Major players in the assisted living industry are touting the benefits of internet lead generation, including the use of social media marketing. One of the biggest questions assisted living providers face when trying to incorporate social media into the marketing mix is measurement: All this buzz is great, but how do we know if our time investment is paying off? Social Media Examiner recently posted a collection of 22 of the hottest new social media tools for businesses; among them, a few gems worth investigating that can help you manage and track your social media efforts.
Argyle Social: A bit pricier than the others, starting at $149 per month, assisted living marketers just getting into social media might find it a bit much budget-wise. Argyle Social integrates all your social media profiles in one place, so you can authenticate and access all your accounts from one interface. A collective inbox helps you maximize customer engagement by allowing you to respond to comments, retweets and mentions directly from your Argyle profile. Argyle allows you to break down your social media marketing into "campaigns" and print out a report outlining your engagement and data from all related posts. You can also download raw data into an Excel spreadsheet if you want to do more with the numbers. Downside: In addition to the price, LinkedIn isn't yet a part of their package.
TwentyFeet: You can try TwentyFeet for the first 30 days free, and you can have one Twitter and one Facebook profile free forever. Can't beat that if you're looking to try out a social media analytics tool! Other accounts, such as YouTube and Google Analytics, start at 1 credit per year (1 credit = $2.49). We find the "credit"-based pricing a little unnecessarily complex, but other than that, the pricing is attractive; however, the website doesn't offer much in the way of a solid description of how their analytics work, other than saying you'll be able to access your metrics in one place. They estimate that their "live" version will be available in August 2010, but, well...it's February 2011, folks.
PostRank and PostRank Analytics: PostRank Analytics integrates data from over 20 of the most popular social media networks, the most of any service on the list so far. You can track your marketing efforts by learning what posts your customers are engaging most with, allowing you to target your efforts and ramp up interaction and followers. Google Analytics is also in the mix, so you can track both your on-site and off-site conversion rates in one place. Bonus: You can also track your competitors' engagement! The best part: As an assisted living provider, you'll be using PostRank as a solo company, so you can track up to five sites and 10 custom pages per site -- free!
Postling: The claim to fame for Postling is that it's designed with small businesses in mind--and, it integrates with WordPress. You can publish to any available social network from the Postling interface, and even schedule posts in advance. An analytics dashboard lets you know how well your posts are doing, and you'll receive notifications when someone engages with your content (for the paid plans only). You can also respond and engage with your customers directly from the Postling interface. You can get a starter plan for free (one user, one account per social network and one brand), but the other plans are also reasonable: up to $49/month.
If you're starting out in the social media world, you'll want to track the effectiveness of your efforts. Check out one of the free or low-priced plans, or try a more advanced plan for a free trial period. Measuring your results is the best way to refine your efforts and make the best use of your resources.
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