How to Boost A Social Strategy On A Bite-Sized Budget: Tips from #SESNY

Welcome back to AIMCLEAR‘s coverage of #SESNY 2012! Though quite satiated from lunch, a room full of hungry marketers looking to dominate the social space on a bucks to the bottom-line budget eagerly awaited the teachings of the powerhouse marketing panelists up on stage. Jennifer Evans Cario, President of SugarSpun Marketing,  John Shehata, Executive Director of Search & Social Media at ABC News, and Lisa Williams of MEDIA forte marketing took turns sharing their top tactics, techniques and tips for revving up a social media strategy, even without the income of a multi-billion dollar franchise. Yes… it IS possible! You just need to know where to start and how to rock. Coverage brought to you by @RyanPatrickPR. Read on for the full effect.

Setting Goals & Microgoals
Jennifer Evans Cario kicked off the presentation by stating, “Quit starting at the end – you need goals to be successful in social.” It’s a saying that resonates among many B2B and B2C small-to-medium sized businesses and even Fortune 500

organizations. As social media rapidly grew many companies were eager to jump on the social bandwagon for fear of being left behind, but they did so without any true goals or plans – they just wanted to say they had a Facebook and Twitter page. Jennifer explained that your goals need to be, “the things you want to do.” Then, you need to have microgoals or, “The steps you take to get there.”

Your specific microgoals are actionable in nature, Jennifer expained. For example, let’s say you want to drive new referral traffic. Well, you’re social media tactics might entail Facebook sponsored stories, Pinterest boards and social reviewers. If you want to reach new audiences your social media tactics might include testing Groupon, pitching local bloggers and social ads.

In addition, if your metrics are tied to a goal, Jennifer explains you’ll go nowhere – in essence, a dead end. Metrics need to be tied to a specific goal or conversion. If you have a Facebook fan and you want them to register for an event you’ll want to have a funnel of steps to get them on the guest list – from the event announcement post to registration. After you’ve developed goals, Jennifer explained that it’s critical to monitor your success. You should be noting any patterns and adjust your approach as needed. Post and track by topic which posts do the best. Take note of what topics get shared the most and those that gain little traction – you’ll start to notice a trend and can boost engagement with your audience by knowing what moves them.

Next up, John Shehata, who started his presentation with the startling fact: “The average [Facebook] page’s posts are seen by less than 16 percent of its fans.” Shocking – I know! You might be wondering – how can I get my numbers up?

Well, as John said, “Boosting engagement is the best FREE social media strategy, because when fans no longer see your posts, it’s much harder to get them back.” He explained that you never want to stop engaging your friends, because many of them may become unreachable forever.

Lost on tips for improving engagement? Not for long! John went on to provide an endless list of tips for boosting engagement with your soon to be loyal fans.

  • Keep it short – post simple and concise updates. Posts 100 to 250 characters see about 60 percent more likes, comments and shares.
  • Ask questions – They receive the most feedback, almost 64 percent more!
  • Share stories with thumbnail photos – Journalists who shared links with thumbnail images got 65 percent more likes and 50 percent more comments.
  • Post a photo – A Facebook internal study reveals an uptick of 120 percent more engagement.
  • Post Videos – You could see 100 percent more engagement!
  • Tweak Headlines – Optimize and customize them for your audience. Make them relevant!
  • Include a call to action – Include words like, “Take”, “Submit”, “Watch.”
  • Give fans exclusive access – Johns says the number one reason fans “like” your page is to receive discounts.
  • Contests – WHO isn’t a little competitive?
  • Incorporate current events – Make your posts relevant with trending and breaking news
  • Post follow-ups – Respond to your comments! People want to be heard from.
  • Talk about Facebook on Facebook – Duh! Its why people on there. Feed their egos!
  • Address controversial topics – Johns explained this could be high risk, so be careful!
  • Highlight fans/Reward engagement – Some helpful tools include:, and
  • Don’t Automate updates, schedule instead – John prefers HootSuite to schedule updates.
  • Cross promote – Find partners to help promote your content.
  • GeoTarget – Keep it local for relevant content.
  • Don’t overwhelm your fans – 44 percent of fans leave a page because of too many posts – mind your manners!

Lisa Williams rounded-up the session with Lessons from a Foodie.  She started by explaining the number one tip for saving money is to plan – start with a message, or as a foodie, “know what you’re cooking before you take the first step.” Lisa explained that it’s important to develop a plan of attack or recipe for success. For example, develop an editorial calendar – it will start as your recipe. It helps to eliminate fear and allows for greater consistency – keeping your message on track. Decide on your message first and then decide on the medium– in other words, craft your message, then decide how to distribute it.

Lisa went on to explain some helpful hints to garner success. “Do it for love,” she said – or cause marketing is a great social campaign. This can help boost revenue, generate new leads and have a positive impact on your brand. Some additional benefits include:

  • In addition to social it’s great for public relations
  • Non-profits have built in evangelists who you can migrate to your team
  • It’s an initial interaction without agenda other than creating a relationship

Lisa also encouraged teaming up with others – the social team can’t do it alone. Partner with marketing and share your ideas. See how they can help with content and cross-promote. Also, make sure your connected with your IT team. They’ll be your go-to developers when seeking help to build out your page. Collaborating and divvying up the workload can lead to better engagement on your social sites.

Lastly, you need to focus on engagement – not just your number of followers. “Quality and long-term engagement is much more important than volume,” Lisa stressed. “Focus less on feeding the masses and more on feeding your market.”

And with that, the session came to a close! Big thanks to the panelists for their insightful two cents. Stick around on AIMCLEAR blog for more coverage coming atcha from #SENSY 2012!

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