Following the SEMDays conference which was held in Bucharest between 24th -25th of September, we sat down with Alexandra Tachalova to discuss the latest social media marketing tips and the tools that make digital marketing people’s lives easier.
Beaglecat: How important do you think analyzing your competition is? And how much time do you allocate to analyzing it when creating an inbound marketing strategy for your clients?
Alexandra Tachalova: There’s no way to become really effective at marketing without knowing what other people are doing in your niche. Your rivals have already tested various channels and approaches, and you should definitely take these into account when you’re tailoring your own strategy. Also, in addition to studying your direct competitors, you should also try to get a clear picture of the general landscape and what’s really trending right now—what can make the most impact?
I try not to spend too time much on this step, as it can provide a lot of valuable insights, but it won’t help you complete your project any sooner.
BC: What are your top five favorite tools? Which ones make your everyday life easier?
A.T.: Actually, I recently had a chat with one of my digital marketing friends and we agreed that, between us, we have more than 30 tool subscriptions. But, we really only use around 10 of these on a daily basis, and the rest we use only for tricky cases or for comprehensive research.
For social media I use RivalIQ; it’s my favorite tool and it helps me understand how my current and potential clients are performing compared to their competitors. Also, this tool saves me tons of time on reporting, as it allows me to get all the stats I need in one click— and it’s exported as a PowerPoint slides on top of that! Another solution that I can’t live without is Followerwonk, which provides Twitter insights in terms of followers. It helps me understand my daily number of gained and lost followers and allows me to follow users right from the app.
For analyzing content marketing trends and tracking brand mentions, I use Buzzsumo. To control website’s backlinks profile, I use Ahrefs, Majestic and Kerboo. Ahrefs and Majestic help me analyze backlinks, and Kerboo provides at-a-glance quality scoring of domains’ backlinks.
Additionally, to get a general competitive intelligence overview of a website’s presence, I use SEMrush, SpyFu, Searchmetrics and SimilarWeb. These tools can show your competitors’ activities in both organic and advertising results, as well as other channels.
BC: If we were to apply the principle of Gauss’ curve, where do you see social media marketing five years from now?
A.T.: Currently, I feel disappointed when I visit a website and can’t find SMM buttons. So, for me, SMM is a part of social approval and it guarantees that a business really exists; a strong social media presence creates the same positive impact as brand mentions or reviews. Also, since last August Google has begun indexing tweets and showing them in SERPs. Moreover, I feel that social media is starting to become a really important part of any brand strategy. So, my prediction is that SMM will become even more influential, and people will soon stop dealing with businesses that don’t care about their SMM presence.
BC: How should Sales cooperate with Marketing to achieve the desired results? Do you think things are better now than they used to be five years ago between these two departments?
A.T.: At SEMrush, I was really close to Sales and I was in charge of CRM system integration (Salesforce.com) and further development. I think in any company you can potentially face a never-ending argument between Marketing and Sales in terms of how to convert customers and how to deal with them. However, cooperating with your sales team can be beneficial for both parties, because only Sales knows what customers are constantly asking for and what kind of educational/informational materials they need. Also, if your marketing department is doing lead generation, then only sales people can provide feedback about various lead campaigns and advise on which channels are the most effective in terms of conversions. Five years ago, a lot of companies were not using CRM systems, and they weren’t really getting a bird’s-eye view of their processes. Right now, a lot of newly born companies taking their first steps by selecting a CRM system—which means a lot— have changed back from those days! Personally, I’m certain that only an integrated approach for marketing and sales right now and in future can result in a consistent strategy and help a business get the most out of its niche.
Alexandra Tachalova in an independent digital marketing consultant. She has worked in digital marketing for over 6 years. She was responsible for the exposure of the SEMrush brand’s presence in European markets. She currently works as an independent consultant, and assists several digital marketing tools in opening new markets while boosting existing areas.