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We are in an age of mistrust, over-promise and under-deliver. Most consumers doubt that companies sharing
marketing and sales messages will ever deliver on the product or service they are selling. They have been burned before
and are skeptical about trusting you.
To turn marketing into revenue, engage your audience in content that is useful to them before you sell to them. Use your
content to build trust, bring attention to a problem, agitate the problem and then sell your solution. Begin with set goals
and then create content to support your goals.
Creating a content plan is not difficult if you will set some goals, stick to a schedule and commit to it throughout the year.

Steps to creating a content plan

1. Set goals
2. Develop a monthly theme that supports your sales goals
3. Create weekly sub-topics that fit in each monthly theme
4. Develop supporting content
5. Write social media posts
6. Schedule
7. Run
8. Sell

Set Goals
With an integrated content plan, setting goals for what is to be sold requires a specific and detailed approach. It is
important to begin with the end in mind, then create content that supports it.
Do you want to fill a workshop or seminar? Encourage prospects to schedule a sales conversation? Book your catering
orders? Decide first your overall goal for your content. In this step, also determine the date the sale request will take place
and any incentives you will offer to drive the sale home.
Throughout this report, I will share a recent successful campaign my firm ran as an example.
Our goal was to fill a customer retention seminar. We set a date and a series of incentives to offer anyone who raised their
hand with interest about the event.
Develop a Monthly Theme
That Supports Your Sales Goals
After you have established your goal, create a theme related to that topic. While your goal is all about you, your topic
should be focused on a significant pain point (frustration, need or desire) of your target market. In the content you
develop, you will take your target market through a journey of problem identification, problem agitation, and identification
of solution (you).

Try to see this in terms of a monthly subscription to a magazine. Every month, the magazine has a certain theme for that
issue. For example, a sports magazine might have a preview of March Madness in its February issue. That February issue
has lots of other things in it but it has a whole bunch of material related to March Madness and college basketball.

In order to achieve your ultimate goal of a sale (or many sales), your role will shift to one of publisher and content provider
while your prospect gets to know you.
Continuing on with the example of the campaign my firm ran, the topic I chose to focus on that would support our ultimate
goal of filling a customer retention seminar was, “Why Customer Retention and Growth Marketing is Important to The
Success of Your Business.”

Create Weekly Sub-Topics That Fit

in Each Monthly Theme
Your next step is to develop four sub-topics that relate back to the overall theme of your monthly topic. Each week will
focus on a different aspect of your overall theme and all will lead toward week four (or day four if you conduct this for
four days in a row) when you will make the offer to your audience with a call-to-action. This weekly content planning will
ensure fresh, relevant content is always being added to keep readers interested and engaged up until the point of sales time.
For our firm example, the four sub-topics I chose were:
Your customers are 66% more likely to buy from you than non-customers
Your current customers have no advertising costs to sell to
Those who currently give you money should not be treated the same as those who don’t
How do you thank your customers each year?

Develop Supporting Content

One of the first things to do before writing any content is to make sure you do some research. Take a look at Quora,
LinkedIn Answers, Yahoo!Answers or other similar Q&A networks where you can find lots of people asking questions
that relate to your specific industry. Identify their frustrations, objections and pain points to address in your content
Researching these questions may create some ideas and directions for writing your own content. Also, take a close look at
the links to content within the answers to these questions. Follow these links to see what others in your industry are doing
with their content online.

You may also want to set up and conduct a survey or call your existing customers and prospective customers to find out
what needs are unmet. When you begin to write your content, keep those unmet needs in mind. Use that information to
create a veritable library of remarkable content that is designed to help your customers get what they can't get anywhere
else. Storytelling, testimonials and providing something of value that meets people's needs should all be included in your
{ businesses now, forced to compete for attention not just against other companies

Ask yourself if your content is useful to customers before publishing. While your goal
is the sell, the process of getting there includes being useful to your audience.
“Youtility is marketing so useful, people would pay for it. It’s a necessity for all

selling the same stuff, but against everyone and everything. In this hyper-competitive
era, you don’t break through the clutter by shouting the loudest, you get noticed by
being truly and inherently useful.”
--Jay Baer.

Write Social Media Posts

Once you have your content written for the month, use this content as the source for your social media posts for the month.
Engage your social network in an ongoing conversation focused around your topic theme on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook
and other networks.
A guideline for content/sales online is that your content should be 85% PBS and 15% QVC, meaning that you shouldn’t
self-promote or sell more than 15% of the time. If you post one update per day (recommended), then in each month, you
should have no more than four self-promotion posts.
For the firm example, posts were pulled from the four weekly blogs. Four of the post examples:
1. Did you know your customers are 66% more likely to buy from you than non-customers?
2. Focus more marketing on your customers. They have no advertising costs to sell to.
3. Those who currently give you money should not be treated the same as those who don’t.
4. Question of the week: How do you thank your customers each year? Each month? Each day?

Schedule Publication
On-time and consistent delivery is an essential part of making this plan work.
To ensure this, schedule all content in advance.The last thing you want is to have a blog post or social media deadline
sneak up on you with no idea of what content to use. Use a service like TweetDeck or HootSuite to pre-program all your
content on Twitter, Facebook, and LinekdIn in advance. Schedule your blog posts and emails ahead of time in your
application as well.

For blogs, you should post new, relevant content at least once or twice a week. Your readers should also know the day you
typically post and keep to that schedule. Alert readers via email about any new posts on your blog and promote these posts
in your social media network.

For our firm, I was able to set up all of the content ahead of time and the system ran smoothly in spite of the fact that I was
out of town for most of the month visiting private clients and for speaking engagements.

Publish Content

This is when it starts to become fun. Launch your content and start to analyze the results. A/B test different times of day to
send messages and post content, different subject lines to get your emails opened, etc. Tweak your remaining content
It is FINALLY Time to Sell
On day or week four (depending on how long your series is), it is time to ask for the sale.
You have spent the three previous posts engaging your target market where they are. They are now interested in the topic
you are focused on and are seeking a solution to the problem you have agitated. You have essentially led them to this
moment when you reveal the solution. And, since you spent the previous posts providing useful content, you will be seen
as the credible source for the solution.
When you are ready to sell, do not just make an offer to purchase something, attend something or request something.
Beyond the thing you want your target market to do, give them a deadline and an added incentive to do so. Creating a
sense of urgency is an important part of driving your audience to action.
When it was time for me to ask my audience to register for our upcoming seminar, I added an incentive to a free white
paper if they registered by a certain date.

Just like any other marketing plan to grow your business, the creation and implementation of an effective content plan is
going to take some planning and a bit of work. The payoff is a long-term, credible, relevant online presence that increases
traffic, builds connections within a community and creates a strong brand awareness for your product or service.
As far as the firm example, we sold more than my goal # for the workshop.
31 Essential ROI Tips......................................................3

10 Types of Facebook Posts You Should be Making..........33

for Maximum Audience Engagement

5 Social Media Essential “How-Tos”..............................35

1. Put Your Website to Work!
Facebook is an essential tool in reaching customers, hand-in-hand with utilizing their advertising.
That being said, Facebook has rolled out an amazing tool that can make your life a whole lot easier.
Released in early 2014, Website Custom Audiences is essential in optimizing your marketing by
creating Facebook ads that target users who have already visited your website.

Steps to creating a Website Custom Audience:

1. Enter Power Editor.

2. Remember to use Google Chrome**

3. Under Audiences, click “Create Audience” and “Custom Audience.”

4. Fill out the dialogue box; fields will include: “Name,” “Description”, “Visited”, and “In the Last __
Days.” These fields can be useful in targeting users who visited a specific landing page or went
through a specific path on your website within the past 180 days.

5. Click the “View Remarketing Pixel” and copy the text.

6. Click “Create.”

7. Go into your website’s Content Management System. You will want to paste the code you copied
before the closing/HEADER tag of your website’s template.

