5 of the Best Social Networking Management Tools
While the term ‘social networking’ betrays the fact that it was a concept initially designed for individual use, there is little doubt that it has evolved into an engaging and effective business tool. The evolutionary nature of social media poses a challenge to business owners, as they must cultivate a secure and integrated network that can be managed in a time-efficient manner.
While veteran social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are central to the vast majority of business networks, new and increasingly innovative outlets are being developed at an incredible rate. Image-led website Pinterest was the fastest growing social media network in the world between 2010 and 2012, for example, while it has also inspired the development of numerous, similar sites.
The sheer scope of social media (not to mention the security issues that it poses due to its global, instantly accessible and real-time nature) demands that businesses need help if they are to manage their networks and integrated profiles. Fortunately, there are a number of resources available to help them achieve just that, including the following:
If you are to actively manage and oversee a vast and integrated social network, automation is going to be pivotal. This not only saves time, but it also creates a secure access point through which you and selected employees can connect with a particular social network and manage all external content. The site IFTTT has been designed to help you achieve this, as it is a powerful Internet automation resource that provides you with instant and secure access to your network and its individual components.
It is also compatible with social networking management tools such as HootSuite and Buffer, which include comprehensive analytics tools and help to measure your social impact.
Arguably the central social networking management tool, HootSuite can do everything from tracking conversations across multiple channels to providing insights into how your brand is perceived on social media. It has a more comprehensive and diverse focus than IFTTT, with an emphasis on the scale and impact of your social presence rather than the security or time-effectiveness of its management. When integrated with tools such as IFTTT, however, it can help to provide an all-encompassing management solution that drives higher levels of meaningful social engagement in a secure online setting.
While SocialOomph is another social network management tool with a more single-minded focus, it has a couple of interesting features that makes it invaluable. Firstly, it has an excellent range of Twitter features, which prove extremely effective given the real-time nature and accessibility of micro-blogging. These include direct message box clean-up and the automated scheduling of Tweets, which enables you to cultivate relevant micro-blog content that reflects your brand in the best possible light. You can also integrate this tool with your company’s blogging resources, enabling you to respond quickly to comments and even remove those that serve as an attack on the brand’s reputation.
Twitter provides an interesting challenge to business owners, as there have been a number of instances where brands have either had their accounts hacked or fell victim to poorly timed Tweets. Without a strong social network management infrastructure in place, brands can easily have their reputation damaged and lose valuable customers at the most inopportune of times. This is where the Tweepi management tool can provide huge value, as it is a unique resource that is focused almost entirely on protecting the security and integrity of your Twitter profile.
Featuring a professional version that enables users to complete bulk follow and unfollow actions of up to 200 users at any given time (alongside generic clean-up options), you can manage your network and prevent your accounts from being hacked.
Similar to IFTTT in some respects, SproutSocial is a powerful and time-saving network management tool that simplifies the process of overseeing integrated profiles. Boasting a single, secure inbox that includes messages from multiple accounts, it enables you to access your network through one resource and a verified password. There is also the opportunity to schedule messages across Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, while you can also use data-rich analytics to understand how your brand is performing according to several key metrics.
The choice between this tool and IFTTT is up to you, although brands with a large and diverse social network may wish to use the slightly more advanced SproutSocial tool.