Unit 303 – Social Networking Management for a Business

Aim of this unit

This unit is about using social networking for business in a cost-effective and time-efficient way.

Section One

1. Be able to evaluate external social networking tools for a business

Any business, small or large, can greatly benefit from using social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. However, it’s important to evaluate these tools before implementing them. Each site offers different benefits and drawbacks that businesses need to be aware of.

For example, LinkedIn is great for building relationships with other businesses, while Facebook is better for reaching out to consumers. Twitter is perfect for providing real-time updates on the company and its products.

Before implementing these social networking sites, it’s important to do a thorough evaluation. This can include researching the various sites and their features, as well as analyzing your target audience and how they use social networks. You’ll also need to assess whether the time and resources required to maintain these tools will be worthwhile for your business.

Ideally, businesses should try to find the right balance between implementing social networking tools and focusing on their core business goals. This means building strong relationships with employees, partners, and customers while also exploring new ways to connect and engage online.

By using social networking tools thoughtfully and effectively, businesses can tap into a powerful source of marketing potential and customer engagement.

1.1 Define social networking

Social networking is the process of interacting with others online by creating and joining groups, sharing content, and connecting with others. It can take many different forms, including but not limited to blogs, discussion forums, social networks (like Facebook or LinkedIn), wikis, and podcasts.

Social networking is useful for groups of people who have similar interests but don’t live in the same geographical location. This can help them connect and share information with each other, without having to meet up in person. Because of this, it is quickly becoming an important part of many people’s lives.

There are a number of different platforms that can be used for social networking, and many people are on multiple ones. Some of the most popular include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Instagram, Reddit, and Pinterest.

Each one has its own strengths and weaknesses; for example, some focus more on pictures or videos (like Instagram), while others have more robust discussion forums (like Reddit).

Ultimately, social networking lets us connect with others in ways that we never could before. Whether for personal or professional reasons, it is an important part of many people’s lives today.

Social media are trending and both businesses and consumers are using them for information sharing and networking
Social media are trending and both businesses and consumers are using them for information sharing and networking

1.2 Identify current external social networking tools for the geographical location of a business

Businesses today are using a variety of social networking tools to reach their target markets. Some of the most popular external social networking tools include Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Each tool has its own strengths and weaknesses, and businesses should carefully consider which tool will work best for them.

Facebook is great for building relationships with customers and potential customers. The site allows businesses to create fan pages where they can post updates, photos, and videos. Fans can then interact with the business by leaving comments or clicking the “like” button. This interaction helps build trust between the customer and the business.

Twitter is perfect for sharing quick updates about your business. Tweets are limited to 140 characters, so they are short and sweet. This makes them perfect for posting links to blog posts, articles, or product pages. Plus, Twitter followers can easily retweet your tweets to their followers, helping you reach a larger audience quickly.

LinkedIn is a professional networking site that allows businesses to connect with other professionals in their industry. LinkedIn is great for finding potential customers or partners, recruiting new employees, and promoting your products or services to other businesses.

Overall, there are many great external social networking tools available to businesses today. It is important to carefully consider which ones will work best for your unique needs and goals.

Inevitably different countries favour different platforms. Whilst Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram are popular they may not be so in other countries.

For an example, take these three places. Brazil, China and Russia. These are examples of places where it’s limited access or censorship is heavy.

Brazil – for most Brazilians, Orkut a social networking site run and owned by Google is mostly used in Brazil and other places such as India.

Russia – V-Kontakte is the Russian equivalent of Facebook, with quite similar websites in differing shades f blue. Unlike Facebook, this site has the ability to upload and share songs.

China – a place heavy with internet censorship, China has RenRen, a social network that was originally only a campus social network, before being expanded. It’s now used as much as Facebook.

1.3 Compare the functionality and features of different external social networking tools

Different social networking tools offer different features, and it can be difficult to decide which tool is right for you. In this paragraph, we will compare the functionality and features of three popular external social networking tools: Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Facebook is arguably the most popular social networking platform, offering a wide range of features to users. Some of these features include customizable profiles and walls, messaging capabilities, photo sharing and tagging, groups and events, and much more. While Facebook may be an excellent choice for personal use, it may not be the best option for businesses or professional networks.

LinkedIn is another popular social networking tool, mainly used for business networking and professional connections. With LinkedIn, users can create customized profiles that highlight their skills and experience, connect with colleagues and clients, search for jobs or employees, share news and content with others in their network, and much more. This platform is ideal for businesses looking to expand their professional networks and connect with other professionals in their industry.

Twitter is a fast-paced social networking platform that allows users to post short, 140-character updates on virtually any topic. Unlike Facebook and LinkedIn, Twitter does not have a built-in messaging system; instead, users can “retweet” or repost updates from other users, and can directly message other users to start a conversation. This makes Twitter an ideal platform for staying up-to-date with news and current events, as well as engaging in conversations with others in your network.

Overall, each of these social networking tools has its own strengths and weaknesses, and it is important to consider your specific needs and goals before choosing one. Whether you are looking to connect with friends, expand your professional network, or stay current on the latest news and trends, there is a social networking tool out there that can meet your needs.

Social media has become a global communication tool  for all ages and audiences
Social media has become a global communication tool for all ages and audiences

1.4 Describe the limitations of different external social networking tools

External social networking tools, such as Facebook and Twitter, can be great for staying in touch with friends and family, sharing news and experiences, and building relationships. However, they also have limitations.

First, external social networking tools are designed to make it easy for people to connect with each other. As a result, they tend to emphasize quantity over quality. People often post updates that are short and shallow, rather than taking the time to write thoughtful pieces. This can lead to misunderstandings and disagreements.

Second, because external social networking tools are public forums, people can easily see what others are saying about them. This can lead to feelings of insecurity or anxiety. It’s also difficult to control the tone or content of messages once they’ve been sent out into the world.

Third, external social networking tools often encourage behaviours that are not healthy or productive. For example, they can be used to cyberbully others and spread rumours or negative messages about other people. They can also distract us from more important tasks, such as focusing on our work or spending time with our family and friends.

While there are clearly many benefits to using external social networking tools, it is important to be aware of their limitations as well. By understanding these challenges and taking steps to address them, we can better use these tools in a way that is positive and productive.

1.5 Select external social networking tools for a business

Selecting the right social networking tools for a business can be a daunting task. There are so many options available, and each one has its own set of features and benefits. It can be hard to know which tool is right for your business.

One thing to keep in mind when selecting social networking tools is your target audience. What platforms are they using? What type of content do they prefer? What tone should you use in your communications?

Another important factor to consider is your budget. Some tools are free, while others have subscription fees. You need to find the tool that fits both your needs and your budget.

When evaluating social networking tools, there are several key considerations to keep in mind. These include the number of users on the platform, the level of engagement it facilitates, how easy it is to use, and whether or not it supports your business goals.

Ultimately, finding the right social networking tool for your business involves a lot of research, planning, and testing. But with the right tools, you can connect with your target audience and achieve success in today’s digital landscape.

Two of the most popular social media platforms in the world
Two of the most popular social media platforms in the world

1.6 Justify the selection of social networking tools for a business

Social networking tools are a valuable business asset because they allow companies to connect with customers and potential customers in new and innovative ways. By using social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, businesses can share information about their products and services, build relationships with customers and other businesses, and create brand awareness.

Additionally, social networking tools can help businesses track the success of their marketing campaigns and measure the reach of their content.

Elements to consider when selecting the appropriate social networking tools for a business include the following.

Privacy

Most businesses need to maintain a certain level of privacy when using social networking tools. This is because they often need to keep their business dealings and strategies confidential. It can be damaging for a business if its competitors or rivals were to gain access to its social media accounts and learn about their plans and strategies.

This is why it is important for businesses to use social networking tools that allow them to keep their accounts private. This way, only authorized people can access the account and learn about the business plans. There are several social networking tools that allow users to maintain a certain level of privacy. These include business-specific networks like LinkedIn and XING, as well as private messaging apps like WhatsApp and Viber.

If you are a business owner or manager, it is important to take the necessary steps to ensure your accounts are secure so that you can protect your business dealings and strategies. This may involve using a variety of different social networking tools and keeping your accounts private, or it may require implementing additional security measures like two-factor authentication or password managers.

Regardless of the specific steps, you need to take, it is important to be proactive about ensuring your privacy on social networking sites in order to protect your business interests.

Security

There are a number of reasons why businesses should use security measures when choosing social networking tools. One reason is that social networks can be used to spread malware and viruses. Another reason is that social networks can be used to gather information about businesses, their employees, and their customers.

Businesses should take steps to protect themselves by using security measures such as firewalls and antivirus software. They should also make sure that their employees are aware of the risks associated with using social networking tools and are trained in how to protect themselves online.

Overall, businesses should use security measures when using social networking tools because these tools can be used to spread malware and viruses, gather information about businesses and their employees, and put the privacy of customers at risk.

Therefore, it is important for businesses to take precautionary steps by implementing security measures such as firewalls and antivirus software.

Additionally, it is also important for businesses to educate their employees about the risks associated with social networking tools and how to stay safe online. By doing this, businesses can better protect themselves and ensure that they maintain a positive relationship with their customers.

Personal vs. business profile

When it comes to social networking tools for businesses, there are many different options to choose from. Personal profiles and business profiles are two of the most common. There are pros and cons to both, but in general, a personal profile is better for individual use, while a business profile is better for business use.

A personal profile is good for staying in touch with friends and family, sharing photos and thoughts, and generally just staying connected. A business profile is good for promoting a business, connecting with customers and other businesses, and sharing news and updates about the company.

The main difference between personal and business profiles is that a personal profile is usually not associated with a company or organization, while a business profile is.

When it comes to social networking tools for businesses, it’s important to choose the right type of profile depending on what you plan to use it for. A personal profile is great for everyday use, while a business profile can be used to promote a company or organization.

Time management

When it comes to social networking tools for businesses, time management is key. There are so many different platforms and features that it can be difficult to know where to start. Not to mention, businesses often have a limited amount of time to devote to social media marketing.

That’s where time management comes in. By taking the time to carefully plan and strategize, businesses can make the most of their social media marketing efforts. Tools like Hootsuite allow businesses to manage all their social media accounts in one place, saving valuable time. And by using scheduling tools like Buffer, businesses can schedule posts ahead of time, freeing up more time during the day to focus on other tasks.

Ultimately, time management is essential when choosing social networking tools for businesses. By taking the time to plan and use the right tools, businesses can maximize their results while minimizing the amount of time spent on social media marketing.

Online privacy needs to be respected and reinforced to prevent hackers from stealing your data
Online privacy needs to be respected and reinforced to prevent hackers from stealing your data

Hackers

When it comes to social networking tools for businesses, it is important to be aware of hackers. Hackers can potentially gain access to confidential information or even damage the company’s reputation. Therefore, it is important to take measures to protect your company’s information and to monitor online activity so that any suspicious behaviour can be addressed quickly.

One way to protect your company is by setting up a firewall. A firewall can be used as a barrier between your information and outside threats. Firewalls are essentially filters that allow some types of traffic to pass through while blocking other types. This allows you to monitor the data that passes from one computer system to another and make sure it isn’t inappropriate or harmful.

In addition, it is important to monitor the activity of your employees while they are using social networking tools. This can be done by reviewing their profiles and communications regularly to check for any suspicious behaviour. If you notice anything unusual, it is a good idea to take action immediately, such as blocking access to certain sites or deleting inappropriate content.

