Tag Archive for social media training

Product Review: Sprout Social

Here at NxtGen, we are always looking for affordable, yet effective, social media solutions that the everyday small business owner can use.  For the past several months, we have been testing out a few different Social Media Management tools.  Today I am going to share my thoughts with you on one of those tools: Sprout Social.

Review: Sprout Social is a social media management tool that allows businesses to efficiently and effectively manage & grow their social presence across multiple channels and turn social connections into loyal customers.  Overall, I really like this tool.  You can easily connect your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare and Gowalla accounts and manage them all from one convenient location.  They even recently added the ability to connect your Google Analytics account, which is a really nice feature.  For business owners that don’t have the time to waste checking and updating several different social media sites, and don’t have the budget to pay a high priced consultant or service, this is a great tool.  You can easily update all your social networks in one place, find new customers with their advanced search technology, monitor conversations taking place across the web either about your brand or your industry, and easily organize all your social media connections in one place, complete with history, notes and more, using the address book feature.  They also provide really great analytics that give you detailed information on followers, influence, engagement, clicks and more – all in colorful, intuitive charts & graphs.  You can review the data right from your browser, or you can create branded PDF reports with the click of a button (data can also be downloaded in CSV form).  But even better is the price!  For the average small business owner out there, who only needs to manage one account (one account handles up to 5 identities), the Pro Plan is only $9/month!  And for those businesses who need to manage multiple accounts, or are looking for a little more in depth analysis, their Business Plan is still an affordable $49/month. Both plans come with a 30-day free trial.  See graphics below for more detailed information on what is included in each package. Read more

Building An Online Community: Part 1 – Choosing a Platform

I am sure you are sick and tired of everyone telling you that you need to start using social media for your business.  Hopefully by now you’ve read all the articles, seen all the numbers, and are ready to jump on board the social media train.  If so, good for you!  In order to help you get started, I have put together a 3 part series on how to build an online community.  This week, we are going to start off with maybe the most important element in your social media plan: Choosing a Platform.

I am lucky enough to have had the pleasure of seeing Scott Stratten, author of the book UnMarketing, speak a couple of times in the last year.  In his speeches, as well as in his book, he talks about the importance of picking one platform when starting out in social media.  Scott says, “Build a small stage-your platform-that you’re going to stand on and get people to come to.  Pick one place where you want people to find you and play your best “show” there for as long as it takes to build a solid following”.  This advice really stuck with me, and is something I always recommend to people who are starting out in social media.  Especially small business owners, who already feel like there isn’t enough time in the day to do everything they need to get done.  The last thing they need is to have to commit to updating several different social media sites.  People tend to jump onto multiple platforms right away (whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, LinkedIn, etc.), and then expect to have a huge following just because they are “on social media”.  The reality is, unless you are a huge, recognizable brand, this is not going to be the case.  However, if you choose one platform to really invest your time and energy in, you can create a really great, engaged, and interested community, that in time will allow you to expand into other platforms as well.  So, how do you know what platform to start with?

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Common Sense Social Media Etiquette

Over the past week, there have been a few incidents of poor Social Media etiquette by some famous tweeters. First Rashard Mendenhall shared is feelings about the death of Osama Bin Laden, then later this week, Reggie Bush made a comment about his time off during the NFL lock out, then when he was ridiculed by his followers, said it was a joke, and everyone should have known it. What is most troubling for me about these incidents are that I am sure that Reggie Bush and Rashard Mendenahall both have highly paid PR consultants, who should have given both a lesson on what is appropriate and what is not on Social Media. In today’s Social Media world, whatever information you put out, has the chance to be picked up pretty quickly, and could have major repercussions. So how does a small business walk the line between giving their opinion while not causing a bad public relations mark on the company?
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Update: Social Media Strategy

After my post yesterday, I found this case study on how not having a full thought out strategy can really be disastrous.  In my opinion Pizza Hut came up with brilliant social media campaign in Ireland.  They tied into the worlds biggest sporting event, World Cup which starts in a few days, with a fun way for their customers to use their passion to win free pizza.  They did an amazing  job coming up with this campaign.  Except they dropped the ball, because it does not tie into their whole marketing strategy.  They neglected their website, and lose much of the greatness of their campaign.

Read the full case study writen by Simply Zesty.
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Social Media Strategy

No matter how often I say it, or how loud I yell, I still get told everyday from customers, I want a Facebook page, so that I can increase my sales.  Social Media is not a magic pill just like any other marketing tool that we use to increase our business, it takes hard work and lot of sweat equity.  The nice thing about most social media is that they truly are built on sweat equity and not money.

Would you start your business without a strategy?  Just open the doors and hope that people will stop by and spend their money.  That sounds ridiculous.  Yet according to eMarketer“One-half of companies have  no social strategy”, they are just hoping that someone finds them.  This is still a new medium and  is a chance to get out and play with it.  This eMarketer report is looking at big companies, what an advantage for small business to jump ahead of the curve.    Sit down and come up with a strategy and you are ahead of many larger companies.  Social Media is like the wild west right now, if you have no strategy it can be very easy to get lost in all the confusion.  Look at each component and see if it is in your companies interest to get involved.  Most importantly have fun!  The most importan component of Social Media is to be social interact with your customers, you will gain so much information along with building a great reputation.