If you haven’t completely hopped on the social media marketing train – now is a great time to get started.
Whether your company is B2B or B2C, social media is gaining an increasing amount of relevance in today’s marketing world. And social marketing is changing the way the Marketing Department reaches new clients and customers. Today’s marketers need a tool to listen to all social channels in one place, understand the trends, connect with customers and prospects in relevant ways, and know the results that their investment is generating. They need a way to keep tabs on competitors who are also running social media campaigns. And the list goes on.
And this is where Microsoft Social Engagement comes in. If you’re asking the question “What is Microsoft Social Engagement?” – click that link to read a blog we wrote on Microsoft Social Engagement and some of its exciting, fundamental features. Once you’re done with that (or if you’ve been with me the whole time here) read below to hear about the best new features and functionalities Microsoft just rolled out in the November update to Social Engagement and how they could benefit your company.
Before November, you could not proactively publish a post from within Microsoft Social Engagement – you could only respond to others’ posts. Now, however, within the Social Center, you can pull out the “Publish” tab and type up a post from a variety of accounts (depending on what accounts you have already linked to Social Engagement) and publish it to either Facebook or Twitter. Originally, there was a whisper about being able to add media to these posts such as pictures, videos, etc.; however, that functionality is yet to be seen.
Whether you’re B2B or B2C, this update points to the direction that Microsoft is heading with its investment in Microsoft Social Engagement, which is allowing you to do more things in one place. Historically, the tool was called "Social Listening" because it was only for monitoring social channels. About a year ago, Microsoft renamed it to "Social Engagement" and added options to respond to posts. Now they are expanding the solution to not just respond, put to pro-actively post new content.
This new feature reduces some of the toggling from one window to look at what people are saying in Social Engagement to another window with your Twitter or Facebook account open. Now marketing users can simply publish straight from Microsoft Social Engagement. Research fairly conclusively shows that requiring employees to work with multiple applications hurts both performance and employee morale, and this simple change can be a big step forward for marketers who already have to cram 12 hours of work into an 8 hour day!
Inside sales teams use Dynamics CRM to track lists of sales leads (as leads) and customer service teams use Dynamics CRM to track customer issues (as cases). A few versions ago, Microsoft added the ability to dynamically generate new leads and cases in CRM based on social posts - with just a few clicks. With the most recent update, Microsoft has taken it a step further. Now, marketing, inside sales and customer care teams can filter posts from social media based on if there is already a linked record in CRM matching the post or the author of the post.
Being able to filter posts to determine what has and hasn't been linked to CRM has a huge impact for CMOs who are more accountable than ever for proving the ROI of their team's effots. Viewing posts that are already linked to records in CRM provides insight into how long the author of this post has been in your records, how often they post about relevant topics, and if they are a viable prospect. Viewing posts that do not have any record in CRM delivers instant insight into an ocean of posts written by people who are not in your records. These are fresh new prospects that are essentially untouched by you and your organization - and can then be converted into leads for follow-up by Sales Reps. With minimal effort from the user, this ability to filter posts based links to CRM, delivers significant new social media monitoring and response value to the marketing department.
In addition to proactive publishing and CRM record filtering, Microsoft has rolled out a few more minor updates and changes to MSE that are worth noting:
Social Center now only shows posts from the last 14 days. – This change was put in place in an effort to speed up the loading process for streams within Social Center. However, you can still load posts from up to the past month in Analytics.
Widgets and pages in MSE will now load faster. – Thanks to upgrades to critical performance components, MSE will now load quicker than before.
Turkish is now available. – This addition may be more significant to some users than others, but gathering posts from social media, the UI of MSE, and sentiment calculation will all support the Turkish language.
MSE now uses Microsoft Translator (API) for better language detection. – Simply put, the Microsoft Translator API will provide better language detection for all languages supported by Bing.
These small changes can lead to big impacts over time. How easy is it to get frustrated when a page is taking too long to load and then move on to something else? Microsoft understands that Social Engagement needs to process information and load pages and widgets quickly and efficiently. These minor updates are an answer to this need to keep the user in mind and provide a fast way to gain social media insights, analyze various aspects of social media relevant to you, respond to various posts, and publish posts all in one place.
There’s much more coming in the world of Microsoft Social Engagement. Microsoft plans to roll out another update before the end of 2015, and this one appears to have some exciting new features too (yes, this blog is about updates rolled out in November - that's two significant updates in two months). Stay tuned as we talk more about that update in the coming weeks and what functionality is still missing even after these updates. And finally, register for our webinar on Improving your Marketing LUCK using Microsoft Social Engagement if you’d like to learn more about how to use MSE to improve your marketing strategy.
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