How To Audit Your Time - My Journey Towards Blogging Productivity Part 2
How To Audit Your Time – My Journey Towards Blogging Productivity Part 2

How long are you spending on digital marketing each week? You can guess or you can know.

This is part two in a series of podcasts and posts on getting ahead with your blog content. Last week I set the challenge. This week I’m measuring time.

How long do we actually spend on digital marketing?

People ask me this question all the time and I tend to fumble the answer. I don’t want to lie but I don’t actually have the statistics.

I think I spend a day a week on content but is that true? If I’m going to get ahead with my content I need to know the answer. I also want to know where on earth all that other time is getting spent.

Find out how I got on this week including my audio diary



Where I am now:

Good routine

Last week my sister in law revealed that she thought I worked in my PJ’s. I was horrified. I’m 12 years into running my own business and I’d say I probably work in my PJ’s maybe four days a year, usually because I’m sick.

No, I like most workers have a daily routine.

I get up at 6am, I shower, dress, have breakfast, read the social media news and I’m sitting at my desk at 7.30am.

I take a lunch break and try and finish work by 7pm

The routine has been crucial for keeping me productive. If you don’t have a daily routine yet, implement one, it’s going to help your productivity no end.

Working space

When I started my first business I had a laptop sized space on a desk. Stuff, cluttery stuff (not mine) surrounded me. I’ve grown over time and now I have a room in my home. I have a big desk that is almost empty. I have space to think and work and more importantly, I can close the door at the end of the day and switch work off.

It’s good for my head and it’s great for my productivity. My office is where I go to work and that’s it. I installed a PlayStation here two years ago but I think I’ve only used it once since I did.

This isn’t a space for non-work related fun.

If you can’t find space in your home look for co-working space elsewhere. You’ll always be more productive if you have an allocated working area.

Break times

It’s so easy to skip lunch. I know office workers who sit at their desks for lunch but I try to get out of my four walls for at least 1/2 an hour a day. Going for a walk, getting a bit of shopping, even eating in a different room will reset my brain. I come up with some of my best ideas over lunch.

It’s easy to think you don’t have time for lunch or a break but your productivity will go up, you’ll procrastinate less if you switch off for even a short time during the working day. If you haven’t tried it yet give it a shot.

The goal

If I want to achieve my goal I need to write one blog post a day for the next 2 weeks.

A series like this is handy, I already made progress. I wrote a chunk of this the week before publication and I’m finishing it two days ahead. It’s not a lot but it’s better than my recent last minute rushing.

To see how I can find time in my week to write content I first need to find out how much time creation is already taking.

Enter, the time sheet

Use the timesheet to audit your time
Use the timesheet to audit your time

How long do tasks actually take?

It seems like this would be an easy question to answer but I know I’ve been getting it wrong. I plan my day every day, I allocate chunks of time to tasks yet I still seem to be behind schedule by lunchtime. The only way that you can actually know how long you are spending doing tasks is by timing them.

I created a timesheet to keep a record of the time spent. I have become a slave to the stopwatch on my phone that keeps a record of the time I’ve spent.

The timesheet I’ve created contains 5 Columns

  • Task: The task at hand
  • Allocated Time: How long I thought it would take
  • Actual Time: How long it really took (timed using the stopwatch on my phone)
  • Distractions: What got in the way of me doing it faster. Include procrastination, unexpected phone calls, interruptions from the cats here
  • Category: At the end of the week I want to know how much time I spent on marketing, work prep, paid work, admin etc. So I’m giving each task a category.

There’s a section for additional tasks completed and how long they take. I added this because some days I’ll have a task from an email to complete that I hadn’t planned or I’d suddenly find some time to do an additional task, it all needs to be measured.

I create a new form every morning and pin it on my wall. The plan is to run this system for a working week so I can assess my time better.

Problems

The first issue that I encountered was that I was rushing. I saw the time as a challenge and was working really hard to get stuff done in that time. It’s great to be hyper-productive like that but just like a crash diet is unsustainable.

It’s not possible to keep going at that pace. It’s the tasks that I think about and spend time on that I do best. I had to take a step back.

The purpose of the timesheet wasn’t for me to work faster, at least not yet, it was to know how long tasks actually took.

Once I slowed down I settled into the system. I’m happy logging my time at a sustainable pace.

If you’re interested in hearing my blow by blow audio diary on working with the time sheet be sure to listen to the podcast above.


If you want to join the challenge download your timesheet here


What I’ve learned so far

It’s early days but I’ve already started being more efficient. When you are working against the clock you begin to understand how important that time is. I’ve created some checklists, the wall behind my desk is beginning to fill up with them. These ensure I don’t have to go back over and over again to edit something I haven’t completed properly.

My wall is filling with checklists
My wall is filling with checklists

Knowing exactly how long tasks are taking means I’m looking for ways to do the tasks more efficiently. I’d already implemented some systems in my routine tasks but I’m looking at adding more.

How far ahead am I after week one?

Let’s not take our eye off the ball. I’m trying to get a month ahead with content. Currently, I’m 1 day ahead. Not a great step forward but I know after I understand my time better and allocate it better I will get there. My goal for next week is to be three days ahead.

What’s next?

My next task is to map out my week realistically. Now I know how long things take I want to find regular timeslots for them in my working week. We’ll discuss that in next week’s episode.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes here to make sure you don’t miss it.

 

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How To Audit Your Time - My Journey Towards Blogging Productivity Part 2
How To Audit Your Time – My Journey Towards Blogging Productivity Part 2
Facebook Website Conversion Ads Aren't As Complicated As You Think - Go On, Give Them A Try
Facebook Website Conversion Ads Aren’t As Complicated As You Think – Go On, Give Them A Try

Here’s the thing. You can run a Facebook website traffic ad that drives people to your site. But you’ll never really know if they are buying your products, signing up to your mailing list or downloading as a result of your ad unless you use the Facebook pixel.

By adding this little bit of code to your site you can see when someone takes action as a result of your ad. You’ll know if your ads are really working.

I know it seems like a lot of hassle but once you’ve installed it you’ll be annoyed you didn’t do it earlier.

Here’s why

A few weeks ago we looked at the advantages and disadvantages of website conversion ads over lead generation ads. Last week we looked at Lead gen ads in more detail, but there’s a part of me that will always believe that conversion ads are the real deal. The proper way to manage lead collection.

Website conversion ads?

Facebook website conversion ads work by tracking visitors to your website. Facebook will give you a bit of code that you add to your site called a pixel. This lets Facebook see who visits and which pages they look at.

In my case, I’m trying to gain new email subscribers. I’ve created a ‘Thank you’ page on my site that people are directed to once they subscribe. If I want to see if my ads are working, I add a bit of extra code to that thank you page. Facebook will log a conversion each time someone visits that page as a result of clicking on my ad.

What can you measure?

They’re handy for me but they’re vital if you are running an eCommerce site. You’re going to want to measure the monetary effect of your Facebook ads. The Pixel and conversion ads are the perfect fit.

