Working in the marketing department for any sized organization takes organization, dedication, innovation, and standardization. BIA/Kelsey estimates that digital marketing spending among small and midsize companies will reach $16.6 billion annually by 2015. As online marketing budgets grow there is more room for testing and implementing search and social media tools that will help streamline processes and monitor results.
With all the moving pieces involved in creating a successful online marketing program, it is easy to get caught up in the thrill of testing and purchasing new products and software tools meant to make your life easier. Believe me, I know about this first hand.
Over the past few years I’ve experienced selecting tools the right way, and the wrong way. I hope that my experience will help you better select your own approach to finding new processes and tools that will make your own social media and content marketing efforts more successful.
I don’t know about you, but organization does not come naturally to me. Don’t get me wrong, I can be organized, but it just takes a more concentrated effort. In the past I’ve found shortcuts that fix the problem short term, but end up creating problems later down the road. What’s the moral of the story? Taking shortcuts is with social media and content marketing tasks will rarely help you reach your goals. If you take the time to plan your content, promotions, and events based on a calendar you will be much better off.
Tool: Google Docs
If you’re like me and work for an organization that centers around collaboration I have found this simple and inexpensive (free) tool to be a great asset. I use a combination of text docs and spreadsheets to plan out and create my content. Creating an organized file structure within the document center also serves as a way to organize based on client, project, tactic, or all of the above. With the simple click of a button these documents can be shared with other members of your team, or be shared with clients for review.
My advice for implementation? Start small! If you are organized you will have laid out a general (or specific) content plan to begin sharing on social profiles. I’ve found that if I schedule social shares before the week starts, I can spend the rest of the week monitoring conversations and adding additional timely information to the mix. Advance planning with social content sharing provides great peace of mind to know that you’ve shared something useful at least once a day, and that you be more attentive to what others are saying and determine how to interact.
We all know that social media never sleeps. So while you may not be able to respond to all requests immediately you can save time by scheduling out the promotion of your 0wn content for the week. I wouldn’t recommend scheduling out more than a week because information can change quickly and it is essential to provide timely content on a regular basis. Augment the information you’ve scheduled with Hootsuite to manually Re-tweet or re-share others’ content, as well as to ask questions and comments to engage followers.
When it comes to social media monitoring tools it is not one size fits all, especially if you are monitoring social media results for multiple situations. Don’t assume that if one tool works for a particular project that it’s time to roll that same tool out to all of your other projects. While you may not find a tool that meets all of your needs, experiment and test at least 5-6 tools. Involve multiple users and decision makers and have the team put together a list of benefits and drawbacks so you can find the tool that best meets your organizational needs.
One of the tools that I’ve recently been testing for social media monitoring is SproutSocial. This service offers many features and has some nice reporting features. In particular, I’m a big fan of the Twitter comparison reports. If you’re looking for a quick snapshot of how one project compares to competitors, this report is pretty useful and includes comparisons for:
- Followers Gained
These are just a few tools that I use personally for social content monitoring, engagement and promotion. I’m sure you’ve used many others and I’m interested in your opinions. Please feel free to share any recommendations you have for other practical social content tools in the comments. Better tools means we can optimize our social media marketing efforts to become more efficient and impact. We can learn a lot more from each other, so let’s collaborate!