The days of talking “at” your audience online are well and truly over. Putting up a page on your website with static information about your business or products is not enough. To achieve success in today’s interconnected global and digital world, you need to build a social community around your company, brand, and products, based around actively “listening”.
Social media channels create a direct line of communication between your business and consumers and give anyone with an Internet connection immediate access to the latest buzz about your services or products.
Monitoring social media activity allows you to find insights into what people are saying about your services, brand, or company on social media, spy on your competition, measure the impact of campaigns, help you take preventative measures if you detect negative comments or feedback by online users, and identify new market opportunities. Additionally, social media monitoring can also provide you with valuable data about emerging trends and what clients and consumers think about specific brands, products, businesses, or topics.
As a tool for business intelligence, social media signal monitoring is invaluable. Using social media monitoring as a form of business intelligence, however, is a complex undertaking, typically carried out by various people including marketing teams, market researchers, digital reputation managers, agencies, professional sales reps, and social engagement and community personnel. Typically, many small businesses do not have the budget to pay a social media monitoring service to track their coverage in the media.
Fortunately many service providers have created tools and solutions to facilitate the active monitoring of a variety of social media channels, enabling you to identify and even predict consumer behavior around your brand or products so you can react to conversations and engage with online users in a timely fashion.
In the article below, we explore several social media tracking tools and technologies that are worth checking out and knowing about.
WordPress And Social Media Marketing
WordPress is not just a powerful, flexible and easy to use 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.
For an overview of why the WordPress platform is the vehicle that can help you achieve your business goals online, go here: Understanding WordPress – The Small Business Owner’s Guide
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 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.
Pitch Your Services And Products To A Wider Audience On Your Social Networks 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, Pinterest and many others.
For example, there are plugins that can add social sharing buttons, forums, add images from Instagram, Twitter cards, Facebook feeds, testimonials, surveys, polls … even optimize your article titles and descriptions for social networks.
The WordPress content management system (CMS) is not only great for social media as a content publishing and marketing tool, it can also be transformed into a full-featured social network, using plugins like BuddyPress, WPSymposium, and others.
(Set up your own social networking site with BuddyPress plugin for WordPress)
BuddyPress is a free WordPress plugin that 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 an active community of plugin developers who regularly contribute new open source plugins that greatly extend the platform.
(WPSymposium WordPress social network plugin)
WPSymposium provides a strong support community and assistance for users who require professional help. Social features of the plugin include:
- Activity Wall
- Private Mail
- Notification Bar
- 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 Multiple Channels
Many social media tools 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 manage most of your social marketing from WordPress, you can. WordPress not only lets you publish content on your own domain, it also has many plugins that encourage users to easily share your web content on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, 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 automatically distribute content on social media networks with WordPress.
Use social marketing tools and services to listen to what your market wants, identify trends and new 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, many tools are available that let you conduct surveys and polls of customers online and help you create customer-driven sales funnels. Many of these tools will integrate with WordPress.
Build Your Business Brand And Credibility And Showcase Your Talent
Building and strengthening your business brand and online 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 authentic and meaningful. Put the needs of your audience first, 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 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 very poorly and end up suffering heavy losses as soon as the online community gets hold of the news.
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, but it can also be extremely time-consuming.
An expertly configured WordPress-driven blog can help establish your your expertise online, share great information with your customers and clients, and drive new visitors to your business.
(Automatically syndicate content on various social media networks using an expertly configured WordPress-driven website.)
Spy On Your Competition
Being able to listen in to social media conversations can help you observe and and perhaps even be inspired by the success strategies of authorities and thought leaders in your niche.
Explore Joint Venture Opportunities, 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 to explore new opportunities and joint ventures can grow your revenue, get your business seen, and lead to potentially lucrative new ventures.
What About “Going Viral”?
Many businesses would love to see their content or marketing campaigns go viral. “Going viral,” however, is a difficult thing to achieve, as it relies on many factors that you cannot control. Throwing loads of dollars at a clever marketing campaign is no guarantee of viral success. Many ridiculous memes have become internet viral hits while big-budget brands and corporations have failed dismally.
In many cases, the best you can do is know your audience well, 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 Part 2 of this article could help your content go viral, or at least help you create relatively inexpensive marketing campaigns.
We have created an email training course that will show you how to create useful and compelling content for your readers. In this course we also explore 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 – Useful For All Businesses, Big And Small)
In general, social media monitoring can be divided into two main groups:
- Online Reputation Management
- Monitoring Online Trends
Managing Your Digital Reputation
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 high profile and even general individuals and brands to track what others are saying about them online – especially if what is being said 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. 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 public relations companies, reputation management is an issue that now 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 reducing the negative impact with 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 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 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 website or person directly, etc.
Companies around the world are 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 large corporations, celebrities, and security agencies. The ability to monitor the reputation of of an average individual is also important. For example, consider the following scenarios:
- A former spouse in the middle of an acrimonious 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 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, 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 things in a timely manner.
Are you effectively managing your digital reputation?
We’ve written an article about a simple yet effective WordPress plugin that lets you legally and ethically manage customer feedback. Go here for more details: Power Online Reviews – WordPress Plugin For Easy User Feedback Management
Online Trend Monitoring
Regardless of what niche or industry you operate in, there are always new things happening. New products, new services and new apps get released, 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, something outdated gets updated, something becomes the next viral phenomenon 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 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. Implementing a regular schedule of posting 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 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 information that other people will write about and mention in their content.
This is the end of Part 1
In part two we explore WordPress social media tracking and useful resources. To read more, click on this link: Top Media Monitoring Resources For Business Owners – Part 2
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