Engagement: The Most Important Social Media Metric? 

By Steve Hoag

social media metric

Social media is a powerful marketing tool. Lots of people and businesses are using it, but many still don't know how to measure the ROI social media provides. What metrics should you be following? Number of followers? Number of re-tweets? Are these accurate performance indicators? Well I'm here to argue that your engagement rate is the best indicator of performance. What is engagement? It's basically the percentage of times that followers interact with your your posts. If you have 400 followers on Facebook, but your post only receives 40 likes, that means your engagement rate is 10%. There are a bunch of websites that will give you a variety of formulas you can use, so we are going to focus on the major conceptual points.

Social media is full of fluff.

Lots of accounts out there have thousands of followers/connections. Unfortunately, a lot of these numbers are full of fluff or people who just want to increase their follower count. Major networks like Twitter have #teamfollowback, while Facebook pages have people who like a brand but will never actively interact with it. Connections like these are more or less useless. 10,000 followers who refuse to engage with your brand is worth far less than an account with 500 followers and even a 10% engagement rate.  As a brand you NEED people to interact with you to gain traction. 

Engagement rate can be directly attributed to how well your content resonates with your audience.

Someone sharing your content, or commenting on a post is more valuable than someone who just glances at it and moves on. The majority of followers will usually be passive and act like the latter. The highest performing brands online are those that can drive interaction, and have a larger proportion of active followers. Engagement rate also is much better at tracking how well your content is performing. You may have 10,000 followers, but what is that worth if you don't track who, or how many times someone is interacting with a certain piece of your content? 

Engagement is useful for identifying and qualifying potential leads.

Which would you identify as a more promising lead? A person who never looks at or shares your content in their newsfeed, or the individual who actively comments/shares/ask questions about your posts? Probably the latter. Your messaging and content are clearly resonating with them more than the first person. The more engaged a person is, the more invested they are in a brand. In marketing that usually means they are the more likely sale.

 

 

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Wednesday, April 9, 2014 11:00:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C enterprise inbound marketing social media social media marketing

The Top Social Media and Blogging Infographics of 2014 

By Steve Hoag

2014 has already been a very busy year for social media and blogging so far. Many people are still trying to figure out how to leverage these tools in their marketing. Well we got good news for you! We've compiled some of the top infographics of 2014 for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

social media and blogging infographics

 

 

H/T to Top Dog Social Media , Media Bistro , BufferApp, and Entrepreneur.com for the great infographics!

 

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Friday, April 4, 2014 7:12:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C blogging enterprise inbound marketing SMB social media social media marketing web trends website

Small Businesses: The Best Free Social Media Tools  

By Steve Hoag

free social media tools

Small businesses are all about executing effective bootstrap marketing programs. Budgets, time, and personnel are tight. Small business marketing is value-centric, with a more bang for your buck mentality. That’s why small businesses love social media. It’s cheap, powerful, and can scale with any business. Small businesses can’t afford marketing automation software that can cost hundreds of dollars per months. That’s why it’s important to identify cheap (read: free) tools that can get the job done in a jiffy. For example:

HootSuite

HootSuite is the de facto social media management platform. You can aggregate many of your networks, schedule posts, monitor custom newsfeeds and much more. Also, you can upgrade to their very affordable Pro version to gain access to reports and other analytics. This is the solution for you if you need to manage multiple accounts on different networks.

TweetDeck

TweetDeck is basically HootSuite lite. It can still aggregate news from different networks, but is best suited for a company that wants to manage a couple of accounts. It’s UI is extremely streamlined and simple to use. TweetDeck offers many of the same features as the free version of HootSuite, just in a downloadable desktop client.  It is also owned by Twitter now, so support is great.

TweetReach

Twitter has a variety of metrics that are worth keeping track of to measure your ROI. Unlike Facebook or LinkedIn, Twitter doesn’t publish impressions. These have to be manually calculated and estimated, or a third party solution needs to be used. TweetReach is a great free-mium tool that analyzes any Twitter account and calculates its total impressions. It also highlights which posts performed well, your exposure, and top contributors. TweetReach is great for giving you a snapshot summary of your online performance. Keep in mind that it only looks at your past 50 tweets, if you want data beyond that then you will need to upgrade to the paid version. 

