Editor’s Note: This guest post is by Lilach Bullock of lilachbullock.com.
Want to find the best social media management tool and get better results from social media for your small business? There are so many different tools out there that it’s quite difficult to find the one that fits your needs best.
Ian Anderson Gray of the Seriously Social blog has teamed up with G2Crowd to create an infographic rating the five social media management tools of the year, based on customer reviews.
The results are quite surprising – from the inclusion of Buffer, which is more of a publishing tool, to the clear win of Agorapulse and the fact that Hootsuite often got last or second to the last place. Customer opinions are quite different from what is probably expected from most.
Why get a social media management tool?
Social media management tools aim to help you become more efficient and productive at social media marketing. A good dashboard will provide all the tools needed to get better results and faster:
- Monitoring: monitor any mentions and shares you get so that you know when to take action. Set up monitoring for keywords and hashtags, for example, and you will be able to find more opportunities, such as for engagement, or even potential clients and leads.
- Publishing and scheduling; with a good social media management tool you can save a lot of precious time. They let you publish and schedule content for multiple accounts on different social networks, all from the same dashboard. The ability to schedule posts will help you make sure you never miss an opportunity to increase your social media reach, for whenever you don’t have the time or ability to post anything live.
- Analytics reports: analytics are extremely important to the success of your social media campaigns. By checking your stats regularly, you can make any necessary changes to your social media strategy and, hopefully, improve your results. Analytics tools can get quite expensive (or not very accurate when they are free). So it’s useful to have good analytics within the same tool.
- Collaborate with your team: If you have several members of your team helping with social media, then a social media management tool can help you. It’ll do by allowing you to assign tasks and see what your team members are doing.
- Customer relationship management: more and more management tools now have some sort of CRM function to help you keep better track of your followers. Also to discover your best followers, such as brand ambassadors or influencers.
Generally, social media management tools are designed to not only improve your efficiency and save time but also to help you get better results from your social media: more followers, more engagement, increased reach, more clicks, and even more leads.
Which is the best social media management tool on the market?
The research from the infographic found that Agorapulse was the most popular tool on the list, with Sprout Social following closely on the second spot, while the other three tools, Buffer, Hootsuite and Sendible oscillated in ratings for each of the categories.
That said, what you need from a social media management tool differs depending on what you are looking for, such as what social networks you use for your marketing.
Agorapulse, even though lesser-known, has gathered a lot of fans for its full-suite of features and easy to use interface.
It has most features you could look for in a social media management tool: monitoring, publishing and scheduling updates, CRM, analytics and it works with most big social networks, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Instagram.
Agorapulse has a social inbox that groups together all of your social media notifications in one place; this is a great feature as it makes it easier to go through all of your notifications and helps you make sure you don’t forget which updates need your attention. In terms of monitoring, you can track anything from shares and mentions from Facebook, to keywords and hashtags on Twitter and also places for Instagram users.
In terms of publishing updates, you can post using Agorapulse to all of your accounts and schedule updates that are then arranged into a content calendar.
One of my favourite features from Agorapulse though is the CRM function. You can use it identify your best followers and any brand ambassadors and influencers. Another cool thing is that you can clearly see if you’ve ever engaged with someone in your audience and if they have ever mentioned you.
Overall, it’s easy to see why Agorapulse snagged the first spot in the infographic – it’s a great tool, with an easy to use interface and that actually brings results.
Sprout Social is another great social media management tool, with a full suite of features.
Just like Agorapulse, it has a social inbox where you get all of your notifications for multiple channels and accounts. You can also tag and assign directly in the inbox, which makes for easy team collaboration.
You can also publish and schedule updates and the best part is that you can schedule an update to go out on different days and at different times.
Sprout Social also provide pretty good analytics reports for Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, that can be branded and exported to CSV or PDF so you can present them to your clients or shareholders.
Sprout Social gets the second spot in the infographic, due to its ease of use and great features.
Hootsuite is one of the oldest and best-known social media management tools.
One of Hootsuite’s biggest attractions, now that it isn’t one of few tools on the market, is the fact that it works with a plethora of social networks – over 35. So if you’re using some of the lesser-known networks for your marketing, this might be the tool for you.
Hootsuite has made it for so long because it is a good tool; it has a full suite of features, such as publishing and scheduling, a built-in URL shortener and good monitoring capabilities.
The popular tool also provides analytics and team collaboration, but prices grow the more reports you want and the more team members you add.
Although it’s a great tool and has some really good features, it didn’t get very good ratings in the infographic – perhaps because of its interface and the fact that it hasn’t changed that much since it’s been around, while social networks have massively transformed over the years.
Buffer’s inclusion in the infographic is quite surprising because it doesn’t have a full suite of social media management features. Rather, it’s more of a publishing and scheduling tool – but a very good one of that. It’s also extremely popular and loved by businesses and marketers, so even though it doesn’t have all the features the other tools have; it’s still worth mentioning.
Basically, Buffer strives to help you get better results from the updates you publish on social media. It also helps you find awesome content to share and makes sure you post at the right times so that you get better results: more clicks, more engagement, and more shares.
Sendible, the last tool on this list, is another full-suite management tool.
Just like with the other tools, you can use it to publish and schedule updates, as well as engage with other users. The tool has a scheduling algorithm that helps you make sure you post updates at the right time, for each social network.
One of Sendible’s best features, in my opinion, is its monitoring function. It goes beyond social media – rather, it monitors the entire social web (such as blogs), to find any mentions of your brand, so that you can take action as soon as you’re mentioned.
Sendible also provides analytics and it integrates with Google Analytics, for better results.
Overall, a really good tool with all the main features to look for in a social media management dashboard.
It’s very difficult to choose from all these amazing tools a clear winner – what do you think, what is the best social media management tool? Are there any other tools you think should have been included?
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