The days of passively talking “at” audiences online are well and truly over. To achieve business success in today’s highly connected global and digital economy, you need to build an engaged community around your brand, services, and company, based around actively ”listening” to what they have to say.
Social media channels create a direct line of communication between your business and consumers and give anyone with an Internet connection instant access to the latest news about your services or products.
Tracking social media activity allows you to gain insights into what people are saying about your brand, products, or company on social media, assess competitor activity and mind share, identify new opportunities for engagement, measure the impact of your marketing campaigns, and avert crises. It can also provide you with vital information about emerging trends and what consumers and clients think about specific products, topics, brands, or businesses.
As a tool for business intelligence, social monitoring is invaluable. Using social media monitoring as a form of business intelligence, however, is a complex undertaking, typically carried out by a cross-section of people including market research, online reputation management (ORM) specialists, marketing professionals, agencies, social engagement and community personnel, and professional sales reps. Typically, small businesses do not can’t afford to pay a social media monitoring service to continually track their coverage in the and actively monitor their digital reputation.
Fortunately many technology companies have developed affordable tools to facilitate the monitoring of a broad range of social media channels, enabling you to identify and even predict consumer behavior around your brand so you can react to conversations and engage with consumers in various social media platforms.
In this article, we explore a number of social media tracking tools and technologies that will help you keep track of online trends, monitor competitor activity, see what online conversations are taking place that can affect your business, etc, see what conversations are taking place online that affect your business,etc.
- WordPress And Social Media Marketing – Social Media Management Tools & Applications
- Promote Your Products And Services To An Audience Of Buyers On Your Social Media Networks With WordPress
- Share Your Content Across Multiple Social Channels
- Market Research
- Build Your Business Brand And Online Reputation And Showcase Your Talent
- Study The Influencers
- Explore Joint Venture Opportunities, Find Affiliates, Recruit Talented Staff, etc.
- Could Your Content “Go Viral”?
- Social Media Monitoring – Not Just For Big Brands
WordPress And Social Media Marketing – Social Media Management Tools & Applications
WordPress is not only a powerful, flexible and easy to manage CMS platform used by millions of businesses worldwide, WordPress also integrates fully with many social media applications, making it an ideal platform for growing your online presence in the social realm.
For an overview of why WordPress is the vehicle that can help your small business succeed online, see this article: Everything You Need To Know About Growing Your Business With WordPress
Using some of the tools listed here and a WordPress site, you will be able to explore the full power of marketing your business on social media.
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why WordPress makes an ideal platform to market your business on social media.
Promote Your Products And Services To An Audience Of Buyers On Your Social Media Networks With WordPress
WordPress includes built-in social features, like commenting and discussions. A range of WordPress plugins can add additional social features to your site that let you reach a wider audience on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and many others.
For example, there are plugins that can add social sharing buttons, forums, add images from Instagram, Twitter feeds, Facebook feeds, testimonials, surveys, polls … even optimize your content for various social networkign sites.
The WordPress content management system (CMS) is not only great for social media as a content publishing tool, it can also be transformed into a full-featured social networking, using WordPress plugins like BuddyPress, WPSymposium, and others.
(Run your own social network with BuddyPress WordPress plugin)
BuddyPress lets you add a suite of social networking components to your website, such as:
- Member Profiles
- Activity Streams
- Private Messaging
- Extensible User Groups
- Friendship Connections
- Discussion Forums
- Many Add-On Features
BuddyPress is often referred to as “social networking in a box.” You can turn features on and off to suit your needs and the plugin has an active community of plugin developers who regularly contribute new plugins that greatly extend the platform.
(WPSymposium WordPress social networking plugin)
WPSymposium Pro offers a strong support community and assistance for users who need professional help. Social features of the plugin include:
- Activity Wall
- Private Messaging
- Photo Galleries
- RSS Feeds
WPSymposium lets you work with the theme you have. You can add social features to your pages and posts using shortcodes.
With most social media tools, syndicating your content has never been easier. There are tools and services that let you compose, schedule and broadcast your content over multiple social channels and manage your social media campaigns from one central location, saving you a considerable amount of time and money.
If you want to manage most of your social marketing from WordPress, you can. WordPress not only lets you publish content on your own domain, it also makes available many great plugins that allow users to easily share your content on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc. See the article we’ve written about WordPress social media sharing plugins and our comprehensive article series on how to automate web content syndication across various social media networks using WordPress.
Social marketing tools and services allow you to listen to what your audience wants, identify new opportunities and stay ahead of many competitors.
Once you have identified new content opportunities, you can post messages individually on each of the social networks you’d like to reach, or publish these on a WordPress site that’s been configured to automatically notify those social networks.
Additionally, many apps are available that let you conduct surveys and polls of customers online and help you create customer-driven sales campaigns. Many applications will easily integrate with WordPress.
Build Your Business Brand And Online Reputation And Showcase Your Talent
Building and strengthening your brand and online reputation, showcasing your special talents, or establishing your authority online requires commitment, dedication and a robust social marketing strategy.
You are engaging with real people online, and so your interactions must be genuine and meaningful. Focus on the needs of your target audience, and listen to their conversations for valuable insights.
Remember, we are born with two ears and one mouth as a reminder that we are meant to do twice as much listening as talking. What you post online and how you respond to other user’s comments and discussions is very important. Everyday we hear horror stories of brands that handle a situation poorly and end up paying a heavy price as soon as the online community gets hold of the news.
