Make it or Break it. The Bottom Line

For every business, the bottom line is profits. How can an enterprise ensure they are going to make it? If you are a small business, and you haven’t hired an outside agency to monitor things for you, then expect to spend countless hours trying to decipher where you stand. Larger institutions have in-house staff to take care of this or hire that work out to a social media monitoring conglomerate. 

How do I do this? Where do I go?

Pixabay – Woman with question marks around her

It can be overwhelming if you are in the process of establishing a new business. Where do you begin? Well, GetApp.com looks like it might be the answer if you didn’t know where to start. It is a brand management software company that helps you decipher what would work best for YOU. Their website states “Best comparison List of Vendor Application and Tools”. The first two paragraphs of their home page deliver a brief outline of what they offer. Below that information are questions to help businesses narrow down what suits them, as it is never a “one size fits all” situation. Here is a breakdown of some of those.

  • the number of people in your organization 
  • industry type
  • filters if you want free access or varied subscription options for their software
  • what types of devices you would like to support for monitoring purposes (phone, laptop, computer)
  • organization types. Are you a private, not-for-profit, small business
  • is it a global or more defined demographic
  • most important, to me, would be star ratings of the various available monitoring platform from prior customers
YouTube video – What is Social Media Monitoring?

Similarities

It operates similarly to an on-line holiday booking platform like TravelocityCheap Flights, or Trivago with all of its filters. You get to pick your destination, hotel, star rating for your hotel, airline transportation, time of departure, and so on. When I decide to book a holiday, I usually do it through a travel agency. I always check prices, location, facilities, customer comments, and star ratings before booking my holiday.

Relax!

Do you think this is a fantastic option for businesses? Would you invest your money into this type of monitoring marketing platform? Why not take the guesswork out of the equation. Wouldn’t you rather be doing this? Hire a professional.

Person sitting on top of mountain overlooking a lake

REFERENCES:

How Brands use Social Media Listening to Measure Success – YouTube

Brand Management Software 2021 – Best Application Comparison | GetApp®

Travelocity | Cheap Hotels, Flights, Vacations & Travel Deals

Flights Deals under $99, Airlines Tickets Under $99 (cheapflightsfares.com)

trivago.ca – Compare hotel prices worldwide

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Blog # 3 – Social Media Measurement and Monitoring

Social Media’s Bottom Line for Businesses https://bit.ly/3rPDD1s

Select Your Perfect Social Media Monitoring Platform. https://bit.ly/3rPDD1s

Tools and Sources – My Favorites

Photo by energepic.com from Pexels

In this blog post I am going to talk about my two favorite social media listening & monitoring tools and my two favorite sources for social media news & updates. I am going to explain why I like them more compared to their competition.

Awario & Buzzsumo

What I like about Awario and Buzzsumo is that they are very user friendly. Compared to Mentionlytics, Awario & Buzzsumo did not overwhelm me.
I am still a beginner in social media monitoring and listening and learn with each time that I use one of these tools.
But even after a week, I could not make much sense out of Mentionlytics.
But with Awario & Buzzsumo I was comfortable right from the start.

I had a trial with all of them, but their prices vary quite a bit. Awario starts at 49$ a month, Buzzsumo starts at 99$ a month compared to Mentionlytics which starts at 39$ a month.

Awario monitors social media non-stop and sends you updates per email if that is your wish.
And you get analytics, for example about a companies sentiment online. This can also be easily shared with your colleagues.

My favourite, Buzzsumo lets you track cost-per-click, you can find content through their search engine, you can track keywords and it shows you which keywords are the most popular for your chosen industry, it also lets you find influencers and you can watch the competition, monitor mentions of your brand name and lastly it creates reports for you that are easy to export and send to your boss or colleagues.

Mentionlytics is a mix of Awario and Buzzsumo. It is not a bad tool. I was just not comfortable with it and for me, their dashboard lacked some clarity on how to find, use and set up activities.

Sprout Social & Social Media Today

My favourite outlets for social media news & updates are Sprout Social and Social Media Today.