Following these steps allows you to take advantage of Website Custom Audiences and enables you
to specifically target customers who have visited, but left your pages. By targeting customers who
have yet to be converted, Facebook advertising can yet again prove to monetize your marketing dollars.

2. Facebook Pages App
Paper has several uses in our lives, including writing, reading, and a host of other activities. However,
Facebook’s Paper, which launched in early February 2014, is different from traditional paper and
even the Facebook application itself. Facebook Paper places an emphasis on visually appealing and
customized content. Your business can take advantage of this new application by following the steps

Focus on the End User

Creating content that is about you is not going to fly with this app. The aim of Paper is to create a
customized experience for the user, not the business. So make your content interesting to your prospective
and current markets. If the content is uninteresting to them, all it takes is a mere swipe of the finger to flick
the story off the smart phone screen.

Tell a Story

Storytelling is one of the most effective ways to have a marketing campaign stick with the audience.
Facebook Paper displays all stories, videos, or photos as full-screen, meaning that they are void of
distractions such as advertisements. This allows entire photo albums to be viewed as one story, rather
than clicking a link to view additional photos.

Keep it Visual

About 90% of the information processed in a brain is visual. So what does that tell you about your
marketing? Make it visual! Pictures have historically had higher engagement on Facebook, and the same
will undoubtedly prove to be true with Facebook Paper as well.

Facebook Paper is advantageous for companies that have refocused on making their content visually
appealing to users.

3. Freshen Up Your LinkedIn Headline
You know what stinks?

Using your title as your LinkedIn headline.

That is what everyone else does and it doesn’t say ANYTHING about who you serve and what you do
for them that makes you valuable and different from everyone else in the world. Instead, change your
LinkedIn headline to your 30-second commercial.

Tell people you are focused, what pain you solve, and why you are different.
Even better, get a keyword or two in there so you come up more often on searches.

Some examples from our private clients:

Katie Kohler
Passionate Coach, Trainer and Networker who loves to help & watch others grow personally &

Kimberly K. Graffin, CPA

Driving small businesses to achieve financial success & pay the least amount of taxes
(within legal limits)

Richard James
Law Firm Marketing Consultant Specializing in Consumer Law for Bankruptcy and Divorce Attorneys

Think yours is just as good or better? Send me your headline and if I feature you in an upcoming MI tip,
you will win a copy of my current read… 80/20 Sales and Marketing: The Definitive Guide to Working
Less and Making More by Perry Marshall and Richard Koch.

4. Facebook Engagement Changes
Are you engaging your Facebook fans? Facebook has bad
news for you if your answer is no. (If the answer is yes --
Yay! You’re ahead.)

Facebook has adjusted its algorithm so that users will see

more text-only posts from friends and less text-only posts
from pages in their newsfeed.

Why? Facebook found that text-only posts from pages were

getting less engagement compared to ones with visuals.

What can you do to create more engagement on your

Facebook page?

Create Link-Share Posts

With this news, Facebook also announced that it is pushing

more Link-share posts. You may ask, “What are link-share
posts?” I thought you’d never ask!

Below is an example of a link-share post from my page. Notice that the link is not embedded and you
can view the video directly from Facebook. Below is an example of an embedded post.

How can YOU do this? Simply copy and paste your link into your post with your text. Your image,
description and title should automatically be pulled from the link into the post, which creates your link-
share post. This enables you to delete the link from your post because the image and description are now
clickable. Only good things can come from this change — Facebook is encouraging eye-catching ads
that will capture your audience’s attention.

5. 10 Best Websites for Free Photos
for Your Blog
Regardless of your preferred social media platform, there will come a time when you want to spice up
your posts with a photo. However, if you’re like most people, you don’t want to have to actually pay for
the rights to use a copyrighted photo. Luckily for you (and the rest of us), there are many websites out
there that offer free photos for your blog, website, or other social media platform. Here’s a list of ten of
the best:

1. Unsplash offers photos in a variety of categories, ranging from animals to landscapes to

product images, all of them at high-resolution.
2. Creative Commons is an easy-to-search site for free third-party image sources.
3. Wikimedia has over 21 million free-to-use media files.
4. Pixabay is another great source, allowing you to use its images in any manner, even commercially.
5. Stockvault presents many images in a wide variety of categories.
6. Ancestry Images specializes in free historical maps and prints.
7. BigFoto is organized by geographical area and mainly sourced from amateur photographers.
8. Gratisography offers quirky, high-resolution photos.
9. New Old Stock showcases an extensive collection of vintage photographs.
10. Free Photos Bank is a comprehensively-organized site featuring many different photos for use.

There are of course many additional websites offering free-to-use photographs, but these ten are some
of the better (and often more interesting) sources. All ten are copyright-free, and you can edit them
according to the needs of whatever social media platform you use. These websites also don’t require
registration, which is a great added bonus. So if you’re looking for a photo to add some pizzazz to your
blog, your best bet for a free photo is in this list.

6. Trending Your Content
With Facebook’s Trends
Facebook can now be a guide to not only how much time is wasted by your employees and competitors,
but for what content is hot. This data should be used to create your upcoming blog topics and emails.

Facebook will determine which topics are trending with an algorithm intended to recognize “a sharp
increase in popularity,” not necessarily a large volume of posts or articles about a particular subject,
according to a spokesperson. In other words, subjects that are always popular on Facebook won’t
always be trending; this will only happen when that subject experiences a spike in mentions.

Use these trends to optimize your content to leverage popular topics to gain more traction for your

7. The Number One Ad Type

on Facebook
You know how to write effective copy to get a Facebook ad to work? Just record it after you write it.

You see, the number one most effective type of Facebook advertisement is a video. Not a link to a video
itself. The way to do this, is to upload a two-minute or less video to your timeline and then create an
ad to promote your post. Make sure to include a link to your chosen landing page, set your budget,
and you are off! We have had more engagement, less cost per click, and a higher ROI from this type of
advertisement than any other.

The next time you go to place an advertisement, test it by recording a quick video on your iPhone
(landscape, not vertical), upload and run. Trust me, you will be amazed by your results.

8. A Better Way to Track Social ROI
The only way to know if your social media is providing a high ROI is to track the results, right?
With so many posts going out a day and dozens of ads running, this task can be daunting if you don’t
have a good system in place.

Here is where Google’s URL builder can help. When you create a link using the URL builder, you can tag
on additional information to the link that describes what the link is about, where the traffic came from
when it lands on your site, and much more.

I usually add on the source of the post and the date to help keep them straight.

For example, if I am sending someone to sign up for our Facebook event this week, from this email,
instead of just listing, I will list out the source, campaign and other information
and get this URL from the Google URL builder:

I can then use HootSuite or Tiny URL to create a prettier link.

Yes, it is extra steps, but only through tracking can you determine your true ROI.

9. Managing and Scheduling
LinkedIn Groups
If you are an avid LinkedIn Group user and like to schedule updates via your social media scheduler (aka
HootSuite), then you know the challenges your application currently faces.

Well, this is where comes in. Their focus is LinkedIn and managing groups.

They have a free trial, but be warned. After that, prices add up, so this is really only for you if you use
LinkedIn for lead development in Groups.

The basic package is $89 for five profiles and 25 groups.

Truthfully, I have not tried it yet, but I do know the frustration of LinkedIn Groups, so it is probably worth
checking out the 14-day free trial.

10. How to Get More Followers

on Twitter
Want a quick and easy way to get more followers on Twitter?

The next time you are drafting a Tweet, check out the top ten trending hashtags at and
incorporate one of them into your Tweet.

This will help you get a lot more eyes on what you are posting and potentially give you new followers
along the way. Oh, and it’s 100% free.


Try it now and then go off and enjoy the day.

11. Using Pic Resize
I know how busy you are right now and the last two weeks’ tips were pretty long (if you want to see them
again, visit the membership site at

So, this week’s tip is short and simply a tool that can help you any time you are creating graphics for social
media pages, posts or ads. Why bother?

