Social media becomes overwhelming fast. There are too many sites to update, too many keywords to monitor, and too many conversations that you want to be part of in any given day. The result of this chaos? You drop the ball. You become frustrated with social media when you’re not achieving all of your goals or you become frustrated when you start spending more time online and less time in your business.
But it doesn’t have to be this way!
Instead of driving yourself crazy, invest in the proper social media tools to help you get a better handle on your social media efforts. Below are five ways social media tools can help:
1. Keyword Monitoring: This is going to be a core function of most social media software, and with good reason. It’s where social media begins – in the listening phase. Scott Stratten recently shared how Delta fixed his bad experience simply by monitoring not only the brand phrase “Delta” but misspellings like “Detla”. In doing this, they were able to catch Scott tweeting about a bad experience he had with the company even though he had misspelled its name in his tweet. Because they knew about it, they could fix it. Had they not been monitoring, they wouldn’t have seen it. By using tools to help you monitor what’s said about you in social media, you put yourself in the best situation possible to respond and to respond fast.
Using tools like Twitter Searches, Tweetdeck or Hootsuite can help you monitor and manage your social media accounts. And as Delta showed, you also want to keep an eye on common misspellings of your brand name.
2. Easier to Engage: Monitoring updates is one thing, but making it easier to respond is another. Small business owners managing multiple social accounts will want to look for a tool that will let them update various accounts like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and potentially more from one interface. Putting this in place early on can help make social media far more manageable because now instead of logging into four different networks to engage, you only have to monitor and watch one. When your time is already fragmented as it is, this is can be invaluable.
Tools like Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, or something larger like Radian6 can help you achieve engagement zen by placing all of your social media activity into one screen.
3. Scheduling Updates: I know what you’re thinking – scheduling social media updates is bad! No, automating all of your social media activity is bad. Using tools to schedule updates so they happen on the fly helps you to maintain a presence in your social networks, while not taking you away from your business. Because, let’s face it, sometimes you’re too busy to log into Twitter when you have a line of customers out the door. By relying on social media tools, you can cross-publish your blog posts to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn in one click or set up a week’s worth of Twitter news drops in one afternoon.
If you’re looking for a great tool to help you schedule social media updates, Buffer is my personal Go To tool, though others offer the same functionality. Here you can set update times, create a queue of content, and even share tasks with other team members.[Worth noting: I don’t recommend using a third-party tool to schedule Facebook updates as it will greatly affect visibility.]
4. Team Management: Another issue many SMBs face is trying to assign social media responsibilities to certain team members. This is another area where using a tool can help to simplify the process. Many of the social media tools available include functionality to help assign certain tasks or updates to specific team members. By doing this it ensures that you have the right person responding to the right question and you make someone accountable to it. It also means tweets won’t go unanswered simply because the first person to see it didn’t know how to address the complaint. The more you can add accountability to your social media campaigns, the better.
5. Promotion Capabilities: Sometimes you’ll need a tool to come in and help you do more than just monitor updates and make it easier for you to respond. You need something that’s going to strengthen your social media efforts as a whole, helping to organize contests or provide fans with rewards. Use tools to help you do this! By taking advantage of these powerful tools it gives you the ability to take your social media activity to the next level in a way that is both robust and affordable.
What’s a great tool to help with social media promotions? My recommendation would be WildFire.
Are you using tools to make you a smarter social media user? Or are you keeping it 100 percent manual? I’d love to hear it.
Image credit: badboo / 123RF Stock Photo
Some really great stuff here. It’s nice to see posts about social media that aren’t just about the basics. BTW, Lisa — would you be interested in guest blogging for our site?
This is so true. Thanks for the tips.
I still believe this is not solving the main problem. Ultimately social media is an extension to the small business’s web presence. We need to focus on first giving small businesses access to advanced web tools (Cloud administrative tools and modern web presence) So not only they can be found but they can properly interact with the modern consumer.
I really like this top-5 list, and your suggestion to check out Buffer is great. I’ve never heard of that application, and I will be using it for the company I work for. I’ve had hit-or-miss success with scheduling social media updates, and I’ve often resorted to using my mobile device(s) to make them in real-time when I am out of the office or on weekends, so this is a big help.
Thank you for this information!
Scheduling updates is something that I don’t necessarily agree with 100%. I think in the end it depends on the nature of the business.
I say this because it is always great to be there in real time when comments, likes and RT’s are being generated in the moment. I always like to use those opportunities to engage with the prospects and people who help me promote the content/status further as the action is happening vs having them post and then following up 3 hours later.
What do you think Lisa?
Nice Article. One very important aspect about SMM tools is that many small medium companies need a lot of help. Making Social Media work with dedicated in-house teams is expensive.
I’m a big fan of Tweetdeck and I use it every day to keep tabs on certain hashtags and groups.
The discussion about scheduled tweets needs to be focused on what you’re automating and why. If it’s a tweet about your latest blog post, automate it. You’ll pick up on RTs and other activity through the listening channels you’ve set up. Then you can respond on the fly and in the moment.