Sproutsocial is a powerful management and engagement platform for social business. Sprout Social offers a single stream inbox designed to help you never miss a message, and tools to seamlessly post, colloborate and schedule messages to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. The platform also has monitoring tools and rich analytics to help you visualize important metrics.
Where does it fall down? It has to be with the feature list. Buffer is a social media scheduler, and that’s about it. Their business plans have some analytics, but in reality, the platform doesn’t have the same robust functionality to that of Agorapulse, or even Hootsuite. The best thing Buffer has going for it is its marketing, and they do that better than anyone!
IFTTT stands for If This Then That. It's a tool that actually lets you build your very own automated actions, called "recipes," so that you don't have to do them yourself. For example, if you want all of your Instagram photos automatically saved to a public folder of your Dropbox account, you can do that by building a recipe with IFTTT so you never have do it manually. 

However, social media can be overwhelming if you don’t have the proper knowledge or tools. Whether it’s to create or repurpose content, to find the best way to engage with your online community or to create a comprehensive posting schedule, having the right social media management tools is crucial to your success. Here are 15 of the best social media management tools currently available and how they can help you make the most of your social presence, as recommended by leading members of Forbes Agency Council.

You should never use your social channels as a bragging platform. These channels aren’t to be solely self-promotional, this is boring and obnoxious. There needs to be a balance between marketing your brand and sharing stories and news from other valuable resources. If you kept seeing Instagram upon Instagram from your favorite clothing apparel store promoting solely their own clothing items you’d probably un-follow and avoid the store out of sheer frustration. Instead focus on a balance between sharing promotional content, interacting with your followers and influencers, and sharing other useful and entertaining content. The key word here is “other,” what is that? Follow these tips to easily determine what content is share-worthy:
The insights gleaned from your audience personas should be used to tailor your social media marketing strategy and help you to develop clear strategies to ensure you engage with all target audiences on social media. Audience personas should inform content creation, marketing campaigns, ad targeting, and more to ensure conversions against your goals.

Brands typically have a lot of questions when it comes to marketing to consumers on any third-party content platform. Social media can be particularly puzzling as the rules, opportunities, audiences, and value propositions vary greatly from one channel to another – and can shift gears abruptly without a moment’s notice. But one thing that can make your decisions more straightforward is establishing a channel plan – an advanced directive for how your brand can and should distribute its content marketing efforts on rented channels like social media, and what you expect to achieve.


