Nine Lessons That Doors Open Can Teach Organizations About Social Media

Over 150 businesses and buildings in Toronto threw their doors wide open and invited the public to explore as part of the annual Doors Open event this past weekend.

Curious residents were able to learn what it was like behind the scenes at historic venues, exclusive social clubs, sporting venues and other interesting sites around the city. The event has been growing for years and it’s not uncommon to experience hour-long wait times just to step foot in some of the locations.

Needless to say, if your organization’s events were as popular as Doors Open Toronto, it would be a dream come true. There are certain elements of the initiative that your organization can learn a thing or two (or nine) from, especially when it comes to your social media strategy. Here are a few of the lessons we picked up from a weekend of adventuring:

People Want To Hear From The Expert

Doors Open gives people the opportunity to explore some of the buildings on your own, which can be fun, but some of the best locations offered guided tours by someone with knowledge of the site. These guides know all the interesting history, the building’s bizarre quirks, stories about each room and how the whole operation works. The do-it-yourself exploration lacks the guided tours expert knowledge.

Integrating some expert knowledge into your social media strategy is always a good way to go. For example, if you want to write a blog about a fashion trend for your retail store or a new law that effects your association’s members, try reaching out to a fashion blogger or specialized lawyer to contribute a guest post. Your audience will appreciate both the fresh voice and the expert perspective that you may not be able to provide.

Going Behind The Scenes Is Cool

There are many Torontonians who have attended an MLS soccer game at BMO Field without knowing what it takes to put on such a sporting event. Doors Open allows people to explore what its like behind the scenes at some of their favourite places, which adds knowledge, excitement and value to their next trip.

Similarly, your audience may be familiar with your operation, but unsure about the inner workings and day-to-day activities that make the organization run. Social media gives you the chance to change all this. Creating a video that shows the day in the life of the business highlights your staff, your initiatives and all the interesting activities your do on a daily basis, but behind the scenes. Your audience will have more knowledge of how your operation works and will feel more engaged with the organization.

A Little Content Goes A Long Way

Doors Open Toronto is a one-day event and that means residents flock to the locations in big crowds. Crowds mean lines and lines mean waiting around. The best sites are the ones that offer a little something while you wait, like a video explaining the origin of the building or signs at various point along the line with snippets of historical facts. They are engaging and help pass the time.

There will always come a time when you have a “social media lineup” of sorts. Your video still needs editing or your big blog post needs polishing off or your Twitter contest is still in the planning stages. In these situations, a little can go a long way for your audience. Post a short blog post or video and make sure to tweet on a regular basis, even if it deviates from your plan. It will keep your audience engaged. Note: always make sure the content is relevant and high-quality even if it’s short!

Shareable Moments Are The Best Moments

There were no shortage of cameras flashing and selfie-takers at any Doors Open venue. The lure of sharing your experience was too powerful and the opportunities were too hard to pass up. The smartest guides would point out an interesting feature of the site and a crowd of photographers would scramble to take a picture with it to share online.

The lesson here is, people want to share experiences, but not just any experience, an interesting and engaging one. Make sure that you provide these moments on your organization’s social media accounts. Encourage people to share their experience with your product with a hashtag or create moments at your event when attendees are encouraged to share their experience.

Learning Is Never Overrated

One of the pillars of Doors Open is access to information. Crowds turn out to dozens of buildings because they want to know more about them, from the way they operate to how they reflect the city’s culture and identity. People are hungry for information and Doors Open serves it up on a silver platter.

Give the people what they want by creating learning opportunities on social media. Make your Pinterest posts infographics that make learning visual, fun and shareable. Create how-to videos and blog posts. Tweet content that provides value to your audience through the sharing of relevant information. Stay up to date on the latest news and relate the relevant pieces to your audience in a way that provides value to their lives or careers.

Variety Is The Spice Of Life

The variety during Doors Open Toronto is one of its biggest draws. Visitors can explore everything from historical sites to sporting arenas to government buildings. The venues stretch from one side of the city to the other and all points in between. There are guided tours and explore-it-yourself sites. The point is, there is something for everyone, which is why everyone shows up!

