Social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, MySpace etc. have all influenced the buzz of word of mouth marketing. In 1999, Misner said that word-of mouth marketing is, "the world's most effective, yet least understood marketing strategy" (Trusov, Bucklin, & Pauwels, 2009, p. 3). Through the influence of opinion leaders, the increased online "buzz" of "word-of-mouth" marketing that a product, service or companies are experiencing is due to the rise in use of social media and smartphones. Businesses and marketers have noticed that, "a persons behaviour is influenced by many small groups" (Kotler, Burton, Deans, Brown, & Armstrong, 2013, p. 189). These small groups rotate around social networking accounts that are run by influential people (opinion leaders or "thought leaders") who have followers of groups. The types of groups (followers) are called: reference groups (people who know each other either face-to-face or have an indirect influence on a persons attitude or behaviour); membership groups (a person has a direct influence on a person's attitude or behaviour); and aspirational groups (groups which an individual wishes to belong to).
You should also try and share video content with your followers to educate them about your market or about how your products/services can help them. This will not only help them get value but will also make it easy for them to hit the buy button. It’s a win-situation. This is why you find many small and big businesses are adding Facebook videos and Instagram Stories to their social media marketing strategy.
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.
On Google+ you can upload and share photos, videos, links, and view all your +1s. Also take advantage of Google+ circles, which allow you to segment your followers into smaller groups, enabling you to share information with some followers while barring others. For example, you might try creating a “super-fan” circle, and share special discounts and exclusive offers only with that group.
But don’t be discouraged. Even if you have a massive number of followers, you can still boost your click through rate on Twitter. Studies have been done on everything from the best time and day of the week to tweet, all the way to where to place your call-to-action link. But one of the very best ways to send your Twitter engagement rate sky high on Twitter?
Use the data you gather via social listening to analyze how your customers and prospects feel and what they need from your business. Your goal should be to make sure you have confidence in the data you are looking at, so you’ll need a comprehensive and extendable social analytics effort to ensure you can keep up with the latest demands. Once you understand the data, you have the opportunity to share the findings broadly across the business. We call this “operationalizing the data.”
Facebook Pages Manager: One of the most popular SMMS currently in the market, Facebook Pages Manager is a mobile application designed to aid in managing businesses’ social media pages. Using the solution, users can update social media pages, create posts and share media, among others. Notifications regarding social media activities and reminders are also automatically sent by the app. Page insights are likewise provided, enabling users to capture information regarding customer wants and needs. Facebook Pages Manager also offers both business and personal social media tools.
Twitter analytics was made available to all members some time ago now. It is a simple but useful tool to assess how you are doing on Twitter, and unlike the previous tools I have mentioned all the functionality is available for free, rather than it being a ‘Freemium’ service. It gives you a decent pallet of stats, such as profile visits, mentions, followers and tweet impressions. And you can see how these are changing month to month. It also shows you your top performing tweets for each month, which is great for assessing what goes down well with your audience.
Social media is rapidly becoming a resource for customer care. Gone are the days when customers would wait in a long line with the hope of resolution or were willing to stay on hold for extended periods of time until they could be helped. On social media, they know that the world is watching. Customers know that brands are likely to quickly resolve their issues if they publicly ask for assistance. For many businesses, this can pose issues since they most likely rely on a marketing team to run their social media management initiatives.
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.
Instagram has proven itself a powerful platform for marketers to reach their customers and prospects through sharing pictures and brief messages. According to a study by Simply Measured, 71% of the world's largest brands are now using Instagram as a marketing channel. For companies, Instagram can be used as a tool to connect and communicate with current and potential customers. The company can present a more personal picture of their brand, and by doing so the company conveys a better and true picture of itself. The idea of Instagram pictures lies on on-the-go, a sense that the event is happening right now, and that adds another layer to the personal and accurate picture of the company. In fact, Thomas Rankin, co-founder and CEO of the program Dash Hudson, stated that when he approves a blogger's Instagram post before it is posted on the behalf of a brand his company represents, his only negative feedback is if it looks too posed. "It's not an editorial photo," he explained, "We're not trying to be a magazine. We're trying to create a moment." Another option Instagram provides the opportunity for companies to reflect a true picture of the brandfrom the perspective of the customers, for instance, using the user-generated contents thought the hashtags encouragement. Other than the filters and hashtags functions, the Instagram's 15-second videos and the recently added ability to send private messages between users have opened new opportunities for brands to connect with customers in a new extent, further promoting effective marketing on Instagram.
The easiest way to view social media management is to consider that it includes 3 major social media disciplines: social listening, social analytics and social engagement. Social listening is when you gather everything that is being said about your brand. Social analytics help you understand all the social media chatter and relate it to possible business changes. Social engagement is the act of interacting, usually 1-on-1 but occasionally at scale, with customers over social channels. Most businesses take on social engagement to close the loop with customers on their issues.
Beyond its ability to schedule posts for all of your social media channels, Buffer boasts an in-platform image creator, video and gif uploader, analytics reports exporting, and a handy browser extension to make access to all of the above simple and quick. It supports all major social media platforms (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest).
What better way to gauge customer demand than to ask them yourselves? Don’t be afraid to engage your followers and get their opinions. Doing so can help identify both areas of strength and weakness. As we discussed earlier, prompt response to comments is key to developing a relationship with your followers. Even big box stores work to maintain open and responsive communication with their followers:
While there are a variety of options for larger organizations and agencies, the free plan just may suit your social media management needs. Buffer’s free plan includes the ability to manage three social profiles, schedule up to ten posts, utilize their browser extensions and mobile apps (iOS and android) feature, and create and schedule content using their image creator and GIF/video uploader.
