Archive for August, 2014

8 Tips for Creating a “Social Business” (Part 2)

Posted on August 25, 2014. Filed under: Business, Marketing, Small Business, Social Media | Tags: , , , |

Social Business Image

Image Source: copyright Hootsuite

As mentioned in 8 Tips for Creating a “Social Business” (Part 1), having a “Social Business” is different than just being on a “Social Network”.  In order to be “social” on a social network, you must have a “social business”.

In this blog post, I will share tips 5-8 for creating a social business.  The inspiration and original content for this post is provided by Evan LePage. Originally posted on HootSource.

Tip 5-  Collaborate

Be sure to encourage your team members to distribute new learning both within the team and your organization as a whole. Keep an ongoing loop of discovery and dissemination where best practices, positive messaging or common questions are put forward for comment or collaboration. Social platforms like Yammer and Hootsuite Conversations are exceptional tools for supporting secure internal conversation and exchange of ideas.

Ultimately better internal collaboration supports improved external engagement, keeping messaging consistent, intelligent and brand-appropriate.

Tip 6-  Secure

Fear over losing control is an understandable barrier to implementing social media across an organization. It is important to note that mistakes are preventable. In many popular cases the missteps were handled well and the damage to each organization was more along the lines of temporary embarrassment than anything permanent, but why not stop them before they occur?

Hootsuite developed Secure Profiles specifically in response to instances like these to put a solid measure of prevention in place. This provides an extra prompt when publishing to important branded accounts, preventing errant posts intended for personal accounts.

Limited Permissions is another unique security feature. Hootsuite offers multiple levels of account access and places limits on which team members can participate in outbound social conversation directly. The Limited Permissions puts control over publishing firmly in the hands of those who are most trusted. Your social tools should too.

Tip 7-  Measure ROI

Tie social to the big picture by linking it to organizational and departmental goals. Users can start with tracking the Like, @mention, Retweet or Follow, but tap in to the power to go much further and deeper. Build the capacity for measurement into every social action. Use URL shorteners, like Hootsuite’s ow.ly links, to track your click-throughs. Integrate Google Analytics and Facebook Insights to track on-site conversions or drill in to geographic disparities in data.

One of the more powerful, recent integrations at Hootsuite is the partnership with Adobe SiteCatalyst. For the first time ever, you’re able to track the path from social message to conversion and attach a dollar value to individual social messages against Key Performance Indicators. You’re able to see which social platform performs best against certain kinds of messaging, analyze which of your Social Advocates is driving more revenue per message and understand what times of day work best for which kinds of communication.

Reporting is important. With Hootsuite you can use data gained from Adobe SiteCatalyst, Webtrends, Facebook Insights, Google Analytics, Google+ Pages Analytics, Twitter Profile Stats, Hootsuite’s custom ow.ly Click Stats to generate easy, drag and drop social analytics reports shared easily by email. More importantly, you can analyze that data to optimize future programs and messaging.

Tip 8-  Amplify

When you have a piece of content that is a “hit,” double down. One of the benefits of good measurement and understanding of your data is the ability to hone your messaging and understand what did and didn’t work from a content perspective. Organic social is testing your content for you. Paid social allows you to commit dollars with data-backed belief in your programs and messaging. Invest in promoted tweets, accounts or trends across social platforms or accounts that have already demonstrated the highest yield.

With paid social companies can drill down to microtarget users – either their own followers or people “like” their followers – based on literally hundreds of different interests, by country and city, gender and even device. Companies only pay when users “engage” with the Promoted Tweet in some way, i.e. by clicking on a link or retweeting it. Native ads are also very agile. Members of an organization can log in at any time, create a message and instantly push it to a global audience as a Promoted Tweet. An eBay-style bidding system means prime ad spots always go for the lowest price, minimizing ad spend. The time-consuming (not to mention pricey) requirements of traditional ad campaigns – design teams, creative agencies and media buyers – can’t make the same claim.

Summary:

Social is here to stay and to maintain a competitive advantage, businesses need to stay abreast of this ever-evolving space. Hootsuite Pro helps teams engage with audiences and analyze campaigns across multiple social networks like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn from one secure web-based dashboard.

