What are your exercise habits – The results

Last week I conducted a survey regarding exercise habits. Through the ten questions I asked, I was hoping to learn how many times a week people are exercising, what type of exercise people are doing, how much money participants would be willing to pay to keep their fitness resolutions, what motivates people to exercise and the reasons people don’t exercise. After sharing the survey on my Facebook and Twitter accounts, the results are in!

I’m a little disappointed that only 30 people completed my survey. With such a limited amount of responses, it’s hard to get a real understanding from the data I gathered. The next time I’m creating a survey, I’d put more emphasis on getting participants. I’d look into sharing the survey on other social networks like Google Plus or LinkedIn. I’d also consider sharing with specific exercise-related social media pages and groups. Because those people already have an interest in the topic, they may be more likely to give their input. 

Fitness, exercise, work out, New Year's resolution, survey

Of the 30 people who completed my survey, 22 were female and eight were male. The majorityof respondents were in the 18-24 (36 percent) and 25-34 (53 percent) age ranges. I’m not really surprised by the large number of respondents in these age groups because the majority of people I’m connected to on social media, fall within these numbers.

When it comes to the number of days that participants exercise, it was a pretty even race. The majority of survey participants (38 percent) exercise two to four days a week, while 31 percent of participants, don’t exercise at all. The most active participants who exercise five to seven times a week,  came in at 28 percent.Fitness, exercise, work out, New Year's resolution, survey

Survey participants were split evenly when asked if they prefer to work out in a group or alone. Thirteen prefer to exercise in a group, 13 prefer to exercise alone, and four chose the option that they don’t exercise at all. I was actually a little surprised that only four chose the option for neither, since nine participants said they didn’t exercise at all.

Ten participants said they owned a gym membership, and twenty participants said they did not own a gym membership. I’d be really interested to see how many of the people who said they exercise five to seven days a week, were members of a gym. With that knowledge I could assess if people who paid for gym memberships were more likely to be active. Unfortunately, the free version of Survey Monkey doesn’t offer those statistics.Fitness, exercise, work out, New Year's resolution, survey

When asked how much participants would be willing to pay for a gym membership, I got a variety of responses. Looking at the way I worded the question, I would have like to have been more clear. I asked participants how much they would be willing to pay for a gym membership, but I wish I had clarified either how much they would pay per month or per year. While some participants stated per month or per year, all of them didn’t. As much as I would like to assume that someone would be willing to pay $20 per month, maybe it’s one of the people who don’t regularly exercise and they’d only be willing to pay $20 per year. I was surprised that I only received two responses from people who said they wouldn’t pay for a gym membership. Since 20 people said they don’t own a gym membership, and nine people said they don’t exercise regularly, I would have assumed this number would have been higher.

Fitness, exercise, work out, New Year's resolution, survey

Participants were given a wide variety of exercises to choose from, and they could enter other exercises in my question about what exercise they prefer to take part in. Over 53 percent of participants said that running was part of their exercise routine. Lifting weights was the next highest activity at 46 percent, followed by yoga at 30 percent. Once again, I was surprised that only five participants chose the I don’t exercise option.

The biggest motivator for participants to exercise was their overall fitness, at over 46 percent.Thirty percent of participants said they exercise because it makes them feel good. On the other side of the spectrum, over 56 percent of participants said they don’t exercise because they don’t have enough time, while over 46 percent said they don’t exercise because it’s a rest day. Only two participants said they don’t exercise because it’s not important to them.

Fitness, exercise, work out, New Year's resolution, survey

My final question asked participants how important exercise is to them. Nine participants said that it was extremely important to them. My guess is that the eight people who said they exercise five to seven days a week, probably selected this answer. Seven people said it was very important, six said moderately important, five said slightly important, and three said not important at all. Nine people said they don’t exercise regularly, but only three said exercise wasn’t important to them at all. Fitness, exercise, work out, New Year's resolution, survey

I definitely thought that the numbers of days participants exercise in a week, and how they ranked the importance of exercise would coincide more. In my original post, I said I wished there had been an option for those who selected that they didn’t exercise regularly to go to the end of the survey. Now that my results are in, I’m glad this option didn’t exist and I got the extra insight from this group of people. On every question regarding exercise, I gave the option of I don’t exercise at all, yet throughout the survey, the number of participants who chose that option fluctuated. Even though almost a third of participants don’t exercise regularly, a lot of them still claim to somewhat value exercise.

If I ran a gym or fitness studio and I was looking at this data, I would look at the excuses people give for not exercising. Since the majority of people said they think exercise is important but they just don’t have enough time in their day, I would consider adding shorter classes that got members in and out in under an hour. I would also consider an option where non-members could pay to take a specific class, since the majority of survey takers said they don’t own a gym membership. With these implemented changes, I would hope to see an increase in revenue and memberships. 

