Smarter social media management tools to save time for your business (P.1)

It’s very hard to deny the importance of social media. It’s one of the most cost effective and quick channels to reach your potential customers with the appropriate brand’s message.

If your business is online, it helps with SEO as Google credits brands with strong social media presence. If your business is offline, it helps to reach local customers and aid WOM campaigns.

Essentially, social media is a channel that helps you reach almost anybody and everybody,  as long as you have something meaningful to say.

Social media marketing, in a nutshell, involves more work and time commitment than a couple of minutes a day posting a cool brand story. I encourage my clients to look at social media as a digital marketing channel that requires clear goals – ones that would align with your business goal.

From developing a suitable content strategy to identifying current trends for relevant conversation participant and managing customer’s feedback – being well presented on social media requires careful and strategic planning.

You want to make sure that the image you consistently portrayed to your customers via social media post is aligned with the vision your brand is working toward. At the same time, your posts are communicating about your products/services and will contribute real business value.

In my early years with Edelman when social media was at its infant age, it was something we encouraged our clients to take on within their integrated communication campaign – an additional channel on top of their traditional media and offline outreach strategy to deliver a complete and carefully-crafted brand message.

Fast forward to the present where social media is not just an aid channel but acts as its own campaign, things can get everywhere and confusing. Sometimes, just plain time-consuming.

Social media marketing flow can be simplified with a few helpful management tools. They let you have all the important and necessary information on one single platform, to painlessly create, promote, listen, respond, react and share across multiple networks.

Below is my list of my go-to post scheduling tools that will help your small businesses to effectively and efficiently manage your social media like we were born in 1999.

Hootsuite

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This is one of the very first and most popular social media management tools.

I would refer to Hootsuite as the comprehensive tool that is complicated and overwhelming at first to look at but you’ll soon realise that the features are quite self-explanatory.

Given the extensive features on the free plan, Hootsuite is still a popular choice for businesses that are just getting started with their social media marketing. It doesn’t have the best UI/UX but it gets the important things done and is cost effective.

Social network: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn, WordPress, YouTube

Key features: post scheduling & auto-schedule, URL shorten, Twitter audience geo-target, report, customer respond, trend monitoring (with hashtag, topic & keywords) & ads

Most notable feature: campaigns (for example Instagram contest)

Price: free for 3 social profiles, 1 user & basic scheduling. Professional plan starts from USD 12.99/month for 10 social profiles.

Buffer

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This is the most compared app to Hootsuite, and in my opinion, Buffer is almost the complete opposite (!).

You don’t get as many features as Hootsuite’s, but in the trade off is a much cleaner and user-friendly interface, which then makes it essentially an easier tool to use – especially for first time user.

One of the reasons why Buffer can manage to do this is because it focuses solely on doing one thing really well – post scheduling.

Social networks: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube

Key features: scheduling & sharing, auto-schedule multiple posts at optimal times, analytics, RSS feeds

Most notable feature: buffer browser extension – share any web page, photo & text excerpt to your social channels, Pablo – create visual content for social media

Price: free with one account per social network & 10 posts per account. The next paid plan is awesome which is USD 10/ month with 100 posts per account but you will only get detailed analytics on the business account, which is USD 99/month.

Everypost

Everypost has a different approach to managing social media networks. Unlike other established tools, the app focuses its effort in content management and makes sure it’s one of the best apps for content marketers.

The app makes it super easy not just to upload media content across different social media platforms, but also offer simple customization for each social network and facilitates media content upload via email.

Social networks: Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest and WordPress (via email)

Key features: scheduling & sharing, auto-schedule, reports, RSS feeds, pre-installed support for extracting videos from YouTube, audio from Grooveshark, and images from Flickr

Most notable feature: content curation from different popular sources like YouTube, Instagram, Flickr and RSS feeds to directly publish them across your social media platforms.

Price: free with one account per social network, up to 3 content curation feeds and 10 post scheduling. The next paid plan is more suitable for small businesses –  USD 9.99/month offering unlimited post scheduling, 2 social analytics, and up to 15 content curation feeds.

Later

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Later focuses on managing visual content campaigns with modern, hip interface that allows you to better control your material usage. Originally created for Instagram marketing, Later’s strongest advantage is its clean calendar scheduling UI.

It offers a simple option for Instagram marketer’s biggest problems: effectively managing a large visual library and copy paste key brand hashtags.

With social media marketing is only getting more visually dominant, I don’t see why we won’t be using Later for all of our network management in the future.

Social networks: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest

Key features: scheduling & re-posting, auto-schedule, social monitoring & listening, photo cropping & summary report

Most notable feature: post description template to save your campaign’s keywords/ hashtags & shoppable Instagram feeds via linkin.bio

Price: free with one account per social network and 30 posts per month. The next paid plan is USD 9/month offering 100 posts scheduling and added on Instagram pro analytics.

The key takeaway from this short analysis is that each social media management tool has a different focus – it’ll be up to your team to decide which one will best meet the business’ immediate needs, budget and goals.

In the next post, I’ll explore other tools to help simplify your social media marketing tasks, including post automation, content curation, and social listening tools.

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