It’s always wise to integrate this approach in social media as well. Don’t just stick to a single platform; experiment with multiple platforms and sources of content. They might not all work out perfectly, but it’s the only way to realize which ones will. Provide a multitude of different style of content to keep things fresh. For example, blogs can come in all shapes and sizes, including lists, infographics, editorials, videos, chronologies and interviews. Utilize them all!

Provide People With A Road Map

Having lots of options during Doors Open is great, but it can get a little confusing if the organizers didn’t provide one key component; a map. There are several maps on the official website and maps on independent blogs that list the best places to go in each area of the city. This makes it easier for people to plan their day and take part in the best activity for them.

Your organization can provide its own road maps using social media. If your company is doing a big sale or your association is putting on a big conference, write a blog post about the best products/seminars to pay attention to if you’re looking for X, Y or Z. Tweet or post on Facebook with details for events or initiatives. Show people how to best utilize your organization’s services by drawing it on a ‘road map’ and pinning it to your Pinterest board or posting it on Instagram.

Interest Follows The Crowd

When standing in line at a Doors Open event this past weekend, there was one persistent question being asked by people passing by; “What is this for?” These people saw the line, figured it must be for something good and asked about it. Not only do these people know about the event for next time, they might have even gotten in line themselves.

If you want people to talk about your organization online, you need to assemble a crowd first. The key is providing a platform to draw this crowd and, in turn, increased interest. If you’re putting on an event, create a hashtag, live-tweet the event and use the hashtag. By providing the platform for the crowd (a hashtag), people will be more willing to engage and when Twitter users see their friends engaging, they’ll ask, “What is this for?” and we all know where that leads.

Unmask Value Without The Hard Sell

We’ve already talked about the guided tour during Doors Open and their high engagement factor, but what we didn’t say was that some of the guides had a vested interest in the venues. For example, the GM of the National Club led the tour of the site. He could have used the opportunity to hawk membership, but he simply put on an engaging, interesting tour. At the end of the presentation, there were at least two or three people out of a group of 30 who asked about membership.

Marketing your organization on social media operates much the same way as the guided tour of the National Club; highlight the value without coming right out and trying to sell the product or service. Educate your audience, engage them with interesting content, provide a chance to network and share exciting pieces of information or experiences. All these things will uncover the value of your organization to the lives of your audience and will sell your organization to them without the risk of alienating people with a hard sell.

Four Quick Ways Your Organization Can Boost Engagement on Social Media

It’s one of the worst feeling in the world; you go to start your car one morning and the engine just won’t turn over. The only solution is to get a boost from another car, a jolt of electricity that sparks the engine and brings it out of dormancy.

Managing an organization’s social media account works much the same way. One day you’re motoring along, blogging up a storm, tweeting your original content, creating helpful and fun videos, and the next day you look and the engagement has dried up. This is what is commonly referred to as a rut and it is not good. What you need when you’re in a social media rut is a boost. It’s just like what a dead car battery needs, but instead of electricity, you need a boost in engagement.

Here are four ways your organization can give its social media strategy a boost in engagement without spending a lot of time, money or energy.

Share a Quote

Incline Blog Photo 1 (2)

People are looking for humour. People are looking for inspiration. People are looking for wisdom. Quotes can give your social media audience all three.

Posting a quote on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram is a fun way to mix it up and boost engagement. Studies have shown that sharing a quote on Twitter results, on average, in a 19% increase in retweets. Quotes are also very popular on visually-oriented platforms like Instagram and Pinterest. Quotes are relateable, interesting, easily shared and quick to read, which is probably the reason why they are so popular.

There is no shortage of occasions when a quote can become content for your organization. Someone, somewhere, has said something about your industry, product, service or area of expertise. If it’s a special awareness day (ie. Earth Day) find a fun quote about it and relate it back to your organization. Interview a member, volunteer, staff member or customer and quote them. If your organization is centred around a particular location, city or community, find a quote about that place and post it. The point is, you don’t have to look far to find a great quote.

