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Tapping into Social Media Data for Branding, Marketing and Business Efforts

Tapping into Social Media Data for Branding, Marketing and Business Efforts

Have you ever noticed just how much social media has changed in the past 5 years? According to the Pew Research Center (PRC) just seven percent of American adults used social media back in 2005. As of 2015 the PRC confirmed that number grew to 65 percent, which is an 829 percent increase. This is brings us closer to our topic: tapping into numbers. We’ve seen a clear shifting in focus from quantity to quality. The only “quantity” that matters today is the data behind any social media marketing strategy. Analytics. Facebook Ads. Twitter Analytics. Instagram. Pinterest. LinkedIn. Each platform has a back-door to analytics and data.

Stats by Worldometers.info reveal that 250 million blog posts, 40 million tweets and 280 million Google searches. This only confirms that using the right tools and data can help in understanding KPIs such as engagement, brand awareness and lead generation. “Going for a data-driven approach allows a business to visualize the customer journey and better equip their products or services targeted for the different social media networks”, explains UXmatters magazine. This infographic explains how to perform social listening and how to capitalize on analytics.

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Hearing Consumers Through the Social Media Din

    As it shows, there are five crucial steps: listening, integrating, analyzing, engaging, and acting. Today the ‘social media web’ works for a brand only if the brand listens to their customers and followers. And while it may be challenging as a business owner to analyze everything on your own, you can always look for help, because data is just that important.

    Word of advice: Before taking the plunge to engage use everything in your advantage. This can mean findings from reports, other studies, social experiments – anything works. Gather as much intelligence and assemble a team dedicated towards bringing customers through this channel. Because now more than ever, social media has the potential of a social sales funnel if done right. Don’t rely on just an existing audience and existing customers, instead design a real purchasing experience, from perks to gamification and loyalty programs for the community.

    Using Effective Social Media Tactics

    First off, build your brand around social devotion. In other words, respond within a reasonable timeframe, give your customers the feeling of value as a return on their own investment. Secondly, grasp well how each social channel works and what tactics are known to be successful. In a succinct report compiled by Ascend2 and Research Partners, the most effective social media tactics used seem to be:

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    • Creating compelling content
    • Posting on social networks
    • Managing website content
    • Advertising on social networks

    Creating compelling content means being great at storytelling. This helps in separating your business from the rest and achieve that sense of uniqueness. Don’t be afraid to find your own style and tone. Make your shares less in number and better in terms of quality. Respect the time of your audience. Build a website that is clean, clear and responsive, not only to your audience’s device, but also to their needs. Be generous with budgets. Larger budgets provide the ability to advertise and reach a larger audience. From Facebook to Twitter ads, sponsored posts on Instagram, LinkedIn ads and more, be ready to invest a couple of bucks on a monthly basis. For e.g., one of the rules in Google’s Partnership program is actually linked to how much a company spends on AdWords on a monthly basis.

    Case studies, exploiting the benefits of small data and unleashing the potential of social media channels

    Top platforms like Twitter and Facebook get massive traction, but they don’t always work for everyone. Instagram and Snapchat, through mobile photo-sharing and video-sharing services, have seen ‘runway’ success. Just Instagram alone, since the acquisition of its parent company Facebook, has had over 400 million active accounts and 40 billion photos shared. To learn from your competitors check out Instagram for Business, a page which provides more than 80 case studies, from worldwide brands.

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    But we’re seeing an increase in demand for local brands and small businesses. “Although big data offers companies thrilling new opportunities to learn from customer behavior and discover unknown correlations, it is important not to forget the qualitative part of consumer analysis.” says datapine Managing Partner Jakob Rehermann.“Excited by the new insights big data offers, some managers tend to blindly act based on the numbers presented to them. But equally important as the question of what is happening, is to understand why it is happening – finding the cause of the relationship. SMEs have realized this and have successively started including smaller, more detailed datasets in their analyses, which they can explore in-depth”.

    Two other platforms worth mentioning are Pinterest and LinkedIn. With Pinterest shifting and changing the way social e-commerce works for businesses, it seems 75% of Pins comes from businesses and a remaining 25% from users. This Pinterest business blog post reveals just how much business potential the platform has for startups and SMEs in particular.

    Separately, LinkedIn has become a vibrant professional social network. As Socialbakers explains, LinkedIn isn’t just a social channel to connect employers to potential employees, but also a great way to gather professionals in one place, create groups, pages and content that reflect the brand’s mission, vision and voice. With the way groups work, LinkedIn offers the perfect environment for customer support, community growth and brand development.

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    Takeaways

    Social media channels are on a constant move in terms of communication, behavior and interaction, which brings us to the way a brand can be up to date with chances and shifts. Only by gathering data and analyzing it can a brand understand the history behind its successes and failures. Data can reveal old patterns and predict future ones, provide a deeper understanding of causal relationships and effects, as well as identify potential associations between variables. Even Twitter started providing standard reports on audience demographics, which demonstrates that once a brand forms and grows an audience, the next step for business growth is to analyze and explore it. q.e.d.

