Here at Tribus, social media management plays a big part in our integrated marketing campaigns. Being able to monitor what people are saying about our clients (and more generally our clients’ sectors) allows us to reply to questions, offer recommendations, mitigate against negative comments, offer promotions, market products and services, post useful content, and project our clients’ brand values in the social arena.
But managing your social media accounts is difficult, so how can you reduce your workload? By using automation tools.
There are a number of tools that make the task of social media management a good deal easier. They range from the free to the paid, and provide capabilities such as managing multiple accounts; post scheduling; monitoring for keywords, usernames and hashtags; integration with RSS; and link shortening. Popular tools include Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Buffer, Sendible, MarketMeSuite, TweetDeck and Wildfire. Which one is right for you depends on which networks you use, and what functionality you need — we use Hootsuite, Sprout Social and Buffer at different times depending on which client accounts we’re dealing with, and the activities we’re carrying out.
Services like Hootsuite and Sprout bring multiple networks into one dashboard that allow you to manage them all at the same time. They also enable you to share posts across your networks easily, so you don’t have to manually copy a message written for one over to another.
The majority of these tools allow you to schedule posts ahead of time — hours, days, even weeks in advance. You can craft your messages and choose the date and time for them to be published. This is great because it means you only need to spend a set time each day (e.g. 30 mins each morning) on scheduling the day’s social marketing messages, leaving you the rest of the day free to focus on social engagement. Be careful not to schedule posts too far in the future though, because the content you are sharing may be old news by then.
Many of the tools available allow you to monitor networks for conversations that pertain to your market (a key aspect of the Sendible and MarketMeSuite services). You can see what your followers are posting, and reply directly from the stream, or you can add keywords and hashtags to pull in posts from people outside of your following, which is a great way of building your audience up through engagement.
For example, if you run a travel service, you could monitor for common destinations, and the word “holiday”. Tweets and posts that feature those keywords will be pulled in to your dashboard, allowing you to respond with suggestions and a link to a web page.
As with all forms of marketing, metrics are essential. Most social media management tools (including Hootsuite, Buffer, and Sprout Social) offer some form of analytics or activity report. Sprout’s reporting tool gives you insights into how each of your social accounts are performing by displaying a breakdown of your activities over a date range, as well as data on impressions, audience growth, demographics, social influence, engagement levels, and a lot more.