In my post last year covering social media strategy suggestions for 2014, I stressed tactics such as creating a social media marketing plan and sticking to it, going above and beyond in social media customer service, embracing mishaps, and so on. Let me assure you, these strategies are all still critical, but with the New Year upon us I have some new and improved tips up my sleeve to add to your social media marketing plan for 2015.

Hootsuite and Zoho Social are close behind in offering a do-it-all social publishing and analytics hub for SMBs, and Buffer for Business is closing the gap with a packed feature release cadence to bolster its listening and influencer management chops. These are all tools that any social media manager or business user can operate with ease. They don't take a social data whiz and won't break your SMB's bank, but global brands with far more expansive listening requirements will want to consider enterprise offerings.

Share your passions with your community and let people know about your plans for the future. They’ll appreciate the transparency and you’ll increase your chances of positive engagement. To further encourage engagement, consider connecting your discussions to pop culture, current affairs, and (possibly) controversial topics. However, be careful not to come off as ignorant or offensive.
Monitoring and Listening Features: The software enables the company to track and monitor how their brand or business is doing in the social media platforms. The user will be able to identify any changes in their clients’ preferences, what people are saying about the company’s brand and even monitor the competition and also the industry. In whichever social media strategy a business decides to use, monitoring and listening will always be critical aspects that the user need to employ.

In May 2014, Instagram had over 200 million users. The user engagement rate of Instagram was 15 times higher than of Facebook and 25 times higher than that of Twitter.[57] According to Scott Galloway, the founder of L2 and a professor of marketing at New York University's Stern School of Business, latest studies estimate that 93% of prestige brands have an active presence on Instagram and include it in their marketing mix.[58] When it comes to brands and businesses, Instagram's goal is to help companies to reach their respective audiences through captivating imagery in a rich, visual environment.[59] Moreover, Instagram provides a platform where user and company can communicate publicly and directly, making itself an ideal platform for companies to connect with their current and potential customers.[60]

The #1 digital customer engagement platform for global enterprises. Branded communities, social media marketing, and customer care. Spredfast is transforming the way companies connect with consumers. Spredfast is the leading digital customer engagement platform for global enterprises. Based in Austin, Texas, and with offices all over the globe, we tirelessly pursue innovation that helps enterprises engage with their customers online. We work with over 800 global brands, media companies, and agencies and provide branded communities, social media marketing and customer care through our award-winning platform. Spredfast works closely with the world’s largest social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat and Tumblr. Most recently, Spredfast was named a Leader in the The Forrester WaveTM: Social Media Management Solutions, Q2 2017.
Sprout Social's user interface (UI), with its single-stream mention monitoring, was the easiest to set up and navigate, and also offers the widest variety of relevant social networks and produces numerous reports which can be downloaded in more than one format. You can build basic Queries and script Rules, and run competitive analysis. Of the products reviewed, Sprout Social, which begins at $99 per month, is the best value. It meets all of the qualifications for an entry-level social media tool suite, with the ability to scale, and is this roundup's Editors' Choice for SMBs.
IFTTT, short for If This, Then That, is a social media recipe website! In a series of simple steps, this website will help you set up simple commands which link up different applications to automatically perform actions if triggered. For example, IF the weather app tells you there is a high UV index, THEN a reminder to put on sunscreen is triggered. IF you are tagged in a photo on Facebook, THEN save the photos to dropbox.
Hootsuite has a special place in my heart, likely because it’s the first social media management platform that I used at my very first job as a Marketing Assistant. At the time, I was managing the company’s social strategy before social advertising had really taken off. I can still remember the hours upon hours I would spend putting together a posting content calendar and setting reminders for myself to tweet at certain times. This was until I discovered Hootsuite and my life as a frantic Twitter bird instantly changed.
Telling a powerful story: A whole story? Huh? But you’re only allotted so many characters on social channels. Yes, yes, I know, but there are ways to pull powerful quotes and engaging tidbits from a story that will leave the reader wanting more, therefore directing them to your website. Charity:water does this phenomenally well. Yes, they are already a charitable company with the mission of providing clean drinking water to every person in the world, but as a non-profit organization they’ve been incredibly successful continuously trumping their fundraising goals, and I’d be willing to bet a big part of this is due to how gracefully they tell their story to social followers. Their content has a way of spurring their audience to get involved and contribute to the organization. When I first learned about charity:water at Hubspot’s Inbound conference in 2013, their heart-wrenching video spurred me to create a birthday campaign in which you ask your friends and family to donate rather than give presents. One recent campaign that they’ve shared throughout all of their social channels is called “Why I give” in which individuals who donate share their stories. This adds the human element, tells a story, and even has the power of spurring followers to action. Take a look at the post below featuring a “well-known, well-loved charity:water supporter,” Shakil Kan. The quote featured tells a mini-story and is inspirational, intriguing the viewer to click.
Individual reports and scheduling posts for individual channels are always helpful, but that is not always a sufficient representation of your online image. I like Raven because it provides reports gathering information from pay-per-click (PPC), search engine optimization (SEO), and social media channels. It also allows you to access data and schedule posts on a wide variety of digital media channels.   - Ahmad Kareh, Twistlab Marketing