If you really want to go the extra mile, add a photo to your quote. Images do well on social media, so why not combine quotes and visuals for ultimate engagement potential? This makes the quote shareable across a multitude of platforms, especially the visually-inclined ones like Pinterest or Instagram.

Share Someone Else’s Content

We’re all for publishing original content here at Incline Marketing; it drives traffic to your sites, it increases brand awareness and makes your organization the go-to resource for information on any given topic. However, there comes a time when the phrase “sharing is caring” becomes very useful on social media.

Sharing other people’s blogs, articles, stats, quotes, photos or other content on your social media channels will help get your organization some more engagement. People appreciate it when their work is highlighted and a good deed rarely goes unnoticed. If your organization shares someone’s content, they will be more likely to become part of your audience, share and like the post, thank you for it and connect with you in the future.

Find some relevant content from someone with a decent-sized following, a good track record of social media activity and some credibility in the industry. Share their content on Twitter, Facebook or any other platform. Just make sure to do two things; give them credit by tagging/mentioning them and summarize the content in your own words. Perhaps re-jig the headline to give a different and fresh take on the content. This keep the content fresh and more shareable from the other person’s point of view. If you really want to go the extra mile, throw in a compliment when giving credit. Saying something like, “… by the always-interesting @JohnSmith,” is definitely a piece of shameless flattery, but this good social media karma might come back to you in droves.

Make a Trending Topic Relevant

Riding a wave is always the easiest way to get from the deep water back to the beach. On social media, the wave is a trending topic and the beach is a place that’s full of people you want to talk to. The conversation is already started for you, all you have to do is get talking. Once you have inserted yourself into all the talk surrounding an already-popular topic, increased engagement is sure to follow.

Social media is a great tool for two things humans are obsessed with; information and opinion. An interesting piece of news travels fast online and your audience is probably inclined to find out more about it or share their opinion about it or both. Adding your organization’s voice to the equation makes you seem knowledgeable, up-to-date and important. It also gets your brand out to an audience you know is large and engaged.

To capitalize on a popular subject, browse the trending topics on Twitter and Facebook. Find a topic that is relevant to your organization and craft a tweet around it. Make sure the connection between your organization and its content is at least a little strong. The weaker the link, the less interest it will have for people paying attention to the trending topic. Use hashtags to insert yourself into the conversation. Although Instagram, Pinterest and other platforms don’t have a trending topic section, it’s safe to say that a popular subject on Twitter and Facebook will probably be popular on these platforms too. If you really want to impress, write a blog post that tackles a particularly trendy topic or piece of news from your organization’s point of view and share it all over.

Ask a Question From a Specific Group

If you want some more engagement, just ask for it. That’s the gist of this next piece of advice, which is to ask a question from your audience or a specific demographic that your organization wants to engage with. A question begs for an answer and when this answer comes from your social media audience, it leads to engagement, relationships and future interactions.

There will always be people out there that want to share their opinion and their expertise. Whether its for exposure, networking or simply to join in a conversation on a topic they’re passionate about, these individuals will take the time to answer a question you pose. Social media is based around participation in and access to conversation with like-minded groups. Your organization can capitalize on this by asking a question. A response means one more piece of engagement, but also exposure to an important demographic and relationship with a key audience member that could mean big benefits.

Find the places on social media that your community is hanging out in. On Twitter, this might mean finding the hashtags where your members or customers go to find information and share content. On LinkedIn, this might be the groups that your target audience joins. Develop a well-thought-out question, one that’s relevant, promotes different opinions and is clear without being dumbed down. Pose it to the community in which you want to engage with. If no one is answering your questions, try tagging certain influential members of the community. Also, answer other people’s questions and comment on their posts. This will make it more likely that they will engage with your queries down the road.