Every image needs to be a different size and to use the media in the most optimized way, you should be
sizing your artwork to scale at the size required. To do this quickly and easily, visit:

It is a FREE tool to re-size your photo and/or convert it to another format.

It’s easy to use, creates great images, and (did I mention?) it’s free!

So stop letting your pictures get stretched or leaving valuable real estate blank, and start re-sizing
those pics.

12. First Impressions Do Matter
In a sea of ineffective social media marketing, think differently.

And start with your profile photo.

Almost everyone using LinkedIn uses a standard professional headshot. When choosing a profile photo,
think outside of the box.

Show up differently by featuring yourself engaged in your industry or subject matter as long as most of
your face is shown to the camera.

This type of photo is engaging and establishes you as an authority.

If you were featured in a media story recently, another option is to use your media story photo as your
profile icon. This also helps you to be established as an expert and immediately showcases you as
different from the other people attempting to market.

Start out differently so those you are trying to reach know that you are.

13. How To Schedule Using Your
Facebook Timeline
Paying for people to see your posts is simply just a part of doing business on Facebook. This is because
Facebook makes no apologies for the fact that only 8 to 10% of those in your network will ever see your
posts if you do not promote them. The only way to automate your post promotion is to set a sponsored
story campaign to automatically promote any post you have running at

Step One (Left): Choose “Page Post Engagement”
Step Two (Below): Choose “Keep my ad up-to-date”

But perhaps you don’t want to pay for every post to be promoted. Maybe you want to focus your budget
on those that will capture leads and drive sales and allow the content-rich posts to live on their own.

If so, then the only way to schedule the post promotion ahead of time is to schedule it directly on your
Facebook timeline. Facebook just made this function a lot easier as it used to be rather clunky to use.

To schedule a post using Facebook’s Timeline Scheduler,

follow these steps:

• Write your post update

• Click on the clock icon
• Pick your desired day and time
• And click “schedule”

You can even schedule from your mobile device. I like to do this while at an event or taking a photo of
something that I don’t want to post just then but would like it show up later on. Instead of needing to
remember to do it later, I immediately upload it to my Facebook page and schedule when it will run.

You can then go back into your Ads Manager and pick and choose any of your posts to run paid traffic to,
even the ones scheduled for the future.

Happy automation #ROINation!

14. Topsy
The famous philosopher Socrates was once quoted with saying, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”
In modern terms, this means that all aspects of your personal and business life should be examined with
due scrutiny for evaluative purposes. In the context of business, do you know how your company or a
competitor is performing across various social media networks? By utilizing a tool that monitors social
media networks, such as Topsy, you can examine the internet for your business’ advantage.

With Topsy, your business can:

- Measure social media topics across websites and analyze the results

- Discover new information by searching through content

- Learn by uncovering new insights

- Compare against competitors or past trends

- Make decisions for the future

Growing your business requires listening to and attracting customers, catering to current customer needs,
and predicting the future with accuracy. Businesses can use Topsy for these purposes, and to monitor
social media network activity and trends that relate to their products or services to ultimately better
service customers.

Utilizing Topsy ensures that your business can stay on top of developing content, communication, and
activity online. If you would like more information about Topsy, please visit

15. Is Your Social Media Showing
You the Money?
Social Report as an ROI Measurement Tool

When performance is measured, a company is able to tweak variables in order to make the final output
more successful. This should include your efforts on social media networking websites (such as the one my
mom refers to as “The Facebook”). This is why this tip may be useful to your business.

Features of Social Report include:

- Analytics that monitor both keywords and hashtags

- Publish and schedule campaigns across networks

- Discover what is currently trending on networks

- Track ROI through conversations

- Export data from Social Report to create graphs and reports

Utilizing Social Report in your business can create and increase value in not just one, but multiple social
media networks. Social Report measures the impact information posted on social media networks has
on users. By analyzing this information, businesses can produce and publish content that users will find
useful on respective networks. This is also a delegation-friendly tool, as different access levels can be
set to team members, which can ensure that accounts can be effectively managed. (Did somebody say
outsource? Pick me! Pick me!)

Visit to learn more.

16. Life Just Got Easier
LinkedIn Integrates With iPhone Mail
If a social media network could make advertising your business and connecting with other professionals
easier, would you use it? LinkedIn has recently announced that it has integrated with iPhone Mail to
enhance user experience. Optimizing the social media network for one of the biggest contingents of
phones in the U.S. will provide many advantages to users.

Benefits of LinkedIn Intro include:

- Combines the technology of Gmail app Rapportive and LinkedIn to quickly find out the
connections with those you correspond with and connect with them on LinkedIn
- Recipients of email can quickly see location and company of sender
- Tapping on the LinkedIn Intro bar provides additional information
- Supports Gmail, Google Apps, Yahoo! Mail, AOL Mail, and iCloud

This iPhone update makes itself advantageous to businesses as it can reinforce your connections with
both clients and affiliates. In addition, using LinkedIn Intro in your business can make it easier to identify
connections that can be valuable to via email. LinkedIn Intro enables you to filter emails so that you are
talking to someone who can make decisions within the company, as you can see their job title and past
occupations. In the essence of Rapportive, LinkedIn Intro enables you to put a name to a face, begin to
establish connections via email and grow your business.

Download the LinkedIn app today to get started.

17. Leaving the Fluff For Your Next
Peanut Butter Sandwich:
How ‘NeedTagger’ Can Help you Monetize
There is a lot of fluff and chatter on Twitter and most are not using it to grow their business.

Identifying prospects is a goal for most of us and Twitter can be particularly valuable for lead generation
due to the ability of users to communicate their thoughts about products or services.

Optimizing information from conversations on Twitter is the closest your business can get to
eavesdropping on potential and current customers, without phone tapping…which apparently people
frown on.

New software, called NeedTagger, enables your business to monitor daily discussions that take place on
Twitter and appropriately address users.

Features of NeedTagger include:

- Filtering audience, location, need, and specific keywords

- Up to 30 days of History in Feed

- Insights tab allows you to see opportunities created

- Compatibility with HootSuite Social Media Management Tool

- Email alerts about account activity

Multiple benefits for your business come from utilizing NeedTagger, including connecting with customers,
responding to complaints, and marketing your content to the world. In addition, by observing and
tracking this business-relevant information, you can attract and retain customers with ease. Any business
that is currently utilizing Twitter or handling clients with HootSuite Social Media Management Tool can
use NeedTagger to create a competitive advantage.

Test it out by starting a free trial or get more information at

18. Why You Should be Using
Animation in Social Media
Captivating every member of your audience is the first cardinal rule of making a sale, converting a
customer to be loyal or even to simply get them to stick around and explore your website.

When you first try to reach an audience via social media, there are two things that you have to get right
or your audience will pass you up. You need to:

- Capture your audience’s interest

- Maintain your audience’s interest until you can finally deliver the message you want

The problem is that your audience members are likely used to every kind of advertising strategy under the
sun. They’re tired of hearing long, drawn-out voiceovers; the best thing to keep their attention is a man
with a whiteboard.

Animation Presents a Better Way to Get Your Message Across

PowToon’s ( animation presents a unique way to get this done that departs from all
the other methods everyone else is using.

So in a nutshell, here’s what PowToon does and why you should use it:

- As a rule, most people around the world enjoy or have enjoyed the friendly, light-hearted nature
of cartoons sometime in their life. You can communicate using the channels that your audience is
already pre-conditioned to love and be more receptive to.
- Instead of focusing on the details that a live action video with flashy effects might have, your
audience is allowed to focus on just your message. There’s nothing to interfere with what you have
to say.

How Do You Ensure Your Audience is Receptive?

When you use PowToon to make a video for your business, you need to keep a few things in mind.

