Rob Watts is PCMag's Business Analyst, writing reviews and features for a variety of business applications. He brings years of experience in editorial insights to the role, having previously worked as an editor for Keypoint Intelligence, an independent test laboratory for document imaging hardware and software. He spends his free time cooking and g... See Full Bio


It also costs time to create snackable content and execute a full-blown strategy. So what's the solution for a budget-conscious business? First, enlist the help of social media tools to tackle virtually every aspect of your social media marketing, from content to advertising to lead generation, social listening, analytics, and more. Second, keep those social efforts organized. Using a spreadsheet or custom content promotion template can ensure you're maximizing every opportunity.
YouTube is the number one place for creating and sharing video content, and it can also be an incredibly powerful social media marketing tool. Many businesses try to create video content with the aim of having their video “go viral,” but in reality those chances are pretty slim. Instead, focus on creating useful, instructive “how-to” videos. These how-to videos also have the added benefit of ranking on the video search results of Google, so don't under-estimate the power of video content!
For years I’ve been using Hootsuite as a social media dashboard and monitoring platform and Buffer in conjunction with IFTTT as scheduling and content curation tools. But I thought it would be cooler if you could do most of these things in just one place, and make it all social, so I built DashBurst as a content sharing platform and social media management tool. You’re all invited to check it out here and I would love to know what you think about it in the comments below!
I currently use IFTTT for auto posting from G+ to Twitter and Facebook, but it only allows you to link ONE page, although it’s free. I have several pages so unless I got an email for every page (crazy!), I need to get another tool to post to several different pages depending on certain parameters. It needs to be free as I can’t afford any fees at this stage…
In the context of the social web, engagement means that customers and stakeholders, such as consumer advocacy groups and groups that criticize companies (e.g., lobby groups or advocacy organizations) are active participants rather than passive viewers. Social media use in a business or political context allows all consumers/citizens to express and share an opinion about a company's products, services or business practices, or a government's actions. Each participating customer or non-customer (or citizen) who is participating online via social media becomes part of the marketing department (or a challenge to the marketing effort), as other customers read their positive or negative comments or reviews. Getting consumers and potential consumers (or citizens) to be engaged online is fundamental to successful social media marketing.[20] With the advent of social media marketing, it has become increasingly important to gain customer interest in products and services, which can eventually be translated into buying behavior (or voting or donating behavior in a political context). New online marketing concepts of engagement and loyalty have emerged which aim to build customer participation and brand reputation.[21]
“Over the last two years, the social network has repeatedly tweaked the system to show the top 300 or so items that it predicts each person will want to read,” according to a recent article by the New York Times. “Facebook argues that people prefer to see videos, photos, news articles and updates from their friends and family more than other brands. So over time, posts by businesses have shown up less frequently.” Facebook continues to push for more advertising so if your business wants traction it needs to be advertising. With all of that said you still need to use caution and tread lightly if you’re a budget conscious advertiser because with more and more competition prices are likely to rise. I’d also highly recommend retargeting with platforms like AdRoll because with retargeting you show your ads to people that have already expressed interest in your brand by visiting your site. I often see retargeting ads on the side of my Facebook News scan (i.e. the image below showing ads for two sites which I recently visited).
If you want to explore your social media analytics, schedule posts across platforms, and monitor engagement, Sprout Social is a great all-in-one social media management tool. The platform allows you to analyze your social media data beyond the built-in analytics offered by Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can also track engagement on keywords and hashtags, identify influencers, build custom dashboards, and more. Sprout integrates with all major social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+), as well as other systems including Bitly and Google Analytics.

Engagement in social media for the purpose of a social media strategy is divided into two parts. The first is proactive, regular posting of new online content (digital photos, digital videos, text) and conversations, as well as the sharing of content and information from others via weblinks. The second part is reactive conversations with social media users responding to those who reach out to your social media profiles through commenting or messaging[22] Traditional media such as TV news shows are limited to one-way interaction with customers or 'push and tell' where only specific information is given to the customer with few or limited mechanisms to obtain customer feedback. Traditional media such as paper newspapers, of course, do give readers the option of sending a letter to the editor, but this is a relatively slow process, as the editorial board has to review the letter and decide if it is appropriate for publication. On the other hand, social media is participative and open, as participants are able to instantly share their views on brands, products, and services. Traditional media gave control of message to the marketer, whereas social media shifts the balance to the consumer (or citizen).