How Social Media Can Help Your Association Attract The Next Generation Of Members

To say that ‘Millennial’ is a buzzword that’s been thrown around a lot in the last couple years is an understatement. It’s a term used so frequently that you may be tired of hearing it over and over again. However, Millennials aren’t just a trendy demographic your association should think about reaching out to, they’re the future. They are the the ones that will make up the bulk of you organization’s membership soon and for a long time after. So paying attention to their wants and needs has to be high on your to-do list.

A recently conducted survey asked Millennials what association benefits they value the most. The number one answer by a large margin was continuing education and training, followed by access to a peer-reviewed journal, expert advice, leadership experience and a magazine.

What’s The Bottom Line?

One thing it clear when looking at the areas that Millennials value most; they are hungry to learn, network and gain access to any sort of professional development. The top five responses in the survey make it clear that information is a highly sought-after commodity by young professionals. If your association does’t provide this information to the younger generation, it’s a sure thing that they’ll search for, and find it, somewhere else.

What’s Social Media’s Place In All This?

Millennials are looking to drink in all the information they can and social media is all about giving and gaining access to information. Your association is a wealth of knowledge. From its veteran members to its educational offerings and the connections to government, your organization has a mansion full of facts, data and lessons that young professionals covet.

Your social media efforts are like the keys you give these young professionals to open the doors of this mansion. Social media gives your association an opportunity to share some of its information stockpile with those searching hardest for this valuable resource, which makes your organization valuable to these people. The more valuable your association becomes, the more likely someone is going to be to invest in it by purchasing a membership and attending events.

How Can Social Media Make Your Association More Valuable To Millennials?

Millennials prize education and training above all else, according to the aforementioned survey. Use your social media platforms to promote your association’s educational offerings as much as possible. Live-tweet events, post blogs about conferences and trade shows, create a video about how best to study for certification exams and make going to educational offerings fun with Facebook contests, Pinterest boards and Instagram photos.

This will help your association strike a balance between offering some great information and encouraging non-members to check out your association for more of the same. It also makes learning easy and accessible to Millennials. These factors combine to make your association more valuable to the younger demographic.

Three of the next four most desirable association offerings for young professionals are based around the output of information. Journals, magazines and expert advice are all sources of learning and professional development. Social media is a great way to expand the reach of the expertise and content your association is already producing. By giving Millennials easy access to this information, your association becomes a valuable source of knowledge for this demographic. Once they realize the value of your organization as a way to gain information, they will be more likely to invest in the association’s other offerings to members, such as events, webinars and mentorship programs, which can be a great way to increase non-dues revenue.

Lastly, Millennials want to gain leadership experience from being a member of an association. Social media platforms are a great way to expose young professionals to the opportunities available at your organization. Blog posts, tweets and Facebook posts about committee activities and lobbying efforts allow members and non-members to see the leadership opportunities that are available as well as the influence members can have on key decisions. By highlighting the achievements of your members, the evolution of your industry and your association’s part in both of these areas through social media, Millennials will be more likely to realize the value of your organization and feel like the return in worth the investment.

How Managing An Organization’s Social Media Account Is Like Growing A Garden

The sun is shining, the birds are chirping and the grass is a healthy shade of bright green. Spring is in the air.

It’s the time of year when we throw off the shackles of our oppressive winter coats and don t-shirts and sunglasses. The warm weather also means that backyard gardens will be sprouting up all over the place in the coming weeks. This spring-time hobby is not only healthy and environmentally friendly, but it offers us a handy metaphor with which to talk about our favourite topic here; social media management.

Growing a garden is a lot like managing a Twitter account, a Facebook page or any other type of social media platform for an association or small business. So get your green thumbs ready because we’re about to dig up the similarities between the two activities.

Preparing Your Garden

Every good gardener knows that you can’t just throw a few seeds into a pile of soil and hope for the best. You must plan your garden and build it so that your seeds flourish. You have to find a spot with access to sunlight and good soil. You have to research the kind of vegetables or flowers you are going to grow in order to determine if they are suited to the climate and also how much care they need. You need to add fertilizer and perhaps fences. We can go on and on, but you get the idea.

