What is a social media tool?
A social media tool enables you to manage your social media content entirely from a single interface. Using this kind of tool, you can publish messages and interact with your various social network communities without needing to duplicate messages from one network to another.
There are many reasons to use this kind of tool:
- Significant time savings: You no longer need to compose multiple, duplicate messages that you want to communicate to all of your social networks. The same message can be published on all of your networks with a single click, as long as the message meets the posting criteria of all the social networks upon which you are present. For example, if you want to simultaneously communicate a specific offer on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, all you need to do is write a single message that meets Twitter’s publication criteria (Twitter has the most rigid criteria), choose a publication date, and your message will be published. This makes it possible to plan message publication in advance, taking into account the various time zones.
- An almost immediate response: Respond to your contacts in a more efficient manner as you don’t have to log into as many interfaces as you have social networks. Once again you will benefit from using a single interface from which you can interact with your Facebook friends, your Twitter followers and your LinkedIn connections.
- Considerable savings in terms of human resources: You can significantly reduce the number of employees handling social network maintenance as your social media managers will no longer need to log into several platforms.
- More efficient management: There is only one password to remember! Just the one for your social media tool, as long as the accesses to the other social networks have been configured within the management tool’s platform.
How to choose the right tool
Many criteria need to be considered when choosing your social media management tool:
- The social networks covered by the tool: A number of social networks management tools are available, however not all of them will integrate with all the social networks upon which you are present. Take time to identify the social networks most important to you and research the management tools that integrate all of them. While you probably want to find a tool that handles all of the networks, it is important to select the most comprehensive solution. In general, the most comprehensive tool comes with a steeper price, so it is worthwhile to give thought to whether you truly need to be present on all of the proposed networks.
- User experience: You will regularly use the tool you choose, as will the members of your team(s). If the user experience is not ideal, nobody will stick to using the platform which will result in a big waste of time: The time you and your teams spent finding the right solution and the poor visibility on your social networks during the time it took to learn how to use the new tool.
- User access: Some solutions do not allow multiple users to log in. This isn’t a problem for small businesses with only one social manager, but quickly becomes an issue if many people need to manage your social content.
- Roles: A number of solutions do not provide role management functionality, which can be a barrier if you want to designate certain “authorities” to the participating members of your project team without giving them the same access rights as yours. You may wish to restrict some accesses when it comes to billing, settings, etc.
- Cost: Once again, there is no value in having access to multiple social networks if you only intend to communicate on some of them. Keep in mind that in general, the more social networks you belong to, the more expensive it will be. A user-cost analysis is beneficial, as some solutions are slightly more expensive than others but provide simultaneous access to many users. You should estimate the number of users who will use the solution and consider the price per user.
- Planning tool: If you operate in many time zones, be sure that the software’s planning tool is appropriate and takes into account the different worldwide geographic zones.