It's not hard to see how small to midsize businesses (SMBs) and enterprise organizations could sink a lot of precious time and money into a social media program and come up empty-handed. Empty-handed, that is, except for all of the business-critical data they have and don't know how to analyze, and thus, monetize. Let's say you're in marketing. You're possibly tasked with being the entire department. You're a power user but not a social media expert. With all of the hype surrounding social media marketing, it's still important to take the time to educate yourself on the basics. Find out what data will be useful and then find a tool that delivers it. Don't try to tailor your company's social media program to a particular toolbox without a plan.
When you’re establishing goals for your social media marketing plan, we advise against selecting vanity metrics (likes / retweets) as your main metric for success. Whilst these are nice to see, and worthwhile to measure, they don’t directly affect your business’ growth. Instead, we recommend measure metrics that are likely to lead to sales, like leads generated, or conversion rate
We also try to look for content that will last, not just trend for a week and disappear. If you are able to produce content or develop insights that will stay relevant in the industry, these are gold! For us, social media content does really well on—surprise!—social media. This tweet was posted in mid-June and I’m still seeing it being retweeted even now.
The SMMS market is a highly-fragmented one, owing to the number of vendors offering them and the constant innovations that keep companies competitive. Continuous product and service portfolio expansion is seen to drive competition further up, with developers high up in the ladder seen to gain further competitive edge by coming up with more advanced and innovative solutions.
First and foremost, you should always encourage conversations and keep communication lines open. Make engaging with your brand as easy and compelling as possible. To do this, contribute to your community consistently. Valuable communities can require huge amounts of time and effort to develop, so before you get started be willing to commit to the work.
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!
While SocialOomph does indeed have a free plan, the features are limited and mostly lean towards Twitter management. On the free plan you can do things like schedule tweets, track keywords, shorten URL’s, and manage up to five Twitter accounts, but some of the more sophisticated features require a paid plan. If you’re looking to manage multiple social platforms aside from Twitter you will need to pay to play.
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.
IFTTT, short for If This, Then That, is a social media recipe website! In a series of simple steps, this website will help you set up simple commands which link up different applications to automatically perform actions if triggered. For example, IF the weather app tells you there is a high UV index, THEN a reminder to put on sunscreen is triggered. IF you are tagged in a photo on Facebook, THEN save the photos to dropbox.
Social media presents brands with a massive opportunity to learn about their audience through social listening. The nature of social media means sharing information publicly, which is great for marketers doing research. By monitoring conversations, sentiments, and mentions, you can get a good idea of how your audience feels about a particular topic.
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.

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.
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.
Marketers target influential people on social media who are recognised as being opinion leaders and opinion-formers to send messages to their target audiences and amplify the impact of their message. A social media post by an opinion leader can have a much greater impact (via the forwarding of the post or "liking" of the post) than a social media post by a regular user. Marketers have come to the understanding that "consumers are more prone to believe in other individuals" who they trust (Sepp, Liljander, & Gummerus, 2011). OL's and OF's can also send their own messages about products and services they choose (Fill, Hughes, & De Francesco, 2013, p. 216). The reason the opinion leader or formers have such a strong following base is because their opinion is valued or trusted (Clement, Proppe, & Rott, 2007). They can review products and services for their followings, which can be positive or negative towards the brand. OL's and OF's are people who have a social status and because of their personality, beliefs, values etc. have the potential to influence other people (Kotler, Burton, Deans, Brown, & Armstrong, 2013, p. 189). They usually have a large number of followers otherwise known as their reference, membership or aspirational group (Kotler, Burton, Deans, Brown, & Armstrong, 2013, p. 189. By having an OL or OF support a brands product by posting a photo, video or written recommendation on a blog, the following may be influenced and because they trust the OL/OF a high chance of the brand selling more products or creating a following base. Having an OL/OF helps spread word of mouth talk amongst reference groups and/or memberships groups e.g. family, friends, work-friends etc. (Kotler, Burton, Deans, Brown, & Armstrong, 2013, p. 189).[86][87][88][89][89][89] The adjusted communication model shows the use of using opinion leaders and opinion formers. The sender/source gives the message to many, many OL's/OF's who pass the message on along with their personal opinion, the receiver (followers/groups) form their own opinion and send their personal message to their group (friends, family etc.) (Dahlen, Lange, & Smith, 2010, p. 39).[90]
Customize your posts, schedule them for publishing later, collaborate with other team members and get access to all your social analytics. A free account gets you a very limited offering of just the basic features with tight restrictions, but there are four more premium account types that are affordable for any small or large social marketing strategy.
Oftentimes, people will participate with your brand on their preferred social network, or get to know you through your blog, without realizing that you’re on social media as well. Contests, giveaways, surveys, exclusive deals and private membership sneak peeks are just a few of the many ways you can bridge the gap between the two and encourage your blog visitors to follow you on social media and vice versa.
Social Status. A social media reporting software, Social Status automatically generates highly actionable reports designed to help you improve your content strategy and social media marketing. The platform comes equipped with tools for performance benchmarking so you can understand how you fare against competitors, strategy measurement that helps you gauge campaign effectiveness, sentiment understanding that determines how audiences related to specific content, and much more. Social Status also informs you of the optimal timing in sharing your social media content and how often they should be posted to reach more audiences.

