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How To Use Social Media Monitoring Tools To Increase Sales
Social media is a huge part of internet culture these days and, crucially for businesses, an increasingly key part of connecting with customers and making sales. The explosive growth in social media management software is a by-product of the huge audiences available on social media businesses are trying to tap into.
There are now over 2 billion active social media users, and they're not only using it to keep in touch with friends and family or share pictures of cats. Social media users are looking for businesses and using social media to follow businesses, interact with them, and even start the sales process.
The range of social media sites is also on the increase. Just some of the social media sites that people are using include:
Social media users use their favorite networks to share and consume content, talk to family and friends, look up brands, and much more. Social media is essentially a giant conversation, with information and opinions crossing the internet at all times of the day and night.
So just why is this so important to businesses? It's simple: People are out there talking about brands and looking for them on social media. Businesses who have an active social media presence and who join in the conversation are more likely to get noticed, gain followers, and ultimately make the sale. Most active social media users mention brands as many as 90 times in a single week. That means multiple opportunities for brands to connect with new and existing customers.
As this video from Brand 24 shows, nine out of ten people trust the opinion of other customers. That means that social media isn't only a chance to build customer connections; it's also vital that businesses listen out for brand mentions and manage their online reputation. Just how can they do that? The answer is social media monitoring tools.
Social media monitoring tools give brands the means to listen for brand mentions, manage their social media accounts and content, build timed social media campaigns and much more. With social media monitoring tools, brands can boost their social media presence and turn social media into a vital marketing tool for their business. Social media monitoring tools save businesses time and energy, making it easier to make social media work for them.
Businesses can use social media monitoring tools to grow their online exposure, brand and sales. Like any other tool, the trick is to use the best tips and strategies to make the most of it. Here are 14 tips businesses can use to take their social media monitoring to the next level.
1. Get Focused
Lack of focus is bad news in any business endeavour. Businesses who want to make the most of social media monitoring need to get focused on how they are going to use social media monitoring and why.
A scattergun approach, listening for any mentions, or setting up campaigns haphazardly is unlikely to yield good results. A structured and focused approach, on the other hand, is more likely to bring businesses the results they want. Businesses might want to focus on:
•Specific social networks
•Mentions of a particular product
•Crafting and monitoring a campaigns
•Finding new prospects
•Reaching out to a particular customer group
By drawing up a plan before they start, businesses can make sure they use social media monitoring in a way that fits with their aims.
2. Set Priorities
One of the joys of social media monitoring tool is their usefulness in setting priorities. Take Agora Pulse's Inbox Zero, for example, a tool that helps service users get their social media notifications all cleared and down to zero.
Prioritizing is a must for businesses when it comes to using social media monitoring tools. Picking out which tasks matter most and scheduling those first will help businesses stay focused on what matters. It's easy to get bogged down in “busy work” when it comes to social media. Setting priorities and making sure they are assigned to the right people makes social media monitoring much more productive.
3. Monitor Brand Mentions
Monitoring brand mentions is hands down one of the most important aspects of social media monitoring. Online reputation can have a massive impact on a brand's popularity and sales. In fact, news of bad customer service reaches more than twice as many ears as praise for good customer service. That means that businesses need to listen out for brand mentions and find out how customers see them.
Just looking at what their followers are saying isn't enough. Research shows that 96% of the people who discuss brands online do not follow that brand's owned profile. With social media monitoring, brands can find out who is talking about them, whether they are followers or not.
4. React To Negative Sentiments
As discussed above, negative reviews can carry a lot of weight. In addition to that, 79% of consumers place equal weight on both online reviews and personal recommendations. That's why brands need to root out negative sentiment and deal with it.
If a customer is talking about a bad experience with a brand, that business can do a lot of damage control by reaching out with a sincere apology and an offer of help to resolve the situation. A well-handled complaint can turn a negative review into a positive one and actually boost a brand's reputation for customer service.
5. Boost Customer Service
Customer service is key for any business, be they online or bricks and mortar. In fact, 76% of consumers say they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them.
Social media monitoring tools are a good complement to customer service. From finding brand mentions to managing messages and comments from customers, businesses can use social media monitoring tools to make sure no message gets missed and no complaint is left unresolved.
6. Join Conversations
Social media is essentially one big conversation. By joining in with that conversation, businesses can raise their brand profile and work on building strong relationships with their customers.
The key to joining conversations effectively is to be a useful participant. If a business takes every conversation as an opportunity to plug their products, customers will soon find them irritating. If, on the other hand, they join in with relevant information, customers will pay attention. The business will show themselves as useful and raise their brand profile at the same time – it's a win win situation.