Social networks are, in many cases, viewed as a great tool for avoiding costly market research. They are known for providing a short, fast, and direct way to reach an audience through a person who is widely known. For example, an athlete who gets endorsed by a sporting goods company also brings their support base of millions of people who are interested in what they do or how they play and now they want to be a part of this athlete through their endorsements with that particular company. At one point consumers would visit stores to view their products with famous athletes, but now you can view a famous athlete's, such as Cristiano Ronaldo, latest apparel online with the click of a button. He advertises them to you directly through his Twitter, Instagram, and FaceBook accounts.
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.
Additionally, social media management is cost-effective. Small businesses often have to do more with less when it comes to their marketing budget. Social media management allows you to experience significant results when it comes to lead generation and conversion. This eliminates high out of pocket costs that come along with traditional marketing tactics like billboards or TV ads.
Sprout Social offers social media management, engagement and analytics solutions for leading agencies and brands, including Hyatt, GrubHub, Microsoft, Uber and Zendesk. Available via web browser, iOS and Android apps, Sprout Social’s engagement platform enables brands to more effectively communicate on social channels, collaborate across teams and provide an exceptional customer experience. Sprout Social’s intuitive platform was designed with the user in mind, making it easy for anyone to publish content, monitor their social presence, engage with their audience and analyze social media efforts across all connected profiles. Teams can be up and running in minutes—Sprout Social does not require up-front investment, has flexible contract terms and there is little-to-no implementation needed. Sprout Social is an Twitter Official Partner, Facebook Marketing Partner, Instagram Partner Program Member, LinkedIn Company Page Partner and Google+ Pages API Partner. Created for small and medium businesses, enterprise and agencies, Sprout features focus on three main functions: publishing, engaging and reporting. Sprout provides solutions for social marketing, social management, customer service and team collaboration. Sprout’s Smart Inbox gives users a unique all-in-one stream of their incoming social messages, and enables users to work from the stream to respond, tag, task or mark messages as complete to achieve inbox zero. Sprout’s collaboration tools and permissions enable multiple users to work within the platform at once without overlapping or encroaching on responsibilities. The Sprout Queue and ViralPost enable you to efficiently upload content and ensures your messages will be sent at the optimal time for maximum reach. Sprout’s ample reporting capabilities provide insightful analytics and enable you to quantify your social communications.

Bit.ly is a URL shortener and click reporting tool all in one. It’s great for Twitter with short posts, and also tracking the clicks to help you understand how well your content converts traffic to your website. It’s by no means an “all-in-one” social media management tool, but as a social media marketer, it will help you track the performance of your links. Which is vital.