- Keep your message at around 85 to 230 words, depending on the length of your animation.
- Keep it simple. Short sentences win the day.
- Sound should help your audience focus. Use it.
- Prioritize informing your audience why what you’re about to say benefits them.
- Don’t be afraid to be different. Make your video something that your audience hasn’t seen before.
- Your message should be clear. Use arrows, contrasting colors and loud messages to make it

Start experimenting with animation and see the difference in your ROI. If it tests well, leverage this
medium for more messaging in the future. It is certainly worth the test to try it out.

19. Instagram Advertising
Given the prevalence of social media networks, it has become a valuable tactic for companies to
advertise on them in order to reach their target audience. Facebook, which is possibly the largest
purveyor of social media advertising, has recently announced that it will introduce advertising on
Instagram — which it purchased in September 2012 — in the coming months. Both Facebook and
Instagram executives have acknowledged that there will likely be backlash from the users of the
image-sharing network. However, they are planning to introduce users to a natural-looking feed with
advertisements in a slow and gentle manner in order to gain acceptance.

Benefits to your business from Instagram advertising include:

- Introduce target audience to visual content representing your brand

- Emphasize high-quality and effective advertising
- Reach users who do not use other social media networks
- Targeted advertising is likely to be a feature of Instagram advertising

Further benefits of Instagram advertising are sure to be revealed once initial testing results are analyzed.
However, an initial drawback of this form of advertising for businesses is that users will be able to hide
advertising that they do not like. Instagram will collect user feedback on what aspect the user did not
enjoy in order to improve user experience and therefore the business’ advertising. This new advertising
venue promises to be both profitable and useful for Instagram, businesses, and users alike. Do you
envision yourself using this new form of advertising?

Facebook Competition Monitor

Rivalry tends to bring out the best in competitors, especially in regard to the world of business.
Competition raises the proverbial bar higher each time, striving to please customers, increase profits,
and improve other metrics. Most businesses can name their main sources of competition relatively easily,
which is important. However, knowing the tactics of your competition is far more valuable than just
acknowledging your competition. Presently, the integration of the internet and social media makes it
possible to ignite a firestorm at a mere keystroke — whether it is a detriment or benefit to your company.
Facebook is now testing a “Pages to Watch” option that allows you to monitor your competitors’ activity.

Advantages of this feature include:

- Seeing how many new fans competitor pages have added/subtracted

- Administrators can select pages to add
- Facebook suggests pages to add
- Up to 5 pages can be watched at a time

However, if Facebook decides to release this feature to all pages, it is noteworthy that there is also
a possible downside to this feature. After selecting to watch the competition, the page receives a
notification that they are on your “Watch List,” which gives away the fact that you are monitoring them.
What do you think? Do you see this feature as an asset or a liability to your company?

20. It’s All in the Timing, Baby
While there are many ways to schedule your Facebook posts ahead of time (like HootSuite or
LikeThisLibrary), only one way can be integrated into Facebook’s advertising platform.

If you want to create posts ahead of time and increase reach through a sponsored story or tag other
Facebook pages, then schedule your post directly on your timeline by clicking on the clock below the
status update before you post it.

Pick a date and time when you’d like it to go live.

You can then go to your ads manager and place ads for additional traffic to those posts. Happy

In This Case, Smaller IS Better!

When sharing a web link, either through an email or social media post, you may want to shorten it in
order to use less characters or make it easier for the recipient to follow. While there are many shortening
options out there (bitly, Hootsuite, etc.), my new favorite is It allows you to personalize the
shortened link that you post. And did I’s free?!

Benefits of include:

- Shortened URLs are easier to click or type

- URLs stay complete in emails

- The URL never expires

- A TinyURL can be added to your browser’s toolbar

- A TinyURL can redirect to another page on your website

For example, to encourage you to check out the Marketing Insiders Membership website, I could send
you to or I could create a TinyURL and send you to, going from 42 characters to 28.

21. Tracking Your #Hashtags
Almost every social media network now employs the use of the hashtag, or the # symbol, to track what
users are saying on each respective network. For marketers, the challenge is analyzing the popularity of
hashtags across social platforms. This is where Tagboard comes in handy.

Tagboard analyzes the hashtags from Twitter, Instagram, Facebook,, Vine, and Google+ as a
one-stop solution for tracking and analytics.

For example, if you would type in #LiberationNation, a hashtag we are currently using for a campaign
for a private client, GKIC Inner Circle, you receive results across platforms.

Check out for more information on Tagboard’s valuable uses for businesses.

22. Facebook Changes Promotion
Facebook has recently updated its Page Terms in order to make running promotions easier for businesses
of all sizes. Previously, Facebook required businesses to run promotions through 3rd party applications,
such as our LikeThisLibrary.

Now, Facebook allows businesses to administer contests or promotions directly on your page’s timeline.

This will allow businesses to:

- Collect entries by having users post on your Page or comment/like a Page post
- Collect entries by having users message your Page
- Utilize likes as a voting mechanism
- Encourage photos and comments to be posted through “Fan of the Week” promotions
- Solicit answers for trivia in order to give away prizes

It is important to note that businesses still cannot run promotions on personal timelines.

Additionally, Facebook is now requiring accurate tagging in promotions. In order to increase Page
content accuracy, it will no longer be permissible for Pages to tag or encourage people to tag themselves
in content in which they are not actually depicted.

To increase your marketing ROI, however, I recommend against running a contest on your page since
this will not allow you to collect contact information for the entrants. This will limit your ability to conduct
lead generation. Instead, still run your contest through your tabs, but encourage ongoing “raving fan”
activities on your page such as comments and photo uploads by rewarding fans who do so.

23. How to Use LinkedIn
Recommendations to Score
Last year LinkedIn introduced endorsements because a) It is a way to take on Facebook’s likes and b)
“Endorsing” is a heck of a lot quicker and easier to do than writing a recommendation for someone.

Here’s the thing though…when you write a recommendation for someone, your profile shows up on THEIR
page. So you help to bridge the gap to their network and build trust with their audience. Plus, when you
write a recommendation for someone, it carries a lot more meaning than just clicking “Endorse.” Build
out your referral network by giving first and writing one recommendation a week. It will help to reinforce
the relationship with your client/customer, build out your referral network and….you just might get a
recommendation in return.

Here is sample text to use when writing your next recommendation:

I would highly recommend ________________ (name) for __________________(service).

Unlike most in his/her industry, those who work with him/her will find that he/she is always
______________(list their attributes).

If you need _______________ (service), I would suggest that you connect.

24. How to Embed a Facebook Post

Good news for those of us who like to layer our content in different channels. Facebook now allows the
embedding of posts on your website and in your blogs.

This not only allows you to drive traffic to your Fan page, but it gives you a permanent URL for a post that
you could use to direct people. Uses include a live chat, entering a contest or making an announcement
to create buzz. Here’s a quick “how to” on embedding Facebook posts.

1. Post a status update on your Facebook Page.

2. From a desktop (currently not a mobile feature) hover your cursor over the upper right hand corner
of the post until a downward arrow appears.
3. Select “embed post.”
4. Copy the code provided.
5. Place the code on your website wherever you want it to appear.

I ran a sample from our IO Creative Group Page to our blog.

25. Call To Action Button
A call to action is imperative in any of your Facebook advertisements. Why? Just like in other forms of
advertisements, this Facebook button directs people to perform a certain action, such as “Click Here”
or “Claim This.” Released in February 2014, these buttons will be valuable to you and your business for a
multitude of reasons.

1. Increases click-through rates on ads.

2. Replaces putting a call-to action within a thumbnail image of your link.
3. Facebook is making this even harder to do by limiting images to 20% text.
4. How to Do it:
- Create an unpublished post within Power Editor that uses a link-share.
- Click option of selecting a “Call to Action Button.”
- This will only apply to within the news feed, not sidebar ads.

