4 Ways To Measure The Success Of Your Organization’s YouTube Channel

It’s become fairly common knowledge that video has ascended to the top of the heap when it comes to the most effective and engaging online marketing content. Video gets the most views, the most shares, the most comments, the most traffic and is a stellar media to convey just about any message your association, small business, non-profit or other organizations wants to get out there.

The rise of video to the top of the content marketing food chain means that many organizations (maybe even yours!) have created and populated YouTube channels. This is great, but any story of social media success involves tracking a platform’s results through key performance indicators. While you might be tempted to stick with the simpler, raw numbers, like views, comments and likes, when analyzing your videos and channel as a whole, these numbers don’t tell anywhere near the whole story. This is why we’ve come up with four other stats that will tell you way more about the impact of your videos and will allow you to delve deeper into the success of your YouTube strategy.

Subscribers Per Hundred Views

As we said in the introduction, views hardly ever tell the whole story behind a YouTube video’s success, especially when you are planning a sustained, long-term presence on YouTube and not just a one-hit wonder. Instead, your organization should focus on how many viewers your videos convert to subscribers.

The value of subscribers lie in their increased exposure to the brand, points of connection, opportunities to share and likelihood to provide traffic to links. A higher conversion rate means that your content is providing enough value to viewers that they want to be a part of your strategy for the foreseeable future. This number signals to you the quality of the views achieved, not only the quantity. Lastly, the ratio gives you an idea of what videos are most valued by your target audience, which comes in handy when increasing efficiency when creating new content for your YouTube channel.

Percentage of Views and Subscribers From Target Demographic

Speaking of your target audience, this KPI directly quantifies your channel’s success in reaching them, making a long-lasting impact on them and converting them loyal consumers of your brand.

Looking at the raw number of views any given video receives will not tell you if you are reaching the people who matter most to your association, small business or other organization. Your video could have 100,000 views, but if only 5% of those views are coming from people in your target demographic, it is not as successful as a video that has 50,000 views, but a target demographic viewership of 15%. Furthermore, breaking your subscribers down into demographics and analyzing how many are from your target audience group can also tell you if you are making gains or not and if you need to fine-tune your video strategy.

Quarterly Viewer Growth Or Decline

While the total number of views on your YouTube videos are a lesser stat when determining the success of your organization’s performance the platform, analyzing overarching trends over substantial time periods can give you an indication of what is working and what is not.

Calculating the rate of growth or decline from one quarter to the next isn’t a significant stat in and of itself, but can lead you ask and answer questions that are crucial to the continual improvement of your YouTube channel. For example, if the number of total views rose by 7% from Q1 to Q2, you can ask yourself if the content of the videos was different, if the style was different, if the way you shared the content on other platforms was different or if there was simply an outlier that can either be exploited or dismissed when planning for the future. Conversely, if the total views dropped, was there a reason or several reasons for that. Perhaps the content wasn’t relevant to your subscribers or the average length of your videos increased and became too long for multiple views and shares.

Top Influencer Shares

With any social media platform, shares (or retweets or the like) are one of the main ways to attract viewers to your content and expand your audience past your own network and YouTube is no different. Shares on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other platforms bring people your video and increase everything from views to subscribers to comment. However, not all shares are created equal.

We already talked about the importance of tracking the impact your videos have on your organization’s target demographics. The same concept should be applied to your channel’s subscribers; those who are part of your target demographic matter more as they are more likely to have a mutual beneficial relationship with you through the content on YouTube. The members of your target demographic who are well connected with other in your target demographic can be considered top influencers, as they have sway over the viewing behaviours of the people you want watching your videos. Determining how many of your total shares are from top influencers will tell you how well your video is doing in pulling in members of your target demographic and how well the video is doing at convincing top influencers that the content is valuable to them and their network.

The Power Of The Guest Post And It’s Importance To Social Media Success

Having guests guide content for a short period of time is nothing new. From guest appearances on sitcoms to the popularity of the rotating Saturday Night Live hosts to celebrity editors for big time magazines or newspapers, traditional media and entertainment has been employing this tactic to engage audiences for decades.

Guest input can have the same effect on social media. Having a special guest contribute to your organization’s social media efforts can add some much-needed flair and unique insight to your content and drive engagement, traffic and, potentially, revenue.

