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In today’s  Internet-driven world, any business that wants to be taken seriously, get noticed, generate more leads, increase brand awareness, and ultimately score more conversions needs to make the most of every online opportunity available to them. However, social media can be very  labor-intensive. It also spans multiple diverse tasks, ranging from data-based activities such as monitoring analytics to creative jobs like graphic design. It’s not easy finding the necessary skills and workforce required to implement an effective social media strategy, so you need social media software to help you out.

What Is Social Media Software?

Social media software is a suite of tools that successfully facilitates an organization’s ability to engage in social media across different communication channels. Social media management software allows businesses to connect multiple social media accounts, monitor, manage, and analyze interactions from a single dashboard. This is beneficial for organizations that need to manage their brand presence on different platforms. It’s also useful for agencies that manage social profiles for many customers. Some examples of social media software are:

  • Social network services (members that communicate about shared interests, like hobbies).
  • Chat rooms.
  • Internet forums.
  • Wikis (Web pages that allow editing by audiences).
  • Web blogs.
  • Instant messaging.
  • Email.

Image via Flickr by Shahid Abdullah

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Software specializing in social media customer service will provide a shared inbox where service reps or employees can view all customer inquiries and interactions across social channels. This provides businesses with a unified view of customer engagement with their brand online. Companies may choose to use more than a one-point solution to manage their social media activities or invest in a more comprehensive social media management software.

Do I Need Social Media Software?

Most businesses get to a point where they need to decide if they should invest in social media software. Generally, this is once they’re active on a couple of networks and are starting to become astonished by the intricacy of managing them. Does this sound familiar? If so, social media management software can be a great investment. Social media software doesn’t necessarily do all of the work for you, but it makes your life a lot easier.

Benefits of Social Media Software

Most businesses have yet to discover the latest social media management software, its benefits, and its functionalities. In this section, we’ll help you develop an understanding of the major benefits of using this software.

Enhanced Customer Engagement

Every customer is unique and important to businesses. Therefore, businesses cannot afford to lose them at any cost. That is why you always want to keep track of every client, their interactions, and their needs and demands. This is an arduous task, but it’s possible with the help of social media management software.

Support Collaboration

A powerful social media management software can help you streamline your task of monitoring and responding to your audiences. In addition, it can help you to be more organized and clear your inbox.

Analyze Performance

To plan a future course of action, it’s essential to study posts to learn what didn’t work and what  worked. Powerful social media software helps at this phase and provides you with comprehensive insight into the industry, which helps you improve your marketing strategy in an aligned manner.

Improved Efficiency

Utilizing a social scheduler gives you peace of mind knowing that the social media calendar is already scheduled to post on the time and date of your choosing. At the same time, you can concentrate on other pressing activities.

Choosing the Best Social Media Marketing Tool

Some social media software can be used across platforms, while others are designed for specific platforms. So, choose your tools based on your overall goals and the nature of your business. For instance, do you want to spread the reach of your content and increase engagement across all channels? Well, a comprehensive tool might be ideal for you. Or, do you want to improve on a specific platform? Then, go for a tool that’s specific to the platform you’re trying to improve.

What Makes a Great Social Media Management Tool?

Looking for the best social media management tool to help you save time while managing your social media marketing efforts? Well, our best advice is to be selective as there are many to choose from, but it’s important to go for a tool that makes sense for your needs. The following are several key features that make a great social media management tool:

Quick Reporting and Analytics

Your social media management software should allow you to export reports on the data that has been gathered. Always look for speedy reporting and analytics to share with your customers or team. Use reporting to make smart, informed decisions about your social media strategy.

Excellent Scheduling for Posts

Social media post scheduling is very important. Scheduling posts early on can help you concentrate on generating quality content and engagement rather than manual posting.

Monitoring and Listening

You need to know the social buzz around your brand, your industry, and your competitors. Through social media monitoring and listening, you can monitor and assess what’s being said about your industry, brand, and competition. You can look for common trends in moods and reactions and look for opportunities to endorse your products.

Integration

Every social media management software should allow you to integrate with the major social media networks, including Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, as well as updates from the news.

Alerts

Alerts come in handy when there is a sudden influx of mentions or emergencies. Being alerted to such events will definitely help your team to react and get to the bottom of customer concerns in a timely fashion.

The 11 Best Social Media Management Software of 2021

To recap briefly, some of the undeniable benefits of social media management tools include streamlining your workflows and ensuring your content reaches the right audience in a timely fashion. But how do you choose which product to use? With so many exceptional social media software out there, we thought it would be great to review some of the best ones to help you pick what’s most suitable for your business.

