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Social Media Marketing Software 2020: A Beginner’s Guide

What is Social Media Marketing?

Social Media Marketing involves the use of Social Media Networks as a platform to carry out marketing activities like running campaigns, promotions, brand building and awareness which helps in buyer engagement and increase website traffic.

Social Media Networks have seen exponential growth of adoption in the last decade and each of the popular networks has several hundred million users. The usage has evolved much beyond just sharing content. The sites have tapped into this and have evolved to provide business support which provides marketers ready access to the targeted audience at a low cost ( compared to direct marketing, outbound advertisement). The sites provide robust tools for marketers and businesses. Some of the visual media sharing networks are highly favored by users and have seen the fastest growth. This provides a tremendous opportunity for businesses to engage with consumers and it has dramatically changed the way consumers engage with brand content. Social Media interactions are more targeted, personal and intimate

The popular social networking sites where businesses commonly interact and engage with their buyers include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, WhatsApp, Snapchat, YouTube, Tumblr. Each of these networks has a unique way to bring together their users and that in turn drives how businesses can connect with their buyers on these networks. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn provide mechanisms to retweet, repost content ( supports a variety of formats) that when shared among the users and groups creates a viral effect. Instagram and Pinterest provide a rich visual environment and are great for users to pursue special interests and topics. WhatsApp and Snapchat, though primarily messaging platforms, do provide a mechanism for businesses to have personal connect with their customers. Overall, marketers simply can not afford to have a marketing strategy that does not include social media.

Social Media Marketing and SEO are closely related. One of the key aspects of social media marketing is to publish great content related to products/services/companies on social media. Social media often feeds into the discovery of new content which happens because of new content getting published or shared by its users/communities/groups and this, in turn, leads to SEO activity. Social Media can also help build links that feed into SEO efforts. It is said that Google’s organic search algorithm heavily depends on social media related factors and not having a good presence in social media will affect the brand’s ability to show up on Google search.

Social Media Marketing Strategies and Tactics

There are myriad possibilities for marketers to engage in social media. So it is important to have a comprehensive strategy that is in line with business goals.

At the basic level, marketers can engage social media to publish content for the targeted audience. The content can be for PR purposes, direct marketing message or a communication message about products and services. Marketers can also do this engagement through social media influencers and social media celebrities who have a huge following on social media. They can also run highly targeted social media ads for their target audience. Facebook and LinkedIn are popular networks for running hyper-targeted ads.

Social media networks are a great place to get market research information at a very low cost. Customers share their perspectives on products, services and brands and share reviews or recommendations. Marketers can gather both qualitative and quantitative data to understand social, consumer and market trends. The quantitative data can come in the form of Likes, Shares, Comments, Mention volume, Share of voice, Reach, Followers and Subscribers. Qualitative analysis can be applied to this data through sentiment analysis and theme categorization. Together they provide market research that has higher ROI, faster results and more importantly comes from targeted groups. Marketers can employ this tactic for product launches, product research, consumer behavior insights, defining buyer personas.

Social media networks are a great place to listen to customer sentiments - either in the form of complaints, negative feelings, feedback, endorsements, satisfaction, recommendations. Companies can use those forums to address customer grievances by listening to customer voices and feedback. Responding in real-time to social media feedback greatly improves customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.

The choice of social media networks to target specific demographic audiences plays a key role.

56% of all online adults over 65 years of age use Facebook

53% of young adults aged between 18-29 use Instagram and actively use it daily.

More than half of online adults use two or more social media networks.

LinkedIn has more than 630 million professional members.

500 million tweets per day on Twitter.

3Billion people use social media in some form or the other.

What are Social Media Marketing Software?

The set of tools and platforms that help in monitoring, managing, analyzing and automating social media related activities constitute social media marketing software. It is also referred to as Social Media Management Software ( SMMS). There are a variety of tools and platforms that are purpose-built for various activities. For e.g. there are Social listening tools that monitor conversations and mentions about brands/companies/products and also respond to mentions. Some of the advanced monitoring tools track specific keywords, hashtags, and contacts. There are social media advertising tools that help in reaching a specific set of audience at scale to run hyper-targeted ads. There are specific publishing tools that are tailor-made for specific social networks to publish content for the targeted audience. This content could be text, images,video, animations, and any supported format. There are specialized social media analytics tools that analyze a brand’s reach, engagement, customer sentiment and sales trends on social media. These analytics tools help in strategizing market research, customer service, brand management, and marketing campaigns.

