Monthly Archives: January 2015

How-To Measure Social Media (for Free)

Yep, social media can be an awesome, inexpensive and fun way to connect with current and potential customers and their communities. It can also be an excellent way to waste a lot of time and money. Are you wondering if your social media efforts are paying off? Here’s my method for how to measure social media for free (and not just for a first 30 day trial period either).

In the old days, people were obsessed with growing their fans and followers above all else. Times have changed, as we’ve learned that those metrics are not a good indicator of how well you’re connecting with your audience. Rather than counting how many fans you have or how often you are posting, pay attention to your engagement rate. Engagement is how often people interact with your content, either by liking it or sharing it or commenting on it.

The engagement rate is a blend of likes/comments/shares, but at Po Campo we break it down to look at each action separately. This takes more effort, but it sheds light on how the different platforms behave and helps you understand what to do to up your game in each space.

The Engagement Rate can be broken down into:

  • Conversation Rate (Comments per post)
  • Amplification Rate (Shares per post)
  • Applause rate (Likes per post)

I used Facebook terminology, but all social media platforms have their equivalents. For example, on Twitter, Conversation = replies, Amplification = re-tweets, and Applause = favorites.

This concept was first introduced by Avinash Kaushik in his post “Best Social Media Metrics: Conversation, Amplification, Applause, Economic Value“, where he advocated measuring the outcomes and not activity. At the time, there was no easy way to get these numbers. Now, thankfully, there is. TrueSocialMetrics offer a service that measures these things automatically for you.

Screenshot from TrueSocialMetrics, courtesy of Moz

However, TrueSocialMetrics is not free; their most basic package is $30/month. While not terribly expensive, those monthly costs really add up, so I wanted to compare how much it would cost to do the same measurements internally. After devising this method on how-to measure social media, I found out that we could do it once a month for half the cost. Once a month is a frequency that works for us because, well, we’ve got other things to do besides just measuring social media.

In devising our own system, I added a few more metrics:

  • Click-Through Rate, since one of our social media goals is to increase web traffic
  • Relative Engagement Rate, to compare how active each follower is on each platform
  • Economic Value Rate, to see how much money each social media platform brings in
Measuring-Social-Media-Worksheet

Access this temple on Google Docs and start measuring your social media efforts today.

I created a template on Google Docs for you to use. It consists of two worksheets:

The first tab is a worksheet where you enter your data in the top portion and the rates are automatically calculated below. We do this on the first day of the month. In my example above, you can immediately see which platforms are performing better across the different metrics: Facebook is great for conversations and sharing, Pinterest users are more engaged, Instagram gives us the loudest “applause”, meaning our content there is resonating well. Our Twitter account obviously is lacking across all metrics. I’ll dig deeper into what to do with these learnings in a separate post, but I bet you already have some ideas.

The second is a worksheet that calculates your month over month improvement. I meet with my social media team member in the beginning of each month to review our numbers and to identify what is working well and what needs some help.

Your next question is probably where to find the numbers to populate the top part of the “How-To Measure Social Media” table. Well, here you go! Below is how to find your data, platform-by-platform, using completely free services. Once you do it once, it’ll become quicker, I swear.

Jump to a specific social media platform: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram.


Facebook

  • # of Likes
  1. Go to your Facebook page’s Insights panel and click on Likes tab.
  2. Update dates at right side
  3. See total likes beneath graph

Measuring-Social-Media-Facebook-Likes

  • # of Posts / Comments / Shares / Likes

This one unfortunately isn’t as straightforward because Facebook Insights shows you the average amount of comments/shares/likes that your posts received, not the totals, which are needed to calculate the rate. I prefer the rate over the average so you know how effective your posts are. If you can accomplish the same results with 20 posts instead of 200, that is a better use of time, and only the rate gives you that information.

  1. Go to your Facebook page’s Insights panel and click on Reach tab and click Export.
  2. Change dates in pop-up window and select the “Post Data” report
  3. Open the report in Excel and try not to feel overwhelmed. Navigate to the second tab titled “Lifetime: The number of unique people who created a story about your Page post by interacting with it. (Unique Users)”.
  4. See how many rows there are and subtract by two so as to not count the headers. This is your # of Posts value.
  5. Add up the values in Columns I, J and K (comment, like and share, respectively) to get those values.
Measuring-Social-Media-Facebook-Export

Step 1: Exporting the data for your posts

Step 2: Open data and add up your values

Step 2: Open data and add up your values

  • # of Clicks to Website & Total Revenue

These last two values can be found in Google Analytics. You need to check both the “Social” channel and “(Other)” channel, as traffic from smartphone apps sometimes shows up in the latter.

