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Social Media in Government: Benefits, Challenges, and Tactics

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Social media and the government go together like peanut butter and jelly. Why? Because social media is an excellent place to communicate with constituents, launch campaigns, build awareness around initiatives, and is an essential tool in crisis communications.

At Hootsuite, we work with many levels of government and fully understand how social media has risen to play a significant role in the communications strategies of government bodies, politicians, and lawmakers worldwide.

Read on to discover how all levels of government, from municipal to provincial to federal, can and should use social media.

Bonus: Download Hootsuite’s annual report on government social media trends. Find out how leading government agencies are using social media, our top five recommended areas of opportunity, and more.

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Engage with the public

Whether you focus efforts on TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, or a different platform entirely, social media will always be a solid place to keep the general public informed and updated about important issues and engage with an audience on a deeper level.

@trafficservices #Inverted ♬ original sound – Toronto Police Traffic Unit

The Toronto Police Traffic Service department, for example, hosts regular AMA (ask me anything) sessions on TikTok. A representative fields questions on everything from whether people in labor can run red lights (no, apparently!) to the legality of after-market steering wheels.

Communicating and engaging with constituents will help establish and build credibility and trust, as long as you don’t use social media to broadcast messages and actually engage with people who follow you. More on this later!

If you’re serious about using social media to mobilize voters, check out Nextdoor, an app that local governments use to organize town halls, educate citizens on safety issues, and engage community groups.

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Show people who you really are

We’ll level with you here… politicians don’t exactly have the greatest rep’. Stereotyped as dishonest, greedy, and a bit sleazy, there’s an opportunity to shift perceptions by using social media for government communications and building a personal brand that is built on transparency.

The U.S. representative for New York’s 14th congressional district, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (commonly known as AOC), has done this to tremendous impact via her Twitter account.

By being authentically herself and using photos to support the anecdotes and facts she shares with her constituents, AOC has substantially grown her following and created a personal brand for herself that’s relatable, honest, and bona fide. This authentic approach helped AOC scale her presence on the platform by 600% in seven months.

AOC Twitter followers growth graph

Source: The Guardian

Social media also humanizes politicians and makes them more accessible and accountable to the general public. Of course, this can backfire if a politician posts content deemed socially unacceptable. This is your warning that whoever is in charge of a government social media account has to know what is and what is not acceptable to share (we’re looking at you, Anthony Weiner!)

Crisis communication

There’s been more than enough crises’ happening across the globe in the past few years. The COVID-19 pandemic, Brexit, the January 6th insurrection, and the occupation of Ukraine by Russian forces are a few instances where choices out of the general public’s control or decisions from lawmakers have impacted the world.

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When events like those mentioned above occur, people turn to social media to seek out and source information, keep up-to-speed with the latest news, and quell their fears by laughing at a few memes.

People also look to the government for leadership when times get difficult, so it makes sense that lawmakers, politicians, and governments use social media as a platform to manage crisis comms and provide regular, official updates to citizens across the world.

On the flip side, a crisis and social media can quickly become a breeding ground for misinformation. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, almost 50% of US adults saw a lot or some fake news about the crisis, and almost 70% say that fake news causes a great deal of confusion.

To counteract this, governments must invest in social media listening to help them identify inaccuracies and respond accordingly — especially as citizens will be looking to government social media accounts to provide them with accurate and objective information.

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But don’t feel like you have to engage with every false comment or post you come across in your social listening efforts. Some content might be too wildly incorrect to warrant a reply. However, if you see many social media users spreading misinformation, use official channels to set the record straight.

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Need more intel? Read How to Use Social Media for Crisis Communications and Emergency Management and set your organization up for success.

Launch and grow campaigns

Social media isn’t just a place for businesses to share their latest product launch or grow their business with engagement and community. Politicians understand the power of a virtual town hall to launch their own initiatives and ideas.

Additionally, social media is an excellent space to test campaign messaging. The strategy is low stakes, and you get instant feedback from people around the world. Social media is also an opportunity to go viral, see what’s trending, and measure your relevancy.

Politicians can also use social media to align themselves with initiatives and trends. In the example below, US senator Elizabeth Warren tells her audience where she stands on the US Roe vs. Wade situation.

Elizabeth Warren pro-abortion Roe v. Wade tweet

Low cost (but high stakes)

Political campaigns run on donations, so saving money is always at the forefront of government decision-making. Long before social media existed, politicians and governments had to use traditional media, e.g., televisions ad slots, newspapers, and door-to-door flyering, to raise the profile of candidates. This was high cost and had an immeasurable impact.

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In contrast, social media provides the government with a low-stakes entry point to build awareness of their initiatives, grow personal brands, and engage with the general public. The strategy is entirely measurable, so you can actively see how your campaign budget is spent and which social campaigns have the most significant impact.

If you need a few pointers, check out our guide on How to Prove and Improve Your Social Media ROI for valuable tips and insights on measuring campaign performance.

Messaging is tricky to get right

In 2014, South Dakota launched a campaign to warn people against jerking the steering wheel when swerving on black ice. The hashtag selected by the state’s Department of Public Safety? The sexually suggestive double entendre “Don’t Jerk and Drive.”

Ultimately, the campaign was pulled, and Trevor Jones, secretary of the Department of Public Safety, said in a statement, “This is an important safety message, and I don’t want this innuendo to distract from our goal to save lives on the road.” Fair enough!

Social media and government communications don’t always work out as they should, and sometimes, even what seems like the greatest campaign idea can backfire.

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Sometimes, social isn’t the right thing to do

Social media is a place where headlines are created, storms whipped up, and opinions shared. Unfortunately, this can have a negative impact on sensitive or delicate political situations.

