For small businesses, social media is no longer optional. With the right social media marketing plan and tools, you can create effective campaigns, promote your business and market your products.
Social media marketing solutions can streamline campaigns, and make it easy to manage posts and accounts. The best social media solutions make it easy to schedule to publish posts, monitor conversations, have in-depth analytic capabilities and integrates with other programs you use. Here are some great social media marketing solutions to help you get there.
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- Connect with customers
- Drive traffic and collect leads
- Create content
- Manage and consolidate social accounts
Connect with customers
Customer service on social media platforms can also be a powerful form of marketing by showing the world how much a business values its customers. SparkCentral provides businesses with a social media help-desk platform, allowing them to quickly respond to potential and current customers’ questions and concerns. This real-time engagement both humanizes social media and brings brands closer to leads and followers, helping turn them into loyal customers.
One of the reasons social media is effective for marketing is that it gives brands and businesses the ability to interact and engage with more people, all with just a few clicks of a mouse. CX Social is a comprehensive platform that helps you better engage with your customers in real time. It helps you monitor conversations about your brand and products (as well as competitors and your industry in general) across all major social networks, news websites, blogs and forums. The platform also has its own analytics and reporting features, which show you your audience’s demographics, who your fans and influencers are, and more. Additionally, it offers tools to make teamwork simpler among social media managers.
Hashtags aren’t always the best solution to maximizing social media engagement during live events. Livecube takes the inherent problems with hashtags — misspellings, lack of participation and clunkiness of revisiting tweets — and uses gamification to incentivize and reward participation. It not only provides a centralized place to find event-related tweets, ideas and connections, but also encourages participation by rewarding users with points, badges and real-life prizes for contributing to discussions. Other features include event management tools that integrate social media, such as speaker scheduling, logistics management, analytics and social networking. Livecube offers pricing information and demos upon request.
Drive traffic and collect leads
People don’t just tweet about events and random nothings, but they also tweet looking for advice, products and services. Find them with Respondology a Twitter intent-based marketing web app that helps small businesses turn conversations into customers. This self-serve platform lets users comb Twitter for potential customers using highly targeted metrics, such as those in their neighborhood or those seeking their specific product and services. For instance, a coffee house can search for tweets containing the terms “caffeine fix” or “need coffee,” then flag them to directly reply to the customer.
LeadSift mines millions of social media conversations, cutting through the noise to deliver relevant, quality leads based on metrics set by users, such as geographic information and keywords. For instance, if you own a flower shop in San Francisco, LeadSift’s algorithms will find tweets from users located in San Francisco who are looking to buy flowers, as opposed to just tweeting about flowers in general. You can then initiate engagement, target campaigns and create relationships to turn them into profitable customers.
Custard Media is a social media marketing management and distribution tool that goes the extra mile by helping users go viral. The Custard Media team can manage social media marketing campaigns on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as content-distribution social networks like Pinterest. The company also specializes in SEO and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, which not only drive traffic to a business’s website, but also apply to social media marketing campaigns to maximize advertising spend. Contact Custard Media for a quote.
Knowing what’s trending is key to reaching the right audience. HashAtIt.com offers a way to find out what’s hot across multiple social networks in real time. Dubbed as “The Social Search Engine,” HashAtIt.com collects status updates, tweets and other posts, allowing users to search for the most popular hashtags on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest — all in one place. This free hashtag search platform also offers a user-friendly interface that includes customizable hashtag boards to filter and organize hashtag searches, as well as the ability to mute irrelevant search results.
If you don’t have any social media marketing experience, WebiMax can help. Instead of navigating the fickle social media marketing waters yourself, WebiMax can create and maintain custom campaigns on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and other social networks. To ensure an accurate representation of a brand, WebiMax campaigns are strategically crafted and tailored to a specific business and its consumer base. WebiMax also offers website evaluation to determine the best campaign outlets.
Social media isn’t for everyone, but SnapRetail turns the average small business owner into a social media marketing powerhouse with ready-to-use social media content. The service offers a library with thousands of customizable, prewritten social media posts to choose from, eliminating the difficulty of crafting attention-grabbing updates. Users can use posts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. You can use a calendar interface to easily schedule updates. Users can also add some pizazz to posts via the SnapRetail app, which enables them to take their own photos to complement their posts. SnapRetail offers annual plans that start at $33 a month.
Manage your social accounts
This email and social media marketing platform lets businesses send email marketing campaigns and schedule posts to their social networks from one dashboard, eliminating the need for multiple, separate tools to do their online marketing. VerticalResponse’s content block email design editor lets users easily add “follow us” and “share to social” buttons to all their emails, and give their readers additional ways to engage. VerticalResponse is free for up to 4,000 emails to up to 300 contacts. Beyond these numbers, you have to select a paid plan, which start at $11 a month.
Having trouble managing multiple social media accounts? Sociota is a social network management and monitoring platform offering the ability to integrate multiple Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+ accounts. The platform is easy to use with features that allow you to post Facebook updates, track Twitter streams, monitor industry-wide conversations and more. Sociota is free for individuals, and paid plans (usually for businesses) begin at $5 per month.
With HootSuite, users can manage multiple social networks, schedule messages and tweets, analyze social media traffic, track conversions, and measure campaign results — all in one user-friendly dashboard. HootSuite’s Social Analytics lets you create unlimited custom reports, so you can track metrics like top content, likes and shares, follower demographics, traffic sources and more. These features help businesses easily measure reach, increase engagement and maximize visibility across all types of social channels. HootSuite supports more than 35 social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn. Free HootSuite accounts offer limited features and are best for individuals. Paid business packages start at $19.99 per month after a 30-day free trial.
With more than 4 million users, Buffer is one of the most popular and well-known social media management tools on the market. This platform offers scheduling for the major social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and Google Plus, as well as detailed analytics to show post activity, influencer engagement, potential reach and more. Buffer makes it easy to create customized social schedules (including the timing and frequency of posts for each network), and allows you to “Re-Buffer” (re-share) any posts that need an extra boost.
Vivial is a social and mobile marketing platform designed for local businesses. To drive in-store sales, Vivial integrates things like SEO, mobile websites, advertising and online videos. The service also lets businesses boost social media reach and can help with local print directories. Vivial’s dashboard is easy to use, and you can easily see the progress of your social, email, SEO, mobile and local campaigns in one place.