I am a digital media manager which means I spend most of my time creating and posting content on various platforms, then reviewing analytics to share this content to its proper audience. When I first began in this field, I relied heavily on Klout, Sprout Social and Hootsuite to help me post my content, making sure they met their maximum reach and engagement potential. The following article will not be bashing any of these great tools, if they work for you then keep using them, but there are other new and useful options I have discovered to be even more beneficial.
- Publish – As most developers and digital strategists know, Instagram is very picky who they release their API to. For instance, Sprout, Hootsuite, and Latergramme, your options to do anything on Instagram is very limited. On Hootsuite, you can check out what people are posting and you can engage with their content, but they have figuratively the worst publishing option I’ve come across. In fact, it’s so awful that I immediately switched to Publish upon discovering that the well-thought out caption I wrote on my computer had to be completely rewritten when the photo opened in my Instagram app. On Publish, I can attach the image I want, with the language I need and post to Instagram. While the Instagram app still needs to open, everything transfers over and all you have to hit is “post.” The Publish app’s algorithm also figures out when users are most active and gives you the option to allow them to post for you at these times.
- SumAll – If I could physically hug this particular digital marketing tool, I would. Though I have only dabbled with the free account, I know this tool has the potential to improve any social media manager’s workflow in a heartbeat. Good engagement-provoking content is absolutely the most important factor to an excellent digital media strategy. You WANT to get your audience talking so you can respond to them, but how would you know you’re even hitting the right demographic without analytics? The key to an over-all effective digital strategy are allowing insights and reports to work hand-in-hand with content curation and engaging with the consumer. SumAll reports takes all of the tedious, time-consuming elements of writing social media presentations by preparing them for you, allowing managers more time to focus on starting conversation with their customers. In addition to its reporting features, SumAll also offers Insights and Audience Boost services.
- Crowdfire – I have to admit, I just started using this app, but it’s incredibly useful when it comes to my online fan-base. With Crowdfire, I am able to find out who is following my client that I may not be following back, and who isn’t following me that I may be following. This encourages me to either strike up a conversation, or remove them from my list. I can see who recently followed or unfollowed me, and which of the accounts I follow went in inactive. I can also use their Copy Followers tool to follow accounts that follow my competitors who may be interested in my clients’ services, too. Crowdfire users are even able to find out who is tweeting nearby with specific hashtags and keywords. There are a ton of other great features I still need to discover, but what I’m using now is nothing short of extremely beneficial.
- Tweet Deck – Tweet Deck is easily still the greatest Twitter scheduling tool. Its interface is almost exactly like that of Hootsuite, but it is strictly for Twitter, because it's made by Twitter. I think what I like the most about Tweet Deck is that I can choose to shorten my links with Twitter or with Bit.ly. I have always been an avid Bit.ly user. I love the insights provided through Bit.ly and how easily accessible they are. Hootsuite users their own link shortening tool, Owl.ly, but you have to actually pair it with your Hootsuite account to review your analytics. Plus, I have always found owl.ly links to be less attractive than Bit.lys or short links. It just screams “GUESS WHAT MOM AND DAD? I’M USING HOOTSUITE.” I know, I know… beauty is in the eye of its beholder. Tweet Deck allows you to schedule your tweets based off of your most optimal time discovered from your SumAll reports (Hootsuite does allow you to do this automatically.) With Tweet Deck, you can customize your columns and even follow along with trends specific to your services. You can follow back, tweet, RT and favorite from one simple dashboard.
- The native platforms themselves! – Of course from a scheduling mindset, I use Tweet Deck for tweets and I log into Facebook for publishing content but nothing beats posting in real time – NOTHING! You won’t miss anything if you never logout. I am always checking my clients’ accounts when I check my own and it has done wonders for me in terms of going beyond simply scheduling and checking data. As we know in the world of social media, it’s extremely important to allow content, data and engagement to work together. When we can interlink these three strategies to work hand-in-hand, we see a social strategy that is not only good looking, but effective! Twitter and Facebook both have awesome analytics tool that allows you to see what your fans like based off of demographic.
These are simply my opinions of the best tools to use for social media marketing. I know that there are some great ones out there, but these work best for me. This industry is ever changing and constantly growing, and I want to grow with it, so if there are other options you think I should try out, let me know!