google analytics

5 Tips for Engaging People on Social Media

One of the biggest challenges businesses have with social media is engagement: Generating likes, comments, shares, etc. After all, what’s the point of your social media presence if you’re just shouting into the abyss? Building an audience that will interact with your business on social media can be difficult. But before you get discouraged, take a look at these tips:

Offer a contest. Everybody loves to win something, even if it’s bragging rights (but if you have an actual prize to offer, so much the better). Contests can be a fun once- or twice-a-year thing, and they don’t have to be very complicated. You can even make it as simple as “Guess how many jellybeans are in the jar for a $25 gift certificate.”

A few years ago, Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound offered a Facebook contest where users created an “unofficial slogan” for the restaurant in order to be entered into a random drawing for a t-shirt. There were a couple hundred entries and an increase in page likes over the duration of the contest.

Brainstorm with coworkers and/or check out others in your industry for contest ideas.

Ask Questions. Ask your followers questions on your social media platforms to drive up engagement. This article recommends avoiding broad questions such as “What’s your favorite flavor?” Rather, they suggest giving users multiple choices and an accompanying graphic. Questions can be phrased as customer-service oriented, too. Example: “If we were to add a new machine to the cardio room, what would you choose?” This could also be done using a multiple choice format. Asking a question encourages people to interact with your page (and bonus points to you for responding back).

Encourage people to share. Encourage followers to share how they use your product (this is also known as “User Generated Content”). If you have a brick-and-mortar store, post a sign encouraging people to check in and/or tag your business on social media. And, the more content you can get others to post on your behalf, the better — it increases your reach, and all you did was put up a sign! Again, there’s a lot of ways to be creative.

Ask for Reviews. It may feel a little weird at first, but trust me — one of the best ways to get online reviews is to “make the ask.” It doesn’t have to be frequent — maybe once a week or every other week — in order to remind people where you are online. Cross-pollinate these requests. Example: Folks might already be reviewing you on Facebook. So post on Facebook a reminder that your business can also be reviewed on Yelp or Google+. People are willing to help you out, but they have to know where and how.

People are willing to help you out, but they have to know where and how.

Pay attention to analytics. Sounds boring? Maybe, but following your analytics may be the most helpful thing you can do to boost engagement. Look at individual social media accounts to devise the best strategy for each. For example, you may find Twitter requires more posts per day than Facebook. Automate this task using online tools such as Buffer, MeetEdgar, or Hootsuite. (Source)

As you create a social media marketing plan, think about how you can incorporate some of these ideas into your strategy and encourage people to interact with what you have to say.

Kassie is a distance runner and a distance reader really. She lives in Ellsworth Maine and, while she might be quiet when you meet her, will throw out something witty when you least expect it.

A Crash Course on Google’s Link Shortening and Tracking Services

There are a few jobs in the world where a keen sense of tracking is necessary. These include bounty hunters, meteorologists, storm chasers, wildlife biologists, Sasquatch enthusiasts, and marketers. Unfortunately, unless you’re a marketer, this post isn’t going to help you a whole lot. If you’re curious about the kind of tracking marketers partake in, then you should stick around for a bit.

We’ve explored the idea of short tracking links before with services like bit.ly, owl.ly, and tinyurl.com. and (spoiler alert) have more posts coming about those services. These services are perfect if you have a URL you want to shorten, but don’t have access to the website or it’s analytics. Google now has a link shortening service that is more or less a stripped down version of Bitly, so between this service and Google Analytics, Google is more or less a one-stop shop for your link shortening/tracking needs.

Google Link Shortener

This service varies slightly from Google Analytics (which I will also discuss in a bit), but it’s basically Google’s version of Bitly. You can copy any link and shorten it, then measure it’s progress (who shared it, where they’re from in the world, that sort of stuff). It’s completely free, meaning that you don’t get to customize shortlinks, and anyone can view the shortlink stats. The URL format is goo.gl/[random letters and numbers] . Below is a look at the different bits of data you have access to with a Google link shortener (my sample link was from a random blog post, I haven’t actually shared it anywhere so that’s why the data looks a bit empty).

googlshortener

Google Analytics

Google Analytics gets you the nitty-gritty information, but doesn’t shorten any links. It’s a free service that requires a bit of setup to start collecting data, but it’s something that only you can look at for your own website. Doing this gives you much more in the way of statistics- you can see things like how people reached your site (Facebook, email, Google search), average length of visit, most popular page, and more. The amount of information at your fingertips with Google Analytics can be overwhelming if you aren’t sure what you’re looking for. Nicole wrote this great post a few years ago that will point you in the direction of metrics to begin with.

An example of Audience Overview statistics for one month (as you can see, there are a ton of options for viewing preferences)

An example of Audience Overview statistics for one month (as you can see, there are a ton of options for viewing preferences)

Unfortunately, not all the information is 100% accurate (sometimes “users” includes the same person visiting your website on a different browser). But, if you are a website that has user ID’s (like eCommerce sites where you create an account), you can set up User ID tracking to “zoom in” on individual user activity. It takes some time and light coding to set up, but if you’re really serious about that sort of thing, check out this article that explains the set up.

If you don't care to follow individual users, you can get a "clumped together" look at how people move around on your website with the User Flow feature.