Facebook gives you conversion code for:

  • Search
  • View Content
  • Add to Cart
  • Add to Wishlist
  • Initiate Checkout
  • Add Payment Info
  • Purchase
  • Lead
  • Complete Registration
  • Custom Event (you define its name)

Setting up conversion ads

Setting up a conversion ad is as straightforward as setting up any other ad type in Ads Manager or Power Editor. The hard bit is setting up the pixel. But it’s not actually as complicated as you might think, it’s something you’ll regret putting off.


Do Facebook ads make you tear your hair out? Let us manage your Facebook ads for you. We'll save you time and improve results. Get A Quote Now.

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Here are the basics:

1. Go to ads manager and get the pixel

From ads manager click the three lines at the top of the screen. Expand the menu click ‘All Tools’ at the bottom of the dropdown.

Select ‘Pixels’ under the ‘Assets’ menu

Find your pixel from Facebook ads manager
Find your pixel from Facebook ads manager

If you’ve never set up a pixel, Facebook will help you get started.

If you have created your pixel click ‘Actions’ and ‘View Pixel Code’

Click to view your pixel code
Click to view your pixel code

Copy the base code and install it in the head section of your website. You may need your website developer to assist here.

Copy the base code and add it to the head section of your website
Copy the base code and add it to the head section of your website

Once this is installed Facebook should recognise it.

Now you just need to add the ‘Event code’ that measures conversions to your individual pages. These could be payment confirmation pages for eCommerce or thank-you pages for email signups or lead magnet downloads.

You’ll find the code below your base code.

Add event code to your thank you or payment confirmation pages
Add event code to your thank you or payment confirmation pages

Argh, can I do that on WordPress?

If you are a fellow WordPress user you’ll run into a problem at this stage. You can edit your head code but when you do, it edits the head section on every page, not just the one you want to manage conversions on.

The solution is to use a plugin. There are lots available but if you want to make pixel installation really simple you can’t beat Pixel Caffeine from Ad Espresso. It’s free to use and it will handle not just your conversions but the entire pixel.

I managed to have it up and running in a couple of minutes.

Is this thing on? How to find out if the pixel is working?

If you’ve set up everything correctly you’ll get a big tick on your Pixels page in ads manager

Is your pixel set up correctly?
Is your pixel set up correctly?

If you are a Google Chrome user you can also check individual pages on your site using the FB Pixel helper for Chrome. Once installed you can check the pixel status on any page on your site.

As you can see mine is registering as it should on my thank you page.

FB pixel helper plugin for Chrome
FB pixel helper plugin for Chrome

Setting up a website conversions ad

Your pixel is in place all that remains is to set up an ad. The process is the same as setting up any ad.

Start by selecting the ‘Conversions’ objective.

Choose the conversions objective
Choose the conversions objective

Click inside the ‘Website or Messenger’ box to find your event. Select it from the drop-down menu.

Select your conversion event
Select your conversion event

Continue to create your ads as normal.

Tip – You can measure conversions from any ad type

Website conversion ads are optimised to be targeted at people within your audience that are most likely to take the action you have specified. So, as I’m collecting leads, Facebook will choose the people from my audience who are most likely to fill in a lead form.

However, you can measure conversions from any ad your run. For example. I have a pop-up on my site directing people to my lead incentive. If I’m running a website traffic ad there’s a chance that some of those people will also end up on the thank you page I’m measuring.

To measure these conversions create your ad as usual. Right at the bottom left of the ad creation interface, just before you purchase your ad you have the option to track all conversions from your pixel.

Track conversions from any ad
Track conversions from any ad

That’s it, now you’ll know if you got any conversions as a result of your ad even if that wasn’t what you optimised for.

What’s stopping you?

If you haven’t tried website conversions ad now give them a try. It’s really not as hard to set up as you think and you can measure conversions and results to know you are getting return on investment.

Have you tried conversion ads? How did you get on with the code? Did you see good results? I’d love to hear about your experiences.

 

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Facebook Website Conversion Ads Aren't As Complicated As You Think - Go On, Give Them A Try
Facebook Website Conversion Ads Aren’t As Complicated As You Think – Go On, Give Them A Try
Imagine A World Where You Are Ahead With Your Blog Content
Imagine A World Where You Are Ahead With Your Blog Content

Do you have a time management problem? Do you dream of a time when you get blog content written well in advance? Do you struggle to find time for digital marketing?

If so this week’s episode of the Blogcentric podcast, part one of a series if for you:



Productivity ugh!

Last week I published a blog post I wasn’t happy with, not in a perfectionist way but in a this just isn’t up to scratch kind of way.

I’ve been kicking myself ever since. How could I let my schedule get so out of control again that I’m writing posts at the last minute without time for editing, images, improving?

So this time I mean it. I’m going to get ahead with my blog content. Will you join me in my quest to get a month ahead with your blogging content?

I’ve been doing this job long enough to know that I can’t just decide to do something, things don’t simply happen by wishing they will. You’ve got to have a plan.

So over the next month or so I’m proactively going to work towards better productivity. And hopefully, by listening to this series of podcasts you’ll be able to follow and learn what I learn whilst avoiding any mistakes I make.

I’m going to be recording an audio diary as I go.

I’d also love your ideas and feedback. How do you manage your productivity? Share your ideas with me and I’ll give them a go.

This is part one.

The Small Business Owners Problem

Someone at Social Media Summit last week said.

“Small business owners give up a 40-hour working week to pursue their dream of working a 100 hour week”

(I may be paraphrasing)

It made me laugh out loud. I remember when I decided to start my first business. I imagined it would give me more time off and looked forward to that time off.

I wasn’t entirely wrong, I often do take a lot of holiday days but as you know, those holiday days come at a price. You need to work every hour you can before and after the break.

Small business owners have to:

Service clients to the best of their ability – After all the best marketing is word of mouth. We have to work hard to keep our customers happy so they can tell other people about us.

Do admin – everyone’s favourite part of running a business (yeah, look at my sarcastic face)

Do marketing – We need customers, we have to attract them. That’s what our digital marketing is all about.

Do sales – This could be direct sales or following up leads attained by marketing

Learn – Courses, training, reading. Anything that helps us grow personally within our businesses

We need to find time in our weekly schedule for all this and try and find time for ourselves as well.

Working flat out is a must in the first few years of starting a business but after the grind is over you need to find a work-life balance and that should include looking after your body, your mind and your relationships.

Unbelievably, I used to think that didn’t matter but I was wrong.

My problem

I’ve been working on my productivity for a long time and more intensively since January. I have paper to-do lists, whiteboards, calendars, schedules, goals, strategy, all that stuff people tell you will help.

And I am productive. I turn out a lot of work every week but my to-do lists still seem to be aspirational rather than based on reality. At the end of each day I may be looking at a lot of ticked items on that to-do list but it’s the non-ticked items that keep me awake at night.

And then there’s that blog post last week the one that wasn’t up to scratch. I need to get ahead with content.