Visual content must attract attention, entice action and inspire advocacy

D M

Donna Moritz

Pinterest Expert

Very often SMMS tools interject with Marketing automation tools. Social media marketing capability can be a module within Marketing software (like in Hubspot) or they can be dedicated platforms (like in Hootsuite). Even standalone platforms provide seamless integration with existing marketing and sales systems to enrich customer profiles that gives a rich view of customer’s interaction with the brand.

What are the key benefits of Social Media Marketing Software?

Brand Building and Management

Companies can improve brand awareness and build brand identity and reputation by leveraging social networks. By posting targeted valuable content that is shareable, running social campaigns, leveraging influencers and celebrities to endorse your brand and more importantly choosing the right social network that fits in with the brand image and covers target demographic audiences, companies can do brand management.

Market Research

Social Media based market research brings better ROI, immediate results and is more accurate as it is derived from a targeted audience. Dove ran one of the most successful social media campaign #SpeakBeautiful in 2016 that was purely driven from its social media market research.

Customer Engagement

Social Media provides many ways by which companies can engage with their customers - by responding to their questions/complaints about product/services, sharing great content that is seen as valuable. This content could be great blog articles, benchmark reports, strategy guides, tips to use the product, industry news, etc. Using Social Media, companies can engage a large number of customers at scale, at a time that is convenient for them and with personalized content. This greatly improves engagement and stickiness.

Content is King, but engagement is Queen and she rules the house.

M S

Mari Smith

Social Media Guru

Improve Search Rankings

If the company’s social media content is found valuable by users, more shared, then it generates more social signals that in turn improves search rankings. Though not fully confirmed about the extent of social signals impact on search, there is a correlation found.

Increase Web Traffic

Companies adopt a strategy to increase traffic to their websites, by publishing content that is targeted to build audiences, Neil Patel, the top influencer on the web, suggests ways to improve web traffic by suggesting to adopt social sharing schedule that drives increase in traffic.

Reduced Marketing Expenses

Running social campaigns and advertisements on social media are far cheaper compared to traditional ways of advertisement ( TV, outdoor advertisements). Social Media advertisements and campaigns are more targeted and hence generate better ROI. Companies can use several bidding options like CPC ( Cost per Click), CPV ( Cost per View), CPL (Cost per Like). The most commonly used option is CPC. Some indicative figures for the cost

What are the key benefits of Social Media Marketing Software?

Generate Qualified Leads

Marketers can employ several tactics like running contests, quizzes, polls on social media to generate leads. Since it is focused on the targeted audience, the quality and amount of leads that get generated are far superior. Of course, it is proportional to the brand presence on social media. Another tactic to generate qualified leads is to combine with other lead generation tactics. For example, directing social media traffic to the company’s landing page likely to generate more qualified leads.

Viewers need to be able to grasp your message within the first 20-30 seconds of your video

L B

Lilach Bullock

Lead conversion expert

What are the key business processes covered by Social Media Marketing?

What are the key benefits of Social Media Marketing Software?

Social Media Marketing interjects with many of the marketing processes of the company. Though social networks can be viewed as one of the channels for companies to reach out to their buyers, they offer much more sophisticated means for marketers to carry out social campaigns, influencer marketing, advocacy marketing, customer engagement, customer service, market survey, market research, competitive intelligence and lead generation.

Who are the users of Social Media Marketing Software?

Social media marketing can be done inhouse by marketers in a company or can be outsourced to agencies who specialize in this field. Both of them are users of such software. Brand managers, advertisers, PR agents, Celebrity managers all use social media marketing tools for different aspects like brand management, reputation management, campaign management.

What are the key features of Social Media Marketing Software?

Publishing and scheduling of posts

Ability to plan, publish and schedule social media posts for various social networks is a critical feature. Preferably it should be possible to do all this from a single dashboard. Also, it should be possible for team members to collaborate on drafting and publishing the content. An appropriate approval process needs to be built into the publishing process.

