A Social Jumpstart Guest Post By Software Advice Market Analyst Ashley Furness
Recent reports reveal a troubling disconnect between what customers expect when they express concerns on social media and how companies actually respond. While 62 percent of consumers use Twitter, Facebook and other channels to broadcast service complaints, a vast majority of those messages never receive a response. Is your small business one of them?
For very large businesses, the problem is simply one of volume: it’s impossible to respond to the thousands brand mentions daily. But this can also be a challenge for small businesses in that they don’t have the manpower to effectively monitor and respond to social media.
Developers have come out with all sorts of tools for helping small businesses monitor and address social media service issues in real time. Here’s 5 tools that will help you power up your small business social response.
HootSuite combines social media monitoring with analytics and report. Small businesses can upload all of their social accounts–including Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and more–into one dashboard. Newsfeeds are organized in columns so the user can monitor all streams at the same time.
Reporting is also easily customizable. Users can go extremely granular and drill down to fan base demographics and conversion rates, or simply watch shares, likes and fans. These reports can then be easily exported, saved and shared.
HootSuite is a great option for small businesses not wanting to spend a lot – or anything at all. The free offering works great for basic social management and the Pro version is reasonable at at about $6 per month. However, for those seeking integrated contact management, this app isn’t the best option.
This platform analyzes mentions on your Facebook and Twitter accounts and makes suggestions for post timing, people you should interact with and topics your followers would be attracted to. This information–powered by a “recommendation engine”–is easily digestible in a color-coded dashboard. Based on yours and your followers social activity, the engine makes action recommendations, such as thanking followers when they retweet.
Also, the tool sends weekly emails that summarize progress. Users can evaluate the performance of individual tweets and posts by date and social media channel. The free version allows for up to three accounts; the cost to upgrade varies.
Sprout Social aggregates all of your social media feeds into one monitoring dashboard. Small businesses can also pre-schedule posts and send them across all social channels at once. Users can also track keywords across articles, blogs and news sites. Also useful, users can sign up to compare their activity to a competitor, including by number of mentions, engagements and new followers.
The platform also offers a “Discover” feature, which suggests people to follow based on target customer criteria. Users can monitor competitor’s social activity and analyze customers’ interests. The pro version starts at $9 per month, with business class jumping up to $49.
Buffer offers all of the social media management staples–unified account stream, scheduled posts a mobile application. Additionally, users can leverage the browser extension–the Buffer bookmarklet–in Chrome, Firefox and Safari. This allows you to add shareable items to Buffer to schedule later, or post immediately to select social accounts.
Additionally, Buffer integrates with myriad reader applications such as Google Reader and Kippt. Reporting tools offer analytics on likes, shares and retweets at a glance.
This tool is similar to SproutSocial in functionality, but adds listening and monitoring information from Yelp, CitySearch and TripAdvisor. Users can also track keywords such as business name or industry across all social channels.
They receive an alert to their inbox whenever these words are published on social media, blogs and news sites. Users can then reply while still in their inbox and the message is automatically posted to their social accounts.
What social media management tools do you use? What do you like about it? Let us know by commenting here.
Research for this article was provided by Software Advice.