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20 years ago, an exclusive online social network was created, transforming the digital world forever. While social networks existed before (MySpace, Bebo, etc.), it wasn’t until the launch of Facebook that social media really took off.
Flash forward to today and social media plays not only a significant role in helping individuals connect, but it has evolved to become a vital marketing tool for businesses and organizations. Social media helps businesses reach a wide audience, and provides engaging and creative ways to share messages.
And as social media has developed, so have the tools to help manage it. Using the right social media marketing tools can help your business streamline its communications and maximize results to help generate the biggest impact.
In this article, we’ll explore the different social media tools that are out there to help you boost your marketing activities and reach your digital potential.
Understanding Social Media Tool Categories
The wealth of social media tools provides marketers with everything they need to manage their accounts. From content creation to analytics, there’s a suitable tool for everything. We’ve broken down the different social media tool categories to give you a clearer idea of what’s out available.
Management and scheduling
What are they used for?
To help manage and schedule social media posts across different platforms. Management and scheduling tools are particularly useful for those who have multiple social media accounts to manage.
Content calendars, automatic scheduling, post creation and editing, team collaboration, moderation and approval tools.
What are they used for?
To help you measure and analyze the performance of your social media activity.
Data visualization, engagement metrics, audience demographics, and campaign tracking.
What are they used for?
To help social media managers create content, such as graphics and video.
Graphic design tools, image and video editing, templates, and multimedia stock libraries.
What are they used for?
To help discover and share content and trends from various sources.
Content discovery, RSS feed integration, and scheduled sharing.
What are they used for?
To enhance audience interaction and participation.
Create contests, polls, quizzes and gamification tools.
What are they used for?
Monitor social media in real-time for potential crises and manage responses.
Real-time alerts, sentiment analysis, and crisis response planning.
Budget-friendly tools for startups and freelancers
What are they used for?
Provide cost-effective social media management tools for those with limited budgets.
Basic scheduling, analytics, and content creation tools.
Free version of Canva, Buffer, Friends+Me.
Advanced platforms for larger enterprises
What are they used for?
Provide features to meet the complex needs of extensive social media campaigns or large-scale platform management.
Advanced analytics, enterprise-level scheduling, and collaboration features.
Management & Scheduling: Simplify Your Workflow
If you want to maintain constituency and efficiency for your digital marketing, then social media marketing tools are essential. These tools can help you deliver your social media strategy, while helping to free up your time to focus on creativity instead. Some of the benefits of social media management and scheduling tools include:
- Content calendars to help you see your schedule at a glance, including content from all of your platforms. It can help you work out what and when to post, allowing you to plot out entire campaigns easily.
- Optimized scheduling to make it easier to post at your most effective times. You can queue up messages to post at your audience’s most active times, helping to secure maximum engagement.
- Edit and refine your posts before they go live. You can use scheduling tools to preview posts and make any last-minute changes to ensure they’re correct.
- Work collaboratively across teams, with the ability to assign tasks, create approval workflows and collaborate on content.
There is heavy competition for social media scheduling platforms. From Hootsuite to Buffer, these tools can provide a lot of valuable features for teas of different sizes. This limits the need to post on each social platform individually, making the process of scheduling much quicker.
Analytics: Measuring Your Social Impact
It’s one thing to post on social media, but how will you know how effective your efforts have been if you don’t track your performance? While you could look at the performance of your posts individually, using a social media analytics tool can take care of the hard work for you – providing valuable insights to help you make more informed decisions about your marketing strategies. Some of the key benefits of analytics tools include:
- Data-driven decision-making is made possible using real-time data. This can help ensure your strategies align with your performance.
- Audience insights that will help you gain a deeper understanding of your audience, such as their demographics, preferences and behaviors, allowing you to execute a more targeted and effective approach to content creation.
- Campaign tracking that helps you identify your top-performing content, providing insightful evaluations for your campaigns.
- ROI measurement to help you establish the return on investment for your social media activities, which can be easily compared with your other marketing efforts.
- Track your competitors to compare your performance, identify opportunities and refine your strategy in line with trends.
When you start analyzing your social media performance, you gain a deeper understanding of what content performs well for your business. You can use the data provided to measure performance over time, while also on a campaign-by-campaign basis to help you establish the good, the bad, and what you can do to make your next campaign even better. Many social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have analytics built in, or you can use Sprout Social, Google Analytics and similar tools to provide more in-depth insights.
Content Creation: Crafting Captivating Posts
Social media is a competitive space. To stand out, you need to ensure your social media content gives your audience what it wants. Content creation consists of using graphics, images, videos and of course, text, to deliver messages and promote your brand or business. Some of the main benefits include:
- Create appealing visuals using tools that help your creative process. You can easily create content featuring your branding to appeal to your audience.
- Produce different types of content, such as graphics, videos and infographics. Using a variety of content keeps your online presence interesting, but it also helps you create targeted content for each of the platforms you manage.
- Maintain consistency using templates and themes that fit your brand guidelines, ensuring everyone within your team posts content that reflects your brand.
- Streamline the content creation process using tools that have simple interfaces and can help you save time, while still producing high-quality content.
Social media content should build connections with your audience, and using content creation tools can help you find new and inventive ways of telling stories that resonate with your followers. Some of the more advanced content creation tools include the Adobe Creative Suite applications, while Canva and Adobe Express can help teams create content easily and on a budget.
Curation Platforms: Staying Relevant and Fresh
It’s easy for your social media content to become stale over time, so it’s important to carry out research and look at what’s trending to help you stay relevant and maintain your audience’s interest. A curation platform can help you discover, organize and share ideas that will help you and your teams continue to think of relevant and engaging content. Top benefits include:
- Explore content from a wide range of resources to help you view large volumes of content in one place, without having to move from platform to platform.