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.
Every social media conversation surrounding your brand is important. And the more it spreads across the social network, the better your “reach” becomes. So reach is nothing but a metric that lets you understand how far you are able to connect with your audience. It gives you a fair idea of the potential size of your audience, which obviously gives you clarity on improving your approach.
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If you want your audience to stay engaged, you need to be engaging. One great way to do this is to create social campaigns that run across all your social platforms. The important thing to note here is that anyone can run a contest or create a social campaign, so you need to make yours stand out by adding a charitable, inspirational, or emotional component. Any element that pulls at the heart strings works well. If your company already is involved with volunteer work, which many are, then this is one great way to inspire and engage your followers. I know what you’re thinking, it seems somewhat morally corrupt to use a charity relationship for marketing purposes, but on the other hand you’re promoting that organization and encouraging more people to get involved. So how do you apply this across several channels? Start by…
Planned content begins with the creative/marketing team generating their ideas, once they have completed their ideas they send them off for approval. There is two general ways of doing so. The first is where each sector approves the plan one after another, editor, brand, followed by the legal team (Brito, 2013). Sectors may differ depending on the size and philosophy of the business. The second is where each sector is given 24 hours (or such designated time) to sign off or disapprove. If no action is given within the 24-hour period the original plan is implemented. Planned content is often noticeable to customers and is un-original or lacks excitement but is also a safer option to avoid unnecessary backlash from the public. Both routes for planned content are time consuming as in the above; the first way to approval takes 72 hours to be approved. Although the second route can be significantly shorter it also holds more risk particularly in the legal department.
Another highlight from the Ford example above feeds right back into the positivity that thrives on Google+. People on nearly every social platform enjoy reading positive stories about corporate responsibility and positive change. What cause could your company join and make a difference through? How can you use your product to change lives? Those are the things that resonate with Google+ users.
Brand your movement with a unique name and hashtags: Branding your movement will make it memorable and stick out in the mind of your followers. Take time to brainstorm actionable ideas that will get followers involved, whether that be by posting photos and using your hashtag to group them, running a contest, or throwing events run by your company. One actionable social media movement was run by the world-renowned fashion brand, Marc Jacobs, titled #CastMeMarc. Jacobs took to Twitter last Spring to encourage his followers to post pictures of themselves on social platforms, such as Twitter and Instagram, using the hashtag to gain the once-in-a-lifetime chance of becoming one of the newest faces of the brand. The result? Thousands upon thousands of photographs were shared across social media. Even today, long after the contest has ended, people are still using the hashtag in hopes that Jacobs won’t be able to resist their photogenic faces (i.e. the tweet below).
Buzzmonitor is an innovating solution which involves consultancy, diagnosis, and technology to help users manage their business on Social Media. Buzzmonitor offers features such as real-time dashboards, access to up to 9 Brands, access up to 9 Users, access up to 15.000 items per month and an Account Manager (which is not available in the freemium package). Buzzmonitor monitors users’ brand on social media, creates custom reports and turns them into real-time dashboards with one click. Users also gets to compare their Facebook, Twitter and Youtube channels’ metrics with the ones from their competition. BuzzMonitor also lets users respond and…
Social Media Marketing brings new rules and opportunities to increase the awareness, profitability, and overall lifeline of your brand. A further understanding of your consumers, how they communicate, the experiences they’re looking to have, and where they’re located digitally is crucial. Your social media strategy will affect the chances of winning new customers, retaining current customers, future business expansion opportunities, talented employees, and better products. But don’t take the short way out. If at first you don’t succeed, don’t give up. Stray away from being comfortable and what’s safe. Social media is a marathon, not a sprint.
IFTTT stands for If This Then That. It's a tool that actually lets you build your very own automated actions, called "recipes," so that you don't have to do them yourself. For example, if you want all of your Instagram photos automatically saved to a public folder of your Dropbox account, you can do that by building a recipe with IFTTT so you never have do it manually.
“I want to use social media marketing to promote the latest products that I’ve added to my store. The main channel that I’ll focus my efforts on will be Facebook, and I’ll grow my audience with a combination of compelling content. When promoting my stores products, I’ll post an appealing image of said product, accompanied with a short description of the products main features. After 1 month of Facebook activity, I want to achieve at least 1 sale per post.”
I currently use IFTTT for auto posting from G+ to Twitter and Facebook, but it only allows you to link ONE page, although it’s free. I have several pages so unless I got an email for every page (crazy!), I need to get another tool to post to several different pages depending on certain parameters. It needs to be free as I can’t afford any fees at this stage…
Schedugram lets you plan, schedule and upload your Instagram content – and collaborate within your team to product the best 'grams possible. We have led the Instagram business scheduling market for 5 years now and we're not stopping: with Schedugram you can schedule and publish carousel posts, videos, Instagram stories and more. With unlimited user accounts included at no extra costs, you are not forced to share logins to save money on your subscription: if someone needs a login, you can collaborate instantly. Join us for a 7 day free trial, and discover why over 10,000 businesses trust Schedugram every day.
Meet Edgar took the digital world by storm when it was one of the first social media management tools to popularize “evergreen sharing”. They have certainly evolved since their beginnings as a simple library of repurposed content and they deserve to rank in our list of tools. However, the other tools have caught up and Edgar’s primary point of difference is fading.