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Tools to Increase Social Engagement and Drive Conversions

12 April 2012 BY

Something that I’ve been working on with several clients lately is utilizing their social channels to connect and engage with their target audience.  I’ve been quite clear that the goal of this should tie back to the business goals and they shouldn’t be doing it “because social media is cool and everyone is doing it”.  For me, if you are going to dedicate time and resource into social, it needs to drive conversions for the company.  Obviously these conversions vary from company to company, but for most it will mean driving sales.  If you can keep this in the back of your mind when defining your social strategy, it will keep you much more focused on what you need to do.

With that in mind, below is a list of tools which can help you engage with your users on different social channels.  Not all of these tools will be applicable to everyone and I’d recommend you choose the ones which will help you connect with where your audience hang out.  If you’re not sure of this yet, you can do some more research and even test tools with a small campaign to test the water a little bit.

#1 Twinitor

Twinitor allows you to search and monitor Twitter, nothing new there.  But what I like about it is that it is visually much easier to scan and pick out relevant tweets on.  You can also leave it running in the background and just check it every few hours whilst you are working on other stuff.  If you see a tweet that is relevant to your business, you can engage with the user straight away.

Here are some tweets which would be perfect if you were a coffee machine and parts retailer:

Or if you are a fresh coffee supplier looking for new subscribers to send free samples to:

#2 Quora

I was a late adopter of Quora and probably still don’t use it as much as I should personally, but it can be great for monitoring conversations and jumping in to answer questions.  You even see CEOs and Directors of companies on there speaking to customers which is great.  Take this example:

If you happen to teach Spanish online or even offline, these are the perfect types of questions for you to be engaging with.

#3 Muckrack

Muckrack is a directory of journalists on Twitter.  It allows you to search either by what they are tweeting about or to find journalists who work for specific websites:

Unfortunately it is a paid tool but it does come with a 30-day free trial so you can see how good and effective it is for your business.  Remember to only put time and resource into social if you think it will drive conversions for your business.

One great way to use this tool is to identify journalists from a specific publication you want to engage with (and get a link from!).  Then grab their Twitter handle, from here you can get their RSS feed of tweets and pull that into your RSS reader.  From here you can keep an easy eye on what they talk about and look for that perfect opportunity to engage with them.  It also allows you to get a better feel for what they talk about and what kind of links they tweet.

Quick note on how to do this

It used to be easy to grab the RSS feed of tweets from a Twitter user but they made it harder with the introduction of the new interface last year.  So a quick workaround is to add their Twitter username to the end of this URL -

http://api.twitter.com/1/statuses/user_timeline.rss?screen_name=NAMEHERE

This will give you all of their tweets, from there you can add it to your favourite reader.

In terms of helping you drive conversions, this is obviously a longer play because you are looking for links and editorial coverage here rather than direct sales.  This is fine as long as link building is a goal of your social strategy – sometimes its not.  So be careful to ensure you are always acting in-line with what your bosses expect and are working towards goals that they understand.

#4 Hashtags for journalist requests

Ok this one isn’t really a tool, but is definitely worth mentioning.  Whilst it may take some time to get a relevant story request for your business, they are still worth monitoring.

These are the hashtags that many journalists will use when looking for a source for a story: #prrequest #journorequest

Here is a sample of the results you can get from these searches:

Prefer to monitor using an RSS feed rather than the Twitter interface?  Here are the URLs you’ll need for monitoring Twitter hashtags via RSS -

https://search.twitter.com/search.atom?q=%23prrequest

https://search.twitter.com/search.atom?q=%23journorequest

Again, the goal here is links and coverage rather than pure sales so you need to make sure this is a clear goal you should be working towards on your blog.

#5 Timely

What I really like about Timely is that it not only schedules tweets for you, but it also monitors your tweets and tells you what time is best to tweet for maximum coverage.

I don’t really like following people on Twitter who just tweet out stuff all day long, I’d much rather follow someone who takes a bit more care with what they tweet.  The downside of this of course is that you may not hit as many people, so using a tool like Timely will make sure you get as much coverage as possible without having to spam peoples Twitter feeds all day long!

A nice little tip to measure the value of this to the business is to tie in tweets with Google Analytics.  You can do this quite easily by looking at the time of day report in Google Analytics and seeing how the traffic from Twitter has performed.  If you are really into this, open real-time analytics just before the tweet goes out and sit there watching what happens.  Be careful though, real-time analytics can be a suck on your time! :)

#6 Meetup

Who said that social media engagement always had to be online?  There is huge value in organising and attending offline events where your target market hang out.

Pro-tip here- this is also great for establishing relationships with bloggers who you may want to get links from.

One of the best sites for doing this is Meetup.  Here is a perfect example of a event if you are based in London and looking to build relationships with bloggers:

Or what about if you work in the travel industry:

I’m sure you get the idea.  These events can be great opportunities to build genuine relationships with people in your industry.  What do you think is more likely to help me build a relationship – buying them a drink and chatting to them, or sending an outreach email?  I know which one is more fun too!

The value of networking to a business is huge.  It doesn’t always have to be the CEO that does the networking either, if you can get involved in these networking events, then you are adding value to your company.  It is also worth bearing in mind that you are marketing yourself at these events and you never know what opportunities may come up.

I’d love to hear your feedback and comments on these tools, if there are any others you guys think are worth adding, let me know in the comments below.

AUTHORED BY:
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Paddy Moogan is Head of Growth Markets at Distilled in their London office. His background is in online marketing consulting and he has managed campaigns for a number of clients across a range of industries as well as managing one of the internal SEO teams at Distilled.
  • http://www.climaxmedia.com/ Climax Media

    I haven’t heard of Twinitor until now – looks interesting. The coffee example sold me as we have a coffee client :) Great article Paddy!

  • Pingback: 101 Best Twitter Apps Blog » Blog Archive » Tools to Increase Social Engagement and Drive Conversions – State of Search

  • http://www.3seven9.com/blog Sarah Ahmed

    Hi Paddy, great blog! Have made a note of Timely and Twinitor that I wasn’t aware of. So many tools out there you really do need recommendations.

    I work in Digital for a brand and marketing agency and one tool we’ve recently discovered that’s brilliant at driving engagement on your photos is Thing Link. Have you used it?

    It allows you to add rich media tags to your images so you can add links to Youtube videos, soundcloud clips, social media profiles etc to your images and turn your images into link hubs! They’ve recently released an update that works in Twitter so that the tags/links that you attach to any of your images show up in Twitter itself.

    It’s brilliant for driving engagement, as instantly turns a brand’s image into a springboard of useful information. The NME example I’ve shared in my blog about it is a great use: http://bit.ly/PRHMhg Hope you and your readers find it useful!