Social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, MySpace etc. have all influenced the buzz of word of mouth marketing. In 1999, Misner said that word-of mouth marketing is, "the world's most effective, yet least understood marketing strategy" (Trusov, Bucklin, & Pauwels, 2009, p. 3).[84] Through the influence of opinion leaders, the increased online "buzz" of "word-of-mouth" marketing that a product, service or companies are experiencing is due to the rise in use of social media and smartphones. Businesses and marketers have noticed that, "a persons behaviour is influenced by many small groups" (Kotler, Burton, Deans, Brown, & Armstrong, 2013, p. 189). These small groups rotate around social networking accounts that are run by influential people (opinion leaders or "thought leaders") who have followers of groups. The types of groups (followers) are called:[85] reference groups (people who know each other either face-to-face or have an indirect influence on a persons attitude or behaviour); membership groups (a person has a direct influence on a person's attitude or behaviour); and aspirational groups (groups which an individual wishes to belong to).
In my post last year covering social media strategy suggestions for 2014, I stressed tactics such as creating a social media marketing plan and sticking to it, going above and beyond in social media customer service, embracing mishaps, and so on. Let me assure you, these strategies are all still critical, but with the New Year upon us I have some new and improved tips up my sleeve to add to your social media marketing plan for 2015.
One of the main purposes of employing social media in marketing is as a communications tool that makes the companies accessible to those interested in their product and makes them visible to those who have no knowledge of their products.[33] These companies use social media to create buzz, and learn from and target customers. It's the only form of marketing that can finger consumers at each and every stage of the consumer decision journey.[34] Marketing through social media has other benefits as well. Of the top 10 factors that correlate with a strong Google organic search, seven are social media dependent. This means that if brands are less or non-active on social media, they tend to show up less on Google searches.[35] While platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ have a larger number of monthly users, the visual media sharing based mobile platforms, however, garner a higher interaction rate in comparison and have registered the fastest growth and have changed the ways in which consumers engage with brand content. Instagram has an interaction rate of 1.46% with an average of 130 million users monthly as opposed to Twitter which has a .03% interaction rate with an average of 210 million monthly users.[35] Unlike traditional media that are often cost-prohibitive to many companies, a social media strategy does not require astronomical budgeting.[36]
Many brands are now heavily using this mobile app to boost their marketing strategy. Instagram can be used to gain the necessary momentum needed to capture the attention of the market segment that has an interest in the product offering or services.[61] As Instagram is supported by Apple and android system, it can be easily accessed by smartphone users. Moreover, it can be accessed by the Internet as well. Thus, the marketers see it as a potential platform to expand their brands exposure to the public, especially the younger target group. On top of this, marketers do not only use social media for traditional Internet advertising, but they also encourage users to create attention for a certain brand. This generally creates an opportunity for greater brand exposure.[62] Furthermore, marketers are also using the platform to drive social shopping and inspire people to collect and share pictures of their favorite products. Many big names have already jumped on board: Starbucks, MTV, Nike, Marc Jacobs, and Red Bull are a few examples of multinationals that adopted the mobile photo app early. Fashion blogger Danielle Bernstein, who goes by @weworewhat on Instagram, collaborated with Harper's Bazaar to do a piece on how brands are using Instagram to market their products, and how bloggers make money from it. Bernstein, who currently has one and a half million followers on Instagram, and whose "outfit of the day" photos on Snapchat get tens of thousands of screenshots, explained that for a lot of her sponsored posts, she must feature the brand in a certain number of posts, and often cannot wear a competitor's product in the same picture. According to Harper's Bazaar, industry estimates say that brands are spending more than $1 billion per year on consumer-generated advertising. Founder of Instagram Kevin Systrom even went to Paris Fashion week, going to couture shows and meeting with designers to learn more about how style bloggers, editors, and designers are currently dominating much of the content on his application.[63]
Tweetdeck is a web and desktop solution to monitor and manage your Twitter feeds with powerful filters to focus on what matters. You can also schedule tweets and stay up to date with notification alerts for new tweets. Tweetdeck, who was purchased by Twitter, is available for Chrome browsers, as well as Windows and Mac desktops. Recently they closed down their mobile apps to re-shift focus on the web and desktop platforms.
Scheduling: Social media management software gives the user a chance to plan and organize their social media activities, posts and other contents. It allows the business to schedule their posts and be able to post them when their target audience is most likely to view them. It certainly makes it easy for the user to know what to post and when by keeping an accurate calendar.
Most social media management teams have trouble tying ROI to social media. With Clarabridge, you’ll have the insights to fuel product innovation and make strategic business decisions. Why? Because your team will have access to a wealth of insights from customers at some of their most crucial touchpoints. For example, when customers are making a decision about a product, they very well may make an inquiry via social media. On the other hand, if they are experiencing issues, they will reach out via social media as well. With this information at the ready, your team will be able to have a keen understanding of what customers are looking for—valuable information that your business should be using to fuel innovation and strategic direction. Accessing and sharing this information between your social media management team and the C-Suite means that you’ll be able to tie ROI to your social media management efforts by tracking the customer’s journey from social media to sale acquisition.

