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Kimberly Beer 0:00
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Well, welcome to The Business Animal podcast. settle up for a gallop to the top of the animal industry, where you’ll learn how to tame your wild business beast, with tips, techniques, and tools that will take overwhelm to obedience school, and have you wagging your tail with joy. And now your hosts, Kim Beer, and Cara Taylor Swift.
Kimberly Beer 0:41
Hi, business animals, it’s Kim with Be More Business
Cara Taylor Swift 0:44
and Cara with Fast Horse photography.
Kimberly Beer 0:46
And we are here with another episode of The Business Animal. Now I want you to hang in there with us because this is going to be an awesomely information packed episode. Today we’re going to be talking about organic social media metrics that you need to know about. Now I know when I teach classes around social media, I always have a lot of questions about what does this mean. And so we’re gonna make some clarifications today around what three really important social media metrics mean, and what impacts they have on your business and your marketing. Those three are reach, engagement, and impressions. So we’re going to break each one of them down. And we’re going to talk about those separately. Now, we do have another treat for you and that this is part one of a two part episode. So this one is going to talk about organic social media. And then we’re going to have another episode next week for you to look forward to where we’re going to talk about paid social media. So Cara, why do you think that it’s important for us to talk about this, because I think it’s pretty important. But I’m interested in your point of view on the importance of these metrics?
Cara Taylor Swift 1:56
Well, I’m kind of an analytic junkie, and I’m somebody that is constantly looking at my interactions and my numbers and that sort of thing. And sometimes I think, I think numbers mean one thing, and they mean something else, entirely, or maybe they they’re not as significant as I think that they should be. And I’m sure I’m not the only one out there, that is just trying to make sense of this nonsense. So between the reach the engagement and the impressions, I feel like there’s so much that as business owners by looking at that, and especially if we’re using social media as a way to reach our intended audience, these are numbers that I think can tell us if we’re on the right track or not. And that if the type of content that we’re putting out there is engaging, and it’s really doing us a service, the truth is cam is that I spend a ton of time creating posts for The Business Animal for Fast Horse for Cowgirls With Cameras for, you know, we spent time doing this. And it’s time that we could be doing other things in our business. So if we’re doing it with this attitude of, let’s throw something out there and see what sticks and not really knowing what our end game is and what we’re looking for, then we could be wasting your time that we could be spending on something else. So understanding what some of these metrics mean, I think can save us time, and help us better get our message out there better reach our target market, and really just better polling those people that are going to bring real value to our business.
Kimberly Beer 3:22
I totally agree with that. And even though I’m not really a numbers junkie, I do really like to know how what I am putting out into the world is being received. And I use these numbers as a good guide for me to be able to understand, am I making an impact? And if I’m not, how could I adjust that? And if I am, how can I amplify that. So I think that’s very important. And social media. For most small businesses, it’s a time suck, right? It’s a lot of time and effort to do content marketing to do social media marketing. And I know a lot of business owners who look at this and wonder where is the value in this. And these numbers are what tell you where that value is for your business. Now, I believe that social media marketing is really part of an overall or holistic marketing plan for any business. It’s a portion of it, and the portion for your business is going to be different than the portion for my business than the portion for somebody else’s business. We all are very unique in that. But until you really start to wrap your head around what some of these things mean, it’s really, really hard to judge what portion of your business should you be focusing on with social media marketing, organic and paid? And then how much time and how much money and remembering Time is money? Should you invest in these things? And what is the expected output of them as far as the bottom line in your business, which is what we’re all concerned about, especially at the end of the year when we’re all tallying up and looking had our report card for the last 12 months as to how our businesses have performed?
Cara Taylor Swift 5:05
Well for a lot of small business owners, I think all of their eggs sometimes are in this one social media basket. Because I mean, I’m sure that a lot of people know how important it is to grow like an email list, for example, or mailing lists, but they’re still working on that. And maybe that list is small. And a lot of times I think they’re using their social media to help grow I know I do, I use social media to help grow my email list, you know, pulling people from there. So I think that a lot of times when when small businesses are just getting started, social media might be their only game, they might not even have a website yet, they may still be working on that. So understanding what’s happening with that and making it as efficient as possible, especially before we start talking about which on a future episode putting money into the game.