It is also important to create strong passwords for your business accounts and to change them regularly. This will help prevent hackers from gaining access, as they are much less to be able to figure out a complex password that has been changed frequently.

Lastly, you can hire an IT professional or specialist who is trained in social networking security to help protect your company from hackers. They will be able to recommend specific measures that are best suited to your needs and provide ongoing monitoring and support as you use social media tools in your professional activities.

Spam

When it comes to social networking tools for businesses, spam can be a major issue. Because of the way spam is often sent – through mass messages or comments – it can be very disruptive and overwhelming for users. This can lead to people avoiding the tool altogether, which can be bad for business. Additionally, spam can also contain malware or other viruses, which can harm devices or networks.

For these reasons, it is important to be aware of spam when choosing social networking tools for business. By being vigilant and taking steps to prevent spam from infiltrating your account or network, you can keep your tools running smoothly and your users happy. Let’s take a look at some tips and best practices for preventing spam on social networking tools.

Tip 1: Be selective about whom you connect with. Many social networking tools allow users to connect with anyone, which can result in a lot of spam if that person is not careful. Instead of connecting with everyone, be choosy about whom you add to your network. This can help reduce the number of spam users who are able to contact you, making it easier for you to manage your account and stay on top of any spammers.

Tip 2: Monitor messages closely. When using social networking tools, constantly monitor the messages that come in so that you can quickly flag any spam messages. This can help keep your account and network free of unwanted content. If a spam message slips through, be sure to delete it right away so that it doesn’t get the chance to spread or cause any harm.

Tip 3: Use a strong password. One of the biggest ways to prevent spam is by using a strong, unique password for your account. This will make it much harder for spam accounts to get into your network and send out unwanted messages. Be sure to use a complex password, one that uses numbers, letters, and special characters. Also, avoid using the same or similar passwords across multiple networks and logins – this can open you up to even more spam attacks.

Tip 4: Avoid clicking on links or downloading files from unknown sources. Spam accounts often include links in their messages, which can be tempting to click on if you don’t know who is sending it. However, these links are often used to spread viruses and other malware that can harm your device or network. Instead, avoid clicking on links from unknown sources. If you do click on one, be sure to scan your device for malware before continuing to use it.

Tip 5: Keep your software and network up to date. As with spam accounts, malware can also spread through old or out-of-date software or devices. To prevent this from happening, be sure to regularly update your software and network. This will help ensure that you always have the latest security measures in place to keep yourself safe from spam and other malicious attacks.

By following these tips, you can better protect yourself against spam on social networking tools. Remember, it is important to stay vigilant and take steps to prevent spam so that you can keep your tools running smoothly and avoid any damage or disruption.

Growing an audience on social media to increase your market share and connect with a wider audience
Growing an audience on social media to increase your market share and connect with a wider audience

Section Two

2. Understand how to classify the social networking audience of a business

It is important for businesses to be aware of the different types of social networking audiences they can reach out to. There are three primary classifications of social networking audiences:

  • personal
  • public
  • commercial

Each type of audience has its own unique set of characteristics that businesses should take into account when designing their social media marketing strategy.

Personal social media users are those who use sites like Facebook and Twitter primarily to keep in touch with friends and family. They are generally less interested in brands and commercial content than other types of social media users.

Public social media users are those who use sites like Twitter and LinkedIn to follow news and trends, connect with colleagues, and look for job opportunities. They are more likely to be interested in brand content than personal users.

Commercial social media users are those who use sites like LinkedIn and Pinterest to find new products and services, compare prices, and read reviews. They are the most likely to be interested in brand content and the most likely to make purchases based on information they find on social media sites.

Businesses should be mindful of these different social media audiences when designing their marketing strategies. They should carefully consider the type of content they share on each platform, and tailor their messaging to appeal to the specific preferences and interests of users in each category.

In addition, businesses should pay attention to the metrics associated with each type of social media user and use analytics tools to track and measure the effectiveness of their social media marketing efforts. With careful planning and thoughtful execution, businesses can successfully engage diverse social networking audiences and build lasting relationships with their customers.

As more consumers turn to social media for information and inspiration, it is more important than ever for businesses to understand how to effectively market on these platforms. By being aware of the different types of social networking audiences and tailoring their marketing strategies accordingly, businesses can successfully connect with a wider range of potential customers and build lasting relationships with their existing customers.

2.1 Explain the potential uses of grouping people in social networking tools

Grouping people in social networking tools can have a lot of benefits. For one, it allows people to connect with others who share their interests more easily. This can be especially helpful for people who are looking for new friends or want to expand their social circles.

Grouping people also makes it easier for them to find information and content that is relevant to them. For example, if you belong to a group about cooking, you will likely see posts about recipes and cooking tips more often than if you were not in the group. This can be helpful for finding information quickly and easily.

Finally, grouping people can help foster relationships and build community. When people are able to connect with others who share their interests, they are more likely to feel connected and supported. This can be beneficial both online and offline.

Targeted marketing

By targeting specific groups of people who are likely to be interested in your product or service, you can reach a much larger audience than you would through traditional advertising methods. And since people are more likely to trust information that comes from their friends and family, word-of-mouth marketing can be very effective in driving sales.

So how do you go about targeting the right people? It’s actually not as difficult as it may seem. Most social networking sites allow you to specify your target audience by age, location, interests, and other factors. You also use data from past customers to create a profile of your ideal customer.

Once you have created a target list of people, it’s important to create content that is relevant and interesting to them. This content can take many forms, such as blog posts, videos, or even just status updates on Facebook or tweets on Twitter. By regularly providing valuable content that meets the needs of your target audience, you will earn their trust and they will be more likely to buy from you when the time comes.

Connecting with your target audience via a number of notifications
Connecting with your target audience via a number of notifications

Influencing

Influencing is the act of affecting or attempting to affect a person’s behaviour or emotions. It can be done through coercion, persuasion, manipulation, or intimidation. In social networking tools, influencing takes on a new form- that of opinion control.

Opinion control refers to the ability to manipulate how people think and feel about an issue or topic. It can be achieved by censoring information (either by deleting comments or posts, or by burying them so that they are not seen), flooding people with positive information (or disinformation), or harassing and bullying people who hold opposing views until they give up and leave the discussion.

One of the most common applications of opinion control in social networks is in political campaigns. Political candidates can use these tools to influence how people think about certain issues and positions, as well as how they feel about a particular candidate.

For example, by strategically disseminating positive news stories through a candidate’s social media accounts or sharing information that reinforces pre-existing biases, a candidate can subtly influence how people think about the issues that matter to them.

In addition to influencing people’s opinions about political candidates and issues, opinion control can also be used in marketing campaigns. Companies can leverage social networks to boost sales by promoting products or services through quality content that is targeted at specific groups of users based on their interests.

Additionally, social networks can be used to shape public opinion by spreading rumours or fake news that cast a particular brand in a negative light.

Although influencing through social networking tools has significant potential benefits, it also poses serious risks. For example, a company could use these tools to spread false information about a competitor’s products or services, which could hurt its reputation and potentially lead to lost revenue.

Additionally, opinion control can be used to manipulate people’s opinions and emotions, which could have far-reaching consequences not only for the individual targeted but also for society as a whole.

Given these risks, it is important that we take steps to protect against the abuse of social networks for opinion control. For example, we can educate people about how opinion control works and teach them to be more sceptical of information that is shared online. We can also strengthen our laws and regulations to better regulate the ways in which companies can use these tools to influence public opinion.

Ultimately, by taking a proactive approach to managing the potential risks of social networks, we can help ensure that these powerful tools are used for the benefit of society as a whole.

Listening

Listening is a powerful tool that can be used in social networking tools to better understand others and build relationships. By listening to others, we can learn about their experiences, thoughts, and feelings. In addition, listening can help us build trust and credibility with others.

When people feel heard and understood, they are more likely to want to form a relationship with us. And when we listen to others, whether it’s through a social networking tool or in person, we also learn more about ourselves and what’s important to us.

There are many other potential uses for listening in social networking tools. For example, listening can be used to build community and connect with others who share similar interests. It can also help us learn new information or perspectives and respond to needs in our networks.

And by actively listening to others, we are better able to understand their needs, address problems that arise, and nurture the relationships we have with them. Ultimately, the power of listening in social networking tools can help us strengthen our relationships and make meaningful connections online and offline.

Brand ambassadors

Brand ambassadors are a powerful tool for companies to use on social networking sites. By having people who are passionate about the company’s products or services act as representatives, companies can create a connection with potential and current customers that is more personal than any advertisement could ever be.

Additionally, brand ambassadors can help spread the word about new products or services, as well as provide feedback to the company on what customers want and need.

There are several different ways in which companies can leverage the power of brand ambassadors on social networking sites. One effective strategy is to recruit current customers who already have a strong following on social media and ask them to share information about the company or its products with their networks. This can help increase visibility for the company, as well as raise awareness about specific promotions or offers.

Alternatively, companies may also opt to partner with well-known social media celebrities who have a large and dedicated following. This can be especially effective when looking to promote new products or services that are related to a particular hobby or interest area, as these influencers will likely already have a pre-existing audience of potential customers.

Overall, brand ambassadors can be a powerful tool for companies to harness the power of social media and connect with their customers in new and innovative ways. By partnering with the right influencers and encouraging active participation on social networks, companies can build strong relationships with current and potential customers that will help drive long-term success.

Amplification

Amplification is the process of making something louder, or bigger. In the world of social networking, it means taking a small piece of content and sharing it with as many people as possible in order to generate interest or engagement.

This can be done in a number of ways, including but not limited to: retweeting on Twitter, sharing on Facebook, embedding on a website, or emailing friends. Amplification is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal for increasing reach and engagement with your audience. It can also be used to increase the visibility of a particular issue or campaign or to spread information quickly and effectively.

There are many potential applications for amplification in social networking tools. For example, it can be used by businesses and organizations to help promote their products or services. It can also be useful for individuals who want to share ideas, information, or opinions with others.

Additionally, amplification can be a powerful tool for activists and community leaders to help raise awareness about important issues or causes.

Ultimately, the key to successful amplification lies in choosing appropriate content and sharing it at the right time and in the right way. For example, while short snippets of information may be ideal for Twitter, longer, more in-depth content may work better on Facebook or other social media platforms. It is also important to be strategic about your timing – choosing when you share the content can make a big difference in how many people end up seeing it.

Whether you are amplifying personal or professional content, it is important to keep your audience in mind and to be strategic about the approach you take. By leveraging the power of amplification in social networking tools, you can help to increase your reach and engagement, as well as maximize the impact of your message or content.

Identifying audience groups for social networking used by a business
Identifying audience groups for social networking used by a business

2.2 Identify the audience groups for social networking for a business

There are two basic types of social networking audiences that businesses need to cater to: those who are already interested in what the business has to offer, and those who are not yet familiar with it.

The first type of audience is typically made up of current or potential customers who are active on social media and want to connect with the business online. These people can be reached through paid advertising or organic content that targets their interests.

The second type of audience is made up of people who are not yet familiar with the business but may be interested in what it has to offer. This group can be reached through organic content that is designed to introduce them to the company and its products or services.

In order to effectively reach both groups, businesses need to understand the unique needs and interests of each audience segment. They also need to develop a social media strategy that aligns with these needs and is supported by engaging content that engages, informs, and inspires.

By doing so, they can successfully connect with their target audiences on social networking platforms and attract new customers to their business.