I figure if I can nail this, not just my productivity but my time management, I’ll be able to:

  1. Work out a better pricing structure by knowing exactly how long work takes to complete
  2. Eliminate pointless tasks
  3. Find more tasks to outsource to my VA (and others)
  4. Find more downtime

I’m sure I’ll find other benefits along the way

My plan

I’m starting with a goal:

Get one month ahead with blog content

But I’m adding a caveat:

Without sacrificing the quality of client work

Here are the steps I’m planning to take, they may evolve along the way:

1. Measure where I am

I’m doing a time study on myself to see how long it actually takes to do tasks. I have a feeling my estimates are way off.

Once I know where I am I’ll be able to allocate time better and stop overpacking my days with work.

I’ve created a basic timesheet that I’m working from. I’ll talk you through that further in the next episode.

2. Formulate a schedule

Using the data I collect in part one I’ll put together a more realistic weekly schedule. Because I have to travel for work it’s hard to nail a weekly regime but I try and spend Monday and Friday of each week in the office.

I can focus on these days first and then have a floating schedule of tasks that have to be completed on mid week days.

3. Measure

After a month of implementing my new strategy, what results am I seeing? Am I being realistic about my time? Are the fees I charge clients in line with the time I spend with them? What jobs can I outsource?

Is my blog content better? Is it properly edited? Does it pass my strict standards?

4. Review

I already do quarterly content reviews. I’m going to add a productivity review to this by re-implementing stage one.

So are you with me?

Will you join me in the challenge to get a month ahead with content and become a better business along the way? Be sure to subscribe to my podcast.

Don’t forget, I want your input. What strategies do you have? What tools work for you? How do you allocate time? Share them with me and I’ll give them a go.

 

 

Improve your blog. Follow my weekly blogging challenges as I try to create a better blog. Subscribe on iTunes or Subscribe on Stitcher

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Imagine A World Where You Are Ahead With Your Blog Content
Imagine A World Where You Are Ahead With Your Blog Content
25 Productivity Hacking Tools
25 Productivity Hacking Tools

Do you wonder where the day goes? Are you being efficient or are you easily distracted? Productivity tools could be the answer and that’s the topic that guest writer Elaine Rogers tackles in this post.

Being more productive in your business requires skill, practice, and knowledge. The knowledge part is gold. Without it, you have no place to begin. To be more productive involves learning tools, tricks and hacks, and then implementing them in your business in a productive way.

Are productivity tools really more productive?

Signing up to a technical tool doesn’t immediately ensure you are saving time or being more productive.

Firstly, there is a learning curve – that takes time. Time you wouldn’t have normally spent (time is money after all!)

Once the learning is done, things should improve at a faster pace.

Some “cool tools” are what they are – cool to have. They don’t guarantee improvement. For example, if I download and use an app to allow me to take a snap of my receipts for my work expenses, I still need to assign it to a category, possibly manually add the date and amount, and allocate it to the relevant expense column. What did I save there?

Tools and Apps to make your day more productive

Yes, they exist, and we love them! All of the tools I mention below are either free, or have a starter free level that is perfectly adequate to try out the tool before you commit to their premium level.

#1 To Do Lists & Planning

Lists & Planning
Lists & Planning

Still LOVE lists? Cannot be without them? There are many very basic mobile apps that help you while shopping and running errands, but there are also more complex apps that go beyond striking something off your list.

Todoist is a “to-do” list maker, but ventures into task management to allow you to set progress, assign tasks, manage bigger projects, and collaborate. It’s a great starter app. It’s also free! And so are the more sophisticated apps like Trello and Asana. They allow you to project manage your workflows and provide the classic list view, but also more visual displays like boards (Kanban effect), tables, and streams. Zenkit is a new kid on the block that includes mind map type display of projects and tasks – it’s mind-blowing stuff!

#2 Scheduling Calls & Meetings

Working your schedule

When I discovered Calendly, I cried with joy. When you set it up (remember the learning curve I mentioned earlier?) simply add your availability and send your link that allows someone to choose a meeting time that also suits them. It even takes care of the correct time zone for each attendee. No more confusion about UTC, GMT, DST and outer space!

Calendly integrates with Google Calendar and checks for conflicts. I have my iCal and Google Calendar synced, so my Calendly meetings also appear on my desktop calendar. Alternatives to Calendly are Acuityscheduling and Assistant.

Ah, so there are more than just two of you? You need to arrange a meeting with 5 people? No problem, check out Doodle. Doodle simplifies scheduling so much that it’s a doddle!

#3 Productive Procrastination

Productive procrastination
Productive procrastination

Firstly, there are the actual workflow apps to help us collate and curate content into manageable blocks. One cannot talk productivity and not mention Evernote. It’s good for practically everything! It might even launch your next online product if you’re not careful. Then there are the zillion browser extensions that allow us to quickly save time on tasks.

But if you struggle to step away from the keyboard, add a little bookmark called donothingfor2minutes – it encourages you to sit and do nothing with your keyboard or mouse for a full 2 minutes. It’s quite addictive!

Of course procrastination isn’t always a good thing. Here are some tips on preventing it from Elaine’s blog and my own tribute to procrastination day is here.

#4 Productive Workflow

Productive workflow
Productive workflow

Let’s talk about the areas where you are being unproductive without even noticing:

Sign up and Install Rescuetime.

Rescuetime will track your every move on every webpage, app, platform that you visit on your computer. Even the free version is enough to review after a week or two, and see exactly where you are spending your time. You do need a little set up in advance to instruct Rescuetime that certain sites are actually productive time for you and not wasted time. For example, if you use FB mostly for work, working on campaigns etc. then this would be productive time for you, right?

Once Rescuetime highlights the areas where you are spending too much time, you can make changes to improve your productivity on your PC, laptop, tablet, and smartphone.

Also, if you were ever curious to know exactly how long it takes you to do a certain task (like scheduling your week of SM posts), you can install Toggl or another tracking app to literally time yourself. It can be quite revealing! I use Toggl to time tasks so I can accurately project up (and price) groups of tasks.

If you need a timer that you can set as a stop watch, you can book mark a great little app called timer-tab – it provides a countdown, alarm clock, and stop-watch all in one.

#5 Use Zen to help you be more creative

Creative Zen
Creative Zen

Writeroom provides a calm and clean writing environment to write in – great for throwing blog drafts together, or fleshing out some good creative copy. It’s very retro so it’s fun to use as well as productive!

Written Kitten (I cannot NOT mention this as I know Amanda loves it) rewards you with a kitten (or puppy or bunny) image every 100 words. Would it encourage you to write more? Too cute!

Zenwriter is great if you struggle to avoid your SN tabs when trying to write. Zenwriter basically takes over your screen and discourages distraction, and encourages creative writing. How Zen! (it also allows limited formatting, so it’s not completely distraction-free!)

forestapp.cc is a winner for its cuteness score. It promises you will stay focused and be present. It will “save you from Internet addiction.” You and I need this!

#6 Use Zen to make you more productive

Productive Zen
Productive Zen

Maybe it’s not the workspace, perhaps you need your wrist slapped to prevent you from sneaking onto FB while you pretend you are looking up Thesaurus. You can add a browser extension called Strict Workflow. It works on the Pomodoro technique and blocks out SN and other sites as you work for 25 mins, and then allows you to check FB etc. for 5 mins. It still requires you to click the tomato though.