By replacing current ads with a call to action button, you can effectively drive more traffic to your landing
page or website. Remember to split test current and new posts on your Facebook page in order to see
what copy generates the best response. From there, convert viewers into customers, and proceed to grow
your business through more effective Facebook advertising. If you have additional questions, please visit or

26. Getting More Content
and Engagement: Bundle Post
Bundle Post describes itself as…

The patent pending Bundle Post content curation tool aggregates and schedules social media content
efficiently. Searching, editing and scheduling with a browser plugin or social media dashboard, then
adding hashtags, keeps you engaging your audience and getting results. There are many dashboards,
social media tools, and browser plugins out there but none handle social media marketing and content
curation like the Bundle Post application.

If you are a Google Chrome fan or Gmail user, this software has a Chrome Plugin that will allow you to
curate content while hopping around the web, saving you cut, paste, sort and organization time. This
“one to watch” certainly seems worth testing.
To check it out, visit: Bundle Post.

27. How to properly tag someone
on Twitter
When writing a Tweet, if you put the @ symbol first, followed by a username, the only people who will
see the Tweet are those who follow both you AND the person you mention.


@KWalshPhillips you have awesome Tweets

If you put another word and/or symbol before the username, BOTH your followers and followers of the
mentioned user will see the post.


Hey there @KWalshPhillips. Your Tweets are awesome.

That is why you often see a period and space leading off Tweets…the writer wants both sets of fans to
see the post.

Happy Tweeting!

28. Infographics? Not a problem
Infographics are a growing trend in content marketing, with good reason. They are attractive,
informative, and tend to have a viral nature if they are relevant, which can improve the creator’s Search
Engine Optimization. The only thing discouraging marketing companies and businesses alike from
creating an infographic is that they are typically research and design intensive. That’s not the case though
if you use Piktochart (

As shown below, you have four options -- Create: Infographic, Report, Banner, or Presentation.

You can use any of the Free Themes, ‘Create Your Own Infographic,’ or pay for the Pro Themes.

Select the Theme you would like by
clicking on it; my choice reflects my
undying love for the magic potion
commonly known as ‘Caffeine.’

Click ‘Create’ in the blue box above the

Theme, and it will take you to the editor.
You can choose to either take the tour
(highly recommended) or go it on your

Go through the tour to learn the ins and

outs of the program, and create your
own content using data that you have
gathered. For example, if you wanted
to convey which social media network,
Facebook or Twitter, had more activity
on Valentine’s Day (dun dun dun…just
kidding…kind of), you could create an
Infographic like the one below.

That’s it! Have you been thinking about how you can apply Piktochart to your marketing, Beth? If you
have questions about how, you can always email us We’ll be happy to
answer any and all inquiries.

29. Are your ads relevant?
There’s a Facebook metric for that.
Facebook recently announced that it will be judging your ads based on their relevancy. (Insert happy

For direct-response marketers this is H-U-G-E!

Here is how a Relevance Score works: After your ad is served more than 500 times, your ad receives a
daily relevance score from 1–10, ten meaning that Facebook estimates your ad is highly relevant and one
meaning that Facebook estimates that it’s not very relevant. Below is a picture of the score.

So you’re wondering what the big ta-da is…If your ad has a higher Relevance Score, it will cost you less.
When your ad is relevant to your audience, its relevance score is higher and is more likely to be served
than other ads targeting the same audience. As a result, you pay less to reach your audience.
So, how do you improve your Relevance Score? Use these tips:

Target the right audience

Let’s be real, your ad is not (and will never be) relevant to EVERYONE. This is why you want to use
specific demographics like age, gender, location, interests and behaviors to target your ideal audience.
We also successfully use custom audiences here at IO Creative Group.

Evaluate your ad’s image and message

The tone of your ad should resonate with your audience, and be simple to understand at a 5th-7th grade
reading level. However, you may want to consider editing your image or video first; most audiences
notice that before the text.

Make sure your ad is fresh

Guess what. Just like you don’t want to eat the same thing every day, your audience grows tired of the
same ad. It’s not glamourous or fun, but by keeping it “fresh” your relevancy increases.

Don’t use offensive content

This one is a no-brainer. If people are hiding or reporting your content, your Relevance Score is going to
be friends with a big old zero REAL fast.


Heyyyyyy this is one that should look familiar ;). This revelation should make you do your own little
happy dance as a direct-response marketer! ALWAYS test your marketing.

Do you have additional questions about how the Relevance Score works? Check out Facebook’s article
by clicking here.

30. Use this FREE tool to improve
your open rates
One of the biggest challenges we face in a prospect’s or customer’s inbox is getting the email opened.
Since voodoo magic is largely frowned upon, we have to generate a headline that piques the readers’
interest enough for them to open the email on their own free will. Here is a great new tool that we are
using at IO Creative Group from the Advanced Marketing Institute. You can visit the website and check
out their free (!!!) Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer by clicking here.

With this tool, the higher the percentage, the more you are using Emotional Marketing Value words.
Having a higher EMV Score means that you are more likely to reach the reader on an emotional level
that causes an action…such as a click to open…such as a website visit…such as a sale. You get the idea.
This is a great tool to add to your marketing arsenal. A word of caution though, for the average direct-
response marketer this is also a black hole/game where you will keep trying to get a better EMV score.

31. Are you using high-performing
Do you struggle to find keywords that provide you the proper performance? Not anymore! WordTracker
is a nifty (and FREE) tool to explore high-performing keywords in your industry. You can check out their
website by clicking here.

WordTracker not only gives you the volume that your keyword receives, but it also shows you the level of
competition for that keyword and helps you find the highest potential keywords in your market by rating it
on the Keyword Effectiveness Index (KEI).

10 Types of Facebook Posts
You Should be Making for Maximum
Audience Engagement
There’s a lot of garbage on Facebook.

If you can see most business Facebook pages, they are filled with posts of only type, are too
promotional, or rarely seek engagement from their fans.

To get more out of your Facebook page, your posts should vary in tone, type and focus. Here are 10
successful post types to use when creating content for your page.

1. Ask Questions
The simple act of posing a question on social media is the quickest and simplest way to signal what
you’re looking for. Being willing to ask for feedback and listen to what is and isn’t working not only helps
your business grow, it builds loyalty.

2. Fill-in-the-blank Posts
To coincide with the 2012 release of the Hunger Games, JetBlue Airlines posted, “If your city could be
any district it would be _____” on its Facebook page. This ties in their product with something else their
audience is excited about, gets them engaged, and gets them thinking.

3. Write a Picture Caption

Post a funny or unique picture of your company or your products at work or another picture you find
online and ask people to make up their own caption. These posts can constitute smaller giveaways
where the winners get coupons or other prizes. It’s a tried and true way to keep your visitors

4. Link your Blog

Social media should be your most important tool for cross-promotion on the internet. If you want to
ensure people are actually reading your business blog, you should remind them where to find it. Don’t
have a blog? Get started creating one as soon as possible.

5. Share an Industry Article
You should always make building credibility a priority, especially with social media. Showing that you’re
on top of industry news solidifies your place in that industry. It makes your company feel more legitimate
and more knowledgeable. Don’t simply post a link to the article however. Add your comments and ask
a thoughtful question as to what the reader thinks about the information shared.

6. Share a Quote
Quotes are really popular in social media and especially on Facebook. Post an inspiring quote or saying
that encompasses your core values as a company and your prospects. Create these posts into images by
using a free resource like to encourage more sharing.

7. Trivia Questions
A trivia question about your business or your industry can be a fun and fresh way to keep your audience
coming back. Whether you’re offering a prize or not, they’ll want to know the right answer or see how
many people guessed the same thing they did. (Just make sure to come back to your page and award a

8. Fan of the Week

You can handle your fan or member of the week selection any way you want to. Can people apply to be
picked? Can they vote? Do they get prizes for the title? Any way you choose to go about it, singling out a
repeat visitor will add an important layer of interaction to your social media profiles.

9. Premium Giveaway
The goal of your Facebook page should be to capture the email addresses of the fans on your page. Do
this by offering a signature giveaway to your audience that requires their email address. Things that work
on Facebook: A chapter of your book or ebook, free report, tip sheet, video, gift certificate, contest entry
or coupon.

