The days of talking “at” your audience online are well and truly over. To succeed in today’s highly connected global and digital world, requires actively “listening” to your audience’s needs and feedback, and building a social community around your services, brand, and company.
Social channels create a direct line of communication between your business and consumers and give you instant access to the latest news about your products or services.
Tracking social media activity allows you to gain insights into what people are saying about your services, brand, or company on social media, assess competitor activity and mind share, identify new market opportunities, measure the impact of campaigns, and be alerted to crises. Additionally, social media monitoring can also provide you with valuable information about emerging trends and what consumers and clients 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 a cross-section of groups that include PR staff, market research, marketing professionals, sales teams, social engagement and community staff, and social media marketing agencies. Typically, many small businesses don’t have the budget to pay media monitoring professionals to track their coverage in the and actively monitor their digital reputation.
Fortunately many technology companies have developed many tools to facilitate the monitoring of a variety of social media channels, allowing you to track what customers, competitors, critics, and supporters are saying about your products or brand so you can respond to conversations and engage with consumers in various social media platforms.
In the article below, we explore a number of social media measurement tools that will help you identify new trends and opportunities, track competitor activity, see what online conversations are taking place that affect your business,etc.
Why Is WordPress An Ideal Platform For Social Media?
WordPress is not just a powerful, scalable and very easy to use content publishing 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.
For an overview of why the WordPress platform is a vehicle that every business owner needs to know about, see this article: Using A WordPress Blog To Grow Your Small Business
Using some of the tools listed in this article and a WordPress site, you will be able to explore the full power social media marketing opportunities.
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why WordPress makes 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 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 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 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.
(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:
- Member Profiles
- Activity Streams
- Private Messaging
- Extensible User Groups
- Friend Connections
- Discussion Forums
- Many Add-On Features
BuddyPress is often referred to 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 contribute new open source plugins that greatly extend the platform.
(WP Symposium Pro WordPress social network plugin)
WPSymposium Pro offers a strong support community and assistance for users who need professional help. Social features of the plugin include:
- Activity Wall
- Private Messaging
- User Directory
- 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 tools that let you compose, schedule and broadcast your content over multiple social channels simultaneously and manage your social marketing campaigns from one central location, saving you considerable time and money.
If you want to manage your social marketing strategy from WordPress, you can. WordPress not only makes it easy to publish content on your own domain, it also offers many great plugins that allow your site visitors to easily share your content online 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 web content syndication across various social media networks using WordPress.
Conduct Market Research
Using social media tools allows you to listen to what your audience wants, identify new trends and business opportunities and stay 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 your social pages.
Also, many apps are available that let you run surveys online and help you create consumer-driven sales campaigns. Many applications and tools will integrate with WordPress.
Build And Strengthen Your Business Brand And Credibility
Strengthening your reputation and brand, showcasing your special talents, or establishing your authority online requires commitment and a 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 to gain 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 online is very important. Everyday we hear horror stories of brands that handle a situation or customer complaint very poorly and end up paying a heavy price as soon as the online community finds out about it.
Although social media can make it easier for others to see you as a credible authority in your niche, it can also be very demanding on your time.
An expertly configured WordPress site lets you build your expertise online, share great information with your clients and customers, and drive new visitors to your business.
(You can automatically syndicate your web content on social media channels using an expertly configured WordPress blog.)
Study Niche Authorities
Being able to monitor social media conversations can help you reverse engineer what the experts are doing.
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. Connecting with others through social media can increase your revenue, get your brand seen, and lead to potentially lucrative new ventures.
Could Your Content “Go Viral” Online?
Many businesses would love to have a viral hit. “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 advertising is no guarantee of viral success. Many ridiculous memes have become internet viral hits while large brands and corporations have failed.
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, 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 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 engaging content. In this course we also explore many 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 – Not Just For Global 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
- Monitoring Online Trends
Managing Your Online Reputation
You have probably heard of online reputation management. 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 is being said about them online – especially negative comments, reviews, etc.. No doubt you’ve heard it said before 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 things 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 PR firms, reputation management is now an issue that affects many businesses 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 defeating the negative impact with positive content, or restoring consumer trust and confidence.
Before you can begin to stop negative things being said about you from spreading further, 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 a negative comment or review comes up, you can then address the issue, e.g. post a response, contact the person directly, etc.
Companies everywhere are currently ignoring opportunities to attract new customers and retain existing ones because they ignore their digital reputations.
Monitoring what is being said online extends beyond large corporations, celebrities, movie stars, famous musicians, and security-conscious departments. Being able to monitor the reputation of of an average individual is also very important. 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 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” social media alert system, so that if any conversations, comments or reviews about you do come up online later, you can act proactively and deal with it in a timely manner.
Are you effectively managing your online reputation?
We’ve written an article about a simple plugin for WordPress users that lets you legally and ethically manage your customer feedback. For more details, go here: Power Online Reviews – User Reviews Management Plugin For WordPress
Online Trend Monitoring
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 announced online, influential people get mentioned in the news, companies publish useful research data, 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 (how many 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 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 may end up referring you to others on social media, and who knows … your website or business could even end up becoming a topical, or newsworthy source of content that other online users will write about and post in their content.
This is the end of Part One
In the next section we explore WordPress and social media and useful tools for tracking social performance. To continue reading this article, click here: Social Media Measurement Resources For Business Owners – Part 2
"Wow! I never knew there's so much to learn about WordPress! I bought one of the WordPress for Dummies three years ago, such authors need to be on this course!" - Rich Law, Create A Blog Now