Social has become a crucial part of most large organisations’ marketing and customer service strategies. And this isn’t going to change any time soon. In fact, by 2018, the number of social media users is set to grow to 2.5 billion – that’s over a third of the world’s population! Therefore, this post will look at whether large brands need several social media management tools or not.
Still, although some of that largest companies are starting to get to grips with social media (with every single one of the 100 top global brands now having a YouTube channel Facebook profile), social media is often not a major priority for big brands. Indeed, according to Infusion Soft:
- Only 27 percent of the biggest companies said their C-level executives were actively engaged in social media last year (down 20 percent from 2012).
- Among the top 100 global brands, only 31 CMOs maintain active Twitter accounts – and only six of those have more than 10,000 followers.
- Eighty percent of marketers still measure social media success in terms of vanity metrics (“likes”, shares, comments, etc.) rather than by proving ROI.
Social Media Management Tools – why?
It’s not enough to merely have a social media presence; in order to be successful, you also have to operate or manage your social accounts effectively. This becomes difficult, especially for larger organisations, when more and more people are given access to and control over that organisations’ accounts.
For larger companies, it’s absolutely critical that all social media posts, updates, and correspondences are:
- Consistent – With numerous accounts, multiple leaders, and sundry policies, ensuring consistency is easier said than done. But, if you send out mixed messages, give different advice, or talk to customers in a different way, your brand will be diluted and consumers may be put off.
- Market Leading – Social media is a great place to flaunt your knowledge and expertise, and much of the content you create should improve your status as a market leader. However, even for larger organisations, creating a steady stream of original content can be a challenge.
- Tailored to Your Target Audience – The data collection and analytics opportunities that social media affords larger companies is often one of the biggest incentives for them to use social media. By optimising posting times, the tone of copy, and the topics covered, to name just a few, this information can be used to make your social media posts more appealing to your target audience. But collecting, analysing, and implementing what you’ve learnt requires specific tools and expertise.
These requirements have meant that many larger companies have turned to social media management tools to help them run effective social media campaigns.
However, with social media budgets increasing (around 25 percent within the next five years), multiple regional managers making purchasing decisions, and an influx of social media management tools, many companies are now using multiple tools to manage their campaigns.
The problem with using multiple tools
The problem is that many of these tools have been designed to offer a comprehensive solution to social media management, with the best offering scheduling tools, content creation tools, content libraries, social media inboxes, detailed analytics and reporting, and more. This means that, by using more than one tool, companies may be making social media management more complicated – ironic, since making social media management easier was precisely the reason they invested in the tools in the first place.
On a side note, I’m talking here primarily about comprehensive social media management tools, such as Hootsuite, Buffer, and HubSpot. An increasing number of more specialist social media management tools have recently become available that offer a niche service. These tools include Edgar (the social media content “recycler”), Post Planner (the social media engagement booster for Twitter and Facebook), and Muck Rack (the PR connection tool). Since such tools often offer a service or functionality that is either not offered by most of the comprehensive social media tools, or a service that has been significantly augmented, such tools can act as effective supplements to your social media arsenal.
But, by using more than one comprehensive tool, social media managers may not be able see what others have done, may have more difficulty sharing preapproved content (photos, videos, copy, etc.), and may be unable to view the results and outcomes of campaigns that they didn’t oversee themselves.
Such unnecessary confusion can be avoided if everyone is reading from the same page i.e., if everyone is using the same tool. Using the same tool will also make monitoring and managing social media campaigns easier across different geographical locations, as well as making scaling social media far easier. It is also more cost effective, since adding “seats” to one tool is costs less than subscribing to multiple plans offered by different tools. Finally, many social media management tools offer good internal messaging and communication tools, which, if used, can improve communication and collaboration amongst social media managers based in different locations and even working in different time zones.
But which tool should an organisation use?
Picking a tool is difficult because the social media management tool industry is still growing at an incredible rate, tools are coming and going every few months, and existing tools are constantly updating in order to keep up with the changing requirements of their users. Moreover, since the industry is still in its nascent stages, users haven’t had time to “shop around”, and so some of the poorer offerings still have a large number of users who simply haven’t realised that their paying over-the-odds or using a weak tool.
The infographic will be interesting to social media management tool users and social media managers who aren’t sure if they’ve got a good deal or not, as well as those looking into investing in a social media management tool for the first time.
Are you responsible for managing social media for a large company? If so, do you use a social media management tool? And if so, are you happy with it? Let us know with a comment or leave your social media management to us so you can get results that matter without worrying about doing it all yourself!
Previously, he was Director at Comms Axis, a full service marketing agency specialising in content, social media & website services for businesses of all sizes.
Dan Purvis writes for a number of leading business, social media and marketing sites, including Smart Insights, MarketingProfs, Marketo, MarTech Advisor, Marketing Tech News, MarTech Today, MarTech Exec, and more.
Dan was also ranked by Brand Republic as one of the Top 50 UK Marketing & Social Media influencers.
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