Managing a social media account also starts with some good planning. You need to find the right platform to be on. Just as plants need sunlight to grow, your social media content needs an audience to grow. Pick the platform where your members/customers are, or, in other words, make sure the climate is suited to the type of goals you want to accomplish online. You need to plan what content you’re going to post and how often. You need to plan the layout of the account and who your target audience is. Needless to say, there is a lot of groundwork to do before you even start on social media.

Planting the Seeds

The next step in a successful garden is planting the seeds. Without dropping those tiny pieces of plant into the ground, your planning is all for naught. Again, you can’t just drop the seeds willy-nilly into the ground. Many plants have a specific depth you need to plant them at and the package of seeds often tells you how much space to leave in between seeds. Following these guidelines is important to growing a successful garden.

The seeds of social media strategy is the content you publish and you have to treat it much the same way you treat the beginnings of your garden. People interact differently on every platform, which means the way you create and publish your content has to be different as well. Tailor your style and voice to different platforms and research the frequency with which to post content. Remember, without posting good, quality content, your social media strategy cannot grow and produce results. Make sure you don’t “plant” your content haphazardly.

Watering Your Garden

Everyone knows that plants need water to survive. A plant without water wilts and droops and has a sickly grey colour to its leaves. We all know this, we all know the importance of water to gardening, but sometimes we get caught up in a busy schedule or simply get lazy and don’t water the garden, hoping instead that Mother Nature does the chore for us with rainstorms. This is a recipe for disaster.

Social media accounts need their own version of frequent watering. Not only do you need to be posting fresh content on a regular basis, but you also have to continually be looking for new ways to engage your audience and grow your following. Cover new topics or try new ways to tackle old topics. Add visuals and create contests. Always be on the look out for individuals you should be connecting with or communities you could be interacting with. This way, you will always be providing something refreshing to your audience, like a nice, big glass of water on a hot day.

Picking the Weeds

No one likes picking weeds. It’s back-breaking work and it’s time-consuming. But it’s absolutely necessary to have a great garden. Weeds steal the nutrients from the plants you actually want to have in your garden, stunting the growth of your vegetables or flowers. They also don’t look like the most aesthetically pleasing part of your garden, so you grit your teeth and get to work picking them out, which is why you’re such a great gardener.

Your social media accounts can also have undesirable elements ready to sprout up and threaten to dismantle your hard-won progress. Negative comments and criticism is inevitable on social media. You can’t please every body and some of those unhappy people will make their opinion known online. You need to deal with these situations immediately and in the right way. Picking out the “weeds” from your social media account is crucial because, if left unattended, the negative feelings and your practice of ignoring those feelings could have a big impact on your most loyal of followers. So pay attention to any negative comments and don’t let them attack your goals.

Staying Patient

Gardens don’t grow overnight. As much as we all want to put the seeds in the ground, sprinkle a little water on top, go to bed and wake up to find a field of ripe tomatoes waiting for us, it just doesn’t happen that way. All gardeners have to stay patient and put in the time and effort over several months to see the results.

Patience is also a virtue in the world of social media management. You (or your boss) might expect to see immediate results after starting up a social media account for your organization. You might want to tweet a few times, go to bed and wake up to find 1,000 people have followed your account. Sadly, it doesn’t work this way, unless you’re a multi-million dollar company or a movie star. You have to put the time and effort into your social media strategy to offer consistently valuable content to your audience. Trust us, if you mix hard work, creativity and time together, you will see results somewhere down the road.

Harvesting Your Crops

Here’s everyone’s favourite part of gardening; harvesting your crops. Whether it’s picking tomatoes you’ve grown yourself for a salad or arranging some flowers from your backyard for a friend, it’s a rewarding experience. Everything looks or tastes better when it’s the result of your own hard work and time. Harvesting your crops also offers a few lessons for the future. You can determine if you should have let your plants grow more or even if you should grow cucumbers instead of tomatoes next year.

