A simple social media experiment (or easy data analytics)

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Data analytics or big data is a hot topic. All of the big name business magazines and website have articles about data on the regular. It can be daunting to try to begin analyzing data for your own website or social media accounts.

I have found one trick that I like to use to get some basic data, a very simple data analytics test that I employ for my clients.

Take a social media post that you really like. It's a great piece of content you or your company has written, or a clever photo and caption combination that you're proud of, or an event you would like people to register for. Write the post for Twitter, for example, and then do some simple testing on the timing of the post, how the post is written, and maybe even which platform you're using.

For example, tweet this: "Are you wondering what you should do if you haven't filed your taxes yet? Don't despair, join our webinar instead! [insert link]" and post it on Tuesday at 12:30 (lunchtime) and Thursday at 4:45 (catching people before they leave the office). After both posts are published, check which had the most impressions, retweets or likes, and click-throughs.

The next week, you might use that data to refine the timing, but slight change the wording. For example if your lunchtime stats were much better, post it again this week during a few different lunchtimes, but find out whether what you say makes a difference. "If you haven't filed your taxes yet, you're not alone. Join our upcoming webinar to find out what your next steps should be. [link]" or "Does even hearing the word 'taxes' make you cringe, because you're late filing again this year? Join our webinar and we'll tell you that all is not lost. [link]" etc.

This simple test will give you a good idea of when you should be posting your most important content on social media. Try it and let me know what worked for you! 

Social media for business - a beginner's guide

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It can seem daunting to start using Twitter or LinkedIn for business purposes now. You might feel like you don't know where to begin, or that you don't understand the etiquette of each site. Whatever your reason for wanting to start an account or be more active on a platform now, such as networking and/or keeping on top of relevant topics or trends, don't despair! It's easier than you might think.

Who to follow

Follow anyone you find interesting! There might be news outlets you like to read, specific brands that you are very partial to, or people whose opinions you value. Follow them, and then if they aren't sharing content you enjoy, it is just as easy to unfollow.

Soon enough you will start to see thought leaders in your industry and who others seem to follow. Look at your suggestions for followers on Twitter. On LinkedIn, generally people will only connect with you (or accept your invitation to connect) if they actually know you. You can also follow company pages on LinkedIn, so it's a good idea to see if your employer has a company page and to follow it.

How to join the conversation

The easiest way to start getting involved on social media is to like, retweet or comment on tweets that you find interesting. Find a relevant LinkedIn group and participate in the conversation. Give a point of view. If you read a particularly insightful article, share it! 

Organizing your twitter feed

Once you start using Twitter and following accounts you are interested in, you may find that there are so many tweets on your homepage that it's hard to follow. I recommend, at this point, you set up lists.

Click on your profile picture and the drop down menu that comes up gives Lists as an option. Here you can create groups of people/profiles. So for example, you could create a list called Friends and add all of your friends to that list so you can quickly go in and see what they've been tweeting about. Or an industry-specific list, or city-based. Once you create the list, you have a choice of making it private (only for you to use/view) or public, which means that other people could start following your list. Then when you come across a profile you'd like to add to one of your lists, you can click on the three dots next to the "follow" button on their profile page, and choose "add or remove from lists".

Social media etiquette

Does your company have a social media policy? You should check, because it may affect how you are able to use social media both at work and outside of working hours. 

In general you should be mindful of you post on your personal sites, even during non-working hours. .Be careful what you say. It goes without saying that we should be respectful and that social media might not be the right forum for engaging in negative feedback. Make sure you set your password and privacy settings appropriately.

Always include the source of your material. If you are sharing content you found online, tag the twitter account when you share the article. 

Respond when relevant. If someone asks you a question or comments on your post, you can like their comment or respond if applicable.

 

Social media can be a powerful business and networking tool, or even just give you a good idea to take to your next meeting. Give it a try and see where it takes you!

A few tips on writing for professionals

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For the past 15 years, my main job has been writing for law firms, accounting firms, and other professional services and B2B firms. These organizations are full of smart people doing complex work, and my job is to explain in the simplest terms. 

I also coach accountants and lawyers on writing articles, blog posts and presentations for a wide audience. 

Simple writing tips:

  • Start from the beginning. Assume no prior knowledge of the subject and explain it as if you're starting from scratch.
  • Avoid jargon. This is a tough one for some professionals, because they use terms like M&A and T1 forms on a daily basis and everyone around them follows what they are saying. Try to write the article and then go back over it looking for any terms that people outside the industry might not know.
  • When possible, tell a story. It is much easier to follow a complex thought if it is told in story form. So for example, if an accountant wants to talk about employee share programs or corporate buyouts, I suggest they tell the story of when this worked for a client (without naming the client specifically unless permission has been given).
  • Always get someone to read your article and suggest edits before posting it. This is another tricky one for some professionals, as they are experts on the subject and might assume they can tell it best. The purpose of an editor is to make sure the content is clear to all readers, and a second pair of eyes is always a good idea.