What are your exercise habits?

fitness, exercise, work out, New Year resolution, lose weight

Once the holidays are over and the new year begins, many Americans make the resolutions to eat less, work out more and get healthier. In fact, losing weight was the top New Year resolution for 2014. I exercise regularly, and I can always tell it’s January just by the sheer increase in numbers of people at the gym! Usually by February, the people who have made the resolution to lose weight begin to dwindle. Since so many people desire to lose weight, I decided to take a closer look at people’s exercise habits.

I chose to create my questionnaire on SurveyMonkey because I was familiar with the service. I really like SurveyMonkey because it’s easy to design surveys on the site, and the finished product is easy for those taking the survey to understand. Unfortunately, with the free version of SurveyMonkey, there are some limitations. I could have weeded out a lot of responses from people who choose not to exercise at all, had that option been available. Because it wasn’t an option, I had to add a form of “I don’t exercise” as an option for almost every question.Survey, Fitness, Lose Weight, Exercise, New Year Resolution

My survey contains ten questions. The first two questions ask the survey takers their age and gender. Questions three through five, seven, nine and ten, are multiple choice and ask participants about their exercise habits. Question six is an open-ended question that asks participants how much money they’d be willing to spend on a gym membership. Question eight is multiple choice and assesses why participants choose not to exercise. All questions have to be filled out in order for the participant to complete the survey.

Through my survey questions I’m hoping to learn:

  • How many times a week people are exercising
  • What type of exercises people do
  • How much people would be willing to pay in order to keep their fitness resolutions
  • What motivates people to exercise
  • Reasons why people don’t exercise

Since creating my survey, I’ve shared the link on multiple social medium platforms, and I’ve asked my followers to share with their followers. I’m connected to people of all demographics on social media, so I’m hoping the end result will be a fairly realistic sample. The survey will be open for one week and the results of my survey will be posted and analyzed on my blog next week.

To take my survey, click here.

Pottery Barn and SEO

Picture 1One of my all-time favorite stores is Pottery Barn. If I could live inside a PotteryBarn store, I would! For anyone out there who doesn’t already know, Pottery Barn is a retail store that specializes in home decor and home furnishings.  According to the organization’s mission statement, the brand was built on the idea that home furnishings should be exceptional in comfort, quality, style and value.

With stores located across the United States and throughout Canada, as well as a website and an active presence on social media, I believe Pottery Barn will rank highly in search results.

Below are ten keywords that I believe are prominent in Pottery Barn’s branding. I conducted a Google Search on each term to see where Pottery Barn ranks according to each, and to discover where the brand could improve their SEO efforts.

1. Home decor: Page 1, Result 6

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2. Interior design: Beyond 2o pages

3. Home furnishings: Page 1, Result 5

4. Home entertaining: Beyond 20 pages

5. Table settings: Page 3, Result 3

6. Room ideas: Page 1, Result 10

7. Home accents: Page 1, Result 6

8. Dinnerware: Page 2, Result 8

9. Dream home: Beyond 20 pages

10. Wedding registry: Page 2, Result 2

As you can see, Pottery Barn appears within the top three pages on every keyword I searched except for three.

Next, I conducted a search on Pottery Barn’s website, to see how many times I could find the keywords on the brand’s home page, including in alt tags and html. This is what I discovered:

1. Home decor: Five times, but “home” was mentioned 35 times and “decor” was mentioned 55 times on the home page and tags.

2. Interior design: Five times, but “interior” was mentioned five times and “design” was mentioned 24 times.

3. Home furnishings: Four times, but a form of “furnishings” was mentioned 51 times.

4. Home entertaining: None, but a form of “entertaining” was used 37 times.

5. Table settings: None, but “table” was mentioned 12 times and a form of “setting” was mentioned seven times.

6. Room ideas: Eight times, but “room” was mentioned 51 times on the home page, meta tags and alt tags.

7. Home accents: Three times, but “accents” was mentioned five times.

8. Dinnerware: Six times.

9. Dream home: None, but “dream” was mentioned four times.

10. Wedding registry: None, but “wedding” was mentioned 12 times and “registry” was mentioned 23 times on the home page and tags.

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Pottery barn achieves SEO success by including these keywords not just on their home page, but throughout the meta and alt coding. Effectively using SEO helps Pottery Barn stay ahead of their competitors and at the top of the home decor game. It also ensures that when consumers turn to search for their home decor needs, Pottery Barn’s brand will rise to the top.

Journalism and Public Relations: Where does Social Media Fit?

As social media progresses and evolves, social media, journalism, public relationsmany professionals question its impact on public relations and journalism. Social media has helped each of the fields evolve and plays an essential role in each industry’s success.