Social listening and monitoring

Social listening is the ability to listen to social conversations about the brand/products/services and campaigns across social networks in multiple languages. Some tools like Talkwalker provide the capability to do social listening across networks, websites, and offline sources. Many tools provide a unified view with additional reporting abilities. This is a prerequisite to respond to customer questions/complaints and also needed for social analytics. Monitoring tools provide the ability to respond by team members by assigning to appropriate team members.

Sentiment analysis

Social monitoring tools combined with AI-driven sentiment analysis help in a variety of marketing activities like PR, reputation management, market research, customer service.

Content Curation

Organizing and managing all pre-approved content that is ready to post is a critical ability needed especially to manage scaled content publishing schedules. Tools like Hootsuite provide the ability to do various kinds of searches and create search streams based on hashtags, keywords, and location.

The biggest daily challenge of social media is finding enough content to share. We call this “feeding the Content Monster.” There are two ways to do this: content creation and content curation.

G K

Guy Kawasaki

Chief Evangelist, Canva

Automation (favorites, retweets, likes)

Social Media Marketing involves handling messages, posts, tweets at scale and this requires automation. Many tools provide automation capabilities for various aspects. With Hootsuite, it is possible to create and test hundreds of ads for Facebook, Instagram, Google Ads. Popular tools like Hootsuite, Zoho support automation of posts and also support scheduling them.

Enhanced customer profiles

Understanding customer profile and their buying patterns is key to running successful marketing campaigns. Social media is the best place to learn about buyers’ interests. Using social media, one can learn how customers use your products and services, ask customer feedback and map out customer interests. All this information can be used to enrich the customer profile.

Multi-channel management

Potential buyers can be active in any of the multitudes of social networks and tools typically provide support to manage content, monitor various networks like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn. Some tools tend to specialize in specific channels like Linkedin. This could be for specific use cases like recruiting, lead generation. But many of the tools provide omnichannel support so that data can be collected from multiple sources for analytics.

Reports and Analytics

Social media analytics is a very important feature of any social media marketing software. Ability to collect data from multiple social networks and analyze to get insights, measure performance is critical. Such tools use AI technology to mine customer sentiment. Tools like Talkwalker support competitive benchmarking features to measure social media performance. Popular platforms like Hootsuite, Zoho have built-in analytics. Such tools not only deal with large scale data but also provide trends in real-time for instant action.

Artificial Intelligence in Social Media Marketing

Sentimental Analysis

AI plays a key role to analyze the huge volume of brand mentions that comes from social media. Sentiment analysis can be applied to discover negative comments/opinions including sarcasm using which companies can quickly respond to customer complaints and perception issues. This helps in both PR, reputation management as well as customer service. Sentiment analysis can be applied to analyze which product features are a hit with customers or not so popular. This information can be fed back to R&D teams to improve their product roadmap/direction. Sentiment analysis can be applied to analyze the broad industry and market trends. This is valuable market research data for marketers.

Keyword Tracking

Social media users express their thoughts on feelings and also vent on various aspects. Using AI-based technology, tools mine customer sentiment by searching for specific keywords. They do this by tracking the most commonly used keywords related to your product/service/domain and create context-based maps. Hootsuite provides conversation maps.

Personalization

AI plays a big role in providing insights to marketers about the content they need to design, schedule and publish posts that resonates with their audience. It even suggests what images to use, color schemes, etc to personalize the experience. It plays a big role in ad management in guiding how much money to spend on sponsored ads, optimize bids and how to choose channels.

Buyers’ guide to choosing Social Media Marketing Software

Point product or Suite

There are point products that specialize in specific features like campaign management, social media monitoring, automated scheduling, etc. Companies who have just ventured into social media marketing can choose specific areas to focus in the beginning and then can expand. More mature users can choose platforms that are all-in-one to do more comprehensive management. Even while choosing point products, it is good to choose products that provide good integration ability to major platforms so that it is future proof to expand.

Multi-channel support

It is important to define social network choice as part of the social media marketing strategy. The choice of tool will revolve how many of the social networks company likes to deal with. There are some tools that focus on specific networks like LinkedIn - eLink Pro, Nimble, Leadfeeder. Similarly, there are specialized tools for Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook. If the company wants to deal with multiple channels, then all-in-one platforms like Hootsuite, Zoho will help.

