The days of talking “at” audiences online are well and truly over. To achieve business success in today’s connected global and digital world, you need to grow and nurture a community around your company, brand, and products and ”listen” to what they have to say.
Social channels create a direct line of communication between your brand and your audience and give anyone with an Internet connection immediate access to the latest buzz about your products or services.
Tracking social media activity allows you to find insights into your company’s overall visibility on social media, be alerted to impending crises, assess competitor activity and market dominance, measure the impact of campaigns, and spot opportunities for engagement. It can also provide vital data about emerging trends and what consumers and clients think about specific brands, topics, businesses, or products.
As a tool for business intelligence, being able to track social media channels like blogging, forums, social networking platforms, micro-blogging platforms, discussion groups, video/photo sharing websites, and user-generated content (UGC) is invaluable. Using social media monitoring as a form of business intelligence, however, is a complex undertaking, typically carried out by various people including PR staff, marketing professionals, market researchers, sales teams, social media marketing agencies, and social engagement and community personnel. Typically, many small businesses do not can’t afford to pay social media monitoring professionals to track their coverage in the media.
Fortunately a number of providers have developed tools and solutions that facilitate the active monitoring of a broad range of social media channels, allowing companies to track what is being said online about their products or brands so they can react to conversations and engage with consumers in a timely fashion.
In the article below, we explore several social media tracking tools and technologies that are worth knowing about.
WordPress And Social Media – An Ideal Marketing Platform
WordPress is not only a powerful, scalable and easy to manage CMS platform used by millions of businesses worldwide, it also integrates fully with many social media applications, making it an ideal application for growing your online presence in the social realm.
To learn more about why the WordPress platform is the vehicle that can help your small business succeed online, go here: WordPress For Small Business Owners – A Complete Guide To Growing A Business Using WordPress
Using some of the tools listed in Part Two of this article and a WordPress site, you will be able to market your business effectively on social media and take advantage of new social business marketing opportunities.
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 Networks With WordPress
WordPress comes with 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 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 WordPress plugins like BuddyPress, WPSymposium, and others.
(Run your own social network with BuddyPress WordPress plugin)
BuddyPress is a free WordPress plugin that lets you add a suite of social networking components to your website, such as:
- Extended Member Profiles
- Activity Streams
- Private Messages
- 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 boasts an active community of plugin developers who contribute new plugins that greatly extend the platform.
(WP Symposium WordPress social networking plugin)
WPSymposium Pro provides a strong support community and assistance for members who need professional help. Social features of the plugin include:
- Activity Wall
- Private Mail
- Notification Bar
- User Directory
- Online Forum
- Photo Galleries
- RSS Feeds
WPSymposium lets you work with the theme you have. You can add features to posts and pages using shortcodes.
Syndicate Your Content Across Many Channels
With most social media tools, syndicating content is very easy. There are tools and services that let you compose, schedule and broadcast your content over multiple social channels and manage your social marketing campaigns from one central location, saving you time and money.
If you want to drive your social marketing strategy from WordPress, you can. WordPress not only lets you publish content on your own domain, it also offers a number of great plugins that encourage your site visitors to easily share your content on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc. See the article we’ve written about social media sharing plugins for WordPress and our comprehensive article series on how to automatically distribute content across various social networks with WordPress.
Social Media – Great For Researching Your Market
Using social media tools allows you to listen to what your market wants, identify new opportunities and stay ahead of 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 online and help you create customer-driven sales funnels. Many of these apps and tools will integrate with WordPress.
Strengthen Your Reputation And Brand Online
Building your reputation and brand online, showcasing your special talents, or establishing your authority online requires commitment and a social marketing strategy.
You are trying to engage with real people, and so your interactions must be authentic and meaningful. 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 customer situation poorly and end up paying a heavy price as soon as their response or behavior gets circulated online.
Although social media lets you be seen and known on many different channels, it can also take up a lot of your time.
An expertly configured WordPress website lets you build authority online, share great information with your clients and customers, and drive more visitors to your business.
(You can automate web content syndication on social channels with an expertly configured WordPress-driven site.)
Study Authority Sites In Your Niche
Being able to monitor social media conversations allows you to discover and and perhaps also be inspired by 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 research 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 channels can increase your revenue, get your brand seen, and lead to potentially lucrative new ventures.
What About “Going Viral” Online?
Many businesses would love to see their content or marketing campaigns go viral. “Going viral,” however, is a difficult thing to achieve, as it relies on many factors that cannot be controlled. 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 to take off.
In many cases, the best you can do is study and research your audience, and provide content that users will find so useful, compelling, entertaining or “spot-on”, that they will be naturally motivated to share with others.
Some of the tools listed in the next section of this article could help your content go viral, or at least help you set up relatively inexpensive marketing campaigns.
We have created a free email training course that will show you how to create useful and compelling content. In this course we also discuss ways to create content with 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 Big Businesses
(Social Media Monitoring – Useful For All Businesses, Big And Small)
Social media monitoring activities can be divided into two main groups:
- Online Reputation Management
- Online Trend Monitoring
Managing Your Online 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 high profile and even general individuals and brands to track what is being said about them online – especially negative comments, reviews, etc.. No doubt you’ve heard the saying that when someone has a bad experience with a product or service they will tell 10 more people about it. Real or imagined, bad news travels fast. People or competing businesses could be posting negative stuff online about you or your business and if this goes 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, good name or reputation is being affected by negative material being posted online, you have to find a way of weakening the negative impact 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 spot 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 can help you. If you Google yourself or your business/brand and a negative comment or bad review comes up, you can then do something about it, e.g. post a response, contact the website or person directly, etc.
Many companies all around the world are currently ignoring opportunities to create happier customers and boost their revenues because they are not monitoring their online reputations.
Monitoring what is being said online extends beyond global brands, celebrities, movie stars, famous musicians, and security agencies. It’s also important to be able to monitor the online reputation of average individuals. 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, you can still create an easy “set and forget” alert system, so that if anything does come up online, you can act proactively and deal with it in a timely manner.
Managing online reputation is becoming more a vital aspect of doing business online in the digital economy.
We’ve written an article about a WordPress plugin that lets you legally and ethically manage customer feedback. For more information, visit this page: Power Online Reviews – Easy Customer Feedback Management For WordPress
Understanding Online Trends
Regardless of what niche or industry you operate in, there are always new and exciting things happening. New apps get released, new services get launched, events get scheduled and announced online, influential people say something controversial that gets mentioned in the news, companies publish 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 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 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 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 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 business could even end up becoming a topical, or newsworthy source of content that other people will write about and mention in their content.
This is the end of Section One
In the next section we explore media measurement resources every WordPress user should become familiar with. To read more, click on this link: WordPress Resources: Media Monitoring – Part 2
"This is AMAZING! I had learnt about how to use WordPress previously, but this covers absolutely everything and more!! Incredible value! Thank you!" - Monique, Warrior Forum