Social media is chaos. Whether you’re the casual user arguing with somebody’s uncle about politics or you’re a social media manager dealing with customer service complaints. Chaos.
Businesses working to drive online sales or increase their brand awareness have no choice but to wade in these stormy waters. There are a wide variety of strategies behind success in social media marketing. “Community and social media are powerful tools when paired together” and social media management tools make that possible.
We here at Ignite Social Media are strictly tool-agnostic. That means we’re experienced and ready to work with our clients on any tools already in use or ones that we believe best fit their needs. Basically, we’ve gotten our hands dirty with a lot of different tools.
After more than 10 years of that, we’ve learned through trial and error that not all social media management tools are created equal. So, we’re thinning the herd and giving you some suggestions on where to start in your journey of managing your online presence.
Choosing the right social media management tool for your online needs is no easy decision. How should you choose between dozens of companies? The best first step is to decide what your biggest needs are. We can’t cover them all but we’ve broken down a handful of the primary goals in social management and which tools are best equipped to get you there.
Social Media Management Tools for Brands
1. Be a Listener, Not a Speaker
Before you can start engaging with your followers, gaining new audiences, or dealing with a PR crisis online you have to be aware of where the conversations are happening. Social listening tools are the most efficient way to gather data and insights on what people are saying about your brand without saying it to your “face”.
If you only pay attention to brand mentions then you’re going to miss out on a lot.
Brandwatch is a killer social media management tool if social listening is your biggest need.
2. Going with the Old Reliable
If you’ve spent any time at all in the business of social media then you’ve heard of Hootsuite. This social management tool is tried-and-tested. It’s a fantastic choice for any brand getting their feet wet in managing their online persona and customer engagement.
It’s an inexpensive service, especially if you’re a team of one, and has great reporting capabilities. It also comes with other handy features such as integration with your cloud-based document or content services like Google Drive or Box.
3. Getting a Bit More Organized
Maybe you have tons of content and a great audience ready to engage but need a tool to make scheduling less of a headache. Buffer could be the perfect solution for you.
Buffer’s primary focus is scheduling and even automates a lot of that process. It’s intuitive, scalable, easy to use, and has a great mobile app so you can drop in, shift, or draft content on the go.
This tool also offers a browser extension that enables you to share content from across the web with a click of a button and automatically drop it into your queue.
The downside of their scheduling focus is that other capabilities aren’t as strong. Entry level agreements come with basic analytics functions, but if you’re looking for in-depth analytics reporting you’ll need to cough up some cash to access a premium account.
If you want to give Buffer a test run, try out their free version before signing on for full service.
4. Easy, Breezy
Are you looking for a social media management tool that will check all the boxes and look good while doing it? You may want to check out Sprout Social.
This tool is sleek, intuitive, great for customer engagement, scheduling, and basic reporting. You can even get your feet wet with social listening by using their keywords monitoring.
Unlike a lot of other tools, they use a single, tailored feed system to display incoming activity. This makes it easy to go through all your engagements in one space.
Reporting on Sprout is also super simple. Choose a predetermined template and automatically generate a report or tailor the report to fit your needs. They’re sharp-looking and easy to understand, even for those less familiar with social media.
Just like you can with Buffer, take advantage of Sprout’s free trial and give it a test run before you sign on the dotted line.
5. The Customer is Always Right
If customer care is your #1 need…. well, we know exactly what that’s like. Responding to huge amounts of incoming complaints or needs is a huge undertaking.
We currently use Social Studio for a client that sees a large volume of customer comments every single day. It’s not enough to simply respond to them all. It also requires a complicated care workflow to make sure each response is correctly routed.
Social Studio makes that possible.
6. Going Native
Our last suggestion is one that may surprise you: native publishing. Sounds unsexy. We know. Sometimes, the best social media management tool isn’t a separate tool at all. Perhaps, using each platform’s built-in capabilities is your best bet.
Managing your social media within each platform often has the monitoring, scheduling, and basic analytics needed to cover your bases. It’s also a great testing ground to learn which aspects of management you need to be more robust.
If you’re looking to get started in managing your social media, are only beginning to dive into reporting, and want to save money, this could be the choice for you.
It’s crucial to remember that having every tool in the shed won’t do your social media manager’s job for them. You not only need to have great talent on your social team, but you also need to support them in their work. Our CEO, Jim Tobin, wrote a great post about supporting your social team.
To get expert assistance choosing tools for your brand or any other part of your social media marketing, contact our team today. Or keep yourself updated on the latest trends and news across the industry by subscribing to our bi-weekly newsletter below.