The days of passively talking “at” your audience online are well and truly over. It’s no longer enough to put up a page on your website with static information. To succeed in today’s interconnected world, you need to build an engaged community around your products, brand, and company, all based around “listening”.
Social channels create a direct line of communication between your business and your audience and give you instant access to the latest information about your products or services.
Social media monitoring allows you to gain insights into your company’s online visibility on social media, spot opportunities for engagement, assess competitor activity and mind share, measure the impact of campaigns, and be alerted to disasters. It can also provide vital information about emerging trends and what consumers and clients think about specific businesses, topics, products, or brands.
As a business intelligence tool, 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 groups that include PR staff, marketing professionals, market research, sales teams, agencies, and social engagement and community staff. Typically, small businesses do not can’t afford to pay social media monitoring professionals to continually track their coverage in the and actively monitor their online reputation.
Fortunately various providers have developed affordable tools that facilitate the tracking of a broad spectrum of social media channels, enabling you to identify consumer behavior around your brand or products allowing you to respond proactively to conversations and engage with online users in various social media platforms.
In the article below, we explore a number of social media monitoring tools and technologies that are worth checking out and knowing about.
WordPress – An Ideal Platform For Social Media
WordPress is not only a powerful, scalable and extremely easy to use content publishing platform used by millions of businesses worldwide, it 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 you achieve your business goals online, go here: How To Grow Your Business With WordPress
Using some of the tools listed in the next section of this article 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.
Promote Your Services And Products To An Audience Of Buyers 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 photos from Instagram, Twitter feeds, Facebook feeds, testimonials, surveys, polls … even optimize your content for social networkign sites.
The WordPress CMS platform is not only ideal for social media as a content marketing tool, it can also be completely transformed into a full-blown social network, using plugins like BuddyPress, WPSymposium, and others.
(Set up your own social networking site with BuddyPress WordPress plugin)
BuddyPress is a free plugin for WordPress that lets you add a suite of social networking components to your website, such as:
- Extended 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 has a thriving community of plugin developers who regularly contribute new open source plugins that greatly extend the platform.
(WPSymposium Pro WordPress social networking plugin)
WP Symposium Pro provides members with a strong support community and assistance for members who require professional help. Social features of the plugin include:
- Activity Wall
- Private Mail
- Member Directory
- Photo Galleries
- RSS Feeds
WPSymposium lets you work with the theme you have. You can add features to pages and posts using shortcodes.
Share Your Content Across Many 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 run 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 your site visitors to easily share your content online on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc. For more information, see the article we’ve written about WordPress social media sharing plugins and our comprehensive article series on how to automatically distribute your content across social media channels using WordPress.
Social media tools and services allow you to discover what consumers want, identify trends and new business 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 those social networks.
Also, there are applications and tools that let you survey customers online. Many of these tools will easily integrate with WordPress.
Build Your Business Brand And Credibility And Showcase Your Talent
Strengthening your reputation and brand, showcasing your special talents, or establishing your authority online requires commitment, dedication and a robust social marketing strategy.
You are trying to engage 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 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 other user’s comments and discussions is very important. Everyday we hear horror stories of brands that handle a situation or customer complaint very poorly and end up paying a heavy price when their response or behavior gets exposed online.
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, but it can also be extremely time-consuming.
An expertly configured WordPress-driven blog is an ideal platform for building your reputation or brand online. It can help establish your authority online, showcase your talents, share great content and strategies with your clients and customers, and drive new visitors to your business.
(Use an expertly configured WordPress blog to automate web content syndication on social media networks.)
Study Influencers In Your Niche
Being able to listen in to social conversations allows you to observe and and perhaps also be inspired by what authorities and influencers in your niche are doing.
Explore Networking Opportunities And Joint Ventures, 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. Using social media can increase your revenue, get your name out there, and lead to potentially lucrative new ventures.
“Going Viral” Online Faster
Many businesses would love to have a viral marketing campaign. “Going viral,” however, is a difficult outcome to achieve, as it relies on many factors that are completely outside your control. Throwing loads of money at a clever or cute advertising is no guarantee of viral success. Many ridiculous memes have achieved stratospheric viral success while large brands have failed.
In many cases, the best you can do is study and research your audience, and provide content that users will find so useful, engaging, informative 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 run relatively inexpensive marketing campaigns.
We provide a free email training course that will show you how to create useful and engaging content. In this free course we also discuss many 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 – Not Just For Big Businesses)
Social media monitoring activities can be divided into two main groups:
- Online Reputation Management (ORM)
- Tracking Online Trends
Online Reputation Management
You have probably heard about 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 posted 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 other people about it. Real or imagined, bad news travels fast. People or competitors 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 services of PR firms, reputation management is an issue that now 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 do this, 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 come in. If you Google yourself or your business/brand name and spot a negative comment or bad review, you can then do something about it, e.g. post a response, contact the person directly, etc.
Companies are ignoring opportunities to create happier customers and grow their business because they are not managing their digital reputations effectively.
Monitoring conversations and new posts on social media extends beyond global corporations, celebrities, movie stars, famous musicians, and security-related agencies. It’s also important to be able to monitor the online reputation of average individuals. Consider these situations:
- A former spouse in the middle of a bitter 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 enough 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 does come up online later, you can act proactively and deal with it in a timely manner.
Are you effectively ignoring your online reputation?
We’ve written an article about a WordPress plugin that can help you avoid the escalation of problem reviews about your business, products or services through effective customer review management. Go here for more information: Power Online Reviews – WordPress Plugin For Client Reviews Management
Analyzing Online Trends
Regardless of which niche or industry you operate your business in, there are always new and exciting things happening. New products, new services and new apps get released, events get scheduled and promoted, influential people get mentioned in the news, companies publish useful information, new videos are published containing fantastic tips or ideas, something outdated gets updated, 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 provides you with an endless source of new content and new content ideas (how many news sites now incorporate a segment on what’s trending on social media?)
Social media content is topical content. Posting regular topical 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 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 part two we explore WordPress and media tracking. To read more, click here: WordPress Social Media Measurement : Useful Tools – Part Two
"I have used the tutorials to teach all of my clients and it has probably never been so easy for everyone to learn WordPress ... Now I don't need to buy all these very expensive video courses that often don't deliver what they promise." - Stefan Wendt, Internet Marketing Success Group