2.3 Explain the importance of evaluating the need for brand ambassadors in social networking for a business

Businesses of all sizes are increasingly turning to social media networks as a way to connect with customers and promote their products or services. However, in order to be successful on social media, businesses need to have a clear understanding of who their target audience is and what they want from the experience.

They also need to identify which social media networks are most appropriate for their business and then create content that is interesting and engaging for their fans and followers. Finally, businesses need to identify and engage brand ambassadors who can help promote their products or service on social media.

One of the most important things when it comes to using social media for business is evaluating the need for brand ambassadors. These are influencers or advocates who have a large and engaged following on social media, and who are willing to promote your product or service on their own channels in exchange for some type of compensation.

Brand ambassadors can play an important role in helping your business achieve its goals on social media, such as increasing awareness or improving customer engagement.

There are a number of factors to consider when identifying and engaging brand ambassadors for your business. First, you need to understand who your target audience is and what they are looking for from the social media experience. This will help you identify which social media platforms are most relevant to your business, and what type of content is most likely to engage your audience.

Once you have identified the right social media networks for your business, it’s important to start actively engaging with potential brand ambassadors on those channels. This can involve liking posts, commenting on other people’s content, sharing others’ posts, and using hashtags to attract people’s attention. You may also want to reach out directly to influencers or advocates that you feel would be a good match for your business, either by email or on social media itself.

Ultimately, the success of any brand ambassador program will depend on how well you are able to work with your chosen ambassadors. This includes establishing clear guidelines and expectations for how they should be representing your business, as well as identifying ways to reward and recognize them for their efforts.

By taking the time to identify and engage brand ambassadors in an effective way, you can help grow your social media presence and increase sales for your business.

Brand ambassadors allow your brand to connect to your target audiences
Brand ambassadors allow your brand to connect to your target audiences

2.4 Explain how to recognise brand ambassadors

Brand ambassadors are people who represent a company or product in a positive light. They may be employees, customers, or even celebrities. Brand ambassadors can help to extend the reach of your marketing efforts by reinforcing the positive messages you send out and helping to manage your brand communication.

There are several factors that can help you identify potential brand ambassadors and make the most of their influence.

  1. Look for people who already have a strong connection to your brand. These might be long-time customers or employees who are passionate about what you do.
  2. Look for individuals with a large social media following. Celebrities and other social media influencers can be extremely effective at promoting your brand to a wide audience.
  3. Consider how well they align with your company values and messaging. Brand ambassadors should share their core beliefs and be able to articulate them in a way that resonates with consumers.

If you are looking to identify and engage with brand ambassadors, there are several steps you can take. First, consider creating an official ambassador program that outlines your expectations and provides training and support for these individuals. You may also want to host regular events or online activities where your brand ambassadors can connect and share their stories with each other.

Finally, make sure you are regularly monitoring and evaluating the impact of your brand ambassadors to ensure that they are having a positive impact on your marketing efforts.

In today’s digital age, it is more important than ever to cultivate strong relationships with brand ambassadors in order to extend your marketing reach and build positive brand recognition. By finding the right partners, creating an effective ambassador program, and focusing on continuous engagement, you can ensure that your brand ambassadors are helping to promote your company in a positive light and drive success for your marketing efforts.

2.5 Explain how to ensure the validity and credibility of brand ambassadors

When it comes to promoting a brand, companies often turn to ambassadors. Ambassadors are people who have a personal connection to the product or service and can vouch for its quality. But how can you be sure that these ambassadors are credible and their recommendations valid?

There are a few things you can do to ensure the validity and credibility of your ambassadors.

  1. Make sure they have a good reputation. You don’t want someone who is known for being untrustworthy to promote your product.
  2. Ask them to provide references or testimonials from past customers.
  3. Check out what they say about your product on social media. If their posts are positive and genuine, then you can be confident that they’re good ambassadors for your brand.

Whether you’re looking for brand ambassadors to promote your product online or in person, it’s critical that you take the time to choose those who are credible and trustworthy. With a little research and selection, you can build a powerful team of brand advocates who will be able to help grow your business.

Choosing the right person to be your ambassador is subject to how well they align with your goals and objectives
Choosing the right person to be your ambassador is subject to how well they align with your goals and objectives

2.6 Explain how to manage brand ambassadors

Brand ambassadors are a valuable asset to any company. They can help promote the brand and increase sales. However, it is important to manage them properly in order to get the most out of them. Here are four tips for managing brand ambassadors:

1. Choose the right people

Not everyone is suited to be a brand ambassador. Make sure you choose people who are passionate about your brand and who represent it well. They should also be good communicators and have a strong social media presence.

2. Set clear guidelines

Brand ambassadors need to know what is expected of them. Establish clear guidelines for them to follow, including what type of content they can post, what tone they should use, and how often they should post.

3. Provide training

Brand ambassadors need to be trained on how to best promote your brand. This includes teaching them about your products or services, as well as your company culture and values.

4. Monitor their activities

Make sure you monitor the activities of your brand ambassadors so that you can ensure they are staying on track and representing your brand in a positive light.

Managing brand ambassadors is an important part of any company’s marketing strategy. By following these tips, you can ensure that your ambassadors are doing a great job and helping to grow your business.

2.7 Explain the importance of evaluating the need for influencers in social networking for a business

Businesses have long realized the importance of social media for marketing and branding purposes. However, many businesses struggle with how to best use social media to their advantage. One question that is often debated is whether or not a business needs influencers to be successful on social media.

There are pros and cons to using influencers in social media marketing. On one hand, having influential people promote your product or service can result in a lot of exposure and leads. On the other hand, it can be expensive to work with influencers, and they may not always be effective at promoting your brand.

Ultimately, whether or not you should use influencers depends on your specific business and what you hope to achieve with your social media presence. If you’re looking for a lot of quick exposure and don’t mind spending the money, then working with influencers may be a good option for you.

However, if you’re looking for more long-term results that don’t require as much up-front investment, then relying on organic methods such as creating valuable content may be a better choice for you.

Regardless of which approach you choose, it’s important to continuously evaluate your social media marketing strategy and optimize it over time based on the results that you are seeing. This will ensure that you are always getting the most out of your efforts and effectively reaching and engaging with your target audience.

Social media influencers are growing in popularity due to their authentic and relevant content
Social media influencers are growing in popularity due to their authentic and relevant content

2.8 Explain how to recognise influencers

Businesses are always looking for new and innovative ways to reach more customers and increase their market share. One way to do this is by identifying and targeting key influencers in your industry. But what is an influencer, and how can you identify them?

An influencer is someone who has a lot of influence over the decisions of others. They may be experts in their field, or they may simply be very popular with consumers. Either way, they have the ability to sway people’s opinions and affect their buying decisions.

So how can you identify key influencers in your industry? There are a few things you can look for: first, look for people who have a large following on social media. This could be through blogs, Twitter, or other platforms. Second, look for people who are respected by their peers – that is, other experts in your industry.

Finally, look for people who are already doing well with your target demographic. If you can find someone who meets all three of these criteria, then you’ve found yourself a key influencer.

Once you’ve identified your key influencers, the next step is to reach out and start building a relationship with them. This could involve collaborating on content, offering them exclusive access or discounts, or even just connecting with them on social media.

By forming relationships with influencers in your industry, you can extend your market reach and tap into new audiences that you might not have been able to reach otherwise.

So if you’re looking to grow your business and expand your market share, then targeting key influencers should be one of your top priorities. With the right strategy in place, you can start reaching more customers and increasing your sales today.

2.9 Explain how to ensure the validity and credibility of influencers

There are several steps you can take to ensure the validity and credibility of influencers before taking their advice. One important consideration is to look at the influencer’s track record and experience in the field. You should also evaluate their reputation among their peers, as well as their alignment with your own interests and goals.

Additionally, it is a good idea to do some research on the influencer’s own interests and motivations, in order to determine whether they might be biased or trying to promote a specific brand or product.

Ultimately, the key to ensuring that your influencers are credible and reliable sources of information is to do your homework and carefully evaluate their background, experience, reputation, and motivations. By doing this, you can ensure that you are getting honest and trustworthy recommendations that will help you achieve your goals in a more effective way.

Some questions you should ask include:

  • How long have they been in the business?
  • Do they have any relevant experience?
  • What is their track record?
  • Are they credible sources of information?
  • How do they rate amongst their peers?

If you can’t answer these questions satisfactorily, it’s best to find someone else who can give you more reliable advice.

Another important consideration is to make sure that the influencer’s own interests are aligned with yours.

For example, if you’re looking for fitness or nutrition advice, it’s best to find someone who has a proven track record of success and is not just recommending a specific brand or product in order to earn a commission.

Ultimately, you want to choose someone that you can trust and who has your best interests at heart.

Platforms such as Tik Tok have seen a huge increase in social influencers and their audience reach
Platforms such as Tik Tok have seen a huge increase in social influencers and their audience reach

2.10 Explain how to manage influencers

Influencers are people who can help promote your product or service to a wide audience. Managing them effectively is important, as they can have a significant impact on your business. Here are four tips for doing so:

1. Establish clear expectations from the outset. Make sure you know what you expect from your influencers, and be clear about what they can expect in return. This will help avoid any misunderstandings down the road.

2. Keep communication open and consistent. Influencers should feel like they can contact you anytime with questions or concerns, and you should respond promptly. This will help build trust between you and your influencers.

3. Give them plenty of creative freedom. Let them put their own spin on things, within reason. You want them to feel like they’re part of the process, not just following orders blindly.

4. Reward them appropriately. Thank them publicly when they do a good job, and give them bonuses or other perks occasionally to show your appreciation.”

Managing influencers is an important part of growing your business, and there are several key strategies that can help you do so effectively. By establishing clear expectations, keeping communication open and consistent, giving influencers creative freedom, and recognizing their contributions appropriately, you can build strong relationships with your key influencers and increase the impact they have on your business.

2.11 Compare brand ambassadors and influencers

Brand ambassadors and influencers are two terms that are often used interchangeably, but there is a distinction between the two. Brand ambassadors are employees of the company who represent it to the public, while influencers are people with a large social media following who promote products or services to their followers.

Both brand ambassadors and influencers play an important role in marketing and promoting products or services. Brand ambassadors are typically chosen based on their experience, knowledge, and skills related to the company’s offerings. They may be given a specific set of guidelines to follow when representing the company, such as using approved social media profiles or wearing branded clothing when attending events.

Influencers, on the other hand, are typically chosen based on their social media following and reach. They may be given free products or incentives to promote a product in exchange for a post or mention on social media that will help drive traffic to the company’s website or increase sales of certain products.

There are pros and cons to using both brand ambassadors and influencers for marketing and promotion purposes. Brand ambassadors can be a great way to build trust with customers, as they are viewed as official representatives of the company. However, they may not have the same level of reach or engagement on social media as many influencers do, which may limit their effectiveness in promoting products or services.

On the other hand, influencers can help companies reach a much larger audience and may be able to drive more traffic or sales than brand ambassadors alone. However, there is always a risk that an influencer may lose credibility if they are paid too much or promoted products that don’t align with their values or beliefs.

In conclusion, both brand ambassadors and influencers have a valuable role to play in today’s marketing landscape, and choosing the right strategy will depend on the company’s goals, objectives, and budget. Whether you use brand ambassadors or influencers, it is important to choose wisely and carefully monitor their effectiveness over time.

