Concerned about how Facebook’s latest algorithm updates might affect your brand’s performance on the platform? Questioning where your Facebook ads might appear across its network of sites, including on Instagram and Messenger? Curious as to whether user trust has deteriorated to the point where social media is no longer a safe space for your brand to play at all? You’re not alone.

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.
Small businesses also use social networking sites to develop their own market research on new products and services. By encouraging their customers to give feedback on new product ideas, businesses can gain valuable insights on whether a product may be accepted by their target market enough to merit full production, or not. In addition, customers will feel the company has engaged them in the process of co-creation—the process in which the business uses customer feedback to create or modify a product or service the filling a need of the target market. Such feedback can present in various forms, such as surveys, contests, polls, etc.
Ideas often seem to strike at random. So you need a place to collect and develop them as inspiration comes. Trello has worked wonders for me because I can not only save ideas to a Trello board, but attach links, files, and notes to each idea as it comes to life. It gives you the flexibility to be as meticulous or as barebones as you want with your planning.
Are there industry events, media innovations, or consumer behaviors on which your content distribution can capitalize (e.g., livestreaming video consumption habits, device-specific capabilities like memojis, popular memes that are capturing attention)? How might these impact the tone/velocity you should adopt for distribution? Are there controversies or algorithm shifts that might be cause to reconsider their value to your brand?
Disney/Pixar's Monsters University: Created a Tumblr account, MUGrumblr, saying that the account is maintained by a 'Monstropolis transplant' and 'self-diagnosed coffee addict' who is currently a sophomore at Monsters University.[79] A "student" from Monsters University uploaded memes, animated GIFs, and Instagram-like photos that are related to the sequel movie.
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.
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).[84] 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:[85] 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).

What social metrics do we track? – These men aren’t going to click a couple buttons and purchase our $250,000 heavy machinery online. No, they want to know they can trust us and they want to talk with a salesperson. So, for our social campaign, it’s important that we track reach (because the market is probably small) and clicks on our content. This way, we know that we’re reaching our target market with the content and they’re interested enough to click on it.
You’re probably already using this one, but hear me out. LinkedIn just released a new extension of its platform called LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms. This helps businesses accumulate and track leads. Because most people view the app on their phones, it can be a hassle to fill out a contact form. So instead of relying on users to fill out the forms, LinkedIn’s new application uses an in-app form that populates already stored information about an individual LinkedIn user, making lead generation for your business easier than before.
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.
Yelp consists of a comprehensive online index of business profiles. Businesses are searchable by location, similar to Yellow Pages. The website is operational in seven different countries, including the United States and Canada. Business account holders are allowed to create, share, and edit business profiles. They may post information such as the business location, contact information, pictures, and service information. The website further allows individuals to write, post reviews about businesses, and rate them on a five-point scale. Messaging and talk features are further made available for general members of the website, serving to guide thoughts and opinions.[56]
Social media has an integral part in the business landscape. With 3.2 billion people using social media around the world, and 11 new users every second, it’s safe to say the fad has turned into a global standard. Social media management tools and services can help you reach this huge audience and make running a social media campaign decidedly simpler.
Your social media content calendar lists the dates and times at which you will publish types of content on each channel. It’s the perfect place to plan all of your social media activities—from images and link sharing to blog posts and videos. It includes both your day-to-day posting and content for social media campaigns. Your calendar ensures your posts are spaced out appropriately and published at the optimal times.
Fortunately, there are many social media management tools with streamlined features and automated workflows that not only save you time, but also boost your effectiveness on social. Whether you’re looking for a platform-specific tool, an all-in-one social media management powerhouse, a tool to manage social media contests, or one with powerful analytics, you’ve come to the right place.
Last but not least, the reason that is most likely to lead to ROI: increased inbound traffic. Without social media, your leads are limited to people who are familiar with your brand and people who find you by searching ranked keywords. By increasing your social media content frequency and expanding your social media channel presence, you are adding another path back to your site. And as a result, you’ll receive higher traffic, as well as more conversions.
You can connect your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ accounts, to save you time when posting content to your different social media feeds. However in my opinion although Hootsuite is better for keeping tabs on all your social accounts and monitoring mentions etc., it is slightly more fiddly and less user friendly than buffer is at doing the task of scheduling posts to multiple accounts.
YouTube is the number one place for creating and sharing video content, and it can also be an incredibly powerful social media marketing tool. Many businesses try to create video content with the aim of having their video “go viral,” but in reality those chances are pretty slim. Instead, focus on creating useful, instructive “how-to” videos. These how-to videos also have the added benefit of ranking on the video search results of Google, so don't under-estimate the power of video content!
That said, Facebook can be an incredibly powerful way to use social media for advertising. It’s a database of information that you can use to deliver targeted ads to your ideal customers. If you amplify content that’s set up to produce engagement (likes, shares, comments) such as a viral video, you can generally lower the cost of your advertising, so keep that in mind.
Rob Watts is PCMag's Business Analyst, writing reviews and features for a variety of business applications. He brings years of experience in editorial insights to the role, having previously worked as an editor for Keypoint Intelligence, an independent test laboratory for document imaging hardware and software. He spends his free time cooking and g... See Full Bio