In February 2022, WNBA star and American citizen Brittney Griner was detained in Russia on a drug-smuggling allegation, but little to no fanfare was created on social media—not even a trending #FreeBrittney.

The decision not to create awareness of Brittney’s case was a conscious choice due to the political tension between the US and Russia regarding the occupation of Ukraine. The thought is that Griner’s status as a Black, openly lesbian athlete could lead to her becoming a political pawn in heightened negotiations between Russia and the US regarding the conflict in Ukraine.

Regarding the case, there’s been no public callout from President Joe Biden or high-profile other US officials to bring awareness to Griner’s situation, and for now, maybe that’s the best thing to do.

You will get called out

Social media is a harsh reality, and people will call you out, so make sure what you say is true.

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Here’s a brilliant example from congressman Eric Swalwell, who Tweeted a photo of a Pride flag with the caption, “I fly these flags 365 days a year.” Unfortunately, Swalwell’s followers quickly pointed out that the flag still had creases from being unpackaged moments earlier. Better luck next time, Eric.

I fly these flags 365 days a year. pic.twitter.com/MsI1uQzDZ0

— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) May 24, 2019

You will become a meme

I am once again reminding you that social media is a place where you can become a meme.

(And in case you missed it, below is the infamous Bernie Sanders meme that spread like wildfire across social media in early 2020).

Bernie Sanders Hootsuite sign up

Often, the results of having your words and image turned into a meme are fairly harmless. But proceed with caution, as the way they are used will be out of your control.

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There are two types of social media accounts: soapboxes and dinner parties. A soapbox social media account focuses on themselves. They use social media to broadcast messages and issues without engaging with their audience.

On the other hand, a dinner party social media account invites audiences in and creates a dialogue with them. They encourage discussion and engagement between the host (you) and the guests (your audience).

You want to make sure you’re running a dinner party account for social media and government communications. Here are five tips on how you can do exactly that.

1. Learn where your audience hangs out

You need to understand the channel where your target audience hangs out so that you’re not wasting valuable time and resources campaigning into the void.

For example, if you’re a politician relying on swaying younger voters to carry a ballot, you’ll probably want to focus on TikTok or Instagram Reels because this is typically where Gen-Z spends the most time. Similarly, if you want to whip up left-leaning men with a college degree into a frenzy, focus your attention on Twitter.

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Remember AOC, who we chatted about earlier? In 2020, she hosted a video game live stream on Twitch to help her reach younger audiences who may not be familiar with or interested in politics.

Anyone want to play Among Us with me on Twitch to get out the vote? (I’ve never played but it looks like a lot of fun)

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) October 19, 2020

Marketing on Twitch might not suit every political candidate, so it’ll be your decision whether you think the streaming platform is the correct place for you to engage with an audience. And if you need help understanding how to uncover your target audience on social media, wrap your eyes around How to Find and Target Your Social Media Audience to get started.

2. Share relevant, valuable content and information

Build audience trust and engagement by sharing relevant and interesting content, and audiences will naturally turn to you as a valid source of information and knowledge. The NASA Instagram account does this spectacularly well for its audience of over 76 million people across the world.

The BC Parks Instagram account follows a similar trend in Canada and gives its audience tips, information, and insights into what’s happening across the province’s extensive roster of parks.

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3. Engage with your followers

Would you ever attend a dinner party and sit there silently, not joining in the conversation? Obviously not, and social media is no different. Government officials, lawmakers, and government accounts need to engage with their audiences by replying to messages, joining conversations, and answering questions.

Remember that social media is all about creating community. So ask questions, create opinion polls (Twitter has a great feature that allows you to do this!), and respond to comments from your followers—you never know whether your response will change a voter’s mindset.

You can even repost content posted by your constituents as a form of engagement, like the Government of New Jersey retweeted these photos of a beautiful sunset in Central New Jersey.

Beautiful #sunset tonight in Central Jersey. @NJGov really knows how to show off its colors. #NJwx pic.twitter.com/rvqiuf8pRY

— John Napoli (@WeenieCrusher) May 17, 2022

If you’re struggling to keep up with all the messages you receive, onboard a tool like Hootsuite, where you can effortlessly streamline your comms into one tidy dashboard. No more alt-tabbing between different social media screens trying to respond to every comment.

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Watch this short video to see how it works:

Try Hootsuite for free. You can cancel anytime.

4. Stay secure

A social media security breach will seriously undermine the general public’s confidence in government. The simplest way to ensure that your accounts stay secure is by onboarding a social media management platform to manage all your social media accounts and activity across multiple teams or people.

Hootsuite comes with two-factor authentication for an additional layer of security and gives you the complete control to review and approve messages, log all activity and interactions, and set up post review and approvals.

If you need more details, read through our step-by-step guide to social media security for more tips on how to protect your organization online, whether or not you use Hootsuite.

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5. Remain compliant

Remaining compliant with privacy requirements is critical for any government body. For large organizations with multiple social media practitioners, establishing best practices for social media use can help ensure the collective compliance of all users.

Guidelines towards acceptable and forbidden content, data handling, citizen engagement, and even tone are a few best practice examples organizations can implement to keep their team compliant.

If you manage social for a government or agency using Hootsuite, our partners’ social media archiving integrations make it easy to stay compliant with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and other public records laws.

In recent years, government bodies and their employees have responded to dramatic shifts in public expectations of political and government discourse.

Innovative policymakers and their staff are quickly adapting by creating highly engaging social content to rally follower support, while also remaining fully compliant and secure. For any government body wanting to capture and maintain public sentiment and engagement, embracing the new era of social media discourse is crucial to success.

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CDC

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention was understandably a little busy. But that didn’t stop the government agency from pulling off effective COVID-related campaigns and messaging on social media to help keep the general public informed.

