Over the next few weeks, I will be producing a series of blog style articles looking at some of the basics of marketing, particularly online, for those of you who may be looking to up your game and aren’t entirely sure where to start! I hope you will find these useful and of course if you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch.
Head of Marketing & Operations
If you use any social media platforms yourself, you’ll know that all too often we will sit and scroll through endless posts without paying much attention to the content we’re passing. A good image that stands out can be the trigger that makes you stop scrolling. This post looks at how to use images to catch attention and get someone interested in the message it’s connected to.
According to statistics published by LYFE Marketing, on average, Facebook posts which include images will receive more than twice as much engagement/interaction than posts without images. They also reveal that posts with emoticons receive 33% more engagement than those without – it is certainly worth considering both of these when planning your social media content. Whilst people might think of emoticons as perhaps a bit childish, this does not need to be the case given the wide range of choice we now have at our fingertips! See our Tweet here which demonstrates their use; this one proved very popular amongst our followers!
Not only are posts with images included more eye-catching, but the algorithms on most social media sites will now work to prioritise all posts with more likes, comments and shares, and even more so depending on how quickly this engagement occurs after posting.
So. the better your post, the better the engagement, the bigger the audience who see your message.
Hopefully it goes without saying that if you are posting anything in a professional capacity it is best to steer clear of ‘funny’ images or memes that may catch attention but aren’t related to the post and could: a) cause offence in any way to any followers (worst case scenario) or b) make your company look unprofessional (best case scenario). Keep these for your personal profile!
There is no question that we will all know people who simply Google an image, download it and then use it as their own – whether that’s on your website, to accompany social media posts or even on printed materials such as posters. This is copyright infringement and should be avoided – particularly when there are easy, free alternatives available. Deliberate infringement of copyright on a commercial scale may be a criminal offence.
How to create images to attract more engagement
My absolute favourite tool for creating images that you can use with your social media posts and for wider marketing campaigns is Canva. This website allows you access to a whole host of images, shapes and fonts for free as well as providing some great templates for you to work from. The templates are ideal because they provide images in the correct size for you to use on a variety of platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, in addition to templates for posters, business cards and more. All of these offer free options and paid for options – i.e. there are a number of free templates to work from and certain images will be free whilst others will be a one-off charge of $1. In addition, you can either upload your own images onto your designs, i.e. your logo or you can use their vast database of images to search for something. I’ve done a search for the word ‘money’ as an example here. If you get any spare time, it is certainly worth setting up an account and starting to play around with the various options!
Below is one of our images as an example of what you can create… (if you would like to find out more or register for any of our upcoming events, please click here!)
Analysing the results
Clearly if you’re going to start investing time and possibly money into marketing your business, you want to know whether it is working and what your return on investment is. Value won’t always be directly in the form of income or revenue, it could also be brand awareness, customer service or satisfaction. As a result, the ways in which you measure the success of your social media posts may vary.
Linking your website to Google Analytics will open up an incredible source of data relating to visitors to your website, the pages they visit, the ‘journey’ they take on the site and so on….
The tool is free to use and once you set up an account and add a simple piece of code on your website, data will start to be collected immediately. It would be virtually impossible for me to describe the level of detail and reports you can create from Google Analytics so I would recommend setting some time aside to explore the tool once you’re set up and the code has been in place for enough time that the results will be meaningful (minimum of a week).
Some key features that I think you will find useful are:
- Understanding which pages on your page are the most popular (and then making sure all of the information is up to date and correct!), this can be based on number of total views, unique views (views from separate people rather than all views), how long people stay on the page etc.
- Understanding the bounce rate for a website page or the entire website. The bounce rate measures the percentage of people who land on a page of your website and do not do anything further such as click on to a different page. After visiting that initial page they then leave the website. Generally, this means there was no trigger to further engage them to either make contact with you or look further into the services you offer, so a lower bounce rate is better!
- Understanding where visitors come from – e.g. did they do a Google search and your website came up, find you on Facebook and click through to your site, visit from a particular tweet…
- Understand more about visitors – what times do they tend to visit at, what devices do they view from (is your website mobile/iPad friendly if that’s what’s popular?), where in the country (or world!) do they visit from, are they viewing on Android or iOs…
- Compare performance – using this tool you can look at the performance of each of the pages on your site, but you can also amend the date ranges of the data you are looking at (only as far back as Google Analytics has been tracking the website data) to compare things such as how your website performed in July vs June, or in the entirety of 2019 vs 2018.
There is a useful article from Google ‘Get started with Analytics’ which will help you start monitoring your website activity.
Twitter Analytics is provided for free by Twitter to help you understand more about your audience and how successful your tweets are. You can access analytics when you are logged in to Twitter by clicking on your user icon at the top right and selecting Analytics from the dropdown.