The use of social media management tools such as Hootsuite makes it a lot easier to manage consistent communication with your audiences
The use of social media management tools such as Hootsuite makes it a lot easier to manage consistent communication with your audiences

Section Three

3. Be able to use social media management tools in relation to social networking

As a business owner, it’s important to stay up to date on the latest social media management tools. These tools can help you with tasks such as scheduling posts, analyzing your audience, and even creating graphics.

Some of the most popular social media management tools are:

  • Hootsuite
  • Sprout Social
  • Buffer
  • Later

Hootsuite allows you can connect all of your social media accounts in one place, schedule posts for all of your accounts, and track how well your posts are performing.

Sprout Social allows you to manage all of your social media accounts from one dashboard, and also offers detailed analytics so you can see how well your content is performing.

Buffer is another popular social media management tool that makes it easy to schedule posts, and also helps you to identify the best times of day to post in order to get the most engagement from your audience.

Later is a great tool for managing and scheduling Instagram posts, as well as creating and editing images for your posts. With its easy-to-use interface and powerful analytics, it is an ideal choice for businesses looking to improve their social media marketing efforts.

Whether you are just starting out with social media marketing, or already have an established presence, using these tools can help you be more efficient and effective. By using social media management tools, you can easily reach and engage your audience, track performance metrics, and stay on top of all the latest trends in social media marketing.

3.1 Define the term ‘social media management tool’

Social media management tools are computer programs or websites that allow users to manage their social media accounts from one central location. These tools can be used to post updates, track analytics, and respond to comments and messages.

Some popular social media management tools include Hootsuite, Sprout Social, and Buffer.

Use of social media management tools such as Buffer is easy to manage thanks to smartphones and easier access to the internet
Use of social media management tools such as Buffer is easy to manage thanks to smartphones and easier access to the internet

3.2 Explain the importance of using social media management tools in relation to social networking

Most businesses these days have a social media presence. This is a way to connect with customers and create relationships. However, managing all of these accounts can be difficult. That’s where social media management tools come in. These tools help you to manage all of your accounts from one place, making it easier to keep track of everything. They also provide analytics so you can see how well your campaigns are doing. This is important for improving your marketing strategy and getting better results.

One of the main benefits of social media management tools is that they make it easier to stay on top of all your accounts. At a glance, you can see which posts have been successful and which ones need more work. This makes it easy to optimize your campaigns so you can get better results from your social media marketing efforts.

Some of the benefits of social media management tools include the following.

Increased Productivity

There are many social media management tools that help to increase productivity. For example, Hootsuite allows users to manage all of their social media accounts in one place, which makes it easier to keep track of all of your posts and updates.

Additionally, Sprout Social allows users to schedule posts ahead of time, which can help to save time and ensure that your social media accounts are regularly updated.

If you’re looking to increase your productivity on social media, there are many tools that can help. Hootsuite is one of the most popular options, as it lets users manage all of their social media accounts in one place. This makes it easier to stay on top of ongoing posts and updates.

Improved efficiencies

Social media management tools help to improve efficiencies by allowing users to schedule posts, track analytics, and collaborate with team members. By using these tools, businesses can save time and improve their overall marketing strategy.

Increased visibility

There are a number of social media management tools that help to increase visibility. One such tool is Hootsuite. Hootsuite allows users to view multiple social media accounts in one place, as well as schedule posts for future publication. This helps to ensure that content is seen by as many people as possible, both locally and globally.

Social media management tools offer insights and analytics, which help businesses measure the success of their social media campaigns and make adjustments as needed. Finally, Hootsuite allows businesses to grow their social media traffic and following.

With Sprout Social, users can view the in-depth profiles of their followers, which enable them to identify key influencers and target specific audiences with content marketing efforts.

Easier scheduling

Social media management tools help improve scheduling by providing users with a variety of features that make it easier to create and manage schedules for their social media accounts. These tools can typically be divided into two categories: those that help with creating schedules and those that help with managing schedules.

Tools that help with creating schedules typically allow users to create a calendar of posts, which can then be automatically shared with their social media accounts. This can be helpful for businesses who want to ensure that they are sharing a consistent amount of content, or for individuals who want to plan out their posts in advance.

Many of these tools also allow users to create queues of posts, which will automatically publish based on a set schedule. This can be helpful for ensuring that content is published regularly, even if the person creating the schedule doesn’t have time to create new posts every day.

Tools that help with managing schedules are typically used after content has been created and scheduled. These tools can help users keep track of which posts have been published, what still needs to be published, and how well each post is performing. This information can be helpful for adjusting schedules as needed, or for determining which content is most successful.

Many of these tools also provide analytics on how many people have seen each post, where they saw it, and how long it was viewed. This information can be helpful in understanding what content is most appealing to viewers and helping to create future schedules based on this data.

Improved analytics

In addition, many of these tools provide powerful analytics and reporting features. You can use these to track your performance on different platforms, as well as see how your audience is engaging with your content. This information can help you improve your strategy and reach even more customers online.

Overall, social media management tools are valuable tools for any business looking to succeed in social media marketing. Whether you’re just starting out or already have an established presence, these tools can help you achieve better results and stay on top of your accounts more effectively.

Use of analytics to monitor your social media to inform and educate your future decisions
Use of analytics to monitor your social media to inform and educate your future decisions

3.3 Explain the disadvantages of using social media management tools

Social media management tools are a great way to help organize and manage your social media accounts. However, there are some disadvantages to using these tools that you should be aware of. First, because the tools are designed to help you manage your accounts more effectively, they can often miss important audience engagement data. This can lead to a perception that your account is not performing well, or is not being seen by enough people.

Another disadvantage of using social media management tools is that they can sometimes give the impression that you are spamming your followers with content. This can cause them to tune out your messages and eventually stop following you altogether.

Finally, because social media management tools allow you to post and schedule messages for specific times, they can sometimes dominate the conversation on social media platforms, pushing other content (and potential customers) further down in the feed.

To avoid these issues and others, it can be helpful to use a combination of social media management tools along with more organic outreach methods and strategies. By balancing your social media activities in this way, you can achieve better results from your marketing efforts overall.

3.4 Use a social media management tool to group an audience relevant to a business

Most businesses these days have a social media presence of some kind, but not all of them are taking advantage of the full potential that social media has to offer. One way to maximize the reach and impact of a business’s social media presence is to use a social media management tool to group an audience relevant to the business.

A social media management tool allows businesses to target their advertising more effectively and also gives them access to detailed analytics that can help them track the success of their campaigns. This kind of tool has many benefits, including the ability to segment and group your followers by interests or demographics, thereby reaching a more targeted audience.

In addition, social media management tools can help businesses track interactions with their customers and effectively respond to any feedback that they receive.

If you are looking for an effective way to manage your business’s social media presence, then consider using a social media management tool to group your audience and reach more people. With the right tools and strategies in place, you can fully maximize the impact of your business’s social media efforts and see real results for your bottom line.

3.5 Use a social media management tool to schedule content relevant to a business

Most businesses know that using social media is a great way to reach new customers and grow their business. However, many businesses don’t have the time or resources to manage all of their social media accounts themselves.

A social media management tool can help solve this problem by allowing businesses to schedule content for their various social media accounts ahead of time. This can help save time and ensure that all of their social media accounts are regularly updated with fresh content.

There are many different social media management tools available, and each one offers slightly different features and functionality. Some popular tools include Hootsuite and Buffer, both of which allow businesses to schedule content for their various social media accounts quickly and easily.

The ability to choose dates and times to allow for the frequency of your posting is key, as well as the ability to create a queue of posts so that your social media accounts are never left empty.

If you’re looking for a simple and effective way to manage your business’s social media accounts, consider using a social media management tool. With the right tool, you can stay connected with your customers and grow your business in no time.

Sharing content to other platforms to extend your reach and provide the necessary analytics to ensure you remain relevant to your target audiences
Sharing content to other platforms to extend your reach and provide the necessary analytics to ensure you remain relevant to your target audiences

3.6 Use a social media management tool to share content relevant to a business

Social media management tools make it easy for businesses to share content on a variety of social media platforms. By using a tool like this, businesses can save time and effort while still reaching a large audience. They can also track metrics like impressions, clicks and shares to see how their content is performing.

Most popular social media management tools allow users to schedule posts for multiple platforms in advance, so they don’t have to spend time each day updating their accounts. It also gives businesses the ability to monitor conversations on social media and engage with their audience in real-time.

Another useful feature of social media management tools is the ability to create custom audiences and target specific groups. This can help businesses reach their ideal customers more effectively, which maximizes engagement and ROI. Some popular platforms that enable this type of targeting include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

3.7 Explain the benefits of using short URLs within the content

Short URLs, or Uniform Resource Locators, are web addresses that are shortened to make them easier to remember. They can be used in a variety of ways, but are most commonly used in social media posts and marketing materials.

There are a number of benefits to using short URLs in content. First and foremost, they make it easy for people to remember the web address. This is especially important when you’re using social media, where space is limited. A short URL takes up less space than a full web address, so you can include more information in your post.

Short URLs also make it easy for people to share your content. When someone clicks on the link, it automatically opens in their browser window, without having to copy and paste the address into a new window or tab. This makes it more likely that people will visit your website or blog.

Finally, short URLs create a sense of urgency and excitement. People are more likely to click on a link if they know it’s going to take them somewhere interesting or exciting. A short URL conveys this sense of urgency better than a long web address ever could.

If you want to use short URLs in your content, there are a number of tools and services you can use. One popular option is Bitly.com, which is free to use and offers a wide range of analytics and tracking options. Other popular services include Ow.ly and TinyURL.com, both of which make it easy to create short URLs and track the results.

Whatever tool you choose, using short URLs in your content is a great way to boost traffic, reach new audiences, and generate more leads.

Using your social media channels to listen to what your audience what and responding accordingly is crucial for a brand to thrive
Using your social media channels to listen to what your audience what and responding accordingly is crucial for a brand to thrive

3.8 Use a social media management tool to listen to content relevant to a business

It can be difficult for businesses to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of social media. Not only is it important to stay active on various platforms, but it’s also crucial to monitor what others are saying about your brand.

As a marketer, it’s important to keep track of and monitor the content that your company is publishing across different platforms. The best way to do this is through social media management tools that allow you to listen and respond to customers in real-time, while also keeping track of mentions and interactions on various channels.

Discovering, searching and monitoring content is made easy with platforms like Hootsuite or Sprout Social. These tools provide a central dashboard that enables you to easily track and engage with your audience, as well as monitor key metrics for each channel.

Additionally, these tools allow you to connect and collaborate with other team members, so everyone is on the same page and can stay up-to-date with important conversations.

These tools allow you to not only track your own social media activity but also listen in on conversations happening around your brand. This can help you identify any potential issues early on, and allows you to respond quickly and effectively.

Additionally, you can use these tools to find and connect with influencers in your industry, which can help expand your reach and grow your audience.

3.9 Use a social media tool to have an ongoing dialogue with an audience relevant to a business

It’s no secret that social media is a powerful tool for businesses. What may be less well known, however, is the extent to which social media can be used to create an ongoing dialogue with an audience relevant to a business.

Through platforms like Twitter and Facebook, businesses can not only share information about their products and services but also engage in two-way communication with potential and current customers. This allows businesses to build relationships with customers, learn what they want and need, and create loyalty among their customer base.

Of course, social media is not the only way to create an ongoing dialogue with customers. In-store events, email marketing campaigns, and even traditional advertising can all be used to engage customers in a meaningful way. However, these approaches often lack the immediacy and personal nature of social media platforms, which is why they are becoming increasingly popular among businesses of all sizes.

