How to get a job in Social Media

If you’ve ever looked at your favourite brand on Twitter and thought that you’d love to update their account and work within social media, then I’m going to provide some useful tips to help you that job! My advice and tips are based on over two years of experience within social media, firstly as a social media intern during my placement year at university, then as a Social Media Manager for a leading charity drinks brand and now as a Community Manager for one of the biggest drinks brands in the world. Although I’m only 24 having worked for over a couple of years, and been in the process twice of searching for a social media role, I’ve gained quite a bit of experience already!

One of the biggest and most obvious things is relevant experience within social media, marketing, PR, media or digital. If you don’t have any experience within these fields you’re likely to not get through the CV screening phase. Even if your role is an editor on a website or marketing assistant or a copywriter, you’ve got essential skills already for a social media role.

One thing that annoys me is people that think anyone can run a social media account for a business. Time after time you’ll see people apply for social media roles based on the fact ‘they use social media everyday’. I mean yes being a social media manager for instance requires that you use social media, but the fact you update your own Twitter account or post pics of food on your Instagram means NOTHING when it comes to applying for a social media role. Some people assume because they spend their entire life on social media, they could quite easily run a multinationals social media channels. But as we know that’s far from the truth.

So experience is so crucial if you want to get into a social media role. If you’ve left college or university and want to get into social media, try to get a social media internship at a small brand or local business. You’re more likely to get a role within a small business if you use social media in your personal life than a larger brand. An internship is a start as this gets you crucial social media skills like coming up with creative content for a brands platform, updating an account and engaging with an audience. My first role was a social media intern. and for the first 4 months it was unpaid, so there’s nothing wrong with that at all. Experience for me is more important than earning money when you have a CV that’s quite empty.

Also having a relevant degree can help you get into a social media role quicker, as you’ve already picked up some skills within that education. So any degree whether that’s Media, Business Management or Journalism is useful for a social media role. This will get you through the CV screening for sure.

it’s very important if you want to get into social media that you have a few social media projects going on in your personal life. This could be anything from your own blog about your hobbies to a Facebook page you run to your own YouTube channel. This shows that you can come up with ideas for content and have experience in both using a social media platform and engaging with an audience. I write this blog as well as running a few fun social media accounts on some of my passions just to get me more experience and learn new things about each platform.

If possible running a website is another wonderful way to help you gain valuable skills for a social media role. This could be a blog or maybe a website to do with anything you love. In order to promote your website you might have social media accounts for it, again fantastic skills and experience that a social media employer will love.

I’d say one of the most important ways to ensure your social media experiences is right for a role is to be up to date with the industry. This might be something very simple like reading digital marketing or social media news sites everyday like Mashable, The Drum or Marketing Week just to get a feel about new platforms and ways social is being utilised by brands and users. One question I’ve been asked a lot in interviews is on what I think are the best channels to use or which channel is growing or how do you see social developing over the next few years. These questions can be answered really well if you are clued up and wired in to the industry and everything happening in and around it. It also illustrates you’re proactive and passionate about the space as well as willing to develop your skills.

So just to recap. The main things you need to do to increase your chances of getting a social media role are; have experience, a relevant degree, an online personality, running a website if possible and keeping up to date with the industry. If you achieve even one of these, you’ll be on your way to that perfect role!

Thanks for reading, and please feel free to comment. For more digital marketing and social media news please follow this blog or me on Twitter @DigitalStuart.

Top Ten Website Metrics You Need to Know

Websites are incredible. They provide us with loads of useful and great information with hours of entertainment. However, nowadays there’s added pressure to keep them updated and performing effectively. A way to improve a website and monitor how it’s doing is through website analytics or metrics, and this blog is going to provide the top ten that are most valuable to know.

(1)    Visits

The first metric is visits which is how many times a user has visited your site. So when you visit a website such as this page,  this is registered as one visit. The greater number of visits you get to your website, the more you can determine that it’s designed effectively and has efficient usability.

(2)    Unique Visits

This metric measures how many ‘unique’ users have visited your site. These users have visited the site more than once and have retuned, rather than just visiting it once, and never coming back. So we’re not talking about ‘hits’, as hits aren’t a reliable metric. The main reason for this is that a ‘hit’ indicates how many times a page was downloaded. So if you have ten images on your website, each would be downloaded, thus ten hits. However, you only visited the site once, so it’s not credible. Thus, you want to measure unique visitors instead.

