There are TONS of social media tools out there and you have probably heard about many of them. They usually have funky names and they have all different “categories:” Social CRM, Social Listening, Social Publishing, Social Media Analytics, etc. I like to call it The Wild West of Social Software. How do you know which ones to use and which ones to leave alone? First, it’s important to understand how these tools help to support your social media objectives. Here are the 3 categories that every B2B company should care about:
Social listening (examples: Hootsuite, Tweetdeck)
What is it? Every good strategy starts with research and understanding of your industry’s landscape. Social listening tools enable you to evaluate what is happening around your keywords, competitors, influencers, media and associations. Good social listening tools allow you to use a streamlined interface coupled with strong customizable search capabilities to see the data that matters to you.
Social publishing (examples: Buffer, Hootsuite)
What is it? Rather than signing in to your company’s Facebook account, Twitter account, and LinkedIn account separately and each time to want to post something, good social publishing tools enable you to connect to all of your accounts in one location, create posts and schedule them for publishing at your desired day/time. While the features of these platforms vary, this key functionality will really help you to cut back on the administrative part of social media posting and manage content in one centralized location.
Social Media Analytics (examples: Simply Measured, Social Report)
What is it? Okay, not much mystery here and the analytics that you get out of these platforms are obviously only as good as the KPIs you create to determine what your social media success looks like. But good social analytics products will help you to develop customized dashboards and will also highlight both the more top level analysis like engagement and visitors but also post-level details so that you can determine which posts generated the best results and use this data to inform future content development.
Please note that the examples presented are not recommendations for each category; they are merely companies who put themselves into each of these categories. In future posts, I will seek to demystify some of these tools and present the pros and cons. The thing that I have definitely learned in the past few years is that there is no one tool that does it all really well. And that’s likely because the social media world – bringing new and changing social networks to us every day – is always evolving. As such, each of these categories and tools will continue to evolve along with it. In the meantime, it’s important to carefully consider where you should put your efforts.
Have specific questions about social media tools or want to offer up some thoughts? Fire away!
Renay M. Picard
The Take Root Marketing Blog is intended as a vehicle to assist and engage with marketers and social media addicts like myself - please share your thoughts, good, bad or otherwise. I'd love to hear from you!