1. Best Overall: Sprout Social

Sprout Social is one of the most comprehensive and biggest social media management software. Their products include social listening, engagement monitoring, reporting and analytics, post publishing, and scheduling. In addition, Sprout Social is one of the few social media software that offers customer relationship management (CRM) features — having a full profile of your clients helps you build stronger relationships with them and serve them better. Collectively, these useful tools provide a comprehensive experience for managing not only your social media game but also your online presence as a whole. Sprout Social is available for the needs of different organizational sizes, including agencies, small businesses, and enterprises.

2. Best for Analytics: Hootsuite

Hootsuite is an innovator as a social media management tool. It was initially intended as an in-house solution when no other social media software existed. So, if you’re on the hunt for a solution to all of your social media management requirements, Hootsuite will cover all your bases. One of its most powerful areas is analytics. The tool helps you understand social results by drawing on metrics to measure performance. It’s also excellent for scheduling posts, monitoring multiple social media simultaneously, managing customer service, and social media listening. Hootsuite is compatible with multiple social networks, including Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook. In addition, Hootsuite has a Chrome browser extension and mobile apps.

3. Best All-in-One Tool: Zoho

Zoho stands out as an all-in-one tool companies can benefit from to track the social aspects of their business in a single place while managing their webinars, accounting, projects, and email. Zoho also provides tools that make it easier to collaborate, monitor, schedule, plan, and analyze social media campaigns and posts. It’s a user-friendly, web-based solution. Zoho also has a mobile app for iOS and Android devices. Its reporting tools are efficient, allowing businesses to examine social media campaign results quickly. In addition, Zoho is affordable, particularly for growing businesses.

4. Best for Automation: MeetEdgar

MeetEdgar is the smartest way to help businesses manage and promote their products on social media. Simply put, it is a social media automation tool. The platform can optimize posts, automate schedules, and much more. Its organizational tools are intuitive and streamlined for easy management. Everything from collecting images and text to scheduling content is as simple as clicking a button. With MeetEdgar, you can schedule your social media posts on a weekly and daily basis. It’ll reduce your manual work and save you valuable time. MeetEdgar works with YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Linkedin, Twitter, and Facebook.

5. Best for Large Team Collaboration: Loomly

Loomly is ideal for large team collaboration owing to its comprehensive plans for teams of about 26 people. All plans also come with core features like analytics, automated publishing, post preview, audience targeting, and more. This social media management tool even integrates with analytics tools and social ad features. So, you can utilize it as part of a bigger marketing strategy. With Loomly, you can manage Snapchat, TikTok, Google My Business, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Loomly is among the best social media management software best suited for businesses and agencies.

6. Best Integration: Sendible

Based on the number of social media platforms you can integrate it with, Sendible is by far the best tool for integration. As a Sendible client, you can integrate with up to 26 different social media platforms, including Slack, Google Drive, Google Analytics, Canva, Tumblr, Medium, WordPress, YouTube, Pinterest, Google My Business, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and so much more.

7. Best Budget Option: Buffer

Buffer is an inexpensive, streamlined, intuitive social media management tool trusted by people, agencies, businesses, and brands to help drive results and meaningful engagement on social media. Even better, their plans start at just $15 per month, and their most expensive plan only costs $99 per month. Buffer even has a free plan that you can move to once you’ve completed your free trial with the software, which lets you create 10 scheduled posts and access three social channels. In addition, the free version can be integrated with Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

8. Best for Small Teams: SocialPilot

SocialPilot is a completely integrated social media software suitable for medium-sized businesses or digital agencies that manage multiple social media accounts or many customers. If your staff mainly focuses on creating workflows with custom reporting for clientele, collaboration tools, and permission settings, SocialPilot is your best bet. Additionally, SocialPilot is ideal for small teams since their lowest-tier Professional plan allows three users.

9. Best for Managing Instagram Business Accounts: Iconosquare

Iconosquare provides deep management of Instagram accounts. While Twitter and Facebook integrations are available, it’s the Instagram features that sets Iconosquare apart from other tools. This social media software provides insights into your Instagram account that few other software can match. Iconosquare uses a modernized, responsive dashboard that feels like it has been designed with the Instagram generation in mind. The analytics area of Iconosquare’s dashboard is complete with graphs that show you relevant trends and statistics about your social media accounts, which help you analyze, publish, and monitor visual content on social media.

10. Best for Managing Pinterest Accounts: Tailwind

Tailwind remains undisputed in the world of Pinterest scheduling. However, the tool now also supports Instagram. Excellent for online businesses and bloggers, this tool can quickly simplify the processes involved in social media marketing. Users can access features such as post scheduling, monitoring conversations, and analyzing results. Additionally, with shortcut features like hashtag lists, Pin looping, multiple board pinning, drag-and-drop calendar, and bulk image upload, users can save resources with quick turnaround times. And with analytics and insights, users understand what’s not working and what is.

