Social media is now a fundamentally important marketing activity for many businesses, but it can be difficult to know how to navigate this constantly-changing online world. To maximise your chances, you need to be equipped with the right tools. If you want to leverage the power of social media, whether to build a brand or generate sales, you’ll benefit from dedicated social media management software.
What can social media marketing software do for me?
When it comes to social media, businesses have different needs to private users. Social networks are channels like any other - they require strategic planning, creative thought, and careful analysis of performance. With the possible exception of LinkedIn, none of this is possible through the standard app offerings from the major social platforms. This is where social media marketing software comes in.
Social media marketing tools allow marketing teams to manage their activities on social channels, from setting goals and planning collateral right the way through to posting content and tracking performance. It can also help businesses keep track of related activity amongst other users of their chosen platforms, whether that’s brand mentions, audience trends, or market-related keywords. Good social media marketing software lets marketing teams maximise their opportunities in this valuable field.
How might I choose the best social media marketing software for me?
As social marketing has exploded, so too has the range and functionality of the social media management software on offer. Your requirements will of course depend on your specific business goals, but there are a few key features you should look out for when making a decision.
• Scheduling and multi-account management. Every reputable social media management tool will allow for post scheduling - but not all of them offer the same breadth of functions or ease of use. Try to test-drive potential solutions to see which suits your posting workflow the best. You should also think about how each tool on your shortlist functions across different platforms. In most cases it will be preferable to have just one social media marketing tool that works with all of the social media platforms on which you have a presence, whether that’s Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or potentially dozens of others.
• Calendar management. A number of social media tools offer built-in content calendars, some of which offer relatively powerful collaboration features. If you’d like to keep all of your social planning and posting in one place, you might want to investigate one of these solutions. However, many marketing teams prefer to keep their calendars on other platforms such as Google Docs; this choice will likely depend on the size of your team and your existing practices.
• Content suggestions. A number of social media tools offer built-in content calendars, some of which offer relatively powerful collaboration features. If you’d like to keep all of your social planning and posting in one place, you might want to investigate one of these solutions. However, many marketing teams prefer to keep their calendars on other platforms such as Google Docs; this choice will likely depend on the size of your team and your existing practices.
• Analytics. Posting is only one aspect of social media marketing. The best social media management software also includes rich analytics tools to help you understand what content is working, and why. If your social media activities are relatively simple, you might be well-served by the built-in analytics offerings in your chosen software. But if you have more complex needs, for example around channel attribution or multi-touch journey tracking, you’ll probably need to use an additional third-party analytics platform.
• Monitoring tools. As well as creating and understanding your own content, it’s likely that you’ll want to keep track of conversations that are going on elsewhere on the relevant platforms. Some (but not all) social media marketing tools offer comprehensive monitoring functions that allow users to track mentions of their own brand, topics relevant to their business, or any other keywords they choose. This can produce an invaluable source of information to help you keep abreast of your competitors’ activities and trends in the market at large.
• Interoperability. It’s important that your social media marketing software can be integrated into your existing workflows, and that it ‘plays nicely’ with the other tools you use every day. Most modern social media marketing tools will, at the very least, integrate with any third-party analytics software you use, and should also be compatible with your CRM system. However, each developer takes a different approach to interoperability. While some offer APIs and other tools to enable easy access to data, others have only basic export functions. A few, however, are offered mainly or exclusively as part of a larger ‘ecosystem’ of business management products from the same developer. If you’re considering one of these solutions, make sure that the other products in the ecosystem are also the best options for your other needs.