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. […]

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 decide to measure the number of leads generated through social media marketing, we advise adding a unique discount code to your social media posts — this will help you to understand how you acquired your customers. If you see that a discount code from a specific post on social media is being used more than others, it’s a good indicator that said content resonates well with your audience.
In today’s world, social media is one of the best ways for your business to stand out in its field and to reach a wider audience. Having an active presence on all major social networks, from Facebook to LinkedIn and beyond, is a necessity for any brand that wants to become an industry leader while engaging with its potential and current customers in new ways.
As trending topics come into the spotlight, they can present timely distribution opportunities. For example, culture-related topics – like diversity, race, and gender equality – are at the forefront of the U.S. media right now. Brands using their content as a podium (like Belvedere Vodka has done with its A Beautiful Future digital series, in partnership with Janelle Monáe) can earn a critical boost in visibility and relevance in social media conversations they normally wouldn’t pursue.
Facebook Insights functions like Twitter Analytics, providing stats around your page likes, post reach, engagement. It also allows you to compare your competitors’ performance by adding their company pages to “Pages to Watch.” Therefore, if one of your competitors is doing particularly well on Facebook, you can go to its page and learn how the brand is using the social network.

TweetDeck is a comprehensive and powerful Twitter tool that is used for organizing, real time tracking, and engagement. TweetDeck also enables users reach their fans and audiences in a quick and efficient way. TweetDeck acts as a user’s personal browser used for staying up to date on what is happening and connecting with their contacts across social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. TweetDeck is ideal for large enterprises, freelancers, non-profits, mid-size businesses, and small businesses. The devices supported by TweetDeck include Windows phone and iPhone-iPad. Since TweetDeck is a social media marketing management software, it features the LinkedIn…
A well thought out social media marketing strategy will help you to grow your ecommerce store’s reach, engage with your existing customers, and ultimately lead to your store generating more sales. Once your store is generating a steady stream of revenue, you’ll be able to scale your marketing efforts even further, which will help you to skyrocket your growth.
Let’s be honest. How many times have you logged in on Facebook to schedule posts on your business page only to find yourself lost in the sea of posts after 30 minutes? And suddenly, you realise you haven’t retweeted something you were meaning to. You rush to Twitter and the same story repeats. A dashboard will save you ton of time. Because on its own, each social media platform can be a time-suck. With a dashboard, you are keeping things in perspective.
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.
Buffer Reply turns your Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram engagement, comments, and questions into threaded conversations, all neatly organized in one inbox for your team to tackle, together. Our refined brand monitoring filters let you bypass the chatter of social media, so your team can focus on the conversations that matter most to your brand. Reply puts critical customer service data at your fingertips with robust reports, so you can make the best decisions for your team.
While there are a lot of tools out there that let you monitor and publish to social accounts, we recommend platforms such as Hubspot where you can not only monitor and publish but also get closed-loop reporting data. That means you're not just seeing what channels drive the most engagement, but you can track further down the funnel to see what posts and channels drive actual leads and sales.   - Ryan Short, MODassic Marketing
Publishing & RSS – Buffer has the basic publishing features such as scheduling and adding posts to a queue but it is not made for evergreen posts. Meaning, it will not let you upload hundreds of posts and then recycle them, or publish them on your social media until you tell it to stop. It does have the RSS feed that helps you publish posts from blogs.
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.
Social media can be a useful source of market information and a way to hear customer perspectives. Blogs, content communities, and forums are platforms where individuals share their reviews and recommendations of brands, products, and services. Businesses are able to tap and analyze the customer voices and feedback generated in social media for marketing purposes;[15] in this sense the social media is a relatively inexpensive source of market intelligence which can be used by marketers and managers to track and respond to consumer-identified problems and detect market opportunities. For example, the Internet erupted with videos and pictures of iPhone 6 "bend test" which showed that the coveted phone could be bent by hand pressure. The so-called "bend gate" controversy[16] created confusion amongst customers who had waited months for the launch of the latest rendition of the iPhone. However, Apple promptly issued a statement saying that the problem was extremely rare and that the company had taken several steps to make the mobile device's case stronger and robust. Unlike traditional market research methods such as surveys, focus groups, and data mining which are time-consuming and costly, and which take weeks or even months to analyze, marketers can use social media to obtain 'live' or "real time" information about consumer behavior and viewpoints on a company's brand or products. This can be useful in the highly dynamic, competitive, fast-paced and global marketplace of the 2010s.
