Strategic brands find success on social media by having a robust omnichannel marketing strategy, and as a result, having the proper tools to manage your mix of social media accounts has never been more important. Gone are the days when brands could effectively get by managing their social accounts right within the native platform. That’s where social media marketing tools come into play.
Marketers make use of software solutions that encompass all of the insightful data that sometimes gets lost in the shuffle, or isn’t available through the native application. These platforms also provide solutions for many problems like scheduling, driving site traffic with a link-in-bio, and other organizational needs. While these types of tools come in many different shapes, sizes, and forms, most have one thing in common: making your life as a social media manager easier. The best part? These in-depth analytics and tool capabilities are not limited to just one social channel. Many of the top tools allow you to track, compare, and report data from multiple channels. That makes your social marketing tool of choice a one-stop-shop for just about everything your brand could need and want from each of their social channels.
We could go on for days (maybe even weeks) about why your brand needs a social marketing tool. Besides the bells and whistles that come along with each unique tool, there are a couple of elements at the core of every option that make these tools indispensable. The most obvious is data collection. Say goodbye to painful and confusing excel sheets (unless that’s how you roll), and hello to beautiful, easy-to-understand analytics broken down by exactly what you’re looking for at the moment. This will single handedly save your life when it comes time to present data on how your social channels are performing, but in a way that makes sense to everyone.
The most important element of a social media marketing tool is what it can do. While most standalone tools accomplish one or two important tasks, many other tools offer a solution for any problem you may have. Here are some of the features you should be looking out for when choosing a tool.
Many channels don’t allow you to directly insert links to your products, website, or content in your captions or descriptions. That’s what a link-in-bio tool is for. It allows for brands to easily house all of their pertinent links in one place for users. These tools allow brands to customize the way their links and respective images are displayed for anyone who inbounds from social. The format of your link-in-bio solution can be in the same form as your feed, or look completely unique, depending on your needs.
Social management in the current era involves robust content strategies for multiple channels that span weeks, if not months, into the future. Social managers simply do not have time to post content to their account manually. Post scheduling is a must for any social marketing tool, because it allows brands to schedule and automate their social posts to set themselves up for the future — this also frees up time to focus on planning.
A social media marketing tool is nothing without its insightful data. Ideally, the tool houses many options to exhaustively showcase and analyze data, leaving you coming out with a clear idea of what’s working, what isn’t, and what you need to do next. These dashboards should allow you to know exactly what’s happening at a glance, while also giving the opportunity to produce reports and dive in deeper by filtering according to your needs.
Doesn’t it sound like a dream to know how well something may or may not perform before even hitting post? That dream is a reality. Some social marketing tools have advanced software that can detect how your posts will perform, based on how posts similar to it have performed in the past. Tools such as Vision can predict the performance of photos and videos before you publish, so you leverage your brand's best content.
Any e-commerce plan will rely heavily on their CRM tool — to make facilitating customer support better, social integration with tools like Salesforce make escalating customer issues easier and more efficient. With a click, social marketers can make a case with social comments and messages.
Influencers and creators are some of the most powerful players in the social media game. Many users are more likely to trust, look up to, and take advice from their favorite influencers, which is why it is so important to have them as a part of your marketing strategy. Great social tools have capabilities that allow you to measure the success and ROI of every influencer your brand partners with. This ensures your partnership is a win-win for both parties.
While every tool is different, and will have a unique array of offerings, these elements are all things that make a social media marketing tool worth it. Bonus points if the tool has a mobile application that allows you to meet all your objectives from your phone or tablet.
There are hundreds of social media marketing software options saturating the industry right now, that’s why we put in the work scoping out the best of the best so you don’t have to. While we physically cannot outline each offering from every tool, we did pick out a few standouts that make these tools the best.
Dash Hudson is one of the most highly rated and well-rounded social media marketing tools in the industry. Once an Instagram-focused tool, Dash Hudson now provides insightful, content-driven features for all of the most popular social media channels in the world like TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. All for the world’s most important brands.
While Dash Hudson offers top-notch versions of classic products like Scheduler, LikeShop and Boards, it steps above the pack with offerings like Vision, Relationships, Community & Sentiment Analysis, Campaign Reporting and Dashboards. These unique features allow brands to get the absolute most out of their social marketing efforts.
Later prides themselves on helping small businesses and social media managers harness the power of marketing strategy. They offer a customizable link-in-bio, in-depth Instagram analytics, and both scheduling and publishing for Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook. Brands who prioritize publishing and site traffic will be happy in the hands of Later.