Here are four reasons why guest posts are a great way to enhance your social media strategy and how to create a framework in these special contributions can flourish.

A New Voice And A New View

Let’s face it, your organization’s social media content will inevitably get tired. As much as you try to switch things up and get creative yourself, you are still speaking with your own voice and from your own perspective and when it all becomes commonplace, people have the tendency to tune you out for a while.

Having a guest come in and contribute their voice and views to the content can rejuvenate your social media posts by providing some variety. You can try having a debate style blog post about an issue that’s relevant to your audience with someone who has a different opinion than you. It doesn’t need to be a serious topic if that’s too risqué, but having someone to act as your foil, introducing a new way of talking or shedding light on a subject from another point of view is a great way to get your audience back to maximum engagement.

Added Credibility and More Relatable

Most of the time, you and your organization are posting something on social media because you get something out of it. You hype up an event on Twitter because you want attendee revenue, you highlight a special product on Instagram because you need it out of your stock room to make way for new products or you write a blog post because you want more traffic to your website. While this makes you business savvy and engaging, at the end of day, some people will see it all as a ploy to get at their time, finances or other resources.

Guest posts can introduce your audience to someone who seemingly has less to gain from promoting your organization, which makes them, and your content by default, more credible and relatable. For example, have a member or customer simply talk about the value they find in your products or services through a video or podcast interview or set and moderate a live Twitter chat or Facebook feed with one of these loyal clients/customers/members.

A Larger Audience

Expanding your organization’s network and audience is a critical way of drawing more engagement, more clicks, more traffic and a higher likelihood that all these elements will lead to a new sale, a new customer, a new advocate or a new member. Expanding your reach is always an ongoing task and often, you need help from others to achieve success.

Word of mouth is still the most popular way for someone to find out about an organization and using guest generated content is the digital equivalent of spreading the word. Influencers in your field or industry are connected to a large segment of your target audience that probably don’t know or don’t care about your organization, which makes their recognition of your organization’s value so significant. Having these industry influencers write blog posts for your website, provide quotes and a pictures for a Facebook post is a great start. To up the ante, provide an influencer exclusive access or an exclusive experience and have them live-tweet or create an Instagram story of the experience.

More Opportunities For Your Target Audience

Generating engagement is one of the primary goals of a social media strategy for any organization, whether you’re a small business, a national association or a mid-size non-profit. Sure, your audience can engage with your organization’s content by the traditional means, but if you really want to combine the powers of personalization, interactivity and a bigger spotlight to drive long-term loyalty, make it possible for your audience to put their fingerprints on your content.

Having your audience contribute content for your organization’s social media efforts creates an experience for them that not only gives them a voice, but also gives them a chance to gain exposure for themselves. This next-level engagement tactic gives your target audience a sense that your organization is all about providing value, opportunity, creativity and a chance to elevate their thoughts, feelings, ideas and talents to a new level. For example, you can give control of your association’s social media feeds to a board member for a day so they can chart their experience with an event or their everyday lives. You can also crowd source ideas for new logos, slogans, jingles or anything else and set it up as a contest to promote local artists on your social media accounts. Whatever you do, creating an increased number of touch-points between your organization and your target audience through these guest posts on social media will only benefit you in the long-term.

What Krispy Kreme and Target Can Teach Associations About Social Media

Some of the best ideas come from studying successful organizations and adapting their effective strategies, projects and culture for use in your own organization. But while success can often beget success, studying the failure of another company also has merit.

Analyzing where strategies went wrong and the root causes of unsuccessful initiatives can help associations learn how to avoid the same fate of another organization that had to be taught the hard way. It can also make the path to success much more clear.

Take for example two American companies and their not-too-distant attempts to corner the Canadian market that sputtered and faded away; Krispy Kreme Donuts and Target. Studying where these two behemoths went wrong can help associations tap into the realities of human behaviour and grasp what it takes to create a successful, engaging and sustainable social media plan.