If you’re looking for a simple and easy-to-use scheduling tool, AgoraPulse may be for you. AgoraPulse is a social media management tool geared towards creating, editing, and scheduling posts, monitoring engagement, and tracking the success of your posts. It supports many of the major social media networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube).
Every social media marketer knows the importance of social media in business. But do also realize the importance of promoting to content via social media the right way. When you’re designing your social media marketing strategy, see to it that you’re not promoting just any content on every network. Your content needs to contribute value towards building the brand and adhere to the audience for that social media platform.
With the introduction of social media, we have a powerful tool at our fingertips that can share pieces of content all over the world in seconds. With this being said, social media marketing increases your brand’s awareness. Many small business owners struggle with implementing an effective social media marketing strategy that drives sales (which is what you’re going to learn in this blog).

If a visitor tweets at your handle or posts on your Facebook page and never receives a response, trust is lost. Due to your lack of communication, the dissatisfied potential lead is now turning to your competitors to seek answers to their questions. On the other hand, when you deliver a thoughtful response in a timely manner that visitor is flattered and intrigued by your brand. It’s humanizing to take the time respond to a personal inquiry, and it builds your authority.
I’m a fan of Buffer. It lets you schedule and manage social media posts across all of the most widely used channels, and you can individually customize each post for all of the different platforms it gets posted to. Buffer also shares your content at the best possible times throughout the day and tracks links so that you can see what content gets the most traction.   - Chi Zhao, Hokku PR

“Over the last two years, the social network has repeatedly tweaked the system to show the top 300 or so items that it predicts each person will want to read,” according to a recent article by the New York Times. “Facebook argues that people prefer to see videos, photos, news articles and updates from their friends and family more than other brands. So over time, posts by businesses have shown up less frequently.” Facebook continues to push for more advertising so if your business wants traction it needs to be advertising. With all of that said you still need to use caution and tread lightly if you’re a budget conscious advertiser because with more and more competition prices are likely to rise. I’d also highly recommend retargeting with platforms like AdRoll because with retargeting you show your ads to people that have already expressed interest in your brand by visiting your site. I often see retargeting ads on the side of my Facebook News scan (i.e. the image below showing ads for two sites which I recently visited).


In-Depth Analytics: Many SMMS are capable of providing users with metrics on social media accounts, data from which can be integrated into a company’s social media and brand strategies. Such metrics can also be used to link social media strategies to a business’ website. They can keep tabs on how marketing campaigns are doing, which can provide valuable insights into a company’s social media presence.
If you’re an agency in need of tools for social media management, Social Pilot may be your best bet! This social media management tool will allow you to do manage multiple client social media profiles at once and do things such as bulk schedule posts in various queues, collaborate with team members, manage clients, utilize browser extensions, etc. Their free plan includes 3 connected profiles, 10 posts per day, and 30 posts per queue.

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 Mention is a social media search and social media analytics tool that aggregates user generated content into a single stream of information. Track and measure what people are saying about you, your company, a new product, or any topic across the web’s social media landscape in real-time. Social Mention monitors over one hundred social media sites.
Websites such as Delicious, Digg, Slashdot, Diigo, Stumbleupon, and Reddit are popular social bookmarking sites used in social media promotion. Each of these sites is dedicated to the collection, curation, and organization of links to other websites that users deem to be of good quality. This process is "crowdsourced", allowing amateur social media network members to sort and prioritize links by relevance and general category. Due to the large user bases of these websites, any link from one of them to another, the smaller website may in a flash crowd, a sudden surge of interest in the target website. In addition to user-generated promotion, these sites also offer advertisements within individual user communities and categories.[68] Because ads can be placed in designated communities with a very specific target audience and demographic, they have far greater potential for traffic generation than ads selected simply through cookie and browser history.[69] Additionally, some of these websites have also implemented measures to make ads more relevant to users by allowing users to vote on which ones will be shown on pages they frequent.[70] The ability to redirect large volumes of web traffic and target specific, relevant audiences makes social bookmarking sites a valuable asset for social media marketers.
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