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Intro to Social Media Monitoring
Have you ever been at a party and caught a person or a group glancing at you while whispering covertly?
What’s up with that? Is your fly open? Does someone have a crush on you? Does someone want to throw a drink in your face?
You’d want to know, wouldn’t you?
The online universe is a lot like that party; It’s a system of digital communities in which people are gathering and discussing a wide variety of topics, including YOU. In your personal life, you may or may not care to find out what they’re saying, but in business, it’s essential to your survival that you know.
At the party, you may never get the answers you seek without shaking someone down. However, online, you can use social media monitoring to track mentions of your brand, competitors, product and any other keywords that are applicable to your business.
Monitoring your social media channels is about more than just listening.
The information you accumulate can help you make major decisions about your marketing strategy, the products and services you offer and how people regard your brand. Plus, it can help you identify leads, build relationships, stay on top of trends, learn about your competitors, protect your brand and more!
Note: This post is outlining organic social media monitoring tips, as opposed to paid social campaigns. Organic social media is more geared toward building brand awareness and connecting with your target audience. Paid social is typically centered around driving targeted actions like content downloads, webinar or appointment signups, and other specific goals.
Here’s more on why it’s so important that you monitor what people are saying about your business online.
Why Should You Use Social Media Monitoring?
1. To gauge social sentiment
What do you know about your brand’s reputation? You can get a feel by reading your reviews and speaking with customers, but you’d be missing a wealth of more informal brand or product mentions.
Plus, you need to be there to respond! In a recent survey, Sprout Social found that 89% of social messages go ignored. That’s a problem—and an even bigger missed opportunity.
People use social media to discuss the topics they care about within the communities they choose. That’s where you need to listen to truly discover how people regard your business, the issues they’re having, and the things they love.
2. To find leads & build relationships
Are people searching for your products and services? You’ve seen those calls on Facebook for recommendations, or the plaintive cries for help on Twitter: “I want pizza!” When you monitor your brand’s keywords or phrases, you can jump in and answer these requests (Just mention your current Monday 2 for 1 pizza deal!). NOT selling anything can be really effective too. Be a part of the conversations that are happening online about your industry.
3. To stay on top of trends
When you’re closely monitoring discussions in your niche, you may be able to catch new and evolving trends as they emerge. For example, when Instagram launched its “Stories” product, Snapchat growth took a major hit (growth slowed by 82%). In response to news like this, you may decide to alter your marketing strategy to be one of the first to dive into a new social channel or try a new tactic.
Image source: Techcrunch
Why is this important? In an over-saturated market, doing the same thing as everyone else can get you lost in the crowd. Finding ways to stand out will help you get noticed and stay relevant in your industry.
4. To perform competitor research
Has your competition launched a product similar to what you offer, but at a lower price or with a few more bells and whistles? Did they just launch a marketing strategy that your customers are loving? Did they just screw up royally using a tactic you’ve been considering? Keeping your finger on the social pulse will alert you about these types of scenarios and unforeseen issues that may have huge repercussions for your business.
5. To protect your brand
Building your brand’s reputation takes a lot of time and effort, but it can all be lost in seconds.Monitoring your social channels allows you to identify any issues customers have and jump on solutions before they blow up.
Stuff happens. It’s inevitable.
It’s how you respond and how quickly you respond that matters. In fact, we’ve found that if a business resolves its issue quickly and efficiently, 95% of unhappy customers return to you.
Listening, identifying the issue and showing your customers you care and are taking steps to resolve the issue is what can turn them from a brand killer into a champion for your business.
What to Do With Your Social Media Monitoring Insights
So once you’re set up with the tools you need for monitoring, tracking, measuring and analysis, what do you do with the information? This is the key moment where you determine how to act on the knowledge you’ve received.
Shift Social Strategy
Is your strategy working? Are you truly getting traction on your primary social channels? You may discover that it’s time to re-evaluate the resources and effort you put into certain channels.