  1. In Analytics, go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels and change the date at top.
  2. Click on Social to see traffic coming directly from the social media sites. Write down the total number of sessions (clicks to website) and total revenue.
  3. Go back to the Channels report and click on (Other) to see more traffic from those platforms that came to your site from a different app. Again, write down the sessions and total revenue from each channel.
  4. Add the values from #2 and #3 together and put them in the worksheet.

Measuring-Social-Media-Google-Analytics


Twitter
You’ll need to set-up a free Twitter analytics account to access these reports.

  • # of Followers
  1. In your Twitter Analytics page, go to “Followers” tab
  2. Find your number of followers on a particular date on the bar graph.

Measuring-Social-Media-Twitter-Followers

  • # of Posts / Replies / Retweets / Favorites

Similar to Facebook, Twitter Analytics makes it easy to see the averages but difficult to see the totals.  You have to download the data and add it up in Excel.

  1. In Twitter Analytics, go to “Tweets” tab and click “Export Data”. This can take awhile because it exports ALL your data.
  2. Once opened in Excel, copy the rows of tweets that were posted in your time period and paste into a new worksheet. (This is optional, just makes it easier to work with).
  3. Count the number of rows to get your # of Posts value.
  4. Similar to the facebook data above, add the values in column H, I, J to get your total Retweets, Replies, and Favorites, respectively.
  • # of Clicks to Website & Total Revenue

These last two values can be found in Google Analytics, same as above.


Pinterest
You will have to set up a free business account on Pinterest to get access to their analytics.

  • # of Followers and # of Pins
  1. Your # of followers can be found on your main profile page. There is no way to find it back-in-time, so just be diligent about recording this number on the last day of the month.
  2. There’s no way to see how many new pins you posted during the time period, but pins tend to live on longer on Pinterest anyway. Therefore, we record the total # of our pins on all of our boards for this metric.

Measuring-Social-Media-Pinterest-Totals

  • # of Repins / Likes

Once again, you have to download the raw data to be able to count these metrics, as Pinterest analytics only gives you the averages for a certain time period. The raw data only shows you your top pins, not everything, but I’ve found this to be workable. Sadly, Pinterest Analytics does not offer a “comment” metric, so we are unable to determine the conversation rate for this platform.

  1. In Pinterest Analytics, go to Your Pinterest Profile tab and select the Impressions option. Change the date and then click “Export”.
  2. Similar to the facebook data above, in the”Top Pin impressions” section, add the values in column G & H to get your total number of repins and likes.
  • # of Clicks to Website & Total Revenue

These last two values can be found in Google Analytics, same as above.


Instagram
Instagram does not offer its own analytics yet. We use a free account on Iconosquare for these basic metrics. Most of their statistics are on a rolling monthly basis, so it’s best to be diligent about getting these numbers on the last day of your recording period. Since Instagram does not really have a “Share” option, we skip the Amplification rate for this medium.

  • # of Followers 
  1. Navigate to the “Statistics” tab in Iconosquare. Your number of followers is on the main Overview page.
  • # of Posts
  1. Click on “Content” on the left side. Your # of our posts during each month are visible in the Distribution graph.

Measuring-Social-Media-Instagram-Posts

  • # of Likes / Comments
  1. In Iconosquare, click on “Engagement” on left side. In the “Like Received” graph, mouse over the bar for the month to see the total number of likes.
  2. For Comments, do the same thing on “Comment Received” graph.

Measuring-Social-Media-Instagram-Likes

  • # of Clicks to Website & Total Revenue

These last two values can be found in Google Analytics, same as above. Instagram traffic will most likely show up only on the “(Other)” channel, for whatever reason.


Now that you know where to find your measurements, and what to do with them (put them in my Measuring Social Media table!), I look forward to hearing about your insights. If you have better tools, please share, especially if they are free. It seems like most services are built for agencies managing multiple brands or big brands with big budgets, and not too much for us little guys. That’s why this DIY method seems like the best option for right now.

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How I Increased our Holiday Sales by 87%

My post “How I Plan to Maximize Holiday Sales” from 11/18/14 outlined my strategy for cashing in on the holiday shopping season. Are you curious about how my plans worked out? Now that the dust has settled, I checked to see how well we did.

I pulled these reports with Quickbooks and Google Analytics. Details on how to do so are in each metric.

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Google Analytics Acquisition>All Traffic>Channel report, comparing 2014 (Blue) against 2013 (Orange). This report shows Sessions (aka Traffic) and E-Commerce Conversion Rate.