Sprout Social is one of the leading social media management tools and they also have a blog with news and updates about the social media community.
I find their blog very helpful and informative. Especially for a beginner in social media, they offer a lot of helpful advice and tips.

Another page I started following recently is Social Media Today. I like that they have a wide range of topics. You can find marketing, PR, social media, advertising and business-related articles on their website.

I also like Forbes or the Huffington Post, but especially Forbes is a bit too business-like for my taste. Most of their articles are business-related. I can not really say why it is not my favourite news page, but I find the tone that Sprout Social and Social Media Today write in, is more personal and authentic. They reach me more on a personal level.

What are your favourite monitoring & listening tools? And what are your favourite social media news outlets?
Let me know in the comment section.

COMM0015 – Blog #1 – Maybe I should

Let’s be real honest here, I have not yet taken the habit of listening/monitoring social medias very seriously. Two reasons motivates this; 1 – At work there is a team dedicated to this and 2 – For my side business as a photographer, I am not currently looking for more work and can afford the luxury of choosing the assignments I want to take on, and, thanks to a permanent job within government, I am also fine with not having any.

Luckily for me, the photography industry is out there in almost every platforms and it remains fairly easy to stay on top of things by following my favorite photographers and gear manufacturer on Facebook and Instagram and still remain aware of what is going on in the industry, locally or internationally.

At work, my colleagues use the pro version of Hootsuite. I like how customizable, clean and precise it can be. It also allows them to work as a team to respond to comments and create engagement as well as schedule posts into the various platforms we use. Should I decide to become more serious I would probably use this system combined with various Google alerts

On Facebook, I get to see in a rawer version how other photographer use their creativity to market their services while I use Instagram to get inspired and monitor the trends in the techniques used by the photographers I follow.

While I prefer a more laid back approach, do not mistake this as a lack of interest or pure laziness on my end. I am very active on these two Social Medias and interact daily with my colleagues and friend in the industry.

COM0015 – Tools and Sources

Photo credit: Melvin Gaal (Mindsharing.eu) / Foter.com / CC BY-NC

Two of my favourite social media listening/monitoring tools are Google Alerts and Twitter/Facebook searches.  Without having yet implemented the social media plan into our overall communications at Brock Community Health Centre, I have yet to fully explore other common platform management tools such as Hootsuite, although I imagine that will be something we look into as our social media efforts grow.

With Google Alerts and Twitter search, I can become aware of trends and announcements in health that are relative to my organization through industry leaders such as Health Canada and allied partners such as Durham Region Health Department.  Current health concerns, announcements and health promotion dates are examples of news and information that are of interest to me, as well as regional news and strategies, such as the recent forum that addressed the opioid crisis.

With Facebook search, I can discover what the community at large is saying pertaining to health concerns and needs, as well as anything to do with the organization’s programs and services.  I can also determine which groups are active and who the influencers are.  This has helped to gain a larger understanding of our audience as we strategically plan the launch of our social media presence and subsequent activity.

Out of the Box

Prior to taking this course, my experience with social media was limited to Facebook. I have a Twitter account and have tweeted a grand total of 11 times in four years. I also have a Pinterest and Instagram account but, again, haven’t posted much of anything. So, almost every social media application was interesting or unexpected to me, the newbie.

And because I am not heavily active on social media for personal or business reasons, I had very little idea about the social media monitoring and listening applications. I had never taken the time to actually learn about them because, really, why would I? But eventually I did. And I was impressed.

The metrics and statistics, analytics and trends are all really fascinating. Listening and monitoring tools can tell you everything from where your traffic is coming from, to how long people spend on your site, to what they are saying about you and your site. These kinds of tools are priceless in that they are key to helping you continue to develop your site or blog in the best way possible. Nothing else can do that.

You need to know exactly what you want to monitor; what you want to focus on. Each monitoring tool has its own strengths and weaknesses. So you need to decide what to focus, do your homework, and then choose the tool that will work best for you.

