Toolkit: 21 tools for social media management at a glance

Social media tools help companies implement their marketing strategies across different social media channels. Planning, posting, analyzing, managing – all this is no problem if you have the right social media management tool.

Numerous providers of software tools for efficient social media management are among the exhibitors represented at DMEXCO.
Image: © Koelnmesse GmbH / Michael Berger

The challenge of social media management

In contrast to private use of social media, professional use of different channels brings not only joy but also, and above all, expense and work. Content that is relevant to a target group, suits the channel and is thematically meaningful will probably first be researched, written, compiled and illustrated. The content is then adapted to the requirements of the various channels. When is the target group active? And how successful was the campaign? Analysis up front and evaluation after the fact are also very time-consuming.

A solid social media strategy is indispensable to the effort to convey a company’s content and messages to the public. If you still want to reach your target groups with your marketing activities, you have to pick them up where they are – after all, these are social media channels. Whether on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn or Xing – most companies now appear on a variety of different channels to pick up their audiences wherever they like to spend their time.

But it’s worth the effort. The ranks of users of social media channels is constantly increasing. In Germany, too, the number of people active on the social web is growing steadily along with the number of active Internet users.

Internet users
social media users
of the population on the social web

Worldwide, the number of active Internet users increased by as much as 9.1 percent in 2019 compared to the previous year.

What capability does a social media management tool have to have?

Common expectations for a social media tool mainly revolve around the creation and central organization of postings and the management of all channels. Must-haves in a social media planning tool like this are:

  • Cross-posting: Sending a post customized for each one of multiple channels
  • Scheduled and staggered posting: Decide in advance when which content will be automatically published on which channel. Intelligent tools learn and suggest the best time for each channel based on audience analysis and data on the success of previous posts
  • Integration of image and video editing software
  • Automatically adapt content to the needs of different channels based on definable templates
  • RSS and news feed integration to deliver inspiration around current topics

Especially for larger teams, an editorial plan with the following functions is an indispensable feature:

  • Design and plan future posts in advance
  • Clear assignment of tasks
  • Simultaneous collaboration on the same project
  • Implementation of individual workflows and approval processes
  • Monitoring change history

However, an old-fashioned social media editorial plan is still worthwhile as a supplement, and for overarching planning.

Analytical tools: Monitoring, social media monitoring and social listening

Monitoring describes the evaluation of campaign data and indicators from past posts. All KPIs are compiled into statistics, and the effectiveness of the social media campaign is analyzed based on these. This way, you can track the Return on Investment (ROI) or demonstrate the efficiency of your social media activities. These data are important, for example, for future budget planning.

Social media monitoring or social monitoring is the observation and analysis of activities on social media channels. The social web is scoured for mentions of your brand, competitors, product or other search terms relevant to you, and a detailed sense of the mood can emerge that answers whatever question you have. Based on these data, you can see how your brand communication is faring and identify emerging trends early on.

Social listening or social media listening goes a step further and asks why, in other words: “Why is the mood currently this way, and what are the mechanisms behind it?” It analyzes dialogs, comments, and trends that span not just your brand but the industry as a whole. The results are prepared and made usable for future posts and interactions. This is how social listening helps every social media manager plan future steps that can make your social media strategy more efficiently.

IRM – Finding the right influencer

Finding the right influencer to authentically convey your brand message to your target audience is not easy. Lots of tools that offer data-driven social listening and audience and trend analyses also include capability in IRM, which is shorthand for “influencer relationship management.” There are also numerous tools and platforms that specialize in this aspect.

Data-driven audience and market analyses help identify the content, topics and protagonists on the social web to which your target group gravitates. This way, you can easily identify who is suitable as a brand ambassador for your products or brand and who already has the appropriate reach. With these tools, you can build a structured relationship with potential influencers and keep track of results at the same time.

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Community management tools and social CRM

Customer communication using social media channels is becoming increasingly important for many companies. This is where the concept of community management and social CRM comes in. The best social media strategy is useless if you don’t end up benefiting from the real advantage of these media to interact directly with users.

This means: You always need to keep an eye on the responses and discussions of all users across all your posts on all the channels you use and respond appropriately and in a reasonable time to praise, criticism or hate speech. In the case of a social media marketing mix of several channels, this requires a considerable amount of work.

A community management tool centralizes the interaction of all users with your content on all channels in a clear feed and notifies you the moment user responds to your content.

Social CRM even goes a step further and archives all interactions with users who have entered into a dialog with the company in a digital customer file. That makes it easy to use this information to build a relationship with individuals within the target group and customers, and to boost customer loyalty. This is especially advantageous in customer service, as it allows you to react immediately to all customer needs.

All-in-one tool for social media management or standalone solution?

Today, the market for platforms, software and tools offers suitable products for every need. In addition to the comprehensive all-in-one tools that combine numerous functions, there are also standalone solutions that specialize in a particular functional aspect.

However, given the sheer mass of different options, it is increasingly difficult to find the tool that really fits your individual needs. No matter whether you’re in search of an all-rounder for your social media management or a standalone solution for specific applications: Our free toolkit, “The 21 Best Social Media Tools,” will be a great help!