The days of talking “at” your audience online are well and truly over. It’s no longer enough to just put up a page on your website with static information. To achieve business success in today’s highly connected world, requires actively “listening” to your audience and building an engaged social community around your company, brand, and services.
Social channels create a direct line of communication between your company and your target audience and give you direct access to the latest buzz about your products or services.
Monitoring social media activity allows you to gain insights into what people are saying about your products, company, or brand on social media, spy on your competitors, identify market opportunities, measure the impact of campaigns, and be alerted to crises. Additionally, monitoring social media can also provide vital information about emerging trends and what clients and consumers are thinking about specific brands, businesses, products, or topics.
As a business intelligence tool, being able to monitor social activity on social media channels like blogging, internet forums, wikis, micro-blogging platforms, discussion groups, video sites, and user-generated content is invaluable. Using social media monitoring as a form of business intelligence, however, is a complex undertaking, often carried out by a cross-section of people including digital reputation management (ORM) agencies, market researchers, marketing professionals, sales teams, agencies, and social engagement and community personnel. Typically, smaller businesses don’t can’t afford to pay media monitoring professionals to continually track their coverage in the media.
Fortunately various technology providers have developed tools that facilitate the tracking of a broad spectrum of social media channels, enabling companies to track consumer behavior around their brands so they can respond to conversations and interact with consumers in various social media platforms.
In this article, we explore several social media measurement tools that are worth checking out and knowing about.
WordPress And Social Media Marketing – Social Management Tools & Applications
WordPress is not only a powerful, flexible and really easy to use 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.
To learn more about why WordPress is the vehicle that can help your business grow online, see this article: Using WordPress To Grow Your Business Online
Using some of the tools listed here and a WordPress site, you will be able to tap into full range of benefits offered by social media marketing.
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why WordPress provides an ideal platform for marketing your business on social media.
Pitch Your Services And Products To An Audience Of Buyers On Your Social 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, Pinterest and many others.
For example, there are plugins that can add social sharing buttons, forums, add photos from Instagram, Twitter cards, Facebook feeds, testimonials, surveys, polls … even optimize your article titles and descriptions for various social networks.
The WordPress content management system (CMS) is not only great for social media as a content marketing tool, it can also be completely transformed into a full-blown social networking, using plugins like BuddyPress, WPSymposium, and others.
(Set up your own social networking site with BuddyPress WordPress plugin)
BuddyPress lets you add a suite of social networking components to your website, such as:
- Activity Streams
- Private Messaging
- Extensible User Groups
- Friendship Connections
- Online Forums
- Many Add-On Features
BuddyPress is known as “social networking in a box.” You can turn features on and off to suit your needs and the plugin has a thriving community of plugin developers who regularly contribute new plugins that greatly extend the platform.
(WPSymposium Pro WordPress social networking plugin)
WP Symposium provides a strong support community and assistance for users who require professional help. Social features of the plugin include:
- Activity Wall
- Private Messaging
- Notification Bar
- Photo Galleries
- RSS Feeds
WPSymposium lets you work with the theme you have. You can add social features to your posts and pages using shortcodes.
Share Your Content Across Many Social Channels
Many social media platforms let you get your information out to a wider audience, leverage multiple social channels simultaneously, build your online presence and manage all of your social marketing strategy from one central location with with ease.
If you want to drive most of your social marketing strategy from WordPress, you can. WordPress not only makes it easy to publish content on your own domain, it also makes available a number of great plugins that allow users to share your content on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. See the article we’ve written about social media sharing plugins for WordPress and our comprehensive article series on how to automatically syndicate content across social media with WordPress.
Use social media tools to listen to what consumers want, identify new trends and opportunities and stay ahead of your competition.
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.
Also, many applications and tools are available that let you survey customers online. Many of these tools can be integrated with WordPress.
Build Your Business Reputation And Brand And Showcase Your Talent
Building and strengthening your brand and online reputation, showcasing your talent, or establishing your authority online requires commitment and a robust social marketing strategy.
You are engaging with real people, and so your interactions must be meaningful and authentic. Put the needs of your audience first, 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 comments and discussions is very important, and can make or break your reputation online. Everyday we hear horror stories of brands that handle a situation poorly and end up suffering heavy losses when the online community finds out about it.