Some of the tools that I stumbled across that made a good immediate impression were:

Hootsuite:

The dashboard is organized, streamlined, and easy to set up. It consolidates multiple social media networks in one place, which is helpful if more than one person is taking care of social media in your organization.

Tweetdeck:

This is very similar to Hootsuite, and very good for beginners. This dashboard is a snapshot of activity related to your Twitter account. It’s practical, easy to use, and free.

Google Alerts:

This is a great way to monitor web pages, publications, and blogs for any search term that you specify. The alerts are sent to your email.

 

Which social media listening applications do you like the best?

COM0015 ~ BLOG POST 1 ~ TOOLS & SOURCES

It was Friday afternoon. A friend looked up from his phone. “There’s been a mass shooting.”

I reached for my phone before he said anything else and checked Twitter, my immediate go-to for news.

Paris.

It was already trending, with Tweets streaming in every second. I couldn’t scroll fast enough to keep up with them. For the next while, I watched as the story unfolded. The pace at which it grew was incredible, as people from around the world tweeted in shock, confusion, and anger.

news

Image: campmapleleaf.net

Twitter has long been my first source for what’s happening and trending. I like its immediacy, variety of sources, simplicity, and – I almost hate to say it – variety of opinions (because, let’s face it, that alone can be a source of aggravation). I love how it connects people who wouldn’t normally come into contact with each other. I love its power to mobilize and to spring people into action. I love the sharing of ideas and back-and-forth jibber jabber. It’s an amazing tool that has forever changed traditional discourse.

Zite is another source I go to for news and updates. A news reading app that launched on the iPad a few years ago, it’s a customizable site that lets you tailor your news to what interests you the most. It searches through millions of news stories every day to bring you the best items from some of the best original sources.

As for social media monitoring tools, I’ll be completely honest here; I have used exactly zero.

SMM

Image: ontargetmediainc.com

I am not very active on social media (yet!), which is why I am taking this certificate in the first place. But I did poke around and check out a few recommended tools.

Twitter Counter is a simple, easy-to-use tool that provides straightforward information. For a beginner, it is the perfect way to slowly immerse yourself  into the very big, very overwhelming world of social media analytics. This tool wins for me mostly because of its unintimidating nature.

Then there is Hootsuite, which looks like an amazing tool. I haven’t fully thrown myself into yet, but based on some preliminary poking around, it looks like the perfect place to park all of your social media apps and get some great analytic feedback. Unlike Twitter Counter, the intimidation factor is a little higher especially for social media rookies like myself. But I see this being a great help in managing and analyzing social media. Who doesn’t love a one-stop-shop?

How do you monitor your social media? What other news sources do you use?

COMM0015: Tools and Sources

What are your two favourite social media listening and monitoring tools?

I must confess that the only social media listening and monitoring tools I have used were in COMM0013 when I was monitoring a company for an assignment. I wanted to expand beyond Google Alerts and Feedly so  I did what most people would do when researching a topic—I Googled! After much deliberation I would say I like Hootsuite and SocialMention.

Hootsuite

I was really impressed with Hootsuite because of its simplicity. It allows users to manage and track their social media networks—such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn—from one dashboard. From here users can schedule comments or tweets, listen or track mentions and analyse traffic.  Another nice feature is that it is free, but if you need more monitoring you can opt for the Pro or Enterprise package.

Image taken from: http://woolfworks.spaces.nexudus.com/images/hootsuite-dashboard.png

Social Mention

I like Social Mention because it intrigues me. It helps you monitor and track any mentions to you, your company and any topic of interest. This tool monitors social media sites and measures it with four categories: Strength, Sentiment, Passion and Reach and it is able to inform you about how many mentions you have and from how many people. It provides a good snapshot of what is happening and it allows for alerts to be sent to you by email. This tool is also free.

Image taken from: http://www.socialtechnologyreview.com/sites/default/files/images/inline/socialmention-robinwilding.jpg

What are the two best sources of news and updates of interest to you?

Two best sources of news and updates that interest me are Twitter and Facebook.

