The Hit List: The Twenty Best Social Media Marketing Systems
Social media marketing is an increasingly legitimate way for customers to engage with your business. Your fans may discover new events and products, submit inquiries, or leave product or service feedback on social media channels like Facebook and Twitter.
Despite the increasing number of customers turning to social media to shop, ask questions, or lodge complaints, most brands fail to manage these engagements professionally. Only one fifth of consumer comments on social media get a brand response and that response takes, on average, 11 hours . Like in other aspects of your business, your presence on social media must be organized, timely, coordinated, and professional. It’s a major task, but don’t despair. Whether you are responding to fan engagement(s) or launching an advertising campaign on social media, a social media management system can keep that looming Facebook migraine at bay. We dug through the net’s most buzzworthy social media management systems to hand you these twenty gems guaranteed to improve the efficiency and efficacy of your future social media engagements. Our selections are organized by category and ranked by effectiveness.
1. Hootsuite is social media management’s undisputed top contender and the most widely implemented management system. Its online dashboard interface supports simultaneous surveillance of over 150 social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Reddit, Tumblr, and YouTube. Hootsuite users can manage and schedule updates across all networks, monitor and delegate brand interactions with fans, and gage fan response through integration with Google Analytics and Facebook Insights.
PROS: SocialFlow is an expert at analyzing online traffic (just look at its client list). Even perfect content can be overlooked if a fan isn’t using social media when a business posts it. SocialFlow takes scheduling to the next level in order to prevent this from happening.
PROS: With Hootsuite, businesses can synchronize campaigns across all social networks and harmonize interactions when multiple brand representatives are responding to fans. Because it is the most popular management system, it boasts an impressive list of integrated networks.
CONS: Hootsuite is meant to synchronize many posts, not maximize the value of every post. It is slow to adopt new, network specific design functions (until May of this year, for example, it didn’t support pic.twitter to embed images) and, therefore, its usefulness lags when it comes to emerging functions.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Businesses with a high volume of social media traffic and a social media strategy spread over multiple networks
PRICE POINT: Hootsuite basic for personal use (up to three profiles) is free. Hootsuite Pro for small businesses (up to 100 profiles) costs $10/month and up. Hootsuite Enterprise for large businesses (unlimited profiles) is available on a quote by quote basis.
2. Buffer is a social media management system that integrates Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest. Their stripped down, intuitive online interface includes a Chrome extension that makes sharing websites (even on a posting schedule) incredibly convenient. Buffer is, primarily, a scheduling tool. Its users can create daily posting schedules and long post queues so that, even if a business is not always actively monitoring social networks, it has a constant presence on them.
PROS: Buffer is a simple, easy-to-master, and inexpensive system that boasts the net’s best scheduling tool. Users can, for example, create and schedule tweets with one convenient click of the Chrome extension.
CONS: Buffer lacks the powerful dashboard, long list of integrated networks, and cross-network analytics of more comprehensive systems.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Businesses with a laissez-faire social media strategy (i.e. a representative is not always on social media) that would still like to maintain a constant presence on their choice social networks
PRICE POINT: The Buffer Individual Plan for personal use (one profile for each of four networks) is free. The Buffer Awesome Plan (up to 10 profiles) costs $10/month. Buffer Business for small businesses (up to 150 profiles) costs $50 to $250/month. Buffer Enterprise for large businesses (unlimited profiles) costs $300/month and up.
3. Sprout Social is a highly organized and comprehensive social media manager. Its online dashboard interface supports simultaneous surveillance of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ accounts. Sprout Social users can send/respond to messages and publish posts across multiple accounts on the manager. The manager also supports scheduling (including daily post schedules and auto-queuing) and conducts sophisticated analytics of each client’s fans to deduce optimal engagement times.
PROS: On every level, Sprout Social is a professional management tool. From its well-organized interface to its reliable customer support, Sprout Social is a premium service in every sense of the word.
CONS: Sprout Social lacks integration with social networks outside of the big four of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. While many businesses aren’t present on other social networks anyway, Sprout Social does not support complex social media strategies over diverse platforms.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Businesses with a social media strategy concentrated on/exclusive to a few major social networks
4. MavSocial is a comprehensive system that is particularly useful for posting visual content (both image and video) to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ (YouTube), and Tumblr. MavSocial boasts superior visual content management that includes a built-in photo editor, access to a database of over 70 million royalty-free images, and in-stream viewing on Twitter and Facebook. It also includes more basic social media management features like post scheduling.
