By SARAH BEST
One of the keys to comparing ad costs is understanding the difference in how different advertising platforms define clicks, which many people mistakenly understand as a click to your website.
Cost Per Click vs. Cost Per Link Click
There are two main ways that digital advertising platforms define a Cost Per Click, also known as a CPC for short.
5-Minute Ad Tip
When you are comparing a CPC across platforms, make sure that you know which of these two metrics you are looking at.
By SARAH BEST
Whether your business has a handful of accounts, or you're running a complex global social media program with hundreds of accounts and dozens of social media managers, a social media audit can be a valuable way of making sure that your work is strategic and effective.
Learn more about what a social media audit is.
Importance of a Social Media Audit
Here are a few common reasons why businesses make the decision to conduct a social media audit:
You want an independent, expert evaluation of your program
Whether you’re a busy social media manager, or a marketing director trying to make sense of whether your social media program is working as hard as it should, gaining an outside perspective can be really helpful. Audits help us understand objectively how your social media program is performing. It can also identify marketing and growth opportunities you might not currently be taking advantage of.
Something big is on the horizon
Whether you have a large annual event coming up, a new product that you’re launching, or an important fundraising campaign on the horizon, these are all good junctures for making sure that your accounts are in top shape.
You want to make informed decisions
Are you on the right channels? Are you posting frequently enough? Do you have too many staff working on social media or not enough? Having some data, interviewing your staff, and getting expert advice on how your program should be performing, can help you make better decisions.
You want to advocate for resources
Conducting a social media audit can help you build a case for what you need, whether it’s a professional social media management tool, or a new marketing coordinator, but it can also help you find places where you can gain some efficiencies.
By SARAH BEST
Often the challenges that keep a business from achieving success with social media have nothing to do with how well the social media content is written, or how strong the strategy is. Rather, the roadblocks are related to a team's social media workflow.
Social media workflow, also known as governance, describes how your team works together: when content is due, how it is planned and reviewed, how to respond to customer service inquiries and crises, and how you’re evaluating your success. It’s a set of guidelines for your social media management team that will help them be successful.
Here are some common workflow issues that we frequently see when conducting a social media audit:
1. No clear vision
A clear vision statement helps you to concisely communicate to executives and staff what you’re doing your social media program and why you’re doing it. In a perfect world, we could spend an endless amount creating digital marketing content. In the real world, we have to prioritize the activities that have the most impact, make decisions about how to build our teams, and concentrate our spend around the campaigns that matter most.
2. People are giving you content at the last minute
If your team is receiving most of their content at the very last minute, you may feel that you're doing social media, but not strategically. When every piece of content is urgent, it leads to mistakes, competing sets of needs, inadequate promotion, lack of coherent messaging, and social media manager burnout.
Sometimes the problem is not that you don’t have a social media strategy in place but rather that you don’t have or enforce deadlines that promote accountability. Social media supports a finite amount of content, not an infinite amount of content. If you communicate the consequences of missing a deadline (losing a slot in your social media content planning matrix), this might motivate them to give you the materials you need on time.
Engaging people in cross-team editorial board meetings on a quarterly basis, can also create a longer view of what’s happening with your social media program. It can help people prepare the materials and messages you need ahead of time, and can support cross-promotion between teams.
3. You don't have enough time.
Oh yeah. We hear you. But the reality is that planning always saves time. It means that you can sit down and compose or schedule a bunch of social media content at once, instead of trying to deal with it as it comes up. It also ensures that your content has coherent themes and calls to action.
4. You don't have enough money
Whether you’re a big or small organization, chances are you feel that you don’t have enough money to promote your content, or accomplish your goals. A social media audit can help give you objective data that supports a request for additional resources. It can also help identify efficiencies.
5. Lack of training
If you're feeling frustrated about the quality of your social media posts, or want to add a new element to your program, consider bringing in outside consultants, or setting up peer-to-peer learning such as a brown bag lunch series, to help your staff develop skills to improve your social media program. Record sessions when possible so that staff can seek training on demand.
6. Lack of tools
You need to make sure that your social media manager has the tools that they need to be time efficient and track the results of their efforts. Reporting is extremely difficult without professional social media management tools.
7. Lack of templates
Looking for consistent metrics and better quality reports from your teams? If you work at a larger organization, you might also consider creating a reporting template in Google Drive. This ensures that staff report on metrics that matter. It will also help your organization track metrics consistently across programs, and collaborate on reports where appropriate.
By SARAH BEST
A social media audit is a comprehensive assessment of a social media program against a set of criteria such as benchmarks and best practices, competitors, and marketing and business goals.
Evaluating the metrics for your social media account for KPIs is one piece of the puzzle; but it’s a smaller piece than you would think. We recommend taking a holistic approach that encompasses the following:
1. Establish your vision
Social media vision statements can help inspire your team, communicate your goals to key internal stakeholders, and are a good filter for understanding whether a campaign or tactic is relevant. We discover a vision by interviewing key staff members.
2. Evaluate your team's workflow
Often, the roadblocks to achieving success with a social program are not how social media content is written, or how a campaign is planned, but how teams work together.
For example, one common workflow challenge that we see, is that people within a business or organization are delivering content to a social media manager at the last minute. That prevents the social media manager from addressing their needs in a way that is strategic and part of a coherent social media vision.
Read more the 7 common pitfalls of social media workflow.
