Probably the last thing any of us has, is too much time. If you run a small business, that's especially true. You've got plenty of things to do, and figuring out the best tools for your social media strategy is just one of the thousands of things on your to-do list - if it's on the list at all.
At the same time, a good social media strategy can help you be even more efficient at attracting customers, and building loyalty. That's why we are big believers in using social media tools that give you results, without wasting your time.
These five tools are all great at helping you build a streamlined social media strategy, focused on publishing content, monitoring conversations, and organizing analytics in a way that you can actually use. Social media management tools have come a long way, offering a comprehensive set of the tools your small business needs to be both efficient and effective.
Here are five of our favorite social media management tools for small businesses.
Hootsuite - is a free social media management platform that describes itself as "your social media dashboard. Hootsuite allows you to connect your various social media accounts giving you the ability to publish, monitor and analyze your overall social presence. This platform allows you to schedule social media posts and easily monitor what your audience is engaging with Hootsuite has it's own link shortening service, making it easy to share engaging content, and measuring the results.
One of the biggest benefits of Hootsuite, besides the fact that they have a free level of service, is the "Hootlet.” The Hootlet is a browser extension that allows you to pull content from anywhere on the internet. Hootsuite offers additional analytics and added team members for a monthly fee.
Sprout Social - is a robust social media management platform that allows you to post on your social channels and has an efficient platform for monitoring. One of the biggest benefits of Sprout Social is the detailed reporting and analytics. In addition to giving you feedback on the types of posts that your audience most engages with, Sprout Social also gives you detailed information about your audience.
Sprout Social also integrates easily with your RSS feed, making it easy to share content with your audience, from almost any source. Though it's not the least expensive, this management software is great for teams managing their brand across multiple social media networks, needing professional reporting analytics.
HubSpot –is a paid software platform that is designed around inbound marketing. More than just social media software, Hubspot is a complete solution for creating, publishing and sharing content that is designed to attract your target customer. Hubspot provides some of the most detailed analytics you'll find outside of large enterprise tools, and it is designed to help you continuously refine your strategy based on results.
Though it's not exclusively a social media management tool, HubSpot has a deep social media feature set, allowing you to post and schedule content through your various social channels, and monitor the results. The "social inbox” showcases specific social activity and published content, especially as it is connected to your leads and customers. HubSpot also displays specific mentions or interactions on social media that are best for your business. Hubspot has a 30 day free trial that's worth checking out for any small business.
TweetDeck – is a free service that helps manage your twitter feed. This is a web based management site (now a part of twitter) for Mac and Windows that can be used to monitor your social media sites and schedule posts. It is also a great tool for hashtag searches, followers, and Twitter lists. Using a column-based layout, Tweetdeck makes it easy to see your customized columns in one window. Because it's free, Tweetdeck is a great tool when you need something to get started.
Buffer – allows you to schedule various social media posts and automatically staggers them within the day to showcase “real-time” posting. Since consistency is important in building an engaged audience, Buffer helps you create a stream of relevant posts across your social channels. Monitor and maintain Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and more, and schedule posts that connect with your audience. Buffer has a convenient Chrome plugin that makes it super easy to "buffer" whenever you're online. Finally, Buffer also supplies social media analytics and reporting based on your published content.
All of these social media management tools have benefits to using them, depending on where you're at in developing a social media strategy. We encourage our clients to check them out to see which is the best fit for their organization.