Ideas often seem to strike at random. So you need a place to collect and develop them as inspiration comes. Trello has worked wonders for me because I can not only save ideas to a Trello board, but attach links, files, and notes to each idea as it comes to life. It gives you the flexibility to be as meticulous or as barebones as you want with your planning.
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.
Since social media marketing first came to be, strategists and markets have been getting smarter and more careful with the way they go about collecting information and distributing advertisements. With the presence of data collecting companies, there is no longer a need to target specific audiences. This can be seen as a large ethical gray area. For many users, this is a breach of privacy, but there are no laws that prevent these companies from using the information provided on their websites. Companies like Equifax, Inc., TransUnion Corp, and LexisNexis Group thrive on collecting and sharing personal information of social media users.[112] In 2012, Facebook purchased information from 70 million households from a third party company called Datalogix. Facebook later revealed that they purchased the information in order to create a more efficient advertising service.[113]
Platforms like LinkedIn create an environment for companies and clients to connect online.[71] Companies that recognize the need for information, originality/ and accessibility employ blogs to make their products popular and unique/ and ultimately reach out to consumers who are privy to social media.[72] Studies from 2009 show that consumers view coverage in the media or from bloggers as being more neutral and credible than print advertisements, which are not thought of as free or independent.[73] Blogs allow a product or company to provide longer descriptions of products or services, can include testimonials and can link to and from other social network and blog pages. Blogs can be updated frequently and are promotional techniques for keeping customers, and also for acquiring followers and subscribers who can then be directed to social network pages. Online communities can enable a business to reach the clients of other businesses using the platform. To allow firms to measure their standing in the corporate world, sites enable employees to place evaluations of their companies.[71] Some businesses opt out of integrating social media platforms into their traditional marketing regimen. There are also specific corporate standards that apply when interacting online.[71] To maintain an advantage in a business-consumer relationship, businesses have to be aware of four key assets that consumers maintain: information, involvement, community, and control.[74]
Reddit, or similar social media platforms such as Stumble Upon or Digg, are ideal for sharing compelling content. With over 2 billion page views a month, Reddit has incredible social media marketing potential, but marketers should be warned that only truly unique, interesting content will be welcomed. Posting on Reddit is playing with fire—submit spammy or overtly sales-focused content and your business could get berated by this extremely tech-savvy community.
As trending topics come into the spotlight, they can present timely distribution opportunities. For example, culture-related topics – like diversity, race, and gender equality – are at the forefront of the U.S. media right now. Brands using their content as a podium (like Belvedere Vodka has done with its A Beautiful Future digital series, in partnership with Janelle Monáe) can earn a critical boost in visibility and relevance in social media conversations they normally wouldn’t pursue.
The Internet and social networking leaks are one of the issues facing traditional advertising. Video and print ads are often leaked to the world via the Internet earlier than they are scheduled to premiere. Social networking sites allow those leaks to go viral, and be seen by many users more quickly. The time difference is also a problem facing traditional advertisers. When social events occur and are broadcast on television, there is often a time delay between airings on the east coast and west coast of the United States. Social networking sites have become a hub of comment and interaction concerning the event. This allows individuals watching the event on the west coast (time-delayed) to know the outcome before it airs. The 2011 Grammy Awards highlighted this problem. Viewers on the west coast learned who won different awards based on comments made on social networking sites by individuals watching live on the east coast.[97] Since viewers knew who won already, many tuned out and ratings were lower. All the advertisement and promotion put into the event was lost because viewers didn't have a reason to watch.[according to whom?]
…and almost as important, quantity. Because let’s face it, social media is about what is going on NOW, right this second. This is especially true for Twitter; we recently found that engagement rate increased 46% week over week after publishing 30 more tweets than the week prior. In fact, those 30 extra tweets helped push 30% more traffic to the website with 60% more link clicks than the previous week.
You should also try and share video content with your followers to educate them about your market or about how your products/services can help them. This will not only help them get value but will also make it easy for them to hit the buy button. It’s a win-situation. This is why you find many small and big businesses are adding Facebook videos and Instagram Stories to their social media marketing strategy.
A tool's analytics capability is the overarching factor that will determine its usefulness because it takes all of the types of information mentioned earlier, turns them into data, and then displays them visually in compelling formats. A tool can gather all sorts of data but how the analytics piece of the tool disseminates the intelligence—and delivers the insights—is key to whether or not it can be used to accomplish planned business objectives. These objectives can include driving marketing campaigns, forecasting possible brand crises, and revealing new markets.
If your business is at the point where you are considering a social media management platform, then you probably already have a CRM tool in place. CRM systems are an important part of your company's tech arsenal, helping you to effectively keep tabs on your interactions with customers. If used properly, they can be extremely effective in improving customer satisfaction and driving up sales.
Planable. A social media collaboration platform that enables enterprises and organization to create, schedule, discuss, and plan their social media posts in a singular, unified environment that is very similar to popular social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. This solution is created to help users improve work interaction in efforts to create better content.

So first you need to do is to choose the channels which you want to use. The number of channels available in IFTTT is 276. After choosing the channel you need to activate it simply meaning that connecting your account to IFTTT. After that you can create as many recipes as you want. Like, If I get a new follower on Twitter, then shoot me an email (If This Then That).


