Praval Singh on Using Zoho Social for Your Business


In this episode of Small Biz in :15 On Location, we traveled to Austin, Texas for ZohoDay 2022 to chat with Zoho Vice President of Marketing and Customer Experience Praval Singh. In this episode, Shawn Hessinger, the editor-in-chief of Small Biz Trends, sits down and chats with Praval to learn all about managing your 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 allows businesses of all sizes, as well as today’s agencies, to manage social media presence for various brands.

It could be brands they own, what are their own brands, and in the case of agencies, it could be the brands they manage social media for.

The interesting thing here is that you can manage your social media accounts on various social media 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 publishing and scheduling perspective as well as from a social media listening and monitoring perspective.

And all of that has a layer of collaboration. So what that means is you can be a team of two or a team of 20. You can get your team involved. They can discuss ideas, collaborate and provide feedback – all within the same platform instead of playing email ping pong all day.

How to Easily Spread Your Social Presence with Zoho Social

Shawn: What can automation mean for the owner of a really small business, maybe even the solopreneur, in the sense that they can spread their social presence and really get a chance to compete?

Praval: How the platform helps is let’s say you have some tweets: do you want to send them on set days of the week of the month or whatever? There may be some messages that you want to recycle and repeat with a certain frequency.

Tweets leading to an event like this, for example, can be scheduled four months in advance — and they go out on a set schedule. With things like this, automation really helps when it comes to social media, publishing and scheduling,

More than that, if you have a few people on the team, let’s say you can see whose schedule, what you have, a social media calendar to drop things and say something that you have scheduled for Wednesday, you want it to come out on friday, it’s just drag and drop.

So a.) being able to plan and b.) being able to visualize your content pipeline or a calendar is what social helps you with too.

Shawn: Can you talk about how companies can use the listening component in Zoho Social to really gain a benefit beyond just endless tweets or endless Facebook posts about my product?

Praval: There’s so much activity and so many things happening on social media. So the question is how do you keep up?

What a good listening platform would do is allow you to use filters in your searches and better define your searches so you get the right stuff on your timeline.

A platform like Zoho Social has something called a monitor dashboard and it has multiple columns. You want to see a lot of things… you want to see tweets from people like you… and you want to see tweets from customers. By the way, you have a list on Twitter, right? You can create a separate monitoring view for this.

You also want to see tweets that your own marketing team makes, your branding, right? So you can have a column for that too.

It’s like a multi-column dashboard. You have determined who is who, and then you listen to the tweets. And this is just a one time use. Suppose on a typical day you have a column for your customers that you want to track what they are saying. That’s a different way of listening. Then comes listening to keywords 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 company or a negative perception of your company – that was something that people talked about the longest… when people were tweeting about, you know, airlines wrecking guitars and stuff like that . But is that still a thing? Is that still something you can use social media to find out what your customers really think about you — maybe they’re not saying that to your face?

Praval: Part of this is understanding the social sentiment around your brand. Is it net positive or negative, whatever? Because as it has been for the past five, seven, ten years, you and I would rather go on social media to talk about something or contact a brand if we’ve had a problem, right?

With a social listening platform, people can find the opportunity to turn that moment that is unwanted or off-putting into an “aha” moment. And there are so many examples and case studies about this.

Thus, the tool helps you identify such opportunities where it is necessary to address that. But the limitation we’ve seen is that when your social media marketing or management platform is in a silo, it doesn’t connect to your CRM and has no other information.

You may not have a contextual idea about who this person is. So, for example, if I’m a brand’s social media manager, I see a negative tweet, I click on it and I see someone’s profile – and what do 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 exchanged with him recently?

And finally, how do you get that data? You only get that data when your social media management software integrates with your CRM and other stuff.

That’s when context kicks in, and that makes me, as a social media marketer, a lot more capable of turning that situation into an aha moment. Because if I had a lot of context about that client, I would approach things in a very different way.

And that includes access to contact details. I can pick up the phone and call them, right?

So that’s the problem with social media tools that are in a silo versus the ones that connect to your CRM. And that’s where we see a lot of value and customers really appreciate that benefit.

Other Zoho Social Features That Improve Social Media Impact

Zoho Social’s social mentions platform also has other features that allow you to track the following in real time to increase your social impact:

Hashtags: You can track and analyze any hashtag to see how it’s being used, who’s using it the most, and more. Your Business Listings: You can track all of your brand’s mentions on social media, even as your handle. Competitors: You can set up competitor monitoring to see how your brand is performing and where you might need to make some changes. Reviews: You can get online reviews of your company to get an idea of ​​what people are saying. Google My Business Searches: You can see what people are asking about your business on Google My Business. Twitter Lists: You can check Twitter lists you’ve been added to, even if they’re private.

Get started with the right tools

At the end of the episode, Paraval Singh discusses how really small businesses can get started with the right tool to expand their social media presence. The best things he says to do include:

Start something small with a low barrier to entry. You are not ready to make any kind of investment upfront because you don’t know where this will go. Look for something with a free trial and a free plan. You can switch 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 support. How easy or difficult is it to get you on board? Look at aspects of integration. Is it a social media tool in a silo that looks or appears to be good? Showing everything it has, but not connecting to your CRM? Because that’s where the value is added. Zoho Social has a powerful CRM integration. Watch out for hidden costs. You are a start-up; look for something affordable. Look for something that won’t hurt you. What often happens is that the tools seem cheap to get on board at first. But once you start adopting it, as you bring in more people from your team, it starts to get expensive. It may be cheap today, but what will it be like in a year if I can grow my team from 1 to 5?

The takeaways

All Zoho Social features are designed to give you a better idea of ​​how people see your brand and where you might need to make some changes. It allows you to turn negative customer experiences into positive ones and improve your social media presence.

Also remember that managing social media is more than posting to Facebook and Twitter. It’s about listening to what your customers have to say and easily expanding your social media presence. Finally, make sure you choose a tool that is right for the job and suitable for your budget and startup.

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