For example, maybe you discover that your people are super engaged in Quora. Devoting more time and resources there would be worth pursuing, even if it’s at the expense of another social channel.
Results from monitoring your competitors on social media could also yield some interesting insights as well. You may find that a new video tactic has people in your area or industry buzzing about a close competitor. Why let them go unchallenged?
Work on Developing Relationships With Leads & Influencers
If you can jump into conversations and authentically solve problems for people, do it! This tactic can be especially relevant when it comes to people’s frustrations with your competitor’s products or services. When you do this, it’s essential that you come from a really genuine place and offer tips or advice geared around helping people. People don’t want to be spammed, and sensitive topics like plastic surgery should be off-limits.
However, in many industries you should feel free to have real conversations with people around the topics they care about (which also happen to be topics YOU care about as a business owner!).
Spotting and reaching out to influencers in your industry as outlined in this post (Salesforce) can have an amazing amplification effect for your brand as well. People look to influencers to help them make purchasing decisions all the time, and if you can develop strong relationships with key influencers you can expect better results fo
mage Source: Salesforce
Develop New Products/Services
Listening to the needs of your target audience is a smart way to refine your solutions and develop new ones. If enough people are saying they hate a product, or wish they could tweak it, it’s probably worth looking into what the issue is and try to determine what could make that product better.
For example, Natalia Chrzanowska of (Brand24) notes that GoPro did exactly that when they introduced their new camera – GoPro Hero4.
“We analyzed the social media discussions regarding both releases – Hero3+ and Hero4. The insights gathered during the Hero3+ premiere included lots of suggestions for features that could improve customer experience, which then appeared later on in the succeeding model – GoPro Hero4.”
On the flip side, if your customers LOVE one of your products, there may be an opportunity to develop similar or complimentary products or services.
You can then turn around and apply all this awesome feedback as testimonials for new campaigns. Think ad campaigns, email campaigns, social campaigns and beyond!
Update Customer Service Policy/Process
Social media has led to a major shift in how customer service is carried out by many companies. People want instant answers, and are less likely to put up with call centers. Many won’t even pick up the phone when they have a problem; They’ll just tweet about it! According to a new report from Conversocial, 54% of customers prefer customer service via social media and SMS. The upcoming generation of millennials will only amplify this trend.
People are sticking to their favourite social media platforms to air out their complaints, and you need to know if this is happening in your industry (and be ready for it).
In Jay Baer’s book Hug Your Haters, author and consultant Dave Kerpen notes that:
“If a customer calls you on the phone to complain, surely you wouldn’t hang up on them. And not responding in social media is akin to hanging up on them, only worse, because there are actually other people watching and listening.”
Letting complains hang out there unanswered is not acceptable to current and potential customers, and it shouldn’t be to you!
4 Easy Wins
I’ve thrown a lot of information you’re way. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and put off testing these strategies for yourself. To help you get started, here are a few easy action items for you to try out.
Most businesses are aware that they should monitor social media for mentions related to their brand, products, services, competitors and industry. You might actually be doing so already. But do you have a plan in place to analyse, respond and integrate results into your business’s ongoing strategy?
If you don’t, you might be missing some golden opportunities…or you could get a martini in your face!
We take the pain, time and expense out of digital marketing, while organically improving your SEO.
What makes for good social posting, anyway? In order to craft the perfect social post, we need to take a look at why people follow businesses in the first place.
The 3 Golden Rules of Local Social Media Marketing
Creating content for social media is essential—you need to be present where your customers are, and they’re on social. While it is free to partake, creating an effective social media strategy and sticking to it takes diligence and determination.
Since the early 2000s, social media platforms have revolutionized the way people connect with one another. Today, there are 2.3 billion active users of social media worldwide. Business owners who take advantage of the ocean-sized lead pool created by social media channels will undoubtedly reel in a boatload of benefits.
