92% of marketers say social media marketing is a crucial part of their marketing strategy. This is because social media marketing gives businesses a level platform to help you scale your business, even if you're just a startup.
That doesn't mean to say that social media marketing is perfect. It's not. In fact, many startups struggle with creating and implementing a social media marketing campaign as part of their inbound marketing strategy.
For starters, there are different social media channels you can use. Each has its own unique set of features and rules of engagement, so there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach. What works well in one social media channel may be damaging in another.
Another reason is the constantly shifting landscape of each social media channel. Facebook, for example, has dramatically changed the layout for personal profiles and business pages several times in the past couple years. They also continually update their algorithms, making it harder for organic posts uploaded by brands in their respective Facebook pages to show up on news feeds.
But the biggest challenge when doing social media marketing is effectively engaging with their target audience.
Part of what makes this goal extremely challenging is the fact that time and money are finite sources, especially among startups. The steps you need to do to launch an effective social media marketing campaign plus doing other inbound marketing strategies, and actually focusing on the core business processes can be overwhelming for a startup with limited financial and human resources.
Enter social media marketing automation.
Simply put, social media marketing automation is the process of using software to automate various tasks and processes involved in launching an effective social media marketing campaign. These include scheduling posts at specific days and times, curating quality content to share, and even kickstart their buyer’s journey.
There are many benefits of automating social media and other marketing tasks. Perhaps the most significant is its ability to free up time. One study shows that 20% of marketers spend half of their time at work publishing posts and engaging with your business' audience on social media. Automating specific processes within your social media marketing campaign can decrease the time you and your team spend here, and more time to focus on the critical core processes of your business.
Finding the right social media management tool
Automating repetitive and low-priority tasks play an integral part in your startup's ability to scale. It's not surprising to find many tools and platforms you can use. In fact, finding the right tools to automate and manage your social media marketing campaigns can be an overwhelming task in on itself.
That said, here are three things that you need to consider to help you find the right social media automation tool to your in your startup.
Define your goals
Take a moment to review the goals you and your team initially set for your social media marketing campaign. Doing this will help you decide which tasks you can automate, and give you a clearer idea of what kind of automation software you'll need to achieve this goal.
Write down the must-have features
Nothing can be more frustrating than buying one only to find that it doesn't do the tasks you consider to be the most critical.
To make sure that you choose the automation tool or app that best matches your needs, make sure to ask the following questions:
- What tasks take a lot of time, yet hardly gives you any ROI?
- Which social networks will you be using?
- How in-depth do you want your analytics to be?
- Will you be using sponsored posts in your social media marketing campaigns?
- How easy is it going to be to add new team members, manage workflows, approve posts, and even communicate with them
- Does it integrate with other tools and apps? If so, what apps do they integrate with?
Do your research
Once you have your list down, you can now begin searching for tools and apps you can use for your startup. Here are three of the best places to explore your options.
Many of the reviews you'll find here feature a walkthrough of the entire platform or app, giving you a feel for the platform or app, and see if it's an excellent fit for your startup.
At the same time, you can check for tutorials and troubleshooting videos. Not only would these be helpful in the future, but also give you an insight into the full potential the platform or app provides.
Capterra is where you can read through honest reviews written by actual users of the automation software you’re considering. You also can find here in-depth details about the software, some of which are not readily available on their website like their approximate pricing.
Quora is a Q&A forum site where you can ask the community for suggestions and recommendations for automation software based on your needs.
Of course, even with all these options, finding the right social media management tool can still be tedious. That's why I've put together this list of 25 different social media management tools ranked in no particular order. I chose these based on recommendations made by highly successful entrepreneurs, social media marketing influencers, and my own personal experience.
25 top social media management tools
HootSuite is a dashboard that lets you schedule social posts in batches to different social media channels quickly by uploading the information in CSV format. You can also choose view sections of each social media account (called "streams") that you want to monitor closely, whether it's comments left on your timeline or private messages sent by your target audience.
HootSuite has its own Chrome extension to help you post curated content as you find them.
Buffer is another platform that lets you schedule your social media posts in advance across different channels. It has its own browser extension that you can use to collect and curate content on the web.
Buffer's dashboard provides detailed analytics of your social media channels. That way, you can see which channels are giving you the best results. It also lets you upload videos and GIFs, and even create your own images using its built-in image creator.
eClincher is the social media management platform I personally use in my business. One of the things I really like about this is that it not only allows me to curate posts online with its Chrome extension and Pocket, but also give me suggestions on what pieces of content are trending across the web and social media channels for my niche.