As you can see in the example above, Wal-Mart does an excellent job addressing customer concerns.  The first comment cues them in to the fact that that there is a high demand for a certain product because it is sold out at the local store.  Wal-Mart directs the customer to a site where they can search other stores for the product. The second comment indicates a customer concern about order fulfillment. Wal-Mart addresses it and directs the person to a site where they can make suggestions on how the company can improve.
TipTop Search is a Twitter-based search engine that helps you discover the best and most current advice, opinions, answers for any search, and also real people to directly engage and share experiences with. A search on any topic reveals people’s emotions and experiences about it, as well as other concepts that they are discussing in connection with the original search.
Creating a content calendar doesn't require complex software; you can create one in Google Docs or Microsoft Word. Planning out your content a month at a time offers you a distinct advantage: You can plan for holidays, scheduled product releases, newsletter blasts and more. Having a content calendar is a key aspect of developing a cohesive social media marketing strategy.   - Kelly Samuel, Qode Media
Having a presence on social media is important, but sitting at a computer all day posting to your Facebook is extremely time consuming. You as a business owner need to focus on RUNNING your business. That is why our social media management company is the best option for you! With our social media management service, you get to focus on your business and we will handle your social media posts, growth and online engagement!
IFTTT, or “If This Then That,” is a great automation tool that can help you save a lot of time on trying to manage social media platforms, apps and websites. The tool can link these services together based on a trigger and an action. Based on the trigger you create, it will start an action. For example, if you publish a blog (the trigger), then IFTTT will automate and create a tweet (the action).   - Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS
SocialBro helps businesses learn how to better target and engage with their audience on Twitter. It provides tools to browse your community and identify key influencers, determine when the best time to tweet is, track engagement and analyze your competitors. Socialbro analyzes the timelines of your followers to generate a report showing you when the optimal time to tweet is that would reach the maximum amount of followers for more retweets and replies.

If you’re crunched for time and analytics is not your thing, invest in software to help track data. A lot can be tracked using free social media tools like bit.ly, Google Analytics, and Hootsuite. Diving in to see which content received the most clicks, shares, etc. will show you what to repurpose in the future. Look for common themes in your analysis, for example if advice posts with numbers in the title perform wonderfully on Facebook then up these on that platform.
As a millennial (but not one of the whiny ones that baby boomers complain about), I grew up in the age of online friendships and followers, which has exploded into a world of digital living. If I want to find a restaurant, I hop on Yelp. Recipes or clothes? Pinterest. Trying to be an adult? LinkedIn. The best thing about these options is that they have already been vetted by other people! I’m going to trust a Facebook friend who recommends a product 1000x more than a description on the product website.
Social Media Marketing brings new rules and opportunities to increase the awareness, profitability, and overall lifeline of your brand. A further understanding of your consumers, how they communicate, the experiences they’re looking to have, and where they’re located digitally is crucial.  Your social media strategy will affect the chances of winning new customers, retaining current customers, future business expansion opportunities, talented employees, and better products. But don’t take the short way out. If at first you don’t succeed, don’t give up. Stray away from being comfortable and what’s safe. Social media is a marathon, not a sprint.
1: Build a community and inspire action. Your followers should be people that you interact with and maintain a witty, relatable, and fun relationship with on social media. Stop selling your soul to gain followers, instead look to grow engagement. Brainstorm creative ways to keep your followers intrigued by creating truly powerful social media campaigns that will spur your audience to participate.

