In years past, small business marketers hesitated to jump on the social media train. They didn’t recognize the value of collecting fans and followers.
Today, the value of social media is apparent to brands everywhere. Countless companies, large and small, are mastering the art of social media monitoring. They see how engaging and connecting with their audiences provides measureable marketing results.
Follow these five steps to create a stellar social media marketing strategy.
1. Decide on your objectives.
How will social media monitoring help your business? Monitoring objectives can cover a range of activities. For example:
- Track public sentiment about your brand.
- Respond to customer feedback.
- Follow industry trends.
- Check on competitors.
Think of social media monitoring as your earpiece to catch relevant chatter in the digital marketplace.
2. Fine-tune your tracking.
If you are in the sporting goods business, tracking keywords such as retail won’t give you a targeted portrait of who is trying to find you.
You’ll get a more detailed search picture if you follow specific words and phrases such as sporting goods, sports apparel, or the types of sporting equipment your business offers.
Your tracking should also include specific promotions, your company, products or services, and your brand’s spokespeople.
3. Find the right tools.
To get a complete picture of who is saying what about your brand, you need a tool that covers all the bases. Don’t just follow news and trends. Track other elements including:
- Offline traditional coverage.
- Comments of influencers important to your industry.
- Blog posts related to your business.
- Sentiment and tone of comments.
In addition, use real-time analysis of active conversations (on Twitter for example) to react quickly to comments.
4. Plan your response.
It’s one thing to have your finger on the pulse of what people are saying about you. It’s quite another to respond quickly and effectively to those opinions.
Have plans in place to respond to favorable blog posts or unhappy customers venting on Twitter or Facebook.
5. Develop relationships.
Social media marketing is about engaging with your audience. Once you find the thought leaders and influencers in your industry, reach out and develop relationships with them.
Before you comment on their blogs or offer your expertise in industry discussions, listen carefully to pick up the nuances surrounding their opinions. Your audience will appreciate you as a considerate and credible voice.
The same holds true for managing relationships with consumers. Listen to what they’re saying and discover what problems your brand can solve.
To make the most of your social media presence, understand how your brand is perceived in the digital world. Use social media monitoring to deal with problems quickly and take advantage of positive developments effectively.
Frank Salatto is a writer at Vocus, where a version of this article originally ran.