Saturday, 28 February 2015

Be a Pinterest Pro

The social media platform, Pinterest is a visual bookmarking tool that helps you discover and save ideas for projects and interests. Think of Pinterest as social media’s answer to scrap booking. Create multiple “boards” for varying topics, interests and projects. From a business perspective; you can create boards of your products, content, services and additional boards relevant to your audience. For people, it can suck a huge amount of time as you find yourself going down a rabbit hole, discovering new content and beautiful things to add to your boards. A marketer’s playground right?
But it isn’t all fantasy holiday boards and dream wedding inspiration. Right now, hundreds of thousands of businesses are leveraging the power of Pinterest to drive traffic to their websites and increase sales. In fact, according to Search Engine Journal’s Quarter 3 Search Engine Traffic Report, Pinterest is the second largest driver of social media website traffic second only to Facebook.


Once you’ve set up a business account with a strong profile, start creating boards. Your boards should be consistently aligned with your social media strategy and existing social platforms to communicate a clear brand message. I find it useful to map out boards on two levels: Core Boards and Relevant Boards.


These are the boards that are your core business. They can include your content, products, blogs or sales messages. This is where you can push your products and services and drive traffic to your website.
That doesn’t mean it’s just sell, sell, sell. Make sure you tell the story of the product and explain in detail how your products can benefit your audience. E.g. a clothing retailer may have a board of dresses. Instead of simply uploading the pictures and prices of the dresses, create a story around them. Describe where you could wear the dress to, when and how. This creates value, engagement and shareability.


These boards add an extra layer to your content. Just like on Facebook, you aren’t spruiking your goods and services 24/7, so don’t do it here. E.g. a jeweller may have a wedding inspiration board that has among other things rings, venues, dresses decorations. These are topics that a jeweller’s audience are interested in, driving engagement and shareability.
Once you’ve mapped out your core boards and relevant boards, before you Pin anything, consider the following:
  • What’s your primary goal for the Pin?
  • Does the Pin communicate your brand value?
  • Is this Pin relevant to your audience?
  • How do you want people to feel after interacting with your brand?


Pinterest believes 3 foundations make a good Pin:
  1. Helpful
  2. Beautiful
  3. Actionable


How useful and informative is the Pin to your audience? Does it deliver value?


If your Pins are compelling and creative your audience will engage with you. Always use high quality images. The lower the quality the worse the Pin. Photos should be 600px wide and between 900px and 2100px tall.


Just like anything online, include calls to action that help people take action on their interests. You can also link out to places that will help your audience make a purchase or complete an action.


Pinterest have compiled a great eBook that details everything you need to make great business Pins. Download it here.
And for those more experienced Pinners @beccacaddy has some great tips to share on her recent blog 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Pinterest.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Your Mileage May Vary: How Often You Should Post to Social Media


Have you ever woken up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night wondering exactly how many posts you should be making to Pinterest to get the most engagement, or why you shouldn’t be make more than three tweets per day?

Ok, that may just be another thing that only keeps me up at night, but knowing exactly how many Facebook posts you should make per day is endlessly fascinating (and useful) information to most people who are active on social media.
So, to make all this data digestible and easy to understand, we partnered with our awesome friends over at Buffer to produce an infographic that shows the ideal posting number for all the major social media networks. Check it out below!

For a more in depth, well-researched look at Buffer’s findings, make your way over to the Buffer blog. Buffer is the best tool out there for social media management – seriously, check them out


Thursday, 26 February 2015

The Potential of Social Media (for #B2B Marketers) [INFOGRAPHIC]

Did you know that more than nine in ten business to business (B2B) marketers say that increased exposure is the number one benefit of social media?
Increased traffic (80 perfect), the development of loyal fans (72 percent) and marketplace insights (71 perfect) were also cited as major perks.
Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn remain the social networking sites of choice for B2B brands, and B2B marketers place a greater importance on original written content over curating the content of others.
Difficulty proving ROI, lack of time and no strategic planning are the key challenges facing companies in this space.
Check the visual below for more insights, which comes courtesy of Real Business Rescue.
The Potential of Social Media (for #B2B Marketers) [INFOGRAPHIC]

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Social Media Engagement: Staying Alive As A Business

Social Media Engagement: Staying Alive as a Business

Social media is very much a part of everyday life for consumers all over the world, and businesses are capitalizing on this by placing great emphasis on social media marketing.
Your business could be at a major disadvantage over competitors if you aren’t on social.
At the heart of social media marketing is engagement.
You’ll see countless businesses on social media, but they don’t all place enough emphasis on engagement. Sure, it’s great to have 10,000 likes on a page, but if only five of those actually engage with your content then the bulk of your likes are worthless.