I’m a fan of Buffer. It lets you schedule and manage social media posts across all of the most widely used channels, and you can individually customize each post for all of the different platforms it gets posted to. Buffer also shares your content at the best possible times throughout the day and tracks links so that you can see what content gets the most traction.   - Chi Zhao, Hokku PR
Find out how many people are pinning from your website, seeing your pins, and clicking your content. Pick a time-frame to see how your numbers trend over time. Get better at creating Pins and boards with metrics from your Pinterest profile. Learn how people use the Pin It button on your site to add Pins. See how people interact with your Pins from whatever device they use. Get a glance at your all-time highest-performing Pins.
In-Depth Analytics: Many SMMS are capable of providing users with metrics on social media accounts, data from which can be integrated into a company’s social media and brand strategies. Such metrics can also be used to link social media strategies to a business’ website. They can keep tabs on how marketing campaigns are doing, which can provide valuable insights into a company’s social media presence.
Telling a powerful story: A whole story? Huh? But you’re only allotted so many characters on social channels. Yes, yes, I know, but there are ways to pull powerful quotes and engaging tidbits from a story that will leave the reader wanting more, therefore directing them to your website. Charity:water does this phenomenally well. Yes, they are already a charitable company with the mission of providing clean drinking water to every person in the world, but as a non-profit organization they’ve been incredibly successful continuously trumping their fundraising goals, and I’d be willing to bet a big part of this is due to how gracefully they tell their story to social followers. Their content has a way of spurring their audience to get involved and contribute to the organization. When I first learned about charity:water at Hubspot’s Inbound conference in 2013, their heart-wrenching video spurred me to create a birthday campaign in which you ask your friends and family to donate rather than give presents. One recent campaign that they’ve shared throughout all of their social channels is called “Why I give” in which individuals who donate share their stories. This adds the human element, tells a story, and even has the power of spurring followers to action. Take a look at the post below featuring a “well-known, well-loved charity:water supporter,” Shakil Kan. The quote featured tells a mini-story and is inspirational, intriguing the viewer to click.
SocialFlow's algorithms analyze user behavior and then optimize each post based on real-time data, in order to predict the best times for publishing content to capture peak attention from target audiences. They release posts when timing, relevance and audience are optimized, and also offer a full suite of services that aim to expand audience engagement and increase revenue per customer.   - Ryan Pezzotti, Knowzo.com
To convert and monetize a social audience, your business needs a tool that can turn all of this data into a concrete strategy, with easily understandable reporting and visualizations. The tool needs to do this while also monitoring the full scope of your social audience on all of the networks or platforms they live. Many of the enterprise analytics tools don't offer built-in publishing and some of the SMB-focused offerings don't have quite the depth of analytics. Because of this, be sure to pick a social media analytics tool that's affordable for your business and easy to use—and one that offers third-party integrations or an application programming interface (API) should you need to hook it into other software.
Social media marketing provides organizations with a way to connect with their customers. However, organizations must protect their information as well as closely watch comments and concerns on the social media they use. A flash poll done on 1225 IT executives from 33 countries revealed that social media mishaps caused organizations a combined $4.3 million in damages in 2010.[98] The top three social media incidents an organization faced during the previous year included employees sharing too much information in public forums, loss or exposure of confidential information, and increased exposure to litigation.[98] Due to the viral nature of the Internet, a mistake by a single employee has in some cases shown to result in devastating consequences for organizations. An example of a social media mishap includes designer Kenneth Cole's Twitter mishap in 2011. When Kenneth Cole tweeted, "Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor has they heard our new spring collection is now available online at [Kenneth Cole's website]".[99] This reference to the 2011 Egyptian revolution drew an objection from the public; it was widely objected to on the Internet.[99] Kenneth Cole realized his mistake shortly after and responded with a statement apologizing for the tweet.[100]

Quality is key and content is no exception. Content marketing has been a prominent form of marketing for a long time and this is not set to change anytime soon. Many brands are not linking quality content with the right posting schedule and the correct frequency of posts. High-quality SEO content coupled with all the above will help you bring in the right customers at the right time. Aside from its ability to attract an organic audience, a good content marketing strategy can be implemented for free. Be sure to create a relevant hashtag strategy along with your optimized and thorough content.

