Use Google Analytics to find the best times and days for LinkedIn [video]

Ellen Butler asked:

The answer is absolutely, using our friend, Google Analytics. This is something you’d do after you were posting on a fairly regular schedule. Here’s a quick video explaining how to do it.

Remember, if you’re only posting at a fixed day or time, that will always be your best time to post. Schedule throughout the day, and don’t forget to measure more than just audience.


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My 3 Digital Marketing Trends for 2014

This originally appeared in my newsletter, Almost Timely News.

Here we are, in the final days of 2013, as we look forward to the year ahead. What is on your radar? What is on mine? Let’s see what hints and clues we can patch together for the year ahead.

Channel fragmentation. In contrast to banks that are labeled “too big to fail”, there are some social networks that could charitably be called “too big to survive”. Topping this list, of course, is everyone’s favorite 800 pound gorilla, Facebook. Already being challenged by Google and Twitter, Facebook’s true Achilles’ Heel is the mobile experience. They simply have not gotten it right soon enough. As a result, upstart apps like WhatsApp are rapidly encroaching on Facebook’s audience. It’s not Facebook’s world alone.

In 2014, channel fragmentation is likely to get much worse. As marketers, our audiences will be scattered all over different channels, and one of our major challenges will be to keep up with our audiences where they are, when they want to be in touch with us. (assuming that they want to be at all) More marketers will be purchasing content management solutions and the winner in that particular race will be the solution that can keep track of and manage as many channels as possible.

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Pay-to-play dominates. We’ve already seen social networks take major steps towards putting up pay walls in 2013; Facebook is probably the most prominent example of this, but it is not alone. Twitter was the last of the four major social networks to go public on the stock exchange in 2013; now that the major social networks are publicly traded, they are all being held to Wall Street’s expectations of profitability and short-term results. The easy win for these companies is pay-to-play; expect more of your results from organic social network activities to decline, and more of your results to rely on a budget.

Determine what you’ll need to pay in order to reach at least your existing audiences on your social networks. As of today, Facebook is averaging about $.38 per 100 fans in sponsored post fees in order to reach all of your audience. If you have 5000 fans, expect to spend about $19 per post, and budget accordingly. Got a post for each of the 251 working days in 2014? You’ll need $4,769 just for 1 sponsored post a day with 5,000 fans. No matter what size your corporate brand page, you will be paying if you want to be seen this year.

The alternative strategy if you simply do not have budget is to get more and more of your employees participating in sharing. So far, individual profiles do not seem to be affected as much by the News Feed algorithm changes. Get your individuals sharing!

Creative destruction accelerates. Oracle bought Eloqua and Responsys to build Oracle Marketing Cloud. Salesforce bought ExactTarget and Pardot to form Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud. Adobe bought Neolane and rolled it into Adobe Marketing Cloud. Look for other major players like Microsoft, SAP, and IBM to roll out marketing automation and e-mail marketing acquisitions of their own. If they follow the trend, don’t probably be branded as Microsoft Marketing Cloud, SAP Marketing Cloud, and IBM Marketing Cloud. Dark horses in this race include Amazon and Apple – business and marketing acquisitions aren’t out of the question, though they’re longer shots for these two companies.

While the trend of mergers and acquisitions races on, look for more upstarts to try to shake the status quo, especially as the acquiring companies will need significant time to integrate their acquisitions. We are at the stage in the lifecycle of these companies where mega-mergers and startups are dominating landscape. As marketers, we will probably be asked to choose sides in these massive battles; choose wisely!


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Your social media insurance policy

Facebook is making life increasingly pay-to-play for marketers.
Google+ rolls out ads.
Twitter adds promoted accounts to the timeline.
LinkedIn rolls out sponsored posts.
Instagram rolls out ads.
Pinterest rolls out promoted pins.

Seeing a trend here? You should be. The social networks, having acquired their audiences, are now seeking to monetize their audiences, and if you don’t have wheelbarrows full of money to bring to the table, your seat at the table will be given to someone else who does. That’s life, and that’s entirely within their rights.

Repeat this maxim frequently: You own nothing in social media.

That Facebook Page? That Twitter profile? That Google+ account? You own none of it. Zero. Nada. These services are not public utilities. They are not endowed rights. They are private companies that provide fallible, owned services to us and in most cases, they do so at little cost to us. As such they can vanish at any time, temporarily or permanently, and we have little to no recourse. All of the hours and money you’ve invested in that Page, profile, or account can evaporate instantly. Ask anyone who dumped $50,000 into their MySpace profile how they feel about it now.

If all of the recent changes are making you feel uncomfortable about your social media future, I will suggest this very basic advice: you need a social media insurance policy. You need something that will future-proof you, that will provide you connectivity to your audience in case of failure, or worse, in case your favorite social network becomes too successful for you. That social media insurance policy is your email list. Start building an email list now from your social media audience. Encourage your followers / friends / fans / connections to sign up for your mailing list and then send them reminders via email of why you’re connected with them.

When the day comes that your favorite social media service sunsets, kicks you off, prices you out of the game, or just flat out fails at a mission critical time, you can take comfort in being able to hit the send button and circumvent the social system failure.

Buffer

Put a reminder on your calendar to ask every week, once a week, for your various audiences to subscribe to your mailing list. Give them good reason to by publishing an interesting email to them, but start building your email list as a social media insurance policy today. It’s the only thing you truly own, it’s the only thing that will help you stay in touch as you join new networks, and it’s the only thing that will let you get back in touch with your fans once your favorite social network decides you’re not wealthy enough for it any more.


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