Harvesting the results of your social media efforts can also be rewarding and a good way to plan the future of your organization’s online strategy. The first step is to collect the data. Reading and understanding the results of your efforts on any platform is the first step in knowing if you have been successful in achieving your goals. The next step in “harvesting” your social media results is analyzing what worked and what didn’t work throughout the process. For example, if the data tells you that your tweets before 10 am on a weekday received 34% fewer interactions than tweets after 10 am on a weekday, you can adjust your strategy to post more content at a time when it will bring a bigger return on investment.

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. Put 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.

Grading Your Organization’s Social Media Efforts: The 5 Cs of Success

Evaluation happens on a regular basis. You can’t hide from it. From the small things, like checking to make sure there’s enough food in your fridge, to the large decisions, like where your career path is taking you, analysis is constant. Sometimes, it can be draining, over times it can be exhilarating, but it’s always necessary.

Evaluating your organization’s social media efforts are no different. Whether you’re a veteran or a relative newcomer to any platform, grading yourself on strategy and results is crucial to growing, improving and benefiting your organization as a whole. Assessing your own efforts is never an easy task, which is why we’ve created an easy-to-use grading system using the five Cs; consistency, creativity, completeness, calculation and crowd.

Consistency

Consistency is a fundamental part of even a mildly successful social media account. Without a consistent presence on any platform, engagement will fall off, your audience will leave and your efforts will amount to very little. When looking at how well your organization does in this category, you need to evaluate how often are you posting, how often key details are refreshed and how often you are responding to engagement.

What Gets You an A- Daily or weekly posting (depending on the platform), updating various sections of your profile on a regular basis, such as a profile picture or a pinned tweet, and responding to engagement in a very timely manner (within 6-12 hours).

What Gets You a B- Regular posting (daily or weekly depending on the platform) with infrequent or rare lapses, updating your profile on a semi-regular basis (ex. every quarter instead of every month) and responding to engagement only once a day.

What Gets You a C- Infrequent, but scheduled posting (such as once a week, bi-weekly or once a month on the same day, depending on platform), updating your profile every 6-8 months and infrequently responding to only selected engagement.

What Gets You a D- Infrequent, sporadic and unplanned posting (ie. tweeting once every two weeks on different days), updating your profile once a year or less and responding to very few interactions.

What Gets You an F- This is a failing grade that usually means your account is dead. There has been no posts in quite some time or ever, your account has never been updated (or, as we’ll see later, ever been completed) and engagement has been abandoned.

Creativity

Creativity is in the eye of the beholder, but it’s not quite as subjective as you might think. A lack of creativity leads to the dreaded B-word; boredom. Having boring content spells trouble for any social media account. Some things to consider when grading yourself on creativity are the amount of original content, the variety of content and the relevance of the content.

What Gets You an A– Original content appears a majority of the time and in many different forms, such as infographics, articles, videos and fun headlines. When using other people’s content, it is always relevant to your target audience and comes in many different forms and from diverse sources.

What Gets You a B– Original content is makes up roughly half of your posts and is a few key forms of delivery are used (ex. articles and videos). Posts are clear and concise. Re-published content comes from a regularly-used pool of sources and a vast majority is relevant to your target audience.

What Gets You a C– Original content makes up less than a quarter of posts and comes from a limited forms, such as only press releases. Posts are short and to the point with no added elements, such as visuals or imaginative headlines. Re-published content comes from a small pool of sources and strays from relevance at times.

What Gets You a D– Original content makes up less than 10% of posts or is non-existent and comes in limited forms. Posts are short, dull and/or copied from other sources. Re-published content comes from the same handful of sources and strays from relevance often.

What Gets You an F– A failing grade comes from hijacking other people’s creativity completely. There is no original content and a large majority of re-published content is copied word for word or is simply shared with no extra thought (retweeted, repinned, etc).