Engaging and building relationships with your target audiences is crucial for any business looking to succeed in today’s competitive marketplace. And with the many tools and platforms available through social media, there is no better time than now to start using this powerful tool for your own benefit.

So if you’re looking to connect with customers in a way that feels genuine and personal, consider using social media as a key part of your business strategy.

Carrying out risk analysis around your social media will help safeguard you when conversations lean towards negativity
Carrying out risk analysis around your social media will help safeguard you when conversations lean towards negativity

Section Four

4. Be able to carry out a risk analysis and create a digital crisis management plan in relation to social networking for a business

Digital crisis management planning is essential for businesses with a social media presence. By creating and following a plan, businesses can minimize the risk of a digital crisis. A risk analysis should be conducted to identify potential risks and vulnerabilities, and then a crisis management plan can be put into place to address them.

The plan should include protocols for dealing with various types of crises, such as hacking or data breaches, negative publicity, and protests. Employees should be trained on how to respond to crises, and emergency procedures should be established.

When a crisis does arise, it is important to respond quickly and effectively. Communication strategies, such as issuing press releases or posting status updates on social media, can be used to inform both internal stakeholders and the public about what steps are being taken.

There are several key steps that businesses can take to create an effective digital crisis management plan for social media.

One is to conduct a risk analysis, which involves identifying any potential risks or vulnerabilities that could lead to a crisis. This can include threats like hacking or data breaches, negative publicity about the company or its products, and customer protests or boycotts.

Once the risk analysis has been completed, businesses should create strategies and protocols for addressing different types of crises. This may include developing a plan for communicating with stakeholders during a crisis, establishing escalation procedures to quickly resolve issues, and creating guidelines for responding to different types of crises on social media.

To be effective, digital crisis management planning also needs to involve employee training and emergency procedures. Employees should be trained in how to respond to a crisis, such as by implementing the company’s crisis management plan or communicating with stakeholders on social media.

Additionally, businesses should establish procedures for dealing with crises that arise outside of normal business hours, such as setting up an emergency response team and establishing a contact list for communicating with stakeholders.

Ultimately, being able to respond quickly and effectively to a digital crisis is critical for minimizing harm to a business. By creating and following an effective digital crisis management plan, businesses can reduce their risk of experiencing a crisis and respond appropriately when it does occur.

4.1 Compare risk analysis and digital crisis management

Risk analysis and digital crisis management are two important aspects of business that are often overlooked. In order to be successful, a business must be able to identify potential risks and take steps to mitigate them.

A business must have a plan in place for responding to a digital crisis. By doing these things, a business can minimize the chances of an incident occurring and ensure that they are prepared if one does happen.

One of the key differences between risk analysis and digital crisis management is that risk analysis tends to be more proactive, while digital crisis management focuses on reacting to a situation in real-time.

Risk analysis involves identifying potential threats, assessing their likelihood and impact, and developing strategies for mitigating them. In contrast, digital crisis management involves having a plan in place for responding to a crisis, including developing protocols for dealing with various types of incidents.

Both risk analysis and digital crisis management are critical aspects of business continuity in today’s digitally-connected world. By taking proactive steps to identify potential risks and being prepared to respond quickly and effectively in the event of a digital crisis, businesses can minimize the impact of these types of incidents, protecting their reputation and ensuring the continued success of their business operations.

While there are some similarities between risk analysis and digital crisis management, there are also key differences that must be understood in order to effectively manage both. Ultimately, businesses must identify where their biggest risks lie and have a plan in place for mitigating those risks in order to remain successful and competitive in today’s fast-paced digital world.

Monitoring for risk with a simple risk assessment matrix can help you categorise potential outcomes before they happen
Monitoring for risk with a simple risk assessment matrix can help you categorise potential outcomes before they happen

4.2 Explain the importance of monitoring for risk

Risk management is a critical part of any business, and it is especially important for small businesses. By monitoring for risk, you can identify potential threats to your business and take steps to mitigate them. This will help you protect your business from losses and ensure its continued success.

Small businesses can be more volatile to market forces as they have fewer assets to play with when there is a downshift within a market.

One important type of risk that you need to monitor is financial. As a small business, you may face issues with cash flow and profitability, which can be challenging to manage. By tracking your finances and identifying potential risks, such as late payments or unexpected expenses, you can take steps to address these issues and keep your business running smoothly.

You should also keep an eye on external factors that can impact your business, such as changes in the economic landscape or new regulations. Monitoring these risks will allow you to stay ahead of any challenges and make proactive decisions that can help you avoid costly issues down the road.

Overall, monitoring for risk is essential to the success of your small business. By taking proactive steps to identify and address potential threats, you can better protect your business and ensure its long-term success.

4.3 Carry out a risk analysis in relation to social networking for a business

Risk analysis is the process of assessing and managing risks. In the business world, it is an essential tool for making sound decisions. When it comes to social networking, there are a number of risks that should be considered.

One risk is the potential for confidential information to be leaked. This could include financial data, customer information, or trade secrets. Another risk is the potential for negative publicity. A company’s reputation can be damaged if something derogatory is said about it on social media. There are also risks associated with employee behaviour online. For example, employees could post comments that are critical of the company or its products.

To mitigate these risks, businesses should have a comprehensive social media policy that outlines employee responsibilities and guidelines for using social media. They should also regularly monitor online platforms to ensure that any issues are addressed quickly. Additionally, they may want to consider investing in security software or risk assessment tools to help them identify potential vulnerabilities in their systems.

Overall, it is important for businesses to be proactive in managing the risks associated with social media. By understanding these risks and taking steps to address them, companies can avoid potential problems and take full advantage of the many benefits that social networking offers.

Click here to download the sample Social Media Risk Analysis template.

Part of a risk management analysis is to come up with a plan of how best to manage the potential outcomes and avoid disasters
Part of a risk management analysis is to come up with a plan of how best to manage the potential outcomes and avoid disasters

4.4 Create a digital crisis management plan in relation to social networking for a business

Social networking is a powerful communication tool, but it can also be a dangerous one if not used correctly. A digital crisis management plan can help your business stay safe and protect its reputation online. Here are some tips to get started.

1. Start by assessing your current social media presence and audience. This will help you determine the type of risks that may be present, as well as where your biggest vulnerabilities might lie. For example, if you have a large following on Facebook but very little presence on Twitter or other platforms, you may want to prioritize those areas for security measures.

2. Next, set up internal policies and protocols for how to handle a potential online crisis situation. This should include guidelines for responding quickly and appropriately to any negative comments or posts that are made about your business. It may also be helpful to establish contingency plans in case of an emergency, such as having pre-written social media posts ready to share if needed.

3. Finally, be sure to regularly monitor your social media channels for any issues that may arise, and take proactive steps to prevent online crises from happening in the first place. This may include working with an experienced social media manager or hiring a digital agency to help coach you on best practices for maintaining a safe and secure online presence.

Whatever steps you take to create a digital crisis management plan, the key is to always be proactive and responsive in order to protect your business’s reputation online. With the right approach and ongoing monitoring, you can help ensure that your business stays safe from social media-related risks and thrives in today’s digital world.

Part of your social media strategy needs to incorporate monitoring and measuring to ensure you adapt to what your audience wants
Part of your social media strategy needs to incorporate monitoring and measuring to ensure you adapt to what your audience wants

Section Five

5. Be able to use social networking measurement and monitoring tools for a business

As a business, it is important to be able to use social networking measurement and monitoring tools in order to track the progress of your marketing campaigns and better understand your customers. There are a number of different tools available, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. It is important to select the right tool for your needs and ensure that you are using it effectively.

Some of the key social networking measurement and monitoring tools that businesses can use include Google Analytics, Hootsuite, Klout, Sprout Social, and Buffer. These tools provide a wide range of features and data points to help you track what is working for your business and identify areas where you can make improvements.

For example, Google Analytics can help you track your website traffic, engagement metrics like page views and time on site, and even the sources of this traffic, such as social media platforms or search engines.

Hootsuite is another popular tool that can be used to manage your social media profiles and optimize your online presence. This tool enables you to track mentions of your business, schedule posts and updates, and analyze the performance of your content over time.

Klout provides social media analytics and insights to help you measure your brand’s impact online.

Whether you are looking for detailed data on specific social media platforms or a broader overview of your marketing efforts overall, there are many tools available that can help you track and measure your social media performance.

To get the most out of these tools, it is important to understand your goals and objectives for using them, as well as how you can best utilize the data they provide to improve your marketing strategies and ultimately grow your business.

5.1 Define the term social networking measurement and monitoring

Social networking measurement and monitoring is the process of tracking, measuring and assessing how social media networks are used to achieve marketing or communication goals. It helps organizations understand how social media platforms are being used, what content is resonating with users, and how followers are engaging with brands online.

Social networking measurement and monitoring can help identify any potential crises that may arise on social media, and provide insights into ways to mitigate them.

For example, by tracking social media metrics such as the volume and nature of user comments on a brand’s posts, brands can identify potential issues before they become major problems.

There are a variety of tools and techniques available for measuring and monitoring social networks. In particular, many organizations use analytics software to track metrics such as reach and engagement levels, as well as to analyze the effectiveness of specific marketing campaigns.

Many brands will employ social listening tools that can monitor and analyze user discussions on social media platforms, providing valuable insights into consumer perceptions and reactions.

Overall, effective measurement and monitoring of social networks are essential for organizations that want to be successful in today’s digital landscape. By leveraging the right tools and techniques, brands can gain valuable insights into how their social media campaigns are performing and make any necessary adjustments to improve results.

Monitoring social media comments to gauge sentiment and response appropriately
Monitoring social media comments to gauge sentiment and response appropriately

5.2 Identify social networking measurement and monitoring tools

As a brand manager, it’s important to understand how these networks work and how you can use them to your advantage.

One way to do this is by using measurement and monitoring tools. These tools allow you to track data about your social media campaigns, including metrics like reach, engagement, and conversions. This information can help you understand what strategies are working and identify areas for improvement.

There are many different measurement and monitoring tools available, so it’s important to choose one that fits your needs. Some popular options include both paid-for and free pieces of software, such as:

  • Google Analytics
  • Hootsuite Insights
  • Sprout Social
  • Klout

Each of these tools offers a unique set of features and capabilities, so it’s important to do some research to find the one that will work best for you.

If you are just starting out with social media marketing, it can be beneficial to try out a few different platforms and tools in order to get a sense of what works best for your business.

As you gain more experience and gather more data, you can make decisions about which tools will be most effective in helping you meet your marketing goals. With the right measurement and monitoring tools, you can unlock the full potential of social media and build a strong presence online.

5.3 Explain the potential uses of social networking measurement and monitoring tools

With so much information shared on social networking sites, businesses are looking for new ways to measure and monitor the impact of their marketing campaigns. While there are a number of tools available that can help with this process, not all of them are created equal.

Some tools are more accurate than others, and some provide a more detailed analysis of data. It is important to choose the right tool for the job in order to get the most accurate results.

One of the most popular tools currently available for measuring and monitoring social networking campaigns is Google Analytics. This tool provides a wealth of information about how users are interacting with company websites, including details on traffic sources, user demographics, conversion rates, and more.

It can be used to track the success of marketing campaigns or specific content to determine what is resonating with audiences.

Another popular tool for social media measurement and monitoring is Hootsuite. This platform provides detailed analytics on engagement, growth, and follower activity on multiple social networks, making it a valuable resource for businesses interested in tracking how their campaigns are performing across different platforms. The user-friendly dashboard makes it easy to monitor, analyze, and respond to activity in real-time.

