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2012: The Year of Social Media Dominance

2011 saw a huge rise in social media, taking it from a sideline, extra activity to the center of the web universe. In the coming year social media will grow exponentially and become one of the central activities in human affairs on many different levels.

Business and Marketing
Companies have all but fully embraced social media in their business plans already, but the integration in 2012 will become all-encompassing, with social media dwarfing other marketing activities. The increase will become so pervasive that it will become a given and a business necessity to have brand monitoring software to track engagement and measure ROI.

Companies will also move away from having a marketing department that also handles social media. The new necessity to survive the competition will be a director of social media, and possibly a staff that does nothing but. This is because social sites will become the new customer service centers of corporations, tailoring their practices to fit into the customers’ paradigm. 

Marketing will finally find the ultimate sweet spot in social media, where well-planned campaigns become almost effortless and extremely more effective due to fitting in the target market’s activities rather than becoming an extra activity. Businesses that can see the future and prepare properly will thrive. Those who do not will sink, and we are likely to see a shake-up and shake-out of businesses in the coming year as this heats up.

Mobile Social Activities
With the smartphone and tablet markets already in full gear, this will be the year that they rise toward the saturation point. These markets have been sitting in the 20-35% adoption range for a couple of years, but the latter half of 2011 saw then inching higher each month. In 2012 this market will break 50% and beyond, and in doing so social media activities will follow and become much more mobile than they are tethered to a laptop or desktop. Social gaming will continue to grow at astronomical rates, incorporating more and more advertising as well as real-world activities that tie in.

News Will Be Primarily from Social Sites
Twitter really began the cycle of distributing news through social media a few years ago, but it has really grown into a powerful force today, with many people getting the majority of their daily news through social sites. This trend will only continue, and as major media outlets embrace it more and more it will become better structured and the primary source for most people to get their news, in one way or another. We have already seen in newscasts and in this election cycle the engagement and inclusion of Twitter and Facebook as legitimate sources of engagement and feedback from viewers, and this year’s Presidential election will likely see a huge impact from the social side of things.

Facebook will break 1 billion users, but Google+ will release their API and Rule the World
Facebook will get the push over the 1 billion mark by adding users from countries with lower rates of adoption, and they will remain a dominant player in every aspect of the social scene, which will mean the web itself. However, Google has already taken bold moves in recent days and months to set themselves up for the biggest putsch in internet history. They have steadily been integrating and tweaking their vast products and resources to eventually form one hub to rule them all, just as the Google search site was for years. With Google+ taking off in the last 4 months and being integrated with everything from search to pictures to documents to email to everything else, Google will complete this consolidation and finally release their API for third-party development, and in a matter o months they will out pace Facebook and once again become the dominant force on the internet. Once this happens it will be a coups that will be hard to undo.

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5 Steps for Successful Social Media Monitoring

Social Media is critical to your organization’s success, especially going forward as more and more customer connections and engagement are moving there. With millions and millions of people spending more and more time on social sites, it only makes good business sense to be there with them. Just like any business decision, this should be thought out and not jumped into haphazardly. Here are 5 great tips for success in using this valuable avenue.
  

Know Your Plan
It is always important to know why and what you are going to do before you do it, otherwise you are being blown by the wind. Identifying which social networks best serve your interests and where your best chances are to make an impact on the public is a first step. Twitter and Facebook are givens, but you may find that SoundCloud is a great fit for you, or Pinterest. The more sites you can use effectively the better, but if you get no engagement from the site, move on. You also need to know what you want to accomplish there. Remember that throwing out links and ads left and right is not good social etiquette, you have to be real and engage.

Listen More, Talk Less
You must seek out your audience by monitoring sites for key words and phrases that relate to your mission. If they are mentioning your name, even better. If you are a company that sells patio grills and accessories, you might search sites for mentions of cooking, grilling, recipes, barbecues, or similar things. Once you find people talking about subjects that relate to what you do, you can follow or friend them and start engaging. Once you do engage, promote yourself, but don’t cram it down their throat. Just be friendly with them, and throw in what you can when it comes up.