FDA

The US Food and Drug administration is pretty much in charge of saying whether a product or foodstuff is safe for the public to use or not. So, it’s important that their social media channels share factually correct information.

Here are a couple of examples of how the FDA has used social media to this effect.

Folate is important for lowering the risk of serious problems that occur during pregnancy.

Learn how the Nutrition Facts label can help pregnant women make decisions to support a healthy eating pattern. https://t.co/thsiMeoEfO #NWHW #FindYourHealth pic.twitter.com/eFGqduM0gy

— U.S. FDA (@US_FDA) May 12, 2022

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Biden #BuildBackBetter

46th President of the United States, Joe Biden, used social media to gain leverage and grow momentum for his Build Back Better campaign throughout 2020 and 2021. By leveraging the power of the hashtag, Biden’s team was able to ensure a catchy slogan and a measurable campaign by analyzing the success and trends of the hashtag.

Our Build Back Better Agenda will strengthen our economy by lowering taxes on the working and middle class, and reducing the cost of child care, housing, and higher education.

We will grow our economy from the bottom up and the middle out.

— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) September 28, 2021

Inform and engage on social media with Hootsuite. From a single dashboard, you can schedule and publish content to every network, monitor relevant conversations, and measure public sentiment around programs and policies with real-time social listening and analytics. Try it free today.

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Book a personalized, no-pressure demo to see how Hootsuite helps governments and agencies:

→ Engage citizens

→ Manage crisis communications

→ Deliver services efficiently

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TikTok SEO in 5 Steps: How To Make Sure Your Videos Show Up in Search

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What if I told you that TikTok SEO can help your content reach more people and even make your videos go viral?

If you’ve been sleeping on your social media SEO strategy, this blog is for you. We’ll walk you through all the juicy details about TikTok SEO specifically, how it works, and how you can optimize your video content to get the most out of it.

Stick with us, and you’ll be on the For You page in no time.

Bonus: Get a free TikTok Growth Checklist from famous TikTok creator Tiffy Chen that shows you how to gain 1.6 million followers with only 3 studio lights and iMovie.

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What is TikTok SEO?

TikTok SEO is the practice of optimizing your videos on TikTok to rank higher in search. Just as you would use keywords and analytics to optimize the content on your website, you can also use these tactics to help your TikTok videos show up in more search results–this includes results on TikTok, as well as Google.

But wait. TikTok isn’t a search engine, right? Maybe not technically, but it still has its own search bar, making SEO an important part of the platform. In fact, Google’s own data found that 40% of young people primarily use TikTok and Instagram for search.

And, although social media posts on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and the like were not indexed by Google in the past, they now show up in the SERPs. Fancy that!

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google search result for restaurants in vancouver showing tiktok videos

Your TikTok SEO strategy should include both SEO for Google and SEO for TikTok search. That way, you’re giving your content a fighting chance in all of the biggest online search arenas.

TikTok SEO ranking factors

To understand TikTok SEO, you first need to understand what TikTok looks for when ranking content. There are several core ranking factors for the TikTok algorithm. These are:

User interactions

User interactions can include anything from videos you’ve liked, videos you’ve hidden, videos you’ve added to your favorites, and videos you watch all the way to the end. TikTok takes note of all of this data and uses it to determine which videos to show you.

Video information

All of the information contained in a video can affect its ranking on TikTok. This includes captions, hashtags, sound effects, and music. TikTok looks for videos that contain relevant keywords in their titles and descriptions, as well as videos that cover trending topics.

Devices and account settings

These are settings TikTok uses to optimize performance. They include language preference, country setting (you may be more likely to see content from people in your own country), type of mobile device, and categories of interest you selected as a new user.

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Note that while account settings do factor into your TikTok SEO ranking, they receive a lower weight than video info and user interactions.

What’s not included?

You’ll be happy to hear that TikTok does not factor follower count into its SEO ranking algorithm (though, if you do want to get more followers, we have you covered). This means that if you create great content that speaks directly to your target audience, you have as much chance of landing on their For You page as the biggest TikTok stars.

This is what sets TikTok apart from other platforms like Instagram. And honestly? We’re here for it.

See also  How to Download Instagram Videos: We Rank the Best Apps

Google SEO ranking factors

Anyone who knows anything about SEO knows that Google’s ranking factors aren’t exactly the most transparent topic. That aside, there are a couple of things we know for sure. And, *spoiler alert*, these ranking factors are also going to be a big part of your TikTok SEO tips.

Here’s what Google looks for when ranking search results.

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Keywords

These are the words and phrases that users type into a search engine when looking for answers. For example, someone looking for advice on keeping their hair healthy might search for “hair care.”

Expertise

Google doesn’t just give anyone the top search spot. To earn it, you have to be an authority on the topic.

How do they know you’re an authority? This part is a bit tricky. But, in essence, Google looks at how many other pages link to your page (this acts as a reference and shows what you’re saying is true) and how popular those pages are. This basically means a link from Apple is going to be worth way more than a link from your brother’s local pizza parlor. Sorry, Antonio.

The good news for TikTok’ers is that social media platforms (Instagram, TikTok, Facebook) are some of the most “authoritative” sites in this world. So having a presence on these platforms, and having your content show up in Google search, can really help boost your discoverability.

Relevance

A piece of content must be related to what users are searching for in order to get a good rank. No one wants to see a page on WWII history when they’re looking for makeup brush cleaning tips.

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Freshness

Google generally prefers new content to old, though there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, Google says, “The freshness of the content plays a bigger role in answering queries about current news topics than it does about dictionary definitions.”

How to do TikTok SEO in 5 steps

Now that we know what TikTok and Google’s search engines look for, here are our top TikTok SEO tips.

1. Start with your audience

One of the most important aspects of TikTok SEO is understanding your audience. Knowing who they are and what they’re looking for can help you create content that resonates with them.

