This post has been expanded from a previous post on 10 Essential Social Media Tools for Social Media Managers.
Today, social media has evolved well beyond the social networks themselves. If you manage social media for a business, chances are you’ve used any number of social media tools along the way. Or at least we hope so, since that’s the foundation of our business at Hootsuite.
But beyond paying my salary, these social media management tools can increase your productivity, help you manage everything from customer service to sales, and generally make you a more effective social media professional.
So how do you decide which tools to include in your arsenal? The problem is no longer a lack of choice, but the opposite. To help you sort through all the variety and pick the best of breed tools essential for managing for your brand, we came up with this handy list.
Manage social media with the following 15 tools
Quite possibly the biggest social media challenge is how to create content that people will actually read and share. The user is in control, and if your content doesn’t grab their attention through its relevancy and quality, you’re just spitting into the flood. It’s hard to create great content on a daily basis.
What most people don’t realize is that you don’t always have to create it. Content curation is a fantastic way to keep your followers engaged, so that when you do release your own content they’re already paying attention. ContentGems allows you to use advanced searches, custom sources and preferred social signals to identify and discover content. View a stream of content for topics and interests that are relevant to you and your followers, and then easily share it to your social networks. This tool will help you stay on top of trends and news, and get the best possible content in front of your fans. That is how you stand out from the crowd.
To share content that is relevant to your followers, you need to know what is relevant to your followers. Before you ever start planning your content marketing strategy, you need to ask the question, “What interests my social media audience?”
If your brand has thousands of followers across several Twitter accounts, gauging their areas of interest could be tricky. Nexalogy is a good social media management tool to jump-start your search. This app analyzes your social media audience’s most talked-about topics. You can choose to view the results in form of a list of top 10 hashtags in your Twitter network, or a tag cloud that demonstrates connections between topics. The tool also helps you learn more about your network, including a ranking of most engaged, most retweeted and most active users.
Time is of the essence for social media managers, and having a source of diverse, interesting content to engage your social media followers is crucial. Undoubtedly, there are many web resources that contain information you frequently share with your audience. Instead of growing that list of bookmarks in your browser, set up an RSS feed to get instant updates from your favorite publishers. You can streamline the process further by setting up an RSS reader to deliver content directly to your social media management client. If you’re using Hootsuite, the Hootsuite Syndicator is a robust feature that provides rich filtering, monitoring and tracking social media management tools. Added bonus: The Hootsuite Syndicator helps track which stories you’ve shared in the past to avoid repeats.
Rankspeed can also be used to discover relevant topics in your network. However, it uses a different method to sort the topics: it filters your brand’s social media feed by sentiment, which can be neutral, positive, or negative. You can also track all mentions of your brand on social media, and analyze the sentiment behind the posts, to see which ones resonate with the audience and how. Just remember, even negative comments deserve a response!
Beyond sentiment, there is so much information floating around out there in the social media space. Being able to capture that information is essential to succeeding as a social business. You want to know what people are saying about you, and what they’re saying in general, so you can stay ahead of the trend and create relevant, targeted messaging. We’re not even talking about targeting an entire group; sometimes, the most effective way to build key relationships is by targeting individual influencers within that group. For that, there’s Insightpool.
Insightpool is a “Predictive Word of Mouth Marketing Suite,” which is a fancy way of saying that they gather a huge amount of social media data so you can make real-time, informed decisions and take action on them. Enter those one-on-one conversations confident and prepared.
Identifying the influencers in your network is important, but what about the rest of your follower base? Where do they live? What languages do they speak? SocialBro is the perfect social media management tool to help you find out more about your social media audience, and help you identify potential customers outside of your network.
Another part of your network you shouldn’t ignore is your competitors. Getting the skinny on what the competing brand is up to can take a lot of sleuthing, and SocialBro saves you time by running an analysis between your brand’s account and up to two competing accounts using the “Accounts comparison tool.”
