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Connect business results to employee engagement in 4 steps

Ragan

Organizations struggle to quantify the impact engaged employees have on business results. Intuitively, it’s a no-brainer—engaged employees cost less and produce more. It’s that simple.

Many studies and reports support this hunch: Engaged companies have stronger levels of profitability and retain their employees.

So, why do most organizations have difficulty quantifying this? It’s primarily because of the process. Here is how we (unfortunately) see an employee engagement survey process play out in many organizations:

An organization conducts an employee engagement survey. The corporate communications or HR team presents the results to the executive team. The executive team asks, “How does this tie to our business results?” (Say this in your best CFO voice.) The communications/HR team scrambles to find data and metrics to make comparisons. The team realizes the process was not designed to make effective comparisons. The team can’t share any comparisons.

This is certainly not the best return on your survey investment.

There are many reasons why comparing employee engagement survey data to business metrics is difficult. Here are four ways to overcome these difficulties to show valid comparisons:

Read more…

Steer clear of these 15 social media mistakes

Ragan

Social media is the most popular online activity, so it makes perfect sense for businesses to want to tap into it to increase sales. More than 90 percent of businesses use social media.

But simply opening an account or sending out some tweets is not enough to make social media platforms a viable and profitable part of your marketing strategy. By avoiding some missteps, businesses have the ability to increase their return on investment (ROI) and create more opportunities from social media accounts.

Avoid these mistakes:

1. Not having a strategy.

Less than 20 percent of businesses say their social media strategy is mature. Social media users are constantly inundated with information and messages. Businesses that don’t have a social media marketing strategy won’t ever cut through the clutter and deliver an effective message to their target audiences.

Creating a strategy includes having distinct and measurable goals, developing a clear social media policy, thinking through a brand’s social media voice and planning out a content calendar with end goals in mind. Without a clear strategy, businesses could create the best content on the Web but receive little to no engagement.

2. Not integrating with other digital assets.

Social media works best when you integrate it with other digital marketing efforts. One mistake many businesses make is to leave their social media accounts on islands. Not only should you link the accounts together, but tie them directly to websites, emails and paid search advertising campaigns.

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Infographic: Why visual content is better than text

Ragan

Did you know that it’s 50 times easier to get a video to rank on the first page of Google than other content types? Here’s why visuals are an important part of any content strategy.

People process visuals 600,000 times faster than text.

Website visitors typically read only 20 percent of the text on a page.

People retain 80 percent of what they see and only 20 percent of what they read.

If you aren’t incorporating visual content into your organization’s communications strategy, these statistics from an Ethos3 infographicmay be enough to persuade you otherwise.

Here are a few compelling facts:

  • Social media users are 40 percent more likely to share visual content than other types of content.
  • Ninety percent of online shoppers said they find videos helpful when making purchase decisions.
  • It’s 50 times easier to get a video to rank on the first page of Google than other content types.
  • Infographics can improve website traffic by 12 percent.
  • Ninety percent of the information your brain receives is visual.
  • More than 60 percent (65 percent) of people are visual learners.

But there are still more reasons why visual content is important. Check them out in the graphic below:

Click to see infographic

The beginner’s guide to measuring social media ROI

Ragan

For a marketer, return on investment defines a campaign’s success, and many executives demand hard numbers.

According to a study of marketing expertsperformed by Domo, however, three out of four marketing experts can’t measure social media ROI.

Let’s look at the basic yet vital aspects of social media marketing ROI.

1. ‘Likes’ and follows: Measuring engagement

The simplest way to gauge social media ROI involves counting followers on Twitter, your “likes” on Facebook, and consumer affiliations on all your other social media sites.

Keeping a spreadsheet to track social media conversions (followers, “likes,” etc.) gives you data to show that your campaign delivered X new social media connections. Facebook shares and Twitter retweets are also vital to documenting a campaign’s success.

Simple tools like Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics help you track a specific post’s success, pinpointing customers’ response to particular types of content.

To measure the success of a given keyword, hashtag, or unique topic, try Brandwatch, GroSocial, and Keyhole. They explain trends on social networks for the keywords you enter.

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Studies: Digital media thriving, but press releases still most trusted

Ragan

Digital media is growing.

That may be the overarching theme of Pew’s latest State of the News Media report. It also revealed that most Americans now get their news through a digital platform, with 82 percent using their desktop or laptop and 54 percent saying they get news from their mobile device.

Daily newspapers shouldn’t be discounted quite yet. Subscriptions make up 70 percent of audience-driven revenue for media outlets, totaling $10.4 billion last year.

