Social media marketing tools aren’t just something that geeks fiddle around with. They’re an essential component of a professional outreach campaign which is a lot more than a single staffer typing out messages. The number of followers and friends to a popular account on the networks is mind-boggling, and it is virtually impossible to maintain all the relationships without using at least one good tool.
Just like there’s an unprecedented boom in the number of consumers who can be reached via the networks, there’s also a boom in the tools available. There are web and desktop based tools for integrating all the networks into one panel and a single login, so that one message can go out to all the networks. Others simply monitor and track all the accounts across all networks.
Some are free and to be used by individuals, while others are good enough to be enterprise level systems. It’s even possible to collect metrics and calculate ROI using an advanced tool. Some are specific to a platform, while some may even have multi-language support.
The kind of tool that’s best suited for a company will ultimately depend on the size of the company, the budget (if any) and team size allocated for social media outreach. For example, an enterprise level customer may feel the need for something robust like Spredfast. It is a Social Media Management System (SMMS) with an integrated panel to bring all the networks inside one window.
Messages are customized for each network by Spredfast, so that it reduces the need for replication efforts on each network but does not sacrifice a distinct identity. It is also useful for measuring metrics, and is capable of tracking the response rates to each message and provides an accurate ROI for the overall team effort across all networks. A tool like Hootsuite can do most of this stuff, but on a smaller scale.
For individuals, TweetDeck is a very useful tool that helps one person manage multiple accounts. CoTweet goes in the opposite direction, and is handy if multiple team members are posting on the same account. It can track each person’s activity separately.
Choices side, social media marketing tools are absolutely essential for those who don’t wish to let the growing volume of friends and followers drown out individual relationships. Use a tool, and it becomes possible to filter out the noise while responding to mentions, send messages to all networks with very little effort and gather response data. Company and brand names and keywords can be tracked separately and responded to in a timely fashion. The bottomline is that there is nothing optional about using a tool for social media, at least not for those who want to see continued growth on the networks.