When it comes to using social media marketing to build your business, the worst action is no action, and your biggest problem is being invisible, not being talked about negatively. As long as you're part of the conversation on the social Web, you can hear what's being said about you and massage negative perceptions about your business. But if no one is talking about you, you have no chance for growth. That means you need to get involved on the social Web as soon as possible, not only to capitalize on the opportunities that it presents to your business, but also to develop and protect your reputation.

More than three billion people in the world are active on the Internet. Over the years, the Internet has continually gained more and more users, jumping from 738 million in 2000 all the way to 3.2 billion in 2015.[9] Roughly 81% of the current population in the United States has some type of social media profile that they engage with frequently.[10] Mobile phone usage is beneficial for social media marketing because mobile phones have social networking capabilities, allowing individuals immediate web browsing and access to social networking sites. Mobile phones have grown at a rapid rate, fundamentally altering the path-to-purchase process by allowing consumers to easily obtain pricing and product information in real time[11] and allowing companies to constantly remind and update their followers. Many companies are now putting QR (Quick Response) codes along with products for individuals to access the company website or online services with their smart phones. Retailers use QR codes to facilitate consumer interaction with brands by linking the code to brand websites, promotions, product information, or any other mobile-enabled content. In addition, Real-time bidding use in the mobile advertising industry is high and rising because of its value for on-the-go web browsing. In 2012, Nexage, a provider of real time bidding in mobile advertising, reported a 37% increase in revenue each month. Adfonic, another mobile advertisement publishing platform, reported an increase of 22 billion ad requests that same year.[12]

Sprinklr is the first unified customer experience management platform for the enterprise. We help the world’s largest brands reach, engage, and listen to their customers on Facebook, Twitter, and 23+ other social channels for the purposes of marketing, advertising, research, care, and commerce. Sprinklr does all of that on one unified platform, which integrates with legacy systems and allows siloed teams to collaborate to deliver a seamless experience to every one of their customers across any channel — at scale. Headquartered in New York City with 1,400 employees in 19 offices, Sprinklr works with 1,200+ global companies including Nike, McDonald’s, Microsoft, P&G, Samsung, more than 50% of the Fortune 50, and nine out of ten of the world’s most valuable brands. Its partners include SAP, IBM, Microsoft, and many others across the CXM ecosystem. For more information, visit sprinklr.com, chat with us at @sprinklr, or email info@sprinklr.com.
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!
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.
For the social media strategist who's crazy about measuring analytics, SpredFast is the tool that excels at data feature integration. Manage and measure data gathered from all sorts of social platforms to see how many people you are reaching and whether or not your target audience is appropriately engaging with your content. The data is presented in formatted graphs, which you can use to compare and benchmark campaigns against other strategies.
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.
Gremlin Social combines social media marketing automation with 3 compliance tools that make it easy for banks, mortgage companies, and financial advisors to master the social media marketing landscape and gain new business using social networks. Endorsed by the American Bankers Association for social media management and compliance, Gremlin Social helps ensure the safe & effective use of social media communication while maximizing marketing campaigns, guiding strategies such as content creation & social media policy review assistance, and monitoring returns through analytics.
TweetDeck is totally free and perfect for those who need to manage multiple accounts, follow specific hashtags, reply to lots of other users and see exactly what's being tweeted in real time. You can organize everything you need in separate columns so you can see all of it on one screen. Keep in mind that TweetDeck is meant for the desktop web only.
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!
Getting traction on Pinterest doesn’t require any “secret sauce” or deep knowledge of algorithms and other tactics. Pinterest’s Guided Search is as easy as it gets. Be clear about the theme(s) of your pinboard(s) and stick closely to them. You can create as many pinboards as you want.  Then, simply optimize your image file names and descriptions, as well as their titles and you’ll be ready to enjoy a pinstravaganza.
Returning to our above example, say we are running a campaign with a goal of generating 25 new customers over the course of three months. We then need to work our way backward from that goal to identify the steps needed to reach that campaign goal. Below are some questions that we think are worthwhile to ask of your campaigns in order to identify the specific tactics needed to reach your goals.

Again, this is where best practices come in. Perhaps the most helpful (and adorable) infographic I’ve seen about timing comes from SumAll, which compiled timing research from sites like Visual.ly, Search Engine Watch, and Social Media Today to create its awesome visual. Here’s an overview of what they found in terms of timing (all times are Eastern Time).


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.
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