10. Behind-the-scenes Photos

Your Facebook fans want to feel as though they have a “backstage pass” to you and your business. Post
pictures of your team at work, setting up events, planning a new product, etc. They will eat this content
up and it will help to strengthen their relationship with you.

5 Social Media Essential “How-Tos”

1. Schedule a Post Right From Facebook

Schedule your posts ahead of time. No need to waste precious time off coming up with posts. Use
scheduling apps such as Hootsuite, TweetDeck or Facebook itself to schedule your posts ahead of time.

2. Run a Micro-Commitments Campaign

Why Micro-commitments Matter. (Tweet this!)
It is fairly obvious that those who know you will be more likely to respond to an offer than someone who
has never heard of you before. The same is true of your Facebook audience.

Before trying to drive your Facebook audience to a sale, webinar, live event or any other significant
commitment of time or resources, ask your prospect for a “micro-commitment” such as a “like” on your
page or to opt-in for a free report.

We have tested this “connect first and sell second” strategy time and time again and the total cost-per-

We have tested this “connect first and sell second” strategy time and time again and the total cost-per-
lead and success rate always beats out going after cold traffic directly.


1. Step One

2. Step Two

How to Run a Micro-Commitment Campaign

1. Develop a “lead magnet” giving your target market something of value such as a free report, e-book,
video series, etc. (For a step-by-step “how to” on creating a Lead Magnet, click here.

2. For at least four weeks, run your lead magnet to your perfect prospects, targeting fans of your
Facebook page, your website traffic and fans of other similar pages.

3. When you start to run your main offer, focus on the warm leads you have created:

1. Facebook Fans
2. Website Traffic (retargeting using Website Custom Audience)
3. Email List

3. Get More Fans For Free

How to Increase Your Website Traffic Without Spending a Dime. (Tweet this!)

1. Post more often. It is true that only a small percentage of your Facebook fans see your posts without
you paying to promote them. However, we have tested how to increase free traffic and have found the
more we post, the more Facebook shows each post to. And, the higher our page engagement is.

When we doubled our posting, our engagement increased; tripling increased even higher.

2. Celebrate your customers. Feature your customers in your posts along with links to pages outside
of your posts. People like celebrating others and the content is more likely to be trusted. Plus, your
customer who is featured is likely to share the post with friends and family, which gives you even more
free advertising.


a) From Ron LeGrand:

b) From Pamela Yellen:

3. Ask for Participation. Ask your followers to

participate in something meaningful, yet easy to
do. Ideas:

What does your desk look like right now?

(For a business coaching client)

Your favorite pair of shoes? (For GYN office)

Your pet in celebration of National Pet Day

(for any business)

For example, for our client, The Fertility Center,

we had patients share photos of their children
dressed up for Halloween this year. (Granted,
nothing is cuter than babies, but you can handle
the challenge!)

4. Share some of who you are. Occasionally share posts about you from a more personal perspective.
No, these won’t drive immediate web clicks, but it will help to build trust with your audience and increase
your page engagement. When this happens, Facebook shows your posts to more people ongoing. (It’s
like increasing your TV ratings.)


5. Post videos. Video content is shared more heavily than other types of posts at the moment. My guess is
because Facebook is trying to promote Video View ads right now.

Try uploading a video directly to Facebook and post along with a link to your website.


4. Use Impression Ads to Build Your Ad Effectiveness
First, what is a Facebook Impression Advertisement?

The difference between paying for impressions (CPM) and paying for clicks (CPC)…

• CPM stands for cost per 1,000 impressions.

• CPC stands for cost per click. If you’re paying for clicks, you’ll be charged each time someone clicks on
your ad.

So with Impression Ads, you are paying for thousands of people to see your ad for pennies on the dollar.
How to get this to work for you? Let’s start with the basics.

Why would you want to increase your audience?

Your “audience” is the group of prospects who you warm in order to convert them into a customer, your
customer list and anyone else who has an affinity with you. You are building a community around those
who will and currently do business with you.

How Do I Use Facebook Impression Ads to Increase My Audience? (Tweet this!)

A. Build awareness of you and your brand to grow trust prior to an event, conference,
speaking engagement or sale.

With Impression Ads, you can inexpensively run ads as a step before trying to make the sales.
These ads should feature things like content-rich information, testimonials of your customers,
clients or patients, or case studies.

Inspiration on how you can use

this strategy:

1. Run ads to some of your most popular blog

posts prior to speaking or exhibiting at an

2. Before pitching an investor, run posts

targeted to the investor’s company.

3. When applying to be a speaker, run ads

to fans of their Facebook page.

4. Before meeting with that big enterprise

prospect, run Impression Ads to the executive

B. Develop qualified leads.

Facebook’s powerful advertising platform allows you to retarget people who visit a certain page in your
site. You can use this feature to your advantage with Impression Ads.

Before you start to run an offer, develop an audience of qualified leads through Facebook’s Website
Custom Audience option.

Here’s how:

1. Write a blog post or post a video

that is content-rich and would
clearly identify qualified leads,
such as:

a. An accounting firm running a

blog post: “Ten Ways to Decrease
Your Expenses at Your Small
Business in the Next 30 Days”

b. A fitness guru: “Ten Workout

Videos to Complete in 10 Minutes
or Less”

c. A realtor: “Ten Ways to Increase

Your Profit When You Sell Your

d. Or one that I ran recently:

“Powerful Changes To LinkedIn
You Should Be Using (But Probably

1. Run a promoted post to the

content to a page outside of
Facebook and insert, making sure
your Website Custom Audience
Pixel is set up ahead of time.

a. Develop your content on a

separate landing page outside of


b. Insert your Custom Website
Audience Pixel on your website:

c. Create an audience of people who visit this page specifically (you only need to insert the code once
on your website and can set up as many audiences as you like)

d. Run an Impressions Ad promoting

the content (right)

e. When you are ready to make

an offer (in this case, attend a paid
workshop), target the audience you
just set up. This is now a group of
warm leads that you pulled together
without having to spend a lot to get

With Impression Ads, you can

inexpensively run ads as a step
before trying to make the sales, and
build your audience and positioning
as the authority or expert in your
industry. (Tweet this!)

In part two of this series, out in one

week, I will reveal How to Increase
Your Website Traffic Without
Spending a Dime.

5. Target Different Audiences on Facebook
The following is how to find a target audience on Facebook. (Tweet this!)

When creating an ad on Facebook, the audience is defined as who will be eligible to see the ad. It is
imperative to choose a relevant audience because the ad will only be shown to people who match the
criteria selected.

I. Targeting Options

A. Custom Audience: You may create or select a Custom Audience that you can use with your other
targeting options. A Custom Audience will let you find your offline audience among people who use
Facebook. Sources for a Custom Audience include your email list, your mobile phone list, your website
traffic and your Facebook Fan Page. Facebook will also create a “look-alike” list of these groups that
matches the top 1% most similar people to those in your Custom Audience to expand your list size to over
1 million people.

Audiences Targeted for IO CREATIVE GROUP:

1) IO CREATIVE GROUP Email List: 25,000

2) IO CREATIVE GROUP Member Look-Alike List: 1,786,000 people
3) IO CREATIVE GROUP Website Traffic: 50,000
4) IO CREATIVE GROUP Website Traffic Look-Alike Audience: 1,607,000

B. Location: You may choose one or more countries, states, provinces, cities and zip codes (US only) or
post codes (internationally) to target your ads to those locations.

IO CREATIVE GROUP: Targeting is used when the offer requires sending a physical product and shipping
costs make it necessary to limit the promotion to the continental United States of America. Additional
targeting is used when promoting a specific live event to reach those within driving distance.

C. Demographic Targeting Options: You can use demographic targeting options to select audience
segments related to categories such as age, gender relationships, education, finances, and life events.

