Business Tips

Social Media Measurement, Thoughts & Ideas

Posted on

Social media measurement has been a slippery slope in the online marketing world. Here are a few suggestions for measuring social media based on a few experiences with some of my clients.

Over 200 people will fill the Jepson Auditorium at Gonzaga tonight to discuss how social media has changed the face of business. It should be a great discussion as social media has evolved to a point where it does positively impact many businesses. But how? What are the businesses trying to achieve? I hear a lot of comments like these:

“I just gotta get on Facebook! I feel like I’m behind the curve.”

“I need a Twitter strategy,… Now!”

But that’s not true. You don’t HAVE to be on Facebook or Twitter. The answer is,… it depends. Yeah, it might be a good idea for your business. It might be a super-duper awesome idea. But where is your audience? What are your goals? My Local University amigo Matt McGee always has the same answer when asked about social media platforms.

Be on the social media platforms where your customers are.

Yep, good advice. For example, Chris Reilly and I performed a social media audit for a client a few years back to measure the effectiveness of their internal social media efforts. Guess what? 93% of their audience was blocked at the firewall. Their particular industry is pretty conservative and the big bosses don’t want their people on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, etc. Blocked at the firewall. Dang. But guess what? They were on old-school technical forums and still go to industry events. Lesson learned: go where your customers are.

But there’s a question even more important than where to go.

Why?

I don’t hear a lot of talk about “the why” so I thought this would be a good opportunity to throw out a few reasons for businesses to put forth a social media effort and how to measure effectiveness.

1) Mitigate Risk

Social media is real-time customer service rocket fuel! Have a potential PR issue? Have a mad customer ready to rant online to the hungry, drooling masses about how much you suck? Social media has an amazing ability to cut that off at the pass. Because guess what,… even with the best of intentions things go wrong from time to time. But now businesses are able to stop PR disasters before they even start. This prevents bad reviews, bad news reports and ultimately helps protect their reputation.

This comes down to delivering awesome real-time customer service.

Where once a bad customer experience would be re-told to ten people it now has potential to reach tens of thousands (or even more if it goes truly viral). Preventing this from happening (in my opinion) is the most important aspect of social media for many mid-size to large companies. As Mike Blumenthal often says, “Once you had to treat the customer right. Now, you have to treat them right-er.”

How do you measure treating your customers right-er? Reviews.

I’ve worked with Paul Warner at Northern Quest for the past year. As part of of his responsibilities Paul has been responding to issues that have come up from time to time via Facebook and Twitter. In addition, he has responded to every online review of the hotel they could find with another member of the Northern Quest team. Here’s a look at that impact on Trip Advisor alone:

1.4 Star Rating of average “bad tone” reviews prior to 2012 (65 reviews)
2.6 Star rating of average “bad tone” review for the past 12 months (63 reviews)
86% Improvement

4.27 Overall Star Rating for reviews prior to 2012
4.43 Overall Star Rating for reviews in the past 12 months

3.75% Improvement (While this is a smaller percentage 4.43 is almost 4.5 stars. I’ll bet this makes an impact.)

Like I mentioned earlier, things happen from time to time. By addressing them head-on a business can own the issue, whatever it is. It also keeps that review based more on facts and less on emotion. Here’s an example of a response to a hotel guest that wrote in their review that their room was too hot:

After reading your review, we checked into the temperature controls in our rooms. Each room is set to 68 degrees upon a guest’s arrival, but the temperature can be adjusted from 35 to 95 degrees. After a guest checks out of the room, the temperature is set back to 68 degrees.

Now this doesn’t fix the issue for this particular guest. But it shows other that they actually read their online reviews and respond accordingly. Here’s an example of how Paul and the Northern Quest team handled a power outage and unplanned fire alarms:

“We had a bit of anger stemming from a power outage incident on the floor and hotel as well as some unplanned fire alarms. We dealt with them via Facebook and Twitter (in addition to staff on the floor). We had to deal with complaints about tickets not getting cashed out, not being able to check in, having to leave machines, not able to get tickets etc. We were able to respond and share information in real time with them as to how we were resolving issues and to whom to talk regarding concerns on the floor/hotel. We addressed all issues within an hour of the incident(s) and had most people thanking us for info and response.”