Sign up for a 30-day FREE trial

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8 Tips for Creating a “Social Business” (Part 1)

Posted on August 18, 2014. Filed under: Business, Marketing, Social Media | Tags: , , , , , |

Social Media Image

Image Source: copyright Hootsuite

Having a “Social Business” is different than just being on a “Social Network”.  In order to be social on a social network, you must have a “social business”.  In this blog post, I will share tips 1-4 for creating a social business.  The inspiration and original content for this post is provided by Evan LePage. Originally posted on HootSource.

Tip 1-  Evaluate Your Social Goals

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What social networks does your company currently reside?  
  • What social networks do you plan to reside in the future?
  • What social goals does your company have?

Avoid considering social in a vacuum. Take the time to understand where it best fits your organization and how to integrate it into your company goals. You’re not reinventing wheels for social, just using it to make the ones you have turn faster.

Other questions to consider are:

  • How are you going to measure and quantify the success of social programs?

Look beyond vanity metrics such as Likes and Follows and try, for example, to find a direct link between conversation and conversion. Focus on influence and analytics over inflating a group size or follower base.

  • What can you reasonably afford to dedicate to social in terms of time and tools?

The allocation of human resources is far and away the most significant cost tied to social, so you have to think about:

  • What will your team(s) look like?

Identify leadership within your organization or begin the hunt to find it from the outside. With your team(s) in place, educate and cross-train team members so that they can be rotated across different areas of specialization. Empower your people.

Look for a reliable and scalable social tool that centralizes control over your social platforms and puts the power to listen, engage, collaborate and analyze in the hands of your team.  Make decisions about which platforms you will be active on or where you may need to consolidate existing accounts. Look deeper than the usual social suspects like Facebook and Twitter to other platforms like Quora or Get Satisfaction where you may have existing communities of powerful unpaid social advocates already at work on your behalf.

Tip 2- Organize Control Over Social Assets

While you want to centralize control over your social platforms with a social tool like a dashboard, you want to de-centralize the conversations you have over them. To do that, you need to empower your team to engage your customers in conversation directly.

Your social tools should also be able to grow along with you, by being flexible to facilitate even further decentralization, expansion, and conversation.

Tip 3- Listen & Learn

There’s no question. People are talking about your organization or your industry. Don’t let your organization get left behind. Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos once described your brand as, “what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” Today, not only do you have an opportunity to be in the room but to take an active role in the conversation itself.

Good search practices start with monitoring for mentions – the good, the bad and the ugly – of your organization, but can also focus on topics related to your business where you may wish to become an influencer. With social, it is also possible to monitor certain users or organizations closely without them knowing you’re listening.

Gather your feedback. There are some interesting disconnects between consumers’ and businesses’ perceptions on why people engage with organizations via social media:

  • 73% of businesses feel consumers want to learn about new products while only 51% of consumers give that as a reason.
  • 61% of businesses think consumers want to be part of a community while only 22% of consumers support that thought.
  • 61% and 55% of consumers want discounts and to purchase something respectively.

Better monitoring, listening and analysis of conversation and feedback could lead to programs to close these gaps and build more empathetic, customer-centric relationships.

Tip 4- Engage to Build a Community

While each brand will have it’s own communication style, there is a right way and a wrong. The most important thing you can do is to acknowledge the voice of the customer, really hear and respect what they are saying. If what you’re hearing is a complaint, let them know a resolution is being sought, then follow through on that resolution to the best of your organization’s ability. Once again, don’t consider social in a vacuum. Integrate your response with existing channels and let the most appropriate channel lead the way to resolution.

Listen and pick your moments. If sales are a priority, nurture potential leads with relevant and helpful content. Make sales through engagement. The age- old sales maxim, “Make a friend first, a sale second” still applies to social, only even more so due to social’s ability to amplify positive, or negative, experiences.

