Using Social Media Management Systems

As we reported in our two-part series of articles last month and the month before, there is strong statistical and trending evidence which shows that social media, in one form or another, is the future of communicating with your client base and could be the vehicle with which to attract new clients. Each time you set-up a form of social media, whether it is a Facebook page, LinkedIn page, Twitter account, etc. it is called setting up a social media profile. So, if you have the three just mentioned, it means you have three social media profiles. If you also have an Instagram site, or a YouTube channel, then you have four or five social media profiles, etc. If you have two or three or four different social media sites, it might start to become overwhelming keeping up with all of the different posts to your sites and responding to them. You may simply not have enough time but you don’t have the budget to outsource it to someone. Thankfully there are excellent tools available that help you manage your social media sites. They are called Social Media Management Systems or SMMS for short. For this month, I want to explain how to maximize and capitalize on your Internet and Social Media presence by integrating an SMMS into your social media platforms.

Social Media Management Systems
A Social Media Management System (SMMS) is a powerful tool that allows organizations to monitor and manage all of their social media profiles because they provide the possibility of monitoring and managing multiple social profiles from a single site, the SMMS. Say you want to post some content, a new promotion, some news about your business, etc. If you thought it was important enough, and in order to reach the maximum number of potential clients or present clients, you might want to post it to all of your social media profiles. So, you would have to first go log into Facebook and post the content. Then you would close Facebook and sign onto your LinkedIn account, and post the important content there. Then you would have to do the same with Twitter and any other social media profile you operate, and there are many to choose from. Now, imagine if you could take that content, and with just a single click of a button, that content is automatically posted to all of your social media profiles, automated posting in real time so you can immediately see the results of that one click sending that single piece of content to all of your sites at once. SMMSs have the power to help you take your social web presence and activity to a whole new level, without ever needing to post anything separately to your accounts directly from the web. Although many of the features, layouts and levels of user-friendliness are different with each SMMS, they all tend to get the job done faster and better than doing it manually.
Having an SMMS allows your business to connect to multiple social media accounts and manage, monitor and analyze interactions from a single dashboard, a sophisticated menu program management feature. It is like a drop-down menu board that displays all of the tools and functions. Just click one and it opens to that particular function’s page. These tools provide information so you can monitor, analyze and compare how many people visited your website or Facebook page, or your LinkedIn, or, Twitter account, who they are, what people on Twitter or the other social media sites are saying about your company, the volume of comments or discussions, and the actual content.

The Power of SMMSs
SMMS can be used to identify, predict, and respond to consumer behavior. Listening to what your customers, competitors, critics, and supporters are saying about you is the key to getting great results from your social media campaigns. SMMS is used to monitor inbound and outbound conversations, document social marketing initiatives and evaluate the usefulness of a social media presence, keep track of conversations and evaluate what interests their followers and/or potential customers are talking about, as well as evaluate what your followers or potential customers are saying about you. Users can implement and analyze marketing campaigns across all social profiles without needing to sign in to each social network individually. Consumers and businesses alike have something to learn from just about all of your social media interactions. How many people did your post reach? What sorts of links do your followers like best? Does anything you do online even matter? In this way, using an SMMS lets you analyze how your social profiles are affecting your bottom line. SMMS tools make all of your social media updating easy and manageable, as well as being cost and time effective. There is no point in using an SMMS if it isn’t cost and time effective. Armed with this knowledge helps you gain insights that will allow you to make informed decisions on how best to offer your services to your present customer base.