Immediately you’ll be able to see some high level data about your activity over a 28 day period such as number of tweets, how many times those tweets have been seen (impressions), profile visits (where a user has gone directly to your account rather than viewing your tweets in their newsfeed), how many times you have been mentioned and your number of followers. For each of these metrics you’ll also see the change versus the previous 28 day period i.e. Paradigm Mortgage Services currently has 2,767 followers which is 34 new followers over 28 days.
You can also use the cumulative overview to compare monthly activity by comparing the monthly breakdowns. What did you do differently one month which resulted in higher impressions? Did you tweet more frequently? Send more tweets with images? Using this you can try to replicate months that earned you high impressions.
Under the ‘Tweets’ section, you can drill down into further detail of each individual tweet and their performance – so number of impressions versus number of engagements (e.g. people actively clicking on a link included in the tweet, replying or retweeting).
This is really useful as you can see the most popular tweets and use this information to create tweets on a similar subject. Under ‘Audiences’ you can find out more about the people that follow you, such as their interests, gender or location which may also shape your thinking with regards to the content you tweet.
Similar to, but more basic than, Twitter Analytics there is a Linkedin equivalent for any business pages that you manage – but not for your personal account. So, I can look at engagement highlights such as the number of comments, likes or share relating to any activity from the Paradigm Mortgage Services business page.
For your own personal account, you can look at individual analytics for posts that you have shared. Open up your article and you will see ‘View Stats’, which will tell you how many people have viewed the article in total as well as giving you some high level information about where people work (e.g. 10 views from people who work at Paradigm Mortgage Services for my latest article), geographically where people have viewed from and what their job titles tend to include (e.g. 19 have the title ‘Marketing Specialist’). You can click on ‘Reshares’ to see how many times the post has been shared and by who.
You could consider tracking links that you use if, for example, you send a marketing email and include a link back to your website. Doing so will mean that you can monitor how many people have visited your website directly as a result of the message in your email (rather than happening upon this page by themselves) so you can see how effective the content was.
What would a tracked link look like?
There are several sites that will allow you to track links for free (they might try and upsell their ‘premium’ versions though!), a quick Google of ‘Tracking Links Free’ or similar will come up with various options for you to choose from.
You should check your various social media analytics frequently to ensure that your goals are being met and that your content is working.
There are a wide variety of social media platforms available to you, of which some may be more suitable than others. In this article I will look primarily at Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.
Twitter – A micro-blogging platform giving users 280 characters per tweet to share news and connect with other users. Used by a wide variety of individuals of varying ages, both members of the public and businesses. Please see my last article on Twitter below.
LinkedIn – A social media platform for individuals and businesses in a professional capacity. It is predominantly a business-to-business network used for job hunting, sharing professional content but can also be useful for demonstrating your background, experience and more about your business to potential customers. As a financial adviser, you can therefore use Linkedin to share industry news as well as articles you have written i.e. ‘Is your current mortgage sitting on an SVR? Could you benefit from a remortgage?’ – pieces that will get people thinking. Whilst you might be connecting with other professional contacts on here, it is worth remembering that most of these people will, at some point in their life, require financial advice that you might be able to help with.
Facebook - A social media platform for individuals used predominantly in a personal capacity and therefore suited to business-to-customer marketing and targeting both existing customers and new prospects.
There are other platforms available, for example, Instagram which allows you to share images and creative content that portray the services you offer. Instagram generally has a young user base could be a great way to attract younger clients if the content is right, for example first time buyers (Statista shows that 64% are between 18 and 34 years old). Another platform for consideration is YouTube which you could use to produce video blogs on current topics – an example could be a video discussing the recent bank rate rise and what this means for a client’s mortgage.
Intelliflo undertake a social media survey each year, the results of which make for an interesting read, you can view it here. This year, 70% of respondents said that they use social media activity for business purposes, 37% use Facebook, 57% use Linkedin and 43% use Twitter. They found that social media is the main marketing tool for advisers, with twice as many using it compared to more traditional routes (e.g. emails or sponsorship).
In a multiple choice answer, 56% said they used social media so that they are ‘seen to be keeping up with modern communications systems’, and 54% said they do it ‘to attract new clients’. The report identifies other reasons that advisers use social media including to keep abreast of industry news and events, to communicate with an existing client base, and to help with search engine optimisation (SEO), the latter being a topic I will look at in a future article in more depth.
Top Tips across Platforms
• I would recommend trying to keep consistency across these platforms with your username, the image used for your profile picture (should include your logo if possible) and the short ‘bio’ section, as this will help people know that they are in the right place.
• Make sure your usernames (or on Twitter your ‘handle’) are relevant to your business and not just something daft that you came up with when you first registered – i.e. we would use @Paradigm_Mtgs not @RionaLovesShopping2007
• It is a good idea to include your location on any social media profiles – this can help particularly if your company name is fairly popular or has similarities to other companies across the country or even the world. A good example of this is a Paradigm Mortgage account from Vancouver as shown in this image.
• Always include links back to your website where the reader can find information relevant to the content in the tweet. This helps improve your hit rates and once a reader is on your site they will hopefully be encouraged to explore more pages.
