- Understand social media marketing tools on a deeper level so you may develop your own points of view and extrapolations.
- Understand how to conduct an internal audit of social media marketing tool vendors to determine the right social media tools for a company of any size.
- Learn how to research and source the right social media marketing tool for your organization’s needs to demonstrate you are doing your due diligence when selecting a tool.
|Marketing IRL (Provided by me, Leo Morejon): |
One day, at 360i (a digital marketing agency based in NYC), I was running social media accounts for brands like Oreo (Oreo Super Bowl Blackout Tweet, Daily Twist, etc.), using the tools provided to me, or ones that I could select using a small budget.
Next thing I knew, I was put in charge of researching, sourcing, and implementing a single social media tool for the agency to use to run their clients’ social accounts.
“No big deal,” I thought. I knew the landscape of social media tools well, and even used many of them for years.
Then the reality of the situation set in. This involved signing a contract worth possibly thousands of dollars , for software that would manage all of our social media accounts, for 30+ social media managers, working across 20+ major clients, and across 100s of different social channels in multiple languages and countries.
Oh, shoot… this was real.
The days turned into months and I went on my way meeting with different companies – some I loved, some I didn’t, others that were just okay. The problem was, I was not using a process to help me stay on track. I now know that it’s important to have a process, tools that would help me understand my needs, an understanding of what’s important or what’s a nice-to-have, and something that would support me when I made my decision.
I had none, or very little of that in place, and it put me at risk. If I went with a tool that no one used, and a senior leadership member asked me questions:
– Why did we go with them?
– Why did things go astray?
– Why are we here?
I would have had nothing to say – looking foolish and being fully culpable at the same time.
What are Social Media Marketing tools?
A social media marketing tool is any piece of technology that supports you in the development and execution of social media marketing activities.
These activities include, and are certainly not limited to, supporting matters of research, content creation, content planning, influencer marketing, and reporting, as you plan, execute, and analyze your work on Facebook, YouTube, and all other social platforms.
Social media tools mostly come in the form of “SaaS,” or Software as a Service, pronounced by saying the whole word, vs. spelling out each letter.
The easiest way to understand SaaS or to spot it, is to view where you are using the tool. If it’s a program on your Desktop (on Mac OS, Windows, etc.), like Microsoft Word, Adobe Photoshop or something similar, it’s not SaaS.
However, if you’re using the software via a browser (Chrome, Internet Explorer, etc.), then it is SaaS. Some softwares can have two versions of themselves. For instance, you might access Outlook via your desktop, as well as via your browser. When it comes to social media tools, almost all tools will be SaaS.
These tools will also come tailored for the size of your business. For instance, there are tools that focus just on enterprise needs (very, very large businesses with multiple offices, lines of business, locations, staff and so on – businesses like Coca-Cola, IBM, Verizon, etc.), or you will find tools that are for small-to-midsize businesses (sometimes called SMBs).
Of course, you will also find tools that reach across many or all business sizes.
Generally, social media marketing tools fall into two main categories:
- All-in-One-Tools: These are tools that offer a lot of features for many social media platforms as well as many activities. For instance, they may support you with your social media listening, as well as your influencer marketing. These are mostly used by enterprise businesses because they are better for implementing across many users, locations, teams, and needs.
The best way to think about All-in-One-Tools, is to think about the old DVD-TV-VCR devices. This was one machine that included a TV, a VCR, and a DVD player, all in the same hardware.
- Point-Solutions: These tools mostly focus on one activity. For instance, they may focus just on influencer marketing and associated tools, and not offer anything for content development or scheduling. These can be used by teams of all sizes, but smaller teams usually use these types of solutions, because they can spend time learning each platform and teams are small enough where everyone communicates regularly.
Picking this solution is like buying one TV, one DVD player, and one VCR and connecting them together yourself.
Later, we will cover how to pick the right tool for your business needs. For now, just know that there is no one-size-fits all solution.
Why are Social Media Marketing Tools Important?
Social media marketing tools are vital for today’s social media professionals. If you are not using tools, you will not have a competitive advantage and you will be limiting your work and your career’s progress. At the most basic level, social media tools allow you to do more.
For example, you could cut grass by cutting the top of each blade of grass using your finger nails, but that would be slow and tiring. You could also use scissors, and that would be an improvement, but would still take you a while.
However, if you used a lawn mower, you could save time cutting the grass, and then trim the hedges, plant new trees, and even more.. Individuals still using Facebook.com to do everything manually are the people cutting the grass with their bare hands.
There is a lot to know and a lot to do in today’s social media world, so tools are vital.
So, What is the Best Social Media Marketing Tool?
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