If you’re already active on TikTok, you may have a good idea of what your audience likes. If not, consider taking some time to get to know them better. Look at the videos they’re engaging with and the hashtags they’re using. As well, look at the comments and messages they’re sending you. This can help you get an idea of their interests so that you can create content tailored to them.

@skyemareewheatley

You asked for it 🥰😍❤️✌️ #haitcare #haircareroutine #healthyhair

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♬ Storytelling – Adriel

Why does this matter for SEO? Well, understanding your audience can help you craft better titles and descriptions for videos, making them easier to find in TikTok searches. Similarly, you want to create content that your audience wants to see. Or the content they are already searching for. This can give you a leg up when it comes to being discovered by new audiences, too.

@madeleinewould

You asked for a pt 2 and u got a pt 2 🥰 just like last time…these products are just what worked or didnt work for my hair specifically! #hairtok #hairproducts #sephora

♬ Beat Goes On – The All Seeing I

2. Do keyword research

Keyword research is an essential part of traditional SEO, so it makes sense to use it on TikTok, too. Find out what words or phrases your target audience is using when searching for content like yours.

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Remember to consider different ways of phrasing a topic, as well as related keywords. You can do this through tools like Google Ads Keyword Planner, SEMrush, Ahrefs, and more.

Keep in mind these tools are scraping data from Google itself–not TikTok. Because SEO in TikTok is so new, there aren’t currently any TikTok SEO tools that can tell you what people are searching for on TikTok.

But don’t get discouraged. The best way to figure out what people are searching for on TikTok is to use the TikTik platform directly. Simply go to TikTok, open the search bar, and enter any keywords you’ve pulled from your TikTok keyword research.

TikTok will automatically auto-populate the search bar with the most popular keywords related to your query. Look through what it shows you, and select any keywords that match up with your content.

If you want to see even more keyword ideas, try typing in your keyword followed by a single letter. TikTok will then show you all the related keywords that begin with your query and the letter you entered.

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For example:

Hair care “A.”

Hair care “B.”

Hair care “C.”

You can keep repeating this process until you have a list of relevant hashtags and keywords to use in your TikTok SEO strategy.

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3. Add keywords to your content

Once you have your TikTok keyword research completed, start adding them to your content in the titles, descriptions, and captions of your videos. This includes any on-screen text, such as lyrics or explanations.

@skinbyhelen

It would’ve saved my hair from all the damage over the years 🫣 #haircaretips #haircare #iwishiknewthisearlier

♬ Chillest in the Room – L.Dre

Also, be sure to say the keywords out loud! That’s right, TikTok’s algorithms prioritize videos where the keywords are actually spoken.

You’ll also want to include your keywords in any hashtags you use, as this will help people find your posts more easily. Use both your main keyword and any variations of your keyword that make sense. But don’t overdo it. Make sure you know the optimal number of hashtags to use on each platform.

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Finally, add your most relevant target keywords to your TikTok profile. This will ensure that your profile is more visible when people search for these keywords. It also gives potential followers an idea of what kind of content you post and whether they should follow you.

4. Add your TikTok to a microblog

This is the exciting part, where we get to mash everything we know about traditional SEO with everything we’re learning about TikTok SEO!

Blogging is a big part of ranking in Google search. Remember when we talked about Google prioritizing content that is relevant and fresh? Well, that’s pretty much why blogs exist. What better way to keep your content fresh than to publish consistently?

To leverage this technique for your TikTok SEO, create a microblog post that discusses a particular topic related to your TikTok video. Be sure to include your main keyword in the title and your secondary or long-tail keywords in the subheadings and content of the post. Also, don’t forget to embed your TikTok video in the blog, too!

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5. Track your progress

Every savvy SEO marketing strategy requires continuous monitoring and tweaking. Sure, you put all the best practices in place, but how will you know if your efforts are successful?

Tracking your TikTok analytics is the best way to see if your SEO strategy is paying off. This will give you insights into which videos are performing well, what kind of engagement they’re getting, and more. It can also help you identify areas where you can improve, such as topics or keywords that don’t seem to be resonating with your audience.

Hootsuite Analytics can show you exactly how many views are coming from search, as opposed to the For You page or from existing followers.

Hootsuite TikTok analytics

Be sure to track this progress over time, as well as the progress of your competitors. This will give you a better understanding of what works best in terms of TikTok SEO and can help you refine your strategy accordingly.

Frequently asked questions about TikTok SEO

What is SEO on TikTok?

SEO on TikTok is the process of optimizing your TikTok content to make it more discoverable on the platform, increasing views, likes and followers. This is done by researching hashtags, targeting certain keywords, and leveraging popular trends on the platform.

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TikTok videos also have the ability to rank in Google search, so optimizing your content for SEO can help you gain even more reach and visibility.

How do you increase SEO on TikTok?

Increasing SEO on TikTok starts with keyword research. This involves researching and identifying popular keywords related to your content, so you can include those keywords in your captions and in the audio of your video.

You should also be aware of popular trends on the platform and use relevant hashtags related to your content. This will make your video more visible in TikTok’s search results and maximize its chances of getting seen.

How do keywords work on TikTok?

Keywords on TikTok are the same as those for any other platform–-words and phrases commonly used to search for content. Popular keywords in your niche can help TikTok’s algorithm boost your video and make it visible to more potential viewers.

How is TikTok a search engine?

TikTok is not technically a search engine, but it does have its own algorithm that can be used to find content. The algorithm takes into account the number of views, likes, and comments a video gets, as well as what other users are searching for. This helps TikTok serve up relevant content to each user based on their interests and past interactions with the app.