Public Relations

Businesses should integrate social media and public relations to increase mentions, awareness and brand authority. It’s not all about creating buzz, it’s about delivering return.  Below are areas where social media can have an impact on public relations:

1. Media Relations: Social media allows businesses to build real relationships with members of the media. Public relations professionals can follow influential bloggers or reporters whose audiences are interested in their industry.

2. Consumer Outreach: Social media allows brands to talk directly to their audiences. As a consumer, I’d much prefer the personal touch of following a brand on Twitter, as opposed to reading about them in press releases. Social media allows brands to establish a real connection with brand enthusiasts.

3. Crisis Communication: Many crises are created or amplified by social media, so social media is the perfect way to respond to those crises. Public relations departments can also monitor what social media users are saying about their brand, so they can take almost immediate action, and nip the negativity in the bud.

4. Speaking Engagements and Events: Companies should let their social media followers know when an employee is speaking at an event or conference. Social media networks like SlideShare also allow speakers to post their presentations so those who were unable to attend, can keep engaged with what was said.

5. More Measurement: Social media analytics can help public relations professionals understand the value of conversations, placements that generate the most engagement and which writers have the strongest influence over readers.

Journalism

More and more people are turning to social media as their main source for news. Sixty percent of people use Facebook as a recurring news source. Social media allows users to get news in almost real time. As a newspaper editor, I’ve seen many “hardcore traditional journalist” dispute social media’s power. They appreciate the nostalgia of seeing newsprint on the page, and think of social media as a fad. While I also appreciate physically turning the pages of a newspaper, citizen journalists are shaping the news now, and the more traditional journalists resist social media, the more irrelevant they become.

Crowdsourcing is easier than ever for journalists using social media. Citizens are taking photos and videos every day, developing an endless archive of sourceable content. Journalists can find tipsters, sources and stories just by logging into their social media accounts.

As valuable as social media can be for journalism, it also has its pitfalls. Social media sometimes allows for the spreading of unchecked facts and site monitors don’t always stay on top of legal issues. After the Boston Marathon bombings occurred, I retweeted a photo that had gone viral of the chaos that ensued. The photo said that the man died as he prepared to propose to his girlfriend. Later I learned that this information was inaccurate. Social media helps stories and photos to go viral, but it’s important, especially as a journalist, that you’re verifying the content you post on social media. The Handbook of Journalism got it right when it said, “Journalism has many unsend buttons, but social media has none.”

Questions to consider:

1. In what way has social media helped your industry evolve?

2. What affect do you see social media having on journalism and public relations in the future?

3. What do you think are the biggest benefits and pitfalls of using social media in your profession?

Social Media and ROI

ROI, Social Media

The success of a business or a marketing campaign is often determined by how much revenue is generated. In this revenue-driven world, it’s difficult to determine a correlation between ROI and social media, but it’s not impossible. Chris Heuer suggests flows of attention, data, stories, labor and capital can provide a means for determining the value of social media. The flows can be identified, measured and converted into financial equivalents, enabling an organization to view returns in a more traditional manner.

Adam Popescu created a list for how businesses can use social media to increase their ROI:

  1. Engage – People want to have relationships with brands online.
  2. Be authentic – Your loyal followers will call you out if your putting out content that doesn’t reflect the brand. When in doubt, ask your followers what content they want.
  3. Provide quality content – Post consistently and make followers feel like their part of the brand.
  4. Integrate real-time apps – Incorporate social media into everything you do.
  5. Experiment – Text tone, style and content to see what works and what doesn’t.

I’ve never worked specifically with ROI, but I’ve already incorporated many of Popescu’s tactics into my social media strategy to increase followers and traffic, and improve my personal brand’s SEO.

For a brand that focusing on fundraising, social media can play a critical role. Social media enables businesses to drive awareness to their cause(s). Brands should use YouTube to create and share a video that shows their audience who and what will benefit from their donations. A good example of this is the “Kony 2012” video, (below). This video introduced social media users to Jacob, a man who survived the reign of Joseph Kony. The video went on to inform viewers of all the crimes Kony was committing, and at the very end it let viewers know how they’re donation could help make the world a better place. The video has been viewed over 98 million times.

Other ways brands can increase awareness for fundraising is creating identifiable hashtags and recruiting brand influencers to pass along your message.

Brands who ask social media followers to donate to a cause and promise to match a portion of the donations not only benefit from helping out a good cause, but they get free positive publicity. Brands that give to charity gain more exposure and have better connections with consumers.

Whether your trying to measure your brand’s ROI, or your fundraising via social media, there are many measurable business goals that social media can help a brand to achieve. These include:

  • Increase brand exposure
  • Increase traffic to website
  • Receive better marketplace insights
  • Development of brand advocates
  • Improved organic search traffic
  • New business partnerships
  • Reduced marketing expenses
  • Increased sales

Social media has changed the way consumers interact with each other and brands. Make sure your brand is a part of the conversation!