IO CREATIVE GROUP: Men aged 25-55 perform better than other age groups and women. When
reaching out to non-Custom Audience lists, this criteria is selected. (Ladies, we LOVE you, but you just
don’t convert.

D. Interest Targeting Options: You may reach your audience based on their interests. This can include
interests from their timelines (something they liked from a post) as well as the interests tied to Pages
they’ve liked or keywords associated with those Pages or apps they use.

IO CREATIVE GROUP: Many interest categories have been and continue to be tested including:

Fan Pages

1) Social Media Examiner: 256,000 people

2) Success Magazine: 920,000 people
3) Ryan Deiss: 16,800 people
4) Brian Tracy: 960,000 people
5) Frank Kern: 24,000 people
6) Infusionsoft: 144,000 people
7) Entrepreneur Magazine: 1,640,000 people
8) Ali Brown: 138,166 people

1) Marketing: 163,000,000
2) Entrepreneurship: 59,000,000

E. Behaviors: You may reach your audience based on their digital activities, what devices they use, past
or intended purchases, and travel. This data is pulled from Acxiom, Datalogix and Epsilon data mining
companies and merged with Facebook’s data to find matches.

IO CREATIVE GROUP: The following Behaviors have been targeted:

1) Purchased Business Marketing: 2,800,000 people

2) Purchased Book: 184,000,000 people

F. Connections: This allows you to target those who are or are not Fans of your Page and/or their friends.

IO CREATIVE GROUP/Kim Walsh-Phillips Pages:

1) Fans of IO CREATIVE GROUP Page: 6,000 people

2) Friends of IO CREATIVE GROUP Fans in the United States: 4,800,000 people

G. Other: Facebook allows you to combine categories to narrow the focus of who you are trying to
reach. We continue to test combining the different categories to maximize response rate and cost-per-
conversion. For example, we have paired a Lookalike Audience with those who buy Business Marketing
to narrow the focus of the audience.

Dive into Audiences through the Ads Manager at to get started.

Make sure the image takes CONTENT
up the whole width of the Use an image of what you’re
news feed. 400 (w) x 200 (h) giving away. Ideally use the
or twice as wide as it is tall. same image as what you have
on your opt-in page.

1. A smiling person’s face
is very effective
2. A screen-shot from a
video where the person is
in action (but doesn’t
have scrunched up

“I consider two factors: high-quality referral
traffic to our websites and raw ROI.”
- Small Business Respondent

1. Book
2. Blueprint / Template
3. Report
4. Video
5. Webinar

Use instant gratification in
the language. Must be a
tangible thing they can
click and have now.

“As a small fitness business and the only trainer, I have an intimate relationship with all of my clients.
I know exactly where they came from and many are from social media. Outside of knowing that they came
from a direct post, I have no real metric by which I am able to measure the success I know I’m having.”
- Small Business Respondent

“What I’m posting must have relevance and add
to my overall business persona, rather than
just doing it because everyone else is.”
- Small Business Owner Respondent

The promise sentence is just as
important as the post. The font
is larger and the eye goes there
before the post.

Give a very specific call to
action i.e. “Click Here to
get your free copy...” OPEN LOOP
Make sure you open a loop 1. 3 Massive Mistakes Workshop
and leave a person desiring Leaders Make that Keep Their
more. Give them something Event Rooms Empty!
for their brain to latch 2. 62 Business Services you Should
onto but don’t give the Not be Paying for
information. 3. Our #1 List Building Revelation
*Using numbers opens a loop.
**Use prime numbers i.e. 3, 11, 1

Social Media
Overwhelms and Confuses
Small Business
As They Look for Better Ways to Track ROI
A Recent Survey
of Small Business Owners
and decision makers revealed that most
small businesses can’t reliably link social
media activity with sales, despite the ever
increasing sophistication of online tracking
tools. They find the medium confusing and
overwhelming, but continue to strongly
believe in its value and potential.

In fact, business owners surveyed feel that

less than social media takes up too much time, the

learning curve is both steep and compli-

50% 77%
cated, and the programming details are
always changing, making it too difficult to
stay current. No wonder more than half of
those surveyed report they can not track the
impact social media has on their bottom line.
plan to
track success increase But despite these barriers, 77% of businesses
social media surveyed recognize the importance of the
spending media, and report plans to increase their
business’s social media activity in the
coming year.

IO Creative Group • 14 West King Street / York, PA 17401 • 340 Royal Poinciana Blvd, Ste. 317-331 / Palm Beach, FL 33480 • • • p: 717.848.9339 f: 717.846.6375
If Half of Small Businesses
Surveyed Can’t Attribute Sales to Social Media,
Why Are 77% Still Planning
to Increase Activity?
Research by IO Creative Group revealed that small Of those who are trying to measure social media’s
businesses recognize the value of a low-cost tool impact on their business, about a quarter rely on
that makes content available to their customers and content engagement and site activity to measure
prospects. These respondents reported they success. Even without strong metrics, or
generally believe social media has a positive effect consistent methods to measure ROI, more than
on their business, even if they are unable to three-quarters of those surveyed said they are
measure those effects. Over a third of those polled planning to increase marketing efforts next year.
say they don’t assign tangible or reliable metrics to
this ever-changing media.

“Small businesses have the kind of limited budgets
and entrepreneurial mindsets that make solving the
social media puzzle appealing,” notes Kim Walsh-
Phillips, President of IO Creative and a
nationally-known speaker on social media
strategies. “These businesses often see social
media as an inexpensive and easy way to build
their business.” have no

Q: Which social media accounts do you have

social media
metrics in place
a business account on and use actively?


LinkedIn I’m not really measuring.

Just observing the insights
and making adjustments
to increase engagement.
YouTube - Entrepreneur Respondent


0% 10% 20% 30%
50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Page 1
Time Demands and
Content Development
Are Key Concerns For Small Businesses Surveyed
While many of the small businesses surveyed have Because many small business owners are unable
entered the world of social media, and some have to link social media with revenue, they report they
staff dedicated to leveraging this communication are slow to develop staff and resources needed to
tool, many are feeling short on time and content keep ahead of this everchanging communication
ideas. They are overwhelmed by the complex array tool. In fact, “the learning curve” and “the effort
of platforms, demographic profiles, messaging to get started” were listed as primary barriers.
formats and technical requirements. Many respondents noted that the constant evolu-
tion in the platform’s technical requirements,
Respondents often noted they are not experts, that communication regulations and advertising
they don’t fully understand the tools available or capabilities requires constant re-education and is a
the potential. Many describe themselves as under- substantial deterrent to more active presences and
educated in this area, and ill-prepared to transform more aggressive ad spends.
social media efforts into sales.
“What I'm posting must have relevance and add
to my overall business persona, rather than
just doing it because everyone else is.”
- Small Business Owner Respondent

“While small business owners are typically able to

wear many hats and master many new skills,” Kim
Walsh-Phillips adds, “many small business deci-
sion makers reported that social media demands
significant time. For these small companies, time
is already at a premium and their employees are 26% Time Issues
often overloaded dealing with other priorities.”
20% Creating Good Content
11% Getting Good ROI
8% Don’t Know Enough About Social Media
Q: How do you handle your social media marketing? 8% Getting Started
A full-time social
media marketing
8% Ever Changing
person internally 6% Targeting
A person who has 5% Don’t Believe in it
additional marketing 5% Too Hard to Implement
responsibilities internally
2% Cost
A person who does
marketing and non-marketing 1% Integration with Other Marketing
tasks internally

An external consultant
or marketing agency
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% Page 2
45% of Small Businesses
ARE Getting Direct Sales From Social Media
(Or So They Think)

