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Social mentions 101: What are they and why they’re important

When creating a social media strategy for your brand, there are two things you want to focus on – how you’re talking to your customers, and how you’re getting them to respond.

Getting your audience to engage with you on social media is just as important, if not more important, as your messaging and promotional strategies within your content. Ensuring that your audience is talking about your brand online, responding to your content and interacting with your community is key to a successful social media strategy.

All of this buzz surrounding your brand online is called social mentions. And having a plan in place on how to handle these social mentions is essential. Let’s talk a little bit more about what this means.

What are social mentions?

Social mentions include any mention of your business on social media.

It’s important to remember this doesn’t only include the mentions that tag your business. There are tons of conversations about your brand on social media that you aren’t receiving notifications for.

This is why it’s so essential to put a plan in place for how to handle these. Tracking all of your social mentions, not just the ones directly tagging your business online, and responding to them accordingly helps to build brand trust and loyalty with your audience.

Why are social mentions important?

To put it simply, when people talk about your brand, they’re spreading the word that it exists. If their feedback is positive, this could lead to new customers and more revenue generated.

On the other hand, if their feedback is negative, and you’re not tracking these mentions to find and resolve the problems, it could result in a poor reputation amongst that customers’ circle.

Whether you like it or not, people are talking about your business online, and you want to be sure you’re on top of those conversations so that you can respond and further engage your audience.

How to respond to your social mentions

Each time you find a mention of your business on social media, you should make an effort to respond to it. You’ll have an opportunity to interact with people who are already aware of and interested in your brand.

There are many reasons people may be mentioning your brand – and they might not even be customers. It’s important to know how to respond to each of these different types of social media mentions.

1. Sharing product photos

You’ll often see customers share photos of your product, food, establishment, etc., whatever you have that’s photogenic. People love to share their experiences on social media, and when tagged brands interact with them online, it makes that customer feel acknowledged and appreciated.

Take this example from Day Designer on Instagram.

social mentions on instagram - day designer responding to product photosYou can see in the sidebar that Day Designer’s Instagram account both liked and commented on this customer’s photo of her planner.
Taking the time out to acknowledge the people who have shared your product is a great way to build brand loyalty. It doesn’t have to be anything special – just a “Thanks for sharing!” along with a personalized comment is enough.
2. Providing feedback
Sometimes customers will reach out simply to provide feedback, whether it’s a, “Hey, I really loved this,” or they have an idea that could help your business to improve.
This is incredibly important for you to find and listen to. After all, your audience cares enough to offer free advice for improvement in your business, product or service, be diligent and courteous enough to respond.
Here’s a great example of how Slack, a widely used team communication tool, responded to some feedback from a customer.
slack responding to a customer feedback social mentionAcknowledging that a customer has given you feedback or service requests and assuring them you’ll let the correct team know, or that you’ll be sure to work on this, is a great way to respond.
3. Sharing a bad experience
Remember this: If a customer shares a bad experience with your company online, it’s likely they simply wanted to vent. Finding these social media mentions provides your brand with the perfect opportunity to turn their experience around.
The best way to respond is to immediately move the conversation to a more private location and work to resolve the issue, like Grammarly did here.
grammarly responding to a bad experience on a twitter social mentionTake a look at how Moe’s handled a similar issue.
moe's responding to a bad experience on a twitter social mentionThey apologized and asked the customer to send them a direct message so that they could take care of the issue. And you can see with the customer’s follow up response, they were happy with the service they received.
4. Asking for help
Customers might also reach out or mention your brand when asking for help or support with an issue.
Larger companies may have dedicated marketing teams to handle their social mentions separate from those handling development or support issues. However, it’s a good idea for any size company to have a plan in place to handle these types of social mentions.
Here’s an example of a Sprout Social user mentioning us on Twitter about a support issue. Our social team took the opportunity to take the conversation into our direct messages so that we could get a better idea of the issue and direct it to the appropriate team.
sprout social support question on twitter social mentionRespond to any support queries by letting the customer know you’re here to help, and take action on the request to make sure it gets resolved. Most customers expect a response on social media within a day or less, preferably within 4 hours. If you lag in responding to your social mentions, your customers could turn to your competitors instead.

5. Mentioning your brand in an article

You definitely want to stay on top of your press mentions and monitor all of your accolades in an article.

Many people who write about your brand will share the article link and mention you on social media in an attempt to get you to also share that article. In this case, we’re sharing positive experiences, so take the opportunity to thank the user, and possibly a share as well.

Here’s a great example of Biteable responding to a mention in an article.

biteable responding to a press social mention on twitterBiteable might then add that article into their own arsenal of content to share on social media. It’s a great way to add user-generated content into your editorial calendar.
Tips for responding to your social mentions
How that you know a few types of social mentions you might see, let’s cover a few basic tips for responding, particularly to negative social mentions.

