Expert Interview with Gavin Hammar Of Sendible On Social Media Best Practices

By Cheryl Morgan

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HIRING A SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER?

Don't hire someone without first tuning in for this essential advice.



Social media is an important aspect of the digital ecosystem. Many of us have presences on multiple networks, which means unproductive downtime flipping between programs and tabs, as well as the possibility of missing out on an opportunity, either from a potential customer or people posting about our niche of choice.


Sendible is a social media management suite designed by Gavin Hammar back in the earliest days of social media. Unlike other popular social media management tools, Sendible doesn't just focus on Twitter and Facebook, but can be used to organize and automate just about any social media network that exists.

Gavin Hammar took a moment to tell us about Sendible and shared some useful tips for social media best practices, like social listening, the best times to post, and many more kernels of wisdom from his years in the industry.
 

Can you introduce us to Sendible? When was the company founded? What need did you perceive that you hoped to fulfill?

Before social media was even a term, I noticed that there were more and more social networks cropping up with each allowing users the ability to post updates. Facebook was just starting to gain momentum and Twitter had not yet become mainstream. I had the idea to build desktop software to allow users to post to multiple services at once, saving them the hassle of having to log in to multiple services and post updates manually.

I used my experience having built banking integration systems to develop a robust platform that could integrate with any API. This meant that it could evolve to support all social networks, blogging platforms and even email and SMS. The reason I chose the name Sendible was because it made sending any type of message possible (send-ible). Having developed the core engine, I then built a basic website around it and released it to the public for free in the middle of 2008. Shortly after launching, articles were written about Sendible on Techcrunch, Mashable and ReadWriteWeb.

 

How is your software different from other social media management tools like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck?

Unlike other products in our space which focus predominantly on Facebook and Twitter, Sendible integrates with just about every social network out there; and because of the way our platform has been built, we are able to add new integrations very quickly. For this reason, our technology enables us to take our users' feedback on board and add new features quickly. We also provide a white label solution that allows agencies to offer their own branded version of our dashboard to their clients. We have also developed innovative automation features that assist with social media lead generation. We are one of the only platforms to offer this.

 

One of the things that Sendible allows a user to do is to monitor their reputation across various social media. First of all, how does Sendible accomplish this? Secondly, why is it important? What are some opportunities someone might miss out on?

Sendible accomplishes this by allowing users to add specific keywords and terms to their Sendible account. Once the terms have been added, Sendible then searches the entire social web, blogs, forums and news sites to find any mentions of these terms. When a match is found, we use natural language processing techniques to automatically determine the sentiment of each mention. This enables us to alert our users of any trends that may require their attention.

Being aware of what customers and prospects are saying about your company or your industry is extremely important. The damage that can be done on social media these days is immense; and if a business is not aware of what's being said about them, they are losing out on a significant opportunity to protect their reputation and win new customers. It's also imperative that companies monitor terms that their prospects may be using to find their service, as this is a major opportunity to attract new business.

 

Sendible can also be used to measure results. What kind of results do you measure? How can those insights be turned into actionable results?

A successful social media campaign requires a significant investment of time and energy; and thus, it's important to understand whether this has paid off. Not only is it vital that you understand whether or not the overall campaign was a success, but you also need to be aware of which social networks are the most effective for your business. It's no use investing heavily in Twitter if your audience is most engaged on Facebook.

The approach you take to measuring ROI on social media really depends on the campaign's goals and objectives. If the objective is to grow brand awareness, then you would look at metrics such as shares, retweets, views, comments, sentiment and audience growth. If the goal is to generate sales, then you would track the flow of clicks from the links you've shared on social networks right through to your website's sales page. This can easily be achieved using a combination of bit.ly links and Google Analytics.

However, to effectively track the success of your social media efforts, you would need to use a tool such as Sendible to truly understand if your campaigns are meeting the goals and objectives you've set.

 

Obviously, one of the main reasons to use Sendible is the time you can save by not flipping back and forth between various tabs and websites. How much time does a company stand to save from using your software? What are some examples of other things a company could do with that time?

By using a tool like Sendible for just one hour per week, companies can pre-schedule a week's worth of social media posts to multiple social networks in advance at a click of a button, start conversations on Twitter with potential customers, create insightful reports that can show tangible results and regularly distribute new posts from their company blog. If they were to achieve all of these things manually, they would need to be fully engaged for 8 hours per day, 5 days per week. Our customers are now able to spend this time on the most important aspect of social media marketing: content creation. At Sendible, we believe that content is key to social media success. Marketers can now use this time to write great content that resonates well with their audience on social media.

 

Can you talk a bit about the art of social listening?

We find that business owners tend to treat their social media campaigns like they would email. They broadcast updates about themselves and then wonder why no one has engaged with their posts. Businesses need to understand that social media needs to be treated like a cocktail party. You wouldn't arrive at a cocktail party and tell the entire room about your latest special or business award. You may, however, walk around the room and join in on conversations about topics that are of interest. Social media is the same; the key is to listen to relevant conversations and join in by adding value, thereby building influence. The more influence you have, the more opportunities you have to generate leads for your business.

 

Sendible can be used for 360 degree reputation monitoring as well. What do you mean by 360 degree monitoring? How is it different from regular reputation monitoring?

360 degree monitoring means that besides just monitoring social media like other tools in our space, Sendible monitors the entire web, including news channels, forums, blogs and video-sharing sites.

 

Sendible can also be used to generate leads and build brand awareness. First of all, what are some methods you use for generating leads? Also, do you have any advice on possible ways of turning leads into actual sales, which is one of the biggest challenges facing social media marketing?

At Sendible, we pride ourselves on being able to generate tangible results from social media. We believe that social media is a powerful tool that can be used to generate real ROI by converting social media conversations into actual sales. For this reason, we have developed a completely integrated social CRM. Our sophisticated lead generation tools enable our users to automatically start conversations on Twitter. Responses to these conversations can then be managed through the Sendible Inbox, just like email. When a conversation leads to a prospecting opportunity, users can store the lead in their Sendible CRM and then use our email marketing tools to convert the lead into a sale.

 

Sendible also offers automated Customer Relations Management. First of all, what are some reasons why automated CRM is a good idea to let a business or marketer take advantage of every opportunity? Secondly, can you talk a little bit about when automated CRM might not be the best idea?

We believe that automation, if done right, is a great way to help small business owners create awareness of their products and services by adding value to relevant conversations on social media. Automation should simply be used to provide a bit of value to a conversation, and then the marketer should follow that up with an authentic response to build a level of trust. Once a need has been identified, the CRM comes in handy in that it allows users to track the lead all the way through from a prospect to a customer. Automation should not be abused, and we recommend randomizing the automated messages that are posted. Instead of promoting your business through an automated response, we suggest to our users that they post a question and spark meaningful conversations that way.

 

What are some things that you look at to decide the best time to post? What are a few general rule-of-thumb times for social media posts, regardless of your industry?

Sendible is constantly analyzing the posts of our users on social media, and is using the levels of engagement to predict when the ideal time would be to publish updates for each of our users. The optimal time varies greatly depending on whether you're targeting B2C or B2B. For B2B, it also varies depending on the type of person you are actually trying to reach. For B2C, we suggest before 9am, at 1pm and after 7pm.


For more updates from Gavin Hammar and Sendible, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter and Google+, and connect with them on LinkedIn.

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