May 19, 2014

4 new ways to use social to grow your business

LinkedIn
LinkedIn just announced its Content Marketing Score, helping you focus your content based on what resonates with people.

Target audience: Marketing professionals, small business owners, business executives and managers, PR pros, brand managers.

Post by Susan Payton

susan-paytonYou’re already sharing content with your social followers and engaging in conversation. Great. Welcome to 2010. Now it’s time to master something new in the realm of social.

Social media is constantly evolving, and brands are continually coming up with new ways to leverage it to connect with people and find new customers. Here are four recent trends you should consider for your business.

Trend 1: Using social for customer service

1While this trend really started a few years ago when Dell started using Twitter to successfully manage customer issues, it has really caught on with other brands more recently.

In addition to offering phone, email, and chat support, many brands find that social media is another appealing way for customers to reach them. Not having to press multiple buttons in an automated phone system is a plus, as is the prompt response time.

If you’re a small business, you can harness sites like Twitter and Google+ for handling customer service inquiries simply by monitoring what’s being said about your brand and reacting. The bonus here is that as people see you publicly handling issues, they notice how proactive and responsive you are and think well of your brand.

Trend 2: Monitoring customers’ social activity through CRM

2Now that customer relationship management software like Insightly small business CRM is integrating with social, you can connect to your customers’ social accounts and see what they’re saying.

Seeing a tweet from a customer about her recent trip to China, for example, provides you with the opportunity to connect in a more personal and meaningful way. Ask her about her trip and see where the conversation leads. It’s a great way to stay in touch informally without the tinge of sales pressure.

Trend 3: Scheduling updates in advance

3If you’re still visiting each social site to post content throughout the day, you’re wasting time. Leverage tools like HootSuite or Facebook Pages’ built-in scheduler and set up your updates for the week. This way, you can spend 20 minutes scheduling updates and then check in periodically to respond to people, rather than posting a real-time update every few hours.

Trend 4: Taking advantage of analytics

4In the early days of social, we all just posted stuff and hoped people cared. Now you have the tools at your disposal to get really specific and analytical. HootSuite has built in reports that show you which of your links got the most shares or clicks. LinkedIn just announced its Content Marketing Score, which helps you focus your content based on what people are responding to.

Knowing what works and what doesn’t is a huge boon to marketers who want to better target their efforts.

Like any trends, these are subject to change or be crowded out for newer and hotter trends. Be open to new ways of using social, and you’ll see your brand thrive there.

Susan Payton is the president of Egg Marketing & Communications, an Internet marketing firm specializing in marketing communications, copywriting and blog posts. She’s also the founder of How to Create a Press Release, a free resource for business owners. She’s written three books: DIY Press Releases: Your Guide to Becoming Your Own PR Consultant, 101 Entrepreneur Tips and Internet Marketing Strategies for Entrepreneurs, and contributes to several sites, including ChamberofCommerce.com, The Marketing Eggspert Blog, CorpNet, Small Business Trends, and BizLaunch. Follow her on Twitter at @eggmarketing.

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