Krispy Kreme

The Context

Krispy Kreme, the favourite donut shop of millions of American, entered onto the Canadian stage with much fanfare in the early 2000s. While Krispy Kreme was initially successful and mounted plans for expansion, the love affair between it and the Great White North cooled off enough for the company to nix these plans. While the company’s plans for expansion have recently been renewed, they face a challenge in capturing the hearts and minds (and stomachs) of Canadians once again as smaller, gourmet donut shops have exploded in popularity over the last decade. While Krispy Kreme’s venture into Canada may not be deemed a total failure, its inability to realize its grand plans while vastly smaller competition prospered are a little embarrassing for an international chain with a big budget.

The Lesson

The social media lesson that can be learned by associations from Krispy Kreme’s floundering expansion in Canada is that quality matters a lot more than quantity.

Krispy Kreme produces millions of donuts a year and while many like how they taste, there is rarely any innovation or variation, which leads to a been-there-done-that attitude from consumers. On the other hand, smaller, gourmet donut shops use fresh ingredients to create unique pastries that pique the imagination of their customers, creating a brand and a product that can’t be found anywhere else. While their volume is less, their quality is higher and their return in greater.

Associations should create a social media strategy that seeks to produce content that is innovative, unique, engaging and valuable, even if they don’t have the resources to produce lots of it. Instead of daily tweets or Facebook posts that regurgitate press releases or quote magazine articles verbatim, create posts that use numbers, videos, visuals and testimonials to give members an experience they’ll want to be a part of and truly paints a picture of your association’s efforts to improve their lives. Make a movie trailer for the annual conference or put out a call on social media for a scavenger hunt within your association’s magazine. Whatever it is, be creative, be different, be focused on high quality content and be tuned into what members really want.

Target

The Context

Target’s foray into Canada was one big mess, from beginning to end. The company opened too many stores, too fast and customers were greeted by empty shelves, poor deals and an underwhelming experience. While Target’s opening in Canada was much anticipated, the company fell short and Canadian shoppers went back to buying from their usual spots. The monster-sized chain lost money rapidly while the stores continued to decline and less than two years after the first Canadian Target opened, the company pulled out completely. Needless to say, it was a massive failure for Target.

The Lesson

Target bit off way more than they could chew with the Canadian expansion and the product suffered because of it. Associations would do well to remember this example and not repeat this mistake on social media.

While keeping up with the latest trends in technology and social networking is important for any organization, it is never a good idea to branch out onto new platforms too fast. For example, if your association has a successful Twitter account, you may be tempted to start an account on Facebook, create an Instagram account and develop a bi-weekly blog to capitalize on the engagement your efforts are generating. However, if this expansion is done too quickly and without a proper analysis of demographics, strategy, expectations, guidelines and available resources, you can end up watering down the quality of your content and driving away your target audience. Start slowly by creating a new blog and as that develops and as resources dictate, add another platform to your strategy.

Associations need to remember to resist the urge to jump on the social media bandwagon of a new platform because of its trendiness in the news. Stick with what made your digital media strategy work and look for incremental ways to branch out and develop relationships with your target audience in that way.

3 Common Social Media Problems And What To Do About Them

Social media as a marketing and communications tool is, on the grand scale of things, a relatively new medium. We often forget that even blogs, probably the oldest form of social media, have only been around in the mainstream for about 20 years, which is makes social media as a whole an infant compared to other platforms, such as TV or print.

Because of it’s youth, contributing a chunk of your organization’s resources, whether you’re an association, non-profit or small business, to social media is still seen by some as a risk. With risk comes reward, but also fear. We’ve tackled three common fears that many people have about using social media for their organization and how you can sweep those worries away.

No One Follows Your Organization’s Account

What To Do: Wait. Yep, it’s sometimes as simple as having a little bit more patience. Building a following takes time and while getting a lot of followers or likes or what have you is an important part of any social media marketing effort, it’s more important to pay attention to how well your content is at engaging your target audience. When you make smart connections and provide quality content, the following will, well, follow.

You should also take some action. Follow people with your organization’s account, but not just anyone; people who are influencers in your community or industry and who are likely to follow you back or at least interact with your content. Next, research what areas of the social media arena you should place your content. Much of this has to do with using one or two major hashtags consistently in conjunction with a variety of other hashtags to broaden your reach and appeal to as many people as you can.

Worst Case Scenario: Let’s say you do everything we mentioned above, waited a few months, connected with key people and put your content in all the right place, but your following still remains much lower than you hoped. This is the worst case.