Social networking LIKE

In the following paragraphs we’ll cover the key things you need to know about producing engaging and share-worthy content on social media. Hopefully we can help you to get one up over the competition!

What do we mean by engagement?

A great place to start is determining what mean by engagement and why it is so important. Engagement actions will vary from platform to platform, but essentially it is anytime that someone interacts with your content.


Let’s use Facebook as an example.
Engagement is determined as anytime someone clicks, likes, comments, or shares your posts. By getting a user to complete such an action, you are generating a relationship with them and also increasing the exposure of your business because the person’s friends will see the engagement in their news feeds.
So, its safe to say that engagement is at the core of everything when it comes to social media marketing and if you aren’t posting engaging content, you are simply wasting your time.

Content that sparks engagement

Now that you have an understanding of what engagement is, the next step is to tell you about a few ways to spark engagement amongst your audience.
Before you think about writing content for social media, make sure that all your profiles are as complete as possible, this social media cheat sheet is a great resource to get you started.
Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 5.58.21 PM


One of the easiest ways to spark engagement is to post a question to your audience.


The key here is to think of a question that will make the reader think while simultaneously making it easy for them to answer.
Closed questions that require a yes or no answer tend to be the best; people just don’t have the time to write an essay if you ask a complex question.


Everyone loves a good quote, and if you search online you’ll find countless creative images that are centred on a meaningful quote.
If you can find a few of these that are relevant to your audience, post it and ask them to click ‘like’ or retweet the post if they agree.


Just by asking your audience to do something they’ll be more inclined to do it.


People like a good competition; in fact it has been proven that many people opt to follow brands on social media due to potential discounts and competitions.
Think of a prize that is relevant to your business and make it simple for people to enter, asking people to just share a post is often a favored approach.

Polls are another way of driving engagement quickly.
Much like with the question example, you need to think of something that is relevant to your audience and that will get them thinking.
Try to keep the options concise, four or five should be the maximum.
Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 5.58.15 PM

Well, there you have it. The key to keeping your business alive in this digital age is through driving engagement on social media.
If you are currently marketing your company on social media but aren’t receiving the results you would like, take a closer look at your content strategy and determine if it really is focused on driving engagement.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

7 Popular Goal-Setting Strategies That Will Help You Achieve Great Things on Social Media

“How cool would it be to have 1 million Facebook fans?”
This is how I tend to go about setting social media marketing goals. I pull an aspirational number out of the air and go for it.
Would it be cool to have 1 million Facebook fans? Absolutely!
Is this the right way to set goals?
Coming up with goals for our Facebook page and other social media channels has often been a bit haphazard for me. Imagine having a system of goal-setting to help create rational, achievable goals. This set me out on the research path to look into other popular goal-setting strategies and frameworks that exist and seeing how these might work for social media marketing.
Keep reading below to see five amazing strategies that I found. And feel free to share any thoughts on the way that you’ve gone about setting strategies for your social media marketing.
how to set marketing goals

7 Popular Goal-Setting Strategies for Marketers to Try

What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.
– Henry David Thoreau
I love this quote from Thoreau because it emphasizes the process over the end result.
I often find myself wondering what exactly is the best way to set goals … or if having no goals at all might be a possibility!
One interesting bit of research I came across is that a study found a 33 percent increase in the completion of goals among those who wrote their goals down, created an action plan, and shared with a friend. These people achieved 76 percent of their goals by having a specific goal-setting strategy. 
So with this in mind, I thought it’d be interesting to dive into five of the most popular goal-setting strategies used by marketers and see if any of the ideas here might resonate with you and your social media marketing.

1. S.M.A.R.T.

S – Specific – The more specific you can be with writing down your objective, the easier it will be to clearly see what it is you need to accomplish. Often, answering the five “W” questions—Who, What, Where, Why, and Which—can help you achieve greater specificity.
M – Measurable – Can your goal be measured? How will you know when you’ve achieved your goal?
A – Attainable – Another way of putting this is “realistic.” Is it possible to achieve the goal you’ve set for yourself?
R – Relevant – For businesses, a relevant goal means that it has the potential to impact your business objectives, vision, or values.
T – Time-bound – Give your goal a deadline.
SMART goals are one of the longest-lasting, most popular goal-setting frameworks for business. Peter Drucker, the founder of modern business management, often is credited for coming up with the basis for SMART, and the specific mnemonics can be traced back to mentions as early as 1981.
SMART has been a successful goal-setting framework for a long time because it is easy to understand, to act on, and to follow up with.
For example:
Let’s take Facebook page growth for instance. If you want to set a goal to grow your Facebook page’s likes, here’s what that might look like with the SMART framework.
  • Specific – Who? What? Why? “I would like to grow our Facebook page likes because Facebook is a key social media platform that we can learn about and help others grow along with us.”
  • Measurable – Choose a specific number for the growth
  • Attainable – Make sure the number is realistic
  • Relevant – Does growing your Facebook page support your business’s objectives, vision, or values?
  • Time-bound – What deadline will you set?
“I wish to grow the Buffer Facebook page from 35,000 likes to 100,000 likes by May 31, 2015.”