Oracle Social Cloud’s intuitive analytics tools empower marketers to discover, analyze and respond across paid, owned and earned social channels to measure the impact of their data-driven campaigns. A unified listening, analytics and engagement application helps marketers measure social success and connect social analytics with business KPI. The Social Cloud platform offers an API layer to deliver social data and functionality into existing technology stacks including Oracle Customer Experience Cloud and Marketing Cloud. Oracle Social Cloud includes the following social solutions: Application: • Listen: Uncover actionable insights from social or unstructured 1st party data through proprietary 3-tiered listening technology. Latent semantic analysis delivers easy refinement and auto-theming while natural language processing drives sentiment and top terms for business users. • Analyze: Customizable dashboards empower marketers to discover, analyze and report to measure campaign impact across paid, owned and earned social data. • Engage: Read, route and respond to social messages across owned and earned channels in one customizable engagement console. Platform: • A truly open platform with extensible APIs offers social data and social functionality across CX, OMC and 3rd party systems. Customers and partners leverage APIs to bring the power of social into their existing technology investments.
You can combine several strategies to increase traffic and leads. For starters, make sure your profile is consistent with your brand aesthetic so users’ expectations are met. Also, link to your site whenever it’s appropriate. Link back to your website in your bio, your branded posts, and anywhere else that allows you to insert a relevant call to action.
Social media can be a useful source of market information and a way to hear customer perspectives. Blogs, content communities, and forums are platforms where individuals share their reviews and recommendations of brands, products, and services. Businesses are able to tap and analyze the customer voices and feedback generated in social media for marketing purposes;[15] in this sense the social media is a relatively inexpensive source of market intelligence which can be used by marketers and managers to track and respond to consumer-identified problems and detect market opportunities. For example, the Internet erupted with videos and pictures of iPhone 6 "bend test" which showed that the coveted phone could be bent by hand pressure. The so-called "bend gate" controversy[16] created confusion amongst customers who had waited months for the launch of the latest rendition of the iPhone. However, Apple promptly issued a statement saying that the problem was extremely rare and that the company had taken several steps to make the mobile device's case stronger and robust. Unlike traditional market research methods such as surveys, focus groups, and data mining which are time-consuming and costly, and which take weeks or even months to analyze, marketers can use social media to obtain 'live' or "real time" information about consumer behavior and viewpoints on a company's brand or products. This can be useful in the highly dynamic, competitive, fast-paced and global marketplace of the 2010s.

Social networking websites allow individuals, businesses and other organizations to interact with one another and build relationships and communities online. When companies join these social channels, consumers can interact with them directly.[3] That interaction can be more personal to users than traditional methods of outbound marketing and advertising.[4] Social networking sites act as word of mouth or more precisely, e-word of mouth. The Internet's ability to reach billions across the globe has given online word of mouth a powerful voice and far reach. The ability to rapidly change buying patterns and product or service acquisition and activity to a growing number of consumers is defined as an influence network.[5] Social networking sites and blogs allow followers to "retweet" or "repost" comments made by others about a product being promoted, which occurs quite frequently on some social media sites.[6] By repeating the message, the user's connections are able to see the message, therefore reaching more people. Because the information about the product is being put out there and is getting repeated, more traffic is brought to the product/company.[4]
We are humans, so mistakes are unavoidable. This is especially true when it comes to the fast-paced world of social media. Rather than flat out ignoring these hiccups, embrace them. I am not saying that when a comma is missed in a tweet you should announce this small grammar error, but DO NOT delete the tweet. It has already been published, and followers are more likely to notice if you are continuously re-posting. For larger mistakes, like a product error or multiple overcharges to customer credit cards, you’ll want to proactively respond in an apologetic, actionable manner, and send out content from your social accounts apologizing and addressing how the error is being handled so customers are aware. 

It is important for any organization to have social media representation. Using social media management software, they are able to get an idea how consumers view them and know about competitors and industry trends. Social media also allows for the positive representation of a company, product or service, which is always a good thing. Building a good name and public image is most likely to improve connections with customers more quickly.
In today’s world, social media is one of the best ways for your business to stand out in its field and to reach a wider audience. Having an active presence on all major social networks, from Facebook to LinkedIn and beyond, is a necessity for any brand that wants to become an industry leader while engaging with its potential and current customers in new ways.
thank you very much for this great list and sharing all this information about the different tools. I also think that there are differences between the tools, especially when it comes to usability and different options for optimizing social media management. In my eyes that is one reason why you should always consider the choice of tools for a blog as a whole.
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