The Power & Beauty of Social Media Management Tools
Despite living in the hyperconnected world of internet sites and social media, we still seem to be running out of time…all the time. Whether it be busy with real-world activities, like work, school, and family time, or busy in the digital lands of gaming, binging, and just hanging out on Facebook or Twitter (for hours at a time), many people — whether influencers, businesses, or those with a blue checkmark next to their verified names on social media platform — we just don’t have much time to truly sit and plan out our social media presence.
Enter social media management tools!
These tools are software that is specifically designed to allow their users to monitor, manage, and publish to one or more (because who are we kidding, we all have more than one), social media account. As Growing Social Biz explains, these tools have become essential for those that share often, as it allows them to schedule when to post content, from the comfort of one place, instead of having to go individually to each platform to do so (laziness or efficiency?).
Being a social media user can be hard work. From coming up with clever posts, with eye-catching visuals, monitoring posts, and making sure to always engage and respond to your audience — — this turns out to be a full-time job. Having social media management tools, in turn, become like an assistant of sorts, or like Falcon IO calls it, the cockpit to the pilot that we are as social media users. Being able to plan out your social media strategy from one place, ultimately helps the user by saving them time, monitor trends, and facilitate engagement.
As previously mentioned, one of the benefits associated with these management tools is the ability to increase community engagement and facilitate social listening. Sculpt’d spells it out by saying “Social Media serves as a tool in which businesses can use to listen and get feedback from the audience and not just for talking.” The tools themselves offer options, like dashboards, that provide invaluable information and insights on what audiences are talking about and currently interested in, therefore allowing you to ‘listen’ to your people. This in turn allows you to drive your brand forward! Having these listening tools at your disposal allows you to perform accurate consumer and conversational assessments, make predictions about your market and audience trends, and this then leads to helping you with better understanding and being able to retain customers and followers.
Let’s look at two of the most popular social media management tools currently being used — Hootsuite and Sprout Social and briefly evaluate them.
For a simple to understand comparison, certainly recommend Tangible Words in their reviews of comparing several tools at once.
Based on my own experience and reviews found online, it seems that Sprout Social is a lot easier to use, set up, and administer than Hootsuite is. Both tools are categorized as Hashtag Monitoring, Social Media Monitoring, Social Media Management, Social Media Suites, and Social Media Analytics. G2 has an incredible and extremely detailed tool to compare social media management tools, and it is what I used to describe the following evaluation.
They both offer excellent social analytics, which entails analysis of competitors, followers, post-performance, attribution (which is a set of user actions that contribute in some manner to the desired outcome and then the assignment of a value to each of these events), hashtag analytics, as well as tracking paid campaigns.
They both allow the ability to plan and automate content posts. Both tools have great content calendars, though according to G2, Sprout Social has the upper hand based on user feedback. I particularly like how clean and true calendar-like the content calendar is. Both offer what I call, the best thing ever! a shared content inbox. All my site’s engagements in one location? Yes, please! A neat option with these inboxes is that it saves replies and engagements or interactions, that can be reviewed in the future when assisting consumers with similar questions or concerns.
G2 goes on to compare Platform Data, Content and Collaboration goodness, Reports & Dashboards, Platform Performance, and even provides real consumer reviews, I especially liked the data and numbers comparison of Monitoring and Listening features — where Sprout Social is the clear winner.
Now, though both are fantastic tools at what they do, based on numbers, it seems Sprout Social is the better of the two. However, it was interesting to see that the number of reviews that Hootsuite received compared to Sprout Social was almost always doubled! Why are folks using it more than Sprout Social if it is the better of the two?
I believe it comes down to cost and budgeting. Sprout Social is more costly monthly, almost double the cost than Hootsuite. Also, it is not to say that the differences were drastic, because they were not. In my opinion, I prefer the look and feel, and the ease of use of Sprout Social. From a design perspective, Sprout Social is much easier to look at and use. However (!), Hootsuite prefers function over form, reason why Hootsuite has the edge in reporting. Though to be honest, except for very minor differences, they are both very good and God-sent tools!
In the end, the real winner is you. Because honestly, no matter what tool you go with, your job has just become so much more easier and efficient than ever before!