IFTTT, or “If This Then That,” is a great automation tool that can help you save a lot of time on trying to manage social media platforms, apps and websites. The tool can link these services together based on a trigger and an action. Based on the trigger you create, it will start an action. For example, if you publish a blog (the trigger), then IFTTT will automate and create a tweet (the action).   - Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS


DiscoverText (https://discovertext.com) is very useful for anyone interested in text data science/data mining/social media monitoring. It has dozens of powerful text analytics, data science, human coding, and machine-learning features, including instant access to the Gnip PowerTrack 2.0 for Twitter, historical Twitter, and the free Twitter Search API, DiscoverText provides cloud-based software tools to quickly evaluate large amounts of text, survey, and Twitter data. DiscoverText is much better than a spreadsheet, and no programming skills are required; all just point and click.


Platform integration:  SMMS should enable users to manage their most prized social media platforms in a single solution. This is important due to the fact that there are many social media solutions that businesses use. Managing these tools becomes an easy task with the use of SMMS. Integrations enable users to manage social networks from a single dashboard.
23snaps Amikumu aNobii AsianAve Ask.fm Badoo Bebo Cloob Cyworld Diaspora Draugiem.lv Ello Facebook Foursquare Gab Google+ Hello Hi5 Highlight Houseparty Idka Instagram IGTV IRC-Galleria Keek LiveJournal Lifeknot LockerDome Marco Polo Mastodon MeetMe Meetup Miaopai micro.blog MixBit Mixi Myspace My World Nasza-klasa.pl Nextdoor OK.ru Path Peach Periscope Pinterest Pixnet Plurk Qzone Readgeek Renren Sina Weibo Slidely Snapchat SNOW Spaces Spring.me Streetlife StudiVZ Swarm Tagged Taringa! Tea Party Community TikTok Tinder Tout Tuenti TV Time Tumblr Twitter Untappd Vero VK Whisper Xanga Yo
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!
For years I’ve been using Hootsuite as a social media dashboard and monitoring platform and Buffer in conjunction with IFTTT as scheduling and content curation tools. But I thought it would be cooler if you could do most of these things in just one place, and make it all social, so I built DashBurst as a content sharing platform and social media management tool. You’re all invited to check it out here and I would love to know what you think about it in the comments below!
Engagement: Social media has now grown to match its meaning. The business has to keep a social relationship with its clients or audience and engage them if the strategy is to work. It is no longer just posting information on the social media and leaving it like that. The user has to keep in touch with their followers and audience to make them want to keep visiting the page and viewing what new things the business have for them.
Monitor multiple social media platforms: Publishing on a variety of social media platforms is also possible with SMMS, enabling users to garner more audiences, while being able to compare metrics across social media solutions. Posting across social media platforms is also achievable with a single update, saving managers time and allowing them to focus on other matters. Content success on different platforms can likewise be compared, which can be used to boost social media strategy.
PAT RESEARCH is a comprehensive B2B directory which provides Best Practices, Buying Guides, Reviews, Ratings, Comparison, Research, Commentary, and Analysis for Enterprise Software and Services. We provide Best Practices, PAT Index™ enabled product reviews and user review comparisons to help IT decision makers such as CEO’s, CIO’s, Directors, and Executives to identify technologies, software, service and strategies.
Hootsuite has a special place in my heart, likely because it’s the first social media management platform that I used at my very first job as a Marketing Assistant. At the time, I was managing the company’s social strategy before social advertising had really taken off. I can still remember the hours upon hours I would spend putting together a posting content calendar and setting reminders for myself to tweet at certain times. This was until I discovered Hootsuite and my life as a frantic Twitter bird instantly changed.
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.
Social media is crucial to the success of any company's digital marketing strategy. Despite this, brands of all kinds and sizes are not using this tool to its full potential. Although the number of "follows", "likes" and "shares" is still important, the credibility of a brand is distinguished by far more than just this. Today, social media requires a unique set of skills whereby brands need to fully understand the needs of their audience. To help you out, I've put together 10 social media strategies you need to implement this year, whether you are a young entrepreneur or a well-established brand.

