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social media tools Do you want to manage social media more efficiently?

Do you have the right tools?

To streamline your approach, you’ll need resources that work well with your business.

In this article I’ll share the best tools to manage and optimize your social media marketing.

14 social media tools

Find 14 tools to streamline your social media marketing.

#1: Find Your Audience

Once you define your target audience(s), find the social media platforms they frequent online.

Here are tools you can use to find your audience across the web.

Followerwonk

My favorite (and free) hidden gem is Followerwonk. Specific to Twitter, this tool allows users to search Twitter bios (or Twitter profiles) by keywords. It helps build influencer lists for engagement at a later time. So if you search “technology editor,” the tool will pick up any profiles mentioning this phrase in an easy-to-consume list for simple identification.

Traackr

An influencer marketing platform, Traackr creates specific lists of influencers and their qualifications, based on the criterion put into the system—whether it’s a region (New York) or topic (chocolate-lover).

influencer search on traackr

Search for influencers on Traackr.

This technology searches all public-facing channels and builds full online profiles for every influencer on the list ranked according to reach, resonance and relevance. In addition, you can identify how to best engage based on the influencer’s content and social footprint.

Traackr’s reporting system helps identify where to focus time and resources. It also has a “share of voice” listening feature, which captures influencers’ content, brand and competitive mentions.

#2: Discover Relevant Content

Once you have your targeted platforms, uncover the types of content most interesting to your audience segments. Seek out, share and create content that’s relevant to your audience.

The following tools support a data-driven content strategy and can help you provide concrete direction to a copywriter for day-to-day content development.

SEMrush

SEMrush is known for paid search insights that help customers identify the phrases that a site ranks for. You can then take those keywords and put them in the copy on your site.

semrush

Research keywords to optimize your content.

Google AdWords Tool

You can also use something like Google AdWords along with or instead of SEMrush for the same purpose.

Moz’s Fresh Web Explorer

Moz’s Fresh Web Explorer tracks the most recent mentions of a keyword, providing insight into social buzz around a brand, topic or other key terms. Track links, chart mentions and monitor mentions over time. This tool is another excellent resource for content-building.

moz fresh web explorer

Track social buzz through keywords.

#3: Manage Workflow/Campaigns

No matter the size of your team, it’s helpful to have a workflow system in place along with tools you can use to make sure all team members are on the same page.

In large organizations, or even in small businesses, when a senior-level employee or owner prefers to approve content developed by a writer, there are various ways to give permissions and create an approval process. Plus, many of these tools have additional features to give your campaigns that extra edge.

Hootsuite

At its simplest (the free option), Hootsuite can be used to upload content and schedule posts in advance. If someone needs to approve content, they can simply login and approve, edit or remove content. Hootsuite also has an enterprise solution with additional social media content management features.

Kapost

Kapost can support complex approval workflows, map specific content to a persona, support the development of complex campaigns and track the journey through a centralized calendar. It has three hyperfocused parts to its framework.

kapost feature

Kapost offers a number of campaign features.

The “Alignment” product focuses on uniting diverse teams (people with varied opinions and goals) and stakeholders with a unified and understandable content operation. Their back-end content catalog makes for simplified referencing, too.

“Accountability,” just like it sounds, enables each individual to be held accountable for his or her role by meeting specific deadlines and assigning roles through a simple workflow interface.

“Insight” provides metrics that can literally inform content strategy by analyzing content performance across channels and the customer journey. This can be used to understand how a brand can connect with its customers in the most fitting way.

Spredfast

Spredfast is fantastic for planning, executing and measuring interactive social media experiences. Having merged with Mass Relevance earlier this year (the technology known for aggregating and displaying social in TV for shows like American Idol and X Factor), the platform boasts four core components.

“Conversations” enable planning and organizing of campaigns, as well as the ability to manage in real time and understand social impact. This component also offers execution of targeted advertising.

“Experiences” enable content visualization to drive engagement through methods such as contests.

experience component on spredfast

This is an example of Spredfast’s “Experience” component for Coca-Cola Zero.

“Spark” provides a way to track topics and identify conversations a brand can engage in, while enabling collaboration through sharing of real-time content and ideas. This is a benefit when multiple marketers are in the mix.

“Intelligence” provides data on demand to uncover conversations that matter to a brand, while identifying volume and velocity.

Thismoment

Thismoment offers features similar to Spredfast, such as facilitation of engagement through methods like social mosaic walls, contest hubs and digital billboards. These are just some of the utilities this comprehensive cross-channel campaign tool offers.

thismoment

Engagement is almost effortless with Thismoment.

“Social Shopping” gives credibility to products and brands based on user-generated content, creating a platform for new customers to explore products their friends have purchased and recommended.

“Event Sponsorships” tell an event story online through a visually stimulating interface, combining live streams, social feeds and even ad units.

Note: For businesses that need to reach new audiences in specific locations, don’t count out the advertising and social management tools within websites from Facebook and Twitter to Foursquare and Yelp. Native advertising within the network itself can often be the simplest way to manage ad campaigns.

#4: Measure Results

Compile the results of your social media efforts at various points throughout your campaigns. That way you can adjust your social initiatives if necessary, and you can also constantly improve your engagement and outreach as you work toward your goals.

When you look to analyze and optimize your social media campaigns, there are two parts to examine: community growth and social listening. If you use the right tools, you can measure both.

Socialbakers

Socialbakers provides a simple way to measure, compare and contrast various social data touch points, such as how your social community grew this month or how brand channels performed against the competition or industry-related organizations.