    Featured photo credit: Victor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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    Anthony Carranza

    Multilingual writer and journalist covering all things technology and productivity.

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    Last Updated on April 17, 2019

    10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

    10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

    What’s the secret of professional success? Some of it lies in the mastery of your discipline and all the technical skills you have to carry out your job; but a much bigger part lies in the soft skills list you possess.

    Soft skills are your people or relationship skills—how well you get along with others and your ability to communicate and collaborate—as well as the personal characteristics you bring to the job, such as optimism, a can-do attitude and the motivation to work hard. These skills are not always easy to point out, but their absence can cause serious problems and negatively affect the whole work atmosphere.

    They say that hard skills will help you get the job, but soft skills will help you get along—and get ahead. With that in mind, here’s the top-10 essential soft skills list to help you advance your career.

    1. Communication Skills

    Communication skills are hands-down the most sought-after soft skill that bosses want, and this one ability covers a lot of ground.

    To communicate well, you have to listen carefully, interpret the context of the conversation, express yourself clearly, persuade others of your point of view, check your body language and use an engaging presentation style that won’t intimidate or bore your audience. That’s a big ask!

    Your personality traits can influence the way you communicate with others. For instance, some people get straight to the point and center their arguments around facts and logic; others are cooperative and sensitive to how others feel. Both these approaches are equally valuable but there can be misunderstandings if you don’t understand where the other person is coming from.

    Taking a comprehensive personality test can help you understand why you communicate the way you do and where your blind spots are. It can also help you understand other communication styles is so you can tailor your communication to the person you’re dealing with.

    After all, connecting with your conversation partner is the hallmark of good communication.

    2. Flexibility

    Change is an essential part of any business. Companies need employees who are flexible enough to work with new initiatives, open to new ideas, and generally are able to tough it out when things don’t go as planned.

    Research has found a link between job performance and flexibility over the long term because there will be times when you have to step outside your routine and rise to fresh challenges that didn’t exist before.

    Being flexible doesn’t mean you have to hop into a new task or job role like an expert. Rather, it’s about showing you’re willing to accept new responsibility and learn different things.

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    Bosses look for people who are prepared to step outside their comfort zones and are open to alternative solutions when their first idea doesn’t work.

    3. Being a Team Player

    Working on a team can be challenging but learning to do it well can definitely help you get ahead in your career. Employers look for people who can negotiate, cooperate and manage conflicts with other people to achieve a common goal. That includes the ability to build lasting relationships with customers and clients.

    What makes a good team player? Essentially, it’s someone who knows the goal and knows her role. Employers look for evidence that you know your strengths, your responsibilities and how you can best contribute to the team, then put those skills into action by sharing ideas and communicating in a respectful manner. That’s the definition of being a good team player.

    This is another area where taking a personality test can help you get ahead. When teams work together, each member brings a unique set of skills and qualities to the group. Research has shown that different combinations of personalities affect how teams collaborate and how productive they are.

    Knowing who you are, and how you work on a team, can drive new insights and open the door to better teamwork.

    4. Positive Mental Attitude

    There are plenty of things you can’t change at work, like the people you work with or the fact that the printer is broken again. The one thing you can change is how much you let these things bother you.

    Bosses like people who are calm, rational and upbeat—those who diffuse tensions in the workplace, not get all grouchy and go around slamming doors.

    Studies show that people who maintain a sunny disposition have better relationships at work, are happier in their jobs and make better decisions than those who whine and complain. Some suggest that a positive mental attitude can also make you live longer—which means it’s beneficial for every area of your life![1]

    It’s not always easy to keep a “glass half full” mentality when work is stressful and the deadlines are piling up. But there are some things you can do to help maintain a positive attitude. Laughing at your unfortunate circumstances keeps the work environment positive, and taking “sanity” breaks can help you keep your cool in high-pressure situations.

    Managers look for positive mental attitude in a team member that is ready for a promotion, so it really does pay to keep your cool in challenging situations.

    5. A Strong Work Ethic

    People with a strong work ethic are committed to the role, persevere when things get tough and are inspired by challenge. These people are ambassadors for the organization, and will always be seen as top talent and ideal candidates.

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    If you can exhibit this skill, then expect to be seen as a great candidate, eligible for new opportunities and positions throughout your career.

    Since a strong work ethic can mean different things to different people, it helps to show specific examples of your exceptional work ethic during a performance appraisal or interview. For instance, you might talk about:

    • A time when you persisted in the face of challenges and did not shy away from hard work.
    • How you volunteered to help with projects even though these tasks did not form part of your job description.
    • The networking, workplace learning and skills betterment you’ve undertaken, which shows ambition and drive (people with a strong work ethic have those qualities in spades).
    • How you own your mistakes and never, ever point the finger of blame at others.

