The Benefits of Social Media Management Software
Almost two thirds of businesses, especially smaller businesses, are spending up to ten hours a week on social media marketing. Predominantly that social media time is spread unevenly across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, YouTube, Google+ and, increasingly, on Pinterest. A really active online marketer might also add a forum or two and do some social bookmarking to that list. The engagement with these various forms of online social media varies quite a lot and requires material that is tailored to suit each format individually. All of this adds up to a lot of time, a good percentage of it just in logging on and off of different websites to make all of the posts. If this sounds familiar, it might just be that you need to automate some or all of your social media management.
Social Media Management Software (SMMS) is generally sold as an online service by sites like Hootsuite and SocialOomph. The average cost ranges from free on sites like Ping.fm, $5.99 per month on Hootsuite, and up to tens of thousands of dollars a year for some of the big corporations’ social media management programs that deal with thousands of accounts across several locations. These services allow users to make all of their social media posts from a single dashboard saving a lot of time that was once spent going from site to site and repeating posts. Apart from streamlining the posting of status updates and tweets, social media management software platforms usually also offer a range of social media marketing functions like SMS and E-mail marketing.
If more than one person is making posts to social media, SMMS will allow them to coordinate their posts and will track comments so that they are answered by the right person. Brand pages almost never answer the comments left on them, so taking full advantage of the people that do leave their comments can give you a competitive edge. It is also possible to schedule posts to take advantage of the peak audience times for your targeted demographic. This means that a number of posts can be made at one time; SMMS will make them automatically at the appointed time. Not having to constantly log in and out of social sites to make a scheduled post could reduce the time spent on social media marketing tasks considerably. Some of the SMMS services also monitor the tone of posts, making them suitable for regulated industries like finance and insurance. This is especially important if there are a lot of people contributing to your social media stream to make sure that the general tone is representative of the image of your business.
SMMS services usually include analytical tools for tracking all of the social media marketing that you are doing. This automatically tracks the growth in followers and the brand sentiment using keyword filtering to judge whether user content such as comments is positive, negative or neutral. Sites like Hootsuite also incorporate Facebook Insights and Google Analytics to give users the big picture of where their online marketing is most effective, and where it still needs work.
The analytical tools offered by most SMMS services can also be used to track your competitors’ social media activity, thereby allowing you to see gaps in the market that they might not be exploiting and giving you a yardstick to measure your own success against. Although it has been shown that automatic posts attract less likes and comments on Facebook, if SMMS is used intelligently it should both enhance and streamline your social media marketing and generally improve the quality of engagement with your customers.