The great thing about social media is it’s free. There’s no charge for basic membership on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and the like.
That doesn’t mean, however, that there is no cost to carrying out a social media program. Posting. Identifying and adding friends/followers. Monitoring. Responding to comments. It all takes time … and someone to do the work.
The good news is the right tools can make these tasks much easier. In fact, the creation of social media management tools is now a booming industry. While there are many, many tools on the market, the list below should give you a good sense for what’s out there and how you can use these tools for managing social media.
Great Tools for Managing Social Media
- dlvr.it: dlvr.it is a specialized service for pushing your blog posts to social media networks. It assigns a custom short URL for your blog post, and then updates whichever services you select with the post. It also contains some nice analytics for tracking click rates and responses to your posts.
- Hootsuite: From its humble beginnings as a Twitter aggregator, Hootsuite has grown to include monitoring of Facebook, LinkedIn, Ping.fm, WordPress, MySpace and FourSquare accounts. You can to post the same message across all your profiles and even schedule your posts in batches ahead of time.
- Hubspot: If you need a single service to be the center of every aspect of your inbound marketing, Hubspot is almost certainly your first choice. Everything from keyword selection, blog management and site analytics can be performed through the service, along with social media monitoring and management. We like it so much, we’re a certified Hubspot partner agency.
- Ping.fm: As one of the oldest social media aggregators, Ping.fm also has some of the broadest support. There are apps and plugins for different operating systems and devices and it works with many social networks. Also, Ping.fm remains one of the easiest services for updating all your social media.
- Radian6: With an extensive list of major corporate clients such as Pepsi, UPS and 3M, Radian6 provides among the most robust social monitoring and analysis tools on the market. It is an expensive service. However, with its ability to integrate into other marketing tools, it provides companies with a big advantage in managing their social presence.
- SproutSocial: Also geared toward companies, this social monitoring tool can notify you of any mentions of your products and keywords — as well as competitors. It has robust data filtering and reporting options, as well as support for routing specific subjects to different members of your team.
- TweetDeck: TweetDeck, purchased by Twitter last year, is another tool for managing social media, combining all of your social media profiles into an easy-to-read all-in-one dashboard. It has a web-based version as well as software for Windows, OSX, Chrome and mobile platforms.
There are plenty more tools out there for managing social media; these are just the tip of the iceberg. The key is to identify those tools that will let you get the most out of your social media effort without sucking up inordinate amounts of time and effort.
As a starting point, just pick one of the tools mentioned above and give it a shot. You’ll be happy you did.