Companies spend a lot of money these days creating killer content for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the various other social media platforms out there. Whatever business you're in, reaching your customers, clients and readers relies a huge amount on the ubiquity of social media sites.
But there's no point spending time and resources on fantastic Facebook posts and tremendous tweets if you then don't know how to effectively monitor their impact and influence. Counting how many followers you have only tells part of the story.
For example, while social media is often considered essential by businesses, they often don't realize that social media audiences are not in a transactive state of mind and so direct sales don't often work unless time-limited. However, as communication platforms for brand development social media can be very effective.
Getting the most out of your chosen social media platforms is going to be an integral part of your content marketing, as part of your overall online marketing strategy. That's why we've picked out five really useful social media analytics tools that will help you understand which of your posts are working, and which get a thumbs down.
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Best social media management tools - at a glance
Hootsuite aims to provide an all-in-one platform for social media management across multiple sites. As expected, there's an option to search and filter through existing social media, in order to find brand mentions, insights, and demographic information.
Additionally, with any of Hootsuite's plans you have the option to schedule posts from multiple profiles across multiple social media sites. This allows you to ensure any marketing campaigns are properly timed and targeted when and where you need them to be. This is especially when posts can be tagged to ensure you store them in the right place for use at the right time.
There's also an analytics feature so you can track and measure performance against KPIs. Reports are customizable, so you can ensure you display and read the data you need to and stay focused on that. This is especially as Hootsuite is built to work for teams, not just individuals.
A number of integrations are also available, such as Asana, Slack, Mailchimp, Trello, and Zendesk, ensuring that you can work productively and efficiently when it comes to building your social media marketing and communications campaigns.
There are 3 different plans available, depending on the number of users required, with Professional, Team, and Business plans allowing 1, 3, or 5 users respectively, as well as up to 10, 20, or 35 social media profiles to be managed accordingly.
Sprout Social is probably first and foremost known as a one-stop shop for managing and scheduling all of your social media accounts through one simple-to-use platform. Very handy indeed for your company's social media administrator when they're trying to juggle Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more at once.
But it doubles up as a powerful tool for analysing your data, too. You can sort by various demographic and geographic measures to quantify exactly what content is working for which followers. Sprout can manage multiple accounts and monitor keywords across all social media so that you know when your brand is being discussed. It also helps your company respond to customers by directing messages to the people within the organisation who need to action them.
You can try Sprout Social for free with its 30-day trial. If you like it, prices then start from $99 per user per month for up to five different social profiles, with additional plans offering more profiles, scope, and features.
Rather like Sprout Social above, Buffer is another all-rounder that lets you post to your platform and then analyse the results. One of its major plus points is just how simple and straightforward it is to use, while also giving you flexibility. The fact it provides analytics in real-time makes instantly judging the impact of your content a doddle.
Use the "Top Post" icon to compare different forms of content to see which works best for each network. While the Buffer app also allows for seamless Google Analytics integration for tracking the success of your marketing campaigns.
Payment plans depend on whether you're looking to publish or analyze social media accounts, with different pricing for each based on the volume of accounts or published content you want to manage.
Hubspot Social Media Software is a suite of social media management tools available under the Marketing Hub. The aim is to save time by prioritizing social connections you place most value on across a range of social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
There are various management features available, such as for publishing and sharing content, monitoring mentions, and reporting to let know know not just levels of engagement but also how these translate into actual business metrics.
These tools are available as part of the Hubspot Marketing Hub, which means you can use them in conjunction with a range of other focused marketing tools. As above, this means not simply monitoring and managing your social media, but critically also ensuring that the work you put into it translates into some form of measuring business return.
Zoho Social offers a simple way to manage your brand on social media, by providing a complete social media management platform.
As well as managing multiple social media channels, there's also a posting calendar feature available so you can see which posts have been scheduled for posting. You can also monitor your target keywords across conversations, and allow for team collaboration from a single dashboard.
Zoho Social also comes with a version specifically for the needs of marketing agencies, which allows for brand and communications management for client lists, while also allowing for white labeling.
Also expect to be able to integrate Zoho social with other Zoho Tools, such as office, analytics, and CRM.
SEMrush is best known for being an inclusive SEO software platform, but it also incorporates a couple of useful tools for social media management across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google My Business.
The social media poster allows you to schedule and posts to these different social media platforms. It includes an image editor, UTM-builder and link shortener, for customizing your posts, which you can then publish immediately or according to an automated schedule. There's also the ability to manage ads specifically across Facebook, Instagram, Facebook Messenger, and the Audience Network.
The social media tracker then allows you to track cross-platform engagement with users, allowing you to collect analytics for reports in a single dashboard. This includes both reactions to posts as well as mentions elsewhere. You can also monitor competitors to determine how often they are posting.
The biggest strength, however, is the fact that SEMrush allows you to integrate your social media management with your overall SEO and marketing strategy, and provides a useful platform that brings everything together in one place.
