7 Important Considerations for Investment in Social Media Tools for Business

7 Important Considerations for Investing in Social Media Tools for Business

social media tools for businessAre you keeping track of the latest tools available to help with your social media marketing?

Social media marketing is time consuming.  There are so many channels and so much content required that it can be a real drain on your time.  And this time equates to money!

Fortunately, there are some great social media tools for business that will help to save you a lot of time and become more profitable.

 

 

 

 

Social Media Time

Social Media can really eat into your time

 

Imagine saving 30 minutes a day on social media marketing.  Imagine focussing that 30 minutes on making calls to existing customers and trying to get more business. These are the kinds of things you need to consider, to work out whether investing your time and/or money in social media tools will be worth your while.

Here are 7 important considerations for investing in social media tools.

1. Efficiency

Will these tools make you more efficient?  Can they help you to shave 30 minutes a day off your social media schedule?  For example:

a). BundlePost - This helps you find relevant content, it packages it up into suitable format for social media and helps you share this content out at appropriate times.

“Bundle Post increases social media marketing efficiency and enables you to maintain consistency.  This allows users to focus on the things that get ROI like conversations, relationships and overall engagement” – Robert Caruso – CEO of BundlePost

b).Buffer- You find content, click on a button and it’s automatically scheduled. You can save a few minutes every day using this tool, which all add up through the week: it’s a no brainer!

 

2. Sales

Yes, social media tools can generate you sales, now and in the future.

a). NeedTagger - This tries to identify sales opportunities by using natural language processing, and then sends you the results.  There are sales opportunities for your products and services every day on Twitter, with hundreds of millions of people telling you what they are going to buy and when they are going to buy it.

However, it’s difficult to filter out relevant conversations and this is where tools like NeedTagger come in useful.

b) InfusionsoftOntraport (ex- Office Autopilot) – A lot of the activity generated by your social media channels includes first-time visitors to your site.  These new visitors are generally not ready to buy, so you need to capture their details and figure out if they are potential customers or not.  Good luck to you if you are going to do this without tools!!

This is where marketing automation tools such as Infusionsoft and Ontraport prove themselves to be invaluable.  Using these tools you automatically filter out visitors that are not relevant, and develop the relationship with ones who are.

For example, someone visits your website and subscribes to an email list.  They download a guide and then, with another e-mail you send, they sign up for a webinar.

This is all automated, and when you know that they have signed up to a webinar and are going to take 30 minutes of their day to listen to you, you know they are likely interested in your product or service (assuming the webinar is related to the products/services you are selling).

 

3.  Adoption Time

When you deploy a new tool, it can can take some time to get familiar with it so you may find yourself working at a slower pace initially.  Because of this, it’s important to consider the adoption time of getting up and running and take into account any training that is required.

Generally, these tool providers will provide some documentation and/or video training.  Going through this will ensure you get familiar with all their functionality and learn how to maximize its use.  You might also consider paying for some training.  If it’s going to take many hours to get up to speed, and there’s a team of you, maybe some group training would be useful.

 

4.  Alternative Products

It took us about a week to investigate some marketing automation tools before we could make a decision on the right one.  But if you don’t invest this time you’ll end up with the wrong tool!

So if you are investing in new tools that are complex in any way, you really need to research what is available and do a full analysis.  Unfortunately this takes a lot of time, but it’s an essential part of your tool selection process.

5.  Cost

There are free tools, freemium tools, one-off cost tools and monthly subscription tools.

  • Free Tools – Are they really free?  If they are completely free, will this company go out of business soon and leave you high and dry?  We keep track of the tools available and it’s amazing how many go out of business.  Free tools can be very useful and helpful in the short term, but don’t assume they will be there in 6 months’ time.
  • Freemium tools – These are tools that have a free and a paid model.  The free version generally has restricted functionality and they provide it for free in the hope that you will upgrade to the paid version at some stage in the future.  The big advantage with these tools is that you get to try before you buy!
  • One-off cost tools – This is where you pay for the product once and that’s it.  The problem with this is you have a bigger upfront cost and bigger risk, so it’s really important that these tools have a money-back guarantee.  If you don’t like the product within 30 days can you get a full refund?  If a guarantee is not available then I’d be very nervous of investing in this type of tool.
  • Subscription tools – This is where you sign up a to pay a monthly subscription.  Most times you get 30-day free trial and then you go onto the paid model.  You generally pay a relatively low fee, and companies do this because they hope you will keep using the product for a couple of years.
  • Subscription is a good model for you because it’s low cost upfront, but make sure they also give you at least a 30-day money back guarantee.

6.  The Company Itself

You really need to consider who you are buying from.    Here are some considerations:

  • Is the company growing?
  • Do they have investment?  Will be they be around in 6 months’ time?
  • What type of customers have they?
  • What do their customers say about their products and services?
  • What is their support like?  You will always have support issues so you need a company that is responsive.
  • Are they active on social media channels?  If they are, this is a good sign because if their support line doesn’t answer quickly enough and you ping them on social media, you’ll probably get your case escalated!

7.  What are the tool providers like to deal with?

Make sure to ring them up.  No matter what type of payment they provide, ring them up and ask them lots of questions.

Are they helpful?  Do they answer the phone?  Do they get back to you with the answers?

This is probably one of the most important considerations, and even well-funded companies can go out of business.  It’s easy to get good testimonials from customers so you need to try them out yourself: when you talk to the tool provider you’ll really get a good idea of how supportive they will be when you do run into problems.

Have a look at the information that the team at Buffer share about their customer service.  Being responsive is super important to them so if you do have a problem you know they will do their best to resolve.

 

buffer

Buffer provide excellent customer service and share all their statistics

Summary

No matter which tools you adopt, there is an investment in time and/or money so it’s really important to perform the right investigations before you jump on board.  Investing in the right tools will save you time and make you money – social media is not free!

What’s next?

Consider one of the following:

1. Comment below – We would love to hear your feedback.  What social media tools for business do you recommend?  Would you add anything to this article?

2. Share this post with your friends.  Sharing is caring!!

3.  Implement a process for tool evaluation and selection within your company.

Thanks,

Ian

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About the author

Ian Cleary

Author: Ian Cleary is the Founder of RazorSocial and is super passionate about helping people leverage tools and technology to improve effectiveness of your social media presence.

  • http://antoniocalero.com/ Antonio Calero

    Very informative post Ian. I use some of the ones you recommend, plus I’m in love with Agora Pulse. I like the fact that offers a comprehensive package (create tabs, moderation and CRM, scheduling…) but there are two key features that help me save time: insights at post level (In Facebook you’d need to get deep into the Insights tool, use excel, etc…) and the newly launched Export to Power Point, which for me meant not more screen shots, adjusting image sizes, etc… the tool does it all for you.

    • http://antoniocalero.com/ Antonio Calero

      PS: just in case someone reading my previous comment is suspicious, I do not work for Agora Pulse :)

      • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

        Thanks Antionio, yes the new export to Powerpoint is great functionality!

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/daviscollin Collin Davis

    I would definitely give my vote for Hootsuite because it is such a time saver. To top it, it is free, which again is a real bonus

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Hey Colin, yes for personal use it’s free. It’s paid for if you want more team based functionality. But they do provide a very good free option which I use! Thanks for your feedback.

  • Ayman Saa’d

    Thanks Ian, for the wonderful post :D

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Thank you Ayman!

  • http://spacebarpress.com/ Julia Borgini

    Hey Ian, I like Tip #6. Not many people think about looking at the company that produces a tool they’re using, but I think it’s important. Thanks!

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Thanks Julia!