The days of passively talking “at” audiences online are well and truly over. It’s not enough to put up a page on your website with static information. To succeed in today’s connected digital economy, requires actively “listening” to your audience and building an engaged community around your products, company, and brand.
Social media channels create a direct line of communication between your brand and consumers and give you immediate access to the latest information around your products or services.
Tracking social media activity allows you to gain insights into your brand’s overall visibility on social media, assess competitor activity, help you take preventative measures against the spread of negative comments or feedback by disgruntled customers, measure the impact of your marketing campaigns, and spot market opportunities. Additionally, social media monitoring can also provide you with vital information about emerging trends and what consumers and clients are thinking about specific topics, businesses, products, or brands.
As a business intelligence tool, being able to track social media channels like blogging, forums, wikis, micro-blogging platforms, discussion boards, video/photo sharing sites, and user-generated content (UGC) 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 market research, marketing professionals, PR staff, professional sales reps, social marketing agencies, and social engagement and community personnel. Typically, small businesses do not have the budget to pay social media monitoring professionals to continually track their coverage in the media.
Fortunately a number of technology providers have developed tools that facilitate the monitoring of a broad spectrum of social media channels, enabling companies to track consumer behavior around their brands or products allowing them to respond to conversations and interact with consumers in a timely fashion.
In the article below, we explore a number of social media measurement tools and technologies that will help you manage, measure, and analyze your social media marketing initiatives.
WordPress And Social Media Marketing
WordPress is not only a powerful, scalable and easy to use CMS platform used by millions of businesses worldwide, it also integrates fully with many social media applications, making it an ideal too for growing your online presence in the social realm.
To learn more about the benefits of using WordPress for a business website or blog please click on links to visit our related posts section.
With a WordPress site and some of the tools listed in the next section of 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 provides an ideal platform to market your business on social media.
Promote Your Products And Services To A Wider Audience On Your Social Media Networks With WordPress
WordPress comes with 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 article titles and descriptions for social networkign sites.
The WordPress CMS platform is not only ideal for social media as a content marketing tool, it can also be transformed into a full-blown social network site, using WordPress plugins like BuddyPress, WPSymposium, and others.
(Run your own social network with BuddyPress plugin for WordPress)
BuddyPress lets you add a suite of social networking components to your website, such as:
- 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 boasts a thriving community of plugin developers who regularly contribute new plugins that greatly extend the application.
(WPSymposium Pro WordPress social network plugin)
WPSymposium offers a strong support community and assistance for members who require professional help. Social features of the plugin include:
- Activity Wall
- Private Messages
- Member Directory
- Online Forum
- Photo Galleries
- RSS Feeds
WPSymposium lets you work with the theme you have. You can add features to your posts and pages using shortcodes.
Syndicate Your Content Across Many Social Channels
With most social media platforms, syndicating content is very easy. There are services and tools 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 considerable time and money.
If you want to run most of your social marketing from WordPress, you can. WordPress not only makes it easy to publish content on your own domain, it also has many plugins that allow users to share your content on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. For more information, check out the article we’ve written about social media sharing plugins for WordPress and our comprehensive article series on how to automate web content syndication on various social channels with WordPress.
Conduct Market Research
Social tools and services allow you to listen to what your target audience 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 your social networking sites.
Also, there are applications that let you survey customers online and help you create customer-driven sales campaigns. Many applications and tools will integrate with WordPress.
Build Your Business Credibility And Brand Online And Establish Authority In Your Niche
Strengthening your business reputation and brand, showcasing your talent, or establishing your expertise online requires commitment and a social marketing strategy.
You are engaging with real people online, and so your interactions must be authentic 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 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 very poorly and end up paying a heavy price as soon as the online community gets hold of the news.
Although social media lets you be seen and known everywhere, it can also take up a lot of your time.
An expertly configured WordPress-driven site is an ideal platform for building your online reputation or brand. It helps you establish your your expertise online, showcase your talents, share great content and strategies with your customers and clients, and drive visitors to your business.
(An expertly configured WordPress-driven site lets you automatically distribute content across social channels.)
Study Authority Sites In Your Niche
Being able to monitor social media conversations allows you to reverse engineer what authorities and influencers in your niche are doing.
Explore Joint Venture Opportunities, Find Affiliates, Recruit Talented Staff, etc.
Recruitment companies nowadays spend a lot of time 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. Connecting with others through social media channels can grow your revenue, get your business seen, and lead to new lucrative ventures.
“Going Viral” Online Faster
Many businesses would love to have a viral marketing campaign. “Going viral,” however, is quite difficult to achieve, as it relies on many factors that cannot be controlled. Throwing loads of dollars at a campaign is no guarantee of viral success. Many ridiculous memes have become internet viral hits while big-budget brands and corporations have failed to take off.
In many cases, the best you can do is know your audience well, and provide content that users in your audience will find so useful, compelling, entertaining 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 can 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 free course we also discuss ways to create content that has 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 – Useful For All Businesses, Big And Small
(Social Media Monitoring – Not Just For Big Brands)
In general, social media monitoring can be divided into two main groups:
- Online Reputation Management (ORM)
- Online Trend Monitoring
Online Reputation Management
You have probably heard about 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 many individuals and brands to track what others are saying about them online – especially if what is being posted is negative. 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. Bad news travels fast. People or competing companies could be posting negative stuff online about you or your business and if left unchecked, this can seriously damage 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 brand’s image, name or good standing is being affected by negative material being posted online, you have to find a way of diluting the negative with an excess of positive content, 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 can help you. If you Google yourself or your business 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 person directly, etc.
Many companies are missing out on opportunities to attract new customers and grow their business because they are not monitoring their online reputations.
Monitoring online conversations extends beyond large brands, celebrities, movie stars, famous musicians, and security-conscious departments. Being able to monitor the online reputation of of individuals is also very important. Consider the situations below:
- A former spouse in the middle of a bitter divorce or child custody proceedings 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 support the things you have listed in your job application.
Even if you are just starting out, it’s good to create a “set and forget” social media alert system, so that if anything about you does come up online, you can act proactively and respond in a timely manner.
Do you know what customers are saying about you online?
We’ve written an article about a simple yet effective plugin for WordPress users that can help you avoid the escalation of negative reviews about your business, products or services through effective customer review management. More info: Power Online Reviews – WordPress Plugin For Easy Management Of Customer Feedback
Online Trend Monitoring
Regardless of which niche or industry you are in, there are always new things happening. New apps get released, new services get launched, events get scheduled and promoted, influential people say something controversial that gets mentioned in the news, companies publish useful information, new presentations are published containing fantastic tips or ideas, an outdated fact gets updated and becomes relevant again, something becomes the next viral phenomenon on Twitter, 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. Posting regular 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 brand could even end up becoming a topical, or newsworthy source of content that other online users will write about and mention in their content.
This is the end of Part 1
In part 2 we explore top social media tracking tools for WordPress users. To read the rest of this article, click on this link: Social Media Monitoring Resources For WordPress – 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