Overall Goal: Double sales over 2013
Result: Overall sales increased by 87.2%. So not quite double, but pretty close.
Analysis: Of course it always burns a bit to not quite hit your goal, but overall I am happy with how the season turned out.
How I know this: In Quickbooks, I ran a Profit & Loss Statement (P&L) for the holiday time period and compared 2014 against 2013.


Goal: Double retail event sales by doing many more events
Result: Event sales increase by 98.7%. Hurray! Again, not quite the goal, but pretty darn close.
Analysis: We did a whopping 8 events (as opposed to just one in 2013), and that strategy obviously worked. That said, we were all pretty exhausted by the end of the month. Next year we’ll skip some of the slower shows and enlist more volunteers so we aren’t working seven days a week.
How I know this: In the same P&L statement from above, I filtered it for our “Retail Events” customer. We didn’t set-up a Retail Events customer until midway through 2014, but since we use Square for credit card transactions at events, I was able to figure out the 2013 sales with a Square sales report.


Goal: Maintain the momentum of increased traffic to our website by 56% over 2013
Result: Traffic increased by 62.3%.
Analysis: I attribute the extra bump in traffic to just more people being online and shopping.
How I know this: In the Google Analytics Acquisition Overview report, I compared 2014 against 2013. I refer to “Sessions” to represent inbound traffic.


Goal: Increase referral traffic by roughly 50% by being in more gift guides
Result: Referral traffic increased by 41.2%.
Analysis: Despite not hitting our goal, I am very pleased with how this strategy played out. Our e-commerce conversion rate from referral increased to an impressive 9.73% (compared to 0.41% in 2013), and of course that is a better metric than just traffic. We will push harder for gift guides next year, and get started on them earlier.
How I know this: In the same Google Analytics Overview report, then just clicking on the “Referral” line to dive into that report.


Goal: Invest in social media advertising to increase conversions.
Result: Our traffic from social increased an impressive 435.7% and our e-commerce conversion rate increased 214%. The vast majority of both traffic and conversions came from Pinterest.
Analysis: Obviously the Pinterest increase is a huge win, and interesting because we didn’t put any marketing dollars there. We did advertise on both Facebook and Google, and hardly saw a bump from those advertising efforts. Next year we will double down on Pinterest and try advertising there instead.
How I know this: In the same Google Analytics Overview report, then just clicking on the “Social” line to dive into that report.


Goal: Keep drop ship account momentum going, which had increased 74.1% over 2013.
Result: During the holidays, our drop ship orders increased by 132.1%!
Analysis: We offered our drop ship accounts limited-time discounts on certain SKUs so that they would have styles to promote during the big shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. We also changed to shipping every day (rather than just Monday, Wednesday and Friday) so that they can offer more shipping days.
How I know this: In Quickbooks, I ran a report under “Manufacturing & Wholesale Reports” called “Sales by Customer Type” and filtered it for the “Drop Ship” type. Note: You have to be using the Quickbooks Premier: Manufacturing & Wholesale Edition to have access to this report. Another method would be to just compare sales from these accounts from one year to the other.


Overall I am very pleased with how the holiday sales turned out. It’s great to end the year on a high note and to sell through a lot of inventory. For 2016, I want to reduce the craziness by getting a headstart on some of these initiatives, especially pitching the gift guides and our social media campaigns earlier on.

If you had particular success with any of your holiday marketing strategies, please share in the comments below.

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10 Things You Should Know Before Starting a Maker Business

I recently came across a post entitled 10 Things You Should Know Before Opening a Cafe on ladyironchef.com. I was surprised to see how many similarities there were between running a cafe and running a maker business, as I’ve always thought of service businesses and product businesses as completely different animals. Feeling inspired, I adapted her ten lessons to create my own take on 10 things to know before starting a maker business. *Note: I switched around the order of her points but kept the titles the same.

#1 The Owner Has to Be Hands On
Sure, this means all the grunt work that goes along with running a small business, like calling the post office to track down shipments, taking out the trash and sweeping the floor, schlepping box after box up and down stairs, in and out of cars, fixing the printer, fixing the network, answering angry customer calls/emails, etc.

Beyond the grunt work though, you have to be intimately aware of how each aspect of your business functions, and how it all works together, because you’re responsible for all of it, even if you don’t know how to do it. This includes everything from managing your supply chain to putting together human resource policies. If anything goes awry, all eyes turn to you, so you better know what’s going on.

#2 A Mountain of Paperwork and Admin Stuff
As someone said to me early on, if you want to spend your days designing things, get a job as a designer and don’t start a design business. I started my business because I wanted to design the products that I wanted to exist in the world. That’s still the case, I just don’t have much time to actually spend designing them, because I’m too busy managing my supply chain, sorting our human resource policies and fixing things to do it. Excel is open on my computer at all times, which I never thought would be the case in a million years.

