If you’re a small business, you know the importance of social media marketing. You could have one of the most beautiful products ready to benefit the cause of humankind, but without the right reach and social media growth, your product is at risk of getting lost in the sky of many clouds.
The question is - Is it worth investing in social media when starting your business? Or rather - Should considering a social media marketing management platform be a focus area for your marketing strategy this year?
While the answer depends on what you want to achieve, there is no denying that social media management platforms are a powerful tool for small businesses.
By now we know that social selling is a major revenue contributor for companies across the globe. And statistics show that over 50% of customer loyalty is driven by a salesperson’s ability to deliver unique product insights, easily done through social media.
That’s where social media management tools come in the picture. They enable you to automate, analyze, better control and dive deeper into your social media accounts, so you can focus on creating great content.
You can use the tools to find new customers, drive traffic to your website, engage with your existing customers more meaningfully, and even establish yourself as a thought leader with the right reach and content.
Why Do You Need A Social Media Management Platform?
Considering more than half the world’s population is on some form of social media, businesses are aggressively shifting focus on their social media strategies for greater visibility for their products and services.
The golden rule of social media is consistency. Because of the sheer vastness of the possibilities out there and so much that a brand can do, it’s important to create a focused trajectory for your company and follow suit with a consistent campaign.
Using the power of social media management tools can dramatically streamline a brand’s social media growth, engagement with customers, and thus, identity.
Why Use A Social Media Management Platform?
While there is a lot of noise in the social media management platform space with a variety of possibilities and features on offer, here are the top categories to seek for a dynamic social media presence:
1. Publishing and Scheduling
Social media management platforms let you automate publishing and scheduling posts in bulk and in advance. You can do that across multiple social media accounts (of multiple social media platforms) through a single social media management platform.
Features to look out for:
Can you visualize your monthly calendar, automate posting, or customize across channels in the same window? Are multiple profiles included? Do you have unlimited scheduling?
2. Unified Social Inbox
If you’ve experienced scaling up as a brand, you know what happens when your social media is flooded with questions and queries amid everything else. Social media management platforms let you manage all your social media inboxes from one place.
Features to look out for:
Can you engage with your audience in real-time across social channels?
3. Social Monitoring
Probably one of the strongest pros of social media management platforms is that they help you understand the market. Let’s put it another way and break it down-
In our context, it means being able to analyze the evolution of the market and catering to its needs require competitive intelligence and market research. Social media management platforms are a great way to gain that understanding.
Features to look out for:
Can you monitor your brand’s reputation and listen to your audience by monitoring keywords and competitors’ measuring sentiment?
4. Competitor Analysis
Social media management platforms can be significant contributors in researching your competitor.
With features like keyword search, or competitor follower search, demographic targeting, etc, there is a lot you can extract to help you better plan your next steps as a brand, or at least bring some clarity to the direction you do (or don’t) want to take.
Features to look out for:
Can you track and compare your competitive advantage with social analytics and reporting?
Top Social Media Management Tools For Small-to-Medium Businesses
We did some research into the top social management tools so you don’t have to. Here are our top picks (in no particular order).
Buffer is an intuitive and streamlined social media management platform used by enterprises, businesses of different sizes, or even individuals. That’s what makes it dynamic and popular.
It has a suite of products for engagement, publishing, analytics, and even team collaboration to aid your social media activity. My personal favorite thing about Buffer is that the UX feels clean, and tools are intuitive.
For example- by default, Buffer creates four slots per day: in the morning, around noon, late-afternoon, and later in the evening for the time zone you've selected.
Price: Forever free plan, $15, $99, $199, and $399 per month (with a 14-day free trial)
Hootsuite is probably one of the biggest social media management tools and is used by over 15 million people already. They stand true to their success, in the sense that it’s an all-in-one platform that allows you to curate and schedule content, measure your social ROI, run social media ads, and more.
Hootsuite can also help you monitor the social web with custom social streams. These customizable feeds let you watch the social web for mentions, new followers, search terms, hashtags, engagement, and more.
My personal favorite thing about Hootsuite is how it lets you monitor multiple accounts and keywords, connect with over 35 social networks, and bulk schedule social media posts.
Price: Free plan, $29, $129, $599 per month, and enterprise pricing (with a 30-day free trial).
3. Sprout Social
SproutSocial is a social media management tool that assists with social listening, publishing, engagement, and analysis. The tool helps streamline the processes of how you engage with your customers by helping you share relevant content on social platforms as well as create and send personalized messages to prospects, customers, and followers.
The tool also gives an insight into what types of campaigns are working in real-time, thus creating flexibility to adjust your marketing based on how well it is doing.
MeetEdgar works like an autopilot tool for multiple social media accounts. It holds the capacity to do a lot of heavy lifting and automation that saves valuable time for your marketers.
One of the things that makes MeetEdgar an interesting social media management platform tool is that it is compatible with Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, AND Instagram!
But MeetEdgar isn't an analytics tool, just a scheduling one. It has the usual post-scheduling features you'd expect to see in such a package, including the bulk importing of a series of cross-network updates
The app can find quote-worthy text from links, and then compose updates to go along with them.
Pricing: $19/month for Edgar Lite with three social media accounts, unlimited media library, four categories, and unlimited support.
Although Later allows you to post on your Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest accounts, it has a strong emphasis on Instagram and is very popular amongst small businesses that focus on growth and engagement through Instagram.
My favorite thing about Later is its visual content calendar, where one can easily drag and drop images to schedule them. It also comes along with a free link-in-bio tool that you can use in your Instagram bio to link a ‘shoppable’ Instagram feed (almost like a catalog with pictures that you can ‘click’ to see more about).
You can use the link in the bio feature to drive traffic to your website by linking podcasts, blogs or other landing pages.
Pricing: Later has multiple prices. It lets you use a free account with restricted actions, and then has three packs ranging between $12.50 - $33.33 per month.
Top Social Media Management Tools For Enterprises
Sensible is a social media management tool that is made especially for agencies with multiple clients. One of its top features is that it allows you to customize your dashboard according to your branding to attract new clients.
What makes Sensible unique is that it comes with impressive integrations such as Canva graphics editor, royalty-free image search, and YouTube search. It also provides automation for scheduling posts like other social media management tools.
Pricing: $29, $99, $199, $299 per month, and enterprise pricing (with a 30-day free trial)
But what makes it different from other social media management platform tools is that it allows you to auto-post with smart queues and RSS feeds, maintains a media library for your images, and lets you find new social media influencers to connect with.
Price: $49, $99, $199 per month, and enterprise pricing (with a 14-day free trial)
3. Salesforce Social Studio
Salesforce, a very popular name in the CRM industry, now also has solutions for social media marketing management.
Salesforce Social Studio is probably the most comprehensive set of products for enterprises. A part of salesforce’s marketing cloud platform, the tool can help you strengthen your customer relationships by streamlining your marketing, customer service, and sales effort on social media.
Its utility lies in the way it lets you gather market and competitive intelligence on social media
Last Two Cents
Listed above are some of the top-performing social media management tools out there.
While most of them more or less give you similar functionality, if you have specific social media targets to achieve, then explore a few social media management platforms before you invest in any one.
And remember, social media tools are a means to achieve a greater end - creating a narrative through your content, and engagement that sets your brand apart.
Stay consistent in your efforts, and utilize whatever social media management platform you opt for to gather the right knowledge about the market you exist in.
May the market force be with you!