If you use social media, social media management tools can make your life easier.

What is social media management?

Social media management simply refers to a platform or tools that reduce the amount of effort it takes to use social media effectively. They streamline processes and create better collaboration across teams. They’re particularly useful for complex organizations, but they’re also great for small teams.

The best social media management tools meet a variety of needs, from marketing to customer service to social selling.

They allow different teams within an organization to use social media. They encourage collaboration and make social media efforts more effective and efficient.

Bonus: Read the step-by-step social media strategy guide with pro tips on how to grow your social media presence.

12 of the best social media management tools

1. Social media scheduling tools

It’s important to plan your posts—both created and curated—in a social media content calendar. A calendar, like the Hootsuite Planner, can help you:

  • Balance types of social messaging
  • Publish posts when they are likely to receive the highest engagement
  • Curate compelling content to share with your followers
  • Plan for seasonal and release-specific messaging

Many social media professionals use spreadsheets to plan and organize their social posts. (If you haven’t set yours up yet, check out our free editorial content calendar template.)

Once you’ve created your plan, social media scheduling tools make it much easier to implement and adjust on the fly.

A scheduling tool also keeps your social platforms active even at times when your team is not at work.

2. Bulk uploading and scheduling tool

You can save time by preparing many social media posts in advance, rather than having to interrupt your other work to post throughout the day. This allows you to better plan content and improve your posting consistency. It also frees up time to work on other aspects of your social strategy.

Hootsuite allows you to bulk upload hundreds of posts in CSV format. You can schedule up to 350 social media posts at once.

3. Geo-search tool

For many businesses, the local audience is the most important. A geo-search tool allows you to find conversations happening in the areas most relevant to your business.

Hootsuite’s geo-search tool allows you to track conversations within a specific radius of any address. This focus allows you to make the most of your team’s social engagement efforts.

4. Listening and search streams

You need to know what’s being said about your brand, your competitors, and your industry.

Listening and search streams allow you to monitor multiple channels from one central dashboard. You never need to switch between browsers, and you never miss relevant conversations.

Hootsuite allows you to create unlimited custom streams to track all the important conversations in your field. Stay on top of your own business—and one step ahead of the competition. You can filter by keyword, hashtag, and location, so your streams are laser-targeted to your needs.

5. Content library

Keeping content consistent across multiple channels and teams can be a challenge. A content library can help make it easier.

A content library makes it easy for teams—even those separated by geography and time zones—to share appropriate content. This ensures all of your social channels remain on-brand and on point.

Hootsuite makes this easy with the content library tool.

Social media teams can store and organize approved assets, including images and message templates. You can also integrate the content storage solutions you already use. (For example, Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox, and Google Drive.) This allows you to access a wide range of content and resources directly from the post composer.

6. Message tagging and assigning tool

Use a message tagging tool to assign messages or streams to specific team members and ensure nothing slips through the cracks.

This reduces the risk of multiple replies by different team members and ensures that all messages receive a timely response.

A good team collaboration tool also allows you to save a bank of responses to commonly asked questions. Team members can then reply quickly to the messages they’re assigned.

7. Content curation tool

Listening and search streams have an added benefit for social media marketers. In addition to finding conversations about your brand, you can use streams as a powerful content curation tool. Use them with appropriate industry keywords and hashtags to source great third-party content that complements content created in-house.

8. Permissions management tool

It is a truly terrible idea to share passwords among members of your team. When multiple people need access to your social accounts, you need a permissions management tool.

Hootsuite allows you to control passwords and set specific permissions levels so that every team member has the access they need. When someone leaves your team or changes roles, you can remove or adjust permissions immediately.

9. Analytics tool

It’s important to use real data to evaluate your social media strategy.

Social media metrics tell you when your content strategy is performing well—and where it might need to be reworked. A good analytics tool helps you crunch the numbers that matter to measure performance.

Hootsuite Analytics allows you to analyze content across channels from one dashboard. You get a complete overview of key metrics and unlimited real-time reports. You’ll also be able to measure team performance and share custom reports to prove the return on investment (ROI) of your social efforts.

For even deeper analysis, you can use Hootsuite Apps integrations for tools like Brandwatch and Talkwalker.

10. UTM parameters

UTM parameters are important social media management tools for tracking where traffic comes from. You can add UTM parameters to any link manually, but this is a tedious process. Since UTM parameters must be tracked precisely, manual tagging also creates huge potential for errors and lost data.

Hootsuite allows you to add custom UTM parameters to work with an analytics system like Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics. On team plans and up, administrators can create link setting presets that ensure consistent tagging across posts and campaigns.

11. Link shorteners and vanity URLs

Once you start adding all those UTM parameters to your links, the links can get pretty long and unwieldy. Link shorteners allow you to get all the benefits of UTM parameters in a short, simple link.

Hootsuite uses the built-in link shortener Owl.ly.

12. Post-boosting tool

Boosting your top-performing organic content can help increase reach and engagement—while making your advertising dollars go further.

Bonus: Read the step-by-step social media strategy guide with pro tips on how to grow your social media presence.

Get the free guide right now!

The post-boosting tool in the Hootsuite dashboard uses custom rules to automatically boost your top-performing content to the exact audience you choose, for a set amount of time and cost.

If you prefer, you can manually choose which posts to boost.

Social media management tips

Photoshop alone won’t make you a great digital artist. Likewise, even the best social media management tools alone won’t make you a great social media marketer. Here are some tips that will allow you to use social media management tools effectively to build your brand.

