Social Media Done Right: Tools and Tips For Business Success

social media dashboard tools, software and marketing tips for businessA decade or so ago, we used traditional media (newspapers, radio, television, and – later – corporate websites) and traditional vehicles (telephone and email, for example) to create, gather, and share information about the world around us — ourselves, organizations, businesses, products, services, events, and news). Today, more often then not, we use Social Media.

What is Social Media?

Social Media is a group of web-based and mobile Internet applications (or sites) like Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, and blogs, that allow for the exchange of user-generated content. It’s interactive, dynamic, and allows for the instant creation, gathering, and sharing of information. Social Media has become an incredibly powerful communication tool, and has influenced how we get, discuss, and react to information. More, with social media, news and views spread like wildfire (for better or for worse).

What is Social Media Marketing?

Social Media Marketing is the use of those applications/sites by individuals, organizations, and businesses to market themselves — to tell the world (their audience, their social network, or their customers/clients) about their perspectives, their mandates, or their unique selling points. And while traditional marketing (newspaper, radio, television) was often expensive, slow, and one-sided, Social Media Marketing allows us to do the telling in a much cheaper and faster way.

Why is Social Media Marketing Great For Business?

Social Media is a great marketing tool for businesses:

  • It’s far less expensive than traditional media (often it’s free), and it’s instant!
  • Users can take advantage of an already in-place network of active social media users to provide their business with powerful word-of-mouth advertising, and can reach more people faster than traditional marketing vehicles.
  • It’s interactive and dynamic and, as such, a great way to build brand loyalty. (Current and potential customers love to feel heard.)
  • It’s a great tool for creating consistent branding over a variety of platforms, and a great tool for marketing campaigns — not the least of which benefit is the fact that you can quickly measure campaign success and feedback. And depending on feedback, campaigns can be targeted easily by choosing different applications/sites and user groups.

Social media marketing can help to increase brand awareness, traffic, customer reach and to help you understand customer behaviour, feedback. But it can also be a risky endeavor if you don’t have time, knowledge, and experience on your side. Here’s why:

Traditional media (news, TV, radio) was one-sided – as audience members we were told something, we listened, and we chose whether or not to act. As the individuals, organizations, and businesses who did the marketing, we had complete control over if, when, and how we respond to feedback, complaints, and trends.

With social media marketing, we’re saying something (publicly) about our business/brand, and not only asking audience members (customers/clients) to act, but also asking them to help us out by way of spreading/sharing our message. It gives the customer the control.

So what if feedback isn’t good?

We can’t just participate in Social Media Marketing by getting the message out there. We must hear the response, analyze it, and then react. That’s where Social Media Monitoring comes in.

Social Media Monitoring for Business

What is Social Media Monitoring?

A Social Media Marketing effort can be as simple as having a blog attached to your website, or a corporate Twitter account, and asking your customers/clients to “like” or to “follow” you. Or it can be as comprehensive as a full Social Media Marketing campaign that incorporates a variety of applications/sites.

Some of Stir’s clients, for example, manage their social media campaigns in-house and call on our experts for targeted strategic planning and analysis to compliment what they’re already doing. Other clients have us manage all aspects of their social media marketing.

But whatever your social media marketing efforts entail, the monitoring is as important as the marketing.

Through Social Media Monitoring you can a) hear what your customers (and your potential customers, as well as competitors and industry insiders) are saying about your brand, b) analyze trends in online feedback, and then c) respond to it in a way that will drive sales and grow your business — perhaps by re-branding, changing service/product offerings, or refocusing targeted marketing campaigns.

Today there are a multitude of social media monitoring tools (of varying levels of quality) that will monitor the internet (social media sites), gather information, and produce reports for your analysis. But how do you choose the best tool? How do you interpret all the data that it provides? How do you know the best response? And, even if you could figure it all out, do you have the time and the capabilities in-house?

The Best Social Media Monitoring Tools 

Social Media Marketing is the use of web-based and mobile Internet applications (or sites) like Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, and blogs by individuals, organizations, and businesses to market themselves — to tell the world about their perspective, their mandate, their unique selling point, their services and their products, upcoming events, and news (campaigns). And it’s an inexpensive, fast, and far-reaching marketing tool for businesses.

But you can’t just tell people about yourself, your organization, or your company. You must actively listen to what they’re saying, analyze the response, and react to it in a proactive way.

That’s where Social Media Monitoring comes in. Social Media Monitoring is the use of one of a variety of tools to gather and analyse that online conversation about you, your organization, or your company. Today there are a multitude of social media monitoring tools (of varying levels of quality) that will monitor the internet (social media sites), gather information, and produce reports using which you can improve marketing tactics and increase sales. Below are some of the best Social Media Monitoring Tools available today.

Note: Choosing the right tool, analyzing the data it provides, and deciding how best to react to that data can be onerous, difficult, time-consuming, and costly. Working with an agency, like Stir Marketing, that specializes in Social Media Marketing and Monitoring will be a crucial component of your online marketing and monitoring effort. Stir will help to make the process of online marketing and monitoring easy and effective.

