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Archive for August, 2013

Social Media Posts via Third Party Systems . . . or Not

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

In a previous post written last year, we discussed social media automation.  As with most things dealing with the internet, the available options for automating social media have grown significantly since that was written a year ago.  Trainers, consultants, and professional coaches need to carefully weigh their strategy to find the most suitable way of consistently posting to their profiles.

Let’s look at some common options:

No Automation

Some study from last year showed that engagement actually drops when using third party apps to post to social.  While the issue in this article appears to be  resolved the hastag and automates links tend not to draw same credibility of those put directly into a social platform.  The question for trainers, consultants, and professional coaches is does that drop in engagement warrant the extra time necessary to manage all the social profiles manually.

Dedicated Third Party Social Media Managers

A good example of this is Hootsuite.  These applications let you integrate all your social profiles into one account and offer some additional features like tracking.  This can be an efficient way to feed your content out across all the channels and monitor it from one specific place.  The downside is that social users have gotten more sophisticated and telltale ow.ly links are a dead giveaway that your posts likely aren’t intended for a particular target but are being spread out over a broad base.

Email Marketing Platforms

It’s fairly uncommon to find an email marketing platform that does not offer some kind of social media integration tool.  Some are better than others and offer more integration.  For instance, Mail Chimp offers only Facebook and Twitter integration and it’s reliability for scheduled posts is questionable.  The email platforms offer the same telltale giveaways such as constant contact’s #constant contact on every post.  There is a second downside in that links are usually sent to a copy of the email on the email marketing server rather than being directly linked to your website. This means an extra click before your social connections can get to your actual site and is a detriment to your search engine ranks.  The upside is if set up properly it offers consistent social media content with virtually no extra work.

Inter-linking Social Media Platforms

This can be a little more tricky to set up but allows for direct access to at least one social platform while feeding content to other profiles.  Again the links can be a giveaway on the social platforms receiving content but are less obvious.  The down side is that setting this up requires some careful thinking through as mistakes can cause irritating situations like double posting or information not showing on all intended profiles.

 

There are pros and cons to each so decide whether maximum effect or posting efficiency is more important to you.  That will be the key decision on which strategy is best suited for your business.

Are You Excited That You Are Boosting Your Own Web Analytics

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

There is one person who will repetitively visit your website, you.  When consultants, trainers, or professional coaches decide to make online marketing a priority, they often begin checking in on the site to see changes or to inspire ideas.  While that level of engagement is great, it can cause false results on the analytic reports.

The last post was about critically analyzing web analytics and a good example recently came up.  A client was running three separate campaigns to boost site traffic.  The push was set up because they were testing three separate offers to see which call to action created the best conversion. At the end of two weeks the client called and said, “We’ve seen a boost in traffic of 30% this month (roughly 300 more visitors).” While a jump was expected such a marked change so quickly seemed excessive.

So we pulled up the analytics and began reviewing where the traffic came from.  As it turned out, some of the increased traffic was legitimate but about half of it was self-created.  This client had five trainers that were all being asked to provide their input on the calls to action.  As suggestions came in, the trainers would go back to the calls to action pages to review revisions.  Doing this several times resulted in the group creating a false 150 hits.

So why is this important?  The significance of the hits has two primary effects.  The first is that we never want to create false data that guides our decision making.  The campaign did have a good start but it was about a 15% increase.  Making a decision on the calls to action or traffic generating campaigns would not have had true tested data. The second effect is it can skew trends.  At the end of the second two weeks, the increase was just under 25%.  Had we not reviewed the hits it would have appeared as if we had peaked quickly and were now regressing, when in reality we were continuing to see gradual improvement.

For this particular example, the resolution was to implement filters for the IP addresses of the firm’s computers.  But as an illustrative example, it’s a reaffirmation of keeping a close eye on analytics and questioning results that seem overly positive or negative.