Most small to midsize businesses realize the importance of having a presence on a variety of social media sites. Some may even have specific employees or departments that keep track of social media postings and comments. But for many others, the various sites and tools can be a confusing, overgrown forest teeming with intimidating visuals and a cacophony of sounds.
To help those novices to the social media jungle, Social Marketing Writing created an informative infographic that lists the “Top 56 Social Media Tools for Business.” It breaks down the categories of tools into easy-to-read segments that include social media tools for:
- Managing social media sites
- Gathering and interpreting analytics
- Directing and organizing a campaign
- Creating readable content
- Developing visual content
- Content searching and saving
- Content sharing
Since the social media world changes quite frequently, new tools and new features are always available, so by no means is this an exhaustive list. But it definitely allows the social media beginner to see the forest and its trees.
But even better than just knowing the right tools to help you broadcast your business message to your social media audience, I found an article with a much simpler and even more helpful focus: listening. According to Duct Tape Marketing, the real power in social media lies in being able to listen to customers via the various networks. And how does a business do this? By tracking what they post.
Consumers give glimpses into their lives with each and every post. So a savvy SMB with a little social media know-how can tap into this and listen for specific clues that tie into its business. Paying close attention to relevant topics that are being shared, questions being answered and yes, frustrations and bad reviews being broadcast, a business can respond quickly and possibly create a sincere relationship with that customer.
By keeping track of customers on Twitter in a list, you can watch for topics that relate to your business—even your business name. A shop that sells and repairs laptops might come to the rescue when a customer Tweets about a frustrating DIY experience by responding with a tip or recommending the proper fix. If a person Tweets a negative comment about your business, you can try to save face by responding in a kind way and perhaps smoothing over the rough experience with a discount or a second chance to make things right.
With other social media sites, an SMB can keep up with customers via keyword searches or via social media tools like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite that allow you to track hashtagged content. The article also suggests creating email alerts via tools like Social Mention or Buzzsumo to track specific topics and keyword messages (and even your competitors) with a daily email sent to your inbox.
Once you’ve started tracking topics, make a list of content that relates to your business that is currently being shared and add a link or story to the fray. Being in-the-know on a popular topic makes you seem like an expert and can “boost your social influence.” And isn’t that the point of social media—getting noticed?