If you are a follower of this blog and the Social Media MBA series, you will recall that last month we discussed social media platforms and their potential uses for businesses and consumers. This month, I want you to be thinking about the technology that is enabling social media and how it drives new business.
Social media has changed the way people use the Internet and it has shaped the technology used to deliver it. It has created new ways to drive business and it has changed the way brands market products and services. While enabling social interaction and the creation of new communities for both businesses and consumers, social media has strengthened the connections between brands and consumers.
Social media has also shaped technology that can help drive business. For example, Apple’s iPhone has become THE digital device for nearly every task one needs to accomplish, and as a bonus – you can make phone calls with it! As mobile technology keeps advancing, new Apps are being developed daily and are simplifying everything from depositing your paycheck, to setting your DVR, to counting down the days until your summer vacation. You name it, there is an App for it. App developers are eager to provide the social consumer and the social media marketer with the tools to accomplish daily business and personal tasks. Let’s look at some popular Apps geared towards the marketer.
Top Apps for Social Media Marketers:
- Analytics App gives you mobile access to your Google Analytics data. For every social media effort, we want to be able to measure our successes, or ‘near’ successes. Focus: Measurement
- Facebook allows you access to your Facebook account on your smart phone. Facebook allows brands to engage with consumer via posting photos, videos, sending direct messages, and posting on ‘timelines’. Focus: Engagement
- Hootsuite is a web-based dashboard that can manage multiple Twitter accounts, allow multiple users to access an account, and manage multiple social networks (LinkedIn, FaceBook, Twitter, WordPress). Additionally, Hootsuite allows you to schedule messages on different days and different times. This is an exceptional time management tool! Hootsuite also enables the user to track links and click-throughs. The HootSuite App complements a HootSuite web account. Focus: Engagement and Measurement
- LinkedIn allows you access to your LinkedIn account on your smart phone. LinkedIn is a business oriented social network that allows you to post a photo, career history, education, and skills while offering a search function to network with existing colleagues and the opportunity to establish more connections. Focus: Connecting and Collaborating
- Reeder brings all of your Google Reader RSS feeds to your mobile device (you will need a Google Reader account). Reeder will also sync to your Google Reader account to keep track of what items you have read. You can even share items with your friends! Focus: Connecting and Learning
- Spout provides a steady stream of news, tweets, messages, comments from your Facebook, and Google Reader (RSS) feeds. What is enticing about this app is the presentation of the media and visuals. It is quite pleasing to the eye. Focus: Engagement, Connecting, Learning and more.
- Tweetdeck is a desktop and mobile application similar to Hootsuite in that it helps manage your social media accounts. However, it does not offer the analytics that Hootsuite does. The Tweetdeck App compliments the Tweetdeck dashboard. Focus: Engagement
- Twitter allows you access to your Twitter account on your smart phone. Twitter is a micro-blogging tool that limits posts to 140 characters and allows link and photo sharing. Focus: Engagement
Social media and technology are working symbiotically to drive business by not only making it possible to communicate with others over a variety of channels in real time, it also allows this to be done in a way that can foster an atmosphere of collaboration where like-minded people share ideas, resources, and networks. New technology offers businesses a unique opportunity to incorporate (internally and externally) aspects of ‘social’ into their overall strategic plan beyond a Facebook page.
Top Tools for Social Media Marketers:
- Dropbox Dropbox has made significant contributions to business and consumer in terms of collaboration. “Dropbox allows me to store any file I need and be able to access at anytime” says Lorena Cora, one of my graduate students in Social Media Marketing. Gone are the days of emailing large files or exchanging flash drives. Teams and individuals can now share files on computers, phones, and the Drop Box website in a much simpler fashion, for free. Focus: Collaborating
- Hootsuite is a great tool for managing multiple Twitter accounts, allowing multiple users access to an account, and managing multiple social networks (LinkedIn, FaceBook, Twitter, WordPress). This app allows you to schedule messages on different days and different times. This can be handy if you are in a different time zone than your target audience. Hootsuite also enables the user to track links and click-throughs. There is also an App available. Focus: Engagement and Measurement.
- Meetup.org The site lets you choose a geographic location and search for groups by key words while also providing a review section for the group. ‘It is critically important to develop real relationships with real people to create real value. This technology is an enabler which gives people an easy interface to search and find other people in their tribe” says Devin Hughes, another one of my Social Media Marketing students. The site offers many genres from weekly Mommy’s play groups, to monthly structured social media education meetings. Focus: Collaborating, Learning, Connecting.
- Radian6 is a monitoring tool for Twitter, forums, and online communities. Real time information is sent to your dashboard as Radian6 scans the Internet for mentions of your brand. Radian6 can be integrated with Salesforce.com (described below). Focus: Monitoring.
- Salesforce.com offers CRM for B2B clients. Salesforce allows users to enter and respond to leads, stay in contact with customers, log sales activities, and set meetings. Salesforce also manages account records for easy retrieval for team members who are not in the office. There is also an App for Salesforce. Focus: Collaborating.
These lists are by no means exhaustive. To the beginner or novice social media marketer (which is usually just over 50% of my students), the above provides a great place to start and can assist in the daily workings (and personal business) of a social media marketer. Students should always consider the concepts of:
The lists of tools I have provided address each of these importance facets of Social Media Marketing. In addition, I have provided resources to encourage students to begin reading blogs like this one to get more familiar with leading technology, hot topics, and thought leaders. Students must also seek out new connections from which they can learn from, be inspired by, and collaborate with.
Next month we will look at the relationship between Traditional Marketing and Social Media Marketing. Until then, have you tried any of the resources I mentioned above for the first time after reading this blog post? What are your initial thoughts?