Social media marketing is still a new business tool, relatively speaking. There’s no magic formula for success, and the potential benefits of your efforts are broad and not entirely predictable.
That promise is appealing, especially to young entrepreneurs, but results don’t come automatically -- even if you have a solid strategic foundation for your campaign. In fact, it requires a tremendous amount of planning, effort and refinement before you start to see results. And in most cases, the tools and features offered by social media platforms straightaway aren’t typically enough to give you the edge you need.
Social media operates in a hyper-competitive arena, and if you want to stay alive, you’re going to have to use the newest tools to support your efforts.
The key measure of success in social media, as in most other forms of marketing, is your overall return on investment (ROI). When most people think about ROI, they focus on the return they’re getting, and how to improve it.
Some tools will help you do this by providing more data you can use to target your demographics more accurately or allowing you to reach wider audiences than you have up to this point. However, most tools are directed at the other side of the equation -- the investment side.
They help you work more efficiently, to reduce the amount of time and money you expend in managing a campaign, and increase the power of everything you create or direct. In theory, at least, this should boost the potential of every dollar or hour you put in.
With those goals in mind, we want to show you five incredibly powerful up-and-coming social media tools you should be using to enhance your campaign:
One of the biggest trends in social media marketing right now is influencer marketing. Influencer marketing is the art of engaging with prominent authorities to earn more visibility for your posts and brand. Notifier is a tool that helps automate and improve your influencer relationships. By plugging in your content, it will automatically search it for references you’ve made to other brands, and pull up their social information so you can notify them that you’ve cited them. This gives you an “in” for engaging with new influencers, streamlining your influencer marketing campaign.
2. Real Geeks’ Facebook Marketing Tool.
If you’ve ever been intimidated or frustrated by the process of Facebook advertising, but are convinced of the potential value there, Real Geeks’ Facebook marketing tool is perfect for you. Designed for realtors, the tool connects your Facebook ad campaign directly to your website. From there, it automatically pulls data (such as home listings, images, etc.) and generates the type of ads that tend to generate the best results. You’ll be able to monitor and adjust these ads before they go out, and create your own if you so desire. The tool also provides detailed, easy-to-follow reporting, so you can track your progress accurately.
SocialOomph doesn’t have a particularly fancy user experience layer, but its functionality is powerful. With this, you’ll be able to connect all your social media profiles into one area, schedule posts in advance, and even “bulk upload” updates to have them roll out periodically over a preset schedule. It’s fantastic if you’re in the business of content syndication (as you should be), and it offers a number of audience insight tools as well.
4. Sprout Social.
Sprout Social is similar to Hootsuite in concept, but offers more robust functionality. You can connect to almost every major social media platform, schedule posts, monitor progress in terms of likes, engagements, and user activity, and easily see how your content performs over time. Sprout Social also furnishes social listening functionality, which allows you to perform better content topic research and market research by plugging into your key users’ social media conversations. Perhaps best of all, Sprout Social was designed with teams in mind, so you can establish different user roles and delegate tasks here too.
Crate is a relatively new content curation tool designed to help you find the best-performing content on the web. Plug in the types of content and social media feeds you want to see more of, and Crate will generate a list of the topics that have performed best on social media. You can use this list to fuel your own social sharing strategy, or use it as inspiration to write better content for your blog. Either way, it’s incredibly useful.
Before you go out and start using these tools indiscriminately, let’s leave you with a pertinent cautionary note about automation in a marketing campaign. Automation can be incredibly valuable; it can give you more objective insights and save both time and money.
However, if you rely too much on automation, your campaign could suffer. Here’s how:
- You could develop a false sense of security and assume your campaign will go perfectly, and end up overlooking vital signs of weakness.
- Your creative muscles could atrophy, and give you less innovative material to work with.
- Your campaign could become stagnant and repetitive, which risks alienating your audience.
- You could lose touch with the key demographics your business needs to survive.
- Your biases could misinterpret the data provided to you, thanks to confirmation bias.
You don’t need to worry actively about these weaknesses or forgo automation tools because of such concerns. You merely need to acknowledge them, and keep them in mind when you choose to employ such tools to complement and build your campaign. It’s all about achieving a proper balance.