Agorapulse is another dedicated social media management platform, designed specifically to help agencies and businesses post and monitor their posts across a number of social media websites.
There's a flexible scheduling tool to allow you to queue, reschedule, or bulk upload posts. There is also a social inbox for monitoring replies to your posts, mentions elsewhere, as well as other important messages. Of course, there's also a reporting tool from which you can glean analytics relating to content and engagement data, with the option to download as CSV or PPT files.
Agorapulse is also designed to work with teams, so that individual members can be assigned specific posts, comments, or other specific tasks. There's also a cool feature for building a CRM database of followers and other social media users to track, and add notes on these.
Pricing is mainly based according to the number social profiles and users required, though the different plans also have different levels of data retention.
Overall, Agorapulse offers a great platform for agencies who may have more demanding needs than the ordinary business for general management and monitoring of social media.
The popular Social Report social media management platform is now being rebranded as Traject Social, in order to help connect marketers with a wider platform that includes SEO, reputation management, ecommerce, as well as analytics.
Traject Social offers a white label platform covering all major social media management needs, such as scheduling, smart inbox, monitoring, and reporting. There are also team tools, custom reports, and integrations available.
Aimed at agencies, Traject Social allows you to manage multiple platforms for multiple clients. the white label aspect is especially valuable for allowing you to not only brand your own client reports, but also allows for easy scaling across your client base.
There are also dedicated Android and iOS apps available, allowing you to schedule, review, and publish content directly from your smartphone using the Traject Social app.
However, while Traject offers other marketing tools, these are not integrated, which is a shame as others such as SEMrush do offer this. That means Traject Social is available to buy only as a standalone service.
Sendible offers a collaborative social media management platform for teams, which also adds a range of special tools on top of the common defaults to make it easier to control your social media posting.
As well as common scheduling, queuing, and calendar aspects for posting, Sendible also allows you to preview and customize posts on each individual platform, allowing you to optimize the content to display best on each. This is especially the case with image alignment and optimization.
Additionally, you can visualize posts on a shared calendar, making it easy to see at a glance where various client content is. And if you're short of content, Sendible provides suggestions.
Social monitoring is also a key part of the platform, allowing you to not just track your own content but also user mentions, as well as monitor competitors and targeted hashtags.
As with other social media managers, reporting is another core feature, with Sendible offering not just easy-to-produce reports but also email reporting for clients as required. There's also Google Analytics integration to track clickthroughs and user behavior for traffic that comes through from social media channels.
Sendible offers a strong suite of nicely presented tools, and the collaboration aspect of Sendible is one of its strongest features, allowing teams to work on assigned tasks and have content approved before they are scheduled, to ensure quality controls.
SocialPilot offers a social media management platform for small businesses, agencies, and enterprises. As with similar platforms, it offers a single place from which to publish and schedule your social media posts. There's also a social inbox for monitoring replies, comments, and mentions, as well as analytics that offers white label reporting.
Users can post directly via the web or mobile, or browser extensions, and content suggestions are provided to help you develop more. Agency tools allow for collaboration among team members, along with built-in workflows. Enterprise clients enjoy a dedicated account manager along with priority phone and email support.
SocialPilot includes the ability to schedule up to 500 posts, along with images, using a post planner that allows you to easily review content and map them to the right social media platform.
SocialPilot is also able to connect client accounts directly through the software, rather than having to ask clients to provide their login details directly. In an age where cybercrime concerns are important, clients may be especially reassured by this.
All in all, SocialPilot offers another strong social media platform, which is accessible for both small businesses as well as teams within agencies.
More social media management apps to consider
The growth in social media has resulted in the growth of apps and software for helping companies monitor their presence and manage their engagement. Here are some more tools to consider to help with that:
StatusBrew offers another social media management platform, aimed for use across sales, marketing, and customer care teams. As well as campaign management, there are also reporting and analytics features to keep track of your engagement and overall brand health. On top of that, there are a number of popular integrations available, such as Slack, Zendesk, Mailchimp, and Shopify.
Tweetdeck has become the essential Twitter management tool for many users of that platform. Provided directly by Twitter, it allows you to better filter messages from followers, as well as provide a single dashboard from which you can monitor Tweets, messages, notifications, and trending hashtags. There are also search tips, shortcuts, and various settings provided to manage your monitored content.
Facebook Pages Manager is an app for Android and iOS that allows you to directly manage your Facebook pages on the go from your phone or other mobile device. This allows you to get notifications, read and reply to messages, as well as link Facebook and Instagram accounts together. Standard page management features such as settings, performance, and reach, can also be managed by the app.
Brandwatch puts its ear to the ground to eavesdrop on to the information that could be imperative to your company from Facebook, Twitter, blogs, forums, news and every other corner of the web. Social sentiment analysis shows the tone of the data collected from the profiles you've connected with, and it's easy to tap into pertinent trends and themes emerging from the internet that could tip the balance in your company's favor.