Sunday, 9 February 2014

Social media update

Figures suggest that just about every successful company not only has a Web site, but also uses social media successfully. I thought it was time to take another look at what successful companies are up to and how they can monitor their success.

So just to recap, the big players in social media at the moment are probably Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+, and Pinterest. Published figures suggest that 72 percent of all the adults who are online use social networking sites. It’s also reckoned that 92 percent of companies use social media for recruitment. And 86 percent of employers say they research potential job candidates on social networks. Facebook claims to have over 1.19 billion users per month, and it has 728 million users each day. It also has around 9 million photos uploaded each month. 1 in 5 of 18 to 24-year-olds use Twitter each day, and Twitter say they’re adding 300 thousand users per day. Similarly, LinkedIn is growing – it increased by 105 percent between 2011 and 2013. And, of course, Facebook has got a lot attention this past week from the media and individual with its Look Back ( short films showing what you’ve done on Facebook over the past 10 years

What many organizations are now setting as a social media goal is having ordinary users speak out for them. ‘Advocacy’ is the word that’s been hijacked for use in this situation. Companies are identifying potential customers or users and building strong relationships with them so that the customer will promote the product or company strongly on social media sites. So how can you build these important relationships? Feedback is an obvious way. Listen to what people are saying on social media and respond appropriately and quickly. To do this effectively, the social media team need to be integrated into the marketing and communications teams at a company. It doesn’t work if they are isolated within the organization. ‘Likes’ are an important place to start. Encourage people to ‘like’ your page, or ‘favorite’ a tweet.

It’s important that your social media presence has good content. You want people to keep coming back to read more. You can publicize products, and you can add more information about how to use your products, as well as answering users’ questions. You publicize great thing that staff or the company as a whole has done. This could be charity events, or prizes received. And you can advertise jobs. Make sure that good content is updated regularly and frequently. Then the next stage is to get product users to start adding content – photos of them using the product, reviews, how they used it to do something extra to its design spec! It’s at this stage that you can start monitoring and measuring interactions. Facebook pages contain lots of data. If you want measurement tools, there are: Crowdbooster, Demographics Pro, Moz Analytics, Simply Measured, Social Crawlytics, and True Social Metrics. If you want to listen to what people are saying (the technical term is sentiment) you can try Radian6, RowFeede, Sysomos, Topsy, or Vocus. For monitoring and responding there’s: BuddyMedia, Buffer, HootSuite, Meshfire, SocialEngage, and Sprout Social.

Not all social media has to be externally facing. You can have internal social media – allowing people from other departments to comment on developments, increase cross-team collaboration, and generally build up rapport between people. I’m very familiar with Microsoft’s Yammer, which is free and creates an easy-to-use forum. Other, similar, products are Chatter from Salesforce, Basecamp (which comes with a 60-day free trial), and Jive (originally called Clearspace).

If you start on social media, there are some terms that you need to be familiar with – for example sentiment, influence (measured by Klout and Social Authority), conversation drivers, engagement, timing, Click Through Rate (CTR), and followers and fans.

Get social media right, and you’ll stay in business. Get it wrong, or ignore it, and your organization could be heading for all sorts of trouble.

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