When your 5 mins distraction time comes, you could stand up or move away from the pc (or both) and do something completely different. Alternatively, you could bookmark donothingfor2minutes and just sit back, relax, and listen to the waves.

#7 Sleep on it

Sleep
Sleep

If sleeping at night is your problem, or feeling more tired when you wake than when you went to bed, then check out sleepyti.me. It demonstrates when you should either be going to bed, or waking up. It focuses on sleep cycles, not how many hours of sleep you should be having.

#8 Store your passwords

Passwords
Passwords

This is a little tricky, as recently, Lastpass has just had an attack on their systems. However, it doesn’t prevent me from using their amazing service. You can store passwords, form entries, and other sensitive information (software licence info, etc.) in one place that you can access via one master password. No more stickies on your monitor!

Lastpass will also generate strong passwords for you, which means you are technically safer. And your info is stored in the cloud instead of on your hard-drive, which is theoretically safer.

For many it’s a personal choice. There are alternatives like 1Password.

#9 CRM and processes

CRM and process
CRM and process

A great way to improve your productivity in your business in general is to automate certain processes. Client on-boarding is currently a popular area to address and there are new tools and platforms coming out daily.

For example, it begins at your website:

  • When a contact enquiry comes through – you could automatically add them to a CRM platform and an Email marketing platform (many of these integrate seamlessly – you just need to find the right ones!)
  • You can then send an automated email with a link to set up a scheduled meeting – this gets added to your calendar.
  • Within the confirmation of the appointment, you can add a link to your intake questionnaire (if you use one.)
  • Then the human takes over – you have your meeting/call
  • Resume the automation with contract, invoice, and welcome pack.
  • Then you do some work!

When choosing any of these tools, it’s important to think about your overall strategy, and not just look at the features of the individual tool.

Many platforms can be integrated seamlessly, while others will require a “bridge” with tools like IFTTT or Zapier.

#10 LinkedIn

LinkedIn
LinkedIn

Never discount LinkedIn as a power tool to increase your productivity. Once you have a strong profile, LinkedIn can work as an amazing inbound marketing tool. The platform has become more social (to the annoyance of some) and allows for more interaction. If you use LinkedIn as a marketing tool rather than a storage space for your CV or portfolio, you will reap the benefits.

It begins with a strong profile, relevant keywords, and building on the KNOW-LIKE-TRUST factor by providing good articles in Pulse, interacting on others’ posts, adding value to groups where your clients hang out, and being helpful.

#11 Bonus Automation Hack

Bonus hack
Bonus hack

If you write a timeless blog post (that will be relevant for at least 12 months) you can set up a campaign over a year to share that blog post on your social networks.

Missinglettr is a cool little app that monitors your blog and creates an automatic campaign after you publish a blog post, complete with hashtags, images, and quotes, all taken from the blog post itself! The campaign arrives in your inbox for review, and you have a campaign promoting your blog post for a year.

Hidden uses for productive tools

Get out of your box for this one. Just because an app claims it does one specific thing doesn’t mean it’s exclusive.

For example

  • I use Google Calendar and Zapier to create auto-scheduled tweets of my blog posts for twitter.
  • I use Asana Boards to create my social networking #hashtag strategy for FB Groups – it’s amazing!
  • I use Zenkit for my rebranding and website redesign.
  • One of my clients uses Evernote to write her blog posts.

It can be the little changes that make a big difference. I hope this post has provoked some thinking around how you can improve on the processes and systems you have in place. There are literally 1000s of apps available to do so many things. How I discover my treasures is to simply ask in my communities! Then research, and double check for integration possibilities.

Are you tired now? There’s a nap for that too!

Share your favourite productivity app with us so we can try it out. Tell us how it improved your business workflows, and helped you become more productive…


Elaine Rogers - The Smart VA
Elaine Rogers – The Smart VA

Elaine is a pain reliever (so her clients tell her!) She provides virtual support and online business management services to entrepreneurs around the world. She loves tech and making things connect online. You’ll find her hanging out at TheSmartVA.


 

 

 

 

Join the free community for Small Business Bloggers On Facebook, meet other bloggers, share and learn.

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The Tools Of Productivity - 25 Hacks To Make Your Business Run Smoothly
The Tools Of Productivity – 25 Hacks To Make Your Business Run Smoothly
What Is A Facebook Lead Gen Ad Anyway?
What Is A Facebook Lead Gen Ad Anyway?

I can’t really understand why more businesses aren’t using Facebook Lead-Gen ads. Or if they are they aren’t targeting me with them.

Lead-Gen ads help you capture information, like an email address or a phone number, from your Facebook audience so you can market or sell to them later.

The Problem With Selling On Facebook

As we know, Facebook is a social network, people go there to see what their friends are up to or share their own stories with friends and family. Some people will like our page and will enjoy seeing updates from our business. Some will even want to buy what we have.

But there’s a problem. Even if they see our ad and want to buy we will rarely be capturing them at the right time. Think about it, if you are browsing your Facebook feed you may not be ready to buy that pair of shoes, software, gadget that you want. You see it, you might be interested but perhaps you’re on a bus and getting your credit card out then and there would be inconvenient.

Maybe you haven’t been paid yet so although you really want that thing you can’t afford it until payday.

When you are ready to buy the ad is gone and you can’t find it. The moment has passed.

So when we advertise we have to realise that not every customer is going to be ready to buy. We should invest some of our advertising budget in lead capture.

There are two types of lead capture ad you can run on Facebook. In this post we’ll look at Lead Gen ads, in the next we’ll look at conversion ads.

Lead Gen Ads?

Lead Generation ads are and ad type that allows users to complete a form on Facebook relating to your business. You can then use this information to add them to a lead nurture sequence or to advertise to them again later on.

They’re great if you’ve created a lead magnet that you want to use to build your email marketing list, they’re also great if you are running a contest and want more that a bit of engagement on a post. Imagine instead of an empty like or comment you got a potential customer from your competition that you can sell to over time.

The nice thing about Facebook lead-gen ads is that you can get started straight away, there’s no messing with code on your site.

 


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What you’ll need

1. A privacy policy on your site

I know, I know I said you didn’t need to fiddle with code on your site but you do need a privacy policy. You should have one of these already. If you don’t you can use this site to create one in a couple of minutes.

You’ll need to link to this as part of the ad creation process.

2. Graphics

Like any ad you run on Facebook it’s a good idea to split test images. Create at least 3 images so Facebook can split test them for you.

The ideal size for the images you use in lead-gen ads is 1,200 x 628. If you use Canva for your graphics that’s the standard Facebook ad size.

3. At least one qualifying question you want to ask

One of the benefits of Facebook lead-gen ads is that Facebook will autofill the name and the email address of the person completing the data. Although this is useful for getting quick entries the email address is the one the user logs into Facebook with. Many people, myself included, don’t use their main email address for this purpose. You could be wasting your time following up on that address.

To avoid getting dud addresses I recommend adding an additional question asking for the ‘Work email address’. This is one of the default questions Facebook lets you add.

On top of this, you might want to ask a qualifying question so that you know if the lead is worth following up.