Social media lets you be seen and known on many different channels. This can make it easier for others to see you as a credible authority in your niche, industry, or area of expertise, but it can also be very demanding on your time.
An expertly configured WordPress blog can help establish your authority online, share great information with your customers and clients, and drive more visitors to your business.
(Use an expertly configured WordPress-driven site to automatically distribute content on various social channels.)
Study The Influencers
Being able to listen in to social media conversations allows you to observe and discover the success strategies of authorities, experts, and influencers in your niche.
Explore Joint Venture Opportunities, Find Affiliates, Recruit Talented Staff, etc.
Recruitment companies nowadays spend a lot of time researching social media and studying the profiles of individuals when looking for potential candidates to fill specific positions. As a business owner, you can do the same, and look for staff, network with other business owners, and connect with like-minded marketers and potential JV partners. Connecting with others through social media can grow your revenue, get your business seen, and lead to potentially lucrative new ventures.
Could Your Content “Go Viral”?
Most businesses would love to see their content or marketing campaigns go viral. “Going viral,” however, is quite difficult to achieve, as it relies on many factors that you cannot control. Throwing loads of money at a marketing campaign is no guarantee of viral success. Many ridiculous memes have achieved stratospheric viral success while large and well-funded campaigns have failed dismally.
In many cases, the best you can do is study and research your audience, and provide content that users in your audience will find so useful, engaging, entertaining or even funny, that they will be naturally motivated to share with others.
Some of the tools listed in Part 2 of this article can help your content go viral, or at least help you create relatively inexpensive marketing campaigns.
We have created a free email training course that will show you how to create meaningful and engaging content for your readers. In this course we also discuss many ways to create content with the potential to go viral and help your business grow faster. To learn more, go here or subscribe using the form below:
Social Media Monitoring – Not Just For Big Brands
(Social Media Monitoring – Useful For All Businesses, Big And Small)
In general, social media monitoring can be divided into two main groups:
- Online Reputation Management (ORM)
- Online Trend Monitoring
Managing Your Digital Reputation
You have probably heard the term online reputation management. If you haven’t, you will be hearing about it more and more as time goes on, because it is becoming increasingly more important for many individuals and brands to track what is being said about them online – especially if what is being said is negative. No doubt you’ve heard the saying that when someone has a bad experience with a product or service they will tell 10 other people about it. Real or imagined, bad news travels fast. People or competing businesses could be posting negative material online about you or your business and if this goes unchecked, this can seriously damage your reputation.
Originally an aspect of the services of PR firms, reputation management is now an issue that affects many companies and individuals online.
If you or your brand’s image, good name or reputation is being affected by negative material being posted online, you have to find a way of reducing the negative with positive material, or restoring consumer trust and confidence.
Before you can begin to repair any damage, however, you first have to find out about it. The sooner you can discover a negative comment, bad review, or misinformed opinion, the sooner you can begin to do something about it.
That’s where social media monitoring tools come in. If you Google your name or your business and find that a competitor has published fake reviews or customer complaints designed to discredit your business, you can then do something about it, e.g. post a response, contact the person directly, etc.
Businesses all around the world are missing out on opportunities to create happier customers and retain existing ones because they are not monitoring their online reputations effectively.
Monitoring what is being said online extends beyond global brands, celebrities, and security-conscious departments. It’s also important to be able to monitor the reputation of an average individual. For example, consider these situations:
- A former spouse in the middle of an acrimonious divorce or child custody proceedings is feeling hard done by.
- A former employee feels disgruntled after being fired.
- A potential employer searches online for information about you. They may not find anything bad, but there may not be a lot of good, positive things published online either to support the things you have listed in your job application.
Even if you are just starting out, you can still create an easy “set and forget” social media alert system, so that if anything does come up online later, you can act proactively and respond in a timely manner.
Do you know what people are saying about your business online?
We’ve written an article about a simple WordPress plugin that lets you legally and ethically manage your customer feedback. More info: Power Online Reviews – Customer Reviews Management Plugin For WordPress
Predicting Online Trends
Regardless of which niche or industry you operate in, there are always new things happening. New products, new services and new apps get released, events get scheduled and announced online, influential people get mentioned in the news, companies release useful information, new presentations are published containing fantastic tips or ideas, something outdated gets updated and becomes relevant again, something becomes the next viral phenomenon on Facebook, yesterday’s next big thing suddenly stops trending and gets replaced with the new “new” thing, services get discontinued, people retire, and so on.
All of this can provide you with an endless source of new content (how many news sites now incorporate a segment on what’s trending on social media?)
Social media content is topical content. Implementing a regular schedule of posting content with added useful comments or insightful opinions to your site not only can help drive more traffic to your business, but your blog or website could end up becoming an authoritative destination or resource for your niche or industry. People may end up referring you to others on social media, and who knows … your site or brand could even end up becoming a topical, or newsworthy source of information that other online users will write about and post in their content.
This is the end of Part 1
In the next section we explore social media tools for business owners. To read the rest of this article, click here: WordPress Resources: Social Media Monitoring – Part 2
"Wow! I never knew there's so much to learn about WordPress! I bought one of the WordPress for Dummies three years ago, such authors need to be on this course!" - Rich Law, Create A Blog Now
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