7. Search For New Prospects
Social media monitoring works – 19 out of 20 social media software users see a positive ROI from using it. One of the ways social media monitoring helps boost sales and provide a great ROI is by giving businesses an easy way to search for new prospects.
Most customers, if they're looking for a specific kind of product or a solution to a problem, take to social media to talk about it. By listening in for relevant keywords and conversations, businesses can find customers who are a great match for exactly what they have to offer. Then it's a simple case of letting the customer know that they have what they need. With only 5% of social media users stating that they would be uncomfortable with a brand reaching out directly on a social platform it's a risk free strategy with the potential for great returns.
8. Look For Opportunities
Social media monitoring can open the door to all kinds of new opportunities for businesses. Statistics show that 63% of small businesses spend six or more hours weekly on social media marketing. That's a great start! But as well as marketing existing products, businesses can use social media to look for new niches and opportunities.
By listening to what their customers and prospects are saying, businesses can get a good feel for the problems and pain points they have. They can then innovate with new products or services or simply adapt their existing services to meet those needs, thus increasing their reach and diversifying their business.
9. Build Relationships
The immediate nature of social media makes it an ideal medium for building relationships with customers. Real-time interactions with businesses on social media have a much more immediate feel to them than, say, sending off an email or support ticket and waiting for a result.
The keys to building good customer relationships on social media are:
Social media monitoring tools make it much easier to build relationships. Research shows that medium-sized business receive an average of 6 messages per employee, but answer only 10.1% of them. That's not likely to help their reputation. With social media monitoring, businesses can keep on top of messages.
10. Check Out The Competition
Social media monitoring isn't just helpful for keeping on top of brand mentions and distributing content; brands can also use social media monitoring to check out the competition.
With 72% of a brand’s Twitter followers being likely to make a future purchase from that brand it's worth businesses taking time to see what their competitors are doing to keep their customers loyal.
On the flip side, businesses can use social media monitoring to find out what complaints consumers have about the competition. They can then offer them something better, thus gaining new customers.
11. Include Customer Relationship Management
Most social media monitoring tools include some customer relationship management tools. Customer relationship management means that businesses can keep a log of their interactions with each customer. That means more tailored service, and less time spent on re-hashing old ground when a customer gets in touch again.
By integrating social media monitoring with CRM, businesses can build strong, trusting relationships with customers and make them feel heard and cared about. All the information is in one place, so any team member can step into the conversation and immediately be up to date.
12. Encourage Teamwork
Social media monitoring tools often come with functionality that makes it easier for teams to work together. For example, a business can use the tool to assign certain tasks to specific team members, or to make sure the right people get notifications when customers reach out on social media.
Good teamwork means customer queries get dealt with in a timely fashion, and team members are never left wondering whose responsibility each task is. Managing a team in this way means even smoother customer interactions, and a streamlined and effective team who get tasks done without accidentally repeating each other's tasks.
13. Get To Grips With Analytics
Social media monitoring tools come with a range of reports and analytics. These give businesses and overview of their social media activity. They might use analytics to learn:
•What content is popular
•Which content is most likely to lead to a sale
•The most successful social media channel for their brand
•Whether certain times or days yield better results
And much more. Businesses can use the results to analyze their social media strategy, re thik it, try again and then analyze afresh until they are seeing the results they want. Analytics let businesses know what is working, and what isn't, so they can hone their social media efforts for maximum success. Having a good social media analytics software makes all these tasks much easier.
14. Choose The Right Tool
There is a wide range of social media tools on the market, and they all have their strengths. Before investing in a social media tool, businesses would do well to evaulate what they need fromt hat tool.
For example, if a business does most of their social media outreach on a specific site (such as Twitter or Facebook), they should use a tool that works particularly well with that site. Or perhaps they need to focus on CRM, or want SMS or email integration. A thorough evaulation of their needs before purchasing will make it easier to find the right social media scheduling tool.
With over 2 billion active users, social media is a vital communication channel for businesses of all kinds and sizes. Customers are on social media, talking about brands, looking for information, and discussing their needs, worries and pain points. Businesses who can get in on those conversations can raise their profile and build better relationships with new and existing customers.
With 65% of Internet users seeing online search as the most trusted source of information about people and companies, it's clear that a certain level of reputation management is a must. Social media monitoring tools help businesses to manage their reputation, connect with customers, find new opportunities, streamline their teamwork and much more.
As well as managing social media and improving customer service, businesses can use social media monitoring tools to gain valuable statistical insights into their social media use and success. Social media is big news for businesses these days – with a social media monitoring tool, businesses can keep in touch with customers and manage their social media presence in real time for immediate and powerful results.