Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen a big industry built up around social media tools.
The sheer volume of tools available to help you with your social media marketing is amazing.
So, we built a social media tools directory and then categorized all the tools. Read on to find out more…
Social Media Tools Directory
Recently, we launched our social media tools directory to help people find the most relevant tools for their needs. For every tool we cover why it’s useful, main features, our opinion pricing and much more.
Check it out here -> Tools Directory
Social Media Tool Categories
If you want a reference guide to all the social media tool categories there are, you’ve come to the right place. Here is an outline of the tool categories you should consider:
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Social Media Analytics
You can’t manage what you don’t measure!
Not analyzing the results of your social media efforts is like setting off on a big journey on a ship with no compass.
You need to analyze the direction you are going and adjust it when appropriate.
Your analytics tool could be for:
- One single social network – There is some value to tools that specifically focus on one platform (e.g. Twitter). As the platforms themselves develop, they are also releasing much better analytics themselves.
- Cross platforms – It’s useful to look at an overview of how all platforms are performing. You may want to see which platforms are performing well for you, and which are not so impressive.
- Website analytics – Ultimately, you still want to drive traffic back to your website and your website analytics should include information related to the source of all this traffic. From here, you can analyze what happens when traffic comes from social channels.
What are the top three things you should consider analyzing?
a) Engagement – If people are not engaging with your content, it doesn’t matter how big your following is.
b) Relevant follower/fan growth – If you are sharing great content, your audience will naturally grow. When what you share adds value, you can also reach out and build your audience. But the important thing is that you analyze the type of followers in your profile. Use tools such as Twtrland to do this analysis.
c) Results – What are the results of this growth in audience and engagement? If your reach is high and you have a relevant audience, building awareness of your products/services and building brand recognition may be one of your key goals. One of your goals could also be directing traffic back to your website from social channels and, from this traffic, you’ll want to see some action – signing up for a trial of your product, becoming an email subscriber or buying a product or service.
Social Media Management
This is a collection of tools used for managing a range of social media networks. These tools typically have the following functionality:
- Share content to one or many social networks.
- Schedule content sharing.
- Report on the results of content sharing.
- Monitor and interact with any responses to content you share.
- Identify influencers to connect with.
It’s difficult to operate social media without one core tool to help you manage everything.
Each social media platform is bringing in more advertising options, which enables you to promote to a larger audience.
If you’ve got more than a couple of thousand fans on Facebook, you’ll probably find that fewer than 10% of them actually see your content.
If you want people to see your content, you pay for ads.
You can use the advertising tools provided as part of the platform but you can also use advertising tools developed by other companies.
They will typically have the following functionality:
- Ability to create and launch advertising campaigns.
- Run reports.
- Optimize existing campaigns.
We recently wrote an article on Facebook advertising tools and there is a large number of them e.g. Qwaya, AdExpresso, SocialAds Tool.
Social Media Monitoring
These are tools that track and report on conversations online. You’re not always there to listen to the conversation, so it’s important to have a tool that does it for you.
Typical functionality provided with these tools are:
- Setting up keyword monitoring across a range of social platforms.
- Sentiment analysis based on conversations tracked.
- Email alerts.
- Overall reporting on mentions.
- Tracking influencers who share relevant content.
- Social business tools.
Social Influence Management
Social influence management software helps you find and engage with relevant influencers in your niche. This is becoming increasingly important as our audiences are on many different channels. A good place to reach them is via the influencers on those channels.
- Create a list of influencers related to your product or service.
- Provide stats/information about their influence or their website.
- Provide functionality to do email outreach.
- Reporting to track influencer engagement.
Social commerce tools facilitate transactions through social media channels. The tools are typically varied and could include:
- Shopping functionality directly on the platform (e.g shop on Facebook).
- Social referral tracking – You refer a friend via social media to a place where a transaction can occur and is tracked.
- Social buying – Software that encourages groups of people who are socially connected to purchase products.
Social Media Marketing Apps
These are a range of apps that help market you to your audience more effectively. The level of app depends on the support for these third-party apps through the platform. For example, on Facebook, you can launch marketing apps for competitions, quizzes, polls etc. These apps may sit on the platform itself or may be integrated as part of your website. Here is an example of some of them:
- Engagement apps to drive more engagement with fans – quizzes, competitions etc.
- Social media integration apps – e.g. display a Pinterest feed as an app on Facebook.
- Review apps – people can add product reviews.
Content marketing tools are a range of apps to help you promote your content better. It could tools like Inbound Writer, which helps you pick the right type of content so you can rank well on Google. It could be research tools like BuzzSumo, which help you identify the most-shared content. Here is an example:
- Optimize your content for social media channels or Google.
- Competitor research tools.
- Editorial calendar tools.
This is a series of apps to help you filter through content to find the most interesting/useful content. The volume of content is continously growing so we need tools to manage this.
The social media landscape is maturing. There will be some consolidation with tools where a lot of the smaller tools will disappear.
But it is still a big growth industry.
What categories are we missing? How do you think the social media tool industry will evolve?
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