While many small businesses complain that social She adds, “We advise our clients to use social
media is hard to measure, some small businesses media as a tool to find and convert leads, and do
do attribute social media with sales. In fact, this by bringing them to the sale, starting on social
almost half of respondents say they are measuring media and perhaps using other tools in tandem, to
results. create a series of micro-commitments. When a
user Likes your Facebook Page, that’s a micro-
commitment. When they download a report, that’s
“As a small fitness business and the a micro-commitment.”
only trainer, I have an intimate
relationship with all of my clients. Kim notes, “Once a user has opted in enough
times, they can assess if a business is credible and
I know exactly where they came from trustworthy. At this point the prospect is ready for
and many are from social media. an actual sale, which may be worth $7 or
Outside of knowing that they came $70,000.”
from a direct post, I have no real
metric by which I am able to measure
the success I know I'm having.”
- Small Business Respondent how are you
However, many of the measurements are subjec-
tive, based on opinion or reliant on one-on-one
inquiries, such as asking a customer “where they
social media success?
heard of us.” 35% We’re not
20% Sales
16% Engagement
“I consider two factors: 8% Analytic Tools
high-quality referral traffic to our 7% Anecdotally
websites and raw ROI.” 3% Don’t Know
- Small Business Respondent 3% Calls and Inquiries
3% Links
3% “How Did You Hear About Us” question
Kim Walsh-Phillips adds, “Many of those who 1% Online Coupons
responded want it to be super clear. They want to
link a social media post directly with a sale, but
social media is rarely that literal.” Page 3
Although They Believe in the Medium,
Measuring ROI is the #1 Concern
for Small Businesses

Over half of respondents report they can’t

measure results or link online activity with sales.
Many small business decision makers reported
that they lack the time, the resources and the
as essential or somewhat important expertise needed to convert online activity into
Respondents reported that they strongly believe in sales.
social media. This survey shows that small “When will it close a deal for me?”
business owners and entrepreneurs recognize the - Business Owner Respondent
power that social media holds as a communication
tool. However, participants view the social media “We have found that the expectations for social
format and potential as both appealing and media are out of whack,” notes IO Creative Group
frustrating. The medium offers a low-cost, president, Kim Walsh-Phillips. “Advertisers
low-skill entry point to a robust communication expect the medium to do everything for them –
program for many companies. However, few build awareness, start a dialogue and generate
respondents have mastered the art of measuring direct sales. Most haven’t become sophisticated
ROI. enough in this area to understand how to pull
social media apart to use different parts to meet
different needs.”

54% Essential. Must Do it

30% somewhat Important
How do we best use social media 13% Not Sure
to capture prospects when we have 2% Skeptical
such a long conversion cycle?” 1% Very reluctant or Opposed
- Small Business Owner Respondent Page 4
Analysis and Recommendations

Key Finding:
Small Businesses Recognize
The Potential Value of Social Media
Although many business owners and
decision makers are unsure about what to do
with social media, or how to do it, they
recognize the medium as content-rich with
IOC recommendations
high engagement. They identify social media
as a mass media with micro-targeting
• The only thing that should be used to
capabilities. It is easy for most companies to
determine your spend and marketing
maintain a baseline presence, and to take a
direction are the results of your ads and
“better safe than sorry” approach to content
development. However, this tepid approach
is rarely financially or emotionally
• Always include an offer. Give your prospect
satisifying. Although they may be a bit
a reason to engage.
dazed and confused, most businesses agree
that the social media mystery is a puzzle that
• Give your prospect a reason to respond
is worth working on.
now. Your offers should be fresh, new and
ever-changing with clear deadlines.

• Give clear instructions on HOW to respond.

Be literal – click here, download now, find
out more.
“Treat Social Media like a totally
new opportunity. Make new rules
• Track. Almost every social media platform
about measurement and ROI.
has conversion tracking, analytics and
Experiment and be determined.
insights. Use them.
You CAN make social media
convert into real sales.”
Analysis and Recommendations

Key Finding: Small Businesses Do Not Understand

How to Monetize Social Media
Many small businesses are still using outdated
mass media measurements to track social media
success. They rely on anecdotal feedback, reach, “Think outside the box. Don’t
expect social media to do
and response to unpaid content to evaluate the size everything for you. Combine it
of their audience and the value of a continued with emails, web, landing pages
presence. Despite the substantial improvements in and even snail mail.”
social media’s ability to precisely track the
demographics, interests, online activities and even
requests for information, online purchases and
associated website activity, very few small
businesses have systems in place to gather and
analyze this kind of specific data. IOC recommendations
• Don’t settle for “where did you hear about
us” surveys. There are a variety of
sophisticated and easy-to-use tools that
make content development, tracking and
optimization accessible for smaller
businesses with smaller budgets. Spend a
little more and you can start tracking the
activity of a lead from its first interaction to
sale to customer life cycle.

• Social media is a great way to acquire

leads. Use it to bring new prospects into
your sales cycle.

• Don’t stop with social media. Make sure

you’re using social media as a part of a
robust direct sales effort, not relying on it
as the only tool. Social media works best
when used as a part of a multi-media
effort. Page 6
Analysis and Recommendations

Key Finding: Small Businesses Are Still Working On

The Best Way To Make Money Using Social Media
Although most respondents have not figured out Although less than half of small businesses
how to adequately measure ROI, they are surveyed can link social media to sales or mon-
nonetheless planning to increase spending. They etary value, they continue to invest and experi-
recognize that others are successfully using the ment, looking for ways to move past sharing
platform, but that the formula for success is still a content and into sales-driven marketing.
mystery to most. However, even without hard and
fast measuring tools, the soft feedback has been
strong enough to encourage small business owners
and entrepreneurs to build on past successes and
continue to search for tangible effects on their
bottom line.
IOC recommendations
“Test and learn. Test and learn.
• Every follower or fan is a potential
Test and learn. Don’t be scared customer. Treat them that way.
to try new things. So far, there
really is no ONE way to use • While followers are not your only goal,
social media. We use different qualified followers are usually the ones
strategies and techniques for
different clients, and find that no
most likely to respond to your offers.
one thing works for everyone.” More is better.

• A little sales message goes a long way in

social media content. Don’t sell so hard
they no longer want to follow you. About
80% of your content should be factual,
value-added content.

• Don’t expect to make cold sales online.

Warm up prospects with a series of
smaller commitments such as Likes and
requesting free reports.

• If your primary transactions take place on

your website, experiment with ways to
drive traffic to the website or even to a
specific sales page on the website. Page 7
Background and Methodology
This survey was conducted in April of 2014. IO Creative is also the parent company for
Results are based on 145 participants, with Marketing Insiders Elite, a consulting and
134 respondents completing every question. coaching division servicing Business Owners
This test sample consisted solely of owners, and Entrepreneurs and providing state-of-the-art
partners or top decision makers in social media strategy, implementation
self-identified small businesses. techniques and tactical coaching sessions.

The margin of error is calculated at 8.14% Contact Information:

with a 90% confidence level.
Please contact Mary Lorson
This survey was conducted in person and with any questions or inquiries
online, and offered both closed-ended and 717-553-3502
open-ended question formats.
This study was conducted by IO Creative
Group, an independently owned direct
response social media agency focusing on
monetizing the entire customer life cycle.

About Kim Walsh-Phillips

Kim Walsh-Phillips, @KWalshPhillips, is the
award-winning Speaker, Author, Strategist and CEO of IO
Creative Group, a direct-response social media agency.
She is a techie marketing geek with great shoes, a hatred of
awareness campaigns and an obsession for marketing with
a sharp focus on ROI. Kim has worked with successful
direct response marketers such as GKIC Insider’s Circle
As featured on: and Dan Kennedy, Craig Proctor, Ron LeGrand, Pamela
Yellen and Charlie McDermott, and big brands such as
Harley-Davidson, Sandler Training, Chem-Dry and Hilton
Hotels, to increase revenue through direct response
marketing. Kim is the author of Awareness Campaigns are
Stupid and Other Secrets to Stop Being an Advertising
Victim and Start Monetizing Your Marketing, and the
upcoming book co-authored with Dan Kennedy, The No BS
Guide to Direct Response Social Media Marketing.