(3)    Page Impressions

Page impressions is a fancy word for page views! So whenever a page is viewed by a user, this will register as an impression. Sounds ‘Impressive’ doesn’t  it?! However, just because you have a high number of page views doesn’t mean that your website is designed well or has good usability. For instance, if a thousand people visit your site but no one purchases or they leave straight away, this means your site might not be that effective.

(4)    Duration (Stickness)

It’s quite revealing to find out how long someone has been on your site for. I mean you could be on a site for an hour, and might not actually have purchased anything. Or you could be there for five seconds and left. So knowing how long the average user spends on your site provides a great indication as to how well again your site is designed and its usability. If users aren’t spending that long on your site it could mean they don’t like it! Or it could mean they actually found what they were looking for quickly.

Alternatively if they are spending a long time on it, this could indicate they can’t find what they’re looking for. Or that they’re really engaged with the site and love it! So it’s quite a misleading figure this one. It’s only when combined with other analytics that you get an idea of your sites effectiveness.

(5)    Churn Rate

This metric is usually used for email marketing and provides the marketer with the number of people subscribing or unsubscribing from their emails. If the churn rate is high then it’s probably best to rethink your email strategy, whether that’s the copy, design, subject title or when and how you send it. As a high churn rate illustrates that people aren’t engaging with your messages. Conversely, a low churn rate means you’ve got an effective email marketing strategy in place. But as ever it’s not always that easy! Just because people don’t unsubscribe doesn’t mean they engaged with the message, as they might still have just deleted it!

(6)    Attrition Rate

The attrition rate is more applied to e-commerce websites rather than your standard information only sites. This figure provides the number of visitors lost at each stage of the purchasing process. If the figure is 100% then this could  mean someone visited your site by accident, and left straight away. However, the further you go down the attrition rate, the more problems the website might have in the purchase process. For instance, someone might not purchase a product because the page loads slowly or the site has poor navigation or there are high shipping costs. Whatever the reason, the purchasing process is affected by so many variables, and this figure can indicate at which stage the buyer leaves.

(7)    Bounce Rate

This is the percentage of users that visit a site, then leave it. Therefore, they go to the website page, then exit it straight away. This means that something initially attracted them to the site, but they left as soon as they got there, possibly because they clicked on the wrong link or the design or usability were poor. If the bounce rate is high then this could mean the landing page needs to be redone in terms of its design, usability and copy.

(8)    Exit Rate

The exit rate is when a user visits your site, has a look around, then leaves. Therefore, you can see which page users are leaving from. This could be the ‘landing’ page or a ‘purchasing’ page or maybe the ‘help’ page.

So there’s a difference between the bounce and exit rates. If a user visits the site then leaves straight away this is measured as a bounce. Whereas if they look around the site and click on a few pages, then leave, this is an exit.

(9)    Referrals

This is where the user has come from when they visit your site. So a user might have visited the site from a search engine, an email or possibly a social media channel. But knowing where they come from indicates where best to invest future time and funds into. If social media is playing a big part in generating traffic then more focus could be placed on this.

(10) Conversion Rate

I’ve saved the best till last! As I feel the conversion rate is probably one of, if not the most important metric. This is the percentage of users who take a desired action on your website whether that’s purchasing a product, signing up to or registering for something. The call to action that you want them to perform can be measured from this figure. The higher the conversion rate, the more successful your website strategy is. For instance, if you run an e-commerce site with a high conversion rate, this indicates that you generate a lot of purchases and have a well-designed website with good usability.

So there we have it. There’s ten essential website metrics that every marketer should look at in order to implement and run a successful website.

Thanks for reading and please feel free to comment. For more digital marketing news please sign up to my blog or follow me on Twitter @DigitalStuart

The Four ‘E’s of Website Usability

One of the most important aspects of a website is it’s usability and whether the person on it can easily use it and complete the tasks they set out to do. Therefore, to ensure your website has great usability this blog is going to summarise some key points to help you achieve this, with the rather nice acronym of the Four ‘E’s of Usability.

Effective

The first element of usability is the completeness and accuracy that a user can achieve their goal when on the website. Therefore, was the users intended goal met and how well was the overall task done. This will provide an indication on how effective the website was and whether the user was able to undertake what they set out to achieve.

To ensure that they are able to do this the website must have a clear user interface, effective navigational features, and a creative design that displays the calls to action well.