Clearly, social media is now where so many of our interactions with customers and prospects take place. If you’re running social media for a business, and you aren’t yet using it to find leads, build those relationships and drive them down the funnel, you’re missing out on a major opportunity.
Without help from a tool, this process could be time-consuming. Marketo is one of the biggest names in marketing automation, and can help you turn those social media contacts into lasting customers. Marketo allows you to create leads from social networks, gather social data about existing leads, and help your sales process by informing you about their social interactions.
Social media continues to be relevant throughout the sales process, not only at the start. This falls under the realm of what is often referred to as customer relationship management. And when people say CRM, one name springs to mind: Salesforce.
The popular CRM system doesn’t only allow you to identify and capture new sales leads discovered on social media; Salesforce continues to strengthen your sales process by providing an activity history of your leads and adding new, relevant social activities and conversations to existing records. If you’re boss is asking you how social media makes your business money, this is one of the tools you’re going to want to show him.
While we’re on the subject of ROI, every social media manager knows that it’s not always easy to prove the value of their work in dollars and cents. A lot of the effort you put in will likely be reflected in greater brand awareness—not exactly the most measurable metric. At the same time, to be a truly social business, your social media goals should always be tied to your broader business goals.
Once your goals are aligned, LiftMetrix can help you track and measure the returns on your social media investment. After integrating your social accounts and inputting your goals, LiftMetrix will compile and interpret your data and offer real, actionable recommendations. This automated ROI tracking will allow you to spend more time on creating great content, and less time confused in huge excel spreadsheet.
10. Bulk Scheduler
As we already established, a great selection of engaging content is half of a successful social media strategy. Now that you have something to share with your audience, you have to figure out the best times to do so. In order to save yourself time and stress, it’s good to plan for the week ahead (especially on a Monday). Hootsuite’s Bulk Scheduler feature allows you to upload spreadsheets with up to 350 messages for your social media networks. If you are too busy to work on a spreadsheet, the Hootsuite’s HootBulk tool makes the process even easier—all you have to do is fill out the appropriate forms for date, time, and message.
Whether your brand has a dedicated video team to create promotional videos or a Snapchat Stories campaign to tease the latest product launch, it’s important not to leave out the biggest video-sharing network from your social media strategy. For the time being (Facebook is making a run at the title), YouTube remains on top. If you’re going to succeed at social video, you need to know what videos resonate with your audience and what videos drive engagement.
The YouTube Analytics tool offers a detailed breakdown of engagement with your brand’s video content. You have the option to view analytics for individual videos, or the overall channel statistics. Channel data includes an overview of subscriber activity, a breakdown of geographic locations of the view, sharing analytics, and many more. Individual video data includes insights on discovery to determine which source brought you the most traffic, as well as keywords that led to the video.
Everyone and their brother seems to know that you can schedule Tweets and Facebook posts, but what about other major social networks? Pinterest has grown into an absolute powerhouse for retail, e-commerce and several other industries. What many people don’t know is that you can help build your presence on the social network by scheduling Pins, pinning to multiple boards at once, save drafts and manage entire Pinterest editorial calendars. All of this is achievable with the help of Tailwind for Pinterest. If you’ve been struggling to maintain that Pinterest presence, this tool might just help you turn things around.
An essential part of your brand’s social media presence is the ability to interact with your customers in real-time. Zendesk helps consolidate and manage all help requests in one place, including those coming from social media channels—the app creates “twickets” from Twitter and tickets from Facebook posts. Those tickets can then be given a title and a priority level, and then assigned to a group or an individual member of the support team.
Hopefully, interaction with your customers on social media doesn’t only revolve around problem-solving. Give your social media followers more reasons to follow you on social media as opposed to other channels—reward them with a contest or a social media-exclusive campaign. Don’t know where to start when organizing a social media campaign? As with most things, there’s an app for that: Hootsuite Campaigns, the newest Hootsuite product. This social media tool guides its users through several steps to successful creation of contests, user-generated galleries, and sweepstakes.
Did you know that all of these social media tools are available in Hootsuite?