Here are some of the key takeaways from our content this week, along with actionable steps that you can use right away to help you build your social team's digital strategy and improve your digital marketing results.
Whether you're the Director of Digital Marketing, a Social Media Manager, or the Marketing Manager of an SMB, you'll find something helpful that you can apply to your business right now in our Weekly Digital Marketing Essentials!
Building a Great Social Program Starts with Building A Great Team
As the digital marketing industry is continuing to mature and more businesses are taking social media marketing seriously brands throughout the US and around the world are launching new social media marketing programs every day
If you're in charge of launching a new social media marketing program or revamping a brand's existing efforts, what steps should you take first, and what should you be focused on?
- Start small and build out - As the Marketo article notes, social is often owned in part by multiple teams in a large, global brand, but if you're building a team in any size company that isn't a global giant, you'll want to start out with a small team as you first start to implement your program and decide on strategy, goals, and tactics. At a minimum you'll need a social media manager who can create or curate content, do community management, and start experimenting with social advertising. This person will focus on the daily management of your brand's social media presence, while you focus on building up the program, creating in-roads with other teams that you can work with inside the business, and look for new ways to provide value to the business and individual business units through social.
- Involve executives in your social efforts - I love the idea of a social media governance board, as we talked about last time when discussing the importance of executive buy-in for your social media marketing program, this is a great opportunity to get executives involved directly. If you want the customer insights and feedback that your team will uncover to have an impact on the business, forging this relationship with key decision makers early on and growing it over the life of the program will be essential.
- Empower your team and prioritize growth - As a new leader it can be tempting to make every call and buy into the idea that "If you want it done right, do it yourself." But it is important to delegate to your growing social team. Be sure that you're not just developing your growing program, but also seeing to the growth of your team. Give them new, escalating responsibilities month over month and year after year. No, they're not going to be great at every new task they try right away, but if you invest in your team's development now you'll have a much easier time when your program matures, and you don't have the time or opportunity to be so hands on in the day-to-day.
Social media Management
What Facebook's New Transparent Metrics Mean for You
Facebook recently faced some controversy over the transparency of their advertising metrics, with Procter and Gamble, one of the world's largest and most influential advertisers calling for better standards.
Facebook responded today with new metrics that will help you better understand how your social ads are being seen and interacted with by your target audience.
So what do these changes include, and what do they mean for you?
- Time on screen - In the past Facebook's "impressions" metric has confused many new advertisers, but in the past on Facebook an impression was counted if your ad was loaded in the news feed. Your ad didn't have to actually appear on screen in order to count an impression, it just needed to be loaded and have the potential to be seen if the user keeps scrolling through the feed. Facebook's new metrics will tell you how long your ad appeared on screen (in milliseconds), as well as how long 50% and 100% of your ad were on screen.
- Deeper insights into audience behavior - Thanks to these new metrics you'll no longer need to wonder whether anyone actually saw your ad. Without this key bit of context, impressions as a metric can skew your understanding of an ad's performance. If you're competing for eyeballs with a popular ad targeting audience you'll now be able to understand if people are even seeing your ads (to understand if you're being outbid or if more popular brands with more engagement on their ads are potentially dominating the feed for this target audience already) and you'll also be able to tell how much time people spend looking at your ads. This data gives you more options to experiment with in your ads. If users are scrolling right past your ads without stopping it may mean your image or headline isn't compelling enough to grab their attention. You'll now be able to experiment with factors like these in your ads and then see direct evidence of the impact your variations have on how long your ads are viewed. These metrics will also be more valuable than impressions for brands who want to use social for brand awareness campaigns, as time on screen provides more context on whether your target audience is actually "aware" of your ads at all.
- New Ad Buying Options - In addition to gaining a new level of granularity to the metrics you can already measure, Facebook and Instagram advertisers will also be getting three new buying options later this year.
- Completed-view buying - You'll only pay for views on video ads that were viewed in their entirety. This is a huge change for those leveraging native Facebook video, already one of the most powerful types of content on the platform. Currently native Facebook videos autoplay in the feed without any sound or need for input from the user. Soon you'll have the option of only paying for views where the user stuck around and watched your video through to the end.
- MRC-compliant two-second buying - P&G announced that they wanted to push for wider adoption of the MRC standard in social advertising, and Facebook has promised to implement it. While the Media Rating Council's standard for viewability of digital media is that 50% of a display ad must be on screen for at least 1 second, Facebook will exceed the standard with advertisers using this buying option only being charged when 50% of their ad's pixels are on screen for at least 2 seconds.
- Sound-on buying - Judging by this announcement and reports of Facebook testing ads that autoplay with sound on in their mobile app late last year, it seems that advertisers will have the option of playing ads in the News Feed that autoplay with the video's sound on. So far native Facebook video has relied strongly on text within ads and subtitles, especially on mobile where users are more likely to be in public and not want to view video with sound. This will give advertisers more options for their native Facebook video content, but it is also likely to be a much maligned feature among Facebook users, particularly on mobile.
Improve Your Calls to Action
The ultimate goal of content marketing is to convert readers into customers. In order to do that, we must first capture leads. One of the most effective tools we have at our disposal for driving readers to take action is the call to action, or CTA.
The humble CTA provides direction for users all over the Internet, letting them know which page to visit next and what action they should take.
A strong CTA can help improve your conversion rate and even enhance your user experience for readers visiting your website. However, a weak call to action is a missed opportunity that can hurt sales and frustrate your website's vistors.
How can you spice up your CTAs in order to convert more of your readers into leads and customers?
- Use your action verbs - Your CTAs need to be extremely clear about what you want your readers to do and your choice of words needs to match the action you want them to take. If you want them to download a white paper, don't use a verb like "go see our white paper" or "check out our white paper," instead use "download." "Download our free white paper to learn 6 ways your business can save money doing yadda yadda yadda" is far more compelling and clear than "check out our white paper." Focusing on how taking your desired action helps your potential customers (rather than just you) will also make your CTAs much more interesting to your readers.
- Introduce urgency and scarcity - Just like how putting a product on sale encourages customers to buy when they otherwise wouldn't have, including a sense of urgency in your CTA will encourage your readers to convert now, rather than putting it off and forgetting or coming back in days, weeks, or even months, depending on the offer. Entire industry segments have been built around this concept, like Teespring's short apparel campaigns that have driven $200 million worth of sales since 2012. By introducing scarcity and urgency into your campaign's CTA you can improve conversion rates quickly over a short term.
- Experiment often with your CTAs - Whether it's ad variations in an ad campaign, A/B testing with Google Optimize on your website, or using Google Experiments in Google Analytics to automatically split visitors between different versions of a landing page, the most powerful tool you have at your disposal for improving your CTA's conversion rate is to experiment. Tweak everything from shape, color, position, text, images, etc to find the right combination for each piece of key content you produce. Just be sure to only change one thing in each of your tests so you can measure the impact of each specific change.
What challenges did you face this week in your digital marketing efforts? Your own experiences might be featured in a future installment of our Weekly Digital Marketing Essentials series!