Since 2009, Sprinklr has been developing its SaaS customer experience management platform for some of the largest brands in the world. Their toolbox includes a scheduler and content calendar, paid ad campaign management, customizable reporting options, and sentiment monitoring within an all-encompassing social inbox.
Sprout Social wants to help brands reimagine how social media can grow their business. With products like scheduling, link-in-bio, reporting metrics, hashtag performance, and social listening capabilities, social media becomes substantially easier. Sprout also offers a Help Desk, and a Canva integration for those who already use the graphic design software.
Social media scheduling and Buffer go hand in hand. Aside from offering social scheduling and publishing, Buffer also offers engagement capabilities and analytics tools that help brands create thoughtful, data-filled reports. Users even now have the option to create a Start Page through Buffer that showcases the best of their brand.
Now for the hardest part, choosing the right tool for your brand. But good news; it’s not as hard as you might think. Below are just a few of the things you need to think about when choosing a new social media marketing tool:
The social media landscape is evolving rapidly, and you should look for software that can keep up with the industry and the changing needs of your business. If Instagram adds a new feature that all of your competitors are using, it’s only natural that you would want to incorporate that feature into your channel strategy as soon as possible. Your agility in the social media marketing field is highly dependent on the tools at your disposal. Some tools specialize in certain areas, and some software providers are faster at adopting new technologies than others.
Social channels are always adding new features, which are new opportunities for your business to expand its content strategy, reach customers in new and exciting ways, and further understand social media ROI. Gauging the speed at which you plan on adopting new features is an important step to finding a social media software solution that matches your needs.
The first step when choosing social media software is to think about how you conduct business on social media, your reporting requirements, and the budget that you’re working with. Do you need software simply for scheduling posts, or do you need detailed social media insights and ROI measurement? Do you only use social media for brand awareness, or are you looking to integrate clickable posts through your bio into your channels and develop a deeper e-commerce strategy?
Some tools limit the number of users who can access the software, which may work well for your business depending on its size. It may also pose a challenge if you’re elevating your content marketing strategy and looking to grow the size of your team. You should also consider the ease of bringing new employees into the platform—is it easy to train people on, and does it have good customer support? Something else to consider is the non-marketers on your team. They may not speak the same language as you do, and you must find a tool that is accessible to them and has the right collaboration features to keep up with the agility of your business.
The social media software tools that you use are instrumental to reach your target audience, which is why you must understand who your audience is and where they can be found. Marketing to generations is one aspect. If your audience is primarily Millennials, a tool with robust Instagram features makes the most sense, while if your audience is primarily Gen Z, you should make sure that the tool you’re selecting has a TikTok solution.
The industry you do business in will also determine which tool works best. If you want to make your products on TikTok shoppable, a TikTok link in bio solution is a must. If your industry is highly reliant on photography, a visual marketing tool with predictive AI will help you to determine what kind of content will perform best for your audience. There are many innovative features at your disposal, and deciding on social media software comes down to who you’re trying to market to.
No one knows the ins and outs of each tool more than other social marketers. Many of your peers are using user review websites such as G2 to discuss the ins and outs of social media software. As you can see with Dash Hudson, G2 is a central hub for marketers to give their honest opinions on their experiences working with social media software tools. The feedback is given in marketers’ own words, and the website is structured in such a way that you can see the pros and cons of each product.
G2 makes it even easier to pick out industry-leading software by recognizing them with awards that you can see on their G2 profiles and hosted on their websites.
Eventually, you will have to decide on a tool, but you don’t need to rush. Companies such as Dash Hudson offer full demos of their social media software tools. There is no better way to find out if a solution works best for you than by trying it out yourself. The benefit of reaching this stage in your selection is that the tools in question have teams in place who are happy to guide you along your journey and answer your questions as they come—and when it’s time for you to make a decision, they will be there to assist.
This is entirely dependent on what your brand's needs are. A tool that is the best in terms of organization, may not have other features you are looking for, and vice versa. The best tools have a wide range of offerings that solve your business's main social media challenges.
While they’re not completely necessary, these tools not only make marketing across social channels easier, but also makes your efforts more successful. Housed within these marketing tools, users can often find insightful analytics that they wouldn’t have access to within native platforms. This means seeing next-level insights into what’s working, and what’s not—which can be extremely useful when planning your social media strategy weeks or months in advance.
No — Instagram is a social media channel. While Instagram has some social media tool-like qualities, it is not a tool itself. Tools make organizing, analyzing and reporting data from within channels like Instagram easier and more efficient, since channels do not typically have those capabilities in the native application.