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Grow your TikTok presence alongside your other social channels using Hootsuite. Schedule and publish posts for the best times, engage your audience, and measure performance — all from one easy-to-use dashboard. Try it free today.

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Schedule posts, learn from analytics, and respond to comments all in one place.

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How To Create a Strong Social Media Advocacy Program

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There’s nothing more convincing than a friend’s endorsement — especially on social media. That’s why a social media advocacy program is the best way to show the benefits of your products instead of telling your customers why they should care.

Brand advocates help you connect with potential customers and cut through the noise online. They can boost your visibility by:

  • Showing off your products on social media
  • Leaving positive reviews on your website
  • Driving more traffic to your products

In short, an engaged community leads to better sales outcomes. Keep reading for our guide to building a strong social media advocacy program.

Bonus: Download a free employee advocacy toolkit that shows you how to plan, launch, and grow a successful employee advocacy program for your organization.

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Social media advocacy is a way to leverage the social networks of the people who like you and/or are invested in your continued success: your customers, employees, business partners, influencers, and more.

According to Nielsen’s 2021 Trust in Advertising study, a whopping 89% of respondents trust recommendations from people they know. These recommendations are almost twice as likely to generate action, too.

A social media advocacy strategy turns your biggest fans into brand advocates. A brand advocate is someone who loves your brand so much that they choose to voluntarily promote your products or services on their own social media channels.

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While influencers are paid to create sponsored content for your brand, brand advocates are motivated by their enthusiasm for your product or service. They opt into your advocacy program voluntarily. Savvy customers are great at spotting paid influencer content, but organic endorsements still carry serious weight.

By leveraging your company’s biggest cheerleaders, you gain access to their social networks. The trust-based customer relationships you’ll build are worth their weight in gold.

What can brand advocates do for you?

Social media is now a top channel for online brand research, second only to search engines. Customers rely on social at every stage of the purchasing journey. A brand advocate’s positive post can really help you stand out from the crowd.

Here are a few ways in which brand advocates can help you build your business:

They leave positive reviews

Reviews from real users provide useful information for potential customers. In fact, reviews are the third-most important factor when shoppers are contemplating an online purchase:

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chart showing reasons driving online purchases

Source: Hootsuite Digital 2022 report

Encourage your brand advocates to leave positive reviews on your website — and make it easy for them to do so. You can even generate a link to leave a review on Google and include it in your post-purchase emails to all customers.

See also  8 Tips for Creating Highly Effective Instagram Stories Ads

Customers find a mix of positive and negative reviews more trustworthy. Responding to reviews shows that your brand is open to feedback. Make sure to engage with or respond to all reviews, good or bad.

They create user-generated content

User-generated content (UGC) is original, brand-specific content created by customers and published on social media or other channels. UGC acts as a trust signal, taking your brand authenticity to the next level. It’s incredibly influential in the final stages of the buyer’s journey.

Brands like Starbucks leverage UGC to break up the flow of traditional marketing posts in their social media streams:

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Starbucks Instagram user-generated content

Source: instagram.com/Starbucks

Only four of these 12 recent posts on the Starbucks Instagram feed are brand marketing posts. The other eight posts are user-generated content. In these examples, UGC creates a sense of FOMO that drives customers to stop in for the latest seasonal treat.

They bring in new users or customers

Seeing someone else’s success can help new customers visualize their own. That’s why success stories are invaluable when recruiting potential customers or users.

Airbnb, a giant in the short-term homestay space, builds brand advocacy with the Superhost Ambassador program.

Superhosts are experienced users who have completed at least 10 stays in the past year, maintain a 4.8+ rating, and have a 90% response rate within 24 hours. They enjoy perks and special recognition for earning Superhost status.

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Superhost Ambassadors share positive experiences to help new users see the benefits of hosting. They provide mentorship and tools to help new hosts succeed, all while earning rewards for bringing new hosts to Airbnb.

Airbnb Superhost Ambassadors

Source: airbnb.ca/askasuperhost

With the “Ask a Superhost” function, Ambassadors become de facto customer service representatives. They answer questions from newbies and help them create successful Airbnb listings. In exchange for their support, Ambassadors earn cash rewards and enjoy exclusive features and tools.

The key to building a strong social media advocacy program lies in leveraging your existing communities. But before you reach out to potential advocates, make sure you’ve got a plan in place.

Here’s how to start building your own social media advocacy program.

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1. Start with your goals

Consider what you’re trying to achieve with your social media advocacy program. What kinds of brand advocates are you looking to build your community with? What kind of ROI are you aiming for?

See also  The 15 Best Shopify Apps to Help Grow Your Ecommerce Store

Use the S.M.A.R.T goal-setting program to develop a set of effective goals. That means setting specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely goals.

Here’s an example of a S.M.A.R.T goal:

Create a brand advocacy program to grow my Instagram following by 15 percent over the next 90 days.

Now that you’ve got an actionable goal in mind, you can figure out the tactics you’ll need to follow to achieve it.

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2. Identify potential brand advocates

After setting your goals, you need to find your brand advocates, recruit them to your cause, and grow excitement among them about your company, campaign, or initiative.

Be sure to develop your program around valuable opportunities and rewards for the participants. Show them how taking part in the program will benefit them. Three core things to focus on to drive the program, including your search for the perfect participants, are:

  • Effective communication
  • Clear program architecture
  • Professional integration

To find the best brand advocates for your social media advocacy program, you need to understand who you want to target, and ask yourself some key questions:

  • What are their pain points?
  • What incentives would be valuable to them?
  • What are their interests?
  • Who do they engage with on social media?

Deciding to develop a brand advocacy program doesn’t have to mean starting from scratch. If your brand is active on social media, then there’s a good chance your customers and fans are as well. This community is likely already talking about (and to) your brand.

