Karla Whitlow at Digital.com was kind enough to forward to our attention this wonderful article by Katie Horne re: the current 9 Best Social Media Tools available for us to use. The landscape on these toolkits changes almost daily and it is always great to refresh our understanding of what is available in the market that can help us improve our job performance so here you go…
There’s no question about it — social media is important if you’re a small business owner. Not only does an active social presence help cultivate customer relationships and increase their loyalty to your brand, it’s a channel of communication your customers expect you to have. However, as a small business owner, your time is already limited, and if you’re trying to your business’ social media presence by yourself, you run the risk of wasting time you don’t have (and getting distracted by cat memes). As such, automation and apps can be helpful in discovering content, sharing it, and responding to comments. Here are some options you might find helpful.
Crowdfire bills itself as one-minute marketing. To get started, you tell Crowdfire what you want to be known for and connect your website, blogs, and social accounts. Crowdfire will then analyze all of your accounts and monitor them in real-time to get a big picture view of who you are and determine how you can grow via social media.
Once Crowdfire has an idea of who you are, who your audience is, and what your goals are, Crowdfire walks you through several (quick!) daily tasks that it thinks would help you meet your goals. These goals might be things such as increasing sales, visitors, clicks, and so on.
Crowdfire is capable of doing things like:
- Finding content it thinks your audience would be interested in
- Helping you post regularly on all your platforms at the optimal times to maximize viewership
- Creating posts that generate traffic to your e-commerce stores
- Automatically promoting any content you might create across multiple platforms, such as new blog posts, updated web pages, and so on.
DrumUp is designed to help you discover and share content to your social media accounts. DrumUp claims that its workflow can help you cut the amount of time you spend managing Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn by 90%. The DrumUp Dashboard allows you to manage all of your social accounts in one place, so you don’t have to spend time navigating and signing in to multiple accounts. You can also use this dashboard to tweak your accounts’ settings.
Once you’ve linked all of your social accounts, you can add your favorite feeds and link blogs you like. This allows you to curate updates that you can then share with your followers. This functionality also works with your own content, so regardless of what you are sharing, you can do so easily, early, and often. You can also customize your shared content with hashtags, making your posts seem highly personalized and helping you reach a greater audience.
To make your content management as easy as possible, DrumUp offers iPhone and Android apps so you can communicate with your followers even when on the go. The Chrome extension makes it easy to schedule content you find for sharing.
DrumUp also comes with built-in analytics mean that you know how successful your social campaigns are.
Hootsuite saves you time by allowing you to manage all of your social accounts from a single dashboard. The dashboard is also where you would go to find relevant content (you can even do this automatically) and schedule it to post on all of your accounts. If you’re ever uncertain as to what you should post, Hootsuite provides real-time analytics so that you can spot developing trends and gain insight into how the content you’re posting is being received by your audience.
Social media is most definitely a two-way street, so Hootsuite includes tools that help you improve your reputation and protect your brand. You can track all of your incoming messages and mentions, and you can tweak your settings and workflows to automatically approve or reject comments without your input.
Furthermore, you can use Hootsuite to protect your profile and guard against hackers and external threats to your social accounts. If you decide to run contests designed to increase customer engagement, Hootsuite can help manage them, as well as track entrants.
SALESFORCE MARKETING CLOUD
If your primary customers are other businesses, Salesforce Marketing Cloud is one that you should certainly consider. While it is a full-featured, robust platform that has a somewhat steep learning curve in terms of how its features can be used, you’ll find everything you need to for account management.
Salesforce allows you to automate your marketing, management your email marketing, manage your data, conduct social media outreach, and create digital advertising and mobile messaging campaigns.
As we said previously, there’s a steep learning curve when it comes to Salesforce, and it is expensive. But it’s considered one of the best options available for marketing, including social media marketing.
Its social media feature is known as Social Studio. It allows you to:
- Listen in to the conversations people are having about your product
- Engage with your followers individually and as a collective whole
- Curate, schedule, and publish posts to keep your accounts fresh
- Get real-time feedback on how well your activity is received.
As with most other social platforms, you can do all of this from one dashboard instead of having to log in to each account individually, which saves you time and effort and lets you focus on other aspects of your business.
Salesforce is also designed for easy collaboration, so you can enlist the help of your partners, assign, manage, and check their work, and ensure that your partners’ activity is furthering, not detracting from your brand.
Sendible strives to help you create a cohesive social media strategy and implement it across your accounts with ease. With its integrated dashboard, you can manage all of your accounts in one place, while tagging those accounts that you care most about as a priority.
