The days of talking “at” audiences online are well and truly over. Putting up a page on your website with static information about your company is not enough. To succeed in today’s interconnected global and digital economy, requires actively “listening” to your audience and building an engaged social community around your company, services, and brand.
Social channels create a direct line of communication between your business and consumers and give you instant access to the latest news around your services or products.
Social media monitoring allows you to gain insights into what people are saying about your services, brand, or company on social media, spy on your competition, spot opportunities for engagement, be alerted to disasters, and measure the impact of your marketing campaigns. Additionally, social media monitoring can also provide vital data about emerging trends and what consumers and clients are thinking about specific brands, businesses, topics, or products.
As a tool for business intelligence, social signal monitoring is invaluable. Using social media monitoring as a form of business intelligence, however, is a complex undertaking, often carried out by various groups that include digital reputation managers, market researchers, marketing professionals, agencies, professional sales reps, and social engagement and community staff. Typically, small businesses don’t have the budget to pay a social media monitoring service to track their coverage in the and actively monitor their digital reputation.
Fortunately a number of technology companies have developed affordable tools and solutions to facilitate the active tracking of a wide spectrum of social media channels, enabling companies to identify what is being said online about their products or brands so they can respond to conversations and engage with consumers in a timely fashion.
In this article, we explore a number of social media tracking tools and technologies that will help you identify new trends and opportunities, track competitor activity, see what online conversations are taking place that affect your business,etc.
WordPress And Social Media
WordPress is not only a powerful, flexible and easy to manage CMS 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 the benefits of using WordPress for a business web site please see our related posts section.
Using some of the tools listed in the next section 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 for marketing your business on social media.
Pitch Your Services And Products To An Audience Of Buyers On Your Social Media Networks With WordPress
WordPress includes built-in social features, like interactive 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 content for social networks.
The WordPress content management system (CMS) is not only ideal for social media as a content publishing tool, it can also be transformed into a full-featured social network site, using WordPress plugins like BuddyPress, WPSymposium, and others.
(Run your own social networking website with BuddyPress plugin for WordPress)
BuddyPress can be used to run a social networking community on WordPress, with member profiles, user groups, messaging, activity streams, and more.
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)
WPSymposium offers a strong support community and assistance for users who need professional help. Social features of the plugin include:
- Activity Wall
- Private Messages
- Notification Bar
- 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.
Syndicate 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 online presence and manage all of your social marketing strategy from one central location with with ease.
If you want to run most of your social marketing from WordPress, you can. WordPress not only lets you publish content on your own domain, it also makes available a number of plugins that allow your site visitors to share your content online on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. For more information, see the article we’ve written about WordPress social media sharing plugins and our comprehensive article series on how to automate your content syndication on social channels using WordPress.
Conduct Market Research
Social media tracking tools allow you to discover what your market wants, identify trends and new business opportunities and stay one step 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.
Additionally, there are many applications that let you survey customers online. Many apps and tools will integrate with WordPress.
Build Your Business Reputation And Brand
Building your business brand and reputation, showcasing your talent, or establishing your authority online requires commitment and a robust social marketing strategy.
You are trying to engage with real people, and so your interactions must be meaningful and authentic. Focus on the needs of your target audience, 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 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 being the subject of much scorn and derision as soon as 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 a credible authority in your niche, but it can also take up a lot of your time.
An expertly configured WordPress site helps you establish your your expertise online, share great information with your clients and customers, and drive new visitors to your business.
(Use an expertly configured WordPress-driven site to automatically distribute your web content across various social channels.)
Study Influencers In Your Niche
Being able to monitor social media allows you to discover and and maybe also be inspired by the success strategies of authorities and influencers 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. Using social media to explore new opportunities can grow your revenue, get your name out there, and lead to potentially lucrative new ventures.
“Go Viral” Online Faster
Many businesses would love to see their content or marketing campaigns go viral. “Going viral,” however, is a difficult outcome to achieve, as it relies on many factors that you cannot control. Throwing loads of money at a campaign is no guarantee of viral success. Many ridiculous memes have achieved stratospheric viral success while large brands have failed to take off.
In many cases, the best you can do is know your audience well, and provide content that users will find so useful, engaging, 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 have created a free email training course that shows you how to create meaningful and engaging 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 details, go here or subscribe using the form below:
Social Media Monitoring – Not Just For Large Brands
(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)
- Monitoring Online Trends
Online Reputation Management
You have probably heard about online reputation management (ORM). 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 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. People or competing businesses could be posting negative things online about you or your business and if this goes unchecked, this can seriously damage your reputation.
Originally an aspect of the work of public relations companies, reputation management is an issue that now 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 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 come in. If you Google your name or your business/brand and a negative comment or bad review comes up, you can then address the issue, e.g. post a response, contact the person directly, etc.
Many companies are missing out on opportunities to attract new customers and increase their revenues because they ignore their online reputations.
Monitoring online conversations extends beyond worldwide corporations, celebrities, and security-conscious agencies. It’s also important to be able to monitor the reputation of individuals. For example, consider the following situations:
- A former spouse in the middle of a bitter divorce or child custody dispute 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, it’s good to create a “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.
How good is your reputation online?
We’ve written an article about a simple plugin for WordPress users that lets you legally and ethically manage customer feedback. More info: Power Online Reviews – WordPress Plugin For Managing Client Reviews
Online Trend Monitoring
Regardless of which niche or industry you operate your business in, there are always new 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 release useful information, new videos are published containing fantastic tips or ideas, something outdated gets updated and becomes relevant again, something becomes the next viral phenomenon on Twitter, 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 provides you with an endless source of new content (how many news sites now incorporate a segment on what’s trending on social media?)
Social media content is topical content. Posting regular 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 site 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 the next section we explore media tools every business owner should know about. To continue reading this article, click here: Essential Social Media Monitoring Tools For WordPress Users – Part Two
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