Of course, there are many other social media measurement and monitoring tools available, depending on the needs of the business. Some platforms provide more detailed data and analytics than others, so it is important to do your research before deciding which one is right for you.

By understanding the potential uses of these tools and choosing the right one for your business, you can gain valuable insights into how your social media campaigns are performing and make more informed decisions about future marketing efforts.

5.4 Explain the limitations of social networking measurement and monitoring tools

Social networking measurement and monitoring tools are valuable for understanding how people interact on social media, but they have limitations.

  1. These tools only track data that is voluntarily shared by users. This means that the data collected is not representative of the entire population.
  2. The data collected is often biased or inaccurate.
  3. The tools are not always able to differentiate between personal and professional relationships.
  4. The data collected is often used for marketing purposes rather than research or analysis.

Overall, while social networking measurement and monitoring tools can be useful for understanding how people use social media, they are not without their limitations. For researchers or businesses who need more accurate and reliable data, there may be better options available.

However, if you simply want to get a general sense of how your customers or followers are engaging with your brand on social media, these tools can be a great place to start.

Using a smartphone is probably the quickest and easiest way to stay connected to your target audiences and increase engagement
Using a smartphone is probably the quickest and easiest way to stay connected to your target audiences and increase engagement

5.5 Measure the amount of engagement and amplification on social networking for a business

It’s no secret that social media is a powerful tool for businesses. By interacting with customers and potential customers on social networking sites, companies can create relationships, build brand awareness, and generate leads. But how do you know whether your business is using social media effectively?

One way to measure the impact of your social media efforts is to look at the level of engagement and amplification (the number of retweets, likes, etc.) your posts receive. If you’re not seeing results, it may be time to rethink your strategy. Some tips for increasing engagement and amplification on social media include:

1. Post high-quality, relevant content that your audience will find interesting and valuable. This could include blog posts, infographics, videos, or other types of content.

2. Make use of social media tools and analytics platforms to measure the level of engagement and amplification you’re seeing. Pay attention to which types of posts are receiving the highest levels of engagement, and try to replicate this in your future posts.

3. Reach out directly to influencers and other key individuals in your industry, and ask them to share your content or engage with you on social media. This can help boost the level of amplification and engagement you receive overall.

4. Finally, be sure to respond quickly and effectively to any comments or questions that come your way on social media. This will not only help build stronger relationships with customers and potential customers, but it can also increase the level of engagement and amplification you see over time.

Whether your business is just starting out on social media, or you’re looking for ways to increase engagement and amplification, there are many things you can do to boost your success.

By focusing on high-quality content, utilizing analytics tools, reaching out to influencers, and responding quickly and effectively to comments and questions, you can significantly increase the impact of your social media efforts. And with the right strategy in place, your business can enjoy increased success and growth as a result.

5.6 Analyse changes in sentiment to social networking for a business

Sentiment towards social networking for businesses has been steadily increasing in recent years. This is largely due to the increased adoption of social media by businesses of all sizes, as well as the improved features and functionality offered by social networks.

As a result, businesses are able to reach a larger audience more easily and effectively than ever before.

Social media provides an avenue for two-way communication between businesses and customers, which helps build trust and loyalty. This can be particularly beneficial for businesses in highly competitive industries, as it allows them to stand out from the crowd by providing a more personalized and customer-centric experience.

Seeing changes in sentiment that reflect from a positive to a negative feeling can be very telling. It may indicate a shift in the perception of social networking, or it could mean that your business has lost its competitive edge and needs to focus on improving customer experience.

If you are concerned about changes in sentiment towards social networking for your business, there are a number of steps you can take to address these issues and improve your social media strategy overall. These might include revamping your content marketing strategy, increasing engagement on social media, or investing in tools to help you better analyze and monitor sentiment.

Whatever steps you take, it is critical to remain focused on meeting the needs of your customers and providing value through your social media presence. By constantly innovating and evolving your approach, you can maintain positive sentiment towards social networking for your business and continue to succeed in today’s competitive market.

Overall, the changing sentiment towards social networking for businesses is driven by a number of factors, including increasing adoption of social media platforms by businesses large and small, as well as improvements in features and functionality offered by these platforms.

As such, businesses that want to succeed in today’s competitive landscape need to focus on building trust and loyalty with their customers through two-way communication on social media, as well as innovating and adapting their approaches over time. By doing so, they can continue to thrive in a rapidly evolving environment.

Monitoring social media comments with emojis helps to gauge audience sentiment
Monitoring social media comments with emojis helps to gauge audience sentiment

5.7 Recommend improvements to social networking for a business

In order to make the most of social media, businesses need to employ a strategic and step-by-step approach. Here are four steps to get you started.

1. Define your goals and objectives. What do you want to achieve with social media? Do you want to increase brand awareness, drive traffic to your website, or convert leads into customers? Once you know what you’re trying to achieve, you can develop specific goals and objectives that will help you measure your success.

2. Choose the right channels. Not all social media platforms are created equal. Some are better suited for driving traffic to your website, while others are better for building brand awareness or generating leads. It’s important to choose the channels that will best help you meet your goals and objectives.

3. Create compelling content. People won’t engage with your social media accounts if the content isn’t interesting or relevant to them. You need to create content that is engaging, informative, and inspires people to take action.

4. Engage with your audience. Social media is all about engagement! You need to be actively engaged with your audience on a regular basis in order to build relationships and cultivate loyalty. Go out of your way to respond to comments, questions, and feedback from followers.

By following these steps, you can make the most of social media for your business. With the right strategy and approach, you can use social media to reach new customers, build brand awareness, and drive results.

Additional Reading Material

1. Social networking and tools

What is social networking?

Social networking can be defined as a service where people with similar interests connect and build relationships with each other. While social networks can refer to clubs where people meet at a certain location and time, most social networking services are web-based.

They provide a way for people to connect over the Internet and Intranet. This can be done in several ways including emailing and instant messaging.

The function of social networking sites is to enable users to connect with each other and exchange ideas, activities and interests within their individual networks.

Features and functionality of social media platforms

All of the social networking tools have a range of similar features such as:

  • the creation of a profile (generally a typed description of the user or a business)
  • add contacts or friends
  • the option to upload pictures and videos
  • to post updates, comments or blogs
  • to share information with people who have similar interests to that of the user.

Central to the functionality of any social media platform is the privacy settings. This feature regulates who will see what and when from your profile or update string. Different social networking tools also possess distinct features that are used, in varying degrees, by different audiences.

2. Social networking tools for business

A wide range of social networking sites exists which provide networking tools for individuals to connect with friends and family. Not all social networking sites are suitable for businesses. It is important that companies decide on their business goals and explore the different social networking tools available to assess which would be most appropriate for the company’s individual needs.

Some social networking sites are considered specifically B2B-type platforms, where business people can make new business connections and carry out their marketing activities.

A wide range of social networking sites exist which provide networking tools for individuals to connect with friends and family. Not all social networking sites are suitable for businesses. It is important that companies decide on their business goals and explore the different social networking tools available to assess which would be most appropriate for the company’s individual needs.

Some social networking sites are considered specifically B2B-type platforms, where business people can make new business connections and carry out their marketing activities.

Social networking groups for business

Social networking tools potentially offer highly targeted advertising to particular social groups based on profile information they volunteer through social networking sites. The main reason for grouping people in certain social networking tools is to identify the target group for a particular type of business.

Other benefits include being able to listen to and influence your customers, and also promote your product or brand message more widely through social sharing (amplification).

There are tools that are predominantly for business groups (eg LinkedIn, Viadeo and Xing), others that are used by businesses but primarily for family and friends (eg Facebook) and others for the entertainment industry (eg Twitter for celebrities and Hi5 for gaming).

Niche markets

Whatever the business industry, any of them could use mainstream social networking groups by selecting those that support their business goals. There are also various social networking sites that are largely targeted toward specific audiences.

To some business people, these niche social networking sites will expand faster and grow bigger than the more common (eg Facebook). The reasons for this is that niche sites offer faster access to the exact information required by the user. There is deeper engagement and more trust as the communities consist of considerably more like-minded people than in other social network groups.

For marketers, this is a site where they can target their potential customers rather than having to constantly trawl through the larger social sites.

Targeting particular customers

Examples of these niche social networking sites are:

  • Care2 – for those people who want to live a green life
  • Houzz – used by interior designers and decorators
  • Cafemom – used by mothers and offers advice on parenting, and entertaining children.

These sites work similarly to other networks in that there are opportunities for group discussions and uploading photos. There is also a mobile app and most importantly for businesses a whole group of potential customers if you want to market to mothers.

The three named above are only a few examples of a large number of niche social networks. It raises the question as to whether businesses should target particular social networks to better sell their company and make sales.

B2B – learning and developing

Niche markets are also a good way of communicating with other business people in the industry through social networking sites such as:

  • Prosper – a peer-to-peer lending marketing place
  • Biznik – an information site for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Through these B2B niche social network sites, businesses can learn as well as discover who their competitors are and how they are performing. 

So, which are the best social networking sites for business? The most popular social networking sites offer more or less the same services and the one network that a business should choose might depend on where they wish to make new connections and do business (eg Viadeo in France). Or perhaps companies offer specialist products or services and need to select the niche social networking sites that target particular customers?

The crux of the debate as to which social networking sites are best for business is that each company needs to assess which site best suits their particular needs.

3. Brand ambassadors

Wikipedia defines a ‘brand ambassador’ as follows:

A brand ambassador is a marketing term for a person employed by a company to promote its products or services within the activity known as branding. The brand ambassador is meant to embody the corporate identity in appearance, demeanour, values and ethics.

At the most basic level, they have the sole responsibility to represent the company in a positive light and express the message of the company in a way through which consumers can gain a further understanding of the company. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brand_ambassador)

This description is rather broad and while it can relate to brand ambassadors in any type of business, does it correspond to exactly what a brand ambassador is in social networking?

Who are the brand ambassadors in social networking?

As per the Wikipedia definition, a brand ambassador is someone who is employed by a company to promote its products or services. Though this process, the business can promote its brand. Brand ambassadors have the responsibility of engaging with customers, current and potential, through social media platforms to represent the company in the best possible light.

Why do we need brand ambassadors?

Companies can spend a lot of time and money on creating and building their brand only for them to do nothing else with it. Once created, the brand should then be promoted and opened up to consumers. Being a brand that is well-known or even trusted by its customers is not enough. In today’s climate, customers want to engage with real people who have personalities and opinions.

In other others, a company needs a real person who will promote its brand and is contactable to its current and potential customers.

When buying products, more and more people trust their friends’ opinions over that of big companies, regardless of how well-known the company brand is. In fact, with the economic downturn, people simply do not trust the big brands anymore. Consumers are tired of engaging with multinational, impersonal corporate faces.

So what does a company need to do to engage with its customers? If people prefer to communicate with friends and people who share similar interests, does this mean that the company needs to become more like its customers’ friends? In a word, yes.

Businesses need brand ambassadors who can reach out to their customers. No longer will a brand name, a logo or the company website alone entice people towards the company. To do this, it needs a real person who has the skills to reach out and engage with people through social networking platforms.

How to manage brand ambassadors

Whether your brand ambassadors are a small group of employees, a large group or even people you have hired specifically to act as brand ambassadors, procedures are needed to manage how well this process is going. There are a number of points to consider when managing anyone who promotes your company brand.