Recruit Promoters
Once you are engaged, get your new friends to work for you by issuing campaign challenges, asking questions that people can answer and want to answer (these don’t have to be about your business), etc. You can then turn the conversation to something related to your business and attempt to get feedback. This builds the bond. The more you can create a give and take instead of just a give, the better the chance you can get your people to “like” you, retweet you, and generally become brand evangelists for you.
  

Social means Social
Again, don’t send out links about your latest promotion every hour. A social media site is exactly that, a place for conversations and casual engagement. If you try to convert your Facebook page to your sales floor, you will lose people quickly. There must be a great deal of tact employed with your engagement, finding the right balance between promotion and conversation. Try to think of it as hanging out with your friend and trying to get them to do something for you. You have to spend a lot more time buttering them up than throwing your sales pitch at them. If the relationship is built right, th rest comes easily.
  

Measure Success 
There are simply too many people you will be exposed to to be able to track them by memory or with ticks on a page with a pencil. You will need a solid piece of social media management software to do the job right. The right dashboard gives you the numbers and analytics you need to effectively track how your engagement is increasing traffic and promoters. After all, it’s all about your ROI, and if you aren’t tracking that, then why are you doing it in the first place?

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10 Social Media ROI Metrics Your Company Should Monitor

So your company is on Facebook and Twitter and you are sending out posts and Tweets like there is no tomorrow. What are you getting for the effort? Do you know? If you don’t know, then you are burning productivity like my first car burned oil. Measuring social media ROI is just as important as any other area of your business. Some business owners are still unsure as to what they are measuring, however. That’s why we here at Sendible are giving you the gift of information with this post. Here are 1o things you should be monitoring in social media.

Leads
You should be tracking click-throughs to your site from social media sites, as well as your “likes”, follows, etc. Also try to be aware of and track any referrals that are sent your way from your existing social media contacts.

Engagement Duration
How much time are your “friends” spending on your Facebook page or using your Facebook app? (you do have one don’t you?) This “stickiness” factor should be improving over time, not staying stagnant or declining.

Bounce Rate
When folks click through from a social media site to your website, are they leaving again right away or do they hang out and see what you have going on there? If they aren’t spending time on your site once they get there, you need to evaluate whether or not your site has relevant, fresh content. The social sites can help get people to your site, but it needs to be a fun or interesting place to be, or they will get out of there like they just walked into the wrong restroom.

Network and Membership Size
For this you want to count the people that actively engage. There are lots of people who will like, follow, friend, or whatever your social presence and then they never mess with it again. You want to know how many are actually reading your posts, commenting, sharing, etc. This number should be growing, as well as the number of new people joining the fun.

Activity Ratio
This is very similar to the previous metric, but it is about the ratio of active to inactive network members instead of just the growth numbers. This ratio should also ideally tilt more and more into the active side as you go along to consider your activity a success.

Conversions
This is big. Business wise this is the most important metric here. You ultimately want to convert your network members into sales, subscriptions, or anything else that can be monetized in one way or another. You are a business, right? Track this very closely and then work on increasing the other metrics with the goal of pushing them into this one.

Mentions
Tracking your mentions on different social sites is one of the best ways to see how pervasive your brand is on the scene. This includes the good and the bad mentions. The good will tell you what you are doing right and how well you are doing it. The bad mentions tell you where you need to improve.

Loyalty
Hand in hand with other metrics, it is important to track how many times your content and links are being shared, if you are getting evangelized by your promoters, and how often they do these things.

The Viral Factor
Extended networks also need to be monitored. In other words, when one of your network members shares a link or post from you to one of their friends that is not on your network, are they resharing it with their friends, and so on. The further you can reach, the better.

Blog Comments 
You need a blog. It keeps the web-crawling robots tracking your site and keeps you in thee search results. You also need to have a comments section after each post. You need to reply to comments.  Then you need to track these comments, shares of the blog posts, etc. You also need to make sure that you have buttons by the posts that people can click on to share them on the social sites.

Tracking your social media engagement is just as important as actually being on the social sites. Don’t waste time on the sites if you aren’t going to measure the results. Of course, choosing to abstain from Facebook, Twitter, and the others is as good as hanging out the “closed ” sign for good.