The dashboard fully integrates with ZenDesk so you can open and resolve tickets without leaving it. This feature comes in very handy since engagement is the heart and soul of any successful social media marketing campaign.
Another thing that I like about eClincher is that it lets you repost content you've previously shared in your social media channels. This is a great feature to use when you're running a campaign, or you just need something to fill in the gap.
CoSchedule's dashboard allows you to create a unified workflow within a collaborative, cross-functional calendar. That way, you can create a social schedule that ties into your entire inbound marketing strategy nicely. You can also create a pre-defined social sharing plan that you can use over and over again, so you don't have to keep filling your queue manually.
One of the unique, and helpful, features of CoSchedule is the Best Time Scheduling. Each social media channel has its own distinct optimum times for posting. This function takes out all the guesswork on figuring out when is the best time to schedule your posts to get the most views and engagement from your audience.
Another is the Team Progress Report. With this, you can monitor how each of your marketing team members is performing, and do follow-ups to those who are trailing behind schedule.
Providing quality content is one of the critical pillars of a successful social media marketing campaign. That said, BuzzSumo is a helpful research tool where you can find which types of content are resonating the most with your target audience.
It also gives you a content analysis for a specific domain. This feature not only lets you analyze how your content is performing. More important, you can study your competitors' content, and find the top-performing ones so you can implement these on your site.
BuzzSumo is also a great tool to use for creating influencer marketing campaigns. It gives you a list not only of the key influencers within your niche, but also the channels where they're most active as well as the types of content they're most likely to share.
Crowdfire is a mobile app that serves as a handy guide to help you reach your social media marketing goals. It gives suggestions for posts and tasks that you can do each day based on your set goal. That way, you eliminate the guesswork as to what type of content will resonate best with your target audience.
7. Post Planner
Post Planner is simple, yet robust, social media platform that lets you optimize and schedule posts for each of your social media accounts, recycle previously published evergreen content so maximize reach and engagement, and find high-quality content to curate and share with your audience.
One of the great things about Post Planner is that it uses a drag and drop dashboard, making it so much easier to schedule your posts. Post Planner also provides you an in-depth analytics report that breaks down the engagement received by each of the posts you published on your social media accounts based on likes, comments, shares, and clicks.
8. Sprout Social
Collaboration is essential to any successful social media campaign. Sprout Social’s social media management platform that comes with a diverse range of tools that will help you and your team in every stage of your social media marketing campaign, from planning all the way to analyzing its performance.
Sprout Social's platform easily integrates with Zendesk and UserVoice CRMs so you can track and manage customer support inquiries and concerns on your different social media channels.
Zapier helps you manage different workflows within your business by automating various processes to keep your business running. By automating these procedures, you can now focus on the core business processes crucial to bringing in revenue.
10. HubSpot Social Media Tools
The HubSpot Social Media Tools is a great accompaniment to the HubSpot CRM. It efficiently lets you schedule your social media posts so about your newest content even if it’s not yet live. That way, you’re able to share your latest blog post or article with your followers the minute it goes live.
At the same time, it allows you to monitor social interactions coming from those that are already part of your database by setting a trigger to alert members of your sales team the moment they mention a specific hashtag or keyword, so you don’t miss the opportunity to engage and convert your leads.
Formerly known as TweetLater, SocialOomph started out as a scheduling tool exclusively for Twitter.
Although it's free version still focuses on giving you an efficient way to schedule tweet to go out at optimum days and times, its premium version now includes scheduling features for Facebook and LinkedIn. It also allows you to remove outdated and unrelated posts from both Twitter and Facebook.
With many startups working with teams scattered in different parts of the world, it can be quite tedious to get everyone on the same page. Bynder significantly streamlines time-intensive tasks by automating different workflows within your content process. At the same time, it provides both a storage and editing hub for all your content. That way, you and your team can easily access these to either upload on your website or share on your different social media accounts.
Source: Meet Edgar
MeetEdgar is another tool I use for social media marketing automation and content marketing. It helps extend the reach and value of your content by automatically resharing your content in intervals.
One of the most useful features here is the in-app click tracking feature, which gives you an insight whether the links of your posts on social media are being clicked by your audience.