Completeness

A painter would only let their art be hung in a gallery when they feel the final brush stroke has been added. The same should go for your social media accounts. When certain elements of your accounts are left incomplete, it creates a lack of legitimacy, lowers accessibility and tarnishes the experience for your audience. Consider if all sections are filled in, if the settings are up to date and if the layout is appealing and formatted correctly.

What Gets You an A– All sections in the “About” settings are filled in, including contact information, a description of the organization and additional details like photos or membership tools. Photos spots are filled in and images are sized correctly, relevant and vibrant.

What Gets You a B– All sections in the “About” settings are filled in, but with few or no additional details or tools. Photos spots are filled in, but some images are sized incorrectly and/or clash with each other.

What Gets You a C– Some sections in the “About” settings are filled incomplete or out of date and contain few details and no additional tools. Only some photos spots are filled in and/or some images are sized incorrectly.

What Gets You a D– Few of the “About settings are filled in and the ones that are have spelling mistakes and/or are out of date. Only some photo spots are filled in, the images are sized incorrectly and the images fail to show viewers what your organization is about.

What Gets You an F– A failing grade in this category means your account is a mere skeleton. None of the “About” sections are filled. Photo spots are not taken up by images (ex. the dreaded egg picture on Twitter) and the user experience is confusing or out of date.

Calculation

Remember how we talked about the importance of evaluation? Well, it’s vital to do an evaluation of how you evaluate. It’s key to know the response you are receiving from your social media efforts and if your goals are being achieved. Think about how frequently you are keeping track of results, how often you are analyzing these numbers and what strategy you have for using these results to improve.

What Gets You an A– An in-depth analysis of results on a weekly or monthly basis. A summary of these numbers into a detailed report. Development of a plan that uses these results to adjust and/or improve your social media strategy moving forward.

What Gets You a B– An in-depth analysis of results on a monthly or bi-monthly basis. A shorter summary of these numbers into a report. Development of a plan based on every two or three of these reports to adjust strategy.

What Gets You a C– An in-depth analysis of results on an infrequent basis, such as once a year. A very short or non-existent summary of these numbers into a report. No development of a plan based on these reports to improve your strategy.

What Gets You a D– A surface analysis of results on a very infrequent basis, such as once a year or less. No report to summarize and analyze these numbers. No development of a plan based on the numbers you have tracked. A limited understanding of how these results affect your strategy and how to improve them.

What Gets You an F– A failing grade in this category means you are completely unfamiliar with the process of tracking social media results. There is no analysis or report based on numbers and no process is in place to gather results. No plan has ever been instituted to examine strategy improvements based on data.

Crowd

It doesn’t matter how well you do on social media if no one is listening. Having an audience is important to getting the word out and achieving results. When measuring success in this area, you need to examine the size of your following, the growth rate of your audience and the percentage of your following that is your target audience.

What Gets You an A– While the meaning of a large following can differ from organization to organization, it should be equal to more than your target audience. For example, if you’re an association with 1000 members, a large crowd would be 1100+. If you’re small business with 5,000 people in your neighbourhood, a large crowd would be 5,500+. Your audience sees a steady and/or daily increase in its audience. More than 75% of your audience is your target demographic.

What Gets You a B– The following is 75-100% of your target audience (ex. 750-1000 for the aforementioned association). Your audience grows steadily, showing a small increase from month to month. Your following is made up of 50-75% of your target audience.

What Gets You a C– The following is 50-75% of your target audience (ex. 500-750 for the aforementioned association). Your audience is stagnant or shows very little growth from month to month. Your following is made up of 25-50% of your targeted audience.

What Gets You a D– The following is 10-50% if your target audience (ex. 100-500 for the aforementioned association). Your audience is stagnant or shows frequent losses from month to month. Your following is made up of less than 25% of your targeted audience.

What Gets You an F– A failing grade in this category means that no one is interested. You have a very small or non-existent following amounting to less than 10% of your targeted audience. Your audience shows no growth or frequent losses from month to month. Your following is made up of very few members of your target audience and is full of spam or irrelevant accounts.