Three steps to prove social media ROI

Successfully proving ROI is only possible by looking at business or campaign objectives at the start. Social media and digital platforms give consumers an avenue to give real feedback about what they’re reading or seeing, and conversely companies can also understand what kind of content creates conversations, drives traffic back to a website, or even results in sales or donated funds.

Every piece of feedback—whether it be a like, comment, click or purchase, gives companies and organizations valuable insight as to who their audiences are, what captures their attention, what repels them, and what drives them to action. The data has always existed, but now we have the ability to read it. And if the data is there, it is our responsibility as professionals to take that data and better arm our campaigns and strategies with it to be better ensure success.

Building strategies with measurement in mind from the start gives you an understanding of where you actually need to begin so that you end in the right place. Data-driven strategies can you give you a you reason for that strategy to be developed—the why behind the what. There is far more to social or online behavior than can be understood by vanity metrics like viewers or followers. You have to instead create a sort of “surround sound” analysis to better define the impact that programs have on your business—and how to optimize for future success.

When you’re building these strategies you must first understand your objectives. I’ve seen many organizations start backwards—they start with the creative or story idea and then they try to report on success without having defined metrics. If a social audience grew during the course of executing that creative idea, they assumed that the strategy had an affect even though there is no direct or measurable relationship. Or on the flip side, they spends hundreds of thousands of dollars on a creative idea and there is seemingly no effect at all. Before creating any strategy and before implementing any proposed tactics, you have to understand what your business objectives are so that you can map your activity to that.

Second, look at the data you already have and apply it to your strategy. Whether your company has been collecting data about your audience or you’ve researched industry data for a defined audience (i.e. Generation Z), you can use that information to map out a customer journey or a “Day in the Life Of” (DILO), and focus on channels that target that persona. Data is extremely powerful, and not used often enough.

Lastly, once you have tangible results from your campaign, don’t look at just the numbers. Instead, try to understand what the numbers mean. If you had 100,000 impressions on a Facebook post, compare that to what you normally get so that you can see if that number is a good number. It sounds like a lot, but if you normally get 400,000 impressions on a post, the one in question is performing well below standard. Balancing quantitative with qualitative data will allow you to explain your results with context and can help your organization to work better together to determine next steps.

Processes, Productivity and Perpetual Change

Forbes recently quoted me in their article on communications processes for faster business growth and productivity. I’m honored to say that my tip was listed first.

What did I have to say about how to remain productive? Constantly review and optimize.

With each client program, I always have a timeline or plan that itemizes each action and milestone. My team continually reviews and optimizes with each program so that we can take insights from previous work and apply them to the next. Process is something that is continuously evolving; sticking to the same routine each time prevents growth.

Read what else communications professionals have to say on the topic in Forbes: 14 Ways To Document Communications Processes For Faster, Easier Growth

Reflect, Refresh, Reset

Cottage view at Turtle Bay Resort in North Shore Oahu

I’ve been off for 10 days, taking the time with my family to visit the North Shore of Oahu and the beautiful beaches of Waikiki. It’s the longest amount of time that I’ve taken vacation – ever. For the most part, I like to try to keep time off to a week at the most, but the combination of a birthday and a wedding gave us a unique opportunity to extend our normal vacation and take extra time for ourselves.

It’s really amazing what some time to clear your head can do for you. I haven’t just felt less stressed – I’ve actually felt like a completely different person. I feel myself smiling more, hear myself laughing more, and see others enjoying my company more. In fact, I said (on more than one occasion), I think that being in Hawaii actually made me a nicer person.

Now, of course, Hawaii did not actually make me nicer. What it did was give me an excuse to leave my normal responsibilities behind and allow me a chance to reflect on my priorities and rearrange them so that I could adjust anything that was out of sorts.

This is why its so important to make space for the lighter side of life. We can’t fit more into life without first making space for it, and taking time to clear away the unnecessary so that we can fit the puzzle pieces together much more easily. By resetting, we can reflect and reset.

New Year, New Theme

Night sky

The start of a new year presents a great opportunity to set new goals. Like starting a diet on a Monday instead of a Thursday, having an easy moment in time to act as a starting milestone makes it easier to track progress.

I’ve always felt a need to make big, hairy, audacious goals out of my New Year resolutions. And each year, I’ve always intended to do well, but never really fully achieved what I had set to.

Two years ago, I changed my thinking. Rather than have a checklist of to-do items for the year, I instead gave myself a theme to follow. Throughout the year, I’d set smaller, more achievable goals but my actions were all driven by the thinking behind my annual theme.

My first year, my theme was “no.” I told myself that I had to learn to say no — before that, I had always “defaulted to yes” and the stress was becoming too much. But using the word “no” pushed me into a negative place. Saying no didn’t make me feel good or better about what I was achieving in life. It made me feel like I had put a wall up and was closing myself from opportunities — and hurting my relationships.

Last year, my family decided to go with the word “light” as our theme. It served as a daily reminder that we had happy, full lives, and we would keep that way if we “lightened up.” We could live light by having fewer material things, by having a different approach to “heavy” topics, by losing weight; we lived in the light mentally, physically and emotionally.

This year, we’re continuing with a theme for the year. In 2018, our theme is “space.”

How do we apply “space” to our lives?

We leave space in our hearts, by keeping open to new people and relationships.

We leave space in our minds, allowing in new ideas and new ways of thinking.

We leave space for personal growth, with more time for myself and more time for the people in my life to have space from me.

We leave space between commitments and not filling our time to the brim.

We leave space in our homes by keeping our wallets more full, and spending less.

What is your theme for 2018?

Reaching Tweens and Teens through YouTube

JeyFrog channel on YouTube

It’s possible that my kids spend an ill-advised amount of time on YouTube.

Thankfully, my boys — 8 and 13 years old — are particularly open about what they watch. In fact, most of the time, they want me to watch with them and I find that I enjoy the vlogs and reaction videos just as much as they do.

With a marketing perspective as well as a mother’s, I’m able to appreciate the different techniques and storylines in these videos they watch and the celebrities they follow. Exposure to my kids viewing habits — as well as the habits of their friends and peers — helps me understand what their generation is attracted to and influenced by.

So when Forbes asked for opinions on how brands can market on YouTube to attract the Gen Z audience, I didn’t hesitate to share my thoughts. Read my advice for brands on Forbes: 12 Tips To Help Your YouTube Marketing Quickly Click With Generation Z.

While you’re at it, subscribe to JeyFrog’s channel on YouTube.

VidCon helped me get published on Forbes

vidcon badge

When I first agreed to bring my son and his friend to VidCon, I never thought that my experience would help me get an article in Forbes published.

I started to write an email to my company to tell them about some of the things I learned while I was at the event, and realized that the email was just so long. That’s when I decided that I may as well formalize it a bit, and give it a go for Forbes.

If you’d like to take a look at my thoughts on VidCon from the perspective of an attendee, take a look at the article, entitled “Four Key Takeaways from VidCon.”

And if you have nothing to do, check out my son’s YouTube video of Logan Paul getting mobbed at VidCon.