Twitter

Just this past Sunday I was driving with my son and we noticed police, fire trucks and ambulances. It was clear that there had been an accident as we drove along the detour they had in place. I asked my son to check my Twitter feed and lo and behold we were updated on the crash that claimed the life of a 55-year-old man and sent his daughter to hospital.

This was a perfect example of real-time updates—as we were driving past the accident my son was able to read about it.

Featured image

Image taken from my Twitter feed

Facebook

I have friends from different parts of the world. I am able to quickly connect with them and learn of news in their country or participate in news right here. A simple example is the non-stop conversations about the federal election that just took place in October.

I am able to keep up-to-date on companies that interest me by liking and following their Facebook page. I am also able to learn about new companies by seeing who my friends are following and listening to comments about services or products.

Image taken from: Facebook.com

Do you use social media monitoring tools? If so, what are your favourites?

 

COM0014 Blog #3 – Target Audience

 

Are you speaking to your target audience?

Are you speaking to your target audience?

Targeting your message to your audience is an effective way to get your message to those who will respond best, but first you must identify who your audience is and what makes them tick. So let’s start the journey of finding whom we are talking to…

Step 1: Who are these people we call “Clients”?

Identifying your target audience sometimes takes a little bit of time. Who we “think” is using our product or service may not be the best audience or we discover a “hidden gem” audience we never thought of.

The business that I am currently developing I have identified that my desired target audience looks like this:

Age – 30-50
Why? This audience either identifies that that they need a social media presence, but does not know how to get one or knows that they need one and don’t have the time to do it. They may also be unable and unwilling to learn social media.

Size – Small- Medium sized business owners.
Why? Larger corporations have internal departments.These small/medium business owners control their own marketing budgets and therefore are the decision makers. It is also a personal desire of mine to have strong connections with the business I work with. There is a certain amount of personal fulfillment with helping a small business grow and develop.

 

Clock

Step 2: Let’s take the time to listen…

Listening is the first step to any good plan. Remember the old “assume” rule!

Starting with a basic listening plan by find the target audience is a good plan. For this audience I’m going to start with Google Alerts, Twitter, Facebook (groups) and LinkedIn (groups). As we are seeking business owners, LinkedIn small business groups may hold some insight into our audience and their desired needs.

 

Plan

Step 3: Let’s find some effective tools for communicating with this audience.

Now that we know whom we are targeting, lets work out a plan to communicate with them. There are two things we need to consider, first, what is the audience interested in and what method are we going to deliver the message.

Some deliverables for promoting our business and gaining a ROI, we will start with this formula and monitor the response. As we measure the response we can adjust the plan of the delivery method, as well as the content.

Website with integrated blog – Bringing the traffic back to the website gives us some measurability.

Blog – with redistribution on LinkedIn and alert messages on twitter and Facebook.

Facebook – Posts of interest as well as general interest posts.

Twitter – Building up two-way communication with our audience. Lets be friends!

LinkedIn – Building up an audience through posting articles or even starting a business group where people can gather.

Webinars – Helping others understand what they need and allow communication can help bring business.

E-Newsletters – Weekly hits and tips. This creates a top of mind awareness for potential clients waiting in the wings and also current clients to give them remind them that you care about their success.

Lets quickly look at one example of a successful strategy that has worldwide success. As I was researching I discovered Liz Benny, a social media manager from New Zealand. This girl is larger than life and she is her brand.  Her multifaceted approach to social media has created an empire for her. I am not sure of the quality of the content of her course, but many people across the world the world are taking part in her courses. Through e-newsletters, webinars, and Facebook she has created an international business for herself in a small city in New Zealand.

Anything is possible if you know who your audience is, where they are and how to communicate with them.

 

COM0015 Blog #1: Is Anyone Listening?

I personally don’t ‘do’ social media in my personal life, however on the business side of things, I simply love it. Social Media has taken on a huge role in how businesses market their brand. Sure, you’re on Facebook. Twitter, too. Maybe you have a blog. You put a lot a lot of work into keeping them fresh and updated with pertinent, interesting posts. But aside from the few comments you get now and again, how do you know if anyone is listening to what you have to say?

