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
ThinkUp is a free, open source web application that captures your posts, tweets, replies, retweets, friends, followers and links on social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. With ThinkUp, you can store your social activity in a database that YOU control, making it easy to search, sort, analyze, publish and display activity from your network. All you need is a web server that can run a PHP application. [Free 14 day trial]

Individual reports and scheduling posts for individual channels are always helpful, but that is not always a sufficient representation of your online image. I like Raven because it provides reports gathering information from pay-per-click (PPC), search engine optimization (SEO), and social media channels. It also allows you to access data and schedule posts on a wide variety of digital media channels.   - Ahmad Kareh, Twistlab Marketing
As the #1 marketing calendar for everything you need organized, CoSchedule allows users to build out their entire marketing strategy from one master calendar, collaborate with their teams, and streamline their entire execution process in one place. CoSchedule is the web’s most popular marketing calendar and the fastest growing startup in North Dakota. Ranked as the best business tool built by a startup on Entrepreneur.com, CoSchedule helps nearly 8,000 marketing teams stay organized in more than 100 countries around the world.

Like objectives, campaigns have a result or goal that you are shooting for. For example, say one of your business objectives for the year is to generate 100 new customers. You could then plan out four specific campaigns over the year with each campaign goal to generate 25 new customers. That way, each campaign would serve its purpose of building toward your yearly goal.

You’re probably already using this one, but hear me out. LinkedIn just released a new extension of its platform called LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms. This helps businesses accumulate and track leads. Because most people view the app on their phones, it can be a hassle to fill out a contact form. So instead of relying on users to fill out the forms, LinkedIn’s new application uses an in-app form that populates already stored information about an individual LinkedIn user, making lead generation for your business easier than before.
Individual reports and scheduling posts for individual channels are always helpful, but that is not always a sufficient representation of your online image. I like Raven because it provides reports gathering information from pay-per-click (PPC), search engine optimization (SEO), and social media channels. It also allows you to access data and schedule posts on a wide variety of digital media channels.   - Ahmad Kareh, Twistlab Marketing
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).
In order to get clicks and leads that convert into customers, you can’t just publish a link to your blog post and expect results. It’s not that simple. You need to give people a reason to take action. How? By taking out the time to create and promote content that is native to the social media platform it is being published on. For example, when you’re posting content on Facebook, you can lay emphasis on getting the user to visit your website or fill out the lead generation form without leaving the page. And when on Twitter, you can focus on using images while asking for a retweet, since tweets with images received 150% more retweets than tweets without images. Similarly, your content promotion strategy should be unique to every social network you’re publishing on. That’s how you get better conversions.
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.
One of my biggest challenges is finding content to tweet and post about! A way to tackle this is through social media management tools like Mention and Buzzsumo, which will send alerts your way when a keyword you select is posted online. I currently use keywords like “WordStream” or “Larry Kim” to see if others are posting about us. Then I can retweet their content!
There is hardly a small business owner who is not obsessed with this term: marketing strategy. That’s the main aspect that makes the difference between successful entrepreneurs and those that fail. It’s strange how everyone cares about discovering the perfect marketing techniques for their business, but we don’t bother realizing what marketing strategy really means. […]
Loomly is a social media calendar management tool that helps teams and individuals create and schedule content for social media networks including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ & LinkedIn. Via an intuitive interface and innovative features, users can manage ideas for social posts, get live post optimization tips, preview social media posts, manage approval workflows, and automate post scheduling & analytics. Loomly is available as a web platform, with native mobile applications for iOS & Android.
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]
Klout is a website tool and social media analytics which rates its users between 1 and 100 according to online social influence via "Klout Score". Klout has features such as social community platform, loyalty programs, amplification rate, audience reach, identify influencers, location tracking, conversion reports, internal performance analysis, multi-channel analysis, secure SSO and web analytics. Klout aggregates, measures, and analyzes several social media activities like re-tweets, likes, comments and shares to identify a user’s Klout Score which enables users to assess their influence and how to improve on it. A high Klout score is an edge against competitors and a…
Beyond its ability to schedule posts for all of your social media channels, Buffer boasts an in-platform image creator, video and gif uploader, analytics reports exporting,  and a handy browser extension to make access to all of the above simple and quick. It supports all major social media platforms (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest).
This ties in nicely with the tip above because there are likely several industry influencers participating in your industry related chats. Not having any luck with chats? Luckily there are tons of other strategies you can use on social to get connected with big shots in your industry. The goal is to get these people to like you and like your brand, and I’m not talking about a Facebook like. I’m talking about a genuine emotional feeling of liking everything your business is about. Why? Once you get the in with the people that matter, your business will only continue to grow because their audience and authority with mesh with yours to cast an even wider net. Take the following four steps to socially connect with your influencers:
In order for businesses to keep up with the seemingly endless stream of information from social media platforms, they need to use SMMS. Even as the number of companies using social media for customer service has risen, it has been found that eight in nine social media messages go unanswered in the first 72 hours. Using SMMS, enterprises can respond to such messages in a timely manner, ultimately saving a sale or even getting a positive comment from a customer. 

