It's the new buzz. Everyone is talking about and participating in social media, the communication and sharing phenomenon where anyone can play an active role in your Internet brand management. And "tweeting" is a blast, but Twitter and the like are not just fun and games. Behind every social media strategy, and for that matter Internet marketing strategy, are numbers waiting to be looked at and a clear path to be taken depending on your business' goals. Social media analytics, you might say. Have you set business goals for your Social Media endeavors? Today, Big Picture Web talks about social media tools and purpose.
Social Media Tools, Toys and Tactics
First off, social media is a broad playground full of tools, toys and tactics . There are communication tools (Twitter), communities ( Facebook), bookmarking sites (StumbleUpon), the blogosphere (Technorati); even user reviews and ratings that you see on Amazon.com are considered social media tools (my friends at Social Media, What? uncover and review new social media tools all the time). Every social media tool has a different purpose waiting to be applied to your business. And that's the real question... have you found your social media purpose?
Internet Brand Management
In the days before social media, only a quarterly earnings statement or a carefully crafted press release would make it to the masses. There was a limit to who could define your brand through media. With social media, everyone is a publisher with an opinion. Including your customers. Andy Beal's Radically Transparent is all about Internet brand management and describes how word-of-mouth has gone online. In a nutshell, Mr. Beal stresses the potential impact of social media on your business and explains how to participate in these public conversations to further and protect your brand. This is your social media purpose. And there are tools that will help you get there.
Social Media Analytics. Like Google Analytics
You can combine your social media tools and purpose in three easy steps. Find and listen to the conversations. Participate. Use social media analytics to measure your progress.
- Monitor. Sites like Social Mention and Search.Twitter.com allow you to search social media for mentions of your brand, service or product. These passive listening devices are phenomenal for identifying everything from customer service opportunities to copyright infringement issues. Finding your customers can be a challenge, but you'll be happy you did.
- Participate. Once you find your audience and have identified your business goals, you can begin to use social media for Internet brand management. Use Twitter to communicate with customers voicing concern about your product via their tweets. Use social bookmarking sites to seed your newest content in an effort to bring new customers. Encourage customers to review your products or services. Just be sure you have a specific business goal in mind as you join the conversation.
- Social Media Analytics. Now that you're listening and participating, measure your success with social media analytics. Track Social Mention for the number of good, bad and indifferent comments are made about your brand. You can tag your URLs (e.g., links to your homepage) before you tweet them to make them trackable in your Web Analytics software. Use Twitteranalyzer to see how people are reacting to your message. If you have a business goal, there is a way to track it and folks out there eager to show you how. (In fact, Andy and Doug at Managing the Edge just did a great show on Social Media Measurement.)
So there you have it. Social media is important for Internet brand management. Monitor and participate in these conversations and then use social media analytics to gauge your performance. Combine your social media tools and purpose to achieve results!