Currently, the number of brands present on two or more social media platforms has surpassed 90%, and in 2016, Facebook reported reaching 50 million small business users. Despite this level of online presence, business owners consistently report that social media is the second most difficult marketing tactic to execute effectively (immediately behind Search Engine Optimisation, AKA SEO). Business owners believe that learning how to properly utilise social media platforms is time consuming, and that their time would be better spent on other marketing tactics.
Don’t take the bait—social media IS important!
Remember the boatload of benefits discussed earlier? We didn’t mean this:
Making the effort to rock your customers’ worlds through the effective use of social media will pay off for your business, here’s how!
Social media increases your brand’s visibility
Just as there are plenty of fish in the social media sea, there are also a TON of boats looking to land a big catch. Ensuring your business and brand are present and active on multiple social channels will create the opportunity for consumers from different demographics to find and follow you. Also, half of consumers follow brands to indicate their loyalty, so a business’s current customer base will also increase brand awareness and visibility. The more followers a business has, the more likely it is to be seen. Additionally, if a business owner treats these followers as a sentient community rather than a stagnant lead pool, it will help improve customer service and brand image.
Social media improves your customer service
A business’s presence on social media creates the opportunity for dialogue with consumers, and 60% of followers expect a brand to interact with their followers directly through social media. With more than half of marketers utilising social media as two-way street for communication, it is important for business owners to give their audience what it wants. By providing engaging content, exclusive social offers and genuine responses to feedback like reviews or questions, you will be able to build brand loyalty and lasting customer relationships with your social community. Did we mention that all of this comes with a minimal price tag?
Social media is easy on your budget
Old school marketing tactics like snail mail ads or flyers can be expensive, and it will undoubtedly take time to measure their ROI. Joining and posting to social media is free of charge—there’s no limit to how many posts you can publish, and your efforts are seen by followers immediately. Paid advertising on social media is also an option, and this tactic will allow you to target specific audiences you want to reach. The best part is that your budget for paid social advertising can be as large or as small as you see fit, it’s all designed to meet your business’s unique marketing needs. Investing in social media with time or money can help with more than just a business’s social accounts, too.
Social media can boost search engine ranking
Effective social media use will allow your business to harness the power of another internet beast.
You may recall from earlier that business owners find SEO to be the most daunting digital marketing tactic to take on. By fostering a social media following, providing content that will likely be shared, and interacting with its consumers online, businesses are able to climb the ranks in search engines. The better your ranking, the more likely you are to be found, and thus the social media cycle begins all over again!
Keep the fish biting
With so many benefits tied to using social media, you’re probably wondering how to move your business forward using such a powerful tool. Posting in social channels can be intimidating, and oftentimes you might be left wondering if you have anything worth posting at all.
Teach a marketer to fish…
It’s important to create social media content that provides value to your customers without hocking spam day in and day out. To succeed on social media you need to know your consumers and keep them entertained. Don’t have time to test the waters?
We’ve compiled five easy tips that businesses can use to climb search rankings with speed. We aren’t saying that you’ll appear at the top of the search results in a couple days, but we do guarantee that using these tips will help a business climb search rankings on all major search engines over time. Persistence and patience are key factors in search engine optimisation, and while it won’t happen overnight, keeping these best practices top of mind will help your content rank.
Tip 1: keyword planning
It all starts with keyword planning
Businesses with great content on their websites tend to appear at the top of the search results, and great content has a focus on keywords. Before a webpage is created, your business must first determine what word or words you want to rank for. Keyword planning is not simple, especially for businesses that don’t understand how to plan. Your business cannot simply pick a word, type it a bunch of times and cross your fingers to appear at the top of Google search rankings. Search engines are not fooled by this. Keyword density is important, but it’s not the only thing that the search algorithms consider when ranking pages in search results, especially with new progress with Google’s RankBrain. There are many factors that affect local search, and it’s important to dominate the ones you have control of to move into the coveted Snack Pack.