Technology Considerations

Technologies like AI and ML provide advanced features and greatly enhance analytics, social listening and monitoring. AI is the future of how social marketing and selling will evolve. Using such technologies will greatly help marketers to get the best out of social media marketing investment.

Integrations

Social media marketing needs to fit into an overall marketing strategy that includes campaign management, advertising, lead generation, advocacy marketing. So it is important that such tools integrate with already existing software like CRM, lead management, customer service tools.

TTV

Social media management does not always involve out of the box tools. There is a fair amount of service components to make it work. So it is important to understand time to deploy and get meaningful results. So choosing tools that can provide deterministic TTV will help. It also has implications on the total cost of ownership, where not only software costs but also services and support cost to be included.

Training and Support

If the company is in nascent stages of adoption, the ability of the vendor to provide the right level of training and support plays a crucial role. Also, much of the technology in social media marketing tools are still early stages of evolution, so choosing a vendor who can provide good support is vital.

Social Media Marketing Software

Zoho Social Icon

Zoho Social

4.60
★★★★★
★★★★★

The easiest way to manage your brands on social media

Mavsocial Social Media Management Icon

Mavsocial Social Media Management

4.59
★★★★★
★★★★★

MavSocial: Social Media Management Tool

sotrender Icon

sotrender

4.53
★★★★★
★★★★★

Sotrender. No-bullshit analytics. Analyze and optimize your ...

Tailwind Icon

Tailwind

4.51
★★★★★
★★★★★

Tailwind: Pinterest & Instagram Scheduler, Analytics & Marketing Tool

Infegy Atlas Icon

Infegy Atlas

4.50
★★★★★
★★★★★

Infegy - Text Analytics + Social Listening

Awario Icon

Awario

4.50
★★★★★
★★★★★

Awario: The Social Media & Web Monitoring Tool Your Brand Needs

Talkwalker Analytics Icon

Talkwalker Analytics

4.47
★★★★★
★★★★★

Talkwalker: The #1 Social Media Analytics & Monitoring Platform

Publicfast Influencer Marketing Icon

Publicfast Influencer Marketing

4.41
★★★★★
★★★★★

Publicfast: Influencer Marketing Platform

SocialPilot Icon

SocialPilot

4.40
★★★★★
★★★★★

SocialPilot | Social Media Scheduling, Marketing and Analytics Tool

Sendible Icon

Sendible

4.39
★★★★★
★★★★★

Sendible: Social Media Management Software

Iconosquare Icon

Iconosquare

4.38
★★★★★
★★★★★

Iconosquare - Instagram & Facebook Analytics and Management ...

Unamo Social Media Monitoring Icon

Unamo Social Media Monitoring

4.38
★★★★★
★★★★★

ocial Media Monitoring

synthesio Icon

synthesio

4.34
★★★★★
★★★★★

Synthesio Profiler for Audience Insights Run demographic audience analysis on more than 10,000 data categories related to your target audiences

SocialFlow Icon

SocialFlow

4.26
★★★★★
★★★★★

SocialFlow - Social Media Solutions for Publishers & Media

Netvibes Icon

Netvibes

4.25
★★★★★
★★★★★

Your Personal Dashboard | Netvibes

Hootsuite Icon

Hootsuite

4.23
★★★★★
★★★★★

Hootsuite: Social Media Marketing & Management Dashboard

Keyhole Icon

Keyhole

4.20
★★★★★
★★★★★

Keyhole: Hashtag Tracking for Twitter, Instagram and Facebook

Ahalogy Muse Icon

Ahalogy Muse

4.14
★★★★★
★★★★★

Quotient Technology Inc.: Our Story

Netbase Icon

Netbase

4.14
★★★★★
★★★★★

NetBase: Social Media Analytics Platform

SocialOomph Icon

SocialOomph

4.13
★★★★★
★★★★★

SocialOomph | Social Media and Blog Post scheduling

Radarly Icon

Radarly

4.08
★★★★★
★★★★★

AI-Powered Social Media Intelligence Platform - Radarly | Linkfluence

Manageflitter Icon

Manageflitter

4.06
★★★★★
★★★★★

ManageFlitter - Twitter Management Tool | Work Faster & Smarter

Crowdtap Icon

Crowdtap

3.98
★★★★★
★★★★★

Give your opinion. Get rewarded.

