With the growing popularity of using social networking strategies to engage customers, more and more small and medium businesses (SMBs) are cultivating brand communities in multiple social networking sites. The trend, according to some businesses, has giving rise to a new set of pressures as they struggle to keep tabs of such issues as status updates on Facebook, uploading fresh videos on YouTube or typing out marketing tweets on Twitter.
Meltwater Group, a global firm has recently made its social media monitoring tool available to Canadian companies. Buzz Engage, a social marketing tool, enables businesses not only to listen in on social media conversations but also to build social media profiles of people that interact with them, according to Ric Pratte, director of Meltwater.
Social media has given consumers the power to become influencers and thus have a greater impact on the success of a company or its campaigns, said Pratte.
The resulting social profile contains an individual’s various public social identities, public communications and notes, according to Pratte, who is also the former CEO of JitterJam Inc., the US-based company that built the JitterJam social monitoring technology recently purchased by Meltwater.
“A person’s Tweets, Facebook updates, blog comments and other inputs on various Web communities can provide Meltwater Buzz Engage users clearer insights to things such as likes and dislikes or interests of their customers,” said Pratte.
Here’s what Buzz Engage provides:
- Social media monitoring: Enables brands to listen for and measure conversations about their products, markets and competitors.
- Community development: Allows brands and companies to find the social communities in which their current and potential customers participate and start directly engaging those communities and individuals.
- Integrated marketing: Develop social profiles on each contact in a database and market to highly targeted segments with tailored messaging and offerings.
In the last few years there has been a rush to engage customers in the social media arena, according to Andy Woyzbun, lead analyst for London, Ont-based technology industry research firm Info-Tech Research Group. “Unfortunately for many businesses not everyone is sure what will work,” he said.
As more companies move into the social media space, businesses will realize the need for tools that measure various metrics. “Many companies are expert in what they do, but not all these companies have the time and resources to focus on social media,” said Woyzbun.
Auto Trader tracks brand sentiment
The tools enable Auto Trader to quickly identify and track developing trends involving its brand, according to Clare Carney, digital marketing executive for the company. “You can quickly distinguish between isolated complaints and those that have more of the community’s weight behind them. That’s really powerful,” she said.
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According to Carney, Auto Trader UK’s social media campaign has traditionally been a marketing and PR effort. Carney maintains both the Auto Trader Twitter account and Facebook page. She said it is important for the company to respond quickly to customer queries or complaints. This often means getting information from Auto Trader’s technicians, journalists and other resource persons.
Carney uses Meltwater’s “Current Buzz” overview page to get a picture of current posts volumes and customer sentiments. The Current Buzz page provides a summary of the major themes and reach of the social media postings involving the Auto Trader brand. The page also enables Carney to access the links of the postings and respond directly to the original poster.
This, she said, is especially valuable as the company continues work on its mobile offering. “We’re always working to improve our mobile application. We are able to incorporate the social media feedback into the application’s latest iteration.”
Watching the competition
Auto Trader is also able to use Meltwater Buzz to keep tabs on the competition, according to Carney. “It’s helpful for looking at the kind of issues they’re commenting on or basing campaigns around.”
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This knowledge, she said, enables Auto Trader to hone its own message “particularly in area which we think our competition might not be doing well.”
Carney said as the lines between PR and social media continue to blur, Meltwater gives Auto Trader a platform to set benchmarks and determine how the publication can improve common activities across the board.
Nestor Arellano is a Senior Writer at ITBusiness.ca. Follow him on Twitter, connect with him on LinkedIn, read his blogs on ITBusiness.ca Blogs, email Nestor at firstname.lastname@example.org and join the ITBusiness.ca Facebook Page.