For example, if you are targeting people within a specific county in Ireland you could ask entrants which county they live in. If you are targeting parents you might ask them how old their child is.

Setting up your Facebook lead-gen ads

I’m a great one for procrastinating over setting up the lead-gen ads. I always imagine creating that form will take ages. Once I get stuck into it I’m always pleasantly surprised by how quickly it happens.

To set up the ad choose the ‘Lead Gen’ objective when setting up your ad in Ads Manager or Power Editor.

Choose the 'Lead Gen' objective when setting up the ad
Choose the ‘Lead Gen’ objective when setting up the ad

Start constructing your ad as usual. When you reach the last section you’ll be prompted to set up your form.

Add a Lead Gen form at the end of the ad creation process
Add a Lead Gen form at the end of the ad creation process

Watch the video below to see how to create the form.

Finding entries

When people fill in the form the entries are compiled on the back end of your Facebook page. You’ll need to be a full page admin to access this data.

On your Facebook page click ‘Publishing Tools’ and select ‘Forms Library’ on the left-hand side. This will display all your active forms. You’ll see the number of entries next to each one.

Find your lead gen entries on the publishing tab of your Facebook page
Find your lead gen entries on the publishing tab of your Facebook page

If you have new entries click ‘Download’ to download a CSV file. This file will open in excel or you can import it into your email marketing software.

Download all leads or just those gathered since your last download.
Download all leads or just those gathered since your last download.

You will be given the option to download all leads or just the new leads since your last download. From here you can also integrate your form with your CRM (customer relationship management) or email marketing tools.

There are a number of CRM integrations available including Mailchimp. However you need to connect Mailchimp via third party tool Zapier and there is a cost involved in this.

Summary

I’m a big fan of lead gen ads and they can provide a cost effective way to capture data from your audience. Remember, they may not be ready to buy when they see your sales ads, this way you can add them to a lead nurture sequence or retarget them with more Facebook, other social or even search ads later on.

If you haven’t tried them yet give them a go and let me know how you get on.

 

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You Know What? You Really Should Try Facebook Lead Gen Ads
You Know What? You Really Should Try Facebook Lead Gen Ads
How to create content at conferences
How to create content at conferences

Events and conferences can be amazing both for learning and relationship building but how can you create content at and around the events you attend?

That’s what we’ll look at in this week’s podcast.



I’m just back from a conference, the Sage Summit in London, and before that, I was just back from a conference in San Diego. Can you guess what I’m doing this week? You got it, going to a conference.

Conferences and events are great opportunities for content creation. You’ll find yourself packing your learnings into your content schedule for weeks, even months to come.

I still look back at my notes from Inbound in 2015 and the Content Mastery Summit last year when I need inspiration and over the last few weeks I’ve packed notebooks full of notes.

But it’s the content we create at conferences, whilst on the go that can have the best results.

Why create content at conferences?

1. Relationship Building

As you know, I can be a shy networker at times. Having a content plan and project can help you break the ice. You could talk to people and ask them to share an insight with you. Or if you find a good conversation ask if you can capture it in a live video.

Krishna De did this effectively at the Sage Summit when she shot this Live relating to a panel on Diversity we were about to attend.

2. Be Remembered

We’ll talk about apps you can use and creating a conference style for your images later on. Doing this means that when people see your images pop up in their feed the know they are yours.

3. Fill your content calendar

I alluded to this already but if you learn something, pass it on. Your readers will appreciate that you are sharing the knowledge you’ve picked up.

4. Reaching beyond your own audience

If you create a content project and get attendees, speakers and the organisers involved you’ll be able to extend your reach beyond your own followers.

How to create conference content

Planning

How do you plan your content in advance, how do you create it, what should you bring with you and what apps should you use?

Plan your day

Most conferences have an app or release the agenda in advance. Make a list of who you want to see and second choices for if you can’t get in the room.

Who do you want to meet?

If you can get a list of attendees in advance you’re at an advantage. If not follow the event hashtag on Twitter and Instagram and make a note of the people who are planning to go.

Are there specific people you want to meet? Can you connect with people who share a passion with you? For example, at Social Media Marketing World we organised a dinner for attendees who were excited about facebook advertising.

You could do the same and approach some of the people you meet for a short interview afterwards.

Do you have a content project?

I like to have a project whilst I’m at a conference. At both Social Media Marketing World and Sage Summit I created video.

At Social Media Marketing World I chose a topic everyone was talking about. How long it took us to travel. I approached everyone I met and cut it together into a short video.

How Long?


At SageSummit, assisted by fellow blogger Joanne Dewberry I made a more quirky video as we tried to tie down one of the speakers. Dragon Deborah Meaden.

Where’s Deborah?

Having a topic makes it easier to start creating straight away.

Making space

It’s just terrible when you go to take a photo and your phone says no, no space. By the time you delete something you’ll have missed the moment.

Clear off your phone before you arrive. If you are an iPhone user like me you’ll need to clear your deleted photos before it frees space.

List the Twitter handles of speakers and key attendees

Prepare this in advance and save it to your notes application. it will make it much easier to tag when you can just copy and paste.

Equipment

This is my kit bag (shot live on Twitter)

Apps

If you want a memorable online presence at an event create a house style for your visual content. This is my process:

1. Take a photo with your fancy camera

You can use this later on in your blog posts.

2. Take a lot of photos of each speaker with your phone

In most cases you will need to use your digital zoom here but don’t worry, I have a secret weapon that means even a very low res image can still look great.

3. Use PS Express (iPhone and Android)

This is a cool app that lets you crop, edit and filter photos on your phone. Us the same filter each time to get the consistent look.

4. Use Prisma (iOS or Android)

This is my secret weapon. Prisma is an art filter app. It makes your images look like paintings. Because it alters the image so much poor quality images can look great once the filter is added.

Choose one filter that you will use for all your conference photographs.

5. Keep a note of speaker quotes

I use a pen and paper for this but if you prefer you can use the notes application on your phone. You will overlay these quotes on your images later.

6. Add quote overlay using Adobe Spark Post (iOS only) or Wordswag (iOS or Android)

I like adobe spark because you can copy the template from your last image and use it again. Once I’ve created my image I can just swap out the image and text to create a new version.

7. Share

Now you’ve created the image share it on Twitter or Instagram. I created daily Instagram swipe posts for Social Media Marketing World and Sage Summit and tweeted the individual images as I created them.

The finished image
The finished image

Don’t forget to tag the speakers and add the event hashtag when sharing.

After the event

When creating content at an event the emphasis is always on speed. You need to get it out there fast whilst people are paying attention.

Your after conference content can be created with more thought. Look at what you made on the day and think about how you could repurpose it.

1. Video content

Did you make a video? If so can you transcribe it and make it into a blog post?

2. Visual content

Curate the quotes you collected into a blog post telling your readers why each resonated with you.

Use those quote photos you created and make them into a SlideShare. You can embed this in a post or simply share it on social media.

You can make a video from your quote photos using the Flipagram app.

