audience

It feels like we’ve been living with social media forever. But in the context of global business practice, it’s still fairly new to the list of essentially mandatory facets of company management. Using the official clients provided by social media companies, we’ve all experienced the frustration when the inbound volume grows too quickly and replies get mixed up, and there are so many proactive ways to improve business and marketing with more powerful tools.

Here are 10 reasons why social media managers like you will fall in love with social audience marketing tools.

Gain an advanced understanding of your audience

Social media marketing tools are indispensable aids in building a clear picture of your audience. It’s well-known that they can help you figure out key demographic information such as location, gender, and language, whether you’re looking to know more about current customers or potential customers.

What really makes social media monitoring an incredible tool when compared to traditional polling methods are the trends that can be identified adjacent to this core demographic data. What sort of interests do they have? Are some of these interests adjacent to marketing opportunities you hadn’t considered targeting yet? How and when do they use media and technology? Because of the unsolicited insights social media users offer into their lives and state of mind, the understanding you develop about your brand’s audience is more real than ever, going far beyond the demographic pie charts of yesteryear.

Target your audience with precision

With a better knowledge of your audience and marketing strategies that have been tailored for your key demographics, you can make sure the right audience sees the right message through targeting. Some social media companies allow you to target posts in a pretty detailed manner. Facebook, for example, offers a range of options from location to relationship status and education level. On the other hand, Twitter only allows you to target users by country – but it’s better than nothing.

Managing your audience segmentation can be made much easier with a good social media marketing app’s help. A good solution will allow you to define and save audience segment presets and track the performance of posts rolled out to that audience.

Increase web traffic and SEO value

If you want to see a boost to web traffic, or continuous traffic growth is part of your mission as an online-oriented business, social media marketing tools can make a huge difference in the amount of social media traffic you generate. Social media can boost traffic in direct ways – posting a link and garnering traffic from followers and, as a multiplier, those who see shares – and indirect ways, primarily because success in social media translates into SEO value these days.

There are a few advantages marketing and monitoring apps provide over native interfaces. You can schedule tweets ahead for maximum timezone coverage, and schedule according to intelligence on days and times that tend to attract the most interactions. With the help of analytics tracking and hindsight, you’ll be able to figure out what sort of language resonates best with your followers and adjust your campaigns to suit. As you collect new data, you can iterate on your existing social media campaigns for progressively greater returns in terms of traffic, SEO value and other less tangible metrics such as social proof.

Measure the impact and influence of your business

As we’ve already mentioned, one of the benefits of using a good social media marketing package is in-depth analytics tracking on the performance of your posts and accounts in general. You’ll always know how widely your posts are being shared, and how much or how little people are talking about your brand.

No business exists in isolation. Social media provides data with a lot of context, and over time you’ll see how exposure to and sentiment about your brand is impacted by current events in world and industry news, and develop new insights about how to take advantage of or mitigate these effects in the future.

Generate new leads for the sales team

Good leads are generally pretty expensive to generate, but this is another task made cheaper using social media research – once you’ve got the monitoring tools, the only cost is in time spent developing the skills to search effectively.

Social media monitoring enables you to find people looking for a specific type of product or service in your category and reach out to them. Brick and mortar shops and local service providers can use the same demographic tools mentioned earlier to narrow their list of leads down to the most relevant users soliciting buying advice.

Receive and collate customer feedback quickly

In the past, there were few ways a brand could do unobtrusive, fly-on-the-wall temperature-taking about the unsolicited sentiments of their customers regarding the brand’s products. There was media monitoring (important, but not always representative of the average Joe’s thoughts), solicited feedback from focus groups and surveys, and of course the kind of unsolicited feedback directed at the company through feedback channels, such as hotlines – usually only used when a customer had a complaint.

While these things remain relevant, it’s never been easier to get a feel for what customers are telling the people around them, and this gives us access to an authenticity to the sentiment that wasn’t always purely present before. And since it only takes a few seconds to respond, posts or tweets asking how customers are finding their experience are more likely to get a broad response representing more than just customer complaints.

Keep an eye on the competition

Social media monitoring makes it easy to keep an eye on the competition: their latest news, the sales they put on and even controversies that you may wish to capitalize on. You can track just about everyone in your field this way, or just a few key rivals, depending on your priorities.

But you can go beyond keeping an eye on what your competitors are doing. What are their customers saying? Are they unhappy and looking for another vendor? Or maybe you can finally identify the draw that has been allowing your competitor to steal customers from you.

Keeping an eye on the competition can also allow you to develop crucial intel over time that will play into your crisis management plan. You’ll have witnessed the crafty saves and horrific blunders of your competitors in responding to controversies and will know what the people in your market respond to best, should you also draw their ire someday.

Figure out who has influence in your field

Every company needs to build relationships with the people who hold sway in the company’s field and among the audience the company is targeting. Often collectively called influencers, these people can be media figures, bloggers, professionals who are social media power users or even consumers who are social media power users.

Social media marketing and monitoring software won’t make relationships for you. But it will help you figure out who is talking to your market from a position of influence and what else they’re talking about, and it can alert you to influencers sharing your product with an adjacent field with untapped potential.

Provide faster customer service

It’s easy to keep an ongoing dialogue going with your customers on social media, and there are many ways companies are using social media to deliver bona fide support and service. Of course, not all support requests can be handled in this way, but many can – it’s often faster for the business to deal with minor customer issues this way, faster in terms of response times for the user, and signals to those potential customers incidentally watching that you care about customer service. This commitment to excellent customer service being public can help you peel customers away from less responsive outfits.

Of course, trying to deal with the increased volume of social media activity involved when extending your customer service in this way is suicide using official interfaces. A custom-made tool for enterprise is all but required for keeping track of what you and your teammates have or haven’t dealt with yet and prioritizing efficiently.

Save money

In the past, companies that wanted to gather insights from a potential market had to put in a lot of legwork. Traditional methods such as focus groups and questionnaires take planning, expertise and can be quite expensive to pull off. There are logistical challenges involved, there can be issues with sample selection that are hard to rectify without repeating the whole process, and there’s certainly nothing cheap about the process of developing questions, securing participants, and getting them all in a room.

The same pattern held true for lead generation. Or distributing marketing messages. Or media and competitor monitoring.

Social media marketing and monitoring tools aren’t usually free, but they serve as a much more affordable way to find out about your audience and reach them than traditional methods do.

Conclusion

Who wouldn’t want to get to get to know their market better while spying on the competition and keeping customers happier?

Providers like Netbase provide enterprise-grade platforms with powerful analytical and marketing capabilities that shouldn’t be passed up by any modern business. Whether you work at a brick and mortar store or an online-facing business, there’s a lot of value in having the right tools for your job, and this value extends to the whole company.

Image from Hans Westbeek

This post was brought to you in conjunction with social media analytics platform Netbase. Originally appeared on GetApp.