2. Locke and Latham’s 5 Principles of Goal-Setting

1. Clarity – Similar to the specificity from SMART goal-setting, clear goals help immensely with understanding the task at hand, measuring the results, and achieving success.
2. Challenge – The goal should be difficult and challenging enough to prove motivating, but not so challenging that it’s impossible to achieve. Using the Inverted U method is a good way to test for appropriate challenge levels.
3. Commitment – Get your teammates to buy into the goal. Involve them in the goal-setting process.
4. Feedback – Measure your progress and seek advice throughout the pursuit toward the goal.
5. Task complexity – Be careful in adding too much complexity to your goals as complexity can impact morale, productivity, and motivation.
locke latham goal setting
In the late 1960s, Drs. Edwin Locke and Gary Latham performed much of the research that has informed our theories of goal-setting, showing how goals and feedback can be huge motivating factors for business employees.
Through their research, Locke and Latham settled on the five principles of goal-setting mentioned above.
In one of the studies, Locke performed an analysis of 10 years’ worth of lab and field studies on the effects of goal-setting. For instance, he looked at cases of people being told to “do your best” versus “try to beat your best time.”
The specific and challenging goals led to higher performance 90 percent of the time.
Locke and Latham’s research showed that the more difficult and specific a goal is, the harder people tend to work to achieve it.
For example:
Let’s try out our Facebook page example again.
  • Clarity – Set a clear goal for what we want to achieve with Facebook page growth.
  • Challenge – Does the task fall into the sweet spot between low pressure (not challenging enough) and anxiety-inducing (too much pressure)?
  • Commitment – Get buy-in from team members who may be helping with the project.
  • Feedback – Seek advice in creating the goal and in progress throughout. Check the stats periodically to see how you’re doing.
  • Task complexity – What is involved in growing a Facebook page? Limit the complexities by focusing on a set number of specific growth strategies.
The Buffer marketing team aims to grow our Facebook page to 100,000 page likes in the next 90 days by trying out strategies with video, optimal timing, and tagging.

3. OKRs

Objectives & Key Results
Objectives – This is what you hope to accomplish. Objectives usually take the form of broad goals that are not measurable (that’s what the Key Results section is for).
Key Results – Based on objectives, the key results are almost always defined with a specific number.
okr example
A concept invented by Intel and used with amazing success by Google, OKRs help set strategies for teams and individuals and allow a way to evaluate these strategies and reflect on performance.
The simplicity of OKRs is particularly attractive: Name the objectives you want to achieve, and come up with a key number to strive for.
Google is probably the most notable proponent of OKRs for goal-setting. They’veshared a lot about their processes, including this tip about how to come up with the key results.
At Google we are both encouraged and incentivized to go overboard with our goals.
One of the ways this works is that Google aims to reach 70 percent or more of their key results. One hundred percent would be stellar; hitting 70 percent of an overboard goal is still pretty great.
Others have come along with variations of OKRs that include additional detail in the form of Actions or To-dos that help define the path to achieving the Key Results.
OKRs plus to dos
For example:
Let’s go back to the Facebook page example.
  • Objective -What is it that we hope to achieve with Facebook growth?
  • Key result – What specific numbers can we aim for? (And feel free to go overboard!)
Objective: Increase the reach of our Facebook posts
Key results:
Grow the Facebook page to 500,000 fans (70 percent would be 350,000 – still awesome!)
Attain 5 percent reach on each of our posts

4. BSQ

Think Big – Define your ultimate goal
Act Small – Identify the milestones that will help you achieve that goal
Move Quick – Come up with a timeline for achieving each milestone
BSQ goal setting
Organizational psychologist David Van Rooy came up with a simple framework for goal-setting, which he touches on in his book Trajectory. The three-part framework aims to distill the existing research and best practices for goal-setting into a simple set of rules.
If you sift through all of the research, goal setting can be boiled down to three main tenets:
1. A goal is better than no goal
2. A specific goal is better than a broad goal
3. A hard and specific goal is better than an easy goal
The result of these takeaways is Van Rooy’s BSQ system, which borrows elements from the others discussed in this list. “Think Big” has similarities to the Objectives in OKRs, for instance.
For example:
Let’s see how this might work with our Facebook goal-setting.
  • Think Big – What would be a major accomplishment for us on Facebook?
  • Act Small – Which steps would we need to take in order to achieve this goal?
  • Move Quick – What timeframe would work to achieve each of these steps?
Have 1 million Facebook fans on our Buffer page
Develop new strategy – By end of the week
Grow to 100,000 – By end of May
Grow to 500,00 – By end of 2015
Grow to 1 million – By end of 2016