- Save time by finding what you’re looking for without spending too much time researching.
- Share content to help boost engagement and help create a sense of community among your followers.
- Develop better awareness of trends from within your industry, and across social media in general, to help you identify areas you can create some fresh content for your channels.
Curation platforms such as Pocket and Feedly are about much more than simply sharing content. They can help inform your marketing strategy and develop greater audience insights, allowing you to create dynamic content that aligns with the interests of your followers.
Engagement Boosters: Amplifying Interaction
For some brands, posting Reels or insightful graphics isn’t enough to attract new followers or boost engagement. Creating meaningful interactions using engagement boosters can help develop an online community, and create a sense of excitement among your followers. These tools can help establish a dialogue and encourage participation that can help boost brand awareness and loyalty. Engagement boosters can be used to:
- Host contests and giveaways that could help you boost your following and reward your followers for engaging with your accounts.
- Post polls and surveys to get opinions from your followers, boosting engagement while also getting some interesting insights about their preferences.
- Create interactive content such as quizzes to help encourage participation and provide some fun challenges for your followers to get involved with.
- Get your followers involved by getting them to create and share content to amplify your brand, turning them into brand advocates and creating a more engaged community.
There are some fantastic platforms to help you generate contests and more, such as Rafflecopter and Woobox. These types of tools can be integral in taking your content to the next level so you can grow your following.
Crisis Management: Tools for Real-time Monitoring
Most social media managers experience a crisis. For some, these happen more often than they would like. Crisis management tools can help you stay up-to-date in a fast-paced world where events can develop quickly. With crisis tools, you benefit from real-time monitoring that will allow you to monitor online conversations and stay proactive in your responses – helping you mitigate reputational risks. Key benefits of crisis management tools include:
- Activate real-time alerts to ensure you receive notifications for mentions, comments and posts that may indicate a crisis, allowing you to respond quickly.
- Use sentiment analysis to help you gain insights into how people feel towards your brand and how they respond to individual posts and campaigns.
- Track keywords to help you monitor conversations about your brand, as well as current events, your competitors and your wider industry.
- Conduct competitor analysis to help you monitor your competitors in real time, helping you identify potential opportunities and challenges for your own brand.
- Strengthen crisis management plans that will allow you to respond to different scenarios, ensuring a coordinated and considered approach when dealing with a crisis.
It’s easy for a crisis to unfold quickly on social media, but with the help of monitoring tools such as Brand24 and Hootsuite Insights, you can detect issues quickly and try to minimize the impact on your brand. Using these tools as part of your overall marketing and communications strategy can help your business prepare for any challenges that may arise from social media.
Budget-Friendly Tools for Startups & Freelancers
The best social media tools for marketing don’t have to be out of reach of small businesses or freelancers. There are a range of tools available that are budget-friendly and can prove invaluable for getting your brand noticed and developing a strong online presence. Some of the benefits of these tools include:
- Affordability can help you enhance your social media presence without having to break the bank. This can help you manage your budget while you establish what works for your business.
- Enjoy basic tools such as scheduling and analytics that can help you measure your online performance without having to invest in more sophisticated tools.
- User-friendly interfaces help you navigate tools easily, which can be useful for those who are new to social media management or don’t have the time to dedicate to it.
- Use template libraries to make content creation easy, allowing you to create branded assets that will save you time while maintaining consistency.
- Scalability and flexibility can help you benefit from free or basic features now, and invest in more advanced tools as your business grows. Free trials and different price packages can also help you sample different tools to help you discover the ones that are the most useful for your needs.
While there are a range of affordable social media tools on the market, they are starting to decline in number. Some of the most popular free platforms like Hootsuite and TweetDeck are stopping their free options and charging users subscriptions, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still free and affordable social media marketing tools. Some of the best social media business tools, including Canva and Later, have either free or low-cost options to help you make the most of time-saving features.
Don’t forget that Meta’s own business suite contains different tools to help you manage your accounts, while Twitter can still be used to schedule posts and analyze your performance without having to pay for a blue tick or pro subscription.
Advanced Platforms for Large Enterprises
Large enterprises require additional social media marketing tools to help them manage their online presence. Generally, large enterprises have a huge digital portfolio consisting of multiple accounts and a large advertising budget. Advanced platforms can help cater to the needs of big enterprises, with scalable solutions to help ensure the best results for social media. Some of the biggest benefits of advanced social media management tools include:
- Scalability to help large-scale businesses manage high volumes of content, diverse campaigns and detailed insights.
- Comprehensive analytics that provides in-depth analytics and reporting, allowing detailed insights into channel and campaign performance and audience behavior.
- Large-scale scheduling that allows multiple teams to collaborate and manage complex content calendars, while ensuring social media is managed effectively across the organization.
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to boost customer relations. Combining social media management and CRM systems can ensure a unified approach for both marketing and customer service departments, helping to enhance the sales process and lead to more positive outcomes for customers.
- Advanced security features can help protect sensitive data, which is particularly useful for businesses dealing with high volumes of customers.
Advanced platforms like Sprout Social, Sprinklr and Socialbakers can all provide large enterprises with the tools they need to manage multiple social media accounts with precision and efficiency. These tools are a worthwhile investment, helping you to manage operations in an organized way, while continuing to grow your online social media presence.
While the world of special media is constantly evolving, the right tools can help provide consistent and valuable support for businesses of all sizes. From content creation to detailed analytics, the tools that are available can help you enjoy some big results on social media.
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