There are TONS of social media tools out there and you have probably heard about many of them. They usually have funky names and they have all different “categories:” Social CRM, Social Listening, Social Publishing, Social Media Analytics, etc. I like to call it The Wild West of Social Software. How do you know which ones to use and which ones to leave alone? First, it’s important to understand how these tools help to support your social media objectives. Here are the 3 categories that every B2B company should care about:
Social listening (examples: Hootsuite, Tweetdeck)
What is it? Every good strategy starts with research and understanding of your industry’s landscape. Social listening tools enable you to evaluate what is happening around your keywords, competitors, influencers, media and associations. Good social listening tools allow you to use a streamlined interface coupled with strong customizable search capabilities to see the data that matters to you.
Social publishing (examples: Buffer, Hootsuite)
What is it? Rather than signing in to your company’s Facebook account, Twitter account, and LinkedIn account separately and each time to want to post something, good social publishing tools enable you to connect to all of your accounts in one location, create posts and schedule them for publishing at your desired day/time. While the features of these platforms vary, this key functionality will really help you to cut back on the administrative part of social media posting and manage content in one centralized location.
Social Media Analytics (examples: Simply Measured, Social Report)
What is it? Okay, not much mystery here and the analytics that you get out of these platforms are obviously only as good as the KPIs you create to determine what your social media success looks like. But good social analytics products will help you to develop customized dashboards and will also highlight both the more top level analysis like engagement and visitors but also post-level details so that you can determine which posts generated the best results and use this data to inform future content development.
Please note that the examples presented are not recommendations for each category; they are merely companies who put themselves into each of these categories. In future posts, I will seek to demystify some of these tools and present the pros and cons. The thing that I have definitely learned in the past few years is that there is no one tool that does it all really well. And that’s likely because the social media world – bringing new and changing social networks to us every day – is always evolving. As such, each of these categories and tools will continue to evolve along with it. In the meantime, it’s important to carefully consider where you should put your efforts.
Have specific questions about social media tools or want to offer up some thoughts? Fire away!
Let’s all say it together: “Social media is overwhelming. I can’t incorporate every social media channel and use every strategy and tactic.” Why are we saying this? Because we need to acknowledge that it’s true! Every day, there are new social networks being launched; some of them are fantastic and interesting and others are just okay and likely won’t have longevity.
We’re also saying this because as marketers, social media professionals and people, there aren’t possibly enough hours in the day for us to do everything. We need to focus on a few key networks where our audiences are already and then employ a few great strategies/tactics for each that will have the most impact.
I’m also saying this because it’s the New Year and as I think about the year ahead, I need to personally acknowledge this. I have amassed a good amount of expertise and knowledge about this space and yet I often find myself stressing out over the latest Pinterest features that I haven’t been able to fully investigate or that webcast about Facebook contest apps that I didn’t yet get to download. So, there! I said it in a public forum!
Hopefully you will join me in this quest for doing a few key things really well; it’s easy to talk about but harder to implement. Here are a few that I am trying right now:
I have already begun to see the results of #1 – it is revitalizing my Twitter account, garnering more followers daily, as well as more @mentions. The jury is still out on #2; I will report back when I have data to share.
In the meantime, I encourage you to figure out which social networks you will focus on this year – which should be a result of understanding your audience(s) – and then figure out those few new tactics that could really help to expand your influence. Figure out how you will measure each and then take a little time each month to see how things are progressing. You may find that they aren’t – I could find out that my increased Pinterest efforts aren’t really leading anywhere. So be prepared to make the appropriate strategy shifts so that you’re not wasting time.
Please share – what things are you trying out? Are any of them underway? What are your initial impressions? Let us know!
Yes, it's really overdue, isn't it? It's like the saying about the cobbler's shoes...but I won't dwell.
Back in April of 2013, I launched my new venture, Take Root Marketing. Why? I have worked for some really great companies in a variety of industries and the truth is that I have loved each role in one way or another. In some cases, my focus was as the marketing generalist - able to strategize and execute on plans on a daily basis. While other roles found me heavily involved in managing a marketing team. I learned so much from each one. But I learned that I enjoy the challenge of helping to put a start-up on the map as much as I like assisting the Fortune 500 with social media strategy.
So here I am! And I have contributed to hundreds of blog posts, Tweets, Instagram photos, etc. but have not been able to claim a Take Root blog...until now. Thus begins the journey and I hope that anyone who might read this will come along for the ride.
This blog will focus on marketing challenges, social networks, and potentially my frustrations in successfully navigating it all - hopefully with my audience throwing their thoughts into the mix. I look forward to our discussions!
Renay M. Picard
The Take Root Marketing Blog is intended as a vehicle to assist and engage with marketers and social media addicts like myself - please share your thoughts, good, bad or otherwise. I'd love to hear from you!