Knowledge – First and foremost is the need for brand ambassadors to know the brand and what it represents. If one of the brand ambassadors works for the business or is commissioned by the business to work as a brand ambassador they could be given guidelines on how the company wants it to be portrayed online.

It is important to include any brand ambassadors in briefings and conversations about new products. Likewise, as the external brand ambassadors are hired for their expertise it would be wise to listen to any advice they could give the company in the art of branding through social networking.

Control – The most important point for the company to note is that the brand ambassador should be able to respond directly to any comments on social networks. They should not need to have to ask permission to respond. Giving them control is important for a number of reasons. For example, negative online comments can harm a company’s brand and these should be acted upon quickly to resolve and stop them from spreading.

Customers want to engage with real people and have genuine conversations. Having to ask someone for permission to write to them, how they can write and what they can write about does not warrant a free-flow type of conversation – exactly what the consumers do not want.

Users want a real conversation with a real person. What they do not want is a conversation that seems stilted and ‘spoken’ by a company representative. The customer wants to be engaged where the conversation flows. This should be achievable by giving brand ambassadors control.

Consistency – Brand ambassadors maintain brand consistency. It is essential to maintain continuity through the visual elements of any online marketing campaign. This ensures the key visual message is directly linked to the brand. We have learnt also that this is particularly important for mobile optimisation where the screen is small.

A company wants its logo to stand out, as most viewers will only glance quickly at the top of a screen so their attention needs to be captured in a split second which should be enough time for the brand identity to register with them.

Regular updates – Regular updates of blogs are important. So your brand ambassador needs to update their blogs with new and current articles or else the blog will lose its appeal. It could be argued that unless the brand ambassador can do regular updates, it would be better to have no blog at all. A ‘dead’ blog could give the impression that the business is no longer working.

Encouragement – Encourage comments from the users online. Whether the feedback is good or bad, it is better that there is some activity and talks about the company brand. With good comments, the brand ambassador can use these for promoting the company. In turn, the bad comments can be acted on, problems solved and again another promotion for the brand.

Damage limitation – When customers are struggling with online services or a company’s product it is very easy for them to complain online. Before when people took to writing a letter (if they were of that mind) now it takes only a few short steps to let the world know the negative aspects of a company.

In turn, the longer the complaint is displayed on the Internet, the more time there is for people to read it. The longer the time it takes for the problem to be solved or even acknowledged the more likely the complaint can grow, with more users adding to the complaint. It is pretty obvious that this is not good for the company’s brand image.

Brand ambassadors need to set up a system where they can track any negative comments, deal with them as quickly as possible and post comments to limit the damage and hopefully learn from any mistakes.

Tracking – The brand ambassador should track how the brand is doing online and ensure that the company’s reputation is not being damaged. He or she could use monitoring services like BuzzLogic or if money is an issue use the freely available online tools such as Google Alerts or RSS feeds such as Google Blog Search or Tweetscan.

Strictly marketing – A company will benefit enormously from having a brand ambassador on social networking sites. They need to know about the company and its brand. They need to be clued up on the various social media platforms and most importantly know how to use them to their advantage. They need to manage the processes on a regular basis and keep up to speed on any negative comments about the company, its employees, products and services.

With these points in mind, it is reasonable to say that anyone can be a brand ambassador. It does not have to be just the employees in the marketing department of a company or the specialists from a marketing agency who are external spokespeople for your company.

A CEO of a company, particularly those in large multinational companies, could be their brand ambassador. In fact, CEOs of many companies have their own presence on social networking sites, eg Richard Branson represents his company on Twitter. The social media brand ambassador just needs to have a genuine presence online.

4. Influencers in social networking

Simply put, an influencer is someone who influences another person.

  • An influencer in social networking is one that exerts influence in their particular online community.
  • They are normal users who have a large and wide number of connections. They appear to be extroverted (at least with regard to online activity) and have multiple interests.
  • With their active involvement in their communities or normally at the forefront of any sort of new activity, they are at times revered and for the most part appear trustworthy – if the number of followers is to be believed.
  • They are often trendsetters.

From a business perspective, these are individuals who have influence over potential purchasers.

Social influencers vs brand ambassadors

Social influencers and brand ambassadors have the same aim: to market the company brand and ultimately entice more traffic to the company. So it might seem that the job is the same for both, and the only difference between the two is in the title. However, there are some differences between the two roles:

Social influencersBrand ambassadors
Multiple individuals, non-employeesOne or more employees in the company
Separate from the brand – impartialIs part of the brand – only comments positively about the brand
Engaging, conversational and responsiveResponsive reflect the company values and adheres strictly to the company ‘voice’
Relevant only where the conversations take placeAppears across all brand areas
Usually unique to the person who might be involved with more than one brandNormally unique to the company – markets only one brand
Used only in real conversations by real people (paid influencers might differ here)Used everywhere from conversations, marketing material and advertisements
Not responsible for ‘turning’ any negative commentsResponsible for dealing with negative comments and repairing online reputation
Less pressure to stay informed on new trends – can switch off at any time onlineThe constant pressure to stay up to date on social media changes, trends and tools – so ‘always on’
Performance is not (normally) measuredPerformance is measured with inbound marketing analytics from campaigns, content and engagement
Tweeting the ‘wrong message’ can lead to a fall in online popularity and influence powerMistakes in social networking can lead to the loss of a job

However, there are also similarities between these roles.

  • To perform well, both need to stay up to date on new social media tools, regardless of the amount of pressure. Strategies and platforms are constantly changing, being added to the long list and in turn growing in influence.
  • Both roles have the power to influence a large number of people’s perceptions of a brand. Whereas a letter or email goes directly to a customer, tweets can spread out to thousands of people online, so mistakes on the part of either the social influencer or brand ambassador are very public.

Finding a social influencer

How does a business find a social influencer who will boost its sales? The trick is to go visit social networking sites.

This might not be as easy as it sounds, as trends change and so do influencers. The first step is to define exactly what you are looking for in an influencer. Will it be someone who has a large volume of connections but perhaps does not post any comments all that regularly? Or will be it someone who has a smaller (though still on the large scale) volume of followers but spends copious amounts of time tweeting and posting comments on numerous social media sites?

Companies will need to engage online to find influencers. This can be done using monitoring tools (eg GoogleAd) with keywords and key phrases. From there you can access conversations and select the influencer. Perhaps the topic is one about your own company?

Finding a social influencer will take time. Businesses could give the responsibility to some employees to read relevant online blogs and identify the main contributors, follow that contributor to see if they contribute to other blogs, have their own blog, share videos or other information within the communities, who is retweeting their advice and perhaps how many followers they have. These are considered social influencers.

Measuring the validity and credibility of influencers

Companies also need to measure the impact of influencers. In order for them to be true influencers, companies need to know how much of an influence they have on others. They need to be able to measure the validity and credibility of influencers.

Currently, businesses can go online to their chosen social networks to see who are influencers are. With no impartial measuring tool, activity (amount and widespread of postings) and popularity (number of followers) online have led to people being seen as social influencers.

Whereas those who are not worried about ranking and likes or how many comments they post might in fact be the influencers a business needs. Without proper measurement, the true influencers may not be discovered. How well someone is known in the industry can be an important factor in how much they can influence others. Social influencers will generally give objective opinions about brands.

5. Social media management tools

If a business wants to promote its company online today, they need to get involved with and use social media. Social media offers companies the opportunity to target and engage with their customers in ways that traditional methods cannot.

It is a way to discover what people are saying about the business, its brand, product and service. It is where companies can get involved in conversations, be open to new ideas and use these insights to make better business decisions.

There is a wide array of social media tools that can be used to manage social media interactions. In fact, there are so many options businesses might have difficulty selecting the right one or number for their own needs.

Whichever tool is used, it should be versatile and include features that allow businesses to:

  • connect numerous social media accounts for easy management
  • schedule posts at particular times for optimum viewing
  • provide robust analytics with access to the web, Google and social analytics
  • shorten URLs.

With the new social media tools constantly being offered other features that would be beneficial include:

  • training particularly for the technophobes
  • good support for users with regard to any issues that arise.

List of social media management tools

At present, at the time of writing, the top most used management tools include:

  • HootSuite
  • TweetDeck
  • Sprout Social
  • Viralheat

HootSuite (www.hootsuite.com)

HootSuite is a social media brand management service, specifically for businesses to manage multiple social networks from a single media dashboard. It publishes on websites including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.

TweetDeck (www.tweetdeck.com)

This is a social media dashboard for the management of Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Sprout Social (www.sproutsocial.com)

This is a social media dashboard that enables businesses to manage their social presence across a number of social media channels. It has a lot of features and is very popular with businesses.

ViralHeat (www.viralheat.com)

This social media management tool advertises itself as a ‘unified suite for social media marketing’. It offers simplified methods for businesses to manage their social media tools.

The pros and cons of social media management tools

The main advantage of using a social media management tool is that it saves time by the ability to manage all the tools from one central point. The other side of this is that while it shortens the time spent on social media management, it is still necessary to spend time on it and probably more than some businesses realise. This is due to the volume of users on the Internet and the constant changing in social media.

To save time, companies could hand over this social media management task to professionals with knowledge and experience. Without the knowledge and experience, handling social media yourself will be always time-consuming. With their daily experiences with social media tools, it is hoped they would be able to complete tasks quicker and with that more efficiently.

In turn, good social media professionals should know about compiling the data to be used to discover how effective social media is performing for the business. They should also be able to create an excellent social media strategy that works well with the goals of the business.

One of the disadvantages might be that social media management costs money. Even with the ‘free’ tools money is spent on paying someone, either professional or in-house, to manage it all. Though the return on investment (ROI) should be taken into account – would a business fare better without social media?

With hiring a professional, it could be argued that the advantage of saving time outweighs the disadvantage of spending money. There are also a lot of tools that are cost-free. They might nevertheless not offer the detailed analytics that is necessary to decipher how well the social media tools are performing.

In conclusion, businesses should weigh up the pros and cons of using social media management tools to decipher exactly if they need them. If they do, they need to choose which ones are appropriate to the business aims.

They should then decide whether they hire professionals or build their own social media management team. Social media is growing. While there are disadvantages and a lot to learn before it can be used to its full advantage in business, it seems that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

6. Listening and sharing content

Which social media management tool? 

There are too many social media management (SMM) tools to list in this handout, and each of these tools has varying degrees of functions and prices. This indicates that it can be a difficult task for a business to pick the appropriate SMM tool for its uses.

The first question businesses should ask themselves is – what exactly are we trying to achieve with a social media management tool? It might be for better workflow or monitoring keywords or key phrases. Or perhaps the business wants to get an in-depth analysis of its social media marketing campaign.

If an SMM tool is required for scheduling and sharing content relevant to a business, there are a number of tools from which to choose.

The criteria of the SMM tool would then be for it to provide assistance for posting updates according to a schedule and include posting to the three most popular social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter) as not being able to share content with these would be disadvantageous for any business.

Along with these critical points, the SMM platform should be adaptable with the ability to grow with the business’s needs and, of course, affordable to the company.

What are URLs?

URL stands for uniform resource locator and is a technical term that refers to the web address of a website. An example would be www.cityandguilds.com. In fact, each of the categories of a website has its own URL. These categories are not only the webpage but could be an image, a video and any other type of content on the website.

This URL is used by a browser to identify and locate the different pages of a website. The user can locate a particular website by typing in its URL in the address line of the browser.

Benefits of using short URLs

Used to present self-explanatory links to customers such as using a short URL to promote special offers. These short URLs can be placed on all company content such as a newsletter, flyers, invoices and emails. These URLs direct customers to a webpage that shares all the details about the special offers.

