by Jayson DeMers

When
large corporations like General Motors, eBay, and others shift their marketing
efforts toward social media to increase their ROI, there’s a lesson for every
social media marketer here.
2013 is shaping
up to be like nothing we’ve seen before, and a big part of it stems from an
explosion in social media marketing.

It’s
clear that
social media engagement is the key to a sustained following,
interest, and greater ROI. Social media is an extension of a person’s life;
creating engagement at this level is the easiest way to market your idea,
product, service, or website.

Managing
Social Media Efforts

Like
most aspects of online marketing, from search
engine optimization
to proper web
hosting
and pay-per-click
marketing
, social media marketing demands its own discipline. Without proper
metrics to guide you, targets to be achieved, or measurements that provide
valuable insights, any social media effort can easily become a negative-ROI initiative.

We’ve
come a long way since the time when “social media marketing” meant simply
having a Facebook and Twitter account and occasionally posting links to your
own blog content. These channels remain the largest sources of engagement, but
the possibilities have expanded considerably with services like Google+,
App.net, Quora, etc.
Social media
management is now a scientific process where you should be as much concerned
about the metrics as you are about the quality of engagement.

With
the Right Tools…

To
help media marketers manage multiple social profiles, engagement, relationship
building, and other efforts, there are myriad tools to consolidate all your
social profiles into a single dashboard. This makes your job easier by
eliminating the need to worry about switching between multiple tabs and windows
every time you need to post a link, reply to someone, retweet something, or
perform any other social activity.

There’s
a huge and growing number of web services that do will do this, but not all of
them are great. I put together the following list of services based on a few
key features that are vital:

  • Scheduling so you don’t have
    to worry about the timing of your posts
  • Metrics to assess followers,
    retweets, and click-throughs
  • The ability to
    interact/comment/mention/reply, which creates engagement
  • The ability to find trends
    in social channels from within the app, which saves time

 

1.
SproutSocial

  • Excellent interface for
    social media managers
  • Covers all three networks:
    Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, along with blogs through feeds and others
  • Pretty decent discovery tool
    that tracks real-time discussions on a given set of keywords/your company
  • Schedules posts

Has
a neat mobile interface, too

 

2.
Sendible

  • A thorough and comprehensive
    social media manager
  • Can also track email
    campaigns
  • Emphasis on monitoring,
    analytics, scheduling, and discovery of trends and discussions
  • Mobile-specific features to
    enable social media marketing/management through mobile platforms/devices
  • Monitors and engages in
    multiple social channels

 

3.
Gremln

  • Relatively new social media
    management app
  • Covers all three major
    social channels: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn
  • Can schedule posts
  • Team management built right
    into the system
  • A solid level of stats, with
    enough metrics to measure your social reach

4.
Buffer

  • Covers Facebook, LinkedIn,
    Twitter, and App.net
  • A simplified interface
  • Built-in team management
    makes it easy for social media teams to use this app
  • Comes with two options: free
    or a $10/month plan; no hassles here
  • Focuses on insight metrics
    so you know where you’re going

 

5.
Dlvr.it

  • Covers Facebook, LinkedIn,
    App.net, Twitter, and more
  • Provides Push updates; this
    means you can manage other things while Dlvr.it monitors your social
    sphere and prompts you when there’s an opportunity for engagement
  • Schedules posts to social
    channels
  • Basically about posting to
    your social channels whenever you update your blog/website through a post


6.
MarketMeSuite

  • Has an email-like approach
    to social media engagement
  • Focus is largely on social
    lead generation
  • Geo-targeting forms a
    crucial part of the entire app
  • Real-time tracking,
    discovery, and engagement
  • Team management and
    scheduling features available

 

7.
Socialoomph

  • Provides a hassle-free
    service with unlimited accounts, even in free version
  • The usual features of
    monitoring, posting to, and measuring social media campaigns
  • One of the oldest services;
    consequently, one of the least developed in recent months

 

8.
Yoono

  • Desktop app, browser
    plugins, and mobile app
  • Focuses more on posting to
    social networks than on engagement
  • Covers several social
    channels under one roof; full-featured
  • Schedulers, teams, several
    social profiles, and a cool interface


9.
Bottlenose

  • Arguably one of the finest
    interfaces amongst social media management apps
  • Completely real-time,
    interactive social media monitoring
  • Focus is on a great
    presentation of data to enable easier monitoring
  • Media-specific searches and
    monitoring (includes Images, Videos, Feeds, etc.)
  • Powerful search feature lets
    you figure out
    what’s
    trending


10.
Socialmotus

  • Connects to Facebook and
    Twitter
  • Focus is on Engagement and
    Relationship through social channels
  • A great interface that
    allows for seamless monitoring and ROI measurement through effective
    tracking
  • Think of it as the Google
    Analytics for social media management

Apps
like
Simplify360 and Socialite are desktop-based clients that work natively
instead of through browsers. Jetpack.me is a WordPress plugin which lets you
control your posts to social media from within your WordPress account.

This
is only the tip of the iceberg. As the emphasis on social media marketing
increases, more startups built around social media management and measurement
are sure to crop up. For now, the competition is robust, offering social media
marketers and managers plenty of options.

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More:
Top 10 Web Apps to Help You Manage Your Social Media Campaign

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