Social Searcher / Socialbuzz is a real-time search engine for Facebook, Twitter and Google+. It is designed to provide a different kind of user experience for curious users and deep analytics for the marketing professionals, such as: posts types, top links/domains, keywords, sentiment, top users and posts. Also the service has a quick possibility to change your search locale, filter search results by content type and popularity.
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.
The use of social media as a business tool answers the question what is the purpose of social management software?, involving processes such as marketing and advertising and customer service. SMMS needs to have features that could cater to these needs. Below is a discussion of the features of social media management software that every user should have access to.
Social media is rapidly becoming a resource for customer care. Gone are the days when customers would wait in a long line with the hope of resolution or were willing to stay on hold for extended periods of time until they could be helped. On social media, they know that the world is watching. Customers know that brands are likely to quickly resolve their issues if they publicly ask for assistance. For many businesses, this can pose issues since they most likely rely on a marketing team to run their social media management initiatives.

And although the study didn’t go into a great amount of detail on which types of photos did best, an underlying theme was that images of people and faces tended to garner more +1’s (admiration) while images of pets, food, and even memes enjoyed more shares.  Finally, images that featured positivity in some aspect – including quotes, inspiration or good things happening in the world also tended to be popular among the Google+ using crowd.
Those who rely on Twitter to get their message across will find much to like about Followerwonk. This tool comes with a variety on analytics tool which will help you determine everything there is to know about your audience, including their location and the hours during which they are at their most active. This will enable you to target your posts and increase their impact, because they will be read by more people. You can also do the clever thing and integrate it with Buffer, and set it to post schedule posts automatically at the time your readers are on Twitter.
Team tracking, collaboration, and oversight are also crucial elements in running a well-oiled social marketing team as a business grows. All of the tools reviewed support team activity such as response assignment and team member tracking, depending on the tier. But the marketing team features in Sysomos Expion, enhanced team collaboration in Sprout Social, and the well-integrated Discuss tab of Zoho Social stand out in particular, along with a nifty new Slack integration in Brand24. All of the products reviewed have geographic location, demographic, gender, and age stats as well, although the higher-end enterprise social analytics platforms (such as Synthesio and Sysomos) go beyond those basic demographics with deeper community analysis and return-on-investment (ROI) metrics.
It's a good idea to start with a plan that has goals and an organizing framework to keep you on track. If you start down a path on the social Web and hate what you're doing, you can change things around. Just as you change networking and conversational approaches in person, you can do so on the social Web. The only differences are that on the social Web, you're talking through your keyboard, and your potential audience is much, much larger.
Nice post.I am really surprised you don’t have Blog2social in the list. It is one of the finest social media cross-posting plugin, a user can cross-post blog posts on social media automatically, customized and scheduled. It allows the post author to advance directly to the posting dashboard of Blog2Social Word-press, in which pre filled posting texts are provided. After customizing the texts the author schedules the posts or publishes them without delay.
Everything you publish with Edgar is stored in an organized library and arranged into categories, like “Quotes,” “Blog Posts,” or “Cat Puns.” To save even more time, you can add content in bulk or connect him to an RSS feed. Create a schedule that tells Edgar when to publish from each category. That way, he always knows what types of status updates to post at which times, sharing the right variety of content automatically. When Edgar makes his way through all the new content in a category, he’ll simply start recycling older updates. He’ll never run out of things to say, and your posts will be seen by a new audience, bringing more traffic your way! Your library is organized into categories, and your schedule is built around the types of things you want to post. Once you define your categories and schedule, Edgar makes sure your queue is never empty – ever. When he’s published everything from a category, Edgar re-shares older updates that people might have missed the first time around – and every time he does, you can get brand new traffic.

If you’re looking for a platform to create your social media content calendar, there are a plethora of great options available. Both Buffer and Hootsuite are free to sign up, and allow you to schedule social media posts in advance, based on the platform of your choice. This means that you won’t have to worry about posting anything manually at a specific time.
Buzzmonitor is an innovating solution which involves consultancy, diagnosis, and technology to help users manage their business on Social Media. Buzzmonitor offers features such as real-time dashboards, access to up to 9 Brands, access up to 9 Users, access up to 15.000 items per month and an Account Manager (which is not available in the freemium package). Buzzmonitor monitors users’ brand on social media, creates custom reports and turns them into real-time dashboards with one click. Users also gets to compare their Facebook, Twitter and Youtube channels’ metrics with the ones from their competition. BuzzMonitor also lets users respond and…

Hearsay Systems offers the Hearsay Advisor Cloud for financial services, empowering advisors to efficiently and compliantly use social media, websites, text and email to engage with customers, build stronger relationships and grow their business. Its prescriptive technology processes and prioritizes data from across digital channels and data systems, providing actionable suggestions for advisors on how they should engage with clients next. Built for the enterprise, Hearsay connects these advisor-client interactions and data to corporate CRM systems and digital marketing programs, and provides efficient compliance supervision and review workflows – all on a secure, enterprise-ready platform. Hearsay is used by more than 150,000 advisors and agents at the world’s largest financial services and insurance firms. The company is headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices throughout North America, Europe and Asia.

This portion of research should be understandable and intuitive to you since your analyzing the business you work for. But if not, here are some ways that you can collect information on the structure of your business and its disposition toward social media, your business’ culture and its beliefs about social media, as well as the social media resources available at your business’ disposal.
Having a crystal clear plan is the prerequisite to making social media work for you. You need to know what you’re doing, where you’re headed, and what you plan to achieve with your social media. In short, you need a social media marketing strategy that gives you a bird’s eye view of everything. And at the same time lets you grasp and work with the details when needed.
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