PROS: MavSocial is ideal for discovering, editing, and publishing visual content on social media. Its focus on image and video give the system special relevance in today’s veritable ocean of social media management tools.
CONS: Although MavSocial boasts powerful visual content features, it does not offer anything exceptional in terms of scheduling, engaging with fans, or analytics.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Businesses that often share their visually appealing products or advertisements on social media
PRICE POINT: MavSocial Small Business Edition (up to 50 profiles) is free. MavSocial Enterprise & Agency Solutions (unlimited profiles) is available by quote.
BEST FOR BEGINNERS
1. Sendible is a comprehensive social media management system that integrates the net’s largest social networks including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google+. Sendible’s online dashboard is a single interface for all the user’s accounts. It combines messages and feeds from multiple social networks and assigns them priority based on their content. The system is also integrated with blogging platforms, DropBox, and design service Canva. Sendible analyses all account activity to suggest positive changes to the user’s social media strategy.
PROS: Sendible is a polished and professional management system that aids beginners by suggesting concrete strategy changes instead of presenting raw data. Because it is integrated with blogging and document storage platforms, it seamlessly shares information between those platforms and social media.
CONS: Sendible does do more than Hootsuite, but not enough more to justify the price difference for most users.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Businesses that, perhaps, lack social media experts and are looking for guidance from their management system
2. Komfo is an easy to use social media management system and analytics tool that serves as a beginners’ guide for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram advertising as well as for social media discovery, publishing, monitoring, and analysis across multiple networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Google+, to be exact). Komfo puts particular focus on optimizing its users’ paid advertising, a unique approach in social media management. Although Komfo is easy to use, its comprehensive features are still powerful enough to make it a complete, mature system.
PROS: Features dedicated to paid advertising set Komfo apart from other social media management systems. Komfo’s integrated dashboard makes it easy to compare paid advertising campaigns across networks.
CONS: Komfo’s handholding interface can be off-putting for experienced social media management professionals.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Businesses that are new to social media marketing, but want a complete management system
PRICE POINT: Komfo Free Tool is, of course, free. It includes basic Facebook analytics without the bells or whistles of a pay plan. Contact Komfo for a quote for their Professional, Enterprise, and Unlimited plans.
3. Likeable Hub is a social media dashboard that integrates Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. It includes features like auto-repeat of successful posts in order to maximize the exposure of your best content, smart paid advertising on Facebook, and auto-posting of industry specific content. Likeable Hub also generates unique content for clients as part of its Pro plan.
PROS: Likeable Hub is easy to use and great for beginners seeking guidance from their management system. Likeable is unique in that it integrates content generation into its system.
CONS: Likeable Hub is designed with beginners in mind, sometimes to a fault. The dashboard, for example, only integrates Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, making it useless for businesses with more diverse social media marketing strategies. Growing businesses may find that they eventually outgrow the capabilities of Likeable Hub.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Small businesses that want to be successful on social media and would prefer someone else do the heavy lifting
BEST FOR EXPERTS
1. Social Studio is popular marketing software Salesforce’s social media manager for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Instagram. The system balances engagement and customer service (namely managing complaints lodged over social media) for a complete management system that addresses all the ways customers use social media to interact with a business. Business management is Social Studio’s strong point; the system is designed for use by marketing teams whose members vary in location, specialty, and hierarchy.
PROS: Social Studio has the trusted Salesforce brand name behind it. Social Studio draws from Salesforce’s expertise and deep pockets for marked, continuous improvement.
CONS: Because Social Studio is newer to the social media management game than other established systems, it is more likely to have bugs/flukes that haven’t yet been reported. Users complain that the “sentiment” tool, for example, is unreliable.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Salesforce users with powerful marketing teams looking for a system integrated with their current marketing software
2. Spredfast is a social media management system with features that allow businesses to create inorganic buzz around their products through the use of multiple, brand-managed profiles interacting with each other. Although this is possible with other systems, Spredfast is the most streamlined way to have profiles “discuss” products with one another and to have brand content go “viral” across all brand-managed profiles. It is integrated with a selection of social networks – including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest – and with marketing software like Salesforce.
PROS: Spredfast is used by a number of well-known brands to kick start the spread of viral content. Its features include auto-sharing of content across multiple, linked profiles for easy and efficient campaign deployment.
CONS: Spredfast is a powerful tool, but its capabilities are not exceptionally useful to businesses with simple, organic social media marketing strategies. Its price point also puts it out of reach for small businesses with limited marketing budgets.
RECOMMENDED FOR: Marketing agencies or enterprises with a marketing strategy that depends on content going viral
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