3. Evaluate your company's competitors
It’s important to take a look at what your competitors and peers are doing and to see whether there might be any holes in your own program, or areas that none of your competitors are currently taking advantage of.
4. Understand your customer decision-making process
Knowing who your target audiences are, and keeping them top of mind, is critical when you are thinking about whether you’re maintaining a presence on the correct social media channels, whether you’ve set the right editorial tone, and whether you’re making the content that best supports your customer’s decision making process.
We are very excited to welcome Melanie Mace to the Sarah Best Strategy team. Melanie has several years of digital experience, and will be working with clients on the execution of social media campaigns, as well as ongoing social media management.
Melanie Mace joins Sarah Best Strategy after 13 years working in higher education, with a recent focus on digital work. During her last two years at the University of California, San Francisco, Melanie redesigned a major website while staying at home part-time to raise her two young daughters. When she’s not filling the internet with photos of her kids, Melanie is enjoying all the beautiful beaches, parks, and wineries the Bay Area has to offer. She is an alumna of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the University of Chicago, where she had the good fortune of meeting Sarah.
Sarah Best Strategy is an award-winning social media strategy, social media advertising, content strategy, and marketing consulting services help individuals and businesses grow audiences and reach goals. Have a project that you'd like to discuss with us? Fill out our contact form and we'll set up a time to talk.
Our company is growing and we're looking for new team members to help with an ever-expanding array of projects and clients!
Here is information on our current openings:
Social Media Summer Interns (part time or full time, unpaid)
We're excited to be speaking on Tuesday to members of the American Marketing Association Madison Chapter about trends and proven strategies in social media that drive results. Here is a copy of the presentation that we gave today.
Have a social media strategy or social ad buy that you'd like to talk with us about? You can contact us here.
Sarah Best Strategy is looking for a part-time or full-time summer intern with a passion for social media marketing. As an intern, you will get hands-on experience developing content and implementing social media strategies for a variety of clients. While this is an unpaid internship, this is an opportunity to learn from an award-winning social media agency. Past interns have been hired at large advertising agencies in social media roles and have been invited back to Sarah Best Strategy for paid positions.
Here's a blog post written by one of our former interns about her experience.
L to R: Kalle Eko from the MacArthur Foundation, Patrick Miner from the Chicago Architecture Foundation, Marc Lapides from Adler Planetarium, Kelly Page representing Lookingglass, Hannah Kennedy from Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Sarah Best of Sarah Best Strategy, and Robby Sexton from the Art Institute of Chicago.
We had a great time last week joining a panel on social media and the arts put together by the MacArthur Foundation during Social Media Week Chicago. If you missed the panel (which was sold out!), check out the Foundation's recap here.
We spoke about our work with the Chicago International Festival of Puppet Theater, and also about social media strategy in general.
By Marcie Waters
As a focus area for my time as a social media intern with Sarah Best Strategy, I chose live event coverage and community management. My lessons on these topics culminated in a business trip in July to Chicago to attend the Institute of Food Technologists’ annual event, IFT15.
Food scientists and food industry professionals travel to IFT’s annual event from all over the world to get a first-hand look at the latest trends, the newest products, and the most recent innovations driving the science of food. Sarah Best Strategy assisted IFT with on-the-ground social media listening, content preparation, and content curation during the event and work began weeks in advance.
Prepping for Live Social Media Coverage
My first major task was going through an extensive list of IFT15 exhibitors and following them on Twitter, so they would already be on our radar when the time came to interact during IFT15. I then began practicing community management skills. Via the social media management platform, Sprout Social, Sarah and I went through incoming messages for several Twitter accounts, which includes people who send incoming tweets, who newly follow an account, who retweet content, or who use a branded keyword or phrase.
Both Twitter and Instagram are important platforms for interacting with people during live events. We read and responded to each of these types of messages, answering their questions, thanking followers for sharing content, and encouraging them to use the official #IFT15 hashtag when tweeting about the event.
Community Management for a Pop Up Community of 23,000 Attendees
Everything amped up once we arrived at McCormick Place, where IFT15 was being held. There were over 23,000 attendees, and the building was crawling with activity. We set up our social media headquarters in the staff lounge, which had windows overlooking the expo floor, making it feel a bit like a control center. We immediately began going through the incoming social media messages; there was a high volume of messages now that the event had begun.
This time, we were not only keeping an eye out for followers with social media influence, or for retweets, but also for people seeking information from IFT through Twitter. Content curation is another aspect of what we did, so we also looked for quality posts and Instagram photos to retweet as part of our live event coverage.
At least once a day, Sarah and I took to the expo floor to learn about the exhibitors, take photos and videos, and sample some tasty food products. I used the knowledge and visuals I had gained to create a series of “From the Expo Floor” Twitter and Instagram posts to share what was happening in the exhibition hall.
What an Experience!
While I was exhausted by the end of my two days at IFT15, I was excited by the great learning experience I had just had. From my vantage point behind the Sprout Social account, I was able to witness the conversations that people were having about IFT15, whether they were industry experts, reporters at an educational panel, or food technology enthusiasts following along with the event from across the country.
It was fun to see so many people coming together over social media to discuss a common interest, to participate in their conversations, and to be able to act as a resource for them. At IFT15, I gained experience not only in performing community management, but also in creating social media posts in the fast-paced environment of live event coverage, an experience that I hope to repeat someday!