Kimberly Beer 5:47
Yeah, definitely. And and any more when it comes to social media marketing, you know, that money component of it always is a topic of conversation, because you really do have to invest some money into your social media marketing in 2021, and 2022, which is just right around the corner. When we’re recording this 10 years ago, when I very first started teaching social media marketing classes, and be sitting down for this little tidbit of information, I remember discussing with people about how they needed to be prepared for the fact that their Facebook post would be seen by only 40% of their audience. And I think any of us would jump for joy, do backflips start on a speaking circuit. Social media if we could get half of that on a regular basis. So because of that, because of the fact that there’s so much noise in the environment these days. And because social media marketing has gotten so much more complicated, I do think having to invest money in the game is important that said, your organic activity on social media is what’s going to support your paid marketing as well. So the two things are really intrinsically linked together. And considering one without the other is like expecting the horse to pull a cart when it’s not attached to the cart. You know, it just does not work. It’s just not functional. There’s there’s a good metaphor, there’s a chem metaphor for the day. But it’s hard. Better than the dog door. Alright, so shall we start breaking some of these things down for folks Cara?
Cara Taylor Swift 7:29
Yeah, let’s start with reach. Since that’s the first one we’ve got on our big three today. So we’re talking about impact metrics, and the first one on our list is reach. And that’s really what that breaks down to in simple terms is it’s the potential unique viewers a post could have. So this would mean your personal followers to your account, plus the accounts that they have shared to their followers. So that could mean a lot of things. It’s important because you really need to know how many people are in your potential audience. So your potential audience could potentially be accounts that follow you. And the accounts that follow the accounts that follow you that they share, to. Did that make sense?
Kimberly Beer 8:09
Yeah, it did. It’s a large number A lot of times, and it feels like you’re really going to make a lot of impact with it. Because when you look, especially when you’re looking at like this post has this much reach or you have that much reach in your social media marketing potential. But here’s the thing, it’s misleading to because reach does not mean those people are going to see your post. And it doesn’t mean even if they do see it, that they’re going to act in you know, take any kind of action or that they’re going to pay attention to it. We all, whether we’re on Instagram, or Facebook or LinkedIn, I don’t care what social network you are on, we have a tendency to really flip our thumbs, a lot going up with the with the content, and it can go by really, really quickly. And part of that spinning motion is part of the psychological payoff on our in our brains for being on that social media channel. So it’s really easy to spin that wheel right on pasture content. And to be honest, that reach statistic is is very ethereal. It’s not a concrete number that you can necessarily depend on to know exactly how far that particular post is going to go. So it just has that potential. And you know what they say about potential potential just mean she done nothing yet.
Cara Taylor Swift 9:39
It’s true. I mean, we’re all guilty of just the scroll, scroll, scroll, and that’s counting towards someone’s reach number. So when you think about it that way, that number is really inflated, really inflated.
Kimberly Beer 9:51
It is. It’s very inflated. It’s also useful, definitely because you have potential there. Yeah. And you can use it to determine your potential.
Cara Taylor Swift 9:59
That’s where all the other stuff that we talk about comes into play, like you’re choosing your imagery to draw people in your choosing the message to draw people in. I mean, that’s why my account is just full of pictures of horses. But to get me to engage, it has to be something really unique and different these days, because we’re so overly saturated with it. So the reach is there. But is your content engaging, which we’re going to talk about, and
Kimberly Beer 10:22
that’s exactly what we’re aiming for is engagement. We want to have people write interact, because engagement means that people are doing something with our posts. So let’s talk about engagement.
Cara Taylor Swift 10:35
Engagement simply means the likes, the comments, the shares, the clicks, all the fun things that we do on social media, right? And it comes down to, you know, how much your audience accounts are interacting with your account, and how they interact. So are they liking? Are they commenting? You know, are they sharing? Are they clicking any links that you have in there? And, you know, I’m sure that all of those things are weighted differently. But we know already just by thinking about reach how important the shares are, for example, in reaching more audience, so we’re just simply talking about engagement. Why is this important? Well, this indicates the people who are seeing what you post and how they’re interacting with it. So you can use this to determine how successful your posts are, or if they need an adjustment of some kind, you know, and if you can really determine if how people are interacting with your posts, and if they’re engaged by it, I certainly will post something that I think is gonna blow up. Only then have it completely be ignored. And then I’ll go back and look and realize why never asked anybody to do anything. Yeah, you know, and then I’ve also had posts that have blown up and gone, you know, I’m going to use air quotes here that only Kim can see but have gone viral in air quotes for my account. And then I realized that when that went viral, I didn’t ask them to do anything, I had no link to them, I had nothing. So it can be the flip side, you really that’s why this is so important. Because if you have a plan in place, it’s going to make such a difference on what your reach looks like and how people engage. I’ve made all the mistakes, guys.