3. Pick a theme

What was the theme of the conference for you? Was it networking, the future of your industry, diversity,

Choose something and make that the heart of your blog post on the event. Once you have the theme find two or three highlights from the conference that tie into that theme.

Your Task

Next time you go to a conference think about the content you can create. You’ll find it helps you build relationships and it will give you great ideas that you can share with your audience.

What’s the best bit of content you’ve created at or about an event you’ve attended? Leave me a link below, I’d love to see it.

 

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How to create content at conferences
How to create content at conferences
Facebook Lead Gen Ads v Conversion Ads - Which Should You Use?
Facebook Lead Gen Ads v Conversion Ads – Which Should You Use?

There are so many ad types available on Facebook that opening ads manager and browsing can be daunting. 

Which type of ad should you run? There’s: brand awareness, reach, traffic, engagement, app install, video view, lead generation, conversions, product catalogue sales, store visits and every time you log in there seems to be another.

One choice you’ll have to make if you want to capture email addresses, phone numbers or if you want people to complete a form is whether you should use:

1. Lead Generation Ads – You create a form within Facebook that your audience completes
2. Website Conversions – Your audience visits your website and completes a form on site. Facebook measures the number of people who complete that action (convert) via a bit of code you add to your site (pixel).

Let’s find out:

Lead Generation ads

I’m a big fan of Lead generation ads. They are simple to set up, my client doesn’t have to do anything special to their site to enable them so we can get started straight away.

Here are the advantages:

1. No code required

Installing the Facebook Pixel (that enables lead conversion ads) is a complex process. You need to activate the code and work out how to add the various parts of it to your site.

Although there are some cool tools available that can help you install the code it’s so much quicker just to set up a Lead Generation ad. All you need is a link to your privacy policy, an image and a list of questions.

2. No need to leave Facebook

You’ve probably noticed that there’s a problem with links on Facebook. When you click a link from your mobile device it takes a long time, a really long time to load. In many cases you probably abandon the link before it opens fully. You may even be reluctant to click links in the future because of the load time.

Lead generation ads operate within Facebook. Instead of sending your audience off-site everything happens on Facebook. Your audience clicks the ad, the form opens, some fields (including name, email address and phone number) are auto-populated with information from their Facebook account. And that’s it. Simple. You’ve got a lead

3. Cheaper results

Who doesn’t want cheaper ads? The cost per acquisition (form filled) for lead gen ads is significantly cheaper than conversion ads. Possibly because you aren’t losing people to the slow loading website.

Website conversion ads

1. Site Visitors

Facebook is greedy, it wants to keep your website visitors for itself, that’s why Lead Gen ads exist. If you can drive traffic to your own site there are some significant advantages.

You can retarget your website visitors with Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and search ads. This allows you to follow your site visitors around the web.

If you are using a customer relationship management (CRM) tool like Hubspot or Wishpond (to name just two) you can track your subscribers activity on your site and market to them accordingly.

2. More reliable leads

Because Lead Gen ads are so seamless it’s almost too easy for Facebook users to complete them. Some users even manage to complete them by accident.

When people come to your site the quality of the lead, their relevance and interest in what you are doing is usually better. But don’t take my word for it, test it for yourself.

3. Integrates with your own CRM or email marketing software

You can link your lead gen forms to CRM or email marketing software but it takes a bit of work. If you are a Mailchimp user there’s also a cost involved as it connects via a third party service. When you send people to your site to complete a form the information goes straight into your system.

Which should you use? Lead Gen or Conversion Ads?

Lead gen ads are best for users who don’t have a CRM built into their website and who are unable to install the Facebook pixel immediately.

If you do choose this ad type be sure to add at least one custom question to your form to discourage accidental entries.

Conversion ads are better if you are running a cross-platform campaign (where you build an audience from Facebook website visitors and retarget them elsewhere). Or if you use a CRM where you can track the behaviour or your website visitors.

But don’t take my word for it. Test. Create two campaigns, one with each objective and see which one delivers the best quality leads.

 

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Facebook Lead Gen Ads v Conversion Ads - Which Should You Use?
Facebook Lead Gen Ads v Conversion Ads – Which Should You Use?

 

 

Live From The Airport - The Social Media Marketing World Debriefing
Live From The Airport – The Social Media Marketing World Debriefing

What did we learn at Social Media Marketing World?

I grabbed Maryrose Lyons from Bright Spark Consulting and Kate McQuillan from Pet Sitters Ireland at LA airport on our way home and we discussed some of our highlights from the event.



Mark Schaefer

Mark Schaefer telling us how to be Known
Mark Schaefer telling us how to be Known

Mark was one of my fist interviews on this Podcast, we all attended his session and some of our top quotable moments were from his speech.

He talked about how we can become ‘Known’ not famous and that’s the topic of his latest book (affiliate link). We’re not his only fans you should have seen the queue to get books signed and selfies after his presentation.

Maryrose reminds us of one of his most amusing analogies. Auntie Maude in Iowa who you know you should visit, feel guilty for not is LinkedIn.

Marcus Sheridan

Marcus Sheridan - Content that gets you sales
Marcus Sheridan – Content that gets you sales

Kate talks about Marcus and his session that outlined the types of blog posts you should be writing to capture people at the point of purchase.

He also shared case studies of clients who had followed his method.

Marcus was also a guest on this very podcast.

Larry Kim

Larry has been a favourite blogger of mine for a while but I missed his presentation. Luckily Maryrose attended and was able to share his method for content promotion.

He recommends auditioning content on Twitter and only picking the best from there to promote on Facebook. His term for top performing content is Unicorn and badly performing content is Donkey.

Pat Flynn

Pat Flynn - Creating HIT podcast episodes
Pat Flynn – Creating HIT podcast episodes

I was inspired to record this podcast at the airport after attending Pat Flynn’s session. He gave us a list of podcast ideas that could attract more listeners. Only time will tell if you listen to this one more than the others.

Ian Cleary

Ian Cleary on measuring digital marketing success
Ian Cleary on measuring digital marketing success

ROI and measurement are the focus of many small businesses now. We need to know that our efforts are improving our sales.

Ian talked us through the tools we can use to measure our online success. Using his PRISM system he broke the tools into sections, each representing a stage in the sales funnel.

I talked to Ian about PRISM in a previous episode.

Ian agreed to share his presentation with you. You can request a copy here.

Did you enjoy this podcast format?

I’d love to hear your thoughts and if you did we might do another in the future.

 

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Live From The Airport - The Social Media Marketing World Debriefing
Live From The Airport – The Social Media Marketing World Debriefing
A Better System for SEO: An Interview With Fresh Banana's Ray Field
A Better System for SEO: An Interview With Fresh Banana’s Ray Field

What can you do on your website to appear higher in search rankings? How can you find keywords now that keyword planner is pay to play? What is a long tail keyword anyway?

Ray Field from FreshBananas, an ex-fireman built his first website in 1996. 1996, I’d only been in Ireland a year then and was still writing long letters to my friends and family back home. I didn’t even get my first email address until the following year.

He had a lucky break and his first website secured a big contract for his client. He decided he needed to understand why her site ranked so high to he could apply the principles to other sites. Over an 8 year period taught himself SEO (search engine optimisation). Now SEO is his thing.