Obviously a lot is in-play when it comes to what causes a good hotel review and/or preventing a bad review. Northern Quest has improved top to bottom in terms of providing exceptional customer service. Not all of this can be attributed to addressing reviews and preventing bad reviews via social media. Still, it has a definite impact.

2) Extend Brand

All companies have a vibe in addition to services and products they want to sell. Generating a larger following of people that are aware of, and are interested in your brand is good for business. And by brand I mean everything about your business and the individuals who are publicly a part of it. At Local University our brand is based on our expert knowledge of SEO, Local Search, and how we can help businesses learn more about online marketing strategies and tactics to succeed. We want to be known as content experts. We also want to be known as nice, generous, approachable people. Blogging is a big way for us to extend our brand by creating valuable content. One of the ways we track that is by a dashboard called “Blog Intent.”

As you can see, we know how many visitors read our blog posts, where they come from, what they read, and if they have interest in us putting on a seminar in their city. Nice! That’s a handy little dashboard.

3) Create Dialog

Genuine two-way communication is possible now like never before. In the 90’s most sales people would say “If I could just get them on the phone I’d have a good chance of selling our products/services.” We now have a much better opportunity for that first conversation. But notice I didn’t list the goal as “selling.” Yes, people have sold things via social media, but (in my opinion) often at the expense of chasing others away with their chatter and over-selling. Yet, social media does provide an great first interaction with a prospective customer to learn about what you have to offer. And this can be measured with “assisted conversions” and other techniques. Awesome! Because it takes a team to sell well. You wouldn’t want five point guards or five power forwards. But put them together and you have pure magic. Or Jazz đŸ™‚

It’s great that everyone is getting together to talk about the state of social media in Spokane. I hope this helps plant a few seeds of thought around the why and a few ideas how to measure your campaign. For those interested in leaning more about how to measure via analytics we’ll be teaching a Google Analytics class on April 18th from 11:30am to 1pm at the Nector Tasting Room for $39. Fill out our contact form and say you saw about it at the Social Media Event at Gonzaga and the cost is $29.

Business Tips

Why Get Listed University Works for Business Owners

Posted on

Get Listed University has presented to nearly 2,000 business owners and marketing professionals since our innagural event in Spokane in February of 2010. It’s been amazing to be part of such an A-List team. It’s a priveledge (and absolute blast) to get to spend time with these wonderful people five or six times a year at these events. But what’s been even more incredible is talking with business owners over the years and being in a position to help. I’ve been thinking about Get Listed University a lot recently and wanted to put together a quick summary of why I think Get Listed University is so valued by business owners.

1) No Pitches. Ever.
I go to a lot of conferences. Nothing makes mad like traveling to a conference, paying the price of admission, and then getting pitched by a presenter. At Get Listed there are no “back of the room” sales, no pitching of our services in any way, and no uttering the cardinal sin of the conference upsell world,… “We’ll be covering that at the follow-up conference for just X dollars. Register today!” Nope. That just ain’t our style.

2) We Don’t Hold Back Any Content.
Not only do we not hold back content, we continue to find ways to provide even more content for business owners to use to their advantage. For example, this year we have created a more formal structure for our site clinics to really maximize it so you’ll have more time to ask any of our experts 1-on-1 questions about YOUR website.

3) We Provide Actionable Information & Real Case Studies
This information is not collegiate theory. You will literally be able to take these insights and apply them immediatelly to your business the following day. We use examples highlighting how real businesses use these strategies to improve their business. In fact, David is unveiling a new presentation in Spokane called “Prioritizing Your S*!t” that provides a roadmap of actions that will guide you along your way to online greatness.

