’s the latter days of March and that means it’s time for the NCAA’s March Madness basketball tournament, which is like Christmas for college sports fans. Millions of people fill out their brackets before the tournament and watch the games on TV with fervent attention. Why not have your organization tap into this cultural phenomenon while creating fresh content for social media by having its own March Madness style initiative on Twitter?

If you need some ideas for what this would look like, think about your association’s next conference. Think of eight, 16 or even 32 speaking topics and pit them against each other. Ask your Twitter followers to retweet for one choice or favourite for the other and slowly eliminate the topics until you have one or two champions. This will get your members involved and excited for the event while adding a breath of fresh air to your social media content.

2. DIY Quotes Across Multiple Platforms

People love quotes. There’s something about seeing a product, organization or idea captured by one person’s wisdom or wit that makes people want to engage on social media. One study concluded that tweets with quotes received a 19% boost in retweets. If you scroll through Facebook or Pinterest, you’ll pass a quote as often as a you pass another car on the highway.

Your organization can take advantage of this trend in human nature, but with a twist. Don’t rely on mining quotes from famous authors or philosophers, source quotes from your community and target audience. Call up a veteran member of your association or a loyal customer of your business, ask some questions and let them know what it’s for. Extract a quote that captures the value of your services, your business concept or the community. Post this quote on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest and link to your website.

Using the conference example again, call a member of your association that frequents the annual conference and talk to them about the importance of education. They might say something along the lines of, “Education is the rungs of the ladder that has helped me rise in my career.” Not only is it a quote (which is awesome for engagement), but it comes from someone your target audience trusts. It also injects a little fun into your daily posts.

3. A “Life in a Day” Remix

Three years ago, YouTube decided to pursue a massive project; create a movie that captures the day in the life of people from all over the world using footage from regular people. It was a huge success, garnering more than 10 million views on YouTube and receiving plenty of accolades.

Your organization’s version might not be this successful, but it can definitely add a little something extra to your video efforts.┬áPut a camera at the front of your office or store and encourage staff, volunteers, visitors, members and customers to record their experiences whenever they get the urge. Tell your network to get busy filming on their own, recording their life in a day or a week. Provide some prompts on what to talk about and tie them into your organization. Edit these clips together them together and show the world how different people view your organization and how your organization adds value to people’s lives.

This is a great way to incorporate fresh views on your association, non-profit, charity or small business into one video while including everyone from staff to your board of directors, customers, members and volunteers. It also provides an we’re-all-in-this-together vibe that strengthens your community, both online and off line.