Stay Ahead with Social Media Management Tools

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Tim Eyre

One-Click Social Media Management

While the face of marketing has changed drastically over the years, its core principles remain the same. That is, targeting your audience and learning what they want, letting them know you have it, and building relationships so that they trust you and come back to you in the future. Whether you’re doing that by hanging up a sign and decorating your display window in a one-horse town or by regularly posting status updates to all of your social media friends, it all comes down to the same basic concept.

Today, social media marketing is leading the charge on global marketing, with sites such as Pinterest driving online sales and Facebook leading in business/customer relationships. In fact, when General Motors chose to withdraw $10 million in advertising from Facebook this past May, they still asserted that they would continue spend about $30 million to maintain their Facebook pages as it “…continues to be a very effective tool for engaging with our customers.

For small business and single owner establishments, however, keeping up with social media seems to be a fulltime job. Not only do best business practices recommend posting on Facebook at least a few times a week, Twitter feeds can disappear so quickly that posts probably need to go up at least twice a day. Pinterest posts should probably be included as well if you want to feature the visual appeal of your product, and LinkedIn makes sure you’re keeping up with others in the industry and making the right local connections to get more people coming to your store and/or visiting your website.

With all of this connecting online, it seems like there’s barely time to actually run your business. Fortunately, there are options out there for streamlining your online experience and cutting down drastically on your social marketing time while still maintaining your presence on major social networks.

Manage Your Time with Social Media Management Tools

Social media management tools have been around for a few years but they’ve only recently started to gain in popularity; and for good reason. The monster that is social media is becoming harder to tame, and people need to find a way to do more networking with less individual posting. Social media management tools make that possible by providing a single platform from which the user can post to multiple social media sites at once. Following are several popular social media platforms, but there are plenty more out there to choose from. If none of these sound like they’ll fit your particular business, dig around a little and you’re sure to find a platform that more closely matches your needs.

Hootsuite: Arguably the most popular social media platform out there, this program can handle anything from a single-owner business to a mega-corporation. In fact, it boasts PepsiCo, Sony Music, McDonald’s, and the NCAA as customers. By integrating with a growing number of social media and networking sites such as Google+, FourSquare, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and Constant Contact, HootSuite allows simultaneous posting and viewing, as well as analytics for a wide range of sites. It even offers in-office features for more streamlined campaign efforts between multiple social media managers. HootSuite includes a mobile app for on-the-go updating. Cost: free version and $9.99 per month for the Pro version. The Enterprise program is priced separately.

VerticalResponse: This platform is designed specifically for the busy business owner. It allows you to choose the top social sites you wish to post to and gives you the option of scheduling a regular campaign for up to a full month in advance. VerticalResponse offers suggestions for posts specific to your industry and includes a mobile app that lets you post simultaneously to all of your social media sites at once, or change/update your scheduled campaign. Cost: $18/month.

TweetDeck: As per its name, this platform works best with Twitter, but it also works with LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook and FourSquare. By using a side-by-side column display, you can see all of your friends, messages, feeds, etc. at once and update all simultaneously. You can even schedule posts in advance. Cost: free.

SproutSocial: This platform is geared a bit more toward those who prefer clean graphs and engaging visuals of how their social marketing campaigns are progressing. SproutSocial allows cross-posting across several platforms including Foursquare, Gowalla, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and others, and is available in a mobile app. This is great for companies that need to show fast, accurate reports on social media marketing progress and who need to keep a constant eye on how well they’re doing with any number of campaigns. Cost: from $39 per month to $99 per month.

How much time does social marketing take for your company? Have you tried a social marketing management tool in the past? If so, what worked best for your size and type of company?

As a key member of the team at Extra Space Storage, Tim Eyre helps customers care for their cherished belongings that must be put in storage. Extra Space has multiple Dallas self storage unit locations, including Fort Worth Avenue.

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