  • Respond quickly. Consumers expect real-time responses and interactions from brands, so you want monitor these mentions and responding to them as quickly as possible.
  • Stay positive. Even if the person mentioning your brand is extremely unhappy, always manage to stay positive and reassure them that you’re going to do whatever you can to make things right for them.
  • Move the conversation to a private setting. Notice how in many of our examples, the brand immediately asked the user to message them privately. This is because it can be better to handle things privately rather than out in the open. Ask users to DM you, send them a link to a support channel or send a better contact email address.
  • Know when to stop responding. Unfortunately, there will always be issues that you simply can’t solve and customers that you simply can’t please. Make sure you know when an issue is getting to that point and when you need to disengage.
  • Turn the conversation around. If a customer is having a bad experience or a support issue, do whatever you can to turn the conversation around and ensure they are satisfied in the end.

How to track your social mentions

Now that you know why social mentions are so important and how to respond to different ones, it’s time to talk about how to find all of these social mentions. Because all of this knowledge is useless if you don’t know how to monitor mentions aside from those in your notifications.

Let’s go over our top four tactics to track social media mentions so that you can respond to every online reference to your brand.

1. Create a hashtag for your customer to use in their social posts.

One incredibly easy way to find mentions of your brand is by providing them with a hashtag. Not only does this make it much faster for you to search for social mentions, but it’s a great way to gather user-generated content to share on your own feeds.

Many brands will include their hashtag in their social media bios or on their website so users can easily find it and remember to tag it. Others will even include it on packaging slips or paper marketing materials when shipping products to let customers know how they can share photos with their brand.

Take a look at how Visme shares their hashtag right in their Instagram bio.

visme's brand hashtag in their instagram bio asks as a way of social mentioningIf you decide to take this angle, know that this can’t be your only method of tracking social mentions. This is just one great way to collect mentions easily. But you still need to be able to find the ones that aren’t necessarily trying to get your attention.
2. Search for your business name on each platform.
Each social media platform has their own search features that can help you find what you’re looking for, and most provide a great way to double check if your brand name has been mentioned in a post without tagging you.

On Facebook, simply type your brand name into the search bar, then click on the Posts tab to find posts including your brand name.

facebook search for branded social mentionsYou’ll likely also see posts from your brand in your results, but as you scroll through the results, you’ll find public brand mentions in Facebook Groups, on Pages and on profiles as well.

public posts with branded social mentions about sprout social on facebookYou can also set parameters for where and when the posts were created – what year, in a group or on a Page, and more.
On Twitter, simply type “your brand” – use quotation marks to ensure an exact match – in Twitter’s search bar, and navigate to the Latest tweets to find your results.
twitter search for sprout social mentionsAs you can see above, the first result isn’t even tagging Sprout Social, so our social team otherwise would have no idea that they were tweeting about us if they weren’t monitoring.
On LinkedIn, type your brand name in the search bar, then click Content to filter only mentions within LinkedIn posts.
linkedin search for sprout social mentionsOther social media platforms don’t have their search features quite as robust yet, so you’ll have to subscribe to one – or both – of the following tactics.
3. Set up social monitoring with Sprout Social
Using a tool for social monitoring is important to help ensure you don’t miss a single mention. While the above two tactics can help you to find social mentions, they’re not quite as foolproof as setting up social monitoring with Sprout.

Setting this up is incredibly easy, and helps ensure you never miss a single brand mention. Go to your Messages tab in your Sprout dashboard and find manage your Brand Keywords on the left-hand sidebar. Note that Brand Keywords will pull only from Twitter.

setting up social monitoring in Sprout Social with keywordsHere, type in your brand name in different variations if you have them, as well as common misspellings or abbreviations that you’ve seen.
Save these as keywords, and your Smart Inbox will curate all messages that include any of your chosen mentions. This way, you’ll easily find your mentions in the Inbox and respond accordingly.
4. Use Sprout’s social listening feature
While social monitoring and social listening are in the same family, they require different strategies. Plus, they’re set up differently in your Sprout dashboard.

Social listening is a more advanced strategy than social monitoring. The biggest takeaway is that social monitoring is more for finding social mentions to respond to, and social listening is more for understanding what your audience is talking about in your industry and what they want to hear from your brand.

Social listening is a next-level strategy that helps you act upon all of the social mentions you’ve found. Check out our article on social listening to learn even more about how to properly set this up for your business.

Ready to monitor your social media mentions?

Now that we’ve covered the what, the why and the how, it’s your turn to take action. Sign up for a 30-day free trial of Sprout Social to try our social monitoring tool and see the difference it makes when reaching out to customers.

This post Social mentions 101: What are they and why they’re important originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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About Daniel Rodgers

A lot of news that you will not see in the paper. A lot of technology that is coming out that will not see in the paper.

