Social media marketing requires a whole suite of expertise to get right. From channel management to influencer outreach tools, here’s everything you need to get the most out of your social media channels.
Depending which numbers you trust, between 56-80% of people check their smartphones within the first five minutes of waking up in the morning. What’s drawing their attention before they’ve even brushed their teeth? In most cases, it’s social media sites. It’s no secret that social media has been optimized to keep people coming back by creating habit-forming behavior. Whatever your personal opinions on this are, it’s a clear fact: your potential customers are almost certainly using social media to discover cool new things, learn what their friends are up to, and show off to the world. So how can you use social media to help your business?
Social media marketing activity often falls into one of two camps: organic or paid. Paid activity is, as you’d expect, engagement and traffic gained from running advertisements and sponsoring content. Paid social marketing has many strengths: there’s plenty of 1st party consumer data within the platforms, promoted content appears alongside trusted media, and every advertisement has the potential to be amplified through shares, retweets, or repins. Alongside this, organic activity aims to generate these returns without direct ad spend. Make no mistake, organic social media success is by no means free.
Community management on social media sites is an ever-shifting landscape, and is often disrupted as user behaviors change… or when users choose to move to an entirely different social network altogether! In addition, each social network has distinct norms. People look for very different kinds of content on Instagram and Pinterest compared to LinkedIn or Twitter. To maintain an authentic, meaningful brand presence on these sites, businesses often need to define separate strategies for every network. It’s not enough to simply share all your Facebook posts to Twitter – consumers have come to expect more.
More than any other marketing channel, social media takes place in real-time and often requires time-sensitive responses. As a result, social media should be considered a customer service channel. Being realistic, it’s unlikely a negative customer service experience on Twitter will go viral; but negative brand experiences amongst a few handfuls of people here and there can have a cumulative impact.
Given its presence in the daily lives of your customers, social media strategy needs to encompass the many different ways in which people use it. These different user patterns require an extremely broad range of tools to help your customers engage meaningfully with your brand or business.
Thankfully, these tools are widely available and help with each aspect of social media management and strategy, and can aid small teams and global brands alike. These tools help in all sorts of ways, including scheduling posts, reviewing content and engagement, creating chatbots to create more leads, and managing influencer campaigns to increase attribution and ROI.
Before settling on a particular set of social media tools, there are a few things to keep in mind. Always be sure to review pricing models, functionality, customer support, and available learning resources to make sure you’re getting the most out of the tool. These different features can be difficult to compare between various tools and services. At least… that’s how it used to be!
What type of Social Media tools are available?
There are all kinds of tools available to help business manage their social media accounts. Some of the most popular tools aid with post scheduling, engagement analytics, brand protection services, and influencer relationship tools. Each of these are important components of a fully developed social media strategy.
Where should I start with Social Media?
When laying out your social media strategy, you need to really start with identifying who your customers are and where they spend their time on the web. Each social network has different internal demographics; Pinterest tends to skew female, while Facebook skews older than Instagram and Snapchat. Next, set key goals for each channel that you hope to achieve. Are you working on growing your audience? Increasing your referral traffic? Setting goals can help you stay focused.
From there, it’s important to devise a strategy that includes both organic and paid activity. Organic content is almost always more effective with a promotional budget behind it.
How do I pay for these tools?
Usually social media tools are paid for on a monthly subscription basis. However, most tools do offer a discount if you buy an annual subscription. Payment options often include credit/debit cards and/or bank transfers. Don’t forget to add your VAT ID if you have one!
Can I automate my social media activity?
Though there are tools out there that suggest you can automate your social media accounts, in practice this is quite inadvisable. As social media is a two-way channel, it can’t be easily automated without risk. However, there are a number of tools available for automating routine tasks and surfacing analytics insights to save you and your team time.
Can I add multiple users to the same account?
Most tools allow unlimited users. However, some can have limits on the number of users you can add. This is always worth double-checking before you create an account to make sure it’s a good fit for your business.
We include a range of social media tools in our comparison tables. On each page, you will be able to find platforms, providers, and services that are suitable for small sites and blogs, medium-sized businesses and digital agencies, all the way up to major global brands.
We encourage you to read through the pros and cons of each tool to find the one right for your business needs – there is often no one-size-fits-all approach!
Social Media Management Platforms: Outside of content creation, one of the most time-intensive tasks in social media is scheduling posts, reviewing engagement, and deriving insights from performance. These platforms will give you a single view on your social media activity.
Facebook Chatbot Tools: Messenger is one of the biggest channels to maintain direct communication with your customers. By creating chatbots to funnel potential customers towards products or services that best suit their needs, businesses can increase engagement and generate more leads without needing to be online 24/7.
Influencer Marketing Platforms: Influencers have emerged as an effective way of reaching niche interest and highly engaged audiences by tapping into the audiences of influential figures on social media. These tools will help you identify influencers in your audiences and manage scaling campaigns with partners.
Social Media Monitoring Tools: Social media never switches off, which means that creating alerts when your brand is mentioned on the web is an extremely important tool. These tools allow social media managers to get a full view of how users are mentioning and discussing your business.
URL Shortener Tools: Attaching long, ugly URLs to posts can cause reduced engagement; but removing tracking parameters can inhibit attribution to your social campaigns. URL shortener tools help beautify your links, aggregate traffic and analytics, and even add organic engagement into retargeting audiences.