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10 Benefits of using a Social Media Dashboard

It’s amazing how many organizations and businesses still don’t use a Social Media Dashboard. When I say that it’s amazing, I really mean that. Any organization that does not already understand that social media is the key to their future success has essentially hung out the “closed for business” sign and is waiting for someone to tell them. With the myriad of networks out there that need to be worked and monitored, there are only two viable options: have a large staff devoted to social media or get software to take care of your social media tracking. Here are 10 reasons why the latter is the better choice.

1. Track your Competition
You not only need to know what’s going on with your own business, you need to know where you stand with your competition in the space. You can just as easily track them as you do yourself with the right searches set up.

2. Time Management
This is key. Productivity is all important to be efficient, and having a staff to take care of your social exploits is just too expensive for most. As one business owner pointed out recently, he used to spend 10 minutes per client per day just responding to and checking on their engagement in the social space. That’s all day long. With the help of a social media dashboard, he now spends 20 minutes per month instead.

3. Brand Management
Using the dashboard allows you to set up keyword searches that will track what people are saying about you and you product or service. Being able to find these quickly and engage the commenters can prevent trying to put out forest fires of bad sentiment later, or encourage good sentiment now.

4. Schedule and Auto-Respond
This is also time management. If you want to post several times a day to different networks, they need to be spread out. The scheduler feature of a dashboard lets you spend some time once a week or a month setting up what you want to send and when, and then let it do its thing. The auto-responder also let’s you be engaged with your audience without having to stare at the screen all day. Setting up simple Thank You messages for comments or similar things can make sure that they don’t feel like they are wasting their time posting, then later you can get back to them in a more detailed fashion if warranted.

5. Find New Customers
When you can track what people are talking about, you can narrow in on those who seem to have an interest in what you have to offer, so that you can engage them and win them over.

6. See How Effective Each Post Is
Each message or post that you throw up on the screen can be tracked to see if anyone is responding to it. Knowing this is important, because it allows you to find out what is effective and what is a flop.

7. Collaboration
Most dashboards give you collaborative power so that coworkers across the building or across the world can work together on your social media campaign, increasing both productivity and effectiveness.

8. Track More Than Just Social Sites
With a good social media dashboard, you can also track what’s being said about you on blogs and RSS feeds, as well as other various sources. Not everything is said on Facebook and twitter, and this can often give you even more insight since when someone bothers to comment on a blog post, they usually have something to say that you should be listening to.

9. Find Out if Your Traffic is Coming From Social Sources
The visits to your website – where are they coming from? Knowing whether they came from a Google search or a social click-through lets you know where you need to focus your energy.

10. It Makes You Look Smart and Get the Girls
Let’s face it, chicks dig social media dashboards. Oh, they may tell you that you’re a geek to your face, but secretly they know that you are a genius for having the business savvy to use one, and they will eventually give in and fall at your feet. This might be a stretch, but you definitely should know that you are smart and business-savvy if you are using a dashboard, and, well, the opposite if you are not. 

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How Startups Can Leverage Social Media to Grow Their Businesses

You have the greatest idea for a new company since Google came out with search. We know you do. You’ve even been able to get some angel investors to fork over the cash you need for research and development and buying snazzy new computers and such so you feel like a real company. You’ve come up with a logo, had a nice nameplate hung on the door to the basement in your house, and even printed up some business cards. Now you are sitting and waiting for the customers to start flooding in to buy your…whatever it is you are selling…but the phones aren’t ringing, the website has 4 hits (you and 3 friends), and the email is a huge white space where the full inbox should be. What to do?

Well, first check your Twitter and Facebook pages, and…what? You’re kidding right? Ok, we need to talk.

Social media is not, I repeat not an extra in today’s business world. It is priority number one when it comes to marketing, or at least it should be. It’s a brave new social world out there my friend, and the future of advertising is on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. Actually, the NOW of advertising is there. Before you can get your pages set up the trend will have moved even more in that direction, even if it only takes you an hour to do so.

