Best social media management tools to enhance marketing strategies

June 03, 2019

Once you have created and built social media accounts for your small business, you may have a hard time keeping up with comments, messages and new posts. If you manually create posts each day and try to respond to comments or messages on your mobile device or computer while you work, you could feel overwhelmed as you gain additional followers.

Social media management tools can leave you or your employee who manages your company's accounts with more time to invest in the business. These are six time-saving social media tools for small business owners, and most are also recommended by experts from the Forbes Agency Council.

1. Hootsuite

Hootsuite is one of the most versatile and popular programs available. If your business is new and your budget is limited, there is a basic free version of it. As you become comfortable with it and grow your online presence, you may decide to upgrade to a paid subscription. On the free version, Hootsuite allows you to manage up to three different social media profiles without the need for multiple passwords. According to the company's site, you can schedule up to 30 messages for your profiles. Hootsuite also offers free social media marketing courses online. If you want advanced reports and tracking metrics with the ability to manage 10 or more profiles simultaneously, you must upgrade to a paid plan. The paid plans start at about $30 per month.

2. Google Analytics

If you have not already installed Google Analytics, it is a must-have tool. The platform has been around since 2005 and is completely free to use. It offers tutorials that are designed to help new users understand its features. With this tool, you can see important information about visitors such as where they are from, which pages they visit, how long they stay on the site and more. Today, the program also includes some powerful social media reports. These features are important for helping you determine if your social media presence is effectively engaging your audience. After you analyze the data, you will know which of your social media accounts should receive the strongest focus. From determining negative ROI on Facebook ads to tracking traffic from a social media platform, there are plenty of useful features in Google Analytics.

3. Buffer

If you find that other programs with multiple features have limited abilities for post scheduling, Buffer is one of the more detailed social media scheduling tools. It allows you to make posts across the majority of the most popular social media platforms. Buffer lets you customize posts for each social media platform as well. For example, imagine that you make a blog post about a new product that is useful for people between the ages of 20 and 65. Your Facebook followers span several generations, which means that you can write a versatile message when you share it on that platform. Since Instagram is more popular with millennials, you could create a customized message for the Instagram post to appeal to your followers on that platform. There are also useful analytics tools if you use Buffer's business plan.

4. Sprout Social

For brand management, Sprout Social is an especially useful tool. According to the company's site, more than 70 percent of consumers in a survey said that they would purchase a brand after a positive social media interaction. Sprout Social helps users set up social media marketing plans that embrace transparency and other actions that are important to modern consumers. Also, users can contact brand advocates for advice. There are advanced reporting tools that show key metrics. Users can schedule posts, manage mentions and more. Plans start at about $100 per month.

5. LastPass

This is one of the useful social media tools for small business owners who make security a top priority. The program protects cloud apps, offers password management features and has many resources for admin monitoring or shared access. Admin oversight is essential if you have multiple people managing your company's social media accounts. Both plan options are under $10 per month.

6. Raven Tools

Although platform-specific metrics from your posts are important, an effective social media marketing strategy must also include data from other marketing channels. Raven Tools gives you insights from SEO and PPC marketing, and this information can help you adjust your social media plans. Also, Raven Tools has features that let you schedule posts, analyze post metrics and measure ROI. You can create customized social media marketing reports that are interactive and responsive. Raven Tools is compatible with Google Analytics as well, and you can set your preferred reports to be automatically generated. There are several plans that range between $40 and $400 per month.

How to choose social media management tools

Social media management tools should be versatile across several platforms. Now that you know about some of the top programs, it is important to understand what your chosen tools should accomplish. When combined, they should handle or enhance these tasks:

• Social media posts
• Content discovery
• Web analytics
• Email marketing
• Content marketing
• Lead generation
• Security management
• Performance reporting

If you only use social media scheduling tools and neglect other important aspects of a well-rounded strategy, your audience will not interpret your brand and its message as you intended. You need lead generation and marketing benefits. Also, security is especially important to protect your business and your followers. As your presence expands, your online security risks also grow. If your accounts are hacked and the hackers target your website next, you may be liable for damages if customer information is compromised. As you build your social media management plan, you may want to include cyber insurance to ensure privacy protection and to give you peace of mind.