I talked to Ray about SEO, how to make sure your page sustains a good ranking on Google, a hack to get around the new restrictive access to keyword planner and a useful process for testing keywords.



Ray has launched an online SEO course that focuses on on-page SEO. I took the course and found it so helpful I became an affiliate. Find out more about it here.

I started by asking Ray why he’d developed his SEO course

About 10 years ago I had the notion of documenting what I do because what I do is different to what most SEOs do. Most SEOs work on links and I don’t because when I was teaching myself SEO it was all about words on pages. I did that small website for that catering company in 96 and there were no links. That fluke, and it was a fluke wasn’t down to links. It was whatever was on the pages was affecting the rankings.

The client didn’t give me copy or images so I read, I went to the library, I became a little bit knowledgeable about catering and I put the words on the pages.

So I put the words on the pages so I thought, it’s got to be the words and then I got to realise that it’s got to be where I’m using those words. So that’s where I’ve stayed. I don’t build links but most SEOs do. And that is one of the big problems with the industry.

I know a lot of other bloggers are getting most of their traffic from Facebook and Twitter. Should we still bother with SEO?

I think we need to bother because we need to look at and try to embrace any marketing channel we possibly can.

If someone is doing well on social media, if someone is earning a fair bit, a well worth wage on social media, then there’s every chance that if they look at another channel to market themselves they can double that.

The other thing with SEO is that if you don’t do anything dodgy in the way that you manipulate Google you can be there (on page one of Google) for years. I’ve worked for a lot of clients and I can still randomly check keywords that I worked on 10 years ago, 12 years ago and they are still on page one. I haven’t touched that site in 10 or 12 years but they’re still there.

A common comment I get from people is that they’re on page 14 for a keyword so they are ranking around 140-160.

They’ll say to me that ‘my page is targeting this keyword’ but when I look it’s not targeting the keyword it’s mentioning the keyword which is different to targeting it. They’re talking about it but incidentally. They’re talking about other things in the copy and on the page that makes Google think that it’s not a dedicated page on any particular keyword.

Google can’t work out what the page is about so it gives it a poor ranking.

Boris is an interior designer who wants to target bulk orders with developers. Where should he start?

What he should do is make some simple checks to determine the popularity of some of his keywords.

His first step would be to go to Google’s keyword planner. You need to have an active AdWords account.

Is there a minimum spend on that AdWords account?

I don’t think there is. What I do is I pick a keyword that is really cheap if someone clicks on my ad and where there’s very little monthly search activity. So my ads might show 30 times a month, I might get two clicks and a click is one pound.

Even if I spend £10 a month Google opens up and gives me accuracy with keyword planner.

The other thing that people can do which is even cheaper again is to make sure that the bid price that they are setting for the bid on the ad positions the ad lower down. The bottom of the page will do.

We’re trying to discourage people from clicking. We’re just running the ad to get the use of Keyword planner.

Boris is in keyword planner now. He’s set up an ad to get full access. What’s next?

First of all, he looks at how many interior designers work in his locality because they’re the guys he’s wanting to get talking to. They can move his carpets, his sofas in much bigger numbers.

If he wants to reach them, and if he’s in London for example, he’s needing these designers not just to see his website but to come in and talk to him. So he needs to look for the interior design companies based in London.

In Keyword planner he types in ‘Interior designers London’. He looks at how many people type that in, he looks at those designers and then he looks at the price Google suggests for the click of a link on an AdWords ad.

Now he creates the ad, uses wording in the ad that is talking to these interior designers. Before he sets the ad live he then creates a page on his website, he frames the copy the way he wants to talk to the designers because it’s not a page that’s going to rank for the keywords.

Once he’s got the page up he’d put a contact form, make sure his address and phone number are on it. Make sure that information is in an easy to see place on the page.

Once he’s created the page and the ad he could be live easily within an hour. That’s a simple initial step that he can do.

This is just the testing phase. If he finds that the ad is working then he needs to SEO that page for those keywords. Get it to rank and then he can stop the ads.

If he’s done it the right way, that page would sit on page one ranking for years.

If Boris identifies a few keywords that work should he bring those all together into one page?

That entirely depends on the relationship between the bunch of keywords he’s got. If he’s got a couple of keywords directly related to ‘interior designers London’ but he’s found a bunch of other keywords that step away from them his success will be dependent on how far away those second set of keywords are to his first bunch.

Just to give an example, not related to Boris.

A client asked me a while back to SEO her website for ‘VAT Calculators’. It’s a simple page with a simple online tool. I SEOd the page for ‘VAT Calculator’ but when I was doing the keyword research I realised that lots of people type in a very wide variety of other keywords and all those keywords are very highly related to the one keyphrase ‘VAT Calculator’.

So I could create a page that ranked for a high number of keywords because they were very highly related. (Just look at this spreadhseet – That’s 293 Keywords Ray found for his client kashflow.com).

If you’ve got that kind of relevance between a wide bunch of keywords then it’s absolutely doable to create a page of copy and target all of those.

In an average Google day it usually sees between 25% and 33% of keywords that have been typed in that have never been typed in before.

When Google sees a keyword it’s never come across before it’s got to attach it to web pages.

So Boris can absolutely target a bunch of keywords but they’ve got to be related. If there are any other keywords people type into Google, directly related to the keywords Boris wants to target, that he hasn’t noticed then Google will make up for that shortfall because it has to attach keywords to particular pages.

Is there any specific trend we should be looking at in 2017 SEO wise?

It’s the same one that comes up every year. Be extremely careful if you are looking for link-based SEO because Google is really hammering that now.

Before you give us your challenge can you explain the term ‘Long Tail Keyword’ because a lot of people won’t know what it means?

Let’s talk about a Dyson vacuum cleaner. If someone is looking to change their vacuum cleaner has packed up and they go looking online for another one.

What we all tend to do at the start is what we call ‘browser-based searches’ where we type in the word ‘Dyson’. We get Dyson popping up at number one because we typed in the brand name. We get tens of thousands of other pages all selling Dyson products. Because we’ve never had a Dyson cleaner before we’re not sure if it’s for us and we’re not sure if we are going to go for a Dyson what model.

We type in Dyson and from that search we spend hours over the period of a week or so looking at Dysons, getting the feel for if we want one that you drag along, the cylinder models, one that’s got a big handle on it or whether you want the battery operated one so you don’t have a cable. We generally look for information based searches.

Once we’re armed with the information, we then change the keywords we type into Google. We no longer type in ‘Dyson’ we go for long tail searches. Long tail searches are far more specific and people are ready to buy, they have the credit card out on the desk.

Long tail keywords for Dyson might be:

  • Cheap Dyson DC25 cleaner
  • Dyson multi-floor hoover

Then the buyer will pick maybe ‘This site has the best out of the nine on page one of Google’ and does the website look like it’s trustworthy?

There’s a big difference between primary competitive keywords and long tail keywords but the sales are at the long tail end.

