In this episode of Small Biz at :15 On Location, we travel to Austin, Texas for ZohoDay 2022 to speak with Zoho’s VP of Marketing and Customer Experience, Praval Singh. In this episode, Shawn Hessinger, Editor-in-Chief of Small Biz Trends, sits down and talks with Praval to learn all about managing his social presence with Zoho Social.
What is Zoho Social and what does it do?
Shawn: Let’s start by talking about Zoho Social and what it does.
Praval: Zoho Social is essentially a social media management platform that enables businesses of all sizes, as well as today’s agencies, to manage the social media presence of various brands.
It could be the brands they own, which are their own brands, and in the case of agencies, it could be the brands they manage social media for.
The interesting part here is that it allows you to manage your social media accounts on different social networks. It could be a page, it could be a profile, depending on what channel you’re on and it keeps everything together in one place from a posting and scheduling perspective as well as from a social media monitoring and listening perspective.
And all of that has a layer of collaboration. So what that means is you could be a team of two or you could be a team of 20. You can bring your team. They can discuss ideas, they can collaborate and give feedback, all within the same platform instead of playing email ping pong all day.
How Zoho Social allows you to easily spread your social presence
Shawn: What can automation do for a small business owner, maybe even the independent entrepreneur, in terms of allowing them to spread their social presence and really have a chance to compete?
Praval: The way the platform helps is, let’s say you have some tweets: do you want to send them on fixed days of the week of the month or whatever? There may be some posts that you want to recycle and repeat with some frequency.
For example, tweets leading up to an event like this can be scheduled four months in advance and will be posted at a set time. Things like this are where automation really helps when it comes to social media, posting and scheduling,
More than that, when you have a couple of people on the team, let’s say you can see whose schedule, what’s on, a social media calendar to drop things off and say something you scheduled for Wednesday and want to come out on Friday. , just drag and drop.
So a.) being able to schedule and b.) being able to visualize your content stream or a calendar is what social media helps you with too.
Shawn: Can you talk a little bit about how companies can use the listening component in Zoho Social to really get an edge beyond endless tweets or endless Facebook posts about my product?
Praval: There is so much activity and so many things coming up on social media. So the question is how do you keep track?
What a good listening platform would do is allow you to use filters on your searches and define your searches more appropriately so that you get the right things on your timeline.
A platform like Zoho Social has something called a dashboard and it has multiple columns. You want to see a lot of stuff… you want to see tweets from people like you… and you want to see tweets from customers. You have a Twitter list for that matter, right? You can create a separate monitoring view for that.
Also, you want to see the tweets that your own marketing team is doing, your brand is doing, right? So, you can also have a column for that.
It is like a board that has several columns. You have defined who is who and then you listen to the tweets. And this is just a one-use case. On a typical day, let’s say you have a column for your customers where you want to track what they say. That is another way of listening. Next comes listening to keywords that are relevant to your industry.
How Zoho Social’s Listening Platform Turns Negative Customer Feedback Into “Aha Moments”
Shawn: The idea of customer complaints about your business or a negative perception of your business, that was something that people talked about for a long time… when people were tweeting about, you know, airlines breaking guitars and things like that. But is that still a thing? Is it still something you can use social media to find out what your customers really think about you, that they might not tell you to your face?
Praval: Part of this is understanding the social sentiment around your brand. Is it net positive or negative, whatever? Because the way things have been for the last five, seven, ten years, you and I prefer to go on social media and chat about something or reach out to a brand if we’ve had a problem, right?
A social listening platform allows people to find an opportunity to turn that unwanted or unpleasant moment into an “aha” moment. And there are so many examples and case studies around this.
Therefore, the tool helps you identify any such opportunities where they need to be addressed. But the limitation we’ve seen is when your social media marketing or management platform is in a silo, it doesn’t connect with your CRM and you don’t have other information.
You may not have a contextual idea about who this person is. So, for example, if I’m a social media manager for a brand, I see a negative tweet, I click on it, and I see someone’s profile, and everything I know about the person like:
- Is that person already a customer?
- Are there any open support tickets from that person in my help desk software?
- What kind of emails have you recently exchanged with them?
And finally, how do you get that data? You get that data only when your social media management software integrates with your CRM and other stuff.
That’s where context comes in, and that makes me, as a social media marketer, that much more empowered to turn that situation into an aha moment. Because when I have a lot of context about that client, I would approach things in a very different way.
And that includes having access to contact information. I can pick up the phone and call them, right?
That’s the thing about social media tools that are siled versus the ones that connect with your CRM. And that’s where we see a lot of value and that customers really like that benefit.
Other Zoho Social Features That Enhance Your Social Media Impact
Zoho Social’s social listing platform also has other features that allow you to monitor the following in real time to help improve your social impact:
- Tags: You can track and analyze any hashtag to see how it is being used, who is using it the most and the most.
- Your business mentions: You can monitor all mentions of your brand on social media, even if they don’t include your handle.
- Competitors: You can set up competitor monitoring to see how your brand compares and where you might need to make some changes.
- Reviews: You can track online reviews of your business to get an idea of what people are saying.
- Google My Business inquiries: You can see what people are asking about your business on Google My Business.
- Twitter lists: You can monitor the Twitter lists you’ve been added to, even if they’re private.
How to get started with the right tools
At the end of the episode, Paraval Singh discusses how really small businesses can start with the right tool to expand their social media presence. The best things he says to do include:
- Start small with a low barrier to entry. You’re not ready to make some sort of initial investment because you don’t know where it’s going to go. Look for something that has a free trial and a free plan. You can graduate to one of the paid plans, which is a tiered pricing model when you’re ready.
- Consider the added value when it comes to a sense of customer care. How easy or difficult is it to bring it on board? Look at the aspects of integration. Is it a siled social media tool that looks good or seems to be good? Does it show you everything it has but it doesn’t connect with your CRM? Because that’s where the value is added. Zoho Social has a powerful CRM integration.
- Be on the lookout for hidden costs. You are a startup; look for something that is affordable. Find something that won’t hurt you. Many times, what happens is that the tools seem to be cheap to start with. But as you start to adopt it, as you start bringing more people on your team, it starts to get expensive. It may be cheap today, but what will it be like a year from now when I grow my team from 1 to 5?
Food to go
All of Zoho Social’s features are designed to give you a better idea of how people perceive your brand and where you may need to make some changes. With it, you can turn negative customer experiences into positive ones and improve your social media presence.
Also, remember that managing social media is more than just posting on Facebook and Twitter. It’s all about listening to what your customers have to say and easily expanding your social media presence. Lastly, make sure you choose a tool that is up to the task and a good fit for your budget and setup.
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