Social media helps you boost traffic to your website (and your physical office!), increase exposure, build awareness, drive engagement and create a community around your cause. But only when it’s done right. Appropriate, effective management is the key to ensuring you get the returns for your social media marketing investments.
You’ll agree that proper management is in fact, the key to doing anything right. The management of social media initiatives will help you align your people, time, budget and expenses together with your goals for successful completion of campaigns.
So without further ado, here are eight social media management tools and apps that will help you enhance productivity while cutting down time:
HootSuite is hands down the most commonly used tool for social media management by profits and non-profits alike. And not without good reason! You can track conversations, measure conversions and manage your entire social strategy across popular social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ using a single internet-based dashboard.
Access to the dashboard can be made via mobile or web. The tool also integrates detailed posting schedules, advanced analytics including Google Analytics and insights from Facebook. With HootSuite you can bid goodbye to the days of overwhelming and frankly perplexing manual social media management. Have content to post? Have responses to give? Have fans to thank? HootSuite will do it for you promptly, effectively and easily.
If you have five or less social media profiles, you can use HootSuite for free. You’ll have to pay about $9 a month when using the services for more than five, and up to a 100 social media profiles. It’s a bargain isn’t it?
SproutSocial is a social media engagement and management tool wrapped in one. You get a uni-stream inbox upon signing up for the tool, which is in fact, all you need to create and manage engagement and/or manage your overall social media strategy. The stream pulls in all your activity from all social profiles so that you never miss a single message or post.
You can schedule posts, view engagement, monitor and measure key metrics including keywords, hash-tag and user action, and collaborate replies, responses plus strategies between different friends in your Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter profiles. You can follow, like, comment, share and retweet easily form the dashboard . You can also assign the app to follow up on important posts.
The app also has a keyword search function and alerts you when your keywords are found. Another useful functionality is its Discovery feature that suggests whom you can follow and the accounts you best unfollow. The feature is coupled with robust analytics and the ability to export reports as well. SproutSocial is a premium tool but is worth the price.
SocialOomph allows you to manage social media strategy across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Plurk, App.net and your nonprofit blog, and is especially feature-rich with regards to Twitter. You can schedule updates, monitor engagement and overall activity of your users, track keywords, view mentions and so on. On Twitter, you can find new people to follow, auto-follow people who follow you, see retweets, reply to retweets and perform a host of other functions.
The tool enhances your social media and blog productivity by automating auto-DM features and DM inbox cleanup as well. And if you’re not quite ready to use premium tools, SocialOomph may just be the tool for you. It provides a basic (and sufficient) set of enhancements for free. You can upgrade to the premium model when you choose to.
4. Raven Tools
Raven Tools boosts the value of its social media management offering by including effective search engine optimization and advertising management as well. It gives you SEO tools for researching and managing a campaign. You can schedule posts, monitor SEO links, assign tasks for follow-up of posts, monitor keywords, run analytics and perform a host of other functions using the dashboard.
It also includes a customer relationship management system and provides integration with Google AdWords, which turns out to be rather helpful. You can choose from a range of plans and pricing options and will get access and functionality accordingly. However, Raven Tools works only with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. But since it combines almost all key functions involved in digital marketing, it remains popular.
AutoSocial, albeit the youngest in this list, is quite the nifty tool for automating your social media content discovery and sharing in an easy, hassle-free way. The app bills itself as your “personal social media manager”. You can specify themes/’keywords’ for your social media content – the app discovers relevant, popular content according to the ‘keywords’ specified and queues them up for sharing through Facebook page or Twitter account.
The app gives options of editing recommended content and also adding any custom posts of your own. AutoSocial runs in 2 modes, ‘Autopilot’ or auto-approve mode, and the ‘Schedule’ mode – in latter the posts get pushed to linked accounts only if you manually schedule them, while in former, the posts are automatically queued up for posting. In both modes, editing, customizing and deleting is possible. On the face of it, it’s a cool and clean app which will save tons of time that social media managers otherwise spend manually researching and curating content. The app is currently in beta, costs nothing (free currently) and promises to add more features soon. A must try as a social media presence solution for start-ups and small businesses, and quite a time saver for social media managers.
Buffer likes to keep it simple and is an effective tool for managing your marketing initiatives across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. You can schedule bulk posts months in advance, use its browser extensions to seamlessly share content you find on the Internet and perform other functions using a clean, easy-to-use interface.
You have the option of taking a free trial before going premium. For $50 a month you can manage 25 different accounts along with 15 RSS feeds. You can keep your company profiles separate from your Buffer account and sync only certain Facebook groups or LinkedIn pages.
Buffer also gives you suggestions about posts it finds interesting and thinks your audience may like them too. These posts are categorized into different lists like Marketing, Inspiration or Lifehack. The app could improve its conversation monitoring functionality.
Crowdbooster focuses on the two social media giants – Facebook and Twitter, allowing you to schedule posts, monitor new followers and fans, view updates and engage with your audience. The app reminds you of posts, fans and followers that are awaiting response from you. It lists out the newly acquired followers that are influential and also provides suggestions about people (on Twitter) who may be interested in your company.
What makes Crowdbooster special is its focus on gathering marketing intelligence for you from your Twitter and Facebook profiles. It tells you when your audience is most likely to interact with your latest posts, what is your total reach, how many impressions you’ve been getting or how engaging your posts have been for a period of time. Crowdbooster is a premium app, but for $9 a month, you can manage one Twitter and Facebook page each.
Given the high popularity of Twitter among nonprofits, here’s a management tool focused on the microblogging site alone. The app is free to use and makes a good choice if Twitter is an important social network for you. The app packs in several powerful filters that allow you to focus on posts, responses and followers that matter.
You can schedule tweets, customize display of your profile, hide or show search terms, hash-tags and other information columns on your home page, engage with followers and perform other intricate Twitter marketing tasks using a single dashboard. The app is available for web and desktop devices only.
Jessica Davis is a Content Strategy expert at Godot Media, a leading content services company. She works with other writers to create engaging and effective web content for businesses and individuals. She is also interested in technology, social media and fashion.