MIKE GINGERICH: How to select the right social media management tools for your business

Social media is important for any business’ marketing campaign. However, managing five different platforms while trying to run your business can become overwhelming. It’s probably time for you to consider investing in a social media management tool. Here are just some of the ways that a social media management tool can help your business:

• Identifying influencers with a passion for your brand

• Spotting industry and category trends before they hit mainstream

• Creating engaging content on the right channels and at the right time

• Keeping an eye on competitors

• Guarding your reputation and taking advantage of competitor crisis alerts

• Measuring how you’re doing

With so many great options to choose from in the market, it can be difficult to find exactly what’s right for you and your business. The growth of social media marketing has led to the introduction of different assistants and productivity apps, all of which have varying strengths and features. How do you figure out which tool is going to be ideally suited to meet your needs? Here are the four key factors you should keep in mind when choosing the right social media management tool:

YOUR GOALS AND NEEDS

As you develop tactics and action plans, you need to consider what you actually want to accomplish through your social media presence. Your social media goals and needs will have an impact on your choice of a social media management tool. Some of the common goals that most businesses want to achieve with their social media tools are:

• Get updated and relevant information about social media performance

• Save time spent on social media efforts and manual social media updates

• Increase brand awareness and website traffic

• Increase follower growth and community engagement

• Increase content performance, lead acquisition, and sales

• Promote collaboration between team members

Once you have a clear understanding of what you’re looking to get from a social media management tool, you’ll have a solid foundation to measure your options against.

SCHEDULING AND ENGAGEMENT

No matter what your job entails, it’s impossible to be active on social media at all times. But with social media management tools, you can set a schedule for your social media updates to go live at your chosen times. To make this choice, there are various factors to consider:

Repeat Post: Does the tool allow you to share an important piece of content repeatedly to increase exposure?

Scheduling: Are you able to set a schedule and queue of your social media updates?

Content Curation: To make sure your profiles are active and valuable, you might need to post content from other sources. Some tools can help you with duration functions while others do it automatically.

Engagement: Can you interact with your followers from the tool’s dashboard? Can you like, comment, and share from within it?

Social media management tools that make scheduling easy and hassle-free can save you a lot of time and stress. Read our article on Top 5 Scheduling Tools for more detailed information.

YOUR ‘MUST-HAVE’ FEATURES

You need to determine which features you must have and which ones would be nice to have. Here’s one way to make this decision:

Must-have features: If the social media tool does not support function X, we won’t be able to execute our marketing strategy and achieve our goals.

Nice-to-have features: If the tool has Y features, we may use that at some point.

Lots of tools add on options that don’t really do much for the user but sound great. If you’re not careful when comparing the tool, you’ll be left with features that are more of a distraction than informative and necessary for your business. Because most tools don’t meet every social media management need, you may want to find one that offers easy integration with other tools, to allow you more flexibility.

ANALYTICS AND REPORTING

Do you know how your business is performing across all your social media platforms? When choosing a social media management tool, consider its analytics features and what type of reporting functions it offers. You may want to use the tool to check on engagement, follower growth, content performance, and publishing analytics. Before picking a tool, make sure it provides all the data you will need to track your social media marketing campaigns. It can also be useful to have a tool that automatically presents reports of your performance over some time.

Social media management tools are an investment worth making, especially in this digital age.

Mike Gingerich is president of Digital Hill Multimedia (www.DigitalHill.com), a Goshen web design, web software and social media marketing firm. He is also a consultant and author of the book, Game Plan for Social Media Lead Generation. Find out more at www.MikeGingerich.com/book.

Mike Gingerich is president of Digital Hill Multimedia (www.DigitalHill.com), a Goshen web design, web software and social media marketing firm. He is also a consultant and author of the book, Game Plan for Social Media Lead Generation. Find out more at www.MikeGingerich.com/book.

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