We’re riding this bike!

I’m riding this bike now without training wheels. I’ve had some falls and scraped my knees, but I am loving this. Building a business from scratch, learning new things at a manic speed, and most of all, working with some fascinating businesses and people.

One of the falls was neglecting this blog and our social media channels. Working in online marketing, I feel the pressure of practising what I sell. But in the past couple of weeks I also understood two things. The first is that social media marketing is important, but other things (like selling and customer service) are more important. The second is that activities on social media place a cognitive load on a person, and sometimes it’s good to step away from it to get clarity of thought.

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5 tips for brand new social media accounts

We launched our Twitter and Facebook accounts just over two weeks ago. We’re still quite far from superstar status (48 followers on Twitter and 190 on Facebook), but we are pleased. We thought we’d share some of our experiences, along with things that worked and things that didn’t. Let us know in the comments if you have something that works on your fledgling accounts.

#1 Share original content

Our most successful tweets included a link to one of our new blog posts. Most tweets had an engagement rate of 2% and below, but as soon as we mentioned our own content, engagement shot up to between 5-9%.

#2 Use pictures

Acting on a tip from our friends at @gunsandrain, we started adding images to our tweets. The result – apart from a more beautiful Twitter feed – was better engagement (especially more link clicks and detail expands). We’re still finding this a bit tricky, as we don’t have a bank of appropriate images. But, @buffer recently launched Pablo, a super easy way to create images for sharing on social media.

#3 It’s okay to say things twice

This is really cool. We posted our best performing content more than once over a couple of days, at different times of day. The thinking is that not all your followers will see your tweet / Facebook post the first time. We also used different hashtags and messaging, just to see if we could reach a different / broader audience.

#4 Be a real person

We think it’s important to show that we’re not just a company, but a bunch of interesting, friendly people. Like this:

#5 Remember why you’re doing it

We have a couple of goals with our social media, but the most important for us is to drive traffic to this blog. Even at this early stage, it’s easy to get sucked in, and for Twitter and Facebook to seem more important than they are. So, while we’re delighted with each new follower, we’re much more excited when someone clicks through to our profile or, even better, to the blog.

 

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It’s time for an online communications audit

The question you should ask about online communications is this: “What am I getting back for all of the effort I put in?” If your answer is along the lines of “I don’t know” or “I’m sure it’s worth it in the long run”, you need to take a step back, get a wide-angle view of what you’re trying to achieve.

Taking an objective, holistic view of your company’s online activities, an online communications audit provides a set of recommendations to reach marketing objectives using online channels. A good audit starts with your brand values and marketing objectives, and tries to answer the following questions:

  • Are my brand values reflected accurately in online communications, including social media, advertising, brand websites and PR?
  • Can I measure the success of online activities in achieving marketing objectives?
  • Are my offline and online activities aligned to improve the performance of both?
  • What are online best practices for my industry / marketing objectives?

During an audit, all aspects of a company’s online messaging are analysed:

  • Application of corporate identity across channels
  • Email newsletters
  • Social media metrics communication and metrics
  • Content analysis of online content (including user-generated content)
  • Public perception of company’s brand, products, services
  • Website (usability, content, conversion optimization)
  • Search engine optimization
  • Online advertising
  • Online PR

On the analytics side, the audit draws data using website, social media and SEO analytics tools. These are some of the more important metrics to include:

  • Social media – Engagement, sentiment, post timing, influencers, follower score
  • Website / blog – Goal conversions, pages per session, traffic sources (and conversion rate differences)
  • Email – click rate, list growth, newsletter engagement stats.
  • Advertising – Customer lifetime value vs CPC, conversion rate
  • Search – Pages receiving traffic from search engines, conversion rate, linking root domains

Every audit has different priorities, but the notes above hold true for most. It provides deep insight into all aspects of a company’s online presence, and gives decision-makers the tools to make the right decisions.

Does your company need an audit? Contact us for pricing and more details.

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The best resources for happy digital marketing clients

As digital marketers, we understand the value that online communication can add to a client’s overall marketing strategy. And, with the power of analytics software, we can prove the effectiveness of digital marketing campaigns and continuously optimize our tactics to achieve better results.

But the digital marketer’s most important task is to present results in a way that is accessible, meaningful and concise. And, while we’re there to take care of the heavy lifting of digital marketing, it’s important for clients to be informed about best practices, new tools and tactics and basic concepts.

Here is a resource list we at Stories & Science share with first-time clients. It’s a mix of quick-read blog posts and information-packed books or articles.

Website optimization and digital marketing thinking

Social media

SEO and link building

Analytics

What is your approach to informing clients about digital marketing? And what great reads would you add to this list? Share your suggestions with us on Twitter or in the comments below.

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We tell stories because we’re human

Even though I started Stories & Science around this time last year, I’m only now putting my back into it. I was lucky – I landed a big contract that bought me time to build the business, win new clients, figure out exactly what I wanted to do. Except, I didn’t do any of that.

Now, one year on, I’m doing the basics: I wrote a decent business plan and cash flow forecast, set up a Twitter account, and put together a minimum viable product. There’s so much more to do, and if you’re interested, come back every week for an update.

Stories & Science is built on two pillars. Firstly, despite advances in technology and science, humans have not changed much from the days of sitting around the fire telling stories. We are connected to each other with threads of curiosity and wonder. Brands are increasingly becoming the custodians of storytellingart and music, but more than that, brands are the product of humans, just like you and me, behind computers.

Secondly, we now have more data about human interactions than we know what to do with. By applying a scientific model to this, and understanding the context in which our brand operates, we can refine how we communicate and generate better results.

The one question that data can’t answer, though, is why. The philosopher would say: We tell stories because we’re human. But what is the answer for you, and for your brand? Why do you seek knowledge and share your stories with friends and colleagues? And why is your brand on social media, why do you have a website, what’s the purpose of your YouTube channel?

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