Buffer is a software to manage social media sites, share everything users find worth sharing, browse on Twitter, Facebook or wherever users like to hang out, reply to people and make new friends and connections. Buffer has features such as link shortening, Google Analytics campaign tracking, team members, content suggestions, reconnect, schedule, content and happiness team. Buffer also has extensions, apps and extras like Zapier, If This Then That, Pablo (new), Feedly, Pocket, Reeder, ReviewPush, Crowdriff, Echofon, Trap.it, Tweetcaster, Followerwonk, Mr. Reader, Feeddler, Instapaper, Scoop.it, Bottlenose, Flare, Commun.it, Digg Digg for WordPress, Buffer via Email, Social Bro, Tweetings, Tracky, Tweriod,…
Sponsored radar – Radar picks up exceptional posts from the whole Tumblr community based on their originality and creativity. It is placed on the right side next to the Dashboard, and it typically earns 120 million daily impressions. Sponsored radar allows advertisers to place their posts there to have an opportunity to earn new followers, reblogs, and likes.
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
Platform integration: The social media management software will help the business to manage all of its essential social media platforms, from one central point. The software allows for the integration of various platforms like Facebook, Twitter YouTube, Instagram and many others from a single dashboard. It means then that a business will be up to date with all the latest news and trends in the social media, making it easy for them to make informed decisions.
Analytics: Knowing how the user’s content and posts are performing on social media platforms is very important to understand when to change in case they are not too good. The software enables the user to evaluate and measure how effective their content is through assessing likes, retweets and click through rate. Having this functionality in the business social media management software is very important as it shows the progress on the company’s targets and goals.
A brand can have far better success with a relevant vlogger with 50k subscribers rather than an influencer with 2m fans. This change comes from the changing algorithms, the users’ cautiousness when it comes to fake stories, and the genuine need of belonging in a community. People have more chances to connect with an everyday blogger who found growing success rather than a top model who may be working with multiple brands every week.
Google Analytics is the one tool that manages our social media. Why? Because the data we gather from analytics focuses our efforts on the social media platforms that are driving traffic and conversions. Did we receive a ton of traffic from Reddit in the last month that converted to subscribers? Did we have a negative ROI on our Facebook ad spend? Google Analytics provides these answers and more.   - Brett Farmiloe, Markitors
You can monitor and post to several popular networks including both Facebook personal profiles and business pages, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others. And with its built-in custom analytics system, the ability to monitor selected keywords plus the option to conveniently schedule posts whenever you want (and do this all for free), HootSuite sets the bar high for competing social media management tools. Pro and enterprise plans are also available.

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.
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.
Snapchat is a popular messaging and picture exchanging application that was created in 2011 by three students at Stanford University named Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown. The application was first developed to allow users to message back and forth and to also send photographs that are only available from 1–10 seconds until they are no longer available. The app was an instant hit with social media members and today there are up to 158 million people using snapchat every single day.[66] It is also estimated that Snapchat users are opening the application approximately 18 times per day, which means users are on the app for about 25–30 minutes per day.[66]
Canva is a graphic design program that makes creating professional graphics and presentations easy — no graphic designer experience required. With Canva, you can create a social media graphic (at any size or dimension) using your own images or any of the millions of themes, graphics, icons, and fonts in Canva’s arsenal. You can also save your creations if you want to make a recurring series using the same branding.
For the first part of this decision, you can reference the audience research and demographics from surveys like those conducted by Pew Research. For instance, Pew has complete data, collected last year, of the demographics for Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Here is a side-by-side comparison of the major social media platforms’ user demographics.

Social media marketing, or SMM, is a form of internet marketing that involves creating and sharing content on social media networks in order to achieve your marketing and branding goals. Social media marketing includes activities like posting text and image updates, videos, and and other content that drives audience engagement, as well as paid social media advertising.


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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