1. Have a plan and a purpose

For your social media management tools to pay off, you have to know why and how to use them. Every action you take should have a purpose, and should support a larger overall plan.

Our post on how to create a solid social media marketing strategy walks you through the details of building a foundational plan for your social media efforts in eight simple steps:

  1. Set social marketing goals that align with your overall business objectives
  2. Learn everything you can about your audience (see Tip 2 for more details)
  3. Research your competition
  4. Conduct a social media audit
  5. Set up your social accounts and optimize your existing profiles
  6. Find inspiration from other brands that are doing great things on social
  7. Create a social media content calendar
  8. Test your strategy, then evaluate and adjust as needed (see Tip 9)

Social media management tools allow you to spend less time doing the grunt work of manually posting content. This gives you more time to develop and refine your strategy.

These tools also help you gather key data to refine your strategy so you’re always using your social tools to maximum effect.

2. Know your audience

One of the biggest benefits of social media marketing is the ability to precisely target your efforts. This allows you to create content that speaks directly to your target audience, so you can make the most of your budget for boosted posts and other ads.

We walk you through the details of audience research in our post on how to define a target market. Here’s a quick overview of the most important steps:

  1. Compile data on existing customers
  2. Learn all you can from web and social analytics
  3. Look at what the competition is up to
  4. Have a clear value statement
  5. Use everything learned from the previous steps to create a target market statement
  6. Test social ads to understand what your audience responds to best
  7. Revisit your research often to stay connected to your audience over time

Social media management tools like search streams and analytics can help you compile the data you need for the first steps of this process. You can then use tools like geo-search, post boosting, and ad management to target your audience precisely. Tools like UTM parameters and link shorteners can help you test and track your results.

3. Share valuable content

Once you know who your audience is, you can create content that’s especially valuable based on their wants and needs. As we explain in our guide to writing great content for social media, there are some writing strategies that every social content marketer should know. For example:

  • Write to an eighth-grade reading level
  • Write directly to your reader
  • Write with purpose

You don’t have to create all your own content, of course. You can use listening and search streams to collect valuable user-generated content to fill out your social content calendar. You can also use social media management tools to find great curated content to share.

4. Share unique content for each network

Once you’ve created a great piece of content, you might be tempted to create one post and share it across all of your channels. But as we explain in our article on the downsides of cross-posting (and what to do instead), this can create sloppy-looking posts and reduce engagement.

You’re much better off to share unique posts created for each social network. This might sound time-consuming. But you free up time for this kind of customization when you use social media scheduling tools and bulk upload tools.

5. Use the right networks and tools

This post is all about social media management tools. But that’s just one category of tools social media managers need to be aware of. There are also tools to help you create visually engaging posts, edit photos and videos, and other essential tasks. We’ve rounded up 21 of the best social media apps for marketers.

In terms of which networks to focus on, there’s no secret recipe that will work for all businesses. You can make some educated guesses based on audience research and demographics. But crafting the right mix of social channels will happen over time as you develop and refine your social strategy.

6. Quickly respond to all comments and @mentions

You can’t allow comments and @mentions to go unanswered. Twitter research shows that 71% of users expect a brand to respond to a Tweet query within an hour.

With Hootsuite, you can quickly respond to messages, mentions, and comments across channels from a single dashboard. The content library allows you to respond to common questions with pre-written and pre-approved messages.

You can also create, import, and share lists of people whose engagements are most valuable. Those people might be influencers, important customers, or other brand advocates. You can then track interaction history, keeping an easy-to-find record across your organization of all engagements your brand has had with a particular user.

7. Use search and listening streams to find opportunities for engagement

Of course, the social conversation relevant to your brand isn’t limited to comments on your owned channels or posts that include @mentions.

Social media monitoring and social listening allow you to keep track of all conversations about your band, your competition, and your industry. There’s no better way to uncover opportunities for engagement across the social web. As we explain in our post on how to use social listening (and social listening tools), this allows you to find real-time opportunities to connect and engage, so you can:

  • Develop leads
  • Find potential influencers and advocates
  • Identify the most important social networks for your business
  • Keep an eye on the competition

8. Use data to determine when and how often to post

Even in a world of social media algorithms, posting at the right time can help boost engagement and give your posts a wider reach. So, what’s the best time to post? That depends on when your audience is most likely to be online and interacting with social channels.

Hootsuite research shows that for our audience, the best times to post are:

  • On Instagram: 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. Monday to Friday
  • On Facebook: 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, and 12 p.m. to 1 p.m on weekends.
  • On Twitter: 3 p.m. Monday to Friday
  • On LinkedIn: 7:45 a.m., 10:45 a.m., 12:45 p.m., and 5:45 p.m. Monday to Thursday

But as we explain in our post on the best times to post on social media, these will not necessarily work for all businesses. You need to collect your own data to see which times are most effective based on your unique audience.

Hootsuite Analytics will help you analyze the effectiveness of posts at various times so you can refine your strategy and make the biggest impact.

9. Measure results and adjust your strategy as needed

Of course, social media analytics will provide much more data that just what’s the best time to post. You’ll be able to track results for all of the metrics that really matter to your business

Use social media analytics tools to gather data in real time. Then, use that information to check in on your social media strategy to see what’s working well, and what efforts you might need to adjust.

Ready to save time and money on social media? Try Hootsuite—the most widely-used social media management platform—for free today.

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