Do you remember the first time you heard the term ROI? How about Klout? Did you use to think viral meant contagious (in a bad way)? Didn’t branding used to involve a red-hot iron and cattle? Social media marketing can sound like a foreign language if you’ve just set foot in this industry. It is sometimes intimidating to see a large community discussing topics with business jargon, and having to consult the Urban Dictionary to finish reading a blog post.
Here is a list of terms – and my own brand of straightforward explanation – that will help people new to the digital marketing scene understand some key concepts related to digital marketing, a bit of jargon, and help those who are veterans in the field better understand me.
ABCs of Social Media Marketing
Analytics- As you grow your online presence, it’s important to use analytics to track your progress. Analytics involves the tracking and study of performance indicators and other metrics to help you know if your current strategies and tactics are having the desired effects.
Branding- Branding is one of the primary aspects of any digital marketing campaign. Effective branding attracts consumers on a primal level and will help in every aspect of your business. It’s the holistic sum of your name, logo, color scheme, mission statement, goals, culture, and several other aspects of your business.
Community- Building a strong and robust community is the pinnacle of an effective integrated social media campaign. With a strong community, your fans and followers evangelize your brand, refer new customers, convert potential customers and help maintain a positive reputation. An online community occurs when a large group of users start to frequent a page that enables a multi-directional conversation on a regular basis, and begin to depend on that space for daily entertainment or enlightenment.
Daily updates- It is important to put something out into the social sphere every day. Many of the desired outcomes related to social media marketing depend on frequent updates to expand your reach and stay top of mind for frequent users.
Emotions- One of the most effective marketing techniques is to appeal to the consumer’s emotions. If you can establish a connection to a positive emotion through marketing, customers will start associating your brand with that emotion. In time, they will start to crave your product to quench the thirst for the desired emotion.
Facebook- This is where it all started, and Facebook is still your best bet when it comes to reaching the masses. You need to be where your target audience is, and your target audience is on Facebook.
Games- People love to play games online. As mobile technology becomes even more ubiquitous and devices integrate technologies such as augmented reality and 3D, games will become a more immersive experience. Figuring out how to integrate gamification into your marketing is an effective way to conceal the marketing message, increase engagement, and spread your message as friends start to share the experience with others.
Humor- One of the easiest messages to convey, humor is a desirable trait to associate with your marketing. It will improve the customer’s reception of your message, help your message stay in their mind, and give them a good reason to share with others.
Influence- As some social media users become fan favorites, normal people have attained a level of influence that was previously unheard of. Business has long known the power a recommendation from a friend has, and through social media businesses can encourage, orchestrate and monitor public recommendations.
Judgemental Sampling- Any survey or collection of data from your current following is theoretically representative of the users who will follow you in the future. By segmenting users by apparent traits, it’s possible to use a small sampling to estimate the outcome of a large group – as long as the users are representative.
Klout- Klout is an application that can give you a rough estimate of other users’ influence, often integrated with applications you already use. It’s not wise to concentrate directly on your Klout score; your score should be a by-product of what you do, what you do should not be a by-product of your Klout score.
Landing Pages- When it comes time to make the sale, always use an action specific landing page. By limiting customer decisions, presenting your best case and optimizing your digital pitch, conversions will improve dramatically.
Measurement- No matter what you’re doing, it’s important to always take various measurements. Without measurements, it isn’t possible to tell if your tactics are improving key performance indicators, or if your social media campaign is getting you closer to your goals at all. Execute, measure, optimize repeat.
News- Many users have started to get the bulk of daily news through social media. Twitter has been known to break news before any traditional channel, and Facebook has often become part of the news stories itself. Deliver the news that is relevant to your niche to your followers, and become known as a source for accurate, fresh, and relevant breaking news to the people who are interested.
Optimization- Even if your campaign wasn’t a total success the first time out, it’s possible to improve results by narrowing down your audience, looking at what types of advertising works the best with that demographic, concentrating on additional A/B testing and ad variety, and analyzing any new data you collect as you go. Always improving – that is the goal of optimization.
Planning- Thorough planning is possibly the most important aspect of social media marketing. Not having a plan is equivalent to having no idea what you’re doing, or why you’re doing it. You should draw up a strategy with goals and decide who you’re going to sale to, and what you plan on selling to them. Then you make a detailed plan that describes how to go about doing it all.