  • A short URL within content makes links more manageable and looks neater on the page. You can also fit more links and content in less space with short URLs. This is especially important if you have a limited number of characters, as in a Tweet.
  • Short URLs also have a positive effect on the success of the ranking of a business in Google search results. In turn, users are more likely to click on a short and cleverly descriptive URL than a long URL with no description.
  • As users are more likely to click on short URLs, they are more likely to read the content. Hence, short URLs are an excellent way to promote content sharing.

Sharing content

In order for your brand to be noticed and increase traffic to your website, it is a good idea to schedule and share content relevant to the business. This does not mean that businesses need to update all of the content on their website or on all the social platforms. It might only be part of the content, something new to report. What they should not do is spew out any old content in their social media messages – quality is better than quantity.

It is important, to ensure information is up to date. It should be fresh and new. The more you update (with relevant information), the more you share with your audience and most importantly the more they will engage with you and share the content with others.

Coupled with updating the content on your website, businesses should use this time to ‘listen’ to their customer’s comments about the new content and start building good business relationships.

Sharing content does not just mean sharing information specifically written by employees. In fact, only a small percentage of content is ‘personal’ and originally from the company. A larger percentage of content posted would be from people who are external to the company.

Sharing others’ content helps a business develop a mutually rewarding relationship with other businesses (notably non-competitors) and social influencers. It also means that your content is up-to-date and relevant. Nobody wants to share old news in the fast-paced and ever-changing business world.

Engaging with people in their social networking communities gives businesses the best opportunity to listen to what people are saying about the company, or about their brand or even just the sector. This is where complaints can be heard and dealt with as quickly as possible before any reputational damage is done. In fact even just quickly acknowledging any issues is helpful as certainly ignoring them could only worsen the reputation of a brand.

There are many social media management tools that a business can use to listen and reply to comments and share its content. Examples are:

7. Risk analysis and digital crisis management

Risk analysis

Wikipedia’s definition is that ‘risk analysis is a technique to identify and assess factors that may jeopardize the success of a project or achieving a goal’.

In addition:

This technique also helps to define preventive measures to reduce the probability of these factors occurring and identify countermeasures to successfully deal with these constraints when they develop to avert possible negative effects on the competitiveness of the company.

Risk comes in a variety of guises and a good risk analysis procedure will calculate the type and amount of risk. It will assess the type of reward with the degree of risk that is possible. The degrees of risk are:

  • High risk and low reward – this is not what a company should consider.
  • Low risk and low reward – examples of these might be contacting customers with specials. They often require a lot of repetition to ensure that users see the message
  • High risk and high reward – this is where companies run the risk of alienating some groups but that sales outweigh the risk. An example of this is when one clothing company promoted a new line of jeans by advertising a risky photo of a very young actress wearing them. While they alienated the parents the teenagers all wanted the jeans to look like that actress. Sales rocketed.
  • Low risk and high reward – this is what all companies would like to achieve. It is where well-thought-out and creative marketing comes to the fore. It is time-consuming but beneficial. It can also be costly particularly if professional marketers are hired. Though even with these factors, it can be exceptionally rewarding.

An example of a risk within social media would be the lack of availability of adequate skills and resources to administer social media activities or the inability to deal with a social media crisis event.

Digital crisis management

Similar to risk management but solely on a social media basis is digital crisis management.

This is the action taken by a business to deal with unexpected situations that can lead to negative publicity online. This in turn can affect a company’s reputation, image, product or people. Digital crisis management includes procedures taken to minimise the risks before they actually happen. It is the creation and development of a plan. Within this plan are actions that are required to be taken when dealing with a crisis that arises online. The aim is to minimise negative impact and ensure the company is seen in a better light.

There is a slight difference between risk analysis and digital crisis management:  risk analysis is where a business might identify factors that are a risk to its reputation. Also worth considering are the costs involved with operating social media and whether there will be any beneficial returns on the expenditure. Risk analysis exercises help to calculate the degrees of risk – low to high risk – whereas digital crisis management is how a business might deal with those risks.

Risk monitoring and analysis for business

The importance of monitoring for risk in any business cannot be overstated, particularly with social media where any negative comments can spread so quickly and widely on the Internet. Even if the postings are incorrect, they must be dealt with as effectively and as efficiently as possible.

While it is not possible to control everything that is posted on the Internet about the business, it is vital that there is some sort of risk monitoring procedure in place. This advises business employees on how to deal with the risks in the hope to counter any negative publicity before it gets in front of millions of users.

Social networking digital crisis management plan

Online reputation management carried out through monitoring, analysing and influencing conversations is an important part of any business using social media. Not only does this help to raise the company profile it maintains the company’s branding and good reputation. This is essential for online success and hence it is vital that companies have a social networking digital crisis management plan. This should prepare them for any unexpected (and perhaps expected) social damage control.

Key factors to consider with such a strategy:

  1. Employ a ‘crisis management team’ – whether it is external or in-house it would be beneficial to have certain people responsible for managing any crisis. The crisis can be easier managed and analysed.
  • Ensure that there are clear steps and procedures for managing any crisis and learning from them.
  • Search and monitoring schedule – businesses need to regularly monitor their brand and note that schedules change before and after any crisis. Post-crisis monitoring should be more frequent.
  • Open and honest communication – engage in conversations where the company or brand is mentioned. Or even in conversations that are relevant to the company. Invite people to join in the conversations.
  • Immediate responses to any comments, particularly the negative ones – a company are quite happy for any positive comments to spread across the Internet but nobody wants the negative ones to grow and be seen by millions of users.
  • Take action – when rectifying a complaint, ensure that you carry out what you say you will and ensure this is clearly shown on the company website. Crisis management is not just about monitoring and responding to complaints, it is about taking action.
  • Remain consistent across the board. This means that everyone is treated the same. Your message might not always be the same but its tone should be. You must be open and honest but always polite even in the face of disparaging remarks by a misguided user.
  • Education for all – ensure that all staff members outside of the crisis management team are fully aware of the risk of social media and what to do when they view negative comments about the company, the brand or employees.
  • Preventative measures – rather than waiting for a crisis to happen, consider ways to prevent them, such as social influencer campaigns or strengthening relationships with customers.

8. Measuring and monitoring sentiment

Social networking measurement and monitoring

Social networking measurement and monitoring involve checking social networking sites for information on a regular basis. This might entail looking at a range of sites such as:

  • social networking
  • blogs
  • microblogs
  • forums
  • videos.

It enables the user to gauge the amount of traffic to a particular site. Through social networking measurement and monitoring users can:

  • see how well their social media campaign is performing
  • compare their campaign to how their competition is doing
  • be alerted to any negative comments regarding a company, product or employees
  • discover what is being said about a particular subject in various communities and conversations
  • analyse the sentiment about specific topics, brands or products.

The first rule of thumb when selecting a social media measuring tool is for the business to decide exactly what they want to measure and what they want to monitor. Is it to gauge how many people are visiting the website? Or is it to track conversations and measure the number of positive or negative comments, in other words, to complete a sentiment analysis?

Measuring tools

We have learnt that marketing is no longer just promoting a product or service. It is not just ‘talking to’ a customer. It is about conversation and active listening. It is about taking note of people’s criticisms and using these criticisms in business decisions.

Through blogs and social networks, businesses have the potential to foster a much more meaningful relationship with their customers. Through these channels, companies can gain powerful insights into people’s perceptions of their products or service.

It would be disadvantageous if businesses would not use this opportunity to join in the conversations and engage with their customers.

There is a wide range of tools to enable businesses to track online conversations. Through these tools, companies can listen to what people are saying about their business and respond accordingly through social media platforms. These tools range from entry-level cost-free tools to those that are rather pricey. They offer ways to track and respond to mentions of the company brand.

The list is large and growing and too many to mention but includes:

  • HootSuite – claims that it enables the user to monitor many social networks including Facebook and Twitter. It can also track brand sentiment and create reports.
  • Social Mention – is a search and analysis platform that combines user-generated content into a single stream of information. It can track and measure what people are saying and it monitors multiple social media sites.
  • UberVu – sources the most social media networks, in comparison with other monitoring and measuring social media tools. It provides both monitoring and listening data and claims to offer insightful information rather than reams of useless data.
  • TweetFeel – a cost-free sentiment analysis tool that shows positive results with a green smiley face and negative results with a red frowning face.

All of these tools possess functions that enable users to measure and monitor social networking. Businesses are not only interested in people’s purchases, they also want to determine how people feel about their products, service and brand.

They are getting more involved with conversations (engagement), striving to identify the relevant content and take appropriate action depending on the circumstances.

Through this sentiment analysis, businesses are aiming to promote their company and its merchandise, seize new opportunities and at the same time manage their reputation.

Limitations of social networking measurement and monitoring tools

While social media experts are constantly developing new tools for businesses, these tools are still in their infancy. They need to be checked and rechecked across a wide range of business sectors to establish their worth. Social media tool developers still have a way to go to establish any tool that does all measuring and monitoring of social networking.

Even using the tools available, social networking measuring and monitoring takes time (and for that matter is costly). As yet there is no single tool that can integrate social monitoring with social and web analytics into one. Many of the monitoring tools incorporate only a few social networking sites. For example, Sprout does not support YouTube.

Businesses would need to do a search on which monitoring tools support their own social networking choices as well as verify whether they can monitor the measurements (eg sentiment analysis) in which they are interested.

In turn, while it is relatively easy to track online communities it is very tricky, if not impossible, to measure all social media conversations. Privacy settings on computers prevent monitoring tools from finding all social media conversations. Thus they cannot give absolutely correct statistical data.

What about tracking just the conversation about a particular topic and the feelings it brings up among the community? The problem is that with regard to many of the social networking measuring tools their sentiment analysis algorithms use simplistic terms to express sentiment about a product or service.

For example, the number of ‘likes’ or ‘dislikes on Facebook has been analysed as an indication of a brand’s popularity.

These measuring tools fail to take into account cultural factors and differing linguistic interpretations. These tools cannot gauge the exact and true sentiment by their quantitative measurement of people’s conversations.

While much of social networking measuring and monitoring tools collect the same data, there are also many differences in how technology interprets this data. How do businesses know which is informative and which is not? Should businesses use humans instead of tools to analyse the results of the data?

What these tools can do is identify trends, which in turn can influence and shape better business decisions. Businesses can isolate what their customers are saying about the company, its product or its services. They can use this to their advantage by using monitoring tools to track conversations that mention their brand.

By doing so they can get involved in ‘real-time’ conversations online and use their own senses to analyse any changes in sentiment. So far, it is only through the human intellect that we can understand any hidden context, sarcasm or humour in conversations.

Though relying solely on human scorers and not using the automated functionality will not solve the problem of obtaining an exact indication of how customers feel about something. Human understanding of what is said can differ in many ways.

This suggests that sentiment analysis is beneficial. Perhaps it is best used in conjunction with other indicators such as frequency analysis (eg hits) and volume change. When selecting people, specialists in analysing human dialogue and behaviour (eg psychologists), analyse this data.

In conclusion, sentiment analysis is possible with social networking measuring and monitoring tools. Businesses need to know exactly what they want to analyse, and realise the time, effort and it takes to do this. They should keep in mind the uses and limitations of the data compiled by the tools.

No one tool or even a range will give fully detailed results but the data analysis in conjunction with other analyses and human interpretation could prove invaluable for a business.