Give advice. Hilton Hotels takes an entirely non-sales oriented approach with @HiltonSuggests by taking an engagement for engagement’s sake position. Hilton monitors online conversation for travelers looking for recommendations all over the world. Acting as a quasi global concierge, @HiltonSuggests steps in to offer accommodation advice to travelers whether a Hilton is a viable option or not.

Perks don’t hurt. 61% of consumers use social to look for discounts. Social is obviously a great way to highlight promotions and deals, but make them appropriate and relevant to your brand. For example, why would a bakery give away an iPad? Promotions of this kind are common and can build vanity metrics such as Likes or Follows, but those need to be balanced with engagement. How engaged are iPad fans with bakeries? Fans of customized cakes are much more likely to be highly engaged and even influential to a fledgling bakery. Fewer more influential followers trump hordes of deal hunters every time. With Hootsuite’s custom URL parameters, our bakery could even track conversions arising directly from their posts to Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn and put that iPad to use around the office.

Original content provided by Matt Foulger. Originally posted on HootSource.

Summary:

Social is here to stay and to maintain a competitive advantage, businesses need to stay abreast of this ever-evolving space. Hootsuite Pro helps teams engage with audiences and analyze campaigns across multiple social networks like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn from one secure web-based dashboard.

Sign up for a 30-day FREE trial

 

 

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5 Must-Haves for Social Media Management

Posted on August 11, 2014. Filed under: Business, Marketing, Social Media | Tags: , , , , , |

5 Must-Haves for Social Media Management

Image Source: copyright Hootsuite

Social media has grown from a curiosity to an integral piece of a company’s strategy in the space of only a few years. Nearly overnight, companies have brought on whole teams of specialists to craft effective social media strategies and manage multiplying numbers of social media accounts. Companies are hungry for better social media tools to engage their followers.  Below is a list of five features key to delivering on a social media strategy.

1) Scheduling

Social media doesn’t sleep, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to! Ensure your social media management tool of choice allows you to schedule messages in advance. So even if you’re in New York, you can schedule messages out to your customers in Tokyo during their workday.

If you want to take scheduling to the next level, look for a tool that offers the ability to schedule large batches of messages at once. This will be a super useful time-saver when it comes to managing campaigns or contests that require heavy messaging around a certain period of time.

2) Geo

When it comes to interacting with your customers, those in different locations may have different needs, speak different languages or follow different trends. You’re going to want a tool that optimizes your searches and filters your searches by language to help you curate relevant content for different demographics.

3) Keywords

Social media is also an effective way for businesses to keep their finger on the pulse. Setting up keywords or search streams provide insight into what is trendy among your customers. This can help you develop a marketing strategy that focuses on customer’s lifestyles and personal preferences.

Keywords are useful for keeping track of competitors’ activities but they’re also useful for tracking brands that are complementary to your offering. If your product is often purchased in conjunction with another product, keep an eye on the complementary product’s social media activity to take advantage of promotions or recent sales, as these are potential leads ready to be converted.

4) Collaboration

It takes two to tango especially when it comes to being social. Collaboration is key when it comes to developing and executing an effective social media campaign. Ensure your social media management tool enables you to seamlessly collaborate with your team to ensure you execute an integrated social media management strategy.

5) Reporting

Gone are the days of social media purely being about ‘building buzz.’ It is now a line item in budgets as companies invest resources in these channels and there is an expectation for reports which show ROI for social media outreach.

Make sure your tool has the ability to analyze important metrics such as click-through rates on shortened links, clicks by region and top referrers. It’s also important to have access to Facebook Insights and Google Analytics.

The most effective tools will provide the ability to access in-depth granular metrics on the efficacy of your social media programs. This will allow you to determine which messages resulted in the highest number of conversions, which platform is providing the greatest return and which time of day is most effective to drive traffic.

What it takes to go Pro?

Social is here to stay and to maintain a competitive advantage, businesses need to stay abreast of this ever-evolving space. Hootsuite Pro helps teams engage with audiences and analyze campaigns across multiple social networks like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn from one secure web-based dashboard.

Sign up for a 30-day FREE trial

Written by Matt Foulger. Originally posted on HootSource.

 

 

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