The days of talking “at” your audience online are well and truly over. It’s not enough to put up a page on your website with static information. To achieve success in today’s interconnected world, requires actively “listening” to your audience and building an engaged community around your company, brand, and services.
Social media channels create a direct line of communication between your company and your target audience and give you immediate access to the latest information about your products or services.
Monitoring social media activity allows you to find insights into what people are saying about your products, company, or brand on social media, measure the impact of campaigns, assess competitor activity, avert impending crises, and spot opportunities for engagement. Additionally, social media monitoring can also provide valuable data about emerging trends and what clients and consumers are thinking about specific businesses, brands, products, or topics.
As a business intelligence tool, social signal monitoring is invaluable. Using social media monitoring as a form of business intelligence, however, is a complex undertaking, typically carried out by various people including online reputation specialists, market researchers, marketing professionals, social marketing agencies, social engagement and community staff, and professional sales reps. Typically, smaller businesses do not can’t afford to pay social media monitoring professionals to continually track their coverage in the media.
Fortunately a number of technology companies have developed tools and solutions to facilitate the monitoring of a broad spectrum of social media channels, allowing companies to identify what is being said online about their brands allowing them to respond proactively to conversations and engage with online users in various social media platforms.
In this article, we explore a number of social media tracking tools and technologies that will help you manage, measure, and analyze your social media marketing campaigns.
WordPress And Social Media Marketing
WordPress is not just a powerful, flexible and extremely easy to use content management platform used by millions of businesses worldwide, it also integrates fully with many social media applications, allowing you to easily grow your online presence in the social realm.
To learn more about why the WordPress platform is the vehicle that can help your small business grow online, go here: How To Grow Your Business Using WordPress
With a WordPress site and some of the tools listed in the next section of this article, 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 is an ideal platform to market your business on social media.
Promote Your Services And Products To The Right Audience On Social Media 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 ideal for social media as a content publishing tool, it can also be completely transformed into a full-blown social network site, using WordPress plugins like BuddyPress, WPSymposium, and others.
(Set up your own social networking website with BuddyPress WordPress plugin)
BuddyPress lets you add a suite of social networking components to your website, such as:
- Extended Member Profiles
- Activity Streams
- Private Messages
- User Groups
- Friend Connections
- Discussion 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 contribute new plugins that greatly extend the platform.
(WP Symposium WordPress social network plugin)
WP Symposium provides members with a strong support community and assistance for members who need professional help. Social features of the plugin include:
- Activity Wall
- Private Messaging
- Member Directory
- Photo Galleries
- RSS Feeds
WPSymposium lets you work with the theme you have. You can add features to your pages and posts using shortcodes.
Share Your Content Across Multiple Social Channels
Many social media tools let you get your information out to a wider audience, leverage multiple social channels simultaneously, build your business presence online and manage all of your social marketing strategy from one central location with with ease.
If you want to drive your social marketing strategy from WordPress, you can. WordPress not only makes it easy to publish content on your own domain, it also has many great plugins that allow your site visitors to easily share your web content on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc. For more information, read 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 channels with WordPress.
Social Media – Great For Market Research
Use social media marketing tools and services to discover what your audience wants, identify trends and new opportunities and stay one step 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 your social pages.
Also, there are apps and tools that let you conduct surveys and polls of customers online. Many apps can be easily integrated with WordPress.
Build Your Business Reputation And Brand Online And Establish Authority In Your Niche Or Area Of Expertise
Building and strengthening your brand and reputation, showcasing your special talents, or establishing your authority online requires commitment, patience and a robust social marketing strategy.
You are trying to engage with real people online, and so your interactions must be meaningful and authentic. Focus on your target audience, and listen to their conversations to gain valuable insights.
Remember, we have been given 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 being the subject of much scorn and derision when the online community finds out about it.
Social media lets you be seen and known everywhere. This can make it easier for others to see you as an authority in your niche, industry, or area of expertise, but it can also be very time-consuming.
An expertly configured WordPress-driven site helps you establish your your expertise online, share great information with your customers and clients, and drive visitors to your business.
(You can automatically distribute content across social networks using an expertly configured WordPress blog.)
Study Niche Authorities
Being able to monitor social media allows you to reverse engineer what the experts are doing.
Explore Networking Opportunities And Joint Ventures, Find Affiliates, Recruit Talented Staff, etc.
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. Using social media can grow your revenue, get your business seen, and lead to potentially lucrative new ventures.
Could Your Web Content “Go Viral” Online?
Most businesses would love to have a viral content marketing strategy. “Going viral,” however, is quite difficult to achieve, as it relies on many factors that cannot be controlled. Throwing loads of dollars at a marketing campaign is no guarantee of viral success. Many ridiculous memes have become internet viral hits while big-budget brands and corporations have failed.
In many cases, the best you can do is know your audience well, and provide content that users will find so useful, engaging, entertaining or “spot-on”, 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 an email training course that shows you how to create meaningful and compelling content. In this course we also explore ways to create content with the potential to go viral and help your business grow faster. For more info, go here or subscribe using the form below:
Social Media Monitoring – Useful For All Businesses, Big And Small
(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 of 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 others are saying 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 tell 10 other people about it. Real or imagined, bad news travels fast. People or competitors could be posting negative things 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 public relations companies, reputation management is now an issue that affects many companies and individuals online.
If you or your image, name or good standing is being affected by negative material being posted online, you have to find a way of weakening the negative effects with an excess of positive content, 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 yourself or your business/brand 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 website or person directly, etc.
Many companies are currently missing out on opportunities to create happier customers and boost their revenues because they are not managing their digital reputations effectively.
Actively monitoring conversations and interactions on social media extends beyond worldwide brands, celebrities, and security-related agencies. The ability to monitor the online reputation of of an average individual is also important. Consider these scenarios:
- A former spouse in the middle of an acrimonious divorce or child custody battle 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 an easy “set and forget” social media alert system, so that if anything about you does come up online later, you can act proactively and deal with things in a timely manner.
Do you have a system in place for managing your online reputation in the digital economy?
We’ve written an article about a WordPress plugin that can help you avoid the escalation of problem reviews about your services through effective user review management. More info: Power Online Reviews – Easy Customer Reviews Management Plugin For WordPress
Benefiting From Online Trends
Regardless of which niche or industry you operate in, there are always new things happening. New products get released, new services get launched, events get scheduled and promoted, influential people get mentioned in the news, companies publish useful research data, new videos are published containing fantastic tips or ideas, an outdated fact gets updated and becomes relevant again, something becomes the next viral phenomenon on YouTube, 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 and new content ideas (have you noticed how all news media channels now incorporate a segment on what’s trending on social media?)
Social media content is topical content. Posting regular topical content with your 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 a “go to” 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 content that others will write about and post in their content.
This is the end of Section 1
In part two we explore WordPress social media monitoring and tools. To keep reading, click on this link: WordPress And Media Monitoring – Part Two
"If you're new to WordPress, this can stand on its own as a training course and will stay with you as you progress from beginner to advanced and even guru status." - Bruce (Columbus, Ohio)