Social media is a huge commitment, and if you’re like me you would welcome anything that increases the return on both your time and financial investment. The problem is, there are more social media tools than you can poke a stick at- all claiming to solve world hunger. So what tools actually deliver?
Today I am going to save you some time and let you in on the best social media tools for each category.
Social Media Management
Hootsuite is my personal favourite and arguably the best social media tool on both cost efficiency and performance. Probably the biggest reason to use Hootsuite is the ability to schedule and push content to multiple social media accounts (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Linkedin) simultaneously all within one dashboard.
Hootsuite’s functionality doesn’t stop there. You can also measure campaign results using the custom inbuilt analytics, track conversations and delegate responses within your social media team. The only qualm I have about Hootsuite is it’s inability to preview images for twitter posts (they currentley only appear as collapsed links)
Hootsuite offers a free version that provides more than enough functionality for beginners. For SME’s I would recommend at least Hootsuite Pro ($8.99 per month) and for marketing agencies, social media consultants and larger businesses I would recommended exploring the enterprise options.
2. Must Be Present
Must Be Present is my pick for the smart companies that have realised social media is more than just a marketing platform and can play a pivotal role as a customer service touch point.
The tool searches your Twitter account to find out how quickly you respond to mentions. It then uses engagement reports to compare your response rates with other users- giving you a snapshot on how you stack up. Monitoring response rates is crucial as studies have shown 42% of consumers expect a response in an hour and according to NM Incite, 71% of consumers are more likely to recommend a brand that provides a quick and effective response. Just like a call centre sets Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) for average hold times, I would recommend setting KPI’s for social media response times and Must Be Present is the perfect tool to track your success.
Brand Reputation Management
3. Social Mentions
Not monitoring what’s being said about your brand on social media is like entering a boxing ring without a mouthguard- not a smart idea. Social Mentions built by Sprout Social is my pick for brand reputation management on a budget. The tool prides itself on going beyond Google alerts and finding almost anywhere your brand is mentioned online. You can monitor over 100 social media channels, including all the big boys- Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Youtube. There are also some basic analytics that allow you to measure brand sentiment, reach, strength and passion.
A key strategy to expand the reach of your content marketing campaign is to jump on trending issues early, otherwise known as trend jacking. How do you anticipate a trend before it reaches mainstream awareness? Well that is where Trendspottre comes in. The tool mines Twitter and public Facebook data to reveal trends that will likely “go viral” over the next few hours or days allowing you to create powerful content that will snowball your brands reach. The social media tool also has the capacity to identify influencers in your industry who are on the rise, allowing you to reach out to them before your competition.
The only problem with Trendspottre is that it comes at a cost, starting at $199 per month. If it fits in your marketing budget it is definitely worth the investment.
Twitter can be overwhelming to manage with its fast pace, but Tweetpi makes the job a whole lot easier allowing you to analyse the engagement and activity of your followers. Within the platform you can remove unfollowers, clean up dormant followers and reciprocate by following users who follow you. Tweetpi is the perfect tool for keeping your twitter account tidy and ensuring you are only engaging with relevant users.
The entry level edition starts at $7.49 per month and has more than enough features to get the job done.
6. Facebook Custom Audiences
I touched on the power of Custom Audiences in my post “3 super effective Facebook Advertising strategies“. If you’re advertising on Facebook, this tool is a must use. You can upload email lists from an excel file or directly from your mail chimp lists. You can also create audiences from Google+ circles, app users, Facebook Id’s and even website visitors which you can use to serve advertising too. Mastering this tool will no doubt increase the return on your Facebook advertising campaigns.
Iconosquare is like the Facebook insights of Instagram. The tool has a comprehensive analytics dashboard that allows you to view follower engagement, most engaging media, growth history, trending hashtags, average media life span, follower demographics and more. Just like Facebook Insights Iconosquare provides the perfect data to assess what content is and isn’t resonating with your target audience. You can then adjust your content marketing accordingly. You can also review unfollowers, people you follow who don’t follow you back and remove inactive followers- allowing you to keep your Instagram account tidy.
The analytics function within Iconosquare is free but you can also run competitions and promote your Instagram account within the app at an additional charge.