Listen Vs. Ignore - Toggle Switch

You think hard about your social media strategy, posting interesting links relevant to your mission, working to expand your network and engage your audience and create a solid, online reputation for your organization. You want to monitor your efforts and measure your results. Knowing whether your efforts are paying off can help you adapt your posting strategy to better meet your goals.

Top 3 Listening/Monitoring Tools
  1. Hootsuite: I primarily use this tool for it’s tweet scheduling ability and to monitor brand related mentions. Hootsuite allows you to track mentions for several different keywords such as your company, brand name, product or service, industry, the competition or a particular market term. This will give you a complete picture of the social conversations that matter most. hootsuite-2200x800
  2. Another simple but useful tool, Google Alerts will email you online mentions of keywords—for example, your organization’s name. Set as many alerts as you want to clue you in to mentions on blogs, websites, other people or organizations’ Facebook pages or Twitter accounts, or in the media.google-alerts1
  3. Radian6: This is my wishlist, soon to be reality as I was recently told that I may have access to this costly tool! Radian6 was recently acquired by Salesforce, which we also use at my work, and offers clean dashboards and real-time charts make it easy to see the most common words associated with your brand, monitor the highs and lows of social mentions, ascertain sentiment, export data, and allocate workflow. Though I am not yet familiar with the ins and outs of this tools, I look forward to getting my hands dirty soon. salesforce_radian6_logo
Social media listening tools can be your most useful set of eyes and ears on the web, providing insights you could never have gathered on your own. What are you using to listen and monitor that you feel everyone should know about?

COM0015 Blog #1 | Tools and Sources to Help You Achieve Your Social Media Goals

20-social-media-iconsAnyone who works with social media or who has read anything about social media knows that listening is the first step in developing a social media strategy. In fact, listening is the most important thing you can do on social media. Listening to what people are saying about you or about or industry, knowing what they like or the problems they’re experiencing will help you engage appropriately and develop content that will be appreciated and valued.

But with all the social media listening tools out there, how do you choose which ones to use? In all honesty, it’s a matter of personal preference, but from my experience, my two favourites are Google Alerts and Twitter. I like Google Alerts for its simplicity and convenience. You just enter the keyword or key phrase (one word or phrase per alert) you’d like Google to search the Internet for and you get emails sent to you with the search results. You can even create an RSS feed from the alerts and import them into a feed reader or a social media listening dashboard tool (a tool that gathers all of your feeds) such as Netvibes. Twitter is great for monitoring what is being said about you in real time. Twitter will alert you by email every time someone mentions you in one of their tweets. Twitter also has a great search engine that you can use to search key words, key phrases or hashtags. Twitter feeds can also be imported into a tool like Netvibes.

Now that you know of a few tools will help you monitor what’s being said about you on social media, how do you choose which sources to listen to? Where to go for news or updates depends on your objectives. If you’re looking for industry related content to share with your followers, you may wish to subscribe to an industry magazine’s e-newsletter or RSS feed. If you’re looking for general commentary about your product or service, you may wish to join an online community or discussion board. Of course, you could use Twitter as your main source for information and follow the people, organizations and publications that will help you meet your objectives. This is what I do. Twitter is my go-to place for news and updates because it’s current and convenient and it allows me to easily create content for my Twitter channel by sharing tweets with my followers and engaging with those I follow. A second source of information that not only helps me at work, but is of interest to my customers, primarily SMEs looking for best practices in customer service and marketing, is Inc. Magazine. I subscribe to Inc.’s newsletter and I follow the magazine on Twitter. This is an excellent publication filled with advice on anything business related–human resources, customer service, marketing, leadership–and updates on the latest trends and innovations in processes and equipment.

Listening will pay off in dividends if you do it right. It all starts with knowing why you’re listening, who you’re listening to and what you’re listening for. The right tools and sources will help you gather the information you need to be of value to your current and potential customers. I’ve provided you with some suggestions. What other tools and sources do you find valuable?

Image by GraphicsFuel