Since social media marketing first came to be, strategists and markets have been getting smarter and more careful with the way they go about collecting information and distributing advertisements. With the presence of data collecting companies, there is no longer a need to target specific audiences. This can be seen as a large ethical gray area. For many users, this is a breach of privacy, but there are no laws that prevent these companies from using the information provided on their websites. Companies like Equifax, Inc., TransUnion Corp, and LexisNexis Group thrive on collecting and sharing personal information of social media users.[112] In 2012, Facebook purchased information from 70 million households from a third party company called Datalogix. Facebook later revealed that they purchased the information in order to create a more efficient advertising service.[113]
It is imperative to monitor all comments and respond in a timely manner.  Good or bad, all feedback needs to be addressed.  If someone praises your product and/or service, thank them.  If they have a complaint or concern, reach out to them.  It is important to investigate the validity of the negative comment and address it immediately.  Customer feedback can help you better understand reaction to your products and/or services (we will discuss further in next section).
Another interesting tool I would like to introduce to you is the Blog2Social plugin. It has powerful options for easily sharing your posts across all popular social media networks in one easy step. You can optionally customize your posts for each network and automatically schedule your posts for the best times to share. The plugin is a big time saver for cross-promoting.
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).
Sproutsocial is a powerful management and engagement platform for social business. Sprout Social offers a single stream inbox designed to help you never miss a message, and tools to seamlessly post, colloborate and schedule messages to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. The platform also has monitoring tools and rich analytics to help you visualize important metrics.
Make a comprehensive list of the tools you need (e.g., social media monitoring, email marketing and CRM), services you’ll outsource (e.g., graphic design or video production) and any advertising you’ll purchase. Next to each, include the annual projected cost so you can have a high-level view of what you’re investing in and how it affects your marketing budget.
If you want to know what’s happening with your brand’s social networking sites you need social media monitoring tools. Before you reach for your wallet and start to spend money try out some of the free social media monitoring services. This way you will get an understanding of what is available and if you need any paid services to monitor social media.
I won’t pretend to be an expert in analytics, but I appreciate the vast number of metrics available. Luckily, there are experts out there, like the fine people analyzing tweets at Buffer, Twitter themselves, and Kissmetrics, who are kind enough to give us a beginner’s guide to Facebook insights. Personally, I tend to watch post engagement (based on audience size) and URL clicks when managing social media because our goals are to expand and engage our followers while driving them to the site.

