The days of passively talking “at” audiences online are well and truly over. To succeed in today’s connected world, you need to build an engaged social community around your products, company, and brand, based around actively “listening”.
Social media channels create a direct line of communication between your business and your target audience and give anyone with an Internet connection immediate access to the latest information around your services or products.
Monitoring social media activity allows you to gain insights into what people are saying about your company, brand, or products on social media, take preventative measures if you detect negative comments or feedback by dissatisfied customers, spot potential opportunities for engagement, spy on your competition, and measure the impact of campaigns. It can also provide you with vital information about emerging trends and what clients and consumers think about specific brands, products, topics, or businesses.
As a business intelligence tool, the ability to track social media is invaluable. Using social media monitoring as a form of business intelligence, however, is a complex undertaking, often carried out by a cross-section of groups that include online reputation managers, market researchers, marketing professionals, social engagement and community staff, social media marketing agencies, and sales teams. Typically, small businesses don’t can’t afford to pay media monitoring professionals to track their coverage in the and actively monitor their digital reputation.
Fortunately different technology providers have developed affordable tools to facilitate the monitoring of a wide spectrum of social media channels, enabling companies to identify and even predict consumer behavior around their brands allowing them to respond proactively to conversations and engage with online users in a timely manner.
In this article, we explore a number of social media tracking tools that are worth knowing about.
WordPress And Social Media – A Guide For Website Owners
WordPress is not just a powerful, flexible and really easy to use CMS 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 why the WordPress platform is the vehicle that can help your business grow online, go here: How To Grow Your Small Business With A WordPress Blog
With a WordPress site and some of the tools listed in Part Two 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 provides an ideal platform to market your business on social media.
Promote Your Services And Products To A Wider Audience On Your Social Media 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 article titles and descriptions for various social networkign sites.
The WordPress CMS platform is not only ideal for social media as a content publishing tool, it can also be 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 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 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.
(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 Messaging
- Notification Bar
- 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 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 drive your social marketing strategy from WordPress, you can. WordPress not only makes it easy to publish content on your own domain, it also offers a number of great plugins that encourage users to share your content on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc. See the article we’ve written about WordPress social media sharing plugins and our comprehensive article series on how to automatically syndicate your content across social channels with WordPress.
Social monitoring tools allow you to listen to what consumers want, identify new 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.
Also, many apps are available that let you survey customers online and help you create customer-driven sales campaigns. Many of these applications can be integrated with WordPress.
Strengthen Your Business Credibility And Brand Online
Building your business brand and online reputation, showcasing your talent, 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 comments and discussions is very important, and can make or break your reputation online. Everyday we hear stories of brands that handle a situation very poorly and end up being the subject of much scorn and derision as soon as their response or behavior gets circulated online.
Social media lets you be seen and known on many different channels. This can make it easier for others to see you as a credible authority in your niche, industry, or area of expertise, but it can also take up a lot of your time.
An expertly configured WordPress-driven site can help establish your authority online, share great information with your clients and customers, and drive new visitors to your business.
(Use an expertly configured WordPress-driven site to automate content syndication across social channels.)
Study Authority Sites In Your Niche
Being able to listen in to social media conversations can help you observe and discover the success strategies of experts, authorities, and influencers in your niche.
Explore Joint Venture Opportunities, Find Affiliates, Recruit Talented Staff, etc.
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. Using social media can increase your revenue, get your brand seen, and lead to potentially lucrative new ventures.
What About “Going Viral”?
Many businesses would love to have a viral content marketing strategy. “Going viral,” however, is a difficult thing to achieve, as it relies on many factors that are outside your control. Throwing loads of dollars at a marketing campaign is no guarantee of viral success. Many ridiculous memes have become internet viral hits while large brands have failed dismally.
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 “spot-on”, that they will be naturally motivated to share with others.
Some of the tools listed in the next section of this article can help your content go viral, or at least help you run relatively inexpensive marketing campaigns.
We provide an email training course that shows 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 Global Businesses
(Social Media Monitoring – Not Just For Global Brands)
Social media monitoring can generally 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 (ORM). 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 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. Real or imagined, bad news travels fast. People or competitors could be posting negative material online about you or your brand 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 reputation 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 name and find that a competitor has published fake reviews or customer complaints designed to discredit your business, you can then do something about it, e.g. post a response, contact the person directly, etc.
Many companies everywhere are currently ignoring opportunities to create happier customers and retain existing ones because they are not managing their online reputations effectively.
Monitoring what is being said online extends beyond well-known brands, celebrities, movie stars, famous musicians, and security agencies. There’s also the online reputation of an average individual. For example, consider the situations below:
- A former spouse in the middle of an acrimonious 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 enough good, positive things published online either to help your case.
Even if you are just starting out, you can still create a “set and forget” alert system, so that if anything about you does come up online, you can act proactively and deal with it in a timely manner.
Are you managing your digital reputation?
We’ve written an article about a tool for WordPress users that can help to avoid the escalation of problem reviews about your business through effective customer review management. More information: Power Online Reviews – Easy Customer Reviews Management Plugin For WordPress
Understanding Online Trends
Regardless of what niche or industry you operate in, there are always new and exciting 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 information, new videos are published containing fantastic tips or ideas, an outdated fact gets updated and becomes relevant again, something goes viral on YouTube, 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 (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. Implementing a regular schedule of posting 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 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 information that other people will write about and post in their content.
This is the end of Part One
In part two we explore social media tracking tools for WordPress users. To read the rest of this article, click on this link: WordPress And Social Media : Useful Tools For Monitoring Social Metrics – Part 2
"This is an awesome training series. I have a pretty good understanding of WordPress already, but this is helping me to move somewhere from intermediate to advanced user!" - Kim Lednum