Social media managers wear a lot of hats: marketer, customer service representative, campaign manager, videographer… the list goes on.
What if there were something to make all of that just a little easier. A virtual hat rack of sorts.
There is. Social media management tools are the magic pieces of the puzzle that can save social media managers time, keep them organized, and make the most of their efforts on social.
Like the hat rack though, you’d can’t just rush out and pick one. How many hats do you need to hang up? Will you use it for another kind of accessory? You need to know what you’ll use it for in order to choose the right software for your business.
Whatever your needs, there are some key features that every social media management shopper should consider. But first, it’s important to understand what we actually mean by social media software.
Bonus: Get the step-by-step social media strategy guide with pro tips on how to grow your social media presence.
What is social media management?
Social media management refers to a platform or tools that make doing social media easier. They streamline processes and allow for better collaboration across teams, making them particularly useful for complex organizations.
Social media management tools and platforms go by a lot of names, including:
- Social media management software
- Social media marketing software
- Social media monitoring software
- Social media customer service software
- Customer relationship management (CRM) software
- Social selling software
Truly powerful social media management tools meet a variety of these needs, allowing different teams from within an organization to use it effectively and efficiently.
Why your business needs a social media management platform and tools
Social media management software addresses a lot of the pain points that result in near-constant headaches for social media managers.
Key benefits of social media management tools:
- Save time and streamline processes
- Pre-plan and schedule content
- Collaborate across teams and departments
- Manage all of your social media channels from one central place
- Listen and monitor social channels for mentions and opportunities for engagement
- Ensure engagements receive timely replies from the right person within the organization (and avoid duplicate responses)
- Manage paid and organic social efforts from one dashboard
- Easily manage access to social channels, ensuring that only approved messaging gets shared
- Find leads and identify buying signals
- Manage campaigns—across channels—from one place
- Access comprehensive insights in order to prove the ROI of your business’ social efforts
- Remain compliant (if your business operates in a regulated industry)
If you think your business could use these benefits, read on to learn about the features you should look for in your social media software.
9 must-have social media management tools
1. Platform integration
Keeping up with all the biggest—and the latest—social media channels can be a struggle. That’s why it’s important to look for social media management software that allows you to manage all of your most important networks from a single dashboard.
Hootsuite allows you to manage your presence on major social networks like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube from one dashboard. Looking for a different platform? Many other networks can be added to your dashboard through integrations, everything from Tailwind for Pinterest to WeChat for Hootsuite.
2. Social media monitoring and listening
No matter the focus of your social media strategy, it’s critical that you know what’s being said about your brand, your competitors, and your industry.
Social media monitoring and listening are key components for success in any social media strategy. Though often used interchangeably, social media monitoring and listening differ. Monitoring is about keeping track of the conversation that’s already happening around your brand, while listening is about finding opportunities to join relevant conversations that may not be specifically about your brand or products.
Your social media management tool should allow you to do both.
Being able to keep tabs on several different channels at once—especially the major networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn—and monitor multiple channels from one central dashboard will eliminate the need to switch between browsers.
Hootsuite allows you to do all of that—and more.
Search by location or language so you can monitor conversations around the globe to find those discussions your brand won’t want to miss out on.
In addition to monitoring and search functionality, you can also gauge the social sentiment around your brand.
As a brand, it’s important to plan your posts—both created and curated—in a social media content calendar. A calendar helps your company balance social messaging, carefully curate third-party content, and anticipate both seasonal and release-specific messaging. Most social media professionals use spreadsheets to plan and organize their social posts, such as the one in this free template.
Bonus: Get 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!
Take this planning to the next level with social media software that allows you to schedule posts. This key feature makes it easier to publish content when your audience is most likely to see it (without having to manually post at a precise time). It also allows you to better plan content and improve your brand’s posting consistency, while freeing up time for other aspects of your social strategy.
When it comes to social media, engagement is increasingly the name of the game for marketers. Gone are the days when it was considered acceptable for a company to use their social channels to simply broadcast information. Social needs to be, well, social.
Businesses must respond to their followers and engage with their audience in order to keep those people coming back for more.
With Hootsuite, you can quickly respond to messages, mentions, and comments across channels with a single click—on a single dashboard. You can also create, import, and share lists of those people whose engagements your brand most values, whether they be influencers or important customers.
And you can save yourself—and your team—time by quickly responding to common questions with pre-written and pre-approved messages. Your team can also track interaction history, keeping an easy-to-find record across your organization of all engagements your brand has had with a particular user.
It’s important to get real results from your social media performance for regular evaluation of your social media strategy. Social media metrics such as clickthrough rate, Retweets, and Likes tell you when your content is performing well—and when it might need to be re-evaluated.
Because analytics are such a great way to measure progress on your goals and track success, it’s crucial that your social media management software include this functionality.
Hootsuite Analytics allows you to analyze the performance of content across channels from one dashboard. Get a complete overview of key metrics, create unlimited real-time reports, measure team performance, and share custom reports to prove the return on investment (ROI) of your efforts.
No social media manager is an island. Your social media management software should reflect that reality.
In order to make working with your team as smooth as possible, look for a tool that has collaboration built into its core. Your management tool should be set up to support teams and their needs, from assigning messages to sharing streams.
Hootsuite empowers you to work with your team smoothly and easily. Make sure nothing slips through the cracks by assigning messages or streams to specific team members. Reduce the risk of multiple replies by different team members by sharing streams and seeing who else has responded to messages.
You can also use the feature to make your team more efficient by saving a bank of pre-approved responses to commonly asked questions.
7. Content library and sources
Keeping content consistent across multiple channels and teams is a struggle for many social media managers. Your social media software should ease this burden by offering content library functionality.
With a built-in content library, it’s easy for teams—even those separated by geography and time zones—to know what content they’re allowed to share in order to ensure that all of your business’ social channels look their best.
Hootsuite makes this easy with a content library feature. Social media teams can store and organize their business’ approved assets, including images and message templates.
On top of that, Hootsuite also offers content storage solutions available directly in the dashboard. You can integrate the content storage solutions you already use— including Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive, and more—into your social media management software.
Once you’ve added a new content source, you can share it with your team and access its content directly from the Compose box.
8. Social media ads
As organic reach continues to decline across social networks, paid advertising is becoming increasingly important. Simplify your workflow by looking for social media marketing software that allows you to manage your social ads alongside your other social posts and campaigns.
Hootsuite offers you the ability to manage your social media ads alongside your organic from a single platform. You can create and manage social ad campaigns for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. The toolkit makes it easy to optimize your campaigns for cost efficiency—boost top-performing organic posts, target your social ads, and view analytics to measure the success of your efforts.
9. Tool integration
Social media management software brings together a number of different apps and integrations to make it your one-stop shop for social.
Think about the different sites, services, and apps you use to manage social media and look for software that integrates as many as possible. It’s the best way to simplify your social efforts.
For example, Hootsuite offers integrations with a number of key marketing services, making it easy for you to manage every aspect of your social from a single dashboard.
Hootsuite’s Salesforce app brings the popular customer relationship management (CRM) system do your dash, allowing you to search and view details and activity history for leads and contacts, identify and capture new sales leads discovered on social, as well as add, create, and search customer cases.
With Hootsuite’s Brandwatch app, you can monitor the tone and impact of brand mentions with sentiment and impact scoring, use advanced segmentation to filter streams, and assign and respond to Brandwatch mentions from within the Hootsuite dashboard.
Browse Hootsuite’s collection of extensions, apps, and integrations in the Hootsuite App Directory.
Save time managing your social media presence by using Hootsuite to schedule posts, engage with followers, and monitor your efforts. Try it free today.