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Social media management tools are dead useful. That much is clear. Plenty of different software on the market offer social media content scheduling, publishing, and response management, and most have something great to offer brands and marketers looking to streamline their social media marketing.
It’s one thing, however, to excitedly sign up for a social media marketing tool, use the baseline features, and schedule your content. It’s another to really use these tools to their full capacity, so that you not only make your social media marketing more streamlined, but also more impactful and effective.
Want to get the most out of your social media management tools? Follow these six steps.
This is is a guest post from Mike Alton.
Mike Allton is a Content Marketing Practitioner – a title he invented to represent his holistic approach to content marketing that leverages blogging, social media, email marketing and SEO to drive traffic, generate leads, and convert those leads into sales. He is an award-winning Blogger, Speaker, and Author, and Brand Evangelist at Agorapulse.
There are so many different tools available that this can be a tough choice to make, having brands choose tools based on features offered, price points, platforms supported, and more.
Whatever tool you choose must offer every feature and platform you need in a plan and for a price you can afford. There will be some features that you may need that some tools won’t offer like social listening, engagement management, or collaboration functionality. For example, you may use YouTube regularly, but a tool you’re interested in doesn’t support it.
When you start evaluating social media management tools, you’ll see that each has its own advantages and disadvantages. The whole idea is to find the one that best suits your needs and fits into your planned budget.
So, make sure to look at the top contenders for social media management software and perform a detailed comparison.
If you aren’t sure where to start, Ian Anderson’s Seriously Social has a great Social Media Buyer’s Guide here that can walk you through the process.
After you sign up for a tool, don’t settle for “just good enough” while you try to keep your head above water. Go ahead and dive into the tool, discovering everything it offers.
Many tools offer guided tutorials, which will walk you through the tools with automated prompts. Look for features that you may not have noticed yet, like the option to assign a task to a team member or use a saved reply to speed up inbox response times.
Sometimes, the best way to discover how to get the most out of your social tool will be to book a demo. The best tools typically offer free demos. An expert team member will take you through the tool, answer any questions you have, and show you how to take full advantage of all its features.
Additionally, providers often share case studies on how businesses like yours use their tool. These can be a great source of ideas and help you acquire new tactics for getting the most out of your social media management tool.
If you have more than one person on your team (social media agency) or company) —internal or external—that is even glancing over the social media content you’re publishing, get them started with the tool right away.
Most social management software allows you to add multiple team members to specific accounts, ensuring that everyone has access to what they need.
Train your team early on how to use the tool of your choice, and establish processes for how you want your team to use it.
Do you want team members to assign specific inbox messages to themselves as they respond, allowing everyone to keep track of every message being sent? Or do you require that any of your team members submit posts for your review (or the client’s review) before it’s eligible for publication?
Decide what will work best for you then implement these systems early on. Doing so keeps everyone on the same page and helps your entire team get the most out of the social management tool without chaos.
The best social media management tools have mobile apps that allow you to stay connected on the go.
I believe firmly in a healthy work/life balance, but sometimes, a big campaign goes live or a product launches and you need to spend a little extra time managing an influx of messages and responses from users.
Almost inevitably, a post that somehow slips past your internal review process will have a typo, broken link, or some error to be resolved. You don’t want to be stranded, waiting at a doctor’s appointment or on a plane, without a computer and unable to resolve a problem when it pops up.
The mobile app will give the flexibility you need to tackle anything and everything no matter where you are.
The best social management tools will have analytics, alongside fantastic engagement, publishing, and scheduling features, available to users. These analytics will be convenient because they’ll be all in one place for you to access without jumping into each platform’s native insights.
In many cases, the analytics here will also offer more than what most native insights can tell you. Agorapulse, for example, offers reporting on things like community management (or how many replies you’ve made to users’ tweets), your brand awareness on a given platform, and which hashtags are tied to more engagement on social media platforms like Twitter.
Use these in-depth, very detailed analytics to your advantage. They’ll tell you more than what you can find with free or native tools in most cases. Use this information to carefully track the effectiveness of your social campaigns, evaluate what content and strategies are working best for you, and adapt and improve.
If initially you signed up for a lower plan of a social media management tool, you may at some point consider unlocking more advanced features by upgrading to a higher-tier plan.
Some tools, like AgoraPulse, will give you all the features you need as part of all their plans, while an upgrade will enable you to add more users and social accounts.
However, most social media management tools reserve their more powerful features for Premium users, and these features will differ from tool to tool. Typically, things like advanced analytics, custom reports, user role management, etc. fall under the ‘premium’ feature category.
If there’s a premium functionality that could make a real difference in how you manage your social accounts, then it makes sense to upgrade. Also, some lower-tier plans are quite limited in terms of scheduling and posting, and if your post volume grows across accounts, you’ll need to upgrade.
It is important to periodically assess how you’re using the tool and adapt your team’s activities to ensure you’re making the most of it.
Often times, we end up using social media management tools the same way we started so it’s good to take time and figure out if there’s something you could do better. You can do these evaluations every 3-6 months.
Ask questions like:
Social media management tools are most often used to simply schedule content in advance to have it published automatically. However, if that’s all you use them for, you’re almost certainly missing out.
Invest a little extra time up front into choosing the right tool and learning how to maximize its potential. Great social management tools, after all, can do more than simply publish posts on schedule, so take advantage of everything they offer.