The site also features a listening platform, which allows for quick exports of conversations happening across social channels based on keywords. It also offers ad analytics management tools to benchmark social ad performance against competitors in a central location.

benchmarks on socialbakers

Socialbakers allows you to compare a variety of benchmarks.

Radian6

Radian6 is a widely known tool for social measurement, and is especially beneficial for its ability to plug into Salesforce (it’s one of their marketing cloud products). If you use the Salesforce CRM, you can use it to track the customer journey across various touch points.

#5: Use Multi-Functional Tools

There are many tools in this crowded space that serve multiple purposes. Find the ones that best serve your needs.

NetBase and Sysomos

NetBase and Sysomos can be used to help find audience platforms and keywords for content, as well as monitor mentions and provide insight into conversations.

sysomos dashboard

The Sysomos dashboard details mentions per channel, and helps with audience platform discovery and analytics.

Among other features, NetBase and Sysomos can also provide insight into which sites’ relevant conversations will support your channel strategy: how audiences are engaging in dialog, in what regions and during which specific time frames. This enables brands to make smarter decisions regarding what, how and when content is published.

TrustRadius

The TrustRadius platform is valuable from a comparison standpoint. Plug in two similar platforms and review the results. Weighing a brand and business need against a tool’s functionality can help discover the right platform. The site’s user reviews will give you real examples of how the platforms you’re exploring are used.

trustradius tool comparison of sprinklr and spredfast

TrustRadius compares different social media tools.

Note: If your company falls into a regulated industry such as finance, healthcare or spirits, in addition you’ll need to consider compliance tools to abide by industry regulations. For example, if you’re a financial advisor, FINRA and the SEC require you record social conversations taking place on brand and partner channels. Tools like Actiance, Erado and Hearsay Social can support this infrastructure and facilitate ongoing monitoring.

Conclusion

Once you have a goal in mind and an audience to target, use tools to increase your efficiency. They’ll help maximize your time, while providing data that’ll help you make the most of your social media campaigns. What you do with these tools (how they are used and how they’ll drive awareness of your brand) is equally as important as the tools you choose.

What do you think? Which social media tools do you use to create, optimize and monitor your social media strategy? Do you use one or a variety of tools? Which one is most beneficial and why? Please share your thoughts and recommendations in the comments.

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  • Excellent article Stephanie!

    Although one may not make the direct connection between social media and press release distribution (the industry we are in), it actually is quite important, particularly when press releases are talked about, shared, etc. through social media channels.

    The tools for streamlining that you have mentioned, most I have heard of (Traccr, Moz, Hootsuite to name a few) and are excellent recommendations, however I certainly did learn of a couple new ones that I will be checking out after… One other excellent tool out of Europe is Buzzsumo (you may have already heard of it) for tracking social interactions.

    A pleasure to read, thank you Stephanie.

    Michael
    24-7 Press Release Newswire

  • Stephanie00

    Hi Michael, Thanks for reading! I couldn’t agree more that there is a strong tie between telling brand story and communicating with media in an
    authentic and meaningful way. Will check out Buzzsumo too. Thanks for sharing! Best, Stephanie

  • Nisa

    Thank you for this valuable information. How can one grow company following on LinkedIn?

  • Stephanie00

    Hi Nisa, Developing a relevant community takes time, though content is the key tool to engagement. I would focus on developing a relevant and compelling content strategy – focused around what is important to your target audience.

  • Tom Pennavaria

    Fantastic list! Couple of new tools I will have to check out. Thanks again!

  • Joe V.

    Nice list! Too bad most of the solutions are for corporate deep pockets and not small business. If you ever want to do a piece on products that do the same or similar things, but which small businesses can actually afford to use, that would be most welcome and super valuable!

  • Lorne Caplan

    Use Instagram to post to Twitter/FB/Google + and Tumblr automatically with track backs and links if you add them in your post automatically. Hootsuite is being spammed by FB and as you likely know, FB has limited the exposure of any timeline post now, unless you can create buzz from it. For small businesses, that is the best answer, otherwise you waste tons of time posting content to social networks, adding content with links and image tags and forget the fundamentals of business, sell you product or service to your constituency, which you can find using tools like Google Adwords, Noble Samurai on a trial and a few others.

  • I really the like idea of comparing social media applications because not all sites are equal! As a writer, I only have so much marketing time. Knowing that Facebook sends me more viewers than Twitter is invaluable information because it lets me make the most of my time. And I know that my marketing efforts aren’t wasted on an audience that has no interest in my message. Thanks for sharing, excellent information!

  • Thanks for the shout-out Stephanie! Socialbakers really stresses benchmarking to stay ahead of the competition. We’ve just become the first company to release benchmarking for Facebook ads.

  • Thanks for the Kapost shoutout, Stephanie! I like a few others here would definitely add Oktopost to the list. It’s a killer product, and quickly improving as well.

  • Oma Beate

    Thanks for all the great info! I used Sprout for a while and really liked it, BUT it gets to be so expensive in monthly fees for small business owners. Social media is only ONE area of business to invest in and it really has to have a return in revenue and not just be social. That is why I stopped.

  • I’d also like to suggest Mondovo which has tools for comparing how well your Facebook and Twitter profiles are doing versus up to 5 different competitors.

  • There is one great
    tool i would like to suggest you among the ones mentioned and that is
    Socialbakers. It has great analytics and some quality reporting system.

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  • sanjana

    All I can say is, if you really want to have a new tool which works to generate a very clear, comparative reports based on graphs and charts, which will help you to monitor and compare hashtags, keywords and profiles of your competitors to track where you lack behind, and help to increase your reach and engagement is Sociota.