Social media is, today, becoming ever more entwined with everyday life; it seems that rather than talking, we tap out IM messages and instead of focusing marketing efforts on traditional adverts and challenges, it’s all about social engagement, fans and shares.
So, in a world as social media driven as this, just how can you go about managing your business’s social life? Here, you’ll find out.
The first question: Do you really need so many social media counts?
Before we get started it’s wise to take a moment to consider whether you truly need each of the social media accounts that you currently have. There are very few businesses, if any, that can find their target market in useful numbers on more than 3 to 4 social media networks.
Here’s a great bit of research from the Pew Research Center that tells you all about the demographics across Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (such as age, gender, education level, income level and location type).
One more thing before we get cracking…
Your social marketing strategy should not be a unilateral one – it shouldn’t merely promote the same content, images and links over each network. The audiences found on each platform will almost certainly have differing preferences (such as Pinterest users’ love for vivid imagery, or Facebook users preference for video content); what’s more you need to provide your audience with a reason to follow, fan or plus 1 you on each channel.
With all of that in mind, and even if you have now drilled down your social media channels to two, managing them can still be made all the easier (as well as a whole lot more analysable) with the upcoming tips.
Essential tools for the task of social media account management
For boss-like social media management, you need a tool that will match up to the challenge. Here’s a quick rundown of the most popular.
Hootsuite is by far the most popular social media management tool going, and with good reason, too. With pricing packages that start at completely free this is a tool that allows you to: schedule social campaigns and the posting of content, track conversions from this content and measure the results that you’ve achieved as according to desktop or mobile (something that will only become ever more important as the behaviours between PC and Smartphone consumers continues to divide).
Buffer is a worthy contender when compared to Hootsuite, allowing you to post content at staggered times, whilst also providing handy insights into the reach of your content and analytics upon how engaged your audiences have been. They do offer a free package, however this is only for one social profile (compared to Hootsuite’s 3 social profiles); that said, Buffer’s next level, for the ten social accounts, costs only $10 a month.
For those out there who make good use of Twitter, Tweepi is a must have tool. It has no other rival on the market, unlike the coin toss you’d need to make between Hootsuite and Buffer.
This platform allows you to run through your followers, from where you can flush out those who aren’t reciprocating a follow in return, as well as allowing you to discover influential Tweeps within your industry sphere.
That said, you should use this wisely – following and unfollowing on mass has been known to cause account bans on Twitter, although Tweepi minimalizes this risk by only allowing this action for up to 200 users each time.
‘If this, then that’ (IFTTT) is a little bit different compared to the other platforms we’ve covered so far, as it provides you with the ability to automate sharing through what are effectively, set instructions. This could be something such as sending a Tweet each time you add a blog to your website; what’s even more awesome is that this platform can be integrated with both Buffer and Hootsuite (as well as a whole load of other apps, including the business management app that is Evernote).
Buffer and Hootsuite can provide some interesting insight into how well your content is converting, however if you need something a bit more sophisticated that will tell you the best times of day to publish, then you need SocialFlow.
This platform provides a window into real-time social conversions, all based upon your target market. It’s also absolutely ideal for those who will be spending money on PPC through social media.
This is a brand that is utilised by the likes of Pepsi, the Daily Mail, Walmart and Gawker to name but a few.
ArgyleSocial boasts many of the same features as the tools that we’ve already mentioned, however this platform has been specifically created for companies that sell business to business; most notably it offers the ability to merge social data with your own marketing figures, which can then go on to help you hone in on prospects and score better leads.
DashBurst is the relative newcomer to the social media management scene – yet they’ve adopted a completely fresh approach. Here you can look forward to a social network, content dashboard and blogging platform.
DashBurst allows you to explore media that’s currently trending whilst also being able to schedule ‘Bursts’ where your own media (such as images, videos and infographics) can be promoted to the world. Uniquely for a social media channel, however, this platform provides you with the ability to also post to other social networks.
Social Media Management: The last word
Social media management needn’t be a cumbersome challenge and once you’ve tacked down the platforms that you should be making the most of, you can build your itinerary of tools around them. A final pointer we would like to make is that not only is social media marketing all about trial and error, posting and analysis, it’s also about continually evaluating your approach – and that goes on to include the effectiveness of the tools that you’re utilising.