A strong social media presence is a must for businesses of any size. Of course, simply having social media accounts doesn’t equate to having a social media presence. To maximize your reach, it’s absolutely essential that you know what you’re doing on social media.
The question is, though, how does one go about mastering social media? Unfortunately, the answer is not as simple as hiring a college student with the hottest memes of the moment. And while helpful, guides to social media posting for businesses aren't an end-all, be-all solution.
The key to great social media is not just that it's trendy or well-written (although it absolutely should be). The key to mastering social media is knowing your audience: what they want and when they want it.
This knowledge comes from closely monitoring your followers to see what they’re drawn to – what they like, what they tend to be interested in and when they'll be most likely to see your posts.
Additionally, you should keep tabs on your competition. Keep track of their tactics, watch their social media activity and figure out what makes them successful. There's nothing wrong with stealing a few plays from their playbook – as long as they work. Odds are, they're doing the same.
Of course, the type of in-depth analytics necessary to get a clear picture of your audience, as well as your competition, is not easy to compile on your own. There are, however, a handful of reliable and useful tools you can use to "listen in" on the conversation surrounding your industry.
Brand24 is a social monitoring tool that helps business owners gain insights as to their existing customers – and potential new customers. You can monitor what users say or ask about your brand in real time so you can engage with them directly. With a mobile app and hashtag searches, Brand24 integrates your social media management process with your followers’ environment to detect sales opportunities.
The tool also allows you to social search by topic or keyword to discover top influencers to connect with as well as overall brand sentiment analysis – understanding who is trashing or praising your brand.
Sprout Social provides a high level of analytics to customers and even lets them schedule posts from their platform. With Sprout Social, you’ll be able to achieve congruency across social media platforms.
Having this consistent and unified cross-platform image is a great way to develop your brand and ensure you're presenting a reliable and recognizable image to your customers.
Primarily known for being a post-scheduling app, Buffer also offers great listening analytics, showing users the overall impact and reception of their posts. Using Buffer, you’ll be able to glean what works best and when you should be posting.
Remember, an effective post is a combination of good content and good timing. Know when your audience is online so you don’t waste any good posts by publishing them when no one is looking.
One of the benefits of Cyfe is that it brings everything together. Analytics that you may be spending time looking up across different platforms are all presented in one easy dashboard. The phrase, "time is money" is just a saying to a lot of people, but as a business owner, it’s a commandment.
As a side note, Cyfe goes beyond social media and helps you monitor email campaigns as well as business websites and blogs. With Cyfe, just about everything you publish online can be managed from one location.
Spyfu offers some of the most comprehensive company comparison analytics out there. With it, you can track trending analytics and see SEO overlap between your content and that of your competitors.
Additionally, Spyfu will show you how difficult or easy it is to rank on certain keywords, making sure that your online publishing is as effective as possible. Essentially, Spyfu shows you what people are searching for and how crowded the market is in answering that search, a valuable tool as you look to find your niche and build your brand.
The old reliable of the analytics world, Google Analytics will give you all of the basic analytics you're looking for. You can track whether or not you're meeting your conversion goals, and it shows you what you can do to improve.
Again, social media management is much more than a clever post. It requires a detailed knowledge of your audience: what they're looking for, what needs can be met better and when they should be met. The success of your business could hinge on your social media performance, so don't leave it to chance.