Most companies are looking to social media platforms to promote their businesses and build and market their brands. These businesses’ experiences can truly answer the query, what is social media management software? In this respect, the software’s basic function is to connect/communicate with consumers. It can also help distinguish vital customers and enable businesses to follow their online activities. Also, the software can monitor the performance of a company’s social media campaign through the real time analytics and reports that it furnishes. It is no wonder that in some places such as Europe, senior executives have been found to use SMMS more than their junior counterparts. This proves that the technology works as a marketing platform.
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
In order for businesses to keep up with the seemingly endless stream of information from social media platforms, they need to use SMMS. Even as the number of companies using social media for customer service has risen, it has been found that eight in nine social media messages go unanswered in the first 72 hours. Using SMMS, enterprises can respond to such messages in a timely manner, ultimately saving a sale or even getting a positive comment from a customer. 
When I went rock climbing for the first time, I had no idea what I was doing. My friends and I were complete newbies about ropes and rappelling and every other bit of jargon and technique that goes with climbing. We saw others doing it spectacularly well. We were thrilled at the thought of reaching the top of the climbing wall; we had no idea how to get there.
Volume is by far the simplest social media metric that you should be measuring. Why? Because it’s not complicated to understand what level of volume (the size of your campaign) is giving you results. One thing that you should be aiming for with your social media marketing is generating interest from your ideal customer. In other words, you want more of your target audience to talk about your brand and/or your overall campaign.
Now that you have identified a manager, set up your pages, and developed a planning calendar, it is time to start generating engaging content.  Once you generate content, you can plug it into the dates/times you have reserved on your social media calendar to compose posts.  As you consider content, think outside of your company and put yourself in your customer’s shoes.  What type of information is not only engaging, but is something followers would like to share?  Creating sharable content is one of the quickest ways to pick up new followers.
Buffer is a smart and easy way to schedule content across social media. Think of Buffer like a virtual queue you can use to fill with content and then stagger posting times throughout the day. This lets you keep to a consistent social media schedule all week long without worrying about micro-managing the delivery times. The Bufferapp also provides analytics about the engagement and reach of your posts.
In the context of the social web, engagement means that customers and stakeholders, such as consumer advocacy groups and groups that criticize companies (e.g., lobby groups or advocacy organizations) are active participants rather than passive viewers. Social media use in a business or political context allows all consumers/citizens to express and share an opinion about a company's products, services or business practices, or a government's actions. Each participating customer or non-customer (or citizen) who is participating online via social media becomes part of the marketing department (or a challenge to the marketing effort), as other customers read their positive or negative comments or reviews. Getting consumers and potential consumers (or citizens) to be engaged online is fundamental to successful social media marketing.[20] With the advent of social media marketing, it has become increasingly important to gain customer interest in products and services, which can eventually be translated into buying behavior (or voting or donating behavior in a political context). New online marketing concepts of engagement and loyalty have emerged which aim to build customer participation and brand reputation.[21]

Now that you have identified a manager, set up your pages, and developed a planning calendar, it is time to start generating engaging content.  Once you generate content, you can plug it into the dates/times you have reserved on your social media calendar to compose posts.  As you consider content, think outside of your company and put yourself in your customer’s shoes.  What type of information is not only engaging, but is something followers would like to share?  Creating sharable content is one of the quickest ways to pick up new followers.

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.

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.
As you can see in the example above, Wal-Mart does an excellent job addressing customer concerns.  The first comment cues them in to the fact that that there is a high demand for a certain product because it is sold out at the local store.  Wal-Mart directs the customer to a site where they can search other stores for the product. The second comment indicates a customer concern about order fulfillment. Wal-Mart addresses it and directs the person to a site where they can make suggestions on how the company can improve.
Loomly is a social media calendar management tool that helps teams and individuals create and schedule content for social media networks including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ & LinkedIn. Via an intuitive interface and innovative features, users can manage ideas for social posts, get live post optimization tips, preview social media posts, manage approval workflows, and automate post scheduling & analytics. Loomly is available as a web platform, with native mobile applications for iOS & Android.
For example, Facebook’s latest algorithm update encourages marketers to create more engaging content if they want to stay relevant. Organic reach continues to drop. Clickbait techniques are no longer welcome. The demand for video and live streaming continues to grow. Increasingly, the best way to reach your audience is to post content that is genuinely engaging. These are the changes that marketers need to be aware of when revisiting their social strategy to ensure that they stay successful over the next year.
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