Challenge

To get into the swing of long tail keywords. Go do some research and come up with 10 long tail keywords for:

1. Flying lessons
2. Villas Majorca
3. Chandeliers

Find out more about Ray’s excellent online SEO course here (affiliate link). I’ve done it and I learned a lot.

 

 

A Better System for SEO: An Interview With Fresh Banana's Ray Field
A Better System for SEO: An Interview With Fresh Banana’s Ray Field
How To Score Your Social Networks So You Know Which Ones To Use For Your Business
How To Score Your Social Networks So You Know Which Ones To Use For Your Business

What social networks should you be using to promote your business? How do you choose the ones that will be most effective for you?

Do you ever get that feeling that you are doing too much? You’ve updated Instagram, now Facebook, now Twitter, what about Snapchat? Have you looked at LinkedIn recently? What about that new site everyone is talking about?

Your mind is all over the place. You need to run your business but how will people know you are here unless you keep on top of your social networks? If you stop posting your blog posts to Reddit will people stop reading?

I’ve been there. My head spinning, my anxiety rising… and all over a few posts online.

Marketing our blog and business on social media takes time, if we spread ourselves too thin we end up rushing and doing everything badly. That’s why, when we start building a strategy we need to be selective about where we spend our time.

But how do you choose which networks to use and what should you use each for?

How to choose what social networks to use to promote your business



Score your networks

Before we delve deeper I want you to do something. I want you to write a list of all the social networks you are using at the moment. Then I want you to give each one a score out of 5 for how effectively you are using them.

Consider how often you post good quality content, how much you communicate with customers and influential people there and how many sales you have directly made.

Here’s my list:

Score the social networks that you are using most effectively
Score the social networks that you are using most effectively

That’s 6 social networks, it’s no wonder that I’m performing badly on some.

Before you choose which of the networks you should be concentrating on you’ll need to do a bit more work.

Analyse your networks. Which ones will bring you the most customers? It’s easy to get carried away with networks that deliver lots of traffic to your blog but unless those are the right people and they are hanging around on your site for a while, signing up to your newsletter, enquiring or buying you could well be spending your time somewhere else.

For example, I realised that I was wasting my time on StumbleUpon. It was delivering traffic, a whole load of it but it wasn’t the right traffic.

You might have thousands of Instagram followers but unless they’re clicking the link in your bio or clicking the contact button it might not be worth your time spending time engaging with your audience there.

If you’re using social networks already you can take a good look at your Google Analytics to see which ones are working for your business.

Does this change the scores you recorded above?

Knowing your customers

You’re probably getting tired of me saying this, but it is really important that you know and understand your customers. The more you know about them the more accurately you can market to them.

If you haven’t created a persona yet you’ll find more on how to do that in episode 14.

Once you know even the basic information about your customers you’ll have a good idea where to start with your social networking.

Sprout Social just released a report that shows the networks that are most popular with each generation.

It’s not a comprehensive report, LinkedIn isn’t included in the statistics and it’s missing the youngest generation (Generation Z) but there’s some interesting reading there.

For example, it might surprise you that more Millenials are using Facebook than Snapchat?

In fact, no matter who you are targeting online it looks like Facebook is the place to start.

But we can’t just rely on an age group to define our audience. There are always people who succeed on networks we may not expect.

For example Chocolate Johnny (chocjohnny on Snapchat) is extremely successful on Snapchat  and Periscope even though he is far from being a Millenial and his products seem better suited to a Gen X audience.

Does the type of business you have affect your choice?

When I analysed my social networks I felt that my presence was strongest on are Facebook and Twitter. I’m a B2B (a business that targets other businesses) brand so why Facebook?

It can be hard for a B2B business to excel on Facebook and I definitely lag behind some of my customers who are B2C (target consumers) but I do have an audience there.

I work with small businesses. Small business owners use Facebook for business every day so having a strong presence there makes sense. Are my customers likely to share my posts with their friends? Not very often but it’s a good place to meet them and engage with them. My Facebook page and group have been valuable for this and it’s also great for getting readers, listeners and viewers who I can convert into customers. If you also target small businesses it’s well worth looking at Facebook for marketing.

If you are B2B and your target is larger businesses you should still consider Facebook. Are there professional groups you can join? Are the CEOs and decision makers of the companies you work with actively using it?

Of course, LinkedIn is a better fit fo B2B so perhaps that’s where you should spend your time. And don’t forget about Twitter.

For a B2C business, Facebook is a must, beyond that look at Twitter, Instagram and even Snapchat if you have the time for it.

You shouldn’t discount LinkedIn either, it could be a good place to connect with the people who influence your customers.

That’s not helping me narrow my options

So far I’ve just given you a pile of options, I may have even broadened the choice of networks for you.

Now that I’ve done that you’ll need to narrow them down again. Go back to the list you made earlier.

So far you’ve scored the networks you use for how effectively you are using them. You might want to add a few new networks to your list.

The next step is to score them for how closely they fit your audience. Once again give them a score out of 5. 5 being a perfect match 1 being a loose match.

Here’s my list:

Add how effective you are on a network to how well it matches your audience
Add how effective you are on a network to how well it matches your audience

Add the two scores together giving you a score out of 10.

Choose the 3 top scorers.

Or, if you are feeling brave

Choose the 2 top scorers and throw in a wild card like Chocolate Johnny did. Do you want to give Snapchat a try? Or Instagram?

These are the networks you should focus on first.

Try them out for a three month period and then review them to see if they are performing as expected.

What should you use each network for?

If you are going to build a strong strategy for the networks you have chosen you need to define what you are going to use each one for.

This is perhaps the hardest part of building your strategy. Consider the type of customer or the customer persona you are targeting with each, the type of content you will post and the specific goal.

For example, here’s a rough outline of my chosen networks:

Facebook

Page – Share useful information for my target market to consume, promote my blog content
Group – Build a community around small business blogging. Research the problems people have and build relationships with other small business bloggers.
Personal – Share behind the scenes of my day to day life (to a point). Connect with influencers and real life friends and family.

Twitter

Share useful content with my target market, build relationships with my customers and the people who influence them.

LinkedIn

Share more in-depth content that will appeal to marketers.
Build my reputation amongst peers in the industry and make connections with customers and the people who influence them.
Find podcast guests and contributors for my blog.

Overall goal

Build my email list, get people to visit my site so I can retarget them
Use my email lists ad re-marketing ads to sell my products and services

And that’s just the beginning. Get more granular about the type of people you are targeting with each social network. When you’ve done that turn the same process onto your blog and the different types of content you create there.

By focussing on less you will have a better idea of what’s working and what’s not. It’s easier to build a content strategy around the networks you choose and you’ll be spending your time wisely.

I’ve found that concentrating on one network at a time and spending time with it can be an enjoyable experience. I find myself doing better stuff and that horrible feeling of anxiety and overwhelm visits less.

If you need help putting your blogging and social media strategy together I can help so get in touch.

Your Challenge

  • Use the method above to score your social networks
  • Choose three you will focus on for the next three months
  • Decide what you will use each for

Let me know how you get on.

 

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How To Score Your Social Networks So You Know Which Ones To Use For Your Business
How To Score Your Social Networks So You Know Which Ones To Use For Your Business