In this scenario, there are two things you can do. The first is to retool your goals and strategy. If your account doesn’t have a lot of followers, but sees a lot of interaction and engagement, keep it up anyway and focus more on driving traffic to your website and producing really great content. If your account isn’t meeting its goals in any way, shape or form, the other option is to shut it down. Don’t consider it a failure or a sign not to try other types of social media. See it as feedback from your members, customers or target audience that say you should focus on other areas. Take the resources you spent on that one account and throw it behind another social media venture or to enhance another, more successful platform.

A Negative Comment Is Posted and Seen By All

What To Do: This is the one that’s probably been asked of us the most; what happens when a customer, member, client, etc posts a negative comment to your account and is seen by the world? Well, in a perfect world no one would have any criticism about your organization, but this isn’t a perfect world; you can’t please everyone and someone could speak out about their bad experience or perception of your organization.

The key to jumping over this hurdle is to see it as a chance to grow make a good impression on your audience. First, approach the critic politely and professionally. Try as hard as you can to rectify the problem and provide great customer service. Use the criticism as a jumping off point for a discussion. When people see your level of respect, your desire to get things right and the possibility that their voices will be heard and acted upon, it reflects very positively on your organization and improves everyone’s perception of you moving forward.

Worst Case Scenario: The ultimate worst case scenario around this issue would be if a massive backlash happened against your organization online around a decision, initiative, event or comment. To be quite honest, if this happens, you have bigger problems than what it happening with your social media. If this is the scenario, it means your organization has made a massive mistake and must use all platforms available to rectify it and gain back the trust of your audience. This isn’t the time to abandon social media. Use it as a valuable way to reach out to people, target a solution and communicate to your following that the solution or solutions are being enacted and are working to solve the problem.

The Time Put In Doesn’t Match the Return

What To Do: This fear has to do with the ever-elusive return on investment involved in managing social media for your organization. There is little truth in the idea that determining social media ROI is a fool’s errand. We’ve covered this in detail in many blog posts (like this one and this one), but we understand that the bottom line is of the utmost importance for any organization, whether it’s for-profit or non-profit and thus this is a legitimate fear. However, this one way we’ve found most successful in solving the problem of too many resources going out and not enough coming back your way.

The most common work-around for this issue is to reframe your thinking. Again, we’ve covered the ways in which you can view social media ROI in previous blog posts, but the gist of all those posts is this; social media is rarely going to bring money through the door directly. Therefore, you need to see it first a funnel linking your audience to potential revenue streams and then as a way to continually engage those audience members once you’ve caught them once. When this is your goal, you can measure social media ROI much better and will probably see that your resources are being well used.

Worst Case Scenario: If you’ve reframed your thinking/goals and worked on a strategy based on your new targets, but still are seeing an imbalance in the ROI column, you’ve arrived at the worst case scenario. This is a situation in which all the work, money, time and energy you’ve put in is yielding few to no results. There are a couple ways to go about turning the tide of this losing battle.

The first is to be smarter with your resources. Measures like creating an editorial calendar, crowdsourcing content or scheduling posts are all ways to cut back on your resources spent while seeing the same or, in many cases, better results. The second way to take on the challenge is to pair your social media efforts with more traditional methods of marketing. For example, advertise your online efforts on business cards, email signatures, magazine covers, brochures, vehicles and any other place you can think of. Put some time and effort in generating word of mouth around your social media channels. Once you have expanded your reach, the audience and interaction will slowly but surely pick up and your quality content can take it from there.

3 Oft-Forgotten Elements That Are Crucial For A Successful Social Media Post

Forgetfulness is a part of life. Just try to count the number of times you’ve misplaced your cell phone or car keys and you’ll probably immediately think of a dozen or more instances.

Social media managers are not spared this blanking. Sometimes you can get into quite the groove with your content creation and forget some of the most integral parts of a successful and effective post. We’re here to help remind you of what made your posts great and how to recapture this magic with these three tips:

A Link

Links drive traffic, traffic drives engagement, engagement drives participation and participation drives revenue. While it may not be this extremely simple, the basic formula still holds true for many associations, small businesses and other organizations; if you can get people from one piece of good content (your social media post) to another piece of good content (your website), they are more likely to read your blog post, hear your message, browse your products/services and use that online registration/purchase tool.