Kimberly Beer 12:06
What I see with a lot of my clients who are experimenting with social media is they’ll get one of those viral posts, right? Or they’ll get something that gets some good traction in their marketing. And what they’ll do is they’ll go Oh, wow, that was great. Here, let me try something different. No, no, no, no, no, don’t do that. Ride that pony until that pony doesn’t go anymore until you’re just flailing on its sides, and it just is not going to go. Because the thing is, is in when she found a golden ticket, you keep turning that golden ticket in until it doesn’t work. So when you do find something that gets traction, repeat that not maybe the exact same post, but the exact same tactic. And here’s where engagement can get so cool in helping us understand our marketing is because let’s say you have a certain post go viral, you get a lot of good traction with it. And then you repeat what’s exactly what you think would duplicate that. And it goes nowhere. Well, you just didn’t find the right thing. Go back to the original post and take a look and duplicate another aspect of that, that made that original post special. And I’m a big advocate for definitely don’t fix what isn’t broken and don’t go looking for something new. When you have something that’s working right in front of you. I think that entrepreneurs get into that chase the shiny object syndrome. Another thing I want to say about this particular topic around engagement, is engagement is is weighted differently on every social network. So different social networks consider different types of engagement more important. Now years ago, it’s actually been a few years now Facebook really upset the applecart in the entire social media industry, when they stopped waiting posts that were shared as the most valuable engagement metric to posts that were commented on. Because they saw immediately that they didn’t want to become a network of where people were sharing things back and forth, but instead a place where people came to have conversations about topics. Now in some ways. Personally, I think that kind of backfired a little bit. But it’s what they do. And they like the long form comments on your posts these days. That’s what they consider the metric that they find most important. So that post gets shown to more people. Engagement is what drives the the algorithms of each individual social network to expose what you’re doing to more people. So that engagement means that you reach more of that potential. reach than if you didn’t engage. So that’s how that reach metric starts to become fulfilled, is by engagement. Because if it doesn’t engage, then it’s never going to reach that potential reach. But if it does engage, then it will start to gain that traction. So the thing I find misleading about the engagement metric is that not all of the factors like the likes, comments, and shares and clicks, not all of those necessarily are reflective of who you really want in your audience. So the other end of engagement is that people have to be making conversions. So they’ve got to be buying something or becoming leads, or somehow that engagement has got to lead to some type of inaction in your business. Sometimes we put things out into the world that do get engagement, but they don’t get engagement from the right people, or they don’t attract to the right people. And then the sales don’t go anywhere or the wrong people start showing up in our business and it’s not as profitable or as easy. So where this number gets misleading is when you don’t attach it to the next step in the process, which is the conversion component of social media marketing.
Cara Taylor Swift 16:27
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I have a great example of that I had a post on Facebook a year or so ago, it’s been a little more than a year that just went crazy. I mean, the comments, it was just comment after comment after comment and the interaction numbers, those engagement numbers were just high between the shares and the likes and the comments. And I was really excited. I was like, wow, what is it about this post that is making it go so crazy, right? So I realized when I was looking at my analytics, that all of the comments and the likes and the shares were coming from not my typical audience, it was coming from an audience in another country and someone that was not going to convert for me, right? It was not, I wasn’t going to be doing photo shoots, I wasn’t going to be flying over there, especially during COVID. And they weren’t people here that were anywhere near me. They weren’t in the United States. It didn’t make sense, right. And I realized when I looked at my analytics that I was getting a lot of engagement, but none of it was ever going to convert. So that’s a great example about how it can kind of go wrong sometimes. And you can be excited about the engagement. But when I looked at what was happening, it was almost like Facebook saw that this particular audience loved this post. So then they just started shoveling it to more and more people that were really outside of my target market. And I had to do some like kind of resetting on the back end to kind of shut down what Facebook was doing. Because it was like I was losing the audience that I had that would convert they weren’t seeing it, it was getting pushed to another audience that was never going to convert. So I think that’s part of the reason this is so important and why it can be so misleading when you get excited about seeing the engagement, like spend some time and kind of click through and look at what that actually looks like.
