SOCIAL MEDIA TOOLS FOR BUSINESS

There are lot of social media tools for business available, but deciding which one is best for your business can be overwhelming. Let's face it, if you want to succeed in the current marketplace, an online presence is vital. That's the first place potential customers will look for you. 

Social Media Tools for Business

Social media is the way of the future, and it is quickly becoming the number one strategy for selling products, gaining brand awareness, and engaging or interacting with your target audience.

Most businesses, regardless of size, want to become more involved in social media. But, where do you start?

Managing multiple networks can be time consuming. Knowing when and what to post can be complicated. And, monitoring the success or effectiveness of your efforts can be difficult. If you aren't tech-savvy, it can be even more daunting.

So, what should you look for in social media software or management tools? Essentially, it will come down to the basic needs of your company, but there are a few things to consider if you want to make the process as simple and user-friendly as possible.



6 Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing Social Media Software for Your Business

  1. Is it Affordable? If you are working on a limited budget, there are several tools that are either free or have a very minimal fee. A lot of these options also offer upgrades, so you won't have to start all over if there comes a time when you decide that you are ready for something a little more in-depth.

  2. Is it Expandable? As your business grows, so does the demand on your time. As mentioned, when you need something with more services or tools, you don't want to have to start back at the beginning, having to familiarize yourself with a whole new software platform. So, when making your choice, look to see what upgrade options are available. Future thinking can save you a lot of time down the road. You want a tool that will grow with you!

  3. Does it Have Multiple Network Support? Some management tools are designed specifically for Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram – but not all three. So, if you plan on using several different networks, you will want to find software that is compatible with all your social media accounts.

  4. Is it User-Friendly? Whether you prefer a single dashboard or multiple streams, the software has to be easy to use, especially if there will be more than one team member managing the account. You want to be able to access your social media networks quickly, and monitor activity at a glance. If it's too complicated or time consuming, you'll become frustrated. Which means that you won't be as active on social media as you should. Unless you are tech-savvy, look for simple.

  5. Is it Engaging? Of course, one of the most important aspects of social media is to engage with your audience. You want to choose a tool that will help make interacting with users easy, interesting, and most of all – frequent. If this is your primary focus, software like Social Mention, will help you track and monitor what people are saying about your company, the products you promote, and the appeal of your social media accounts. There are also software options that will gather reviews from multiple sites and message boards so you don't have to spend a lot of time searching the internet. Of course, there are many tools that offer these services, plus much more. However, when communicating with your audience, hearing what they are saying is essential to your success.

  6. Does if Offer Reporting? You should try to find a software that will analyze and monitor your traffic and provide you with a report on the success and effectiveness of each of your social networks. Without feedback, it's difficult to measure success or identify areas that need improvement. Many software options include this service, but if you are wanting one solely focused on this type of data, you may benefit from using tools such as Fanpage Karma, LikeAnalyzer, or Twitonomy.


5 Social Media Tools for Business

There are literally hundreds – maybe thousands – of tools available. It could take hours to wade through the pros and cons of all the options. But, here are a few of the more popular ones to help you get started.

1. HOOTSUITE

HootSuite is one of the top choices for small businesses. However, since the free version only allows for one user, it can be very limiting if you want to work in collaboration with a team. It does let you monitor and update up to five social profiles, so that is a bonus.

Even the paid version isn't much better, allowing for only two users, but unlimited profiles. It uses multiple streams rather than a common inbox or dashboard, but you can create your own dashboard by organizing the streams into user friendly groups.

You can auto schedule, see your calendar at a glance, and analyze the success of your marketing efforts. HootSuite offers a lot of tools, and is a great choice for a company that doesn't require more than two users.

2. SENDIBLE

Sendible offers a lot of beneficial services for those who want to save time by doing everything in one place.

“Priority Inbox” sorts through all your data and correspondence, bringing the most important to the forefront. You can schedule future posts, and even have the software automatically repeat popular posts during the week. Google Analytics comes with the marketing package, providing you with reporting, monitoring, and connection to review sites.

The best part? You can do everything from a central dashboard, so essentially, you can connect to all your networks at the same time.

Sendible even allows you to send email, although you cannot connect your email with other social networks. It is also important to note that some features are Facebook specific, but the company claims that there are ways around this limitation.

You can start with a 30-day free trial and then decide which package you want, depending on your needs and financial situation.

3. SPROUT SOCIAL

User feedback raves about Sprout Social's ability to gather data and provide exceptionally detailed reports. It analyzes followers, gives you advice for improvement, and even tells you when and what to post to optimize audience engagement.

It's “Smart Inbox” or “Single Stream Inbox” gathers all your media messages on one dashboard so you don't have to visit each network individually.

Users can access multiple accounts, even on the same network (ie. More than one Facebook account) and it offers helpful tools for team collaboration. It should be noted that you will pay per user, so your monthly fee can be quite high.

4. POSTING

Posting combines messages from all social media networks into one inbox to make communications easier to manage.

An added bonus is its ability to provide instant notifications for reviews on travel sites such as TripAdvisor and Yelp.

If you work in the hospitality business, this is a great choice.

5. TAILWIND

Tailwind is designed specifically for Pinterest and Instagram. This can be beneficial if these networks are your primary source of communication and interaction with your target audience. However, there are obvious limitations, making this tool inefficient for business wishing to use other social media platforms such as Twitter or Facebook.

One of the most interesting features of Tailwind is the “Tribe”. This allows you to meet, interact, and share with other marketers in a similar business or niche. You can create boards, scheduling, and optimize for the maximum engagement. Like many other software tools, you can manage multiple accounts at the same time.

When it comes to available social media tools for business, this is just the tip of the iceberg! It is always important to choose the tools that are best suited for your business and will help you reach your goals.

Your budget, team size, goals, needs, and level of technical ability will all play a part in determining the ideal option. But, everyone can agree that social media software and tools is a great way to grow your business in less time. And, everyone wants to save time, right?