PHOTO: Prateek Katyal
The COVID-19 pandemic hit our global economic landscape like a meteor, crashing into many businesses and disrupting previously stable sources of income. Marketing teams experienced seismic changes in particularly painful ways: tighter budgets, downsizing, doing more with less. But even when they achieved substantial success, marketers had to get their jobs done, meet or exceed company goals, and rock the social media scene.
Social media has evolved beyond what used to be beautiful. It has become a must-have, especially for brands looking to break the chatter. A DataReportal snapshot from July 2020 revealed that more than half of the world’s population uses social media. Nearly 400 million eyes are glued to YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and other social sites, according to Pew Research.
How can you make sure that your business is front and center and focused on social media while also being frugal? One answer is to revive your tech stack right away. The right social media tools provide unprecedented levels of automation and analysis without the need for human intervention. However, it can be difficult to know which tool to try (or possibly buy). If you’re not sure how to effectively build buzz without burning your team out, take a closer look at these four categories of social media tools. You can help attract high-quality prospects and fill your pipeline in such a way that human or financial resources are not burdened.
1. Set it up and forget about it. Content Scheduling Platforms
How do you convince corporate decision-makers that social media works and is worth an investment? Setting up a Facebook company page or YouTube channel is not a challenge for most companies. The problem is that it tries to consistently populate these platforms with new, relevant content while keeping your more pressing needs in mind. Over time, a neglected and outdated company page will no longer gain in importance. Worse still, unmaintained content can do more harm than good, as inaccurate information negatively affects the perception of those who give your business an honest look.
Clay McDaniel, CEO of social media tool provider Ripl, agrees that it is common but problematic to post content after every blue moon. His recommendation? Build batches of professional looking posts in advance, schedule them to publish on your platforms, and move on.
McDaniel said, “Social media management tools allow you to schedule your posts to automatically appear in your feeds at selected times. You can schedule posts and updates for a whole week if you have a few minutes. “
Your company still needs to devote time to employees on a social media production calendar that shows when and where new content will be posted. However, the possibility of programming everything in one portal saves a lot of time – and face.
Related Article: Social Media Trends To Consider In Your Marketing Strategy For 2021
2. Tracking and listening tools
Social media trends can change by the minute. Depending on the size of the accompanying avalanche, it can quickly become impossible to manually keep up with where your company falls into the mix. For example, a positive brand mention can go unnoticed for days, weeks, or even months. You might miss it altogether.
Being able to respond quickly to anything concerning your business online is a highly valued social media asset as it keeps control of messages in your court. Knowing about brand names can also create confusion, improve customer experiences, and position you in a favorable light.
Many companies can’t afford to hire one of their marketing reps to monitor online mentions across multiple platforms. These companies usually choose tools like Buzzsumo to keep up with the names and phrases of the trends.
Brent Barnhart, writing on behalf of the Sprout Social platform, offers several data-driven insights from a 2020 survey of social media user expectations. “It is no longer enough to just offer support via social networks: Brands have to be careful about their speed when it comes to responding to customers,” wrote Barnhart. “The need to answer social questions is a no-brainer. Nobody wants to intentionally ignore their customers. “
Evaluate different providers to determine which social listening solutions and add-ons are best for your needs. Packages can encompass anything from the ability to collect and analyze data to mapping the diffusion and impact of trends. Do your research, then take a test drive. You can always switch to an alternative if you don’t get the results you want. But you’re not nearly as likely to miss a reputation.
Related article: For marketing success, it is important to zigzag when others zag
3. Account security tools
Unfortunately, online crime hasn’t paused during the pandemic. It’s an ever-growing problem, and hacking your brand can be devastating and expensive. Data collected by McAfee suggests that nearly a quarter of social media users have been hacked. It is embarrassing and confusing for individuals to be hacked. For a company like yours, this can result in serious damage control of days or weeks. Just ask HBO or the United States Central Command. Your accounts were recently taken over by cyber criminals.
Cyber criminals are aware that the pandemic has changed the way we do business. The increase in online shopping, touchless transactions, and a plethora of new players making online sales have created a kind of “smoke screen” for cybercrime. According to well-known cybersecurity expert Prof. Nicholas Davis “[Criminals] use the interest and attention for a problem to get clicks and to take advantage of the changed behavior. “
Instead of joining those who are forced to deal with hacking, consider putting in place security measures and robust password protection protocols. It doesn’t cost a fortune to make sure you don’t wake up to confused or angry social followers. You’re more likely to save money by protecting yourself from a ransomware attack.
Related article: What the SolarWinds Hack Tells Us About the State of Cybersecurity
4. Analytics reporting
Facebook and Instagram offer basic analytics programs that are tied to your company page. However, you may want to dig deeper into the value and engagement of your posts. In this case, consider technical options that provide comprehensive analytical reports.
What types of analyzes are considered important for collection and review? “Likes” and “Shares” are at the top of the list, as is the number of comments a post receives. You should also look for and reach for impressions to get a feel for how your message is spreading. You may also want to check landing page click-through rates and sales conversions. Even your internal response rate to comments and tags can be helpful in assessing whether you are actively improving the customer experience.
One caveat: it is not effective to keep track of every data point. It’s far too easy to break free in the weeds. The more data you have, the further you can drill down. The right tools can make this process surprisingly efficient and fast, and get real-time information without wasting your time.
Mastering social media as a business marketer takes time, patience, and a little bit of trial and error. Investing in solid technical tools can cut your learning curve significantly without the need for additional staff. The main thing is that regardless of the size of your team, you will be able to engage with a quality audience in a significant way.
Steve Olenski, who is currently Oracle’s director of communications, is a real unicorn as he has the unique ability to combine real marketing experience with an impressive journalistic background. He has been with Forbes for the past 10 years and has published his work in other leading publications including Ad Age, Adweek, Business Insider, Huffington Post, Marketing Land, MarTech Today and ESPN.