If you don’t care to follow individual users, you can get a “clumped together” look at how people move around on your website with the User Flow feature.

One thing you can do is set goals (and then track them), so if you have a page in particular that you want people to get to, setting a goal in Google Analytics can help you focus your marketing techniques.

Although shortening links and tracking links are two separate services, sometimes you can get both in one service, like Bitly or Google’s link shortener. But if you want an in-depth look at tracking, you’re better off using Google Analytics to set goals and make more informed marketing decisions. Stay tuned for more about link shortening throughout the month!

Kassie is a distance runner and a distance reader really. She lives in Ellsworth Maine and, while she might be quiet when you meet her, will throw out something witty when you least expect it.

Tech Thursday: How to Track Traffic to a Page on Your Website

…Now say that five times fast.

Every website has certain goals, whether it’s getting someone to buy a product, subscribe to a newsletter, or make a donation. There’s a page on your website where al this action occurs. How do you know whether people are getting to this particular page?

This is where tracking comes in. Using tracking tools, you can figure out how many people are getting to your website, how many are getting to that desired page on your site, and where they’re coming from (social media, Google searches, blog posts, etc.). What are some different tools you can use for tracking? We talk a bit about Bitly, analytics offered by your Web Host, and Google Analytics (keep in mind, these are by no means the only tools available- just the ones we use most).

Kassie is a distance runner and a distance reader really. She lives in Ellsworth Maine and, while she might be quiet when you meet her, will throw out something witty when you least expect it.

Three Google Analytics Metrics I Care About (And Three I Don’t)

On Facebook awhile back, Breanna asked about reading Google Analytics:

breannaquestion

I’m sure she’d want me to say she sent that from her phone and it typed it for her. She’s normally a very clear sentence writer. But I totally get what she’s saying. And since I’ve never written about it before I thought this would be a good time to do it.

If you have ever looked at Google Analytics, you know it’s enough to be overwhelming. And while I am writing this from my business point of view (year round, service-oriented business not doing ecommerce) it might give you a few good places to think about (or not think about)

Three Metrics I Care About

These are items I look at when I figure out how I should be spending my time.

Social Overview

socialmediagoogleanalytics + Read More

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

Love To Pinterest: Three How-To Videos

I heart Pinterest. Image from artfulaussie.com

I heart Pinterest. Image from artfulaussie.com

Pinterest is the latest and greatest website in social networking. It is driving major traffic to ecommerce sites (more than Youtube, LinkedIn, and Google+, combined) and is growing at an almost unprecedented rate.

This first video is a basic how-to use Pinterest and includes information about how Pinterest drives traffic to websites (using breakingeveninc.com’s Google Analytics data as an example):

Tour of Pinterest, Part 1: Pinwhat? from Nicole Ouellette on Vimeo.

This second video shows how you can ‘pin’ items from any website (including yours) to your boards on Pinterest and a little trick of how Ecommerce sites can promote what they are selling:

Tour of Pinterest, Part 2: Adding To Your Pinterest Profile from Nicole Ouellette on Vimeo.

This third video shows how some businesses and non-profits are using Pinterest and maybe give you ideas on how to use it yourself to drive traffic to your website and interest in what you’re doing:

Tour of Pinterest, Part 3: How Businesses and Non-Profits Are Using Pinterest from Nicole Ouellette on Vimeo.

Are you on Pinterest? Seen any great examples of people, businesses, or non-profits using Pinterest? Comment below and let me know!

More reading:

Why Pinterest is 2012’s Hottest Website (on CNN)

Why Pinterest Gets One Billion Monthly Page Views (on Business Insider)

Pinterest Becomes Top Traffic Driver for Retailers Infographic (on Mashable)

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

Love To Pinterest: Three How-To Videos

I heart Pinterest. Image from artfulaussie.com

I heart Pinterest. Image from artfulaussie.com

Pinterest is the latest and greatest website in social networking. It is driving major traffic to ecommerce sites (more than Youtube, LinkedIn, and Google+, combined) and is growing at an almost unprecedented rate.

This first video is a basic how-to use Pinterest and includes information about how Pinterest drives traffic to websites (using breakingeveninc.com’s Google Analytics data as an example):

Tour of Pinterest, Part 1: Pinwhat? from Nicole Ouellette on Vimeo.

This second video shows how you can ‘pin’ items from any website (including yours) to your boards on Pinterest and a little trick of how Ecommerce sites can promote what they are selling:

Tour of Pinterest, Part 2: Adding To Your Pinterest Profile from Nicole Ouellette on Vimeo.

This third video shows how some businesses and non-profits are using Pinterest and maybe give you ideas on how to use it yourself to drive traffic to your website and interest in what you’re doing:

Tour of Pinterest, Part 3: How Businesses and Non-Profits Are Using Pinterest from Nicole Ouellette on Vimeo.

Are you on Pinterest? Seen any great examples of people, businesses, or non-profits using Pinterest? Comment below and let me know!

More reading:

Why Pinterest is 2012’s Hottest Website (on CNN)

Why Pinterest Gets One Billion Monthly Page Views (on Business Insider)

Pinterest Becomes Top Traffic Driver for Retailers Infographic (on Mashable)

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.