Buffer is a smart and easy way to schedule content across social media. Think of Buffer like a virtual queue you can use to fill with content and then stagger posting times throughout the day. This lets you keep to a consistent social media schedule all week long without worrying about micro-managing the delivery times. The Bufferapp also provides analytics about the engagement and reach of your posts.
Unplanned content is an 'in the moment' idea, "a spontaneous, tactical reaction." (Cramer, 2014, p. 6). The content could be trending and not have the time to take the planned content route. The unplanned content is posted sporadically and is not calendar/date/time arranged (Deshpande, 2014).[93][94] Issues with unplanned content revolve around legal issues and whether the message being sent out represents the business/brand accordingly. If a company sends out a Tweet or Facebook message too hurriedly, the company may unintentionally use insensitive language or messaging that could alienate some consumers. For example, celebrity chef Paula Deen was criticized after she made a social media post commenting about HIV-AIDS and South Africa; her message was deemed to be offensive by many observers. The main difference between planned and unplanned is the time to approve the content. Unplanned content must still be approved by marketing managers, but in a much more rapid manner e.g. 1–2 hours or less. Sectors may miss errors because of being hurried. When using unplanned content Brito (2013) says, "be prepared to be reactive and respond to issues when they arise."[92] Brito (2013) writes about having a, "crisis escalation plan", because, "It will happen". The plan involves breaking down the issue into topics and classifying the issue into groups. Colour coding the potential risk "identify and flag potential risks" also helps to organise an issue. The problem can then be handled by the correct team and dissolved more effectively rather than any person at hand trying to solve the situation.[92]
Facebook Pages Manager: One of the most popular SMMS currently in the market, Facebook Pages Manager is a mobile application designed to aid in managing businesses’ social media pages. Using the solution, users can update social media pages, create posts and share media, among others. Notifications regarding social media activities and reminders are also automatically sent by the app. Page insights are likewise provided, enabling users to capture information regarding customer wants and needs. Facebook Pages Manager also offers both business and personal social media tools.

On Google+ you can upload and share photos, videos, links, and view all your +1s. Also take advantage of Google+ circles, which allow you to segment your followers into smaller groups, enabling you to share information with some followers while barring others. For example, you might try creating a “super-fan” circle, and share special discounts and exclusive offers only with that group.
Explore your Twitter network. Discover which people interact the most and what they’re talking about. It’s also a great way to find relevant people to follow. The visualization runs right in your browser and displays data from Twitter. Mentionmap loads user’s tweets and finds the people and hashtags they talked about the most. In this data visualization, mentions become connections and discussions between multiple users emerge as clusters.
If you’re an agency in need of tools for social media management, Social Pilot may be your best bet! This social media management tool will allow you to do manage multiple client social media profiles at once and do things such as bulk schedule posts in various queues, collaborate with team members, manage clients, utilize browser extensions, etc. Their free plan includes 3 connected profiles, 10 posts per day, and 30 posts per queue.

A planning calendar lays the foundation and ensures you are maintaining your social sites and posting on a regular basis.  Of course, you can also post other news, tips and ideas as they arise.  The biggest pitfall businesses run into are they generally have a lot of excitement when they first establish their social media presence, but the momentum quickly fades.  Having a monthly planning calendar will help keep your social media efforts moving forward.
Now, look at social media through the same lens. Social media spending in the U.S. alone is expected to increase to more than $17 billion in 2019. A dizzily impressive figure, no doubt, but that kind of budget makes sense when you look at just how important social is to the way companies engage with their audiences, amplify their content marketing, and measure their successes. In fact, “The State of Digital Media” found that 66 percent of publication editors determine content success based on the number of social shares each piece yields.
You can actually survey your customers to learn more about the type of content they consume, why they use your product/service, their habits, what blogs they follow and more importantly the social networks they use etc. Any feedback from your customers should be considered important. The idea is to gain as much clarity as possible. Once you have a complete picture, your overall social media marketing efforts become fruitful, and result-oriented.
For many small businesses, there just isn’t enough time or resources to dedicate to effective social media management. Posting quality content consistently takes a lot of time and effort that some small business marketing teams just don’t have. Not to mention, you may not have anyone on your team with the expertise or skills needed to implement effective campaigns.
Many people install a social media plugin and then forget about it – hoping that blog content will stand on its own two feet as something socially-worthy. But unless your respective social profiles are thriving in their own right, few people are going to take the time to share your content socially unless it’s somehow impactful to them, personally.
Measuring Success with Analytics — You can’t determine the success of your social media marketing strategies without tracking data. Google Analytics can be used as a great social media marketing tool that will help you measure your most triumphant social media marketing techniques, as well as determine which strategies are better off abandoned. Attach tracking tags to your social media marketing campaigns so that you can properly monitor them. And be sure to use the analytics within each social platform for even more insight into which of your social content is performing best with your audience.
Explore your Twitter network. Discover which people interact the most and what they’re talking about. It’s also a great way to find relevant people to follow. The visualization runs right in your browser and displays data from Twitter. Mentionmap loads user’s tweets and finds the people and hashtags they talked about the most. In this data visualization, mentions become connections and discussions between multiple users emerge as clusters.
Hootsuite: A powerful SMMS, Hootsuite is designed to help businesses come up and with and implement social media strategies. It can likewise allow managers to handle multiple social media accounts using a single solution, eliminating the need for multiple logins. Users are allowed to post updates, directly communicate with customer base and analyze responses on social media sites, including Twitter, LinkedIn and FourSquare. The solution can also link businesses to third party applications such as Vimeo, Instagram and Evernote. Key features include management of multiple contributors, capture of brand intelligence and multiple network updates.
If you believe that the “voice” of your social posts has been putting potential customers off, then conduct an A/B test. Run a test post with two different versions of copy, measure the performance of both posts, and choose which one performs better. This will not only help you become more efficient with your marketing tactics, it will also help you to appeal to your audience more effectively.