11. Best for Cheap (or Free) Visual Social Media Marketing: Later

What sets Later apart from other social media scheduling tools is that it has a free forever plan that’s powerful enough for multiple small businesses. It began as a social media posting tool intended solely for Instagram as the leading social media channel. However, it has advanced into a visual calendar integrating most social media networks. Later focuses mainly on visual planning. It also provides an analytics feature to improve your content planning.

How To Compare Social Media Marketing Software

Finding a social media management software to stick with is a challenging task. And, it’s even more challenging to decide which tool is the most desirable solution for your needs and easier on the pocket. If you’re a digital marketing professional, you already know how time-consuming and tiresome it’s to research which tool is best suited for your business. So, to save you time, we have researched and come up with seven critical factors to consider when comparing social media management tools:

  • Analytics. Can you survey, compare, and create reports for historical data?
  • Scheduling. Can you quickly compose and schedule social media content?
  • Social listening. Can you set up alerts for branded terms or keywords?
  • Breadth. Does the tool work across many social media platforms?
  • Cost. Will it scale and can the marketing teams rationalize the pricing?
  • Creation. Does the social media tool make it easier to create engaging social media content?
  • Planning. Does it incorporate a content calendar?

Ultimately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer when it boils down to social media management software. The “perfect” tool is subjective and will depend on your budget, business stage, and target audience.

Social Media Marketing Features

Just like every new car should have a radio, seat belts, and air bags, all social media management tools should have certain crucial features. Here is a comprehensive list of features you should look for in your social media management tools:

Scheduling and Publishing of Posts

Social media software lets you schedule posts ahead of time. This will make it much easier to visualize what you’ll be posting and align it with your objectives. Moreover, scheduling posts beats having to post everything manually. Without the help of social media software, keeping up with the 24/7 nature of social media is unmanageable.

Social Listening and Monitoring

Any social media management tool without this ability isn’t effective. This feature lets users know what customers are saying about the competition, industry, and brand. This is achieved through monitoring, which entails keeping tabs on ongoing conversations. Thereby, businesses can join in on discussions that can help their marketing efforts.

Reporting and Analytics

As a business, you should always be looking for ways to improve. A great way to do this is through trial and error. By testing different formats, timing, content, etc., you can understand your audience’s likes. Most social media management software provides access to analytic data. This data helps you analyze what is and is not working and adjusting accordingly.

Sentiment Analysis

Imagine your company just launched a new product and everybody is chatting about it on social media. There are many tweets, Facebook posts, and Instagram posts. There is apparently no end to the chatter. But is it negative or positive? It would help if you had more context. Social media sentiment is the mood and perception people have about your brand on social media. A social media management tool with this feature examines text conversations and assesses the emotion, intent, and tone behind every message. By delving deeper into these elements, the tool reveals more context from your conversations and helps your customer service team accurately interpret feedback.

Keyword Tracking

A software management tool with the keyword tracking feature helps you find out whether your SEO strategy is working and if your optimization attempts are paying off. Additionally, keyword tracking lets you know which keywords your competitors are missing out on or ranking for, allowing you to make an educated decision and determine the keywords you can rank for. Furthermore, by continuously tracking your most important keywords, you’ll be able to recognize an array of keyword opportunities based on search ranking pages, search intent, competition, and volume and then decide which ones to prioritize.

Automation (Favorites, Retweets, Likes)

Social media management tools with the automation feature easily manage some of the time-consuming tasks required in maintaining a professional social media presence. For example, producing analytics reports, triaging routine customer queries, curating content for republishing, and scheduling posts ahead of time are examples of social media automation. When it’s done correctly, automating time-consuming or tiresome tasks will free up your time so you can concentrate on the crucial tasks.

Enhanced Customer Profiles

Understanding who your customer is, including understanding their buying behavior, is the key to a successful marketing campaign. And what better way to discover more about your clients than to have an insight into their personal lives. That’s where social media management software comes into play by helping map out customer interests.

Multiple Channel Management

Working with social media management software allows you to manage your social media accounts and activities from a single platform. Instead of having to log into many platforms with different interfaces, passwords, and usernames, you can log into your social media management software and have access to all of your accounts from one place.

Campaign Management

The social media campaign management feature gives you simple tools for running campaigns on all the major social media platforms. They provide an easy and quick way to set up customer engagement campaigns. These tools can focus on several campaign goals, like collecting leads or driving engagement.

There are so many social media management tools available on the market today. So, when determining which one to use, clearly define your goals and find out what your business really needs. Fortunately, some of the social media management tools highlighted above offer free trials, which is especially helpful if you’re choosing between two options. Hopefully, this comprehensive article helps you narrow down your options and find social media software that will help boost your marketing and streamline your social media accounts.

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