Staying Ahead of the Competition
Being able to keep track of everything puts you in a position to know who, how, and where you can convert customers so they will use your services and not your competitor’s services. In that way, you can always stay one step ahead in order to gain that competitive edge and therefore position your company as the leader and obvious first choice when someone needs their septic system needs servicing, cleaning, maintenance, repairs, or need to rent portable toilets, for example. With an SMMS you can see how social efforts are lining up with business goals, but also for the sake of a deeper understanding of what works and what doesn’t. You have something to learn from just about all of your social media interactions. How many people did your post reach? What sorts of links do your followers like best? You really get to see what is working and what isn’t working. In this way you have the information needed to know what to change rather than wasting time and money. For example, say your SMMS report shows that, while your business’s content is working well on LinkedIn and trending well on Twitter, but your Instagram site is not, you then know whether to drop your Instagram site or, better yet, change the content by adding more visuals and deleting others. You can experiment because once you add and delete, you can see what worked and didn’t work in real time.
SMMSs are not designed for a private individual; they have been designed to be applied to businesses. Once companies have an actual social media strategy and defined success metrics, understanding precisely how social media management software helps achieve those objectives is the next critical step. Social media isn’t about technology. Having a tool inherently gets you nothing but a monthly invoice. What you have is a chance to fundamentally change the way you do business, with a tool helping you get there. First, figure out how to be social as a company. Then, determine the SMMS best suited to help you do social media. Determining which tools are right for you requires a clear definition of your objectives and the level of features and functionalities that you will need. At a bare minimum, your SMMS should be affordable—the tool is either free or priced low enough to meet the budget of small business. It should also be scalable. That means that as your company grows, the SMMS grows with your company’s needs, even if you start with just one or two accounts. Third, you SMMS should allow you to schedule posts in advance and use these platforms to manage, measure, and analyze your social media marketing initiatives.
There are countless tools out there, offering many ways to analyze, measure, display, and create reports about your engagement efforts. I will discuss the most used and most popular SMMS on the Internet and it is called Hootsuite.

HOOTSUITE
Hootsuite is arguably the most popular social media management app with a slew of options, settings and dynamic features to backup its reputation. Hootsuite is the most widely used platform for managing social media, loved by over 10 million people around the globe and trusted by 744 of the Fortune 1000. If you’re posting the same thing across five profiles, you can post it once through Hootsuite and select the profiles where you want it published, and it will publish it on all five profiles at once. You can monitor and post to several popular networks including both Facebook personal profiles and business pages, Twitter, LinkedIn and others. Hootsuite integrates with Twitter, Facebook (profiles, pages and groups), Google+ pages, LinkedIn (profiles, pages and groups), Foursquare, and WordPress, the free blog-creating software, all in its core offerings. As well as that, you can select from dozens of other apps from their app directory. Making managing your Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest accounts just as easy as your core services. Hootsuite also provides a mobile app to manage Social media streams on the go.
With Hootsuite, you company is really on its way to harness the real power of social media. In addition to helping you schedule posts and manage your social media content, Hootsuite also digs into what your social media activity means with its own set of analytics tools. Their platform brings together your social networks and integrates with hundreds of business applications. It’s the one place to build customer relationships, listen to the needs of the market and grow your revenue.

Hootsuite Features
Hootsuite has many features that let you do a lot, but here are some of the most useful features that come just by signing up for the free version. The most prominent feature is the ability to post text, links, photos, videos and other media directly to your social profiles through the Hootsuite dashboard. If have been busy all day long and didn’t have time to post to your social media there isn’t a problem when you have an SMMS. You can pre-schedule those posts so that they’re automatically posted at specific times. A new development to what Hootsuite offers is extending the reach of its analytics. With a built-in custom analytics system, it has the ability to monitor selected keywords and the option to conveniently schedule posts, and it also has a dedicated section for creating analytical reports. It works with both Google Analytics as well as Facebook Insights.
All of this sets the bar high for competing SMMSs. Hootsuite has a suite of social apps for other popular social networking sites not included in its key offerings, such as YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr and others. With its targeted messaging feature you can send private messages out to targeted audience groups on selected social profiles straight through the Hootsuite dashboard. The free version allows you to have up to three social media accounts and so it does the job for small businesses with the standard Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter accounts to update.

Hootsuite Pro
Using Hootsuite takes a bit of time to get familiar with, but in the end it improves productivity and leaves you with more time for more important things. I’d recommend signing up for a free account first with Hootsuite since the free version already comes with a lot of features to get started. Hootsuite Free will work for small businesses that don’t need to support more than two users. If you find yourself needing more-robust analytics and other features, it’s time to upgrade to another tool. If you’re serious about social media management and analytics, you can move onto its enterprise system, called Hootsuite Pro, which costs about $10 a month. With a Pro account, you can manage an unlimited number of social profiles. So there would be no problem if you’ve got 20 Twitter profiles and 15 Facebook pages to update. This is for those big companies with multiple social media sites or multiple employees working on those company social media sites. With Hootsuite Pro you, as a premium user will gain more features and functionality than those that have a free account. With Hootsuite Pro, users get advanced features for social analytics, audience engagement, team collaboration and security.

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