Quality & Quantity- A common question in social media and digital marketing involves the comparison of quality vs. quantity. Is it better to have 1,000 followers on Twitter, or have 100 followers that are really interested in what you have to say? Is it better to post five 300 word blog articles per week, or just post two 700 word articles that are really detailed and of a higher quality?
In the end, you need to concentrate on developing the largest quantity of connections that have enough quality to be considered valuable to your endeavors. The same goes for blog posts. Quality is mandatory is you want to succeed online, but you’re subject to diminishing returns. The best article ever written would take 2 weeks to write, but will not offer much more in the way of results that an article that was written in 3 days, but is considered high quality. The value in marketing through social media is dependent on scale; without that scale, you will not generate a very good return on your investment.
ROI- Speaking of return on investment, ROI is the compound measurement of how valuable your marketing really is. The most basic expression of ROI is profit that is a direct result of your campaign divided by the total cost of your investment. If you spent 100$ on a Facebook campaign and made a net profit of 170$ in sales, your ROI is 1.7. It can be expressed in a number of ways, but using profit and cost is a measurement that business owners and executives understand.
In many cases maintaining social media channels is a mandatory part of doing business these days. You will not be able to directly measure all of the benefits that a strong online presence creates; in this case an ROI less than 1.0 can be a positive result. The most telling measure of a comprehensive integrated marketing campaign is whether or not your revenues experience a noticeable increase within a year after launching your campaign. It’s the only way to account for the intangibles, but it is also subject to modifiers not related directly to your campaign.
Sharing– If you want to be social, you need to be sharing. Social networks are made up of small pieces of content created by users. Sharing that content creates goodwill with the creator, and if the content is appreciated, it builds credibility with your followers. You are engaging in a positive gesture on one side, and curating relevant content on the other. Often users will reciprocate sharing. Regardless of anything else, all users will view you more positively if you consistently share other people’s relevant content. It insists that you are nice, helpful and supportive. Sharing is something you can do for free, and the most supportive curators will often share things directly from their competition.
Trust– The foundation of every relationship is trust. Trust is like a mirror, you can fix it if it’s broken, but there will always be a crack in the reflection. Businesses hold all the power because they are privy to things about their product or service that customers are not. Having a customer’s trust means they don’t need to know every single detail in the good faith that you have their interests at heart. Unlike most relationships however, you have to earn the public’s trust before they will return the favor. With mutual trust, you will find it hard to fail in social media.
Up Selling– When you have closed the deal on a sale of your product, the actual selling has just begun. To increase profit margins you need to maximize the value of every customer by offering an upgrade or add-on that is optimized for profit. Microsoft doesn’t make much money from selling the X-box; their profits come from licensing games. If you only have a single product you’re doing a disservice to yourself, and also your customers. There is nothing worse than a customer whose interest is so intense that they want to buy more, and a company whose vision is so short sighted that they cannot give it to them.
Viral– Going viral is like winning the lottery in digital marketing. It’s impossible to engineer, you will not see it coming, and you never know if you’re truly ready for it until it happens. You can however increase your chances by optimizing your content and making sure the appropriate buttons are there so you don’t miss the opportunity when the right person comes across the right content. Let’s just hope your viral experience isn’t one of those marketing screw up lessons. Here is a interview GT.TV did with Paul Christoforo, a guy who went viral after responding unprofessionally to a customer. He was slammed with e-mails and threats for weeks after the incident, and it likely ruined his professional future:
Webinars– Webinars are a favorite of beginners seeking to learn a little bit about a narrow subject without taking a structured class. They depend as much on the reputation of the presenter as they do on the content to succeed.
XML Sitemaps– XML is a format specifically designed for sharing data with web crawlers and applications that are built to do more with a database of content. By using an XML sitemap you can get your posts listed quicker in search engines, and you’ll familiarize yourself with a basic form of semantic indexing, which will likely be a major part of the next Internet evolution.
Yield- How much will this investment return? When your actions are based on business principles, you always want to look for a positive yield.
Zipping- The act of fast forwarding through advertisements during a taped television broadcast. This behavior also occurs when users skip the ads on YouTube videos, disregard sponsorships placed in your content, and unsubscribe from your newsletter immediately after receiving their free gift. Some users do not even notice the ads on Facebook. One major exception is the Super Bowl. When you can make your ads as compelling as the actual content, you’ll significantly improve your reach and conversion rate.