Inkhouse and GMI conducted a similar study recently, and found that 73 percent of news consumers turn to TV for their news, followed by news websites (52 percent), print sources (36 percent) and radio (25 percent), which barely beat out social media (23 percent).

When it comes to sharing news, email and social media are tops, with email representing 34 percent of news media shares and social right behind at 29 percent.

Click to continue reading and see infographic

Why you should not ‘ditch the PowerPoint’

Ragan

National Public Radio recently ran a piece with an attention-grabbing headline: “Physicists, Generals And CEOs Agree: Ditch The PowerPoint.”

Like similar stories before it, the argument went as follows: PowerPoint prevents two-way engagement, PowerPoint makes the speaker go on autopilot, PowerPoint prevents people from reducing their points to their essential core.

As one Rutgers University professor said, “The main advantage of forgoing PowerPoint is that it forces both the speaker and the listener to pay attention.”

The story—and the people quoted in it—are blaming the wrong problem. PowerPoint isn’t the problem. It’s a tool that’s only as good—or as bad—as its users. The problem is the misuse of PowerPoint by far too many speakers.

Don’t buy into articles that suggest PowerPoint is all good or all bad. It’s true that the pendulum swung too far in the direction of ubiquitous and poorly planned PowerPoint presentations, and it’s good that it’s swinging back in the opposite direction. But these articles are suggesting a pendulum swing to an opposite—but still problematic—extreme.

Continue reading…

5 things marketers must know about millennials

Ragan

Move over, Baby Boomers. A new generation of consumers is shaking up the marketplace. The new market segment, millennials, represents Americans ages 18-33. Millennials have some distinctive characteristics that are unlike any other age bracket.

A Boston Consulting Group study focused on how Millennials are changing consumer marketing. As marketers, it’s key to understand their values, motivations, communication styles and preferences.

Pew Research Center just released a report that examines millennials. Here’s an overview from the research that highlights the unique characteristics of this up-and-coming generation, and how businesses can meet their needs:

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Infographic: The demographics of social media users

Ragan.com

Does anyone from your target audience use Instagram? Do your customers in rural areas spend as much time on social media as your city-dwelling customers?

These are the types of questions all companies need to ask before they invest time and money in a social media campaign. If you don’t know where your customers spend time online, you can’t be sure you’ll reach them.

An infographic from DocStoc and the Pew Research Center illustrates which demographics spend time on social media.

For example, 71 percent of women use social media as compared with 62 percent of men. More city dwellers spend time on social media (70 percent) than those who live in rural areas (61 percent).

The graphic also features some network-specific insights:

  • Pinterest appeals most to rural residents, women and those with middle- to high-level incomes.
  • Instagram appeals most to urban residents and 18-29 year olds.
  • Facebook is the most popular social media site among adults, followed by LinkedIn.

Do you know where your audience spends time online?

Check out the full graphic for more on the demographics of social media users.

Social Media Demographics Infographic Infographic: The demographics of social media users

Can you find real online influencers?

ragan

Those of us who are active in social media are often invited to events because of the influence we’ve created among our communities. If you take away the free food, free drinks, and the potential of a fabulous swag bag, you might be left wondering: “Why am I here?”

The ability to identify influencers to align with a brand or a cause is not seen as an exact science; once influencers have been chosen, they are often not used to their maximum potential. Many companies rely on popular social influence scoring platforms as a means of identification, but renowned Canadian digital strategists Danny Brown and Sam Fiorella beg to differ.

As the authors of the recently released “Influence Marketing: How to Create, Manage, and Measure Brand Influencers in Social Media Marketing,” Brown and Fiorella present a new methodology for businesses seeking to close the gap between influence marketing strategies and measurable sales impact.

Well-researched and strategically chosen bloggers and active social media participants often act as ambassadors during the marketing communications life cycle of a brand.

Here are five ways companies can identify and make the most of influencers:

 

17 types of content people love to share

ragan
From videos to SlideShare presentations to quotes, consider adding these content types to your editorial or social media calendar

In building my blog over the last four years I have discovered some insights and important principles about creating content that people want to read.

Here are some ideas for creating shareable content:

1. Lists

I can hear some of you yawning. The reality is, in a time-poor world, giving people a list of things to do—for example, 10 tips for creating a great video—is the type of headline and article people click on. Packaging and chunking information tells your readers you won’t waste their time. Lists are also easy to read and view. This type of content works well.

2. Negative stories

It’s sad but true: Most people prefer to hear bad news, or things they shouldn’t do. Take the negative angle of a story, and you’ll be surprised by the traffic.

Continue reading…