Social media has caused a revolution in the marketing world. Marketing has always been about communication, but communication relies as much on its format as its content. As television revolutionized advertising in the 20th century, so social media will revolutionize it in the 21st century along with social media marketing tools.
Already we are beginning to see these changes, with the advent of things like content marketing, which have to change the way a relationship is established and maintained with an audience in order to result in sales.
Unlike television, however, social media is not one format. It is many. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and more all have distinct approaches to helping people communicate, and require their own strategies for successful marketing.
Strategy is one thing, and something I’ve covered in previous weeks – social media marketing plan. But strategy cannot be employed without tools. This week, we’ll be looking at some of the best tools around to help you manage, deliver and optimize your social media marketing approaches.
We will be looking into what tools you should use, what tools you shouldn’t, and what the latest releases for this year have in store to supercharge your results.
Without further ado – here are your must-have tools for social media marketing in 2017:
Social Metrics Pro is a WordPress plugin that will track your social engagement across every major platform, and offer you analytics and reports that will help you understand how well you are trending.
We use this, and it complements SEOPressor very nicely, helping you see the difference our optimizer makes to your posts.
It’s helpful for identifying social sites you need to pay more attention to and which naturally lend themselves to your content.
The control panel has a great feature that gives you a traffic light analysis of your posts, highlighting them in red when they are underperforming and green when they are performing well, based on SMP’s own broader analytics.
The plugin can track both posts and pages on a WordPress based site to ensure you know how sales pages perform as well as content.
All updates to the plugin are FREE for life after your initial payment.
Buffer is one of the most popular social media management tools available. It enables you to schedule your posts and distribute them across all the different social media touchpoints, including multimedia extensions that help optimize images and video for different platforms.
It has a wonderful clean interface, and simple analytics features that make the data easy to digest and act upon.
It enables you to sync multiple accounts across networks to share content across them all, from one central dashboard.
They even have a Chrome extension to help you share or schedule found content on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and LinkedIn.
Buffer has one of the best blogs on social media found anywhere online, with detailed social media guides and case studies that can help you master your approach if you’re a newbie.
Buffer has an extension that enables you to upload items in bulk, which is great if you produce your content in batches.
Anyone who wants to automate scheduled publishing will benefit from Buffer.
Sprout Social shares some features with Buffer, but its focus lies in customer relationship management through social media platforms, enabling individuals to quickly manage and respond to engagements to keep customers happy.
Sprout functions as an all-in-one social media marketing tool to help content managers control their efforts effectively. It’s not as thorough as Buffer at this, but makes up for it in other areas.
It offers multi-level access, which means it’s perfect for businesses large enough to have teams of editors and writers. Some can have directorial control, while lower-level team members can log in to receive and update tasks.
The detailed analytics platform helps managers keep on top of engagement, to foster and nurture it through responding quickly and effectively to comments and requests.
If there’s one tool on this list you’ve probably already heard of, it’s HootSuite. It allows you to post the same content across multiple platforms at once.
Simple, but powerful tool for the average social media marketer. They have worked hard to overcome previous limitations of content optimization for different platforms, and now offer better control over content.
There is now an option to schedule posts in advance on a number of different social platforms.
Hootsuite can now help people create campaigns, competitions and curated collections of user-generated content easily and across platforms.
There’s a cool feature introduced focused on ‘sentiment’, that allows you to see how many of the comments directed at your social media profiles are positive, neutral or negative.
If This Then That is a free to use resource that allows you to find super simple ‘applets’ that create a single time-saving response to a pre-set condition.
There are tons of great little features. Things like automatically syncing your profile images across social media platforms, or tweeting your Instagram photos as native images on Twitter.
You can create ‘recipes’ that use multiple applets to describe more complex circumstances. So for instance, if you get a positive tweet you can auto-retweet it, where if you get a negative one, you auto-respond with a DM request.
These are little things that can save a lot of time when combined together. You just need to form a habit of using them.
A simpler, freemium social media manager that allows you to bulk upload updates and have them randomly distributed across different platforms.
Good for those just starting out who want to ‘dip a toe in the water’ before committing to paying for a professional tool.
It has all the features of something like HootSuite, while also identifying influencers to contact and following accounts that have promise, as well as time-limited recurring updates, drip feed posting and more.
A Pinterest and Instagram focused tool designed to help coordinate visual marketing, particularly helpful for those selling jewelry, prints and more.
It offers all the scheduling and analytics of other tools, with added features to help you discover content and monitor how your work is being talked about.
It also has amplification features designed to help you reach more people and increase your conversions.
Simple time savers include pinning to multiple boards at once, bulk uploading of collections, and a drag-and-drop calendar for scheduling.
When All You Have Is A Hammer… Every Problem Looks Like A Nail
This is a gentle reminder that there are literally thousands of social media tools and management dashboards out there to choose from. Some are more specialized than others in different social media outlets or different forms of doing business.
These are the ones I have found to be most valuable and influential throughout my work – the names that keep cropping up across industries. You may not need all of these tools, but picking just a few can drastically increase your effectiveness. Having the right tool for your needs is the most important thing. Choose wisely.