Social media marketing is becoming an increasingly popular avenue for businesses of all shapes and sizes. As a cost-effective replacement for a traditional advertising campaign, using several platforms to communicate your brand values is a great option. But what many fail to consider is the time that it takes to deliver a strong campaign that'll generate leads and effectively attract your potential clients.
In this guide, we'll offer our top five tips on social media management tools that'll help you meet your social commitments in a fraction of the time it'd take you to do things manually.
Time is money and when working in an on-the-go environment, there's rarely a spare minute in the day. And when there is, scrolling through endless newsfeeds and searching for stuff to share isn't always at the top of your endless to-do list.
When starting out on social, it's crucial toknow who your audience is, what social channels they utilise and how best to target them. This will help you to create a robust social media plan that'll attract relevant followers, ensuring that your posts are reaching those that matter.
Committing to social is hard work when you're strapped for time, however, using the right management tools will give you the helping hand you need to be a social-savvy SME, while reducing the drain on your time and resources.
So without further ado, here's our top five tools that'll help you stay on track with social and get the most out of the time you spend on it.
Sproutsocial is an integrated management tool that allows you to control your presence on several social platforms from one place. This feature is perfect for handling accounts as it saves you the stress of having to log in and out of numerous sites
The main features of Sprout are its monitoring, scheduling and reporting tools. It allows you to schedule posts for Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.
Sprout also shows you a live feed for your account that you can search through and use the regular functions of the pertinent platform (e.g. liking on Facebook, +1'ing on Google+ and retweeting on Twitter). You can additionally schedule and tailor posts for a specific site. For example adding images on Facebook and staying within the character limit on Twitter.
Its management dashboard will also provide you with a social media report for any time period allowing you to consolidate info on all your accounts in one place. Generating a regular report on your social activity is invaluable if you're to understand what's working, what's not and enable you to change your tactics accordingly.
2. Social Bro
Social bro is solely targeted towards Twitter. It allows you to monitor multiple accounts in one sitting and provides you with a breakdown of followers, engagement levels and real-time analytics.
Its suite of tools can also help you with:
- Competitor analysis: Using the account comparison feature will allow you to compare up to three different accounts enabling you to see how companies of a similar ilk are faring.
- Search: Searching on SocialBro is a simple but effective way of finding influential people to follow and also gives you a breakdown of the influence of your followers.
- Benchmark: This tool provides you with graphs that will show how well you're doing in comparison to similar companies and present the data in an easy –to- comprehend, visual format.
Our favourite feature of social bro is the BTTT (Best time to tweet) report.
On average 100,000 tweets are sent out per minute, and with an average half-life of 2.8 hours it's vital to know if your post will reach your intended audience. With the BTTT feature, you can generate a report based on the activity of your followers that'll let you optimise posts for maximum visibility. This feature is a godsend for people handling multiple accounts - saving time and making it easier to understand your followers.
Using this in conjunction with a scheduling tool makes optimising your tweets a doddle - letting you queue up a weekly schedule of posts in less than an hour.
Hootsuite is a great option for those with limited or no budget as it has an option to create a free account only including a limited set of features.
In terms of basic management features it offers similar functionality to SproutSocial, however, it puts more of a focus on brand mentions - making it easy to discern the sentiment towards your brand and those of your competitors.
Hootsuite also enables you to set up a Google Alerts-type notification when a brand or term is mentioned online.
It makes measuring the results of a campaign clear, as like SproutSocial, this platform will provide you with specific graphs based on your analytics report.
Using shortened links in micro-blogs makes it easier to keep track of who's clicking what, what's popular and allows you to refine what you're posting to better engage your audience.
It also makes links generally more eye-catching and on platforms where you're constrained on character limits, it'll free up valuable space.
By shortening links, you can also track who's clicked on the link, what platform they've done it on and at what time/date. This helps you understand what your audience is interested in and tweak your schedule accordingly.
IFTTT (If not this then that) works on a basis of formulaic triggers. So if, for example, you send out a tweet, a Facebook message can automatically be generated. It's extremely versatile, so you can decide what platforms you want to connect, depending on what's best for your business. For example, if you share a blog post, you can set up an automatic tweet containing a link to your new blog - saving you the effort of tackling the task manually.
This time-saving tool is a massive help for businesses that are constantly posting on various platforms as it allows you to integrate activity across all your accounts.
IFTTT works using 'recipes'. Once you've got an account, you can choose from thousands of pre-made recipes and if you can't find one that's right for you, you can create your own bespoke combination.
Recipes can be made up of any elements you choose. So for example, you could set it to say:
"If RDPR posts a new e-book, then send me a notification to download"
You can also use IFTTT for mobile recipes that work while you're on-the-go, like muting your phone when in the office.
As it is a constant, automated service, you can be sure that your posts will always be sent out exactly when you need them to. This is great for time-strapped SME companies looking to integrate activity over several platforms
Businesses using social media alongside other inbound marketing strategies have been known to generate over 50% more leads than those using more traditional methods.
While the tools above will help you create a solid campaign whilst managing your research and the time you spend tweeting.
We've put together a free eBook guide to help SME's with the basic elements of online marketing, so click the link below to download it now:
Images used courtesy of Olivia Alcock, Digital Ralph, Six cent press, rakf1 and masayoshi sekimura on Pixabay and Flickr.