It has become increasingly important for enterprises, irrespective of size, to have a strong social media presence across various platforms – and a modern social media monitoring solution to help manage the effort.
Effective social media marketing helps customers connect with a brand on a personal level and increases brand loyalty and customer retention. Advertising on social media is a cost-effective way to distribute content and promote business. Popular social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram provide effective content distribution options for target markets. Marketers also can customize content based on their customers’ location, gender, age, interests, behaviors, job title and other personal factors. And they can track and measure content performance in real time.
An effective social media management strategy ensures strong brand presence on leading platforms and can help a business grow its customer base and improve sales. Social media management and similar solutions available today (which are examined in an upcoming ISG Provider Lens report) help organizations set, execute and manage their social media strategies. For example, HP partnered its support community with leading social media management solution Lithium to deepen customer engagement and improve response and resolution rates. The Lithium solution empowered HP customer service agents to effectively and efficiently engage with customers over social media channels. The program led to a significant year-over-year increase in registered users, reduced first response time and improved first contact resolution time.
Most organizations have a dedicated employee or social media or digital marketing team that manages their social networks. Leading marketing teams use social media management solutions like Lithium, Hootsuite, Spredfast, Falcon.io to manage both outbound and incoming communications. These solutions can monitor and “listen” to the target audience and devise an action plan for publishing content, responding to followers and assimilating information provided by interactions.
Modern social media management solutions perform several major functions:
- Monitoring, management and governance – In a typical enterprise, different marketing teams are involved in the social media publishing processes. Though they need to be in sync to generate consistent brand messages, they often operate in silos. Social media management solutions provide flexible ways to assign roles and permissions for publishing content, which eliminates ambiguity among the social, marketing and community teams. Concurrently, CMOs and general managers can get a more holistic view with metrics about the social post performance. Social media management solutions can also monitor industry keywords and competitor name mentions and can provide key intel for strategic business decisions.
- Listening and moderation – With a social media management solution, designated teams can track social mentions for the brand, product and hashtags indicating brand performance. The solutions also monitor trends to optimize content and gain visibility into competitor conversations by monitoring “social share of voice” (social media advertising activity as a percentage of total advertising activity for a brand). It also provides relevant customer information through daily engagement and helps make smart business decisions.
- Publishing – Social media management solutions can create posts in support of a sophisticated content calendar. It can also route them for internal approvals and schedule publishing across different social sites and networks. Solutions also target audiences based on geographic and demographic data to get the most effective content to the targeted audience at the most appropriate time.
- Analytics – Social media solutions also include analytics to help enterprises view their customers, what they share and talk about the most. It can also forecast possible brand crisis by gathering and analyzing data from customer interactions on social media. Social analytics help filter social listening data by keywords and sentiment analysis. Monitoring engagement metrics and website activity enables marketing teams to know which days, times and content types can trigger the most effective engagement. Analytics also can determine and provide executive reports for posts or campaigns with revenue-generating potential.
Substantial social media activity occurs on mobile devices, and leading social media management solutions can help develop marketing strategies that are compatible with mobility. Social media management solutions help enterprises achieve faster response time and 24/7 support to provide a rich customer experience. Social media activities can build brand awareness and eventually lead to increased web traffic and more loyal customers. If done the right way, social media marketing can be more effective than other, costlier advertising options and can generate a higher ROI.
ISG considers social media management a key element in social business collaboration. An upcoming ISG Provider Lens study will look at leading solution vendors in this space.