The days of talking “at” audiences online are well and truly over. To succeed in today’s highly connected global and digital world, requires actively “listening” to your audience’s needs and feedback, and building a social community around your products, brand, and company.
Social media channels create a direct line of communication between your brand and your target audience and give you immediate access to the latest information around your services or products.
Social media monitoring allows you to gain insights into what people are saying about your company, brand, or services on social media, be alerted to impending crises, assess competitor activity, spot market opportunities, and measure the impact of your marketing campaigns. Additionally, social media monitoring can also provide you with vital data about emerging trends and what clients and consumers think about specific businesses, products, brands, or topics.
As a business intelligence tool, the ability to monitor social conversations and activity on social media 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 groups that include digital reputation specialists, market research, marketing teams, social engagement and community staff, agencies, and professional sales reps. Typically, many small businesses do not can’t afford to pay media monitoring professionals to track their coverage in the and actively monitor their digital reputation.
Fortunately different providers have developed tools and solutions to facilitate the tracking of a variety of social media channels, enabling companies to identify and even predict what is being said online about their brands or products so they can react to conversations and engage with online users in various social media platforms.
In the article below, we explore several social media measurement tools and technologies that will help you manage, measure, and analyze your social media marketing campaigns.
Why Is WordPress An Ideal Platform For Social Media?
WordPress is not only a powerful, flexible and easy to manage content management platform used by millions of businesses worldwide, WordPress also integrates fully with many social media applications, allowing you to easily grow your online presence in the social realm.
To learn more about using WordPress for a business web site please see other posts we have published on this site.
With a WordPress site and some of the tools listed in this article, you will be able to market your business effectively on social media and take advantage of new social marketing opportunities.
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 A Wider Audience 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, Pinterest 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 social networks.
The WordPress CMS platform is not only great for social media as a content publishing tool, it can also be transformed into a full-featured social network, using 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
- Friend 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 boasts an active community of plugin developers who contribute new plugins that greatly extend the application.
(WPSymposium WordPress social network plugin)
WP Symposium Pro 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
- User Directory
- 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 Social Channels
Many social media platforms 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 manage your social marketing from WordPress, you can. WordPress not only lets you publish content on your own domain, it also makes available many plugins that encourage users to easily share your web content on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. For more information, read the article we’ve written about WordPress social media sharing plugins and our comprehensive article series on how to automatically syndicate your web content on social channels using WordPress.
Conduct Market Research
Social media tools allow you to discover what your target audience wants, identify new trends and business 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 your social networking sites.
Also, many applications and tools are available that let you conduct surveys and polls of customers online. Many of these applications and tools will easily integrate with WordPress.
Build Your Reputation And Brand And Showcase Your Talent
Building and strengthening your business brand and online reputation, showcasing your talent, or establishing your expertise online requires commitment, patience 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 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 and how you respond to users online 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 as soon as the online community gets hold of the news.
Social media provides many new channels for gaining wider exposure online. 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 demanding on your time.
An expertly configured WordPress-driven website is an ideal platform for building your reputation or brand online. It lets you build authority online, showcase your talents, share great information with your customers and clients, and drive visitors to your business.
(Use an expertly configured WordPress-driven blog to automate your content syndication on various social media networks.)
Spy On Your Competition
Being able to monitor social media allows you to observe and learn the success strategies of authorities, experts, and thought leaders in your niche.
Explore Networking Opportunities And Joint Ventures, Find Affiliates, Recruit Talented Staff, etc.
It’s no secret that recruitment companies research social media 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 grow your revenue, get your brand seen, and lead to new lucrative ventures.
“Going Viral” Online Faster
Many 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 clever campaign is no guarantee of viral success. Many ridiculous memes have succeeded virally while big-budget and well-funded campaigns 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, informative or even funny, 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 provide an email training course that will show you how to create useful and compelling content. In this free course we also explore ways to create content with the potential to go viral and help your business grow faster. For more information, go here or subscribe using the form below:
Social Media Monitoring – Not Just For Large Brands
(Social Media Monitoring – Not Just For Global Brands)
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 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 if what is being said is negative. No doubt you’ve heard it said before 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 companies could be posting negative things online about you or your brand and if this goes unchecked, this can do some serious damage to your reputation.
Originally an aspect of the work of PR companies, reputation management is now an issue that affects many companies and individuals online.
If you or your brand’s 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 an excess of positive material, or restoring consumer trust and confidence.
Before you can do this, 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 can help you. 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 website or person directly, etc.
Businesses everywhere are ignoring opportunities to create happier customers and retain existing ones because they are not effectively monitoring their online reputations.
Monitoring what is being said online extends beyond well-known corporations, celebrities, and security-related departments. There’s also the online reputation of average individuals. Consider the situations below:
- A former spouse in the middle of a bitter divorce or child custody battle feels 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 help your case.
Even if you are just starting out, you can still create an easy “set and forget” alert system, so that if any conversations, comments or reviews about you do come up online, you can act proactively and deal with things in a timely manner.
Are you managing your online reputation?
We’ve written an article about a simple yet effective WordPress plugin that can help you avoid the escalation of problem reviews about your services through effective customer review management. More information: Power Online Reviews – Client Feedback Management Plugin For WordPress Users
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 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 goes viral on social media, 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 (have you noticed how all news media broadcasters now incorporate a segment on what’s trending on social media?)
Social media content is topical content. Posting regular topical 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 website or business could even end up becoming a topical, or newsworthy source of information that other people will write about and post in their content.
This is the end of Part 1
In part 2 we explore WordPress and social media and useful tools for monitoring social performance. To continue reading this article, click here: Social Media Tools For Business Owners – Part Two
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