How To Conduct A Social Media Audit

When you first started your business, it was simple.  You had a checking account and it had a few expenses every month, and if you were lucky, some deposits. As Ian Jones from leading Aberdeen based marketing agency, Azzurro Blu now explains, performing a social media audit is one of the most important digital marketing tasks that you need to carry out.

“Today you are trading in social currency.  You may be rich, or you may be poor, but it is the currency of the future whether you like it or not.”

If the IRS came knocking at your young business, you gave them the shoe box of transactions and brewed them some coffee while they sat at your kitchen table and reviewed a whole year’s worth of transaction.  If you have been in business for a while, you know how quickly that changes.  Multiple checking accounts, automatic transactions left and right, loans, credit cards, balance transfers….

For a more mature company, an audit is a hassle if you have to do it yourself.

Social Networking seems just as confusing and out of control as finances can be.  It all started out easy.  No need to keep lots of records, you are just trying out that new social media tool…

Doing taxes, and auditing your own financials is not fun.  But if you were not forced to do it periodically, imagine what a mess you could have after a few years.

Your social media efforts produce important things for you, even if you are not taking full advantage of them.

  1. Connections – Also known as lists
  2. Feeds – via RSS – Avenues to publish information other people see
  3. Access – Permission to publish on other web sites

Much like scheduling auto-payments for a bill, many of these tools automatically publish information or grow your network.  It is easy to forget it is happening.

Here are recommendations for getting the most out of your social media effort.

  1. Have a real strategy – Who would you like to connect with and what do you have to offer them?
  2. Have a reason for them to sign up to an email list – email is still #1 when used correctly.  What can you offer people in your many online groups to entice them to sign up directly with you for email?
  3. Track all your accounts – Keep a spreadsheet of accounts, when you signed up, password, etc.
  4. Audit your profile and settings at least twice per year.  You will find all kinds of things have changed, but you have not updated them.
  5. Look for new integration opportunities – Social media is doing a better job of integrating and standardizing than financial tools are, in my opinion.  (Yes, financial is a bit harder, I know)

Perpetual Beta Social Sites

Social media sites are constantly evolving.  Many never leave Beta.  If not the tool itself, then some other tool that will take data from a site and display it within another tool.  Crazy!

You have to keep up, or your image will get muddled or stale.  The good news is that there are social media bookkeepers.  A good virtual assistant can help you organize the tools, track progress and outcome, grow your connections and audit your profiles –  often in a few hours per month.  The Virtual Buzz Assistant network was created because of the incredible need for this kind of help.  It helps people develop their own Virtual Buzz Assistant business and help busy professionals that understand the importance of social media to find the help they need.

No sales pitch here – you can do it all yourself right after you update Quickbooks and finish your weekly payroll.

Make Sure Your Marketing is Intelligent

We all know that intelligent marketing is important for our business, but unfortunately it is also an area that tends to suffer a lot of cutbacks when the market conditions changes for the worse and businesses struggle. However, by cutting back on marketing we also limit our chances to reach new clients or customers, hence reducing our chances of climbing back up the profit ladder.

So what can we change to make sure we still do a sufficient amount of marketing, without spending too much money? The answer of course is to spend the money wisely!

If you currently spend a large amount of your marketing budget on direct mail, then you know that a significant portion of what you spend goes to printing the material, the paper it is printed on and postage. You might also have experienced the frustration of realizing that you would like to change the look or feel of your material, only to come up against printing deadlines! Mailing your audience also tends to be a very slow way of communicating, it takes a long time for responses to come in and it can be very hard to measure how much of the campaign actually reaches its audience and how much is wasted.

With Email Marketing however, you can cut all this out of the equation – let me explain: There is no printing or paper cost, the only cost is that of creating your copy (which you would have to do with a printed campaign too of course)There is no postage to pay, however there will most likely be a fee per sent email. This fee is normally much lower than postage, and it does not restrict you to certain sizes or limit the amount of information you can put forward though.

Email is a brilliant way to direct the audience to your website – giving them all the information they need, with no limited amount of pages!You can tailor the copy to your audience, different copy to different people, or change copy when you want through out the campaign to test different versions or subject lines to make sure you get the response you want. This offers you the freedom of communicating with your audience in a much more direct and personable way.

The response from an email campaign is quick – it is fast to send and to track the results.Thanks to email tracking software it is easy to know how many have opened your email and who they are, even if they don’t get in touch – how would you do that with a traditional direct mail campaign? The email reports can then be used to adjust your next campaign, to target the right audience with the right market.

 

Local Marketing is a growing Sector

People think that the Internet is a powerful marketing tool just because it gives them the ability to quickly reach vast numbers of people who are geographically spread all over the place. While that’s true certainly, it’s not all that makes it powerful. The Internet also gives you the power to go local, narrow and specific. Local marketing is the new mantra of getting your business ahead.

Here’s the thing – when people need to find local businesses to buy from, they don’t turn to television or print advertising. They turn to the Internet. Of the people who turn to the Internet to search for local businesses to take their custom to, a full 90% actually end up contacting the business over the phone or in person. Any businesses that are interested in tapping all these people who are looking for local goods and services need to get their local marketing act together.

Large scale businesses often forget this. Since they covet the business of the whole country at large, they turn repeatedly to mass-market communication methods – national television spots and so on. They neglect to try to target customers in their small towns. When a small town resident sees national advertising on the television, and then fires up a search engine to see what kinds of businesses there are in his neck of the woods, he is in main going to pay attention to whatever local businesses the search engine turns up. They always seem more relevant.

For instance, if they are looking for an events management company and they search for “events management companies in Aberdeen” they’re going to see some national chains trying to do a bit of local marketing by addressing the keyword phrase “events management companies in” and then putting in the name of whatever city or town it’s aiming for. That’s not quite going to impress them as much as a real local business that uses local information to really set itself apart.

There are number of ways in which a local business can really set itself apart. It can go all out on Facebook for instance, talking about the local community and its financial planning needs. That’s going to really impress Google. Or they can support a number of  local events that they will talk about on their website. They will have a Twitter account that has a lot of followers in the local area. This is the kind of thing that really tells a search engine that a business is truly local, and not just some national chain trying to pretend it’s local.

Local marketing isn’t just about buying cost per click advertising that targets local searches. It’s about really involving yourself in the community and putting roots down there. On the Internet.