Look at your social media followers and newsletter subscriber lists. Who’s liking your posts and clicking your newsletter links? These engaged fans are prime candidates for your advocacy program.

3. Don’t forget about employee advocates

Employees can also be fantastic advocates for your brand and business. An employee advocacy program amplifies company messaging and broadens your social media reach.

When recruiting employee brand advocates, make it clear that the program is optional. Internal advocates usually see the value in incentives, but they don’t want to be bribed or coerced into participating!

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Here are a few tips to incentivize your employee brand advocates:

  • Follow employees from your company accounts to boost their network
  • Use the company accounts to share creative messaging created by employees
  • Create a contest where everyone who shares a piece of marketing content is entered to win a prize
  • Keep track of employees who share content consistently and share this information with their managers
  • Acknowledge frequent sharers in company meetings or newsletters
See also  158 of the Best Instagram Reels Hashtags to 10x Your Growth

Hootsuite Amplify helps you take the guesswork out of employee social media advocacy. Amplify allows your employees to access pre-approved content to share on their social feeds — all queued up and ready to go.

When done right, employee advocacy is one of the most effective ways to boost your public image and employee engagement.

4. Reward your advocates

Once you’ve got brand advocates, hang onto them! Make sure your social media advocacy program includes valuable opportunities and rewards for the participants. Show them how taking part in the program will benefit them.

Try the following tips to get the ball rolling:

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  • Follow users that follow you and engage with the content they share
  • Highlight community members who contribute positively to your online discussions
  • Reward the people who stand out in your community
  • Send them swag or discount codes

Keep brand advocates engaged

For your advocacy program to be effective, you need to build a strong connection with your advocates. Best case scenario: you’ll have hundreds, or even thousands, of engaged brand advocates championing your brand. These advocates need to feel valued!

Your social media advocacy strategy needs to be scalable. Put someone in charge of answering advocate questions and keeping them on track. Consider appointing a program lead to take on the engagement task as the program grows.

Add value to the experience

You can keep members engaged by adding value to their experience:

  • Create programming or education for your brand advocates
  • Offer discounts on educational opportunities
  • Add value with exclusive experiences, such as in-person meetups
  • Incentivize or even gamify your program by running contests or fun challenges

A relationship with a good brand advocate is mutually beneficial, so keep up with your end of the bargain.

Review your advocacy program on a regular basis

Review your brand advocacy program every few months to see how your progress is tracking against the goals you established at the start. If something isn’t working, make adjustments to get things back on track. Social media is constantly evolving, and so should your advocacy program.

Tap into the power of employee advocacy with Hootsuite Amplify. Increase reach, keep employees engaged, and measure results—safely and securely. Learn how Amplify can help grow your organization today.

Request a demo of Hootsuite Amplify

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Hootsuite Amplify makes it easy for your employees to safely share your content with their followers—boosting your reach on social media. Book a personalized, no-pressure demo to see it in action.

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Customer Experience Management Explained [11 Top Tips]

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Have you ever been so excited to receive an online order, only to open up the delivery to find a broken product? If the customer care team goes above and beyond to resolve the issue, your frustrating experience can be morphed into a positive one. That’s why customer experience management is a quick way to win people’s hearts.

In this article, we’ll walk through what you need to know about customer experience management and how it can improve your business, including the top customer experience tools and tactics you can try yourself.

Bonus: Get our free, fully customizable Customer Experience Strategy Template that will help you understand your customers and reach your business goals.

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What is customer experience management?

Customer experience management (CEM or CXM) is the process of managing and improving the way customers interact with your business. CEM uses data gathered at every interaction to improve customers’ perception of your company.

At its core, customer experience management is all about understanding and improving how customers interact with your business. This means everything from how your customers discover you online to the interactions they have with your employees in-store.

Examining your customer journey from start to finish allows you to identify areas of friction and areas of opportunity.

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Why is customer experience management important?

Customer experience management can help businesses to foster a positive image in their customers’ eyes. And it can help build stronger relationships with your customers. Companies that provide a great customer experience will always have a competitive edge.

You can create loyal brand advocates when your customer experience management is on point. A loyal customer’s lifetime value is much, much higher than a one-off purchaser. Bad customer experiences can cost you your reputation. But even just a meh customer experience is detrimental to your success.

What is the difference between CEM and CRM?

Customer experience management (CEM) and customer relationship management (CRM) are different perspectives on the same relationship. But while CRM focuses on the company’s view of a customer, CEM looks at the customer’s view of the company.

Think of it like this: CRM looks at your sales funnel. Where can you as a company meet your customer? CEM, on the other hand, considers your customer touchpoints. Where do your customers interact with your company?

CRM is about improving internal processes, while CEM looks at your company holistically.

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What is client experience management?

Is customer experience the same thing as client experience? Well, not really. Though the terms are often used interchangeably, they’re not synonymous.

That’s because a customer may have a single transactional purchase with an organization. Clients, on the other hand, generally engage over longer periods of time centered around long-term services.

11 ways customer experience management can improve your business

By investing in your customer experience management, you can improve the health of your business. You’ll see real results, like increased revenue and profitability. Plus, you’ll build a strong base of loyal, happy customers, which means even more revenue down the road.

Here are 11 ways a strong customer experience management strategy can improve your business.

1. Helps you understand customer’s wants and needs

Creating a customer experience strategy means putting yourself in your customer’s shoes. It’s like psychology — you need to know their wants, needs, fears, and desires inside and out. Then, you can understand how to better deliver.

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To do this, you can use customer experience tools to collect data on your audience. For example, Hootsuite’s social listening features can show you what (and how) your customers talk about you online.

Hootsuite Insights (powered by Brandwatch) makes it easy to track brand sentiment with intuitive word clouds and meters that gauge your sentiment and brand awareness against the competition.

