Hootsuite and Zoho Social are close behind in offering a do-it-all social publishing and analytics hub for SMBs, and Buffer for Business is closing the gap with a packed feature release cadence to bolster its listening and influencer management chops. These are all tools that any social media manager or business user can operate with ease. They don't take a social data whiz and won't break your SMB's bank, but global brands with far more expansive listening requirements will want to consider enterprise offerings.
One of the main purposes of employing social media in marketing is as a communications tool that makes the companies accessible to those interested in their product and makes them visible to those who have no knowledge of their products. These companies use social media to create buzz, and learn from and target customers. It's the only form of marketing that can finger consumers at each and every stage of the consumer decision journey. Marketing through social media has other benefits as well. Of the top 10 factors that correlate with a strong Google organic search, seven are social media dependent. This means that if brands are less or non-active on social media, they tend to show up less on Google searches. While platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ have a larger number of monthly users, the visual media sharing based mobile platforms, however, garner a higher interaction rate in comparison and have registered the fastest growth and have changed the ways in which consumers engage with brand content. Instagram has an interaction rate of 1.46% with an average of 130 million users monthly as opposed to Twitter which has a .03% interaction rate with an average of 210 million monthly users. Unlike traditional media that are often cost-prohibitive to many companies, a social media strategy does not require astronomical budgeting.
A planning calendar lays the foundation and ensures you are maintaining your social sites and posting on a regular basis. Of course, you can also post other news, tips and ideas as they arise. The biggest pitfall businesses run into are they generally have a lot of excitement when they first establish their social media presence, but the momentum quickly fades. Having a monthly planning calendar will help keep your social media efforts moving forward.
Remember: Your content marketing strategy should define your social media marketing strategy – not the other way around – because it’s always best to evaluate each social channel against your strategic goals and audience needs before you distribute content there. And when you turn this evaluation into an actionable plan, everybody on your team will know where, when, and what they should be posting on each channel, as well as what their efforts are meant to achieve.
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.
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).
We love paid social advertising because it's a highly cost-effective way to expand your reach. If you play your cards right, you can get your content and offers in front of a huge audience at a very low cost. Most social media platforms offer incredibly granular targeting capabilities, allowing you to focus your budget on exactly the types of people that are most likely to be interested in your business. Below are some tips and resources for getting started with paid social media marketing:
Social Engagement – eClincher offers a Social Inbox which lets users manage all their social media engagement and interactions in one place. We’re talking about tweets, DMs, mentions, comments, likes, shares, new followers, even YouTube and Facebook Ad comments. There are also social listening and monitoring features to help you monitor your brand or other mentions, interact with followers, and start new conversations.
Social networking websites allow individuals, businesses and other organizations to interact with one another and build relationships and communities online. When companies join these social channels, consumers can interact with them directly. That interaction can be more personal to users than traditional methods of outbound marketing and advertising. Social networking sites act as word of mouth or more precisely, e-word of mouth. The Internet's ability to reach billions across the globe has given online word of mouth a powerful voice and far reach. The ability to rapidly change buying patterns and product or service acquisition and activity to a growing number of consumers is defined as an influence network. Social networking sites and blogs allow followers to "retweet" or "repost" comments made by others about a product being promoted, which occurs quite frequently on some social media sites. By repeating the message, the user's connections are able to see the message, therefore reaching more people. Because the information about the product is being put out there and is getting repeated, more traffic is brought to the product/company.
TweetDeck is a social media dashboard application for management of Twitter accounts. TweetDeck interfaces with the Twitter API to allow users to send and receive tweets and view profiles. It was the most popular Twitter application with a 23% market share as of June 2009, following only the official Twitter website with 45.7% share for posting new status updates.
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.
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.
Sprout Social's user interface (UI), with its single-stream mention monitoring, was the easiest to set up and navigate, and also offers the widest variety of relevant social networks and produces numerous reports which can be downloaded in more than one format. You can build basic Queries and script Rules, and run competitive analysis. Of the products reviewed, Sprout Social, which begins at $99 per month, is the best value. It meets all of the qualifications for an entry-level social media tool suite, with the ability to scale, and is this roundup's Editors' Choice for SMBs.
I know, I know there are a lot of options here! Luckily, they all have free plans so you can experiment and find the platform that works best for your social strategy. At the end of the day you can’t go wrong moving onto a social media management tool – it will likely save you time, grow your social presence, and possibly even make you some money!
