As the importance of social media for marketing and customer service strategies has grown, so too has the popularity of tools needed to manage those social media pages. In fact, now more than ever, people are taking to Google to find the best "social media management tools" to help them keep up.
Though consumers clearly understand the need for social tools, do they fully know what they should be looking for? For instance, what's the actual point of social media tools and how can they help you create a competitive advantage using social?
Many people are a bit confused about what social media management really means and how tools can help them achieve a competitive advantage, consider these 10 reasons you should be using a social media management tool for your business in the first place.
1. To Keep Up with Social Engagement
Social media's made it easier than ever for customers to reach out to brands they want to interact with. Whether it's asking questions, singing praises or voicing constructive criticism, customers now have a direct channel for giving brands their feedback, and they're taking full advantage.
According to the customer service software company Zendesk, nearly 40% of customers already use social media for customer service. Not only that, but 42% of customers who reach out to brands on social expect a response in under 60 minutes. But while consumer expectations are rising, brands are struggling to keep up - 8 in 9 social media messages that require response go unanswered in the first 72 hours.
However, there are examples of companies who take the initiative to respond to all of their social media messages.
Not only is the sandwich company Jimmy John's freaky fast with delivery, they're freaky fast with their social customer engagement. Take a look at some of the examples of times they proved to their customers they were paying attention.
When a Jimmy Johns customer had a poor experience with their service, the social team quickly reached out and turned what could have been a bad news story into a positive interaction. The customer who posted the original message even went on to Like the response from Jimmy Johns.
Not only does Jimmy Johns watch out for messages sent directly to their page, they also monitor social media for untagged mentions. In doing so, Jimmy Johns found this opportunity to engage and have some fun with a fan.
Responding to customer messages on social shows that you care, and taking the few seconds to respond can result in a loyal customer.
However, keeping up with tens, hundreds or thousands of social interactions can get difficult. Social media management tools can help by centralizing all of your messages into a single stream where you can track inbound messages and outbound responses.
2. To Manage Multiple Social Pages
Some businesses rely on multiple social profiles and networks for their marketing efforts, which can make managing social exponentially more complex. There are many reasons why a company would have multiple social pages (different product lines, teams, locations, etc.), but imagine how much harder it would be to manage them if you had to log in and out of each individual profile and network to check all of your messages.
Social media tools can aggregate the messages sent to all of your profiles and networks into one spot, saving you the time and effort needed to constantly juggle accounts.
3. To Manage Customer Relationships
Every customer is unique and it's important to treat them as such. Avoid canned responses and use a tool that keeps notes about those you've interacted with and tracks your conversation history so that you can personalize every experience.
You can mark relevant notes so that your team knows exactly how to engage with specific fans, or to denote which part of the sales cycle that person is in.
4. To Streamline Team Collaboration
If you're working with a large account - or several smaller accounts - you may have a team helping you out. However, several people working together on social can get a bit confusing - you may run into issues like having multiple people respond to the same message, or having messages completely slip through the cracks.
You should be able to use a tool that allows you to work within a shared inbox, that will show you when someone is currently interacting with a message, and lets you complete that message to clear it from your inbox.
5. To Increase Social Accountability
We've all seen the social media snafus, when hackers or rogue employees publish content that they shouldn't have. It can be entertaining for an outsider looking in, but what's humorous for consumers is potentially devastating for brands.
A smart social media management platform can reduce your brand's risk by providing additional layers and permissions so only trusted employees can actually send messages to your profiles. If something ever slips through the cracks, you'll have visibility into who sent the inappropriate message, enabling you to deal with each situation accordingly.
6. To Monitor Relevant Keywords
Customers complaining or praising your brand may not directly tag your page. In fact, a lot of people will probably mention your brand or products assuming that you'll never even see the message. That's why it's important to monitor social media networks for these conversations so that you can join them and respond as needed. There are some key things to monitor across social sites.
Many people will directly mention your brand or product offerings, but they may forget the @ or #.
Monitor brand-adjacent terms to find customers who have shown purchase intent but may not have mentioned your brand or product. A brand-adjacent term can be boiled down to any keyword that someone would use to look up your product or service.
Every company should be mindful of the competition and monitoring social is an essential part of that effort. Start by tracking competitor handles, brand terms and key product phrases to gather intelligence on new products, customer complaints or marketing tactics.
7. To Build a Social Editorial Calendar
Sometimes companies can put out social posts fairly quickly, relying on real-time marketing to inform their content strategy. While those posts can yield great results, companies should balance their posting with well thought-out, scheduled social media content.
Social media management tools give you the ability to think through your posting strategy and time your content accordingly. Plan months in advance and free up some of your time to continue engaging with your customers.
8. To Analyze Social Performance
In order to plan for the future it's important to look at the past so you can determine what worked and what didn't. Social tools provide you with data you can use to dictate your marketing strategy moving forward. When looking through your data, use these questions to help make sense of the data.
- Why social networks yield the best results?
- Which demographics are most likely to engage with my content?
- Which types of posts get the most social media engagement?
- Why keywords or phrases get the most post clicks?
Use the information you learn from above when planning your social strategy. For example, if you find that posts with images are more likely to get shared, it may be best to schedule more image-based social posts.
9. To Show Reports to Stakeholders
Social media managers aren't the only ones who want to look at the analytics; stakeholders across the organization want to see exactly how social media performs as well. Whether that's the Chief Marketing Officer, the Marketing Director or a client of your agency, it's important to supply them with digestible information.
Social tools make it easy to quickly export presentation-ready reports to send to the people in your organization who need it.
10. To Bring Social on the Go
We can't sit on social media 24/7. Even if somehow our bodies could handle it, with the ability to bring social media with you on mobile there is no reason we should have to. Social media tools often have mobile applications that allow you to manage your presence even when you can't be in front of your computer, which gives social managers the opportunity to take some much needed vacations.
Choosing a Social Media Management Tool
There are a handful of social media tools out there that incorporate some of the functionality above, and you can do some searching around based on the various features that you need. Full disclosure, I work at the company, but I definitely recommend the social media management tool Sprout Social.
Even if you're not ready to start using a social tool, hopefully this post sheds some light into how they've become so popular, and gives you an idea of what to look for when you want to try one out for yourself.