Make target keywords niche, targeted and relevant
When keyword planning, be sure to use niche words, and target keywords that are relevant enough to get your business appearing in front of the right people online. If your local company wants to appear to the right local audience, you must be sure to be specific to your community. A local windshield repair company is going to have a hard time appearing for the keyword “windshield.” It’s not impossible, but it’s difficult for local companies to appear in the top few results for broad focused keywords. There is a much better chance to appear at the top of the search results if the keywords are narrowed down.
Keyword planning example
For example, a windshield company in Buffalo, New York wants to appear in front of local customers who may have a crack or chip in their window. They’d be much more successful aiming to rank for “rock chip repair in Buffalo” rather than the word “windshield.”
Tip 2: strengthen meta descriptions
Meta descriptions should contain your keywords
A meta description is a small description of what your webpage contains, it’s basically a summary of your business’s webpage in ~160 characters. These too must have a focus on keywords, and for smaller businesses such as local windshield repair companies, it’s important to have the right keywords in the meta description.
Meta description example
To keep this example consistent, “rock chip repair in Buffalo” was set as the Google search terms to see which businesses appear in the search results. It’s always a good idea to look at the business that appears first, see how they are doing it, and try to better their meta description.
In this case, this local windshield repair company that clearly knows what they are doing! As you look above, you can see that the meta description contains most of the words that we searched for. This is a fantastic way to target the specific search query of “rock chip repair in Buffalo” and to get frantic drivers with broken windshields through a business’s front door.
Help guide customers from page to page
Proper meta descriptions not only help in search result rankings, but they also give your prospective customers a summary of exactly what they may be looking for. Customers want it easy, they don’t want to spend a long time browsing for repair shops—they want to find answers easily and the solutions fast.
Tip 3: be unique
Search engine bots search for unique content
It’s tough for your business to be unique from the fifty other local companies that compete in your company’s industry. However, the content on your business’s website should aim to be unique and somewhat different from the rest in order to stand out in the search rankings. The reason being that Google and other search engines search for original content when their bots are crawling sites. This means every site in a specific industry that has similar webpage copy will likely blend in, and the bots won’t declare those pages as original or unique. Don’t expect a local business page to appear high on the search rankings if it sounds exactly like every other local business page!
Tip 4: stay active everywhere online
The more online activity, the better
You business has to stay active online if you want to climb search rankings, make a name for yourself on places other than your company website. Your business can improve your local search by using data aggregators, or you can manually create listings on tons of directory sites.
Online mentions increase search engine influence
One thing many smaller businesses fail to understand is that business pages on reputable websites are so important! Social platforms like Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn are an easy way for your business to index your name across various sources on the web. Likewise, review sites are hugely important! The more your business is mentioned online, the greater the influence you will have on search rankings.
Tip 5: blog
Blogs help keep web content fresh
Blogs are not only fun to write, but also a way to continuously produce new website content. Google’s algorithm specifically calls for continuous web content and publishing if your business wants to appear high on the search rankings. Google is pushing web developers and content writers to keep websites from getting irrelevant or outdated, making content marketing a healthy company strategy.
Blog with a strategy in mind
Your business should establish a blog plan, no matter the industry. If that same windshield repair company in Buffalo New York wanted to blog, maybe they’d write about the “Top 10 windshield crack horror stories” or “How a rock chip ruined this man’s day.” These types of articles are relevant to their industry, and are loaded with keywords about their business. Tools such as WordPress, Medium and Ghost are all super useful in order to easily get started with blog publishing.
A blog presents a huge opportunity
It could be a funny blog, or serious industry stories, as long as the content that is being produced has a focus on their respective business industry. That’s just one example, but there are tons of opportunities for businesses in any specific industry. Don’t believe us that blogging is important? Here’s 58 reasons why businesses should run a blog.
Conclusion: content is key
Whether it’s keyword planning for the content you write, writing great meta descriptions, writing original content or blogging, it all involves the production of content. That’s because content is key. Implement these strategies and monitor your rankings. There are a variety of SEO tools, both free and paid that your business can use to do so. While your rankings won’t shoot up overnight, your business has a huge opportunity to improve your search engine rankings and outrank your competitors to get more business through your doors.
