Four social media managers for business compared

Make the most of social networking

Managing social media in a large company can often seem futile. Short messages, comments, customer complaints, and brand mentions seem to fly in all directions at once – and it can be impossible to stay on top of things. Not without some help, anyway…

Fortunately, these social media dashboards bring some sanity to the effort for an entire team. Each one allows you to post to multiple services like Twitter and LinkedIn at the same time, track and schedule posts, and monitor the number of new followers for a brand or profile.

They are not all created equal. Each one has a few key differentiators to help you stay on top of social, and we'll explore what those are in this article.

1. Hootsuite Pro

Web: https://hootsuite.com/plans/pro

The well-known consumer social media manager also offers a Pro version for business use. You can schedule up to 350 posts to go live at a future date, which is a key part of a social media strategy. (By scheduling posts, you can time the content around major product launches or news events and make sure there is a wide sweep of social media activity.)

Using a column-based approach, team members can quickly see Twitter and Facebook activity and even track trending topics right from this dashboard. Hootsuite Pro lets managers assign tasks to multiple team members and even set permissions about what they can post.

One perk for companies that use alternative browsers like Google Chrome is that there's a Hootlet app that makes it easier for end-users in a large company to post content. The tool supports 50 social media profiles and up to ten users. And this tool also offers detailed social media analytics reports that can be organised around marketing efforts, teams, and profiles.

Key differences: The typical Hootsuite user has an array of columns on their screen at any one time related to a brand mention, another user, or a social media profile. Because of this unique column approach, you can scan through multiple posts and accounts quickly. For some, it can look a bit overwhelming in a browser, but it's easier to use on a mobile device.

2. Sprout Social

Web: http://www.sproutsocial.com

Designed as a brand management platform, Sprout Social provides a host of business-oriented tools for social media. One of the key differentiators is the ability to flag brand keywords (say Pepsi or BBC) and then track mentions on social media through a Smart Inbox. When there's an incoming message, a metric shows all team members the average response time before someone responds to a request or comment on social media.

Tasks can be assigned to team members like having someone schedule posts related to a new product launch. All scheduled posts can be viewed on a team schedule. If someone on the team identifies a problem that requires customer support, that person can create a ticket from Sprout Social directly in support tools like ZenDesk. Because of the team support features, managers can get involved if they need to approve draft posts before they go live.

Key differences: Sprout Social is a well-designed dashboard with a single Smart Inbox view that doesn't look like an email listing. It's easy to spot brand mentions and respond to issues. The trendier look and feel makes it easier for team members to use the tool.

3. Sendible

Web: http://sendible.com

Sendible looks like an email app but is intended to help you manage social media through one dashboard. Like Sprout Social, there's a simple team-based calendar you can use to see all scheduled posts and even reprioritise and reschedule them as needed.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Contributor

John Brandon (Twitter, Google+) has covered gadgets and cars for the past 12 years having published over 12,000 articles and tested nearly 8,000 products. He's nothing if not prolific. Before starting his writing career, he led an Information Design practice at a large consumer electronics retailer in the US. His hobbies include deep sea exploration, complaining about the weather, and engineering a vast multiverse conspiracy.