Consumers flock to social media channels to not only socialize, but, to share their opinions, experiences, and recommendations about brands. Thus, no business can afford to ignore social media. If you don’t control the narrative about your brand, the public will drive the narrative and may you may not like the outcome.
The ubiquity of social media is undeniable. A 2014 Pew Study conducted in the US revealed that:
- 52% of online adults are registered at two or more social media sites.
- Over half of all online adults aged 65 and older (56%) use Facebook. This is 31% of all seniors.
- About half of Internet-using young adults ages 18-29 (53%) are registered on Instagram. And half of all Instagram users (49%) are active on the site daily.
- The share of Internet users with college education registered on LinkedIn is over 50%.
For a business, keeping up-to-date with numerous social media channels and audiences isn’t easy. The only way to bridge the gap between marketing and social media is to invest in social media marketing software. Social media marketing software helps you to effectively increase your social media campaigns, engage with audiences, monitor social signals and gather vital analytics to drive your decision making.
Irrespective of how big or small the business, social media marketing software can drastically improve customer engagement and support as well as boost sales. Businesses that have made effective use of social media marketing software have harnessed social media to improve their business in a number of areas, these include:
- Market Analysis: Using information obtained via social listening to get a better understanding of customers and prospects. For example, finding out what your audience is “liking” and “sharing” can give you deep market insights which can then guide your decision making on what kind of products to develop or how to craft your campaigns.
- Publishing, Promotion, and Curation: It is ridiculous to blindly create and publish content without considering what your audience wants to consume. Yet, this is what most marketers do on a daily basis. Social media marketing software can help you understand what kind of content is going to be successful with your target audience.
- Social Listening: Social media isn’t a monolog. Unfortunately, too many marketers think so and in the process end up annoying their audiences. Social media is a dialogue. Your audience speaks, you listen and respond appropriately. Adapt listening will help you quickly identify problems, crises, trends, sales opportunities and also gather intel on your competition. Only a social media marketing application can help you become effective at social listening.
- Community Management: Social media marketing software also helps you engage your community better, but, more importantly, it helps you quickly identify influences whom you can foster and nurture a relationship with.
But, therein lies the question.
While there are many similarities with all the leading applications, there are also wide variances. This guide attempts to help you quickly understand what to look for when choosing a social media marketing application.
Module or Stand-Alone
One of the first considerations is whether you need your social media marketing software to come as a module in your existing marketing automation software, for example, HubSpot, or as a stand-alone application that integrates with your existing systems, for example, HootSuite. The option that suits your needs will be the one that best integrates with your legacy systems.
The features that come with a social media software application are important because you need to be sure you are comparing apples with apples. There are numerous features you can purchase depending on the functionality you are seeking.
The following are some of the most common features that come with social media marketing tools:
- Campaign management
- Enhanced customer profiles
- Keyword tracking
- Multi-account management
- Multichannel management
- Post publishing and scheduling
- Reporting and analytics
- Sentiment analysis
- Social listening and monitoring
There are a number of other considerations as well. These include:
Available pre-built integrations to legacy systems
- Customer support
- Mobile access
- Pricing model
- Team collaboration
- User permissions
The points laid out above are the main points that you should consider anytime you are in the market for social marketing software to help you automate some of your weekly and daily social marketing tasks. If in doubt about the features, you can always check social marketing software review websites for more information or seek clarification from the vendor’s sales support team.