Questions to consider:

1. How does your brand measure your social media’s ROI?

2. What techniques have you used to increase your social media’s ROI?

3. Is a monetary value even important when measuring the value of social media?

SEO: Helping Your Content Rise To The Top

SEO, content opitimization

Think SEO isn’t a big deal? Think again! Websites that appear as the top search result in Google, receive 33 percent of search traffic, compared to 18 percent for the website in second position. The drop in traffic is even more significant between pages of search results. The first page of Google search results generates 91.5 percent of all traffic, while the second page only receives 4.8 percent of traffic.

How many times have you clicked through multiple pages of search results? Usually if I can’t find what I’m looking for on the first or second page, I direct my search elsewhere. If the content of your website or blog doesn’t rank highly in search engines, you’re missing out on a lot of business, but all is not lost! SEO guru Ian Cleary has developed several lists of ways companies can get their pages noticed and ranked higher in Google: 

  1. Add a sitemap to help Google index relevant pages.
  2. Link to other posts in your content, and share your post with industry experts, so they can link back to your content. Cleary says these links will help Google understand what your content is about, but I think the biggest advantage of links is helping you to appear more like a reliable, industry expert. 

  3. Optimize your content with industry-related keywords and be sure to use keywords in images, video tags and hyperlinks. Use keywords at the beginning of your titles as well. Ex: In my title I used “SEO” first because it’s the most important word associated with my post.
  4. Resolve an HTML or server errors.

  5. Share your content on Google Plus or SlideShare. Google search favors content posted and produced on both social networks.

If you’ve done all of these things to increase your SEO, the best thing that you can do is focus on producing great content. Search engines have evolved over the past several years, and a greater emphasis is placed on content quality

Once you’ve gotten in the routine of writing quality, optimized content, measure the success of your blog or website using Google Analytics. Google Analytics can tell you the number of returning users to your page and the amount of time users are spending on your page. Google Analytics can also tell you what search terms people are using to find your content. Having this knowledge can help you optimize your content even further.

Questions to consider:

What techniques do you use to optimize your content in search engines? What have you found to be the most successful method?

How have you used analytics to help increase your SEO?

Tracking Your Social Media Success

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Part of any successful social media marketing campaign, is evaluating how much of an impact your social media networks are making. If you don’t track your social media analytics, you won’t have a clear understanding of what your target audience is responding to. According to an infographic created by Araceli Perez, over 50 percent of businesses are unsure how to measure the value of their LinkedIn, Twitter or blogs.

If you work for a marketing company, it’s important to use social media analytics to gain new clients. When you’re trying to win over a potential client use social media analytics to answer these important questions:

  • Who’s buying the product and why?
  • What are the latest trends in the industry?
  • What topics are potential customers talking about and who is the most influential?
  • What marketing channels and messages are resonating with their consumers?
  • What triggers are causing customers to act?

By answering these questions, you’ll be able to track industry trends, appear as an expert and land the client!

If you’re unsure of how to track your social media metrics, have no fear, there are plenty of programs that can help you measure your successes. Francisco Meza and Ian Barker have both come up with lists of the best social media analytics tools to use. I’ve compiled and compacted their lists into one super list of social analytic tools: 

  1. Hootsuite – Hootsuite is the leading social media dashboard, and it enhances yoursocial media management. You can send messages from HootSuite to Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and LinkedIn. The program allows you to measure campaign results, but it doesn’t provide robust analytics.
  2. Sprout Social – Sprout Social is a tool that helps businesses find new customers and grow their social media presence. Sprout Social integrates with Google Analytics, making it one of the best tools for tracking social media analytics.
  3. Klout – Klout measures your social media influence across a wide range of networks,and it’s based on how many people interact with your posts. Klout is my favorite tool for monitoring my personal brand because it’s easy to use, and it tracks all of the social networks that I use on a regular basis (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus, LinkedIn).
  4. Viralheat – Viralheat aggregates all of your social media traffic into a single stream so it’s easy to maintain. The tool allows you to schedule posts, and there’s a dashboard to track analytics.
  5. Social Crawlytics – Identify your competitor’s most shared social media content and find out who is sharing their content with Social Crawlytics. 

If you’re looking to track how the links on social media are performing, try using Oktopost Integration with Bit.Ly and Google Analytics. I’ve always used Bit.Ly to shorten my URL links on Twitter, but the free site also shows you who has shared your links. 

Nils Mork Ulnes argues that brands need to go beyond using analytics to increase likes, comments and followers. He suggests that more brands should be using analytics to get into the minds of consumers. Ulnes makes a valid point. The more you know about your consumers and what messages they respond to and share, the more targeted you can make your social media content, which will ultimately lead to more sales. 

Questions to consider:

What social media analytic tools does your brand use, or do you use for your personal brand? What do you like about that tool?

Does your company use analytics to track engagement or to get into the minds of the customers? Which do you think is more important?