From them, you can learn, connect, utilize their communities, and engage in conversation. You are also expected to advocate your brand, through storytelling and the publication of your professional/niche knowledge. To make your efforts in influencer research and content creation worthwhile, you then have to distribute your ideas and content.
Unless you want to spend all day, every day consumed in social networks – here are seven tools to help you efficiently engage in the processes of social business.
In every network that can be used for social business, identifying relevant influencers and their topics of discussion is essential to assert your own industry authority and be “in the know.” Topsy is an app that helps you locate influencers by keyword, company name, person or category.
You can see the degree to which people are influential within a keyword and have access to what they have written on Twitter, Google+ and other portals online. You can also view what others have published about these influencers and what is being said about them in independent, online conversations. All of this information is coded in a user-friendly, efficient and sophisticated way – making it highly effective for the speedy researcher.
Finding a network where you standout as an expert is difficult in today’s world of social 2.0. exploreB2B is a publishing platform for professionals in which you can assert thought leadership by writing articles about your industry knowledge and connecting to relevant influencers.
Besides establishing authority by writing about industry findings, producing case studies, and how-to articles that reflect the message of your company – you produce the effect of branding your knowledge. If enough people find your content useful and offer their endorsement, you can even earn an, ‘expert’ badge.
Articles themselves receive traffic on the platform and serve as good material for other social media networks (Twitter, LinkedIn, Quora).
Being a leader in your industry doesn’t just mean creating and distributing your own content. It also means finding a way to curate content in a way that shows the breadth of your interest and knowledge.
Are you a valuable resource for industry information if you only promote your own ideas? Maybe. But if you also make available the insight of others who have influenced you (alongside your own), your content suddenly promises more credibility.
ScoopIt allows you to curate articles from all online sources and categorize them based on topic or theme. (Think Pinterest for written content.) As content creation becomes more widespread, the ability to curate excellent material also matters for proving your expertise and enhancing your industry reputation.
Once you have chosen to invest in consistent Twitter engagement, you need to find a way to monitor your interaction. Responding to people who have engaged with you in conversation, re-tweeting influencers who post useful information for your followers, and answering direct is made easier by TweetDeck.
While Tweet Deck could be misconstrued as “Twitter in a different layout” – it’s clean usability saves precious time throughout your workday. There’s no need to spend four hours/day on Twitter, when TweetDeck can help you manage important messages and updates within a medium that makes all forms of interaction more efficient.
Tweepi is the Twitter tool that helps turn accounts from a cute attempt of being influential to toting a powerful amount of followers who are both relevant and willing to promote what you have to say.
Tweepi works by entering the Twitter handle of any influencer that is relevant to your profession. A list of their followers appears (ie people who have already chosen to follow tweets about your same or similar industry topics). You can choose whom to follow by ticking the box next to their name. While this system is not fail-proof and there are no guarantees the person will follow you back, there is no doubt the number of followers you acquire and activity your account sees, will sky rocket by exposing yourself and engaging with a high-volume of relevant Twitter users.
It’s up to you to decide whether or not you consider the followers gained from Tweepi as “organic.” If that’s important to you, mull it over. Just ask yourself if at the end of the day you can really tell who would or wouldn’t have followed you if you were engaging in relevant Twitter conversations. To many, Tweepi is just a faster way to get where you want to be.
Buffer is a healthy social business automation tool that can take time spent ensuring that you have enough content spreading throughout Twitter, to a minimal time investment. Fill in the buffer queue with links, quotes, pictures, comments and set the times are which you want your content to go out to Twitter, Facebook or both. (You can use SocialBro, another useful Twitter tool to find when are your optimal times to share by regional demographic and time zone.)
Should you find something you wish to share throughout the day, it is simple to add to the queue. Buffer provides automatic shortened links, which critical for those 140 character tweets.
Besides freeing yourself from time-consuming manual habits, Buffer gives you a clear sense of what your “social language” sounds like. When you look at the entirety of your buffer queue for the day, you can tell if you sound like someone to whom you would want to listen.
7. Social Oomph
SocialOomph is the broadsword for Twitter and social automation. Timed status updates are available on almost any social platform, queues of status updates, automatic follow back, scheduled blog posts, and statistics on clicks and downloads. It seems like, if social automation is possible, the app has the feature.
Probably the most useful feature of SocialOomph is automated direct messages for new followers on Twitter. While this tactic isn’t for everyone, sending out a direct message to new followers is a good way to introduce yourself and what you are doing. As soon as your account has reached a certain amount of influence, you will not be able to send everyone a direct message. (SocialOomph comes to the rescue.)
As a word of warning: it is easy to get “lost in automation” using this tool. The sheer amount of features can be more time consuming than tweeting on your own. Also, keep in mind that a lot of these features can be used for spamming innocent people – it is up to the user to refrain from doing so.
Social media tools are evolving at a blinding pace. Choose them, and choose them wisely, but be sure you do in fact commit to these networks and their automation/organizational tools, to maximize your social business influence, interaction and speed at which you distribute content and connect. Think in terms of both time – and money – management.
Guest Author: Erin is the CMO for the international, professional-publishing platform, exploreB2B. Moving between San Francisco and Berlin, she relies heavily on global communication. You can follow her @erincnelson.
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