In the United States, an average person spends between two to three hours on social media daily; that’s ten percent of every day spent on these kinds of platforms. With this in mind, social media management is becoming more important for businesses looking to expand their customer base and define their brand. The biggest concern for most companies is ensuring they’re getting value back for the amount of time they spend curating their social media presence — because social media management can be a full-time job without appropriate management tools that help to consolidate and schedule content.
Using Social Media Management Tools
The first question a business needs to answer is: Which social media platforms do they need to have a presence on? There are so many options: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and YouTube are just the most popular six, and most companies also have their own website or blog to manage as well. Once platforms have been created, businesses then need to decide what they want to post on each platform, which platforms should cross-post, and on what schedule they want to update. For example: a company may decide to post the same updates to Facebook and Twitter simultaneously. This saves time, but also means that users may only follow one or the other; posting different content may increase followers, but also means companies need to generate multiple pieces of content.
How do companies decide what makes sense? They review analytical data from their posts and evolve their social media marketing strategy based on what they see. While some companies may do this independently, a number of social media management tools also provide analytics so that companies can easily review which posts are the most effective. A good management tool will include most of the following:
Streamlining most social networks through a single space
Scheduling posts in advance
Relevant stats and analytics on post performance
The other thing to keep in mind is that most social media marketing tools charge monthly for their services. For an established business, this cost is most likely worth it for the ability to manage social media presence, but smaller companies and startups need these options to be affordable as well.
Social Media Management Tools
There are a number of management tools available to businesses looking to streamline their social media presence. Each of them has its own advantages and disadvantages, as well as its own unique niche to fill; what works for one company may not work for another. There are a number of reviews for these management tools available; here are a few examples that show up on most “Top Ten” lists.
HootSuite: Touted as an all-in-one solution to social media management, HootSuite connects with over 35 social networking sites. Users can schedule posts as needed to individual networks, and the higher-level plans also provide analytics to help companies see which posts produce the best response.
Buffer: Known for their intuitive scheduling tools, Buffer allows users to manage a number of platforms in one place while also giving the option to customize each post depending on the platform. More expensive plans provide analytical data across platforms to help users track effectiveness.
HubSpot: HubSpot may be one of the more expensive options, but it’s an entire suite dedicated to marketing efforts, of which social media may only be one piece. Its intrinsic statistics let users drill down to see what actual hashtags or posts produce the best results.
Sendible: Compatible with the most popular 10 social media sites, Sendible has a number of scheduling tools available, and stands out in its ability to provide leads by letting users track certain keywords and where else they appear online.
MeetEdgar: MeetEdgar is remarkable for its automation; this tool not only automatically reshares a company’s most popular posts, it can also auto-generate update text based on links. This tool provides scheduling and categorization of updates as well.
Sprout Social: Focusing on customer relations and feedback, Sprout Social streamlines social media scheduling and monitoring while also providing quality reports on how customers interact with a company’s social media.
Other tools can include additional perks - tips for content generation, the ability to manage multiple accounts, or additional crossposting options; some focus more on sites like Instagram or Pinterest, which are image-heavy and sometimes require different management than text-based networks like Twitter. With so many options available, most businesses should be able to lighten the heavy load of social media management.