Social media is effective, period. If, that is, you take it seriously and play right. The reason it’s so effective is that it is where people spend most of their time now, internet-ently speaking. It allows you to get in front of peoples’ faces in a much more effective way than TV or any such ancient idea. People mute commercials and fast-forward their DVR’d shows through them. Social Media is real time advertising, and much more.

It allows you interaction with your customers. You can share interesting things with them that may lead to a discussion of how your product or service can enhance their lives. You just can’t get that kind of interaction in the check-out line at the store, and the chat boxes that pop up on the screen of the websites are summarily dismissed for the most part. On Facebook or Twitter, though, there is a very real possibility of quality interaction. The viral nature of the internet also allows for a wildfire-like spread of your name when you hit the sweet spot. Get some brand promoters tweeting about you to their several thousand followers, and bingo – overnight you can pick up enough business to pay the phone bill next month.

Now you can read elsewhere exactly how to set your pages and presence up on these sites – heck, there are tons of books on the subject – but we are here to tell you that you have to be able to manage these sites effectively. The best way to do that, hands down, is with a quality social media dashboard. This little piece of genius will track your engagement, your effectiveness, and your click-throughs, just to name a few. It will even let you schedule tweets to your huge following in the far east while you are sound asleep dreaming of the new car you will be able to buy soon.

Make no mistake, my entrepreneurial friends, good social media management software should be the first investment you make after you have your new computer to connect you to the vast inter-webs. Even before the name plaque for the basement door.

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How to add a Google Alerts feed into Sendible Monitoring

A new enhancement we’ve recently added to Sendible’s social media monitoring features is the ability to incorporate your Google alerts feed into the results.

To add a Google Alerts feed into Sendible Monitoring, follow the steps below:

  1. In Sendible, go to “Add/Edit Services”
  2. If no monitoring has been set up before, choose “Monitoring”, then “Brand Monitoring”, then “Add”
  3. If monitoring has been set up before, toggle to “My Services” on left, and select “Monitoring” tab
  4. Find the keyword monitoring you want to add Google Alerts to, and choose “Edit” on the far-right.
  5. Now, in a separate browser window, login to your Google Alerts
  6. Make sure that where it says “deliver to”, you change that to say “Google Reader”
  7. Now, while pointing at/hovering over the orange RSS icon to the right of the words “Google Reader”, right-click, and select “copy link location” (note: don’t choose “copy image location” by mistake)
  8. Click back to the Sendible browser window, and “paste” that link into the Google Alerts feed field.  The link should look like this:  http://www.alerts/feeds/##########, where # represents a bunch of numbers.
  9. Now, click to the beginning of this feed address, and delete the http://, since Sendible already has this selected for you in the previous box.
  10. Scroll to the bottom, and click “Save”
These instructions were kindly submitted by Phyllis Neill, CEO/Managing Partner at Buzz12.


If you would like to submit a tip for us to publish to the Sendible blog or user guide, please contact us.  

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How to create opt-in SMS keywords using Sendible

We’re excited to announce our new SMS group feature to compliment Sendible’s existing SMS options. This new feature allows contacts to opt-in via an SMS keyword and join your group allowing you to send SMS texts to your customers in bulk

 

To setup an opt-in number to be able to send and receive SMS texts, follow the steps below:

  1. Go to Add/Edit Services > SMS.
  2. Locate the “Group SMS” service and click “Add”.
  3. Enter the SMS keyword. This is a unique keyword that will be used by contacts be able to opt-in via SMS.
  4. Pick a number from the available numbers in the dropdown list. This is the number that new and existing customers will be able to use to reach you.
  5. Select the group to add the new contact to once they’ve opted in. You’ll be able to send bulk SMS messages to this group of contacts at any time from within the Message Box.
  6. Enter an automatic response. This automatic response is what will be sent to anyone that opts in for the first time via your SMS keyword.
  7. Click “Save Settings”.
  8. Now you can advertise your selected number and keyword so that new and existing contacts can opt in to receive SMS texts from your company.

          9. When a new customer opts in or sends you a text message, Sendible will notify you via email and all incoming text messages will be available within the Priority Inbox under Message Box.

Be sure to let us know what you think of our new SMS opt-in feature in the comments below!

