Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram - the list of social networks keeps growing. It's great news as the world becomes more connected and we find newer ways to share and engage with others. But if you are a startup founder, a small business owner, or a marketer at a larger company then you will probably have mixed feelings about it.
Social media offers opportunities but also poses major challenges
If you are trying to promote your business online, then as the number of social networks grows, you have to keep pace with them. You have to build a strong presence on almost each one of them, constantly monitor interactions taking place on those platforms, and come up with engaging posts that reflect your brand's identity. All this can take a lot of time and resources, and even a small error or a badly crafted post can do huge damage to your reputation.
Here's an example of how social media can spectacularly backfire. To celebrate July 4th, American Apparel posted a picture of the Challenger space shuttle explosion, which had killed seven crew members. The ill-informed social media manager thought it was an image of fireworks. The post drew a lot of criticism from the company's social followers. The list of corporate social media blunders is a long one and the lesson is that you need to carefully manage this function in your organization.
"The solution is not to delete all your social accounts, but to be smart about managing social media marketing - use intelligent tools to better control this process."
Using content curation tools to simplify social media management
There are many categories of software tools out there that can help you simplify social media management. Some of them offer scheduling, like Buffer and Hootsuite. Some help measure the impact of your social media presence through deep analytics, like FollowerWonk and Google Analytics. But we'll talk here about an emerging category - content curation.
More than half of social media posts shared on Twitter and Facebook are shares. This applies to businesses too. Companies like to share latest trends from their industry, important news that relate to them, or informative articles that their followers would be interested in. This is a great strategy to keep your audience engaged, after all you are not going to have share worthy company updates every few hours. There is tons of data out there that shows that if you build authority in your industry through knowledgeable shares, you will see positive impact on your inbound leads and conversions. This is the whole premise of content marketing - one of the fastest growing segments of online marketing.
Content curation means tracking news and blogs related to your business, and using it to create intelligent social media posts. For example, a fashion etailer could share information about their recommended highlights from the London Fashion Week. Even though such posts have no direct relation to the company, they are of common interest to the company and it's customers.
Think about it, when you are chatting with a friend, do you constantly keep trying to talk about yourself? That doesn't make for great conversation. Instead you usually talk about common interests, maybe sports, politics or travel, or an article you read recently. This is what content curation is all about.
The challenge in content curation is getting real time access to news and articles from your industry. Some innovative companies are now trying to solve this problem, including Hootsuite, DrumUp, and even LinkedIn.
Ultimately the future for social media management and content marketing looks bright. Like many other marketing channels, such as pay per click ad campaigns, software will make the job of marketers easier and will help them easily track results and return on investment.
[By Vishal Dutta] [Read More] [Image from northropgrummna.com]