Its sentiment analysis identifies the mentions of your business that are most urgent, and its content recommendation engine finds content that it thinks would resonate best with your audience. You can then schedule this content so that it’s released at a time when its likely to be seen by the largest number of people. Then, Sendible lets you track the results of your efforts.
The primary thing that makes Sendible stand out is its emphasis on collaboration. It is almost like a social platform unto itself, and if you ever need to share the management of your social accounts with somebody else, you can easily do so and rest assured that you won’t be duplicating each others’ efforts thanks to the publishing calendar, approval workflows for new content, and task delegation features.
SocialOomph boosts your social media productivity on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Plurk, as well as your blog and email. However, SocialOomph focus on Twitter, as you can see by its base feature set; it allows you to:
- Schedule tweets
- Track keywords
- Save and reuse drafts
- Shorten URLs (which also allows you to track your visitors)
- View all your mentions
- Clear out your direct message (DM) inbox
- Wipe existing tweets
- Secure your account while eliminating the need to use a password.
The base feature set is available free of charge, but additional features are available with a paid subscription. The paid subscription also gets you features for other social networks, such as Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Plurk, as well as management tools for your blog and email marketing.
It’s worth noting that SocialOomph’s support for the non-Twitter networks isn’t uniform — SocialOomph provides quite a few features for some platforms, while others receive barely any support.
SocialPilot brands itself as a social media marketing and scheduling tool designed to increase your online marketing efficiency and save time. While SocialPilot is aimed toward agencies and social media professionals, its tools can certainly be used by individual entrepreneurs and small businesses.
SocialPilot also offers apps for your mobile devices and browser extensions to make it easier to save and share content that you find.
Social Pilot has typical features you find in social management suites, such as dashboard management of all your accounts, scheduled posting, content identification and selection based on target audiences, and built-in analytics.
It can also be used to manage the social presence of others. This is especially useful if your brand maintains several social presences (for example, you might have a branch that caters toward parents with young children, and another that caters to those in their twenties), since you can manage each set of social accounts from one place.
Furthermore, SocialPilot’s bulk-based features mean that you can easily handle hundreds of accounts simultaneously, rather than pushing to a small number of accounts and then repeating the process.
SocialPilot also comes with numerous collaboration features, such as a posting calendar, user account management so that you can delegate task without handing out administrative privileges, and so on.
Sprinklr differs from most of the other options on this list in that it focuses on enterprise-level customers. However, we thought we’d include this option for those who want to get started with a product capable of growing with their business (or for those whose businesses are already on the larger side). Sprinklr assists you with marketing, advertising, customer care, sales, research, and digital commerce on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and 21 other social channels. The goal of this product is to integrate every aspect of your commerce cycle, from the initial lead generation process to the end analytics process where you can determine which aspects of your business marketing cycle is working and which ones aren’t.
Sprinklr assists you with marketing, advertising, customer care, sales, research, and digital commerce on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and 21 other social channels. The goal of this product is to integrate every aspect of your commerce cycle, from the initial lead generation process to the end analytics process where you can determine which aspects of your business marketing cycle is working and which ones aren’t.
Furthermore, because enterprise companies tend to already have existing systems for things like email, website hosting/online sales, customer relations management, and so on, Sprinklr comes with robust integration support for such programs. By adding Sprinklr, you won’t necessarily add more work to your plate — you can use it’s all-in-one dashboard to manage your marketing and social media tools.
Sprout Social is more than a social media management platform; it is also a solution for social-based customer service and marketing. This expansive feature set, however, means that there’s a steeper learning curve when getting up and running with Sprout Social.
In addition to streamlining the management of your social accounts with its single-stream inbox (complete with organization features such as tags and the ability to hide items that have been handled), you get the tools for every aspect of the publishing process (including curating and creating content, editing, and scheduling), and in-built analytics. Browser extensions and native mobile apps make it easy for you to curate content and manage your accounts on the go.
If you choose to delegate account management, you can use the built-in analytics to see your partners’ levels of engagement and responsiveness. Furthermore, all analytics come packaged into presentation-ready reports that you can brand yourself and export to CSV or PDF documents.
Social media marketing is important for your business, but with your audiences spread out across multiple networks, curating content that your followers are interested in, updating your accounts, and interacting with your customers can end up taking a lot of your time. However, you don’t have to do this by yourself.
With social media management suites, you can easily automate some of the tasks associated with this process. For the tasks that you can’t, you can consolidate your work into one location so that you can get in, do what you need to do, and get on with the other tasks you need to complete to manage your business.