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
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.
Followerwonk (part of Moz) gives you some really useful analytics options for researching the effectiveness of your Tweets and the performance of your Twitter account as a whole. You can analyse your followers or the users you follow to ascertain where in the world they are and when they are most active on Twitter, as well as other information. This can really help you improve your effectives on Twitter, as it will mean you can use the information on when your followers are active to determine when you should be tweeting. In addition if you discover you have a large number of followers in a certain country it could help with planning your next marketing campaign or even store location. To save you even more time, followerwonk integrates with buffer, so you can get it to automatically update buffer’s set posting times to be when your followers are most online.
eClincher is a powerful and intuitive social media and online management platform, serving businesses of all sizes, agencies and professionals. eClincher offers advanced publishing, including publishing automation with queues and RSS feeds, one inbox to manage engagement and interactions, live social feeds, keywords monitoring, suggested content, influencers discovery, analytics dashboard and custom reports. Supports: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Instagram business, LinkedIn, Google+, Google My Business, Pinterest, YouTube, Blogger..and many more cool integrations. START YOUR FREE TRIAL today (payment information is not required).
Tags: Facebookfacebook monitoring toolfacebook monitoring toolsfree social media monitoringfree social media monitoring toolsfree social media toolsfree social media trackingGoogle alertshootsuiteigmessage board trackingsocial media Monitoringsocial media monitoring toolssocial media toolssocial media trendsSocial Web AnalyticsTwitter monitoringtwitter tools
Social media can be used not only as public relations and direct marketing tools but also as communication channels targeting very specific audiences with social media influencers and social media personalities and as effective customer engagement tools. Technologies predating social media, such as broadcast TV and newspapers can also provide advertisers with a fairly targeted audience, given that an ad placed during a sports game broadcast or in the sports section of a newspaper is likely to be read by sports fans. However, social media websites can target niche markets even more precisely. Using digital tools such as Google Adsense, advertisers can target their ads to very specific demographics, such as people who are interested in social entrepreneurship, political activism associated with a particular political party, or video gaming. Google Adsense does this by looking for keywords in social media user's online posts and comments. It would be hard for a TV station or paper-based newspaper to provide ads that are this targeted (though not impossible, as can be seen with "special issue" sections on niche issues, which newspapers can use to sell targeted ads).
Facebook insights provides a similar functionality to Twitter analytics, this gives you stats on your pages post reach, engagement and likes. This helps you measure your progress and find out what is working well. You can also add your competitor’s pages to your ‘Pages to Watch’ list, so you can discover their engagement stats as well. This means if you see a competitor performing particularly well it might be worth seeing how they are using Facebook. Equally if a big player in your industry is doing rather badly (it happens more than you might think), then it might be worth seeing what there doing wrong so as not to fall foul of it as well.
Instagram works on a similar premise, in that this highly visual, user-centric app encourages participation and engagement. Here, user-focused images are king, so there’s possibly no better platform to shine the spotlight on your customers and how they’re using your product, or on your own employees doing work behind-the-scenes than through Instagram.
At its core, Pinterest enables users to create Pinboards, which are a collection of images under one unifying theme. Pinterest followers can comment on your boards and the individual images within them, as well as share them (known as repinning). And although Pinterest’s audience is primarily women, even traditionally-male dominated niches like home improvement and grilling can find a home on Pinterest, as these pinboards from Lowes can attest to:
Tracking is often perceived as tedious and time-consuming. It can be, but it only needs to take a few hours each month. Set aside time to review metrics that are important to your business on a monthly basis (preferably the first day of the month). Here are some stats to focus on: number of posts, follower growth, clicks to your site/products, pageviews, post likes or shares, impressions, etc. Look at each channel separately, and compare to your largest competitors to get a sense on how you’re matching up (or how you’re CRUSHING them!).
ZOHO Social: an SMSS that allows organizations to increase their social media presence by targeting appropriate audiences. It can measure revenue generated from social media marketing, giving users an idea how their social media campaigns are performing. The software allows for management of multiple social media platforms, monitor conversations for keywords and schedule unlimited number of posts all from a single solution. It seamlessly integrates with platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, among others. Using ZOHO Social, businesses can publish needed social media content at times when consumers are most likely to view them. It has the capability to listen and connect with audience in real time. Market performance can be improved using the application, which offers insights through custom reporting tools. Information sharing among team members can also be accomplished, which guarantees the formulation of sound decisions.