    For help with building a strong work ethic, check out these tips: How to Build a Reliable Work Ethic

    6. Public Speaking

    Who’s terrified of public speaking? Pretty much everyone, since public speaking is America’s number one fear, ahead of death at number five and loneliness at number seven.

    Yet, according to Warren Buffett, mastering this one skill you could increase your personal value by 50 percent.[2] That’s huge!

    If you’re not natural at public speaking, you’re in good company. Buffett had to work hard to overcome his stage fright and once dropped out of a public-speaking course before it started—because he was afraid of public speaking! He eventually realized that he needed to build up his confidence by just doing it; over and over in front of small groups.

    For a more structured approach, Toastmasters International teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a variety of pathways. Membership of this non-profit looks good on your resume but the real payoff will come when you can put your newfound skills to use on the job or in the interview room.

    Or, you can check out this advice: The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

    7. Integrity

    From a manager’s point of view, the two integrity skills that will set you apart are:

    • Always doing what you say you will do
    • Owning an error instead of minimizing or hiding it

    …even when no one is around to check up on you.

    There are lots of people who have climbed the ladder without scruples, but they are not the people who others trust, respect and support when promotion time comes around.

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    Behaving with integrity is a safe and consistent way to enhance your reputation and achieve your professional goals.

    8. Managing Your Time

    Phone calls, texts, Slack pings, meetings, huddles, side projects, multitasking—we are busier today than any generation before us. There’s no denying the workplace is an incredibly distracting place to be.

    A lot of us have traded effectiveness for busyness which we wear as a badge of honor, both as a proxy for productivity and to show our value to the company. But what bosses want, what they really, really want, is someone who actually gets stuff done on time.

    Time management is not merely the art of being on time, but of managing your time so you focus on the projects that really matter and add value to the business. This means prioritizing well, sticking to schedules, delegating, and not getting distracted by tasks that are easier to perform or less important. It means planning ahead and learning when it’s appropriate to say no.

    Time management can be a tough skill to maintain, but not a difficult one to pick up. Monitor your actions for a few days—how long do your tasks take to finish? What’s interrupting you? What causes you to lose focus? Once you have the answers to these questions, you can set a schedule for yourself to make sure you’re spending your time wisely and this valuable asset is never wasted.

    These 20 Quick Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity are also great to try.

    9. Assertiveness

    In any workplace, you typically will find people with the following conflict styles:

    • Passive: Those who go out of their way to avoid conflict.
    • Passive-aggressive: Those who express their negative feelings through actions rather than words.
    • Aggressive: Those who respond to conflict in a hostile and rude manner. These people get their opinion heard but they won’t make any friends in the process.
    • Assertive: People who stick up for their rights while still respecting the rights of others.

    Managers look for assertiveness above all other styles because it allows decisions to be made without conflict or alienating people.

    How do you use this information for yourself?

    It starts with understanding your personality so you can anticipate how you will react when conflict arises and address your own shortcomings. Then, you can start influencing the team for top results, and securing your own career advancement in the process.

    Learn how to be assertive and gain respect:

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    How to Be Assertive and Stand up for Yourself the Smart Way

    10. Creative Thinking

    LinkedIn recently analyzed over 50,000 skills that employers search for when looking for candidates to find out what skills are currently in demand.[3] Taking the number-one slot on the 2019 soft skills list was creativity: the ability to solve problems and think outside the box.

    Creativity is about bringing fresh, and sometimes unorthodox, ideas to the table. This helps companies to innovate, and companies that do not innovate will not survive very long.

    How do you showcase your creative thinking skills? The golden rule is to participate.

    Be brave and share your ideas during group brainstorming sessions. Volunteer to run a society, networking event or recruitment drive. Ask “what if” questions: “What if we add this information to the client welcome pack?” “What if we eliminate step 3 from the process?”

    These activities demonstrate that you’re prepared to go beyond “business as usual” towards creative problem solving—an ability that will serve you every day, all throughout your career.

    You can learn to unleash your creativity power:

    What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

    Final Thoughts

    The good news? Every item on this soft skills list can be learned. Although you may feel lacking in certain areas, taking an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses will allow you to focus in on the areas that you’ll benefit from developing.

    So take an inventory of your personality, skills, and talents. This will give you a baseline for your communication style, attitude to change, conscientiousness and more. You can then identify your weak areas and develop strategies for improving your team-building, assertiveness and conflict skills.

    The better news? The effort is worth it. Developing your soft skills opens the door to a new job or a promotion, and helps you succeed once you get there.

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    Featured photo credit: Rachael Gorjestani via unsplash.com

    Reference

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