2015 GOALS : Get Control

Social Media Management Software (SMMS)

by Bill Nolan

Now that you’ve finally realized social media is here to stay and that it could potentially benefit your business, let me give you some tips on how to manage your new accounts. You may be saying to yourself that you don’t need help right? You were all gung-ho starting these accounts, right? And yes, you may have kept them active for awhile, but as many businesses realize it is not as easy as it sounds.

Finding time on a daily basis to make posts across all of your social media accounts takes time, time that many people who run a business just don’t have. And as I have said countless times before, inactive business accounts that float around in limbo create a negative impression for that business. But don’t worry, there are some tools out there to help lighten your load. Keep in mind that you will still need to create the informative content needed to post. Although these tools are nice to have, I don’t recommend that you use them exclusively. Remember that no posting tool, regardless of how well it works, can beat an individual that is personally liking, sharing, and interacting with their fan bases on each network’s needs. Not to mention that personally and frequently monitoring your accounts for security reasons is essential to your business. Let’s avoid some embarrassment here… I’ll save that for another blog.

SMMS

 

With all of that in mind, here’s a glimpse at a few tools that may keep you from pulling out your hair in frustration…

Hootsuite
hootsuite.com

10 million people can’t be wrong. It is the most widely used social media management tool. Whether you have a small business or a Fortune 500 company, Hootsuite has a plan for you. Depending on the options that you select, here’s what you have in store… access for up to 10 team members, the ability to manage up to 100 social profiles, tips and advice, detailed analytics reports, scheduling of up to 350 messages, and much more.

Trust me, don’t get overwhelmed by all those numbers and just see $$$ flashing. They have a free version that lets you manage up to 3 profiles and is great for personal use or to do a trial for business. If you need a little more juice – the pro plan, ideal for business, is available from about $10/month. Imagine scheduling or posting your messages across multiple platforms all at once! But wait, there’s more…

SproutSocial
sproutsocial.com

If it’s good enough for global brands such as Nokia, McDonald’s, Pepsi, and UPS, it will likely prove useful to your business as well. A couple of the great features… the Smart Inbox provides you with every message from all of your profiles so you can quickly engage with those users, and the ability to monitor your keywords with analytics that show you which ones are working and those that don’t. Live activity updates prevent you from embarrassingly responding to the same messages multiple times, and the ability to quickly view trending topics, hashtags, and influencers across all of your platforms will help your business stay ahead of the game. And that is just a taste of what this system has to offer…

A little pricier than Hootsuite, SproutSocial starts out at around $60/month. It allows you to manage up to 10 profiles with the capability of scheduling posts across these networks, and gives you access to the Smart Inbox. This one definitely has the power of analytics behind it!

Buffer
bufferapp.com

This is a very popular platform for managing social accounts, primarily due to its ease of use and reasonable cost. Buffer lets you effortlessly share your posts across all of the networks. For a small monthly fee you are able to schedule unlimited posts, add up to 12 starting profiles and allow two different team members access to it. The analytics show engagement and reach on your posts which is also a plus. This system is used by small to large size companies everywhere.

They have a wide range of plans from about $10 – $250 per month. Just to give you an idea, $50/month allows you to manage 25 profiles, enable access to 5 team members, unlimited scheduled posts, analytics reports and a lot more.

Socialoomph
socialoomph.com

This SMMS can do it all. Thoroughly handle your Twitter account by tweeting, following your new followers while ignoring the spam accounts, and direct message those new followers if you so choose. Socialoomph will also post to all of your other accounts including groups and company pages. This platform will even allow you to schedule and publish your blog posts. Another very intriguing feature is the drip feed aspect, in which you create a “reservoir” of posts and and Socialoomph will slowly trickle them into your news feed, with no scheduling required. And the list goes on!

A free version is available, but if you manage more than a Twitter account it is time to ante up. If you want to be a player and experience the full potential of Socialoomph, you can expect to pay about $40/month. Definitely worth looking into.

Edgar
meetedgar.com

It claims to be a scheduling tool like no other. You create a catalogue of posts and it decides on when the best times are to make those posts. It does it for you. However, considering that even a slight problem with the systems algorithm could cause issues with posting times… I don’t know if I would give it that much power. Sure, you can manually schedule the posts, but in that case many of the other programs I’ve covered offer more features. I would give this tool a little more time to evolve before going all in. Hey, that’s just me!

Works with most of the social networks, and the plans start at about $50/month.

Obviously this is only a sampling of the social media management software that is out there, but there is definitely one that will suit most of your needs. The first step is to pinpoint exactly what you will use it for. There is NO ONE SIZE FITS ALL HERE. Do not get lost in all of the features. Do your research to find the best fit. Take some time to try out the free versions. Some are more appropriate for handling a single, personal account. Others are geared towards managing a myriad of business profiles on multiple platforms. Having trouble deciding? Let a professional social media manager do the legwork and get your accounts set up the best way for you.

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