Digital marketing encompasses many moving pieces that work together to generate interest, nurture leads, and close sales. However, it’s important that you know the ins and outs of each digital marketing tactic and how they can help your business if you want to get the most out of your marketing budget. Let’s start with the most common question – what is social media management?
Some of the measurables related to generating these 25 new customers would be conversion rate, traffic generated via the campaign, and click-through-rate. These metrics would be important to this specific campaign because they all relate to our goal (generating 25 new customers) and help us to forecast our performance, as well as measure against industry standards and competitors.
Social Media Marketing brings new rules and opportunities to increase the awareness, profitability, and overall lifeline of your brand. A further understanding of your consumers, how they communicate, the experiences they’re looking to have, and where they’re located digitally is crucial.  Your social media strategy will affect the chances of winning new customers, retaining current customers, future business expansion opportunities, talented employees, and better products. But don’t take the short way out. If at first you don’t succeed, don’t give up. Stray away from being comfortable and what’s safe. Social media is a marathon, not a sprint.
By this point, there should no longer be a question about what is social media management so the next time a colleague asks you “What is social media management?” you’ll be able to answer their question and refer them to an informational blog. Now that you know what is involved with effective social media management and why it’s important to your business, it’s time for you to make an educated decision about your own social media management. Will you use your in-house resources? Or partner with a social media management company that will enable you to focus on your core business?

In early 2012, Nike introduced its Make It Count social media campaign. The campaign kickoff began YouTubers Casey Neistat and Max Joseph launching a YouTube video, where they traveled 34,000 miles to visit 16 cities in 13 countries. They promoted the #makeitcount hashtag, which millions of consumers shared via Twitter and Instagram by uploading photos and sending tweets.[32] The #MakeItCount YouTube video went viral and Nike saw an 18% increase in profit in 2012, the year this product was released.
While there are a lot of tools out there that let you monitor and publish to social accounts, we recommend platforms such as Hubspot where you can not only monitor and publish but also get closed-loop reporting data. That means you're not just seeing what channels drive the most engagement, but you can track further down the funnel to see what posts and channels drive actual leads and sales.   - Ryan Short, MODassic Marketing
So why should your business get involved? Aside from personal branding, these chats can greatly benefit your business by giving you the ability to discover new leads, build brand authority, develop strong relationships with influencers in your industry, and further expose your brand. Host your own chat or partner with a big brand to co-host a chat; you’ll grow your follower base substantially if it’s promoted well. Explore the resources in this post to get an idea of which re-occurring chats take place in your industry.
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