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Thursday, March 27, 2014 9:21:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C inbound marketing SMB social media social media marketing website

The Best Website Evaluation Tools on The Web Today 

By Steve Hoag

best website evaluation tools

Having a great business website is all well and good, but you need to leverage tools to keep it optimized. There are a bunch of free evaluation tools out there that will help you keep your website in tip top shape. Many of them focus on areas like SEO, design, and marketing. It’s important to use a variety of them to get an accurate view of how your website is performing. Some of the best free tools available today are:

HubSpot Marketing Grader

HubSpot has made a huge name for itself in online marketing. Their main product is a marketing automation platform, but they have some other nifty tools like their Marketing Grader. This takes a look at a variety of things like social media and blogs to evaluate your online marketing. It evaluates everything in the marketing funnel, and then compares that to your competitors’. Definitely check this out!

Pingdom Full Page Test

Pingdom is great at evaluating your website in some key metrics. For instance, it takes a look at your website’s speed and bottlenecks, and identifies areas where you can make simple changes for big performance boosts.

SEOquake

This tool is, as the name denotes, SEO focused. It’s a toolbar plugin for your internet browser that gives Google/Alexa scores, and your Pagerank. It’s great for monitoring and analyzing links. It also offers features that can analyze your keyword density, and then diagnose problem areas on your website.

Fast Track Site Evaluator

Another great tool worth checking out is our comprehensive Site Evaluator. It measures your performance on everything that goes into a website like SEO, marketing, and design. Getting a full report will take a couple days, but it’s well worth the wait. You will receive a detailed analysis which identifies areas of strength and weakness, as well as recommendations on how to improve. Get yours today!

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Thursday, March 27, 2014 12:59:00 AM Categories: B2B B2C enterprise inbound marketing landing pages SEO SMB social media social media marketing web design website

Template Design: Is It Right For Your Business? 

By Sherry Kinavey

web design template

When a small business decides they need a new website, many face a decision as to whether to choose a custom design for the site or to create a site by using a pre-designed web template. 

There are pros and cons to each option, so it's important to understand these before making a choice.

Advantages of using pre-designed template

They're more affordable.

One of the main advantages of opting for a template is that you'll save money. They tend to be quite a bit more affordable than custom designs.

WordPress, an open source platform, offer basic templates for free and for sale.  If you take the time to learn how to use WordPress and other free online platforms, you can set up a site for a very reasonable price.  If you're strapped for cash, sites such as these are a alternative.

What you see is what you get.

Some people love surprises. Others hate them. When it comes to your web design, surprises are typically a bad thing.

Templates offer security. What you see is what you get. No surprises, no hassle. This can save both money and time in terms of preventing future revisions that could result from custom design.

Faster turnaround.

Templates are ready to go, plug and play. When you use a template, it's pretty much plug and play.  And, faster turnaround means lower costs.

If you need a website now and don't have the budget for a custom website, a template is the way to go.

Disadvantages

It's not as unique and tailor-made for your business.

Obviously, the main drawback of using a template is that it isn't necessarily unique.  There will be other companies out there with a similar color scheme and layout. If you want a completely unique online presence, it's better to get a custom design for your site.

They can lack scalability.

Some templates are specifically made for smaller websites. They aren't designed to accommodate the needs of a large enterprise or business. If you want to plan for the long term future, custom design may be a better option.

Can prevent the use of some custom functionality.

Template designs can be very cookie cutter-esque. They may not be designed to accommodate different widgets and custom tools that you want to use.

It's important to clearly define all the different features and requirements for your new website before choosing between a template or custom design.  And, make sure they can be met by the solution you choose.

View User Profile for Sherry Kinavey
Posted by Sherry Kinavey Friday, March 21, 2014 4:38:00 PM Categories: B2B enterprise SMB web design web development website
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