Zoho Social helps marketers to grow the social media presence of their brand with actionable insights focused on content and engagement. It provides marketers with pre-publishing insights based on the engagement level of previous posts and the activity of their audience. Zoho Social even goes a step ahead to shows users the percentage of their audience that’s likely to see their post now, suggests the next best time to post and lets them schedule a post to go out at the same time of the day in different time-zones. Zoho Social's real-time monitoring dashboard helps marketing teams listen to what’s being said about their brand. Users can search and track a keyword; and respond when they need to. Instant notifications ensure quick reactions and guarantee that no relevant conversations are missed. Within Zoho Social, numbers are included as a value add, around publishing and listening features. A dedicated reports tab provides social-network-specific statistics and detailed analytics enabling users to understand more about their audience and how people engage with their content.
A short film released on March 5, 2012, by humanitarian group Invisible Children, Inc. This 29-minute video aimed at making Joseph Kony, an International Criminal Court fugitive, famous worldwide in order to have support for his arrest by December 2012—the time when the campaign ends. The video went viral within the first six days after its launch, reaching 100 million views on both YouTube and Vimeo. According to research done by Visible Measures, the Kony 2012 short film became the fastest growing video campaign, and most viral video, to reach 100 million views in 6 days followed by Susan Boyle performance on Britain's Got Talent that reached 70 million views in 6 days.
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.
Share your passions with your community and let people know about your plans for the future. They’ll appreciate the transparency and you’ll increase your chances of positive engagement. To further encourage engagement, consider connecting your discussions to pop culture, current affairs, and (possibly) controversial topics. However, be careful not to come off as ignorant or offensive.
Did you know the average person spends 4 years looking down at their cell phone over a lifetime? To be honest, I’m somewhat surprised it’s not even more (but I suspect this number to increase). As I glanced around my family room on Christmas evening I noticed every one of my family members scrolling through their social feeds, excluding my nephew; he’s 6 months old, but oddly always gravitates towards the iPhone (although it’s typically just an attempt to eat it).
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:
SumALL is a social media engagement and analytics tracking tool which enables users to know their audience, reach, post activity and engagement data in Facebook page, Instagram profile, and Twitter account. The features of SumAll are metric service, data reports, SumAll Insights, analytics dashboard, campaign export, visuals and pivot tables, audience segmentation and daily digest email. Users can integrate multiple social sources (Facebook, Twitter) and get information around the engagement that they have with their end-users. SumALL measures, grows and optimizes all important ROIs from social media. SumAll Insights will show users when to post, how to post, what to…
Team tracking, collaboration, and oversight are also crucial elements in running a well-oiled social marketing team as a business grows. All of the tools reviewed support team activity such as response assignment and team member tracking, depending on the tier. But the marketing team features in Sysomos Expion, enhanced team collaboration in Sprout Social, and the well-integrated Discuss tab of Zoho Social stand out in particular, along with a nifty new Slack integration in Brand24. All of the products reviewed have geographic location, demographic, gender, and age stats as well, although the higher-end enterprise social analytics platforms (such as Synthesio and Sysomos) go beyond those basic demographics with deeper community analysis and return-on-investment (ROI) metrics.
After you complete a listening campaign, put the information you gather into a report. Make sure your social listening report is actionable. For instance, if you discover a sentiment issue, the next step would be to focus on social media PR. It’s easy to get caught up with social media reports so maintain a healthy balance between actual listening and reporting. Always prioritize actual listening and acting on insights.
If you’re crunched for time and analytics is not your thing, invest in software to help track data. A lot can be tracked using free social media tools like bit.ly, Google Analytics, and Hootsuite. Diving in to see which content received the most clicks, shares, etc. will show you what to repurpose in the future. Look for common themes in your analysis, for example if advice posts with numbers in the title perform wonderfully on Facebook then up these on that platform.
First, you need to understand what a strategy is, and isn’t it. A strategy should define the main aim of your social media presence and set the parameters for what it will deliver and how it will be delivered. It will be supported by a tactical plan that defines how the strategy will be delivered, including the channels, resource and budgets to achieve it.