Social media provides many new channels for gaining wider exposure online. This can make it easier for others to see you as a credible authority in your niche, but it can also be very time-consuming.
An expertly configured WordPress blog can help establish your authority online, share great information with your clients and customers, and drive more visitors to your business.
(An expertly configured WordPress website lets you automate web content syndication on various social channels.)
Spy On Your Competition
Being able to listen in to social conversations allows you to reverse engineer what authorities and influencers in your niche are doing.
Explore Joint Venture Opportunities, Find Affiliates, Recruit Talented Staff, etc.
It’s no secret that recruitment companies spend a lot of time nowadays 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 increase your revenue, get your business seen, and lead to potentially lucrative new ventures.
What About “Going Viral” Online?
Most businesses would love to have a viral content marketing strategy. “Going viral,” however, is a difficult outcome to achieve, as it relies on many factors that are outside your control. Throwing loads of dollars at a clever marketing campaign is no guarantee of viral success. Many ridiculous memes have succeeded virally while large brands and corporations have failed dismally.
In many cases, the best you can do is study and research your audience, and provide content that users will find so useful, compelling, informative or even funny, that they will be naturally motivated to share with others.
Some of the tools listed in Part Two of this article can help your content go viral, or at least help you create relatively inexpensive marketing campaigns.
We provide an email training course that shows you how to create meaningful and compelling content. In this course we also discuss ways to create content that has the potential to go viral and help your business grow faster. For more details, go here or subscribe using the form below:
Social Media Monitoring – Not Just For Global Businesses
(Social Media Monitoring – Useful For All Businesses, Big And Small)
Social media monitoring can generally be divided into two main groups:
- Online Reputation Management (ORM)
- Online Trend Monitoring
Managing Your Online Reputation
You have probably heard of online reputation management (ORM). If you haven’t, you will be hearing it more and more as time goes on, because it is becoming increasingly more important for high profile and even general individuals and brands to track what others are saying about them online – especially negative comments, reviews, etc.. No doubt you’ve heard it said before 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 companies could be posting negative material online about you or your business and if left unchecked, this can do some serious damage to your reputation.
Originally an aspect of the services of PR firms, reputation management is an issue that now affects many companies and individuals online.
If you or your image, good name or good standing is being affected by negative material being posted online, you have to find a way of reducing the negative effects with positive material, or restoring consumer trust and confidence.
Before you can do anything, 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/brand name and find that a competitor has published fake reviews or customer complaints designed to discredit your business, you can then address the issue, e.g. post a response, contact the person directly, etc.
Many businesses around the world are currently ignoring opportunities to create happier customers and increase their revenues because they are still ignoring their digital reputations.
Monitoring what is being said online extends beyond well-known brands, celebrities, movie stars, famous musicians, and security departments. The ability to monitor the online reputation of of an average individual is also important. For example, consider the following scenarios:
- A former spouse in the middle of an acrimonious divorce or child custody dispute 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 your job application.
Even if you are just starting out, it’s good to create a “set and forget” social media alert system, so that if anything about you does come up online, you can act proactively and deal with it in a timely manner.
How do you manage your online reputation?
We’ve written an article about a simple tool for WordPress users that lets you legally and ethically manage your customer reviews. More info: Power Online Reviews – Easy Customer Feedback Management Plugin For WordPress
Predicting Online Trends
Regardless of which niche or industry you are in, there are always new things happening. New products get released, new services get launched, events get scheduled and announced online, influential people get mentioned in the news, companies release useful research data, new videos are published containing fantastic tips or ideas, something outdated gets updated, something goes viral on Facebook, yesterday’s must-have new 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 and new content ideas (how many news media agencies 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 additional 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 could end up referring you to others on social media, and who knows … your website or brand could even end up becoming a topical, or newsworthy source of information that others will write about and mention in their content.
This is the end of Section 1
In part 2 we explore WordPress and social media and useful social measurement tools. To keep reading, click here: WordPress And Social Media : Useful Tools For Measuring Social Performance – Part Two
"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