Gone are the days of a “form over function” internet. Where once the simple novelty of seeing a business online, in any fashion, was often enough. Now, today’s more savvy audiences simply want to get where they are going. So with the priorities of today’s business websites being speed and ease of use, here are 3 tips that can make sure you are providing your customers the information they require in the best way possible to help you make conversions either on your site or in person.
1. Where is the business?
Contact information is the most important information you can have on the internet. Seems simple enough, yet many well-intentioned websites make this information difficult to find. Studies show that people will tend to look at the top left corner of your website first, like they’re reading a book. This is where the most important information should be, your contact info—don’t make customers scour the page looking for a way to find your business.
There is lots of data you can include in the contact information section. The trick is finding the balance of information overload vs. unnecessary vagueness. There are three things you need to specifically include:
Hours of operation
People seeking this information are likely close to buying, so having your hours of operation listed accurately and in a fashion that’s easy to read is a huge priority. Here are two examples, one bad and one good, to showcase how your hours should be listed online
Don’t do it like this
We are open Mondays – 8:00 am-5:00 pm, Tuesdays – 8:00 am-5:00 pm, Wednesdays – 8:00 am-7:00 pm, Thursdays – 8:00 am-5:00 pm, Fridays – 8:00 am-7:00 pm, Saturdays 12:00 pm-5:00 pm and the service shop is also open until 7:00 pm.
Looks hard to read, right? It doesn’t look nice, it’s hard to look at specific days, and you don’t know if the service shop is just open on Saturdays, or if it’s always open until 7:00 pm every evening.
A better example
Mon 8 – 5
Tues 8 – 5
Wed 8 – 7
Thurs 8 – 5
Fri 8 – 7
Sat 12 – 5
Mon-Sat: 12 – 7
Looks a lot nicer, right? It’s a lot easier to read and find the information you need. The most important part is to make sure the hours are accurate. Even if it takes an extra line to better explain a confusing set of hours, customers greatly appreciate knowing when they can expect your business to be open.
Unless you’re an online retailer, your address is an essential part of your contact listing. But just like hours of operation there is are a variety of ways to share your location. Here is how we recommend it. Provide enough information so that Google maps can locate the business. For people in major cities, often times just your street address is sufficient. But if your business is a little tricky to find consider linking to a map application, or have the map right on the website. If you’re going that direction, make sure to use an accredited map engine like Google Maps, instead of a hand-drawn creation. People tend to be a lot more familiar with popular map formats and might get confused/scared at the sight of your beautiful artwork.
This is the number where customers can most easily reach you. Businesses with multiple departments equipped with individual phone lines, might want to stick those on a “Contact Us” page. There’s no sense in cluttering your home page with 30 different phone numbers. Businesses should have one phone number on the homepage display to be a catch-all for any inquiries. Don’t forget an area code for those out-of-town customers. Make it easy for on-the-go customers to hit a button and have their mobile device ring the business instantly.
2. Who is the business?
You likely have a lot to say about your business so the real challenge here is the distillation of your story. Here, think of the company from the customer’s’ perspective; what makes you unique? Why are you better than their competitors? What do you do for customers? These question will likely shed light on the most important information to share, at least at the top of the page.
Once you’ve got your top level information cased, consider designing a way for interested customers to learn even more about the business. There you can dive deeper into your history, philosophy, and share any achievements or media coverage your business has had in its past.
3. What does the business do?
This is where functionality needs to be the highest priority. Customers are looking for confirmation that your business is what they are looking for in the moment they are searching. You can’t afford to have this information be anything but concise, easy to find, and extremely helpful. It’s challenging to know the exact right strategy for your business but a tactic we recommend is taking a look at your closest competitors for insight.
Look at those website and assume the perspective of their customer. If you like something about the way their website works, make a note. If you find something super inconvenient or confusing, again, make a note. Have these notes inform your approach.