Can’t you just hire someone else to do the things you don’t want to do? Sure, but keep reading…

#3 It is difficult – or almost mission impossible – to hire good staff
First, having staff costs money. A lot of money. Generally speaking, it’s best to have enough money for 4-6 months of payroll socked away to make sure you can pay people when your sales slow down. (Full confession: I don’t have this but sincerely wish I did. Skip down to #10 to see why). Revenue for a product company can come in waves, so you’ll want to be able to ride out those quieter periods and not lay people off.

Second, you have to know what the job generally requires before you pay someone to do it. It’s tempting to just hire someone to “take care of social media”, for example, but without know what exactly that entails, it’s too hard to align your expectations and to know how to measure her performance. So doing every job yourself, at least initially, is important.

Lastly, hiring is both art and science and is totally harder than it looks. My two employees at Po Campo are pretty excellent, but I’ve had some mis-hires too, and that’s rough.

#4 Motivating Your Staff
As the business owner and founder, you’re pretty devoted to making your venture succeed no matter what. Nobody else that works for you shares that devotion. Generally speaking, people like to do their job, do it well, and then go home. That’s why they work for someone else. That means that that inexplicable force that keeps pushing you ahead no matter what happens does not exist for the people who work for you, or, at least, not anywhere near as much as you feel it. You have to constantly be motivating them to try harder, push harder, see the bigger picture. You have to do that on top of managing suppliers and the mountain of paperwork and everything else.

#5 You Have to do a lot of Research about What You Want to Sell
One of my favorite parts of ladyironchef’s list was commenting on how there is a common misconception about opening a cafe that you mostly have to focus on the design and interior and then you’re good to go. I think we designers make a similar mistake about assuming that with a good product and good branding you’re good to go. Not true. Everything from your operations to your customer service policy has to be at the same level as your product and your branding or you are quickly discredited.

#6 Dealing with Suppliers will be your Worst Nightmare
This one really hit home for me. Suppliers suck! At least cut-and-sew suppliers do. Who would’ve thought it would be so hard to manufacture things, especially when you have a growing business and money to pay for everything. Po Campo has done more than 25 production runs and seriously something goes wrong each time. Bags aren’t made correctly, materials are substituted unknowingly, shipments come late, and it’s all like “tough luck”. (Before you tell me to switch to domestic production, please note that I have experienced just as many headaches with our US production partners as our overseas production partners). Most makers I know have similar experiences, but if you’ve had success with small production runs, I’d love to know about it. I’m always asking myself, “Is it seriously this hard for everyone to make things???”.

#7 Dealing with difficult customers
There are two types of people that you’ll have to deal with on a daily basis when running your business: vendors (suppliers) and customers. Customers are obviously key to your business’ success, but some of them can make your life so miserable! I’ve been screamed at, insulted and just plain treated rudely and unnecessarily harshly. Developing a thick skin without becoming too reptilian is a serious balancing act.

#8 You have to be at the cafe every day
Okay, this may be one area where it is a little different not being in a service business or not having a storefront. We have a pretty flexible work environment at Po Campo, in that I don’t have to be at the studio every day for it to keep humming along. That said, if there is a problem, I always have to be available. That means no complete vacation, ever. Have I worked on Po Campo each of the last 2,008 days? Yes. Have I taken “vacations”? Yes, absolutely. Since starting Po Campo, I’ve traveled several times to Asia, South America and Europe, all masquerading as vacation. And I checked my email and dealt with issues every day.

#9 You won’t have much time for yourself
You know that constant ticker tape on the bottom of CNN’s screen? That’s what goes on in your mind when you have your own business. Some of it is to-dos, some of it is business goals, some of it is managerial duties, some of it is turning a conversation with a difficult customer supplier over and over in your head. I get a glaze in my eyes that people call the “Po Campo face”. Once you go off on your own, commit to meditating at least 10 minutes a day to be able to operate like a half decent human.

#10 You’ll be constantly worrying
Obviously much of those ticker tape thoughts are worries. I’m going to use this last point to describe another omnipresent concern: death. Before starting my own business, I had no idea how close to death most small businesses are at all times. One extended street closure and that little shop that depends on foot traffic is dead. One big power outage and that online store runs out of cash and is dead. One faulty production run and that small maker business loses its most trusted customers and is dead. Sure, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, but it also makes you realize your own mortality, and how close you are to oblivion at all times. And that makes you worry.

 

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