It is essential to be on top of your small business social media nowadays. However, constantly flicking between apps and web pages, and continuously logging in and out of accounts, is a waste of time and energy. Thankfully there are a number of social media management tools available to help make your life much easier.
Whether you want to manage all your social media for free or want to pay a bit for more functionality, there is a social media management tool that will suit you and your business perfectly. Here are three of the best ways to organise your social networks.
Buffer is one of the biggest names in social media marketing. It allows you to create and schedule posts for Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram and Pinterest. You can also find analytics relating to the reach and level of interaction each post garners.
Positives about Buffer
On the whole, Buffer is a very good tool. The fact you can schedule Instagram posts is a recent addition and sets the program ahead of many of the smaller players in the field. There are a number who still do not offer this function. That you can use the social scheduler for free (for up to three accounts) is a real bonus too. It allows you to get a feel for how Buffer works without risking any cash. If you have one small business with a simple Facebook, Instagram and Twitter set-up, this is ideal for you.
It’s simple to customize a single post so that it works perfectly on all networks. Write the message, assign it to the networks you like and then hit ‘Customize’ to add hashtags, tag users in etc.
You can set Buffer to share your blog updates using your RSS feed. You can also curate a feed from your favourite blogs by other people, highlights of which you can then share on your social networks.
Negatives About Buffer
You can only interact with those who respond to your posts through an add-on called Reply. This starts at $50 per month for one user on one social account. Each extra account is $10 and user is $25, which may be prohibitive for many small businesses. All the prices are in US dollars at Buffer, no matter where you live.
Hootsuite is one of the elders in the world of social media management, having been around for more than ten years. Through the platform, you can schedule posts for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, Pinterest and YouTube.
Positives About Hootsuite
Like Buffer, you can schedule the same post on multiple networks, with customisations made to suit that network. Buffer experience wins here as it shows exactly how the post will look on each of the networks you are updating. This helps you get a feel for how your friends and followers will actually see your content.
The other real bonus of Hootsuite is that you can keep an eye out for replies, retweets, mentions and the like, responding to them through the dashboard. It also allows you to set the dashboard up in a way that suits your needs perfectly. If you want to monitor your Twitter mentions, the latest tweets in a hashtag and your Facebook timeline, add columns and assign them accordingly.
It can update your networks as soon as you post a blog, and even suggest third-party content to share.
Negatives About Hootsuite
Hootsuite may contain additional functionality, but it also comes with a hefty price tag in comparison with Buffer. If the extra features are important to you, it is worth it. But if you don’t need to be able to engage directly, the price of Hootsuite might put you off. Of course, Hootsuite has a three-network free plan that may be enough for you.
Social Pilot finds its point of difference in the market by pushing itself as the ethical, human face of the industry. It talks of its customer-driven culture on its website, as well as referring to how their employees take regular air hockey breaks and detox for two days every week. This essentially means they don’t work at the weekends. As well as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin and Pinterest, you can schedule updates for Tumblr and VK, the Russian social network.
Positives About Social Pilot
If you have a large number of networks to update, Social Pilot is a very good option. Its $30 dollar a month plan is priced similarly to Hootsuite’s basic Professional plan. But whereas Hootsuite allows you to add ten social accounts, Social Pilot can handle 50.
The engagement function on Social Pilot is also very good. It allows you to respond to your audience as well as adding in extra neat touches. These include providing a single inbox to receive messages from all of your Facebook pages. This means you can deal with everything centrally and you don’t need to waste time checking each account separately.
The simple ability to add gifs directly to posts is a real bonus that you don’t get with a social media management tool like Buffer. At Buffer, that process is, quite frankly, a bit of a pain. With gifs being such an integral part of social media marketing, this may seem like a small thing, but it saves you valuable minutes.
Negatives About Social Pilot
There is no free option here, other than the initial free 14-day trial. That means that smaller companies may be priced out of using this social media management tool. It seems very much aimed at medium and large rather than small businesses.
Another issue is that the company doesn’t offer support for two days a week. They only work a five-day week. Great for those who work at the company, but not so good if you are stuck at the weekend in the midst of a social media marketing crisis.
Other Social Media Management Tools
Other social media management tools worth looking into include Sprout Social. This tool contains a huge number of features for scheduling, interacting and analysing your results. However, it does come at a very weighty cost. This is certainly a social media program for bigger companies.
Crowdfire is a fairly low-cost option that can curate content that is a good fit for your brand. It also allows you to schedule, see mentions and send replies. All of this is available at a range of affordable rates that suit small businesses who don’t have too many networks to manage.
If you want help with your social media marketing, Delton Digital is here for you. We offer a range of packages for you to choose from, depending on your needs. Contact us today to chat about how we can maximise the power of social media for your business.