A lot of people think a website should be an online version of your business. In reality, this is virtually impossible. A website is more like a messenger for your business. It’s a tool for relaying information about the business to potential customers. If your messenger is long-winded, confusing and tries to use flashy bright colours to grab attention, the customer is not going to be engaged. If your messenger relays all the information in a simple, concise and memorable way, customers will be much more likely to engage. It is quite likely a website is the first impression the customer might have of your business—remember, you only get once chance to make a first impression!
Websites are important for every business. In today’s digital age, having accessible online information is crucial for success. Just having a website isn’t enough, though. What matters is what’s on your website.
Website content needs to be geared toward making the consumer want to interact and engage with it. So, let’s take a look at what not to do when creating an appealing website, and I’ll show you what you should do instead along the way.
You’ve read this far for one of three reasons:
Are your eyes bleeding yet? I wouldn’t blame you.
We know your website can’t possibly look this bad, and we also know that this website is TRYING to look bad. Now, what are the chances you scrolled down to see what was listed on this site? If they gave out a million dollars at the bottom for clicking a link, chances are that you wouldn’t have walked away with a penny.
Why is this? Consumers don’t want to engage with unattractive content. Think of your own website content for a moment. If somebody looked at it and felt the same way you just felt, do you think they would stay and interact with it? Probably not.
Start by thinking of all the things you’ve hated on websites you’ve visited in the past. Chances are, one or more of these was on your list. If they weren’t, they will be now.
1. Ugly domain
Do you find it easier to go back to a website with a simple domain like website.com (an example), or do you prefer to type in randomwebsite123.org/data0=184/net%/ (another example)? You may be saying, “But hey, I just Google the name and click on the link!” Sure that might work for you usually, but would you be happy having to find your favorite and most visited websites by Googling them every single day? You’re better off having a website that people can remember if they choose to. A consumer’s first impression of a website is largely design-related, so don’t you think some of the people in that category want to see a neat and tidy domain? Of course they do!
2. Long loading times
I considered leaving a bunch of blank space here so you would have to scroll down and waste your time to prove my point, but I decided to make you read this sentence instead.
Consumers hate waiting. This is the digital age of instant information. It takes consumers only a split second to form an opinion about your website. That tiny amount of time shouldn’t be spent on a blank loading screen! Even worse than that, if there is a long loading time every time a consumer tries to interact with your website or navigate the different pages, they are going to get increasingly annoyed.
Here is the worst case scenario: You have a consumer who is ready to buy from your online shop, they start gathering up products into their cart, then they get fed up with waiting and instead buy from your competitor. Want to avoid the tragedy? Keep it fast!
3. Complicated or overwhelming interface
Does your website have too many buttons on it? Are people being bombarded with information? People are being trained to ignore huge amounts of website content due to websites crawling with ads. Keep it simple and focus on important topics or focal points that they can engage with. With plenty of consumers abandoning a site due to poor design, you can’t afford to hide your crucial information in text-garbage. Don’t lose consumers because they can’t find where you hid the crucial information on your jumbled page.
4. Automatic music or videos
Many people listen to music while they work or surf in their free time. If you’ve ever noticed a little speaker icon on the right side of your internet tabs, it means that sound is coming from that page. Many people’s first instinct is to kill that tab because it’s forcing disruptive sound onto their experience, and autoplaying audio or visual content can cause valuable consumers to leave your site.
If you have videos on your main page, great! Just make sure you let people click the play button on their own. At the very least, it will give consumers a chance to silence their other music and video sources before they listen.
5. Website doesn’t scale
Do you always look at a website on your computer, or do you sometimes use your phone or tablet? Don’t you hate it when you’re interacting with website content on your phone and you have to scroll all the way to the right to read the full line and then scroll all the way back for the next line? It’s terrible! Make sure your website bends and twists to fit every screen—this is called responsive web design, and it’s very important. If people don’t realize your website actually operates differently on their smaller screen, you’ve done something right.
Your website content is one of your most important marketing tools. Whether or not people engage can mean the difference between one dollar and one million dollars in revenue. It’s worth it to take the time to make your website beautiful.