Request a demo of Hootsuite Insights

You can also use customer experience tools like customer surveys to gain insight into their experience with your brand. These deep insights will help you to deliver on their wants proactively. And what’s better than someone giving you something you want before you even ask for it?

2. Build emotional connections with customers

At their core, these strategies are about better serving your customers, which will help you build stronger emotional connections with them. To do that, you need to provide a personalized service and seamless journey.

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Finding out what your customers want and giving it to them is a start. But you will also want to anticipate their needs to reach them on an emotional level. It’s not enough anymore to just make things easy. In the customer journey, look for opportunities where you can delight your customers.

See also  How to Calculate (and Improve) Instagram Engagement

Take dog food suppliers Chewy, for example. When a customer called to ask about returns, Chewy learned her pup had passed over the rainbow bridge. They sent the grieving family flowers with a card signed by their customer care team member.

I contacted @Chewy last week to see if I could return an unopened bag of my dog’s food after he died. They 1) gave me a full refund, 2) told me to donate the food to the shelter, and 3) had flowers delivered today with the gift note signed by the person I talked to?? 😭🥹

— Anna Brose, MSc (@alcesanna) June 15, 2022

3. Capture negative feedback before it goes live

One of the great advantages of having customer support chat built into your strategy is that you can capture issues before they turn into bad reviews. But if you can’t offer 24-hour live chat support, a chatbot can be a lifesaver.

Tools like customer service chatbots offer a golden opportunity to fix problems before they get bigger.

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Attitude customer service chatbot

Source: Heyday

Customers who have their problems fixed are usually pretty receptive to giving your company another shot. Mistakes happen; we’re only human. (Except for the chatbots, of course. They’re just beautiful pieces of customer experience management software.)

4. Decrease customer churn

Your churn rate, or the rate at which customers stop using your business, is an important measure of overall customer happiness. It’s pretty simple math: Happy customers equal less churn.

When people feel seen and cared for by your brand, they’re less likely to take their business elsewhere.

That’s why making sure your existing customers are happy can lead to significant savings for your business. It costs a lot less to keep an existing customer than it does to acquire a new one.

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5. Boost customer loyalty

Loyal customers mean more than just reduced customer churn. When customers have a good experience with your business, they are more likely to recommend you to others. This boost in loyalty can act as word-of-mouth marketing and increase your Net Promoter Score (NPS).

NPS is used to measure your customer experience and satisfaction. It’s calculated on a 0-10 scale, bucketed into three cohorts: detractors (0-6), passives (7-8), and promoters (8-10). When your customer is a promoter, they’re essentially a brand advocate.

6. Lower support costs

Customers who have a good experience with your business are less likely to need support.

There are fewer complaints which means less stress on your customer service team. This results in lower support costs, fewer dissatisfied customers, and a happier customer service team.

7. Increase sales

If you’ve made it easy for customers to complete their purchase, they’re more likely to buy from you again in the future.

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Plus, satisfied customers are also more likely to refer others to your business.

8. Enhance brand reputation

A positive customer experience improves how people perceive your brand. When you’re mapping out your customer experience strategy, keep your ideal brand perception in mind.

Do you, like Coca-Cola, want to be known for happiness? Then you could take a page out of their book and add joyful touchpoints to your customer’s day. How fun was it to find a Coke bottle with your name on it?

Coca-Cola bottles with names

Source: Coca-Cola

9. Improve employee satisfaction

If you work for a company that is beloved by customers, you’re going to like your job a little bit more. Interacting with happy people who have a great customer experience may raise internal employee morale.

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When your employees are happy, there is less turnover. Turnover, estimated by LinkedIn, can cost a company 1.5-2 times the employee’s salary. This number may seem high, but it includes intangible losses like the employee’s company knowledge and strain placed on the remaining team.

10. Create a competitive advantage

Businesses that excel at customer experience management have a leg up on their competition. This competitive advantage can help you attract more customers and grow your business.

Trader Joe’s, for example, has an almost cult-like following. And yes, in part it’s due to their off-beat and delightful product offerings. But that on its own isn’t enough.

Trader Joe’s also invests heavily in customer service and understanding the friction points of traditional grocery shopping. You only have to browse the Trader Joe’s freezer aisle, where they’ve removed the cumbersome, annoying freezer doors, to see their strategy in action.

11. Generate social media buzz

If something happens and it’s not posted on social media, did it actually happen?

When people experience something notable, they post about it. Dedicate your customer experience strategy to creating a delightful experience for your customers. Some of them will likely share that story, possibly on their Story. (See what we did there?)

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User-generated content (UGC) is great for your own social content. When people turn into online advocates for your brand or share a positive experience, they create social proof that your brand is legit. Then, that positive brand experience sits in front of all their followers. You, my friend, have just gained some free, effective advertising.

Top customer experience management tactics to try

There are a ton of tactics you can use today to get your customer experience management off the ground. We’ll walk you through a few easy wins to get you started.

Use a chatbot to engage with your customers

Chatbots are a very easy win for your customer experience management. Install one anywhere your customers may reach out to you. That includes your website, your social media accounts, and your apps.

Chatbots have a ton of advantages when it comes to engaging your customers. You can empower them with answers to your frequently asked questions. This allows customers to get instant feedback on their FAQs. People don’t like waiting around for answers, especially simple ones.

Just make sure you choose a chatbot that will deliver on your customers’ wants. You may need a multilingual chatbot if your consumer base is multinational. Or, maybe your customers always want to track their orders; an ecommerce chatbot could be a good choice.

Jack & Jones men's style virtual assistant

Source: Heyday

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Something else to consider is your chatbot’s personality. You’ll want to make sure you can program the chatbot to speak in your brand voice. If you can, giving your chatbot a likable avatar is an easy way to improve the customer experience. And choose a chatbot that has natural language processing skills to better relate to your customers.

