If you’re in the process of starting or running a small business, one of the best resources to help forge customer relationships and create brand awareness is of course Social Media. It’s hard to remember a time when we weren’t using it and for marketing and business development alone its’ impact has been massive. However, actually managing Social Media properly is a job in itself. Of course being able to devote the time to doing that specifically and exclusively is a luxury that many of us can’t afford. There are however a whole host of tools and resources which exist primarily to help with managing Social Media and which if used correctly can make the entire process much easier and less time consuming. To help save you even more time in researching these, we’ve highlighted today our Top 5 Social Media Management Tools.
Hootsuite Having recently announced that it has 5 million users, Hootsuite is one of the most popular tools to help manage your Social Media activities. It provides a dashboard whereby you can manage and view your social media accounts. It integrates with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ as well as with sites like Yammer, Flickr and Tumblr. Hootsuite allows you to view and post on your social media feeds, as well as to schedule posts for the future. If some of your customers are in a different time zone, that feature is particularly useful. The free version will allow you to manage 5 of your Social Profiles and for individuals and startups the free option will usually suffice; however if your business grows you may need to consider the premium options. Additional features in the premium option include the ability to have unlimited Social Profiles and also the option to use Analytics data so that you are optimizing the timing and scheduling of your messages.
Tweetdeck Tweetdeck is another dashboard like application, although it only integrates with your Twitter and Facebook accounts, so if those are the only Social Networks that you use, it will more than suffice. The Tweetdeck layout is a series of customisable columns which display your updates and feeds as well as any particular feeds you choose to follow. Again you can schedule messages to suit the times that your customers would be most likely to be online and engaging with you. You are able to have unlimited accounts although again only with the aforementioned social networks.
Sprout Social One of the newest tools on our list, Sprout Social is another which has experienced massive growth in the last year or two. Allowing you to interact and respond with your followers and fans on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, this platform again has a dashboard layout from which you can publish and schedule content, monitor your brand and also analyse relevant stats. Acclaimed for its’ intuitive layout and functionality and also for the quality of its’ analytic reporting, this tool does not come cheap. Although there is a free introductory 30 day trial, the standard service starts at $39 per month for up to 10 profiles. Its’ quality though is perhaps proven by the fact that some of the world’s biggest companies such as Microsoft, Yahoo and Fender are customers!
Bufferapp If you’re simply looking for a time saving way of adding your Social Media content, this tool could be for you. It works with Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin and simply requires you to add your content or posts and it will automatically post them on your social networks at what it regards are the best times. You do have the option however to change those times if you so wish. A free account with Buffer will allow you to have 10 posts in your Buffer as well as one account from each social network whilst their Awesome account will allow you to have unlimited posts and up to 12 social profiles to engage from.
Crowdbooster For real analysis of your Social Media performance and engagement, Crowdbooster is an excellent tool. The service works with Twitter and Facebook and provides you with targeted recommendations on how and when to connect with your most important fans and followers, the performance of your messages and also insight into those who are engaging with you most. There is a free personal service which allows you to have 1 Twitter and 1 Facebook account and also a Professional and a Business version costing $39 per month and $99 per month respectively.
So there you have it - our Top 5 Social Media Management Tools. Have we missed your fave off the list? Why not let us know over at the forum...