2014 has been another thrilling year in the world of social media, from Instagram reaching 300 million users, surpassing Twitter, Facebook’s continuous algorithm updates pushing organic reach to a plummeting death, LinkedIn’s new publishing platform giving users a powerful way to build their brand, and SnapChat establishing themselves as a bigger player by displaying advertisements and sponsored stories. These updates are just dusting the surface of social media changes over the past year, but what does this all mean for your marketing plan in 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.
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.
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.
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.
Only a few social networks allow you to schedule your content. It’s a headache to go inside each account and schedule every post manually. Granted, networks like Twitter operate in “real-time” but you can’t be online all day long. Plus, no one likes being bombarded with string of posts within a given span of time, so scheduling is a smarter way to be present without really being there. A dashboard comes to rescue!
Social tools are not all created equal. Some are quite expensive. The tools trying to cover everything mainly focus on organic vs. paid, so it is nearly impossible to have just one tool for organic and paid social. If you want an all-in-one service, Sprinklr seems to be the best management tool for all of your social channels. It helps you with posting, approval of content, and metrics reporting. - Gina Michnowicz, Union+Webster
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). 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." 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.
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.
Social Harvest is a lean, mean, and scalable data gobbling machine. Built with Go, extensible with virtually any other language via data streams and a RESTful API and supports both SQL and NoSQL databases. The customizable dashboard can accommodate the visualization of any data with widgets.Social Harvest is an open-source social media analytics and monitoring tool. It's goal is to help provide insight for social media for individuals and small businesses. It is not designed as an enterprise tool; however, there is nothing preventing the enterprise from finding value within it.One of the primary focuses of this tool is cost…
It's a good idea to start with a plan that has goals and an organizing framework to keep you on track. If you start down a path on the social Web and hate what you're doing, you can change things around. Just as you change networking and conversational approaches in person, you can do so on the social Web. The only differences are that on the social Web, you're talking through your keyboard, and your potential audience is much, much larger.
As an entrepreneur, it’s difficult to decide which content will resonate most with your audience. If you’re ever unsure about what to post on your social media channels, it’s a great idea to look to other brands in your niche. Take a look at the content which they’re posting, measure how it performs, and think about what you can do to make sure that your social media content stands out from the crowd.
As a product of the Mark Zuckerberg generation, it is easy to understand why people are so obsessed with social media; for marketers, the potential to grow their business via these networks is endless. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ – these are some of the prime networks every company, big or small, young or established, needs to have an active presence on. It is now inexcusable for any business that wants to thrive to not be tweeting!
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.