What is Social Media Management?
As described in the article, “What is Social Networking, and Why Should You Care,” Internet-based social media make it easier for people to listen, interact, engage and collaborate with each other. But, as the volume of social media venues and conversations rises, it quickly becomes a time- and labor-intense process to effectively track, converse, monitor and manage them.
Social media management solutions can help you manage outbound and incoming online interactions — along with other small business marketing activities — in a more efficient manner. They streamline and consolidate how you listen to and participate in relevant conversations in the different places they’re taking place — blogs, social networks like Twitter or Facebook, and other public and private Web communities and sites.
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They also help you to more easily monitor what people are saying about your business, and by automating the process of delivering your outgoing messages through multiple social media outlets simultaneously, help you to amplify your social media presence across several social networking sites.
Social media management tools can also help you to integrate social networking activities with your other marketing programs. These can include other online activities, such as Web sites, search engine marketing campaigns, contact management systems, and email marketing, as well as offline marketing, such as events or white papers.
Why Should You Care?
We all know how important word of mouth is, and social networking is like word of mouth on steroids. As a business, it’s vital to tap into and join online conversations not only about your brand, but also those about your competitors, your industry and your areas of expertise.
Even if you haven’t launched an outbound social media strategy, you to keep a pulse on what people are saying — good or bad — about your company, competitors and major trends. And, by representing your company in a positive, authentic way, you can build credibility for your expertise and business and link to customers and prospects quickly.
You can also help mitigate damage should negative conversations about your company emerge by quickly responding to complaints. Social media can also steer people to your other marketing programs, where it’s easier to individually track and manage individual customer and prospect interactions.
Done right, social networking sites can help you better understand prospective and current customer needs, increase visibility and generate leads. But it takes a lot of time and energy to stay on top of all of this in a manual, piecemeal fashion. Think about the time it takes just to cover some of the basics, such as:
- Creating content in multiple places, such as a blog, Twitter, a Facebook page, etc.; monitor and scan the views, decide what comments to approve, and respond to replies on these sites
- Scanning Twitter followers for conversations you may want to join, or checking your RSS reader subscriptions for relevant articles and new ideas
- Checking Google Alerts to see when and where your business is mentioned on the Web
- Creating and monitoring a community and topics on a site such as Facebook or LinkedIn
Now think about the fact that the social networking to-do list is only going to grow. And while you are building goodwill, relationships and awareness, it’s difficult to measure short-term payback on social media efforts. And you can’t abandon your other marketing activities — Web site, search engine marketing, email marketing and contact and sales management.
Social media management tools give you a way to get your arms around the many-headed social media Hydra by streamlining and integrating customer interactions across multiple marketing venues.