Friends+Me is another prime player in the social media management tools family. While Friends+Me puts the highest emphasis on Google Plus features, many other social platforms are supported. Friends+Me appears to get rave reviews from users, and has a beautifully designed website with plans available based on the size of your business. And yes, there is a free plan!
Talkwalker Alerts is a free, easy-to-use brand monitoring system which emails updates of your latest brand/keyword mentions to your inbox, from across the internet as well as Twitter. It also brings coverage from communities like Reddit, giving users a sense of the buzz created by their audience. You simply need to enter the topic you wish to set up an alert for, click to view a preview and select the types of results you want to see. You also have the option to select how frequently you want to receive the results: As it happens, daily and weekly.
Social media is one of the most effective ways for you and your business to get more traffic and generate new leads. Having the right social media management tools and a presence on all the major networks like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn is a necessity these days for any business. But what kind of marketing software, dashboards and publishing tools are the social media manager gurus actually using to juggle these multiple accounts?
Whether you are a user handling multiple accounts, or an agency that handles hundreds, HootSuite makes it easy. It’s easy to add accounts, easy to schedule posts across all major platforms and easy to add account managers. In addition, the company also has a robust training platform that teaches not just the tools, but how to think about social marketing as a whole. As a package, the best out there for the price.   - David Kley, Web Design and Company
I recently spoke with some local Boston-based paid search experts who all raved about the power of Facebook advertising with the main conclusion that Facebooks ads are cheap and actually work. If you want to compete on Facebook today it’s pretty clear that you need to put some green bills on the table. Gone are the days when you could just post updates to your company’s wall and pray for likes. With that said costs can be easily controlled as there are several unique targeting methods giving you options to find your niche audience and not waste money on the click-happy internet addicts irrelevant to your business.
Komfo is now part of Falcon.io. Falcon is a SaaS platform for social media marketers. It combines social media listening, engaging, publishing, measuring and data management tools in one easy-to-use suite. We help businesses to explore the full potential of digital marketing by managing multiple customer touchpoints from one platform. You will love the easy-to-use UI, backed by stellar support.
Monitoring and Listening Features: The software enables the company to track and monitor how their brand or business is doing in the social media platforms. The user will be able to identify any changes in their clients’ preferences, what people are saying about the company’s brand and even monitor the competition and also the industry. In whichever social media strategy a business decides to use, monitoring and listening will always be critical aspects that the user need to employ.
The most complete solutions in this tier are Synthesio and Sysomos, our Editors' Choices for enterprises. They both give the most extensive deep-dive analytics using the most engaging data visualizations and reporting. Each listening metric Synthesio measures, be it mentions, engagement, sentiment, or influencer reach, has drill-down capabilities to generate a custom dashboard with post lists and graphs from any point in the UI. Crimson Hexagon offers a similarly robust experience, with the capacity for live social stream monitoring and the best interactive visualizations for keyword and hashtag data. Sysomos offers deep social listening power plus an added publishing and social marketing campaign management product called Sysomos Expeon. It's a significant added expense on top of the main Sysomos platform, but the ad campaign-specific ROI data and reporting it provides is unmatched.
Explore your Twitter network. Discover which people interact the most and what they’re talking about. It’s also a great way to find relevant people to follow. The visualization runs right in your browser and displays data from Twitter. Mentionmap loads user’s tweets and finds the people and hashtags they talked about the most. In this data visualization, mentions become connections and discussions between multiple users emerge as clusters.
Facebook pages are far more detailed than Twitter accounts. They allow a product to provide videos, photos, and longer descriptions, and testimonials as other followers can comment on the product pages for others to see. Facebook can link back to the product's Twitter page as well as send out event reminders. As of May 2015, 93% of businesses marketers use Facebook to promote their brand.[43] A study from 2011 attributed 84% of "engagement" or clicks to Likes that link back to Facebook advertising.[44] By 2014, Facebook had restricted the content published from businesses' and brands' pages. Adjustments in Facebook algorithms have reduced the audience for non-paying business pages (that have at least 500,000 "Likes") from 16% in 2012 down to 2% in February 2014.[45] [46][47]
Instagram lets you post images and videos, which are discoverable through hashtags. But there’s also Instagram Stories and Instagram Live, which lets you put out photos and videos with a 24-hour lifespan or share moments in real-time. This gives you the unique option of keeping your Instagram feed consistent and clean, while using Stories to test out ideas and share behind-the-scenes glimpses that have a more casual and personal production quality to them.