Google Alerts
“Get the latest relevant Google results based on your choice of query or topic.”
Using the Google Alerts Monitoring Tool – which sends an email alert each time Google finds a new result – you can monitor a product, find out what’s being said about you or your company, and keep up with the news on a topic you’re interested in (like industry trends and competitor updates). Monitors webpages, newspaper articles and blogs and can accommodate up to1000 alerts at once.

“Social Media Monitoring Tools Made Easy…with a money-back guarantee.”Trackur Social Media Monitoring was founded by online reputation management expert Andy Beal – widely considered the “the go-to-guy for reputation building, managing, and monitoring” – and offers powerful results through a userfriendly platform. Trackur offers several packages for different needs and promises users will “be up and running in less than 60-seconds”.

“Social customers don’t talk just to talk. They want to be heard.”
Lithium Social Media Monitoring monitors search-specific mentions and sentiment (whether online comments are positive or negative) on a variety of platforms including blog posts, Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr and presents the results in easy-to-read graphs and metrics. Current clients include Best Buy, Barnes & Noble, Disney Online, Motorola, Coca Cola, and Netflix.

“Ready to plan and execute your social media initiatives effectively?”
Spredfast Social Media Management is considered a full social media management, measurement and campaign tool with a user-friendly dashboard from which clients can manage, monitor, and react to online conversations from multiple networks. Clients include AOL, Nokia, and IBM among others.

“A brand’s best friend. How are you listening to social media chatter?”
Brandwatch Social Media Monitoring’s tool monitors news, blogs, forums, wikis and social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook to provide clients with information about mentions of their company, brand, and/or product. Clients receive reports and brand summaries on which they can act. Clients include Aviva, CheapFlights, and The Body Shop.

“Go beyond social media monitoring.”
Sprial16’s Monitoring Software focuses on gathering and analysing “who is saying what about a company, brand, or product” in comparison to competitions. Spiral16 promises to help monitor social media strategy success while effectively sourcing and analyzing extensive data. Spiral16 works with companies (like Toyota, Lee, and Cadbury) to tailor plans that fit their budgets.

Sysomos’ Heartbeat
“…redefining social media analytics.”
Sysomos’ Heartbeat Social Media Monitoring Dashboard is a “real-time monitoring and measurement tool” that provides frequently updated synopses of social media conversations related to your company, product or brand in a variety of reports and graphics aimed at helping you find ways to engage in that conversation. Clients include IBM, HSBC, and Shell Oil.

Crimson Hexagon
“Know what the online conversation really means.”
Crimson Hexagon Social Media Monitoring and Analysis popular and reliable tools mine and analyze vast amounts of data and turn it into “actionable data for better brand understanding and improvement”. Clients include CNN, Hanes,AT&T, HP, Johnson & Johnson, Mashable, Microsoft, Monster, AdWeek, Thomson Reuters, Rubbermaid, Sybase, the Huffington Post, A&E, the Wall Street Journal.

“Provides organizations with a platform to listen, discover, measure and engage.”
Radian6 Social Media Monitoring and Engagement helps business owners “listen to what’s being said about them” online and determine the best responses through a monitoring dashboard that tracks mentions on more than 100 million social media sites. Reports and summaries help clients respond to data, and a comprehensive dashboard allows for updates to various social media platforms all at once. Clients include Adobe, Cirque de Soleil, Red Cross, and Microsoft.

Social Media Dashboard Tools

There are incredibly useful and powerful social media management tools on the market that can help you monitor your social media, post replies to messages quickly and efficiently and even coordinate social media workflow if you have more than one person responsible for your online presence. For example:

  • Hootsuite, which allows you to manage and update several different social media accounts (including more than one account on the same network and even your Google+ business page as one of the few partners with full access to the Google+ API), supplies regular social analytics reports for free, has great functionality for team management, lets you store message drafts for frequently asked questions, works well across a variety of platforms and offers dedicated mobile apps.
  • Sprout Social which users repeatedly rave about as very intuitive, gives you the ability to review your Facebook, Twitter and RSS feeds on one screen, work with a team to manage social media, post directly to social media accounts from the dashboard and determine impact by reviewing comprehensive analytics reports.

To find out which tool will best suit your needs and help you to reach your business goals, contact one of the Social Media Marketing and Monitoring Experts at Stir today.

Next Steps

Stir is here to help you develop solutions that match your needs, your preferences, your goals, and your budget. Our team of social media experts is both capable and flexible and will not only create high-quality social media marketing campaigns for your business, but also monitor your social media reputation (using some of the best tools available) and provide reporting and recommendations based on what we find.

Never again will you be faced with a massive amount of un-processed data and too little time in which to sort through it all. Our experts will sift through the data and present, in a timely and strategic fashion, the executive-level information that your team needs to make positive and proactive business decisions — decisions that can and will generate brand awareness, increase traffic and sales, and develop customer/client loyalty.

By choosing to put this system in to place – a system that incorporates our extensive knowledge, various high-quality online brand and product reputation monitoring programs, and customizable analysis and reporting tools to measure the efficacy of campaigns – business owners like you can generate brand awareness, increase traffic and sales, and develop customer/client loyalty.

Need help with your social media?

Contact Stir Marketing today. Whether you have zero experience in social media marketing or you already have a social media marketing campaign in place, our team of Social Media Marketing and Monitoring Experts can help you to generate brand awareness, increase traffic and sales, and develop customer/client loyalty.