4) The Faculty are Amazing!
I’m not kidding when I say how fortunate I feel to be part of this team. At times I feel like snuck in the back of the pickup when they left for town – and now they’re stuck with me đŸ™‚ These folks are the best in the business! We are so fortunate to have them back in Spokane again.

5) We Know & Respect Business.
We know running a business is hard. I believe all us have either owned a business in the past or are current business owners. We know it’s tough to committ a day to learn about online marketing and we work very hard to make every second count. We keep finding new ways to improve the events. For example, for the Spokane event this year we added social media and paid search as well as expanded our site clinics.

Bonus) We Do Our Best to Make it a Dang Good Time!
We know your brains will be full by the end of the day. But we balance your efforts with a good dose of humor, enough food and snacks to keep you fueled up, personalized Q&A, and an awesome networking happy hour to close the event out right! It’s also important to note that our speakers don’t take themselves too seriously and are approachable the entire day with any questions you have for them.

We look forward to seeing you at Get Listed this year! If you have any questions about the event please feel free to call the Sixth Man Marketing office at 509-624-5580 or going directly to the Get Listed University website.

Business Tips

Get Listed University – Spokane Agenda Video Preview

Posted on

Get Listed University – April 27th, 2012

Location: Northern Quest Resort & Casino
Time: Friday, April 27th from 8am to 5pm
Cost: $199 (Save $50 by entering “SIXTHMAN” as your discount code at checkout.)
Agenda: Complete Get Listed Spokane Agenda
Capacity: The event is limited to 100 people and will likely sell-out. Register now!
Registration: Call (509) 624-5580 with any questions about registration or register on the Get Listed Website today!

We’re really looking to this year’s Get Listed Event. I’m excited knowing that I’ll get to hang out with the Get Listed Crew again soon. And so can you! These are some really amazing people, folks. I can’t wait to see them again.

Business Tips

Analytics Information, Presentation, & Tips

Posted on

It’s been a busy week. Last week I presented at the monthly Spokane Ad Federation Luncheon, this weekend I spoke for The Richardson Group, and today I was scheduled to speak at our sold-out Get Listed Local University event in Western New York. While last-minute family obligations kept me from attending, my Local University homies are killing it! Just check out their Twitter stream.

My purpose for this post is to provide supporting analytics information, my analytics introduction presentation, and tips so that business owners can use their web data to help grow their business.

Getting Started with Google Analytics
If you have the time (and it does take a while) I recommend going through Google’s Conversion University to learn all about Google Analytics. That said, they’re a bit on the dry side (understatement) and take a while to get through. However, this great Google Analytics installation video from Ian Lurie of Portent Interactive gets you started in just over ten minutes.

What You Need to Know
There’s a lot of advice out there when it comes to analytics. The tips I’m interested have nothing to do with reporting. They’re all about gaining insight from the data and doing something with it to improve your business! And there’s only one name you need to know when it comes to gaining true analytics insight. That name is Avinash. He has done more to advance true analytics insight that anyone on the planet. Here are a few of his essential posts:

The Beginner’s Guide to Web Data Analysis
Web Analytics Segmentation: Do or Die, There is no Try!
Web Analytics Definitions: Goals, Metrics, KPIs, Dimensions, Targets
The Best Social Media Metrics

Presentations & Examples

Here are my most recent analytics presentation. Please feel free to download or share.

Introduction to Analytics

View more presentations from Sixth Man Marketing

One of the things I really emphasize when I present is the importance of understanding what’s important to YOUR business. Don’t worry about all of the metrics, pay attention to the ones that impact YOUR business. For example, my wife Tine is the Executive Director of a nonprofit called Bloom Spokane. Their #1 business driver is the number of people that attend their in-person classes. So we measure that as a KPI. Here’s how we look at it in a custom dashboard.