A bit different from the other goal-setting frameworks on this list, BHAGs (pronounced BEE-hags) tend to be big-picture goals with a visionary aspect. For social media goal-setting, these could be the overall goals you wish to achieve on a social channel or with your social strategy as a whole.
Authors James Collins and Jerry Poras were the first to mention BHAGs in their book Built to LastFrom Collins and Poras:
A true BHAG is clear and compelling, serves as a unifying focal point of effort, and acts as a clear catalyst for team spirit. It has a clear finish line, so the organization can know when it has achieved the goal; people like to shoot for finish lines.
Instead of focusing on what you might achieve in the coming days or months, BHAGs focus on “audacious 10-to-30-year goals” that propel you toward your brand’s vision, according to Collins and Poras.
Examples from real-world companies include:
  • SpaceX: Enable human exploration and settlement of Mars
  • Microsoft: A computer on every desk and in every home
  • Blackpool FC: Reach English Premier League.
Here’s how BHAGs fit into the vison-based framework for Moz:
BHAG vision-based framework
For example:
Let’s try out our Facebook example again.
  • BHAG – What type of audacious thing are we hoping to achieve with Buffer?
Set the bar for customer support
(This could possibly then inform our social media strategies about how we approach Facebook growth—reply quickly and happily to Facebook comments, share helpful content, etc.)

6. Growth Hacker goal-setting

  • Form Hypothesis
  • Select KPI (Key Performance Indicator)
  • Set Goal
  • Execute
  • Track Progress (adjust execution as necessary)
  • Socialize/Iterate (let everyone know how it worked)
growth hacker goals
This process shared by Anna Kegler at RJ Metrics involves many of the same stages we’ve touched on before, albeit with an emphasis on the complete process of goal-setting from start to finish.
This approach lacks the structure of the traditional, “goals-are-set-in-stone” approach. Instead, emphasis is placed on the entire process of goal-setting, instead of just the goal itself.
One of the unique elements of growth hacker goal-setting is the involvement from the whole team/audience via sharing your progress. We’ve seen the value of this each time we share transparently about what we’re working on at Buffer.
Growth works best when everyone is aligned around the goal, but 35 percent of marketers don’t share testing or growth wins with their teams. Share everything to align and motivate everyone towards a common goal.

For example:
If we were to apply this to our Facebook strategy.
  • Form hypothesis – If [variable], then [result] because [rationale].
  • Select KPI – Which stat will be key to measuring success?
  • Set goal – What feels like an achievable, challenging target?
The goal:
If we focus on video marketing, we will grow the Facebook page to 100,000 likes because we have seen higher engagement and reach on video content for our page.

7. What we’re trying at Buffer: Intriguing metric

We’ve written a bit in the past about how we’re aiming to set social media goalsat Buffer. One of the keys for us to identify an intriguing metric that can have a big impact for our marketing.
The process for doing so involves fitting our metrics into one of four buckets (HT to KISSmetrics cofounder Hiten Shah for his advice here!):
  1. High traffic, low conversion
  2. Low traffic, high conversion
  3. High traffic, high conversion
  4. Low traffic, low conversion
The first two buckets are the ones where you find the biggest opportunities for growth. Bucket No. 3 isn’t half bad either. Bucket No. 4 is best to be left alone.
For example:
This type of thinking has been really helpful for how we might identify different social media metrics to pursue. For instance, with our Facebook page growth, we’ve noticed that we have a small number of people who view our Facebook posts (low traffic) but that a high number end up clicking through to our content (high conversion). We could then set up a goal to increase the low traffic by growing our Facebook reach, possibly by seeking more likes for our page.

Summary – Applying goal-setting to social media

One of the unique elements of social media marketing is that the goals and objectives can come in so many different shapes and forms, depending on your brand’s mission. The goals often change, too, as you grow your influence online.
Carter Hostelley, writing for CMS Wire, has a great way of breaking down social media goals into the following four categories:
  1. Activity-based goals
  2. Audience-building goals
  3. Engagement goals
  4. ROI goals
What might these look like on the different social networks? At Unbounce,Danielle Prager listed a number of measurable social media goals that you might consider setting for various channels. Here are her ideas for Twitter and Facebook.
  • Twitter – Follower growth, tweet frequency, overall engagement, engagement rate, mentions
  • Facebook – Page like growth, reach, engagement
How do you go about setting goals on social media? Do you use any frameworks to come up with your goals? Which stats do you focus on? I’d love to learn from you in the comments!