For instance, if you are purchasing a product off Amazon, the main goal here is whether you can go from finding your product all the way through to actually purchasing it. If the site is effective then this can be achieved without a problem.

Efficient

Whereas the effectiveness of a site is whether you can complete the task, the efficiency of the site is the speed at which it is done. No one wants to have to search around a website for ages to find what they want or get lost on the site. As a result having good links, toolbar tabs, shortcuts and a site map will ensure the user can undertake the necessary action in a quick manner without any effort.

In our Amazon example, if the ‘Add to Basket’ button can’t be seen or is hard to find the users process of purchasing the product will be much slower and less efficient.

Engaging/Entertaining

The third feature of usability is the actual aesthetics and visual design of the website. Here we are talking about the websites colouring, imaginary, graphics, font, text, styles and multimedia. These elements have to engage the user of the site if they are going to remain on it, otherwise they will go elsewhere!

Multimedia is a very effective way to attract and retain users on a website as it’s extremely eye catching. Also not having too much text is essential to keep users on the site, as you don’t really want to be faced with an entire books worth of words!

Amazon has plenty of images of products that draws you in to clicking on them, and with its nice easy-going colour and appearance it’s definitely a site you won’t leave in a hurry.

Easy to Learn

The final element of usability is that the website must be easy to learn so when the user is on it they can easily navigate their way round and even when they come back again they still know how to use it. The users mustn’t have to remember how to get from one page to the other, like placing breadcrumbs down to remember how to get somewhere! In a time where quick purchasing and information are vital, a simple design is what a user wants to face and not have to study a website on how to use it.

Therefore, a website must have consistent text, links, designs, tabs and appearance so the user doesn’t get confused. Also it should have features to help them should they have a problem such as a ‘Help’ or ‘FAQ’ page. But also if new features or designs are implemented the user should be given some kind of indication on how to use them so they can familiarise themselves.

Amazon’s pages are all designed in a similar manner with the same features, tabs, links, colouring and overall appearance on them. The users as a result know what to expect and can learn how to use the website.

So there we have it, there’s a quick overview of the four main elements of website usability. If you follow these simple points your website will be a great success!

Thanks for reading and please feel free to comment. For more digital marketing news please follow me on Twitter @DigitalStuart.

Can you Notify me if Twitter needs Notifications

For my first real blog post I thought I’d start with a small topic.

So I was just thinking about social media earlier this evening, as you do, and it suddenly occurred to me that Twitter doesn’t have a notifications feature on their website. I mean there might be one… but I haven’t seen it yet! They have a notifications feature on their app, so when someone mentions or follows you, a notification pops up. However, unlike with Facebook and LinkedIn, who both have a small red notification icon, Twitter doesn’t seem to adopt this on their main site.

This feature has always been prevalent on Facebook, as this is where the notion of the notification came from. LinkedIn didn’t have this feature until recently when they introduced the ‘Flag’ notification icon. This is a red icon indicating the number of notifications you have, possibly when someone has looked at your profile. This new feature on LinkedIn has been very handy, and overdue.

Twitter would benefit I feel with introducing such a feature, as whenever you’re on the main site there isn’t really anyway of getting a notification if someone has mentioned, retweeted or followed you. There is that small blue circle on your inbox which indicates a direct message, but who reads them…?!

The typical way to find out about a Twitter notification is that you receive the update on your phone or email first before realising it on the website page. Obviously, you could download a social media dashboard or management tool such as TweetDeck, Hootsuite or Twitterfall, and get these notifications appearing on your screen, or just keep up to date on your mobile and email, but surely something as simple as a small notification feature is an important ingredient Twitter is missing?.

Of course there is an argument to suggest that this feature isn’t really needed on Twitter as they’ve never created it, like the chat service isn’t really applicable…but if you have a notification feature for the app and on some other platforms, it wouldn’t hurt having it to improve the users experience.

Anyway, accessing Twitter’s website is still common for most people, so just a small icon could be of use to us in order to reply to those very important tweets that we write about what we had for dinner, or where we are…

So if I was a TV programme, stay tuned for more digital posts and thoughts which I’ll be delivering to you.

In the meantime if you agree or disagree or just want to discuss something, please feel free to comment on the post. You can also follow me on Twitter @digitalstuart, or follow this blog via the button on the right hand side. Woooo thanks!

Stuart