My Quick Guide to Using Website Data to Grow Your Business

1) Understand what’s important to measure when it comes to YOUR business. Every business is unique. Learn what’s important to measure, learn from your insights as well as mistakes and make improvements.

2) Get your hands dirty and learn this stuff! It’s powerful, people! I know you’re busy, but your business will benefit greatly from this information once you take the time to learn it a bit.

3) Take action! You don’t need to be an analytics ninja to take advantage of this stuff. You can make improvements to your website today by just taking a few suggestions from the information in this blog post not to mention the mountain of valuable information from my Get Listed friends.

I wish I was in Western New York with all of you today! I know you’re getting a TON of valuable information from the Get Listed crew. Be sure to take full advantage of it!

Business Tips

My Blogging Failure & Rebirth

Posted on

I have a confession. It’s been nearly a year since my last blog post. Yep, I haven’t blogged for nearly a year. That adds up to an #epicfail on the “how to blog effectively” front. So here’s my admittance of guilt, proof of the power of blogging, and plan for the future. Hopefully, it will provide some insight and help you craft a plan for your business blogging efforts.

Yeah, that’s quite a gap in blog posts. What makes this even worse is that I’m constantly preaching the virtues of blogging to clients as well as attendees at Get Listed University events. In fact, my wife’s blogging for  Bloom Spokane is part of my Get Listed analytics presentation.

Business Tips

Spokane Club November 11th Event Preview

Posted on

How to Navigate the Waters of Online Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, and Social Media to Generate New Business.” I’ll be speaking at the Spokane Club on November 11th at 7am for their Breakfast Networking Series. Spokane Mayor Mary Verner gave a great presentation this week about the city budget and future plans. Next week I’m […]

Business Tips

SEO & Social Media Tips, Tools, & Resources

Posted on

Yesterday I posted a re-cap of steps small business owners can take to engage in social media. It was half re-cap and half articles/tips I’ve found useful. While I’ve heard positive feedback, I feel that it didn’t quite live up to my promise of free tools & tips for business owners, so I wanted to also provide a 100% pure tools & tips post that will provide the ammo small business owners need to get started.

SEO Tools, Tips, & Articles

The Beginner’s Guide to SEO (SEOmoz) OK, I’ll be the first to admit that this is not a quick-and-easy guide to SEO. However, it is the most thorough, detailed, and effective introduction to search engine optimization that I’ve seen. If you’ve got the time to read it and are motivated to learn SEO, this is a great place to start.

The Ten Commandments of Online Marketing for Small Business (David Mihm) This is a fabulous ten step process small businesses can follow to achieve success online. It covers the basics, yet includes all the necessary details you’ll need to know to get started. As David is an SEO like myself, it’s focused on search, but has quite a bit of information on real world strategies, tips, and marketing insight. It’s a must read! […]

Business Tips

Spokane CVB Social Media Event – Resources & Info

Posted on

It’s always insightful to speak to a new group of people at an industry event.  I’ve found that It’s sometimes easy to get entrenched within my own four walls and lose touch with the information that people really need to help their businesses succeed.  During the Q&A session someone asked the question that was on everyones minds:

“Can you provide a simple guide to help business owners in Spokane understand how to use social media?  You know,… no industry jargon, no tech-speak, just simple how-to-get-started information that business owners can quickly digest and implement?” […]

Business Tips

Free SEO Training for Indie Restaurants

Posted on

My favorite Indian restaurant went out of business this past year.  Call me selfish, but I’m tired of my favorite little ethnic (and other unique) restaurants going under. It’s not just the food. It’s the culture. These unique little establishments add some much needed flavor to Spokane, and I’d like to do something to help […]

Business Tips

Search Marketing & American Idol

Posted on

How will your marketing campaigns be judged in 2009? Yep, the economy is bad.  There is no way to sugarcoat it.  Sure, it has impacted some industries and areas more than others.  But even if it hasn’t caused a serious downturn in your market, geographic area, or your business in particular, I’d argue that fiscal […]