We all know that companies harness the power of social media the way gossip magazines rely on word of mouth for the latest on the celebrity front. If used correctly, organizations can reap all the benefits of social media management software. For businesses, joining online conversations does not only inform existing and prospective customers of their brand, it also allows users to glean information about the competition. It essentially makes an industry a smaller place for all players.

Facebook had an estimated 144.27 million views in 2016, approximately 12.9 million per month.[114] Despite this high volume of traffic, very little has been done to protect the millions of users who log on to Facebook and other social media platforms each month. President Barack Obama tried to work with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to attempt to regulate data mining. He proposed the Privacy Bill of Rights, which would protect the average user from having their private information downloaded and shared with third party companies. The proposed laws would give the consumer more control over what information companies can collect.[112] President Obama was unable to pass most of these laws through congress, and it is unsure what President Trump will do with regards to social media marketing ethics.
Engagement in social media for the purpose of a social media strategy is divided into two parts. The first is proactive, regular posting of new online content (digital photos, digital videos, text) and conversations, as well as the sharing of content and information from others via weblinks. The second part is reactive conversations with social media users responding to those who reach out to your social media profiles through commenting or messaging[22] Traditional media such as TV news shows are limited to one-way interaction with customers or 'push and tell' where only specific information is given to the customer with few or limited mechanisms to obtain customer feedback. Traditional media such as paper newspapers, of course, do give readers the option of sending a letter to the editor, but this is a relatively slow process, as the editorial board has to review the letter and decide if it is appropriate for publication. On the other hand, social media is participative and open, as participants are able to instantly share their views on brands, products, and services. Traditional media gave control of message to the marketer, whereas social media shifts the balance to the consumer (or citizen).
Now, look at social media through the same lens. Social media spending in the U.S. alone is expected to increase to more than $17 billion in 2019. A dizzily impressive figure, no doubt, but that kind of budget makes sense when you look at just how important social is to the way companies engage with their audiences, amplify their content marketing, and measure their successes. In fact, “The State of Digital Media” found that 66 percent of publication editors determine content success based on the number of social shares each piece yields.
Yes, your content will tell the story of your brand as a whole, but why not share with your audience what's happening with your company in real time? Facebook and Instagram, among other platforms, have created their own live streaming features, something that is not yet being used to its full potential by big brands. To compete with them, start using these live features before they really catch on. Live stories are a great way to:
Unplanned content is an 'in the moment' idea, "a spontaneous, tactical reaction." (Cramer, 2014, p. 6). The content could be trending and not have the time to take the planned content route. The unplanned content is posted sporadically and is not calendar/date/time arranged (Deshpande, 2014).[93][94] Issues with unplanned content revolve around legal issues and whether the message being sent out represents the business/brand accordingly. If a company sends out a Tweet or Facebook message too hurriedly, the company may unintentionally use insensitive language or messaging that could alienate some consumers. For example, celebrity chef Paula Deen was criticized after she made a social media post commenting about HIV-AIDS and South Africa; her message was deemed to be offensive by many observers. The main difference between planned and unplanned is the time to approve the content. Unplanned content must still be approved by marketing managers, but in a much more rapid manner e.g. 1–2 hours or less. Sectors may miss errors because of being hurried. When using unplanned content Brito (2013) says, "be prepared to be reactive and respond to issues when they arise."[92] Brito (2013) writes about having a, "crisis escalation plan", because, "It will happen". The plan involves breaking down the issue into topics and classifying the issue into groups. Colour coding the potential risk "identify and flag potential risks" also helps to organise an issue. The problem can then be handled by the correct team and dissolved more effectively rather than any person at hand trying to solve the situation.[92]
×