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Traits B2B Influencers

Marketers are still asking, what is B2B influencer marketing? Here’s a definition I’ve been using over the past 5 years or so:

B2B influencer marketing is activating internal and external subject matter experts with engaged networks to advocate and co-create content of mutual value that drives measurable business goals.

As the groundswell around influencer marketing rises and becomes a normal part of the B2B marketing mix, the volume of information and misinformation on the topic also increases.

One of the most popular questions people also ask about B2B influencer marketing focuses on what makes a good business influencer? By now we all know that popularity alone does not make someone influential. It’s certainly important, it's just not the only thing.

As B2B marketers mature in their understanding of the role influence plays and how the dynamic of brand content co-created with industry experts plays out with customers, they begin to realize that other factors matter. Topical relevance matters of course as well as resonance of the topic amongst an influencer’s community.

B2B Marketing Influencers

The intersection of individual expertise, how well that expertise resonates with followers and the size of network creates a baseline of characteristics when evaluating whether a certain influencer might be a match.

But there’s more than that. Understanding what makes a great influencer is both art and science, soft and hard skills. The success of identifying, qualifying and engaging influencers is also directly tied to how they will be engaged and to what end.

Some people reading this might think that influencer marketing isn’t the magic pill some are playing it up to be. There’s a reason for that, because it’s not magic. It’s more like alchemy.

The reality is, there’s no one formula for the perfect B2B influencer, but there are some common characteristics that B2B brands should look for in varying proportions according to what’s important to a program or activation. I call those characteristics:

The 5 Ps of B2B Influence

Proficiency - In B2B marketing, the vast majority of those considered influential possess deep expertise in the field they work in. This is a significant difference from many B2C influencers who are often self proclaimed as influential with clever media creation skills.

As B2C influencer content and engagement tactics evolve, some are crossing over into B2B with a trickle of opportunists successfully creating influence amongst B2B audiences not solely for their expertise, but for a combination of adept social media content creation skills and some expertise. B2B marketers who do their due diligence will be able to filter accordingly.

Popularity - While network size is not the only thing, nor is it the most important thing, it is definitely a metric to consider. Some marketers swing in the direction of ignoring audience size altogether because of lower engagement rates with popular influencers. This is simply foolish. All things being the same, I’ll take 2% engagement of an influencer with a million followers over 2% from someone that has 1,000 followers.

What matters is how network size factors in with the type of influencer you need. For example, popular influencers aka “brandividuals” are often best for top of funnel content. Niche domain expert influencers are better for middle and end of funnel content. Engaging a brandividual and expecting conversions is just naive.

Personality - If you’ve worked in B2C influencer marketing and been exposed to all the characters there, B2B is going to seem a bit dry. Now there are some colorful characters in the B2B influencer community, no doubt. But personality is often a trait that needs to be uncovered when you’re working with some types of business influencers.

The good news is that savvy influencer marketing practitioners know how to plant the seeds that can grow and blossom within an otherwise introverted influencer. You don’t need them to be a colorful character, ripe with personality per se, but you do want them to connect with the passion they have with their craft and how their expertise can help others be successful.

Publishing - Content is the media that conveys the ideas of influence and while B2B influencers are not expected to produce the same types and quantity of content as in B2C, it is ideal when there’s a platform where the influencer publishes. At a minimum, that would be social networks but to be a B2B influencer, it’s most likely that also includes articles contributed to publications if not research, books and presentations.

Promotion - The value a B2B influencer brings beyond adding expertise and credibility to brand content is the ability to share what they helped create with their network. Trust of brand content is at a low, especially with advertising. Customers yearn for authentic content and the right kind of influencer collaboration can give them that, delivered via the influencer’s own distribution channels. That means social networks for course but also potentially blogs, email newsletters, podcast, LinkedIn Live, contributed articles or columns in industry publications.

I know some people reading this are thinking there could be even more P’s like being Prolific, Persuasive or Passion. Yes, there could be so many more but we have to draw the line somewhere! It's important to be able to manage the data and insights necessary to factor these characteristics into selection, qualification and engagement.

Some of these traits will not fully reveal themselves until you work with an influencer on a few content activations. Others will fluctuate over time and that is normal. It's important to understand that influence is a temporal thing. It is not fixed or permanent. It’s important marketers realize that before they disengage an influencer in the short term due to lower performance. The same goes for high expectations after great performance.

Organic influencer engagement is a little dynamic and what you don’t spend on paid influencers like an ad buy you will (in part) need to invest in relationship management, education and even tips that will help the influencers be more effective.

B2B brands with high influencer churn or low performance often apply “ad buy” perspectives to a what is actually a relationship driven effort. Mismatched expectations are not helpful for anyone, so think about the 5Ps as you evaluate and nurture your influencer community. Consider where of each your ideal influencers need to score on the 5 Ps in order to be a good match for the kind of activation you have in mind.

When there’s 5P alignment, there's happiness: for customers, influencers and your B2B brand.

The post 5 Key Traits of the Best B2B Influencers appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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