However, many people forget to add a link to the specific content they are referring to on social media. Instead, they will tell their audience that registration is open for the association’s next conference or that there is a deal on the business’s new product, but fail to provide a path for the viewer to explore these offers further in the form of a link. Next time, make it easy for people to invest their time/money/energy in your organization and add a link.

A Call To Action

Most people like to be told what direction they should be going, which is why a call to action is an important part of any successful social media post, especially for associations and other non-profits. Your audience is undoubtedly smart and capable, but it probably made up of busy individuals with other priorities. Because of this, your audience members often won’t go through the extra step of investigating what to do next if you post about an initiative, event, service or other program your organization is promoting.

When you provide a call to action, a specific way for viewers to get involved and participate in your organization’s initiative, through social media, people are much more likely to follow through as their actions are clearly mapped out. Crafting a call to action can be as simple as tweeting about a letter-writing advocacy campaign from your association’s Twitter account and attaching a sample letter as an image. You are asking your members to write a letter (the call) and providing a clear way to achieve this objective (the action).

A Hook

So much content, so little time; it’s a phrase often muttered, in some form or another, by people every day. The social media world is saturated with updates, articles, advice and posts of all kinds. That’s why your organization’s content needs a hook, something that makes clear that your post is uniquely valuable and relevant to the target audience you want to reach. Too many organizations miss this and simply rely on their audience to trust that the content is up to snuff or that it will impact them in one way or another. But this is not enough.

Instead, your social media posts should be constructed with a hook in mind. Think about what your target audience values, what they want, what they need and what will propel them forward in life. Use these ideas to appeal to them and compel them to take action. For example, don’t just tell your association’s members in a Facebook post that your conference provides hours of great education; instead, tell them that the education sessions will give them access to over a dozen of the industry’s top professions with a unique chance to pick their brains. This is a reason to attend the conference that many people won’t be able to pass up!

Three Twitter Analytics Tools You Should Be Using, But Probably Aren’t

Twitter Analytics seems to have achieved the impossible; it is sleek and user-friendly while at the same time providing plentiful and in-depth data to social media managers. The statistical tool made available by the social media giant is a great way to measure the online success of your association, non-profit or small business. However, many people go right to the tweet-based metrics provided by the site and skip right over some of the most valuable resources it provides.

Here’s a look at three of the lesser-known tools Twitter Analytics makes accessible to social media managers and how they can change the way you look at your digital marketing strategy.

Audience Insights

The Audience Insights section of Twitter Analytics offers a valuable peak at the demographics you are reaching with your efforts and just how effective your content is at targeting those people who are most likely to signal a return on your investment. This section charts the changes in your following over a four-month period and allows you to see what language your followers speak, the proportion of males and females that follow your organization, where your followers are based geographically and what topics your followers are interested in.

The two most important takeaways from this tool within Twitter Analytics are the geographical stats and the follower interests. The geographical stats will help your organization determine if it is reaching the right people. If your small business or local non-profit is based in Toronto, you want to target people in Toronto. Knowing what proportion of your following is based in that city will help you gauge if your content is effective or if your audience acquisition strategy needs some work. When looking at the interests of your following, you can determine what makes them tick, what they find valuable and what issues they are most likely to engage with. Using this information, you can tailor your entire content creation strategy to match these interests and draw more engagement from your followers.

Events

The Events section of Twitter Analytics is the place to go to keep abreast of current events that can be capitalized on to promote your brand or organization’s value. This section accumulates all the events coming up and puts them in one place, from sporting events to movie releases to special awareness days. This feature allows you to organize events by type, date, duration and location so you can customize your search and zero in on the most relevant goings-ons for your organization.

The key takeaway from the Events function of Twitter Analytics is that it can be used to design your organization’s content calendar. Content calendars allow you to maximize time and engagement by planning ahead, capitalizing on trending topics and making current issues relevant to your audience. For example, if you peer at the Events section and see that in one week there are 100 days until the Summer Olympics in Rio, you can tailor your tweets around the theme of the Olympics, athletics, health, sports and/or inspiring athlete stories. This will allow your organization to connect with people on the topics they care most about as well as to reach out to a larger number of people while promoting the its brand and value to its target audience.

