There is hardly a small business owner who is not obsessed with this term: marketing strategy. That’s the main aspect that makes the difference between successful entrepreneurs and those that fail. It’s strange how everyone cares about discovering the perfect marketing techniques for their business, but we don’t bother realizing what marketing strategy really means. […]
Social networking websites allow individuals, businesses and other organizations to interact with one another and build relationships and communities online. When companies join these social channels, consumers can interact with them directly.[3] That interaction can be more personal to users than traditional methods of outbound marketing and advertising.[4] Social networking sites act as word of mouth or more precisely, e-word of mouth. The Internet's ability to reach billions across the globe has given online word of mouth a powerful voice and far reach. The ability to rapidly change buying patterns and product or service acquisition and activity to a growing number of consumers is defined as an influence network.[5] Social networking sites and blogs allow followers to "retweet" or "repost" comments made by others about a product being promoted, which occurs quite frequently on some social media sites.[6] By repeating the message, the user's connections are able to see the message, therefore reaching more people. Because the information about the product is being put out there and is getting repeated, more traffic is brought to the product/company.[4]
This powerful platform lets you listen, analyze and engage with social media mentions. It gathers every bit of information about your brand, products and solutions—even when your company handle is not explicitly used by the customer. It uses advanced text analytics to route social messages to the right people. It also enables advance management and closed loop handling. Clarabridge allows your company to monitor conversations happening about your business, even when your brand name is not mentioned. In addition to social media management with regard to conversations and trends, you’ll be able to have insights into the history of customer engagement. This ensures that the loop is closed on all customer inquiries and issues. You can also find trends in consumer issues to proactively address, and perhaps eliminate, in the future.
In addition, social media platforms have become extremely aware of their users and collect information about their viewers to connect with them in various ways. Social-networking website Facebook Inc. is quietly working on a new advertising system that would let marketers target users with ads based on the massive amounts of information people reveal on the site about themselves.[109] This may be an unethical or ethical feature to some individuals. Some people may react negatively because they believe it is an invasion of privacy. On the other hand, some individuals may enjoy this feature because their social network recognizes their interests and sends them particular advertisements pertaining to those interests. Consumers like to network with people who have interests and desires that are similar to their own.[110] Individuals who agree to have their social media profile public, should be aware that advertisers have the ability to take information that interests them to be able to send them information and advertisements to boost their sales. Managers invest in social media to foster relationships and interact with customers.[111] This is an ethical way for managers to send messages about their advertisements and products to their consumers.
An overall good mix of gender, location, income, race and education. So what kinds of visuals attract the most Facebook likes, shares and comments?  First, it’s important to lay the groundwork so that the exposure your images get will draw more people in, and make it immediately clear what you offer and its benefit to them. You can do this through:
AgoraPulse: An SMMS designed to aid businesses in managing their social network profiles, AgoraPulse can enable enterprises to handle their social media accounts across many platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, among others. The software offers ease of use and excellent customer support. To maintain businesses’ social media relations and establish new ones, AgoraPulse ensures that no tweet, message or comment goes unread. It also provides tools that enable users to collect statistics and reports that can be used to come up with effective social media campaigns, giving businesses an edge over competitors. Numerous tools embedded in the application include Facebook apps, analytics and those that allow content automation. Users receive notifications about comments, tweets and messages, all on inboxes provided by the app. This feature provides access to conversations and therefore, a chance to expand.
Zoho Social helps marketers to grow the social media presence of their brand with actionable insights focused on content and engagement. It provides marketers with pre-publishing insights based on the engagement level of previous posts and the activity of their audience. Zoho Social even goes a step ahead to shows users the percentage of their audience that’s likely to see their post now, suggests the next best time to post and lets them schedule a post to go out at the same time of the day in different time-zones. Zoho Social's real-time monitoring dashboard helps marketing teams listen to what’s being said about their brand. Users can search and track a keyword; and respond when they need to. Instant notifications ensure quick reactions and guarantee that no relevant conversations are missed. Within Zoho Social, numbers are included as a value add, around publishing and listening features. A dedicated reports tab provides social-network-specific statistics and detailed analytics enabling users to understand more about their audience and how people engage with their content.
For example, say you want to increase online sales. Your social media strategy would be to promote more of your business’ products on your social platforms, whether that be in the app itself (Insta, Facebook, etc.) or through a link that redirects people back to your site. It’s at this point where you would also decide if your promotion efforts on social media will be paid, organic, or a combination of both.
Depending on how invested your company is in CRM, integration might be a make-or-break feature for you. Being able to convert social engagements into leads is a powerful feature that, if used correctly, can add a lot of benefit to your business. If you find CRM integration important, then be sure to research which social media management tools are compatible with your relationship management service of choice.