• Hootsuite is a great example of a tool from which you can manage your various accounts across different social media platforms, you can use this for free to manage up to three accounts or look at paying for the service if you wish to manage more than that. From this one platform, you’ll be able to plan your marketing messaging, schedule messages to go at certain times from the various platforms, monitor engagement from your followers and get basic analytics to understand whether your content is successful. Using a tool such as this, you can keep an active presence on social media without actually needing to write new content every day. It is important that you do check in regularly in order that you can respond to any incoming messages from clients in a timely manner.
I’ll be covering many of these points in more detail in future posts so keep an eye out and please feel free to get in touch with any questions!
Whether you have an account on Twitter already or not, these top tips will help you make the most of Twitter without creating too much extra work.
Followers: Follow as many local businesses and individuals as you can - they are all potential customers and they may follow you back.
Good content: Think about the content you're using - does it serve a purpose? Is it of value or interest to the reader? If not - don't post it. Try not to reuse content too much - it could annoy your followers; you should definitely try and avoid posting the exact same tweet more than 2 or 3 times in one week. However, as Twitter is a very time-sensitive platform, there is no harm in reusing the same message more than once – if anything I would encourage it. This is because if one of your followers hasn’t checked Twitter in a couple of hours there is a good chance that they probably won’t see your tweet unless they go directly to your profile to check (which would be unusual).
Website Links: Always include links back to your website where the reader can find information relevant to the content in the tweet. This helps improve your hit rates and once a reader is on your site they will hopefully be encouraged to explore more pages.
Hashtags: A hashtag is essentially a searchable link. By using one you create a link which means your tweet will appear whenever someone searches for that particular phrase. You can therefore use hashtags to reach a wider audience e.g. #financialadvice or #mortgageadvice might all be things searched for by a potential client. If you used one of those hashtags then your tweet would appear when someone searched that term. For that very reason, there is no point in hashtagging any phrase that realistically nobody would ever search, for example #paradigmmortgageclub is unlikely to ever be searched by someone however #mortgageclub might be more likely!
Retweet requests: Remember that you can always ask people you know well if they would be willing to retweet certain messages to widen the audience you can reach.
Using Lists: You can public and private lists of Twitter accounts to make it a bit easier to follow certain posts. Adding followers to a list means you can view the list and see only tweets from these accounts rather than every single person you follow, for example, I use one which is a list of Trade Press accounts which allows me to keep up to date with industry news. When setting up a list, if you make it public then that account will be notified that you have added them to a list. If the list is private, they will not. This is important because you can actually use private lists to follow competitors without them knowing. Are they doing something you're not?
Twitter polls: A quick, easy and free way to do market research. For example, you could ask followers how many are sitting on an SVR with their current Lender – whilst the results won’t tell you who has voted, it could help shape your thinking on future marketing campaigns. To do a poll just start a new tweet and choose the poll icon to begin.
Tweetdeck: One free tool that you can use to monitor Twitter activity is Tweetdeck. Once you start using this, I would be surprised if you decided to go back!
Once you are logged on you can oversee all of your Twitter activity by determining which information is most important to you, such as new notifications, private messages, scheduled tweets (see below) and you can see all of these at one time, alongside each other.
In addition, you can also schedule tweets to go out at a certain time. This means you can, as an example, sit on a Friday afternoon or late on Sunday evening and schedule all of the tweets you would like to go out the following week. In comparison, if you are using Twitter your tweet will always go immediately.
Cautious RTs: Be careful about any content that you are retweeting - have you read the content on any links included and do you definitely agree with everything said? In particular, you might want to be careful about retweeting opinion pieces and articles without having read the entire thing, as a retweet can be perceived as an endorsement.
Business hours: Get involved in your local business hours i.e. search #MidlandsHour. These business hours are designed to promote local businesses within a given area and by using the allocated hashtag you can connect with potential clients in the area and promote your business. These generally happen one hour an evening or afternoon once a week so perhaps you could log on for your next local one to see what goes on! By including the relevant hashtag you can connect to and network with businesses, clients and potential customers in your local area or industry. There is a useful list of all business hours (from 2017) here.
Twitter Analytics: Use Twitter analytics to monitor your success - when a tweet is popular see if you can work out what made it popular and replicate this success in future tweets.
Eye catching images: Use relevant images when you tweet where possible (but make sure you're not breaching copyright!). You can’t just take an image from Google and use it for your own purposes.
I’ll be covering many of these points in more detail in future posts so keep an eye out and please feel free to get in touch with any questions! And of course if you're reading this and not yet a Paradigm member, and perhaps don't get this kind of marketing support from your current mortgage club or would like to know more about Paradigm and why we have won 3 awards for Best Mortgage Club so far this year, please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0121 781 7337 and I would be delighted to discuss this in more detail.
These articles do not constitute advice, and I would recommend seeking expert advice on any matters you are unsure of whether this is from a legal team or your compliance provider.