Kimberly Beer 19:09
Yeah, cuz it’s got a benefit you on the other side. And that’s a great example of how people can look at numbers and metrics and go, Wow, my social media marketing is doing great. But when you look at the metrics in your bank account, it doesn’t translate. And that’s the place that it’s the most important is when we look at it in those numbers that show up in our sales records. So making sure that when you look at these engagement numbers that you can translate it into something that actually made an impact in your business is important. Now, here’s the thing, this is something that requires you to get a non analog sort of grip on in that if you have a business, that your conversion or sale does not actually occur on a website or through wherever the social media sent that person so What I’m talking about here is like E-commerce sites, if you look at how many people saw the the post, how much engagement Did it have, you should see a parallel reaction in your E-commerce statistics. Now, that’s great, because you can look at both the statistics on the Facebook metrics or Instagram metrics or LinkedIn or wherever you’re, you’re doing whatever social channel it is, and you can look directly at the sales report for the same period that that post was getting that engagement. And you should see a translation that’s similar, right, you should see both of those things growing, if you look at it, and you see a lot of engagement on your posts, but you don’t see that translate into your eCommerce store, then that means that it’s not carrying through. Now, e-commerce is an easier example here, because it’s easy to look at that because you can get the exact dates and you know, where people came from if you’re looking at your Google Analytics. So there’s a lot of ways to track sales that come through that electronic means, but what if you’re a dog groomer, and people are picking up the phone and calling you or your horse trainer or you know, meet any of a multitude of other businesses where people don’t check out through a checkout form on an online site, this is where you have to start participating in understanding where your sales come from in your business. And you have to start asking really important questions of your customers every single time they show up about where did you hear about this? Where did where did you find us? How did you? How did you come to be a customer of mine? And getting in the habit of asking that question is absolutely positively key in understanding what these numbers that we’re talking about with engagement really mean to the bottom line of your business, because when you can correlate it with wherever it came from, it’s an important realization. That said, I do want to add a little caveat to this in that sometimes people don’t always remember. Or they give you misleading information. So there’s got to be a little bit of room for that. So years ago, when I worked inside of a client’s office answering their phone, that was a common question we asked, Where did you hear about the product? And people would always tell me, I heard about it, I saw it in an ad was normally the thing because we ran a lot of print advertising and equine publications. And they’d see I saw it in western horseman, when we never advertised in western horseman ever read like never been an ad Western horseman, but they would name that magazine. Right. And I’d have to go back and think, Okay, well, they saw it in a print ad. So I know the print advertising is working. And I would never question it further. But in typical, I would say okay, it was in magazine, similar to Western Horseman. So it was probably a roping magazine or something like that, where it had Western imagery in it. So I knew that basically, that marketing tactic was working, some people will not be able to tell you where they got this from. And sometimes it’s an amalgamation of like 100 Different sources where you’ve put out marketing, so maybe you have some ads on Facebook, maybe you have an Instagram account, maybe they see you in search, they went to your website, they don’t necessarily remember exactly what triggered it. But if you start at least asking the question, you’ll start getting the responses of understanding that it’s coming from your social media, or it’s coming from your print marketing. So it’s up to you, when you have that type of a business where you can’t make a direct correlation through a digital trail to start asking those questions and determining how well you’re doing in any of those given areas with the clients that are coming into your business care. Do you have that as a practice to ask people where they found out about you?
Cara Taylor Swift 24:01
Yep. Every time I have my first call with someone, I asked them, How did you hear about Fast Horse Photography and it’s usually Google, social media, or friend referred refer and referred usually comes at the top of that list. And I do document it. I have a loyalty program. So I document and look for that specifically, but I do like to see Google and social media which because to me that says Okay, so all this work that I’m doing is amounting to something.
Kimberly Beer 24:25
Absolutely. But I’m gonna tell you another thing that’s valuable about this is that even those friend referred people, they’re going to go check your social media. So that is a support tactic as well. So they’ll go check the social media, and even though they may tag friend referred, you might follow up with the question. Have you visited our social media accounts? And just ask that when they say friend referred because the friend is who really sold them and the friend is the one that should get the credit for that particular lead coming into your business or sale, because that’s the the best currency for marketing, right is word of mouth and referrals. But understanding how your social media impacts them is, is taking a look at Hey, dude, have you been on our social media accounts? And if they say no, it gives you an opportunity to get a follower? And if they say yes, then you’re going to know okay, well, this is being a good support tactic to my sales program.