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.
Where does your target audience spend time online? What kind of content and conversations do the audience members get most vocal about? What kind of information do they want from you? What do they dislike? Remember, you're not just pub¬lishing marketing messages on the social Web. You need to find out what your audience wants and needs, so you can provide the kind of content they find useful and interesting. However, you also need to be personable, so they actually want to interact with you.
Social networks are, in many cases, viewed as a great tool for avoiding costly market research. They are known for providing a short, fast, and direct way to reach an audience through a person who is widely known. For example, an athlete who gets endorsed by a sporting goods company also brings their support base of millions of people who are interested in what they do or how they play and now they want to be a part of this athlete through their endorsements with that particular company. At one point consumers would visit stores to view their products with famous athletes, but now you can view a famous athlete's, such as Cristiano Ronaldo, latest apparel online with the click of a button. He advertises them to you directly through his Twitter, Instagram, and FaceBook accounts.
Sprout Social offers social media management, engagement and analytics solutions for leading agencies and brands, including Hyatt, GrubHub, Microsoft, Uber and Zendesk. Available via web browser, iOS and Android apps, Sprout Social’s engagement platform enables brands to more effectively communicate on social channels, collaborate across teams and provide an exceptional customer experience. Sprout Social’s intuitive platform was designed with the user in mind, making it easy for anyone to publish content, monitor their social presence, engage with their audience and analyze social media efforts across all connected profiles. Teams can be up and running in minutes—Sprout Social does not require up-front investment, has flexible contract terms and there is little-to-no implementation needed. Sprout Social is an Twitter Official Partner, Facebook Marketing Partner, Instagram Partner Program Member, LinkedIn Company Page Partner and Google+ Pages API Partner. Created for small and medium businesses, enterprise and agencies, Sprout features focus on three main functions: publishing, engaging and reporting. Sprout provides solutions for social marketing, social management, customer service and team collaboration. Sprout’s Smart Inbox gives users a unique all-in-one stream of their incoming social messages, and enables users to work from the stream to respond, tag, task or mark messages as complete to achieve inbox zero. Sprout’s collaboration tools and permissions enable multiple users to work within the platform at once without overlapping or encroaching on responsibilities. The Sprout Queue and ViralPost enable you to efficiently upload content and ensures your messages will be sent at the optimal time for maximum reach. Sprout’s ample reporting capabilities provide insightful analytics and enable you to quantify your social communications.
What type of messaging? If we’re trying to generate clicks, then our message would be something simple like, “See the highest-quality heavy machinery you’ve seen in your life” or something like that. The appeal would likely be to the quality of our machines (because our audience probably cares more about that then price) and our CTA is to see our machines by clicking.
3. Join the conversion whether that be through Twitter chats or trending hashtags. Stay on top of your industry and contribute insightful thoughts and information to build your partnerships, connect with new leads, and expand your reach. Make your influencers like you by constantly flattering them; Like their content, retweet their updates, and comment on their posts.
If you want to explore your social media analytics, schedule posts across platforms, and monitor engagement, Sprout Social is a great all-in-one social media management tool. The platform allows you to analyze your social media data beyond the built-in analytics offered by Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can also track engagement on keywords and hashtags, identify influencers, build custom dashboards, and more. Sprout integrates with all major social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+), as well as other systems including Bitly and Google Analytics.
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!
Unlike the channels above, Pinterest has a clearly defined user base consisting mostly (70%) of women with disposable income. It's not for every brand, but it's a product-friendly platform for those are a good fit. If you’re in the fashion, handcrafts, or home decor space, you’d be missing out an opportunity to get traffic and sales here through both organic and paid tactics.
Buffer is wonderfully simple and effective at its primary purpose; scheduling posts to go out to multiple social accounts. This is great for saving you time and to allow you to post when your audience is online. However the anaylitics that come with the free version are very basic so are not brilliant for optimising your posts. I would thus recommend using other tools to gather data on the success of your posts if you don’t want to pay for Buffer’s “Awesome plan”.
How many posts to schedule? This question is more specific to your current social following and industry because your social following and industry benchmarks will dictate how many posts you’ll be required to share and the return you can expect. Let’s say that for every 1 post, our heavy machinery company generates 500 impressions and our industry standard for CTR is 10% and our industry standard for conversions is 1%. We’ll define a conversion action as filling out a form. So, for every 500 impressions, we generate 10 clicks and 1 conversion and 1 out of every 10 conversions end up purchasing. We will need to schedule 10 posts to generate 1 purchase then. Over the course of our 3-month campaign, we will need to publish 250 posts to generate 25 sales. That’s a lot of posting! Better get a tool like SEMrush or Hootsuite.
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