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5 Social Media Management Tips for Real Estate Businesses

If there’s any business out there that could use a hand up these days it’s got to be real estate. Ever since the housing bubble burst back in 2008, taking the economy with it into the thin air of nowhere land, selling houses has been harder than selling chewing gum to my great uncle with no teeth. There are still buyers out there, though, and the smart and savvy agents are looking for new ways to market themselves and find clients. Fortunately, the real estate agents’ best friend has come along in the form of social media tracking tools.

Using a good social media dashboard program or having a web based crm package will allow the modern real estate agent 24/7 access to their client base and potential clients without them having to stay awake on coffee 24/7. The software does the work, digging up every mention of their name, their agency, or even keywords like “selling my home” that will let them track down their prey. Let’s look at 5 tips that will help you get back on the path to a solid business.

1. Keyword Searches
As I already mentioned, using a social media management program will let you do targeted searches through the vast wastelands of Facebook, Twitter, and more to home in on exactly the people you need to find. Those who are buying, selling, and moving. Once you find them, you simply engage them, just like you would if you overheard someone talking at a party. Except on the internet.

2. YouTubeA picture is worth a thousand words, but a video is worth even more. Setting up a YouTube channel with walk through videos of properties is essential. This lets you show the house every day by just sharing the link. Then you can monitor those who watch it and contact them for follow up. It’s almost like not working, but better.

3. Facebook Property Search
With the new Facebook pages and the tools you can use with them, it is easy and awesome to have a property search feature right on your Facebook page. Millions and millions of people spend lots of time on FB every day, a lot more than your company site gets. Why not let them search from where they already are?  Why not indeed.

4. LinkedIn
Guess who is on LinkedIn? Property managers, Landlords, Land developers, all kinds of people who might, just might, know someone who knows someone who is looking to buy a house. Hey, wait. Don’t you sell houses? That’s right, you do! You should find these good folks and maybe give them a quick shout.

5.  Build Relationships Nationwide
There are realtors all over the country, right? Are you friends with them? On social media sites I mean, of course. If not consider this: If you sell a home for someone in area A that then moves to area B thousands of miles away, who is selling them their new home? Could you be involved somehow? What about the reverse scenario? It sure would be nice to get a heads up about clients well in advance. Set up searches for other realtors and form reciprocal relationships. Everybody plays, everybody wins.

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Social Media Monitoring enhancements on Sendible

At Sendible, we’ve been working to hard to improve our Social Media Monitoring features. Some of the improvements include the following:

1. The ability to edit sentiment and relevancy for a given mention
Sendible’s sentiment analyzer is great, but there are times when it gets it wrong. You now have the ability to edit the sentiment score for a given mention. We understand that some mentions may be irrelevant and we’ve introduced the ability to mark posts as irrelevant so that they do not appear in your reports and mention results.

2. The ability to integrate your Google Alerts feed
Creating Google Alerts for your business or keywords is a great way to keep updated whenever Google’s crawlers come across a mention of your brand. You now have the ability to add your Google Alerts feed into Sendible so that Sendible is also notified whenever Google comes across a mention of your business. 

3. Tracking of new services including Google+, GetSatisfaction, Blekko and IceRocket
We have been extending our mention crawler to include mentions of your business from new sites such as Google+ and GetSatisfaction. If you have any suggestions for other sites you’d like to see crawled, please leave them in the comments below or send us an email.

4. Searchable results
We have added a search box so that you can now search your mentions streams.

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How to assign mentions, inbox items and tasks to team members and clients

We are excited to announce that you can now assign social media mentions, inbox items and other tasks to team members and clients using Sendible. The way this works is as follows:

1. Find a mention or post that you would like to assign to a team member so that they can respond.
2. Select the little drop down menu on the far right and click Assign.

3. You will then be able to enter a message and select which team member the post should be assigned to.

4. The team member will receive an email notification, informing them that a task has been assigned to them.

5. They can then respond to the task from within Message Box > Tasks. They can also collaborate on the task and post comments/questions.

6. Once they’ve responded to the task, they click Mark Done and the user that originally assigned the task will be notified that the task has been completed.

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