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Cara Taylor Swift 26:03
Absolutely. And I think that takes us into the third of our big three, which is impressions and impressions are basically how many times a post shows up in someone’s timeline or their feed, right. So the way that I think about this is if your post has a lot of impressions, if they have a big count, but a low engagement rate, that might mean that your post just, it just wasn’t doing it for folks, maybe it wasn’t interesting, maybe the imagery wasn’t there. Maybe you didn’t ask them to take an action, something that didn’t result in engagement. If the post has a high reach count, and a high engagement rate, it could mean the content that you shared did really well, you know, and that it had a lot of shares. So I try to think about it that way. And then you know it all this all circles back then to that reach and engagement that we talked about in one and two,
Kimberly Beer 26:51
it does. And there’s a difference. People always get a little confused between reach and impressions. Like what is the difference between those two topics. And I found a really good example that I’m just gonna read. So let’s say you have 100 followers on Instagram, and you publish one post, if every one of your followers sees that post, you have a reach of 100 users, along with 100 impressions to continue, say tomorrow, you publish two posts to the same 100 followers, your reach is still 100 users because your follower count did not change. However, now you have 200 impressions. So if that maybe helps people understand a little bit better about exactly what those two metrics kind of mean to your business. I think that that’s a key understanding. The reason why impressions is so important for you to understand is there are some social media channels that charge you based upon the number of impressions that are provided. Now in the example we gave, that would be 100% penetration into your market, that just does not happen anymore, unless you have one follower and that one follower saw the ad, I guess you can get 100% there. But for most of us, it just doesn’t realistically add up to that any longer. So that reach and impressions number is going to be really different. And that also doesn’t take into account people sharing and that kind of stuff on the region of things. So again, reach is a very ethereal number impressions is a more static number. It’s more dependable as far as being able to make adjustments in your marketing. This also, though, can get misleading, because impression does not mean or translate into engagement. So the engagement is still the more important statistic when it comes to conversion and the metrics that are in your bank account. But this means that people had the opportunity to see your post, it doesn’t mean they actually saw it or found it valuable. So you have to kind of take that into account with what you’re putting out there into the world. And when we use it, what we’re going to do is we’re going to take a look at what was our reach? So the three statistics work together, right? What is the potential for our audience? How many people did it actually get in front of or have the potential to see it with impressions, and then how many people engaged with it? And then adding a fourth option with what is the metrics in our own bank account showing actually worked for this period of time for our marketing?
Cara Taylor Swift 29:33
Awesome, I was just looking at Instagram, and I was looking at a couple of my posts and I I will add that impressions on Instagram, for example. It was very interesting. If you click on your post insights and you look under impressions, they even break down the impressions like where they’re coming from, like are they coming from home? Are they coming from hashtags are they coming from the Explore tab or from somewhere else? And I thought That was really interesting that even you can break down very detailed, like where that’s coming from. So I definitely would say I mean, we’ve we’ve covered, I feel like we’ve talked a lot, we’ve covered a lot just in this one little section, but spend some time like, go look at some of your most popular posts, and go into those analytics and look and see what’s happening with them in more detail and see if this makes sense, in relation to what we talked about today, and then start to look for some of those things in those posts that did well that you can do some tests on, on your social media, to help grow it or to help get whatever your goal is, if you’re trying to get people to your website, or onto your mailing list, whatever that looks like for you, or just make sales that we’d love to hear from you guys, let us know if this was helpful for you, you know, what you find when you go through your stats, you know, through your analytics. And and this is just part one, we’re going to we’re going to be back for a part two on this real soon,
Kimberly Beer 30:56
we’re going to dive into part two with a paid piece of things. The other thing I encourage you to do when you’re looking at your metrics is start to look for patterns over time, because that’s where you’re going to find the most benefit. This is this is very scientific, right? So you’re approaching your marketing with the mind of you’re experimenting, you’re putting things out there, you’re testing what works and what doesn’t work and, or what works better and what doesn’t work as well. And you can’t make that judgment based off of a small sample, we need a we need a large sample size in order to make good marketing decisions. So taking a look over time. And remember that a lot of the statistics, if you’ve had your Instagram account, or you’ve had your Facebook account for a period of time, those statistics are there, they’re going to be trackable and searchable for you. But remember to look for those patterns and start to associate what happened that caused an increase or decrease in the pattern. And then see if you can repeat that experiment and see if you can get the same results out of it. And when you find something that works, then it becomes kind of a proven and you can again ride that until it doesn’t work any longer. And that’s the way these statistics and metrics really start to impact. The bottom line of your business is when you get good at recognizing the patterns and are able to apply that to the future marketing to make good solid marketing decisions. Alright, well, we’ll see you guys on the next episode, and we’re gonna be having fun with paid ads.
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