Another is its auto-expiring content feature. As its name suggests, this lets you set a post to expire on your different social media channel. It's beneficial when running promos or specials for your products. Not only does this prevent your followers feeling misled, but also saves you to trouble of having to take these down manually.
IFTTT works very much like Zapier in that it gets the different platforms, tools, and apps you’re using for your business to talk to each other by creating tasks called recipes. The difference between the two is that IFTTT is that you're not limited to a web-based interface. IFTTT has its own app that allows you to automate various tasks on your mobile device.
15. Agora Pulse
Agora Pulse is a comprehensive social media marketing management platform that does a great job in helping you increase engagement within your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts. Its dashboard efficiently picks up every comment left on each of your accounts and displays them in your inbox, especially those from angry customers and clients. That way, you can quickly engage with your followers and visitors, and remedy the situation.
The analytics Agora Pulse provides is comprehensive. It gives you a breakdown of the engagement your posts are getting, ROI analysis, and profiles of your average fans. These help you refine and enhance your social media marketing strategy.
All the analytics you get can easily be converted into PowerPoint slides, making it a lot easier for you to create your reports you'll be presenting to your boss.
16. Sprinklr Social Cloud
Sprinklr Social Cloud is a platform designed to help you automate social publishing and streamline team collaboration through the use of customizable workflows and shared calendars.
It also keeps you updated on key trends that can affect your brand and industry directly or indirectly. At the same time, it also helps you track your brand's reputation online by gathering historical and real-time data so you can take immediate action when necessary.
This is an essential management tool to have in your arsenal if you're focusing your social media marketing efforts on Instagram and Pinterest.
Tailwind lets you schedule several pins or grams at once with its bulk upload feature. It has a browser extension compatible with Chrome, Safari, and Firefox that you can use to curate content and share on your Pinterest boards. This tool also helps you monitor the reputation of your brand and products online as well as give you in-depth analytics of your ROI.
Oktopost is a marketing platform that features a host of tools you can use to automate and manage your social media marketing campaigns.
It also helps you discover trending content online that your followers will appreciate, and keep track of what they are saying about your brand and products across the web.
Scoop.it is both a content creating and curating platform to help you produce high-quality content for your site's blog and social media accounts. At the same time, it's a research tool that helps you quickly discover high performing content and predictive insights based on your chosen keywords. It even recommends keywords for you to consider using based on your specific niche.
Feedly is a simple, yet beneficial, content curation tool that helps you stay updated on the latest posts from highly reputable sites within your niche so that you can share these on your social media accounts.
What's great about this is that it quickly integrates with many of the social media management platforms mentioned on this list, so it's easier to schedule when these will be shared on your different social media profiles.
dlvr.it is a tool that automatically shares your latest blog post to your different social media accounts as soon as it goes live.
Its EverQueue feature recycles previously published posts and content to your different social media accounts. This helps fill in gaps within your social media calendar, extend your post's reach, and increase engagement.
Iconosquare provides in-depth analytics of the performance of your Instagram account and posts by giving you historical and real-time data of your posts and the engagement it received.
It has a built-in search engine that lets you find influencers within your niche and tools to help you connect with them so that you can grow your own network for your influencer marketing campaigns.
For those looking for a complete, efficient, and affordable all-in-one inbound marketing software, this fits the bill.
Sumo is a comprehensive platform that provides a suite of tools to help you launch and implement your inbound marketing campaign. You can create pop-up opt-ins and landing pages that you can integrate with most email marketing providers.
As far as social media marketing goes, Sumo's highlighter tools allow visitors to quickly share bits and pieces of your content on Twitter and Facebook, and your images on Pinterest complete with a link back to your article.
24. Salesforce Social Studio
Salesforce Social Studio is a platform that quickly gathers data and feedback about your brand and products across the web and in your different social media channels. It also provides a host of features and tools to help you approve and schedule posts created by your marketing team, respond to comments, manage your social media communities, and even provide customer support.
Spredfast is a robust social media marketing software that provides you with in-depth social data and analytics that will help you make better decisions when creating your campaigns. The dashboard gives your team a central hub where you can plan, develop, implement, and monitor your social media campaign to provide your target audience with valuable content and build relationships with them.These are but a handful of the many different social media marketing management tools you can use to manage and streamline your campaigns. Have you tried using any of these? Is there a tool, platform or app that you believe should be on this list? Share them in the comments below.