Social media has become an even bigger part of consumers’ lives in the past year, making it clear what some once thought was a trend is likely here to stay. In fact, social media users are finding more innovative ways to interact, with videos and photos playing a greater part in the way people communicate with each other online.
Marketers are hard at work, as well, trying to find new ways to leverage the power of social networking to reach new customers. Fitting social media interaction time into busy schedules is an ongoing challenge for business owners, however, with Facebook and Twitter accounts often abandoned for days at a time as professionals deal with more pressing issues.
Fortunately, help is available. Numerous tech tools can help professionals manage social media accounts, even taking care of posts for them. But with so many tools on the market today, how can a professional possibly sort through them all? To help, I’ve put together a list of some of the best resources for managing, tracking, and getting the most out of your social media-based marketing campaigns.
“The only way to sort through all the tools out there is to do your own research and try them out. Many tools have a free 30 day free trial so you can feel comfortable with what you’re getting” Anne Ward, CEO of CircleClick said in a recent interview.
Klout for Business
“Influence” has become an important word in the world of marketing, with businesses having rapidly realized the reach of those who have large online followings. Klout for Business helps businesses identify influencers in their own social media circles to allow them to reach out to those individuals to spread their message. Using “Perks,” businesses can offer trial versions of products to top influencers in exchange for a mention on their high-traffic sites, allowing those businesses to reach a large number of social media users at once.
With Rowfeeder, businesses can gain insight into topics that are trending, including topics that concern their own industry. This analysis can be used to tweak your own campaigns, allowing you to reach out to consumers using the terms that interest them. In other words, you can include the terms in your campaign that are most likely to be searched, driving customers directly to your posts. It also can be used to track your own campaigns by following a particular hashtag and delivering data about activity on that hashtag. How many times was it re-tweeted? How many followers did each re-tweeter have?
This alert program monitors a user’s social media accounts and sends notifications when a specified search term receives a mention. Mention searches posts in 42 different languages, delivering those back to give businesses a global view of a message’s reach. Social media interactions can also be conducted directly through the Mention interface for added convenience.
MediaFunnel is ideal for organizations interested in involving multiple team members in managing and monitoring accounts. Posts can be deployed across multiple social media platforms at once, including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, WordPress, and LinkedIn. Items can be set up to post at specified intervals, allowing businesses to choose the best time of day to reach their individual customer base.
Popular social media dashboard service HootSuite integrates with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ Pages, Foursquare, WordPress, Mixi, and almost every other service available through its supplemental App Directory. Users can schedule posts and monitor activity, as well as pull reports to identify the performance of campaigns. Through an app, users can manage social media accounts on the go.
Imagine if you could sell event tickets or gather entries for a contest directly on Twitter. Chirpify gives promoters that capability, allowing them to connect an account that is then assigned a specific hashtag. Customers Tweet using a hashtag (#entertowin, #partytickets2014) and the information is captured by Chirpify, who processes the payment or logs the entry for the business.
One of the best ways to grow your audience is to interact with others. Triberr connects you with people who are interested in the same topic you are, separating topics into “Tribes” to better help you find blogs that relate to your own interests. You can gather social media followers on Triberr, since you’ll be regularly interacting with others who share your interests.
Shortstack helps businesses create professional-looking Facebook pages, complete with polls, forms, and more. The service provides more than 60 templates and 70 themes to let small businesses find the look that fits their own unique style. For pages with less than 2,000 likes, the service is completely free, with the price increasing as a page gains more fans.
Infographics are a great way to connect with today’s visually-driven social media audiences. Infogr.am is a tool that helps businesses put together infographics that convey a message for free. Businesses can import existing spreadsheets or create new ones in order to populate pie charts and bar graphs. Once an infographic has been created, it can be downloaded or shared to social media sites directly from the site.
One way to keep social media audiences interested is to repost news that is relevant to your industry. Feedly provides a way to keep up with what’s going on in the world, with information delivered in one compact dashboard. These links can then be shared to Twitter directly from the app. Feedly is also a way to keep up with information your social media contacts recommend to better keep you informed.
In case you haven’t noticed, animated explainer videos are all the rage. In just a short snippet, you can create a fun explanation of what your business does. Visitors to your website, looking for a quick description of your product or service, will be intrigued by the animated characters and you’ll save the money you would have had to spend hiring a camera crew to record you talking about your service. VideoRascal promises a video for less than $99, using the templates the site provides. You then add a script, record a voiceover, and choose the music you want to go with the video. Once complete, you can export the video for use on your website and social media sites.
Social media remains a vital part of business marketing. Using these helpful tools, businesses can maintain and manage their social media accounts while still remaining on budget.