The days of talking “at” your audience online are well and truly over. To achieve success in today’s highly connected digital world, you need to build, nurture and engage with a community around your brand, company, and services, all based around “listening”.
Social media channels create a direct line of communication between your brand and your audience and give you immediate access to the latest information about your services or products.
Social media monitoring allows you to gain insights into what people are saying about your brand, products, or company on social media, take preventative measures if you detect negative comments or feedback by online users, spy on your competitors, measure the impact of campaigns, and identify new market opportunities. Additionally, monitoring social media can also provide you with valuable data about emerging trends and what consumers and clients are thinking about specific businesses, topics, brands, or products.
As a tool for business intelligence, the ability to monitor social activity on social media is invaluable. Using social media monitoring as a form of business intelligence, however, is a complex undertaking, typically carried out by various people including digital reputation management (ORM) companies, marketing professionals, market research, agencies, social engagement and community personnel, and professional sales reps. Typically, smaller businesses don’t can’t afford to pay a social media monitoring service to continually track their coverage in the media.
Fortunately many service providers have created a range of affordable and even free tools to facilitate the tracking of a variety of social media channels, allowing you to identify and even predict consumer behavior around your products or brand so you can respond proactively to conversations and interact with consumers in various social media platforms.
In this article, we explore several social media tracking tools and technologies that will help you manage, measure, and analyze your social media marketing campaigns.
Why Is WordPress An Ideal Platform For 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.
To learn more about using WordPress please click on links to visit other posts we have published on this site.
With a WordPress site and some of the tools listed in Part 2 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 is an ideal platform for marketing your business on social media.
Promote Your Products And Services To A Wider Audience On Your Social 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, 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 various social networks.
The WordPress CMS platform is not only great for social media as a content publishing tool, it can also be completely transformed into a full-featured social network site, using plugins like BuddyPress, WPSymposium, and others.
(Run your own social networking website 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 Messaging
- User Groups
- Friend 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 open source plugins that greatly extend the platform.
(WPSymposium Pro WordPress social networking plugin)
WP Symposium offers a strong support community and assistance for users who require professional help. Social features of the plugin include:
- Activity Wall
- Private Mail
- Notification Bar
- User Directory
- Online Forum
- Photo Galleries
- RSS Feeds
WPSymposium lets you work with the theme you have. You can add social features to your posts and pages using shortcodes.
Share 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 business presence online and manage all of your social marketing strategy from one central location with with ease.
If you want to drive 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 a number of great plugins that allow users to share your content on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. See the article we’ve written about social media sharing plugins for WordPress and our comprehensive article series on how to automate your content syndication across various social media networks with WordPress.
Social Media – Great For Researching Your Market
Using social media tracking tools and applications allows you to listen to what consumers want, identify new trends and opportunities and stay one step ahead of 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 your social accounts.
Also, many applications are available that let you run surveys online. Many applications can be integrated with WordPress.
Build And Strengthen Your Credibility And Brand
Building your business brand and reputation, showcasing your special talents, or establishing your authority online requires commitment and a robust social marketing strategy.
You are trying to engage with real people online, and so your interactions must be genuine and meaningful. 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 stories of brands that handle a customer situation very poorly and end up suffering heavy losses when their response or behavior gets exposed online.
Although social media can make it easier for others to see you as a credible authority in your niche, it can also take up a lot of your time.
An expertly configured WordPress-driven blog can help establish your authority online, share great information with your clients and customers, and drive more visitors to your business.
(An expertly configured WordPress-driven blog lets you automatically syndicate your web content on social channels.)
Study Niche Authorities
Being able to listen in to social media conversations allows you to observe and discover what the experts are doing right.
Explore Networking Opportunities And Joint Ventures, Find Affiliates, Recruit Talented Staff, etc.
It’s no secret that 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 to explore new opportunities can grow your revenue, get your brand seen, and lead to potentially lucrative new ventures.
“Go Viral” Online Faster
Most 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 cannot be controlled. Throwing loads of dollars at a clever campaign is no guarantee of viral success. Many ridiculous memes have achieved stratospheric viral success while big-budget and well-funded campaigns have failed dismally.
In many cases, the best you can do is study and research your audience, and provide content that users in your audience 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 the next section of this article can help your content go viral, or at least help you create relatively inexpensive marketing campaigns.
We provide an email training course that shows you how to create useful and compelling content for your readers. In this free course we also explore 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 Large Businesses)
Social media monitoring can generally be divided into two main groups:
- Online Reputation Management
- Tracking Online Trends
Managing Your Online Reputation
You have probably heard of 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 other people about it. Bad news travels fast. People or competing businesses could be posting negative material online about you or your brand and if this goes unchecked, this can seriously damage your reputation.
Originally an aspect of the work of public relations firms, reputation management is an issue that now affects many businesses 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 with positive material, or restoring consumer trust and confidence.
Before you can do anything, 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 and a negative comment or bad review comes up, you can then do something about it, e.g. post a response, contact the website or person directly, etc.
Businesses are currently ignoring opportunities to attract new customers and grow their business because they are not monitoring their online reputations effectively.
Monitoring what is being said online extends beyond large brands, celebrities, and security-related agencies. Being able to monitor the online reputation of of individuals is also important. Consider the following scenarios:
- A former spouse in the middle of a bitter divorce or child custody proceedings 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 help your case.
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 later, you can act proactively and deal with the situation in a timely manner.
Do you have an digital reputation management strategy in place?
We’ve written an article about a simple yet effective tool for WordPress users that can help to avoid the escalation of problem reviews about your business through effective customer review management. To learn more, visit this page: Power Online Reviews – Easy Client Feedback Management For WordPress
Predicting Online Trends
Regardless of what niche or industry you operate in, there are always new things happening. New products get released, new services get launched, events get scheduled and promoted, influential people say something controversial that gets mentioned in the news, companies release useful information, new presentations are published containing fantastic tips or ideas, something outdated gets updated, something becomes the next viral phenomenon on YouTube, 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 media broadcasters 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 business could even end up becoming a topical, or newsworthy source of information that other online users will write about and mention in their content.
This is the end of Part 1
In the next section we explore media measurement resources every WordPress user should become familiar with. To continue reading this article, click here: WordPress And Social Media : Useful Tools For Tracking Social Activities – Part Two
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