Top Tweets

If you use Twitter Analytics, you are probably familiar with the Tweets tab. Within that section, there is a smaller tool called Top Tweets that can provide valuable insight into your organization’s past successes and set it up for an even better future. The Top Tweets section allows you to see the best-performing posts from your account in any given time period. This includes seeing how many impressions each tweet received as well as the number of engagements and the engagement rate.

There are several key takeaways you can glean from the Top Tweets section, but it all boils down to this; it allows you to recognize formulas or trends that can help you construct tweets that are most likely to create more engagement and therefore a better return on investment for you and your organization. For example, if you look at your top tweets and see a certain hashtag appear again and again, you can be fairly certain that the inclusion of that hashtag should be something you do more often in the future. Same goes with the timing of the tweet, the length of the post, the tone and whether you included any tagged attribution, links, images or video. Once you have analyzed which structure is best, you can fine-tune your strategy to meet the conditions that have meant success in the past in order to replicate that achievement moving forward.

A Step-By-Step Guide To Creating A Social Media Playbook For Your Organization

All sort of problems can arise for your organization when creating a social media strategy and following through on it when you do not first build an online marketing playbook. A playbook will cover everything from what your association’s or non-profit’s goal is on social media to how to handle criticism and what do to in a crisis.

We’ve put together a few tips to help you get started on drafting a playbook for your organization that will boost your efforts and prevent some fairly large headaches down the road.

Goals

Your organization’s social media efforts are never going to accomplish much if you don’t have a goal in mind. You need to state clear goals and outline what exactly your organization’s social media accounts were created to achieve. This is includes short and long-term goals.

For example, your association’s short-term goal could be to drive more traffic to key parts of the website through its social media accounts. It’s long-term goal could be to provide relevant information to members that will foster professional development.

Stating these goals and having them officially written down will help you to stay focused and avoid wasting time and other resources. It will also help you to measure the impact of your efforts against the stated goals and gauge what needs to be done to improve.

Expectations

Once you have stated your goals, you must now write down what is expected of the person or people who are managing the accounts. Create a list of expectations for the position, including the frequency of posting, who is in charge of certain aspects, what the reporting cycle is going to be and other such procedural concerns.

Writing out clear expectations will help define roles and eliminate confusion at your organization. When people are knowledgeable about their role with the organization’s social media, they can contribute in meaningful ways that push the organization forward instead of creating redundancies.

For example; you should make it clear that one tweet must go out every day or a monthly analytical report on the organization’s Facebook efforts must be completed. You can also designate people to run certain accounts so there is no unnecessary overlapping.

Voice

Determining what your organization’s voice is going to sound like on social media is a critical part of the success of the online strategy. Your playbook needs a section on the tone and structure that your social media account’s will follow when posting updates.

For example; is your Twitter account going to be fun and quirky, posting GIFs to go along with updates full of puns? Or is the account going to post straight-forward updates that get to the point fast and provide lots of facts, figures and further reading?

Everyone has a different voice and way of communicating, so coming to an agreement on a singular voice for your organization’s social media account will help it stay consistent and successful. It will help you avoid confusion, especially when there is more than one person in charge of managing accounts. Determining a voice will also help your to connect better with your target audience by relating to them in the structure they are familiar with.

Criticism and Crisis

This last part about criticism and crisis is probably the one of, if not the most important part of a social media playbook. It’s a lot easier to be successful on social media when things are going right, but it’s when facing obstacles that the best online marketers separate themselves from the rest. Putting a plan in place for when your organization receives negativity via its social media presence or when there’s a crisis involves looking at all the possible angles and drafting a measured response that can be shaped to fit specific circumstances.

For example; if an angry former member attacks your association on Twitter, your playbook should have guidelines for dealing with criticism. If your Facebook account gets hacked, you need to know what the steps are to protect your data, content and image. If the members of the industry you are representing suffer through a sudden tragedy or harsh period, you need to know what can be through social media to address the scenario.

Developing a response to criticism or crisis right now, when there is nothing wrong, will help you craft a reasoned response for a time when emotions are high. It will save a lot of headaches and make your organization come out of a bad time looking good. It will also help protect your organization’s image and long-term sustainability, both online and off.