DeSerres virtual assistant

Source: Heyday

Hootsuite’s number one chatbot is Heyday. Heyday is an AI-powered chatbot that turns conversations into customers. It can do all the above and more.

Request a Heyday Demo

Build a customer journey map

A customer journey map allows you to visualize the steps a customer takes when interacting with your business. It can give you real insights into your customers’ needs, fears, desires, and goals. You’ll be left with a better understanding of their thoughts, feelings, and pain points.

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Customer journey maps are particularly useful in highlighting areas for improvement and opportunities.

For example, you may notice your customers have to physically call your store or team when an issue arises. This can provide a point of friction; some people *cough cough, millennials* hate talking on the phone. Or, in the case of Deaf or hard-of-hearing folks, will find it inaccessible. A chatbot on your website can make it easier for people to get in touch.

By identifying each customer touchpoint and mapping out the steps involved, you will gain a better understanding of the overall customer experience. This, in turn, can help you to identify ways to improve the journey and make it more efficient and delightful for your customers.

Create a customer experience strategy

A customer experience strategy clearly defines the steps and tactics you’ll take to improve your customer experience. An effective strategy defines your goals and the actions you’ll take to achieve them. Then, it considers how to measure and optimize your efforts.

Your goal could be, for example, to reduce customer churn (low customer churn is a great indication of a solid customer experience) by 10% in a quarter. Part of your strategy is to determine what is causing customer churn, which can be achieved by customer journey mapping and customer surveys. Then, fix the issues you uncover.

Here’s a simple way to measure your customer churn. At the end of the quarter, subtract your number of current customers from the number of customers you had at the start of the quarter. Then, divide that total by the number of customers you started with.

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Let’s say you had 500 customers at the start of Q1 and 450 at the end. You can calculate your churn rate like so: (500 – 450) / 500 = 10%

After creating a customer experience strategy, you will have a plan in hand for reaching your customer experience goals.

Use data to understand demographics

The right chatbot gathers information each time it interacts with one of your consumers. Chatbot analytics isn’t something you should be sleeping on. If you’ve implemented a chatbot, then take a deep dive into the data it’s gathered. This is an excellent tool for understanding your customer demographics.

The better you know a group of people, the better you can tailor the experience you offer to what they want.

Engage with customers through social listening

You’ll want to know what customers are saying about your brand: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Keep an ear to the ground with social listening.

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hootsuite insights mention volume over time

Hootsuite Insights helps you make sense of millions of customer conversations happening in real time, so you can stay on top of trends and set strategies with confidence.

Request a demo of Hootsuite Insights

Customers also like to feel heard. When they post about your brand or a topic that relates to you, responding is a great way to build relationships and foster a connection.

You can keep your finger on the pulse by tracking brand mentions, customer feedback, and industry trends. And you’ll stay relevant within the communities you’re a part of.

Plus, if you’ve got a cheeky brand voice, responding to people with humor is the perfect way to surprise, delight, and foster a positive customer experience.

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*Frosty https://t.co/h3bWxo8xxy

— Wendy’s 🇨🇦 (@WendysCanada) October 18, 2022

Ask them what they want

You won’t know if you don’t ask. After they’ve interacted with you, ask your customers what went well and where you can improve.

There are tons of different types of surveys you can send out that will help you understand and improve your customer experience.

One of those is the Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) survey, which uses specific questions like “How satisfied were you with your experience at the ABC Cafe?” to get granular, reliable data.

Top customer experience management software

These days, brands need a stacked toolbox to stay competitive. There’s a lot of customer experience management software out there, but it can be overwhelming to choose between them. So, to avoid being paralyzed by choice, we’ve put together a list of tried and tested tools.

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Heyday for customer service

Heyday is our choice chatbot for customer service. There is a lot that chatbots can do for your business, including improving your customer response rates.

Heyday automates customer support requests like answers to FAQs and product recommendations. And it can offer in-store appointment bookings. Heyday uses conversational AI to converse naturally with your customers. The results are a smooth, organic conversation.

Request a Heyday Demo

Hootsuite for social listening, engagement, and surveys

Hootsuite has a ton of helpful features to help improve your customer experience. Insights, the social listening tool we mentioned above, is one surefire win.

But if you don’t need a social listening tool that’s quite as robust, you can also use Hootsuite Streams to engage with your customers on whatever social media channel they prefer.

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Source: Hootsuite

You can use Streams (custom feeds that show up in your Hootsuite dashboard) to track all the important conversations in your field. You can even set up filters to monitor conversations by keyword, hashtag, and location. It’s a great way to stay on top of your own business—and one step ahead of the competition.

Hootsuite also integrates with tools like Sparkcentral, so you can easily send out and collect surveys.

Shopify for ecommerce

Shopify is one of the most popular ecommerce platforms. It is extremely easy to get set up on and operate, making it a beloved piece of software by beginners and experts alike.

If you’re using Shopify to host your ecommerce store, don’t forget to take advantage of the chatbot integration from Heyday by Hootsuite.

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Salesforce for your CRM needs

Salesforce is a powerful tool for managing all your company’s relationships with customers. The goal of using CRM software like Sales Cloud is to streamline your processes and improve your profitability. You’ll be able to track:

  • contracts,
  • outstanding orders, and
  • manage customer relationships across their entire lifecycle.

Salesforce is a useful customer experience management platform because of its ability to take care of all your CRM needs.

Engage with shoppers on social media and turn customer conversations into sales with Heyday, our dedicated conversational AI chatbot for social commerce retailers. Deliver 5-star customer experiences — at scale.

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Turn customer service conversations into sales with Heyday. Improve response times and sell more products. See it in action.

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