Salesforce Social Studio Icon

Salesforce Social Studio

3.83
★★★★★
★★★★★

Salesforce Social Studio | All-in-one social media marketing and management suite — and connect enriched social data

NiceJob Icon

NiceJob

4.80
★★★★★
★★★★★

NiceJob | Get More Reviews. Build a Great Reputation

Cyfe Business Dashboard Icon

Cyfe Business Dashboard

4.57
★★★★★
★★★★★

Cyfe Business Dashboard | Social media, web analytics, marketing, sales, support, infrastructure…monitor

Conversocial Icon

Conversocial

4.57
★★★★★
★★★★★

Conversocial | Customer Experience built for Messaging Channels

Stackla Icon

Stackla

4.48
★★★★★
★★★★★

Stackla |Discover, manage and display the most engaging visual content across all your marketing touchpoints

HubSpot Icon

HubSpot

4.47
★★★★★
★★★★★

HubSpot | marketer of software products for inbound marketing and sales

Salesmanago Marketing Automation Icon

Salesmanago Marketing Automation

4.45
★★★★★
★★★★★

Salesmanago Marketing Automation | all-in-one marketing automation software that helps companies increase their revenue

Simplify360 Social CRM Icon

Simplify360 Social CRM

4.42
★★★★★
★★★★★

Simplify360: The Best Social CRM Platform

Ambassador Relationship Marketing Icon

Ambassador Relationship Marketing

4.41
★★★★★
★★★★★

Ambassador Relationship Marketing | All-in-One Relationship Marketing Platform. Run referral, affiliate, influencer and partner, marketing programs on one platform

Vendasta Platform Icon

Vendasta Platform

4.40
★★★★★
★★★★★

Vendasta | The white-label platform for companies selling

Affinio Icon

Affinio

4.39
★★★★★
★★★★★

Affinio | augmented analytics platform that surfaces deep consumer insights within any data set

Act-On Icon

Act-On

4.35
★★★★★
★★★★★

Act-On: Marketing Automation Software. Generate more leads, better opportunities, and increased revenue in weeks

Cool Tabs Icon

Cool Tabs

4.34
★★★★★
★★★★★

Cool Tabs: data_collection_that_works.

Chatmeter Platform Icon

Chatmeter Platform

4.33
★★★★★
★★★★★

Chatmeter Platform | Local listing, review, and social media management for the multi-location brand and agency

Reputation.com Icon

Reputation.com

4.31
★★★★★
★★★★★

Reputation.com | helps large multi-location businesses monitor and improve their reputation, and optimize customer experience – online and onsite

MomentFeed MCX Platform Icon

MomentFeed MCX Platform

4.30
★★★★★
★★★★★

MomentFeed MCX Platform | Drive More In-Store Sales With Mobile Marketing

Curalate Icon

Curalate

4.29
★★★★★
★★★★★

Curalate | Make Social Sell For Your E-Commerce Brand

Audiense Insights Icon

Audiense Insights

4.26
★★★★★
★★★★★

Audiense Insights | Marketing decisions, adapt your targeting, improve relevancy and drive high

Zignal Influence Intelligence Icon

Zignal Influence Intelligence

4.21
★★★★★
★★★★★

Zignal Influence Intelligence | maps media conversations to help brands identify automated social media accounts and influence events

Rebelmouse Icon

Rebelmouse

4.20
★★★★★
★★★★★

Rebelmouse | A creative agency fueled by a publishing platform with deep technology

Grouphigh Icon

Grouphigh

4.18
★★★★★
★★★★★

GroupHigh | Find bloggers and social media influencers, research and review websites, measure content and the results of influencer marketing and blogger outreach

Clarabridge Engage Icon

Clarabridge Engage

4.17
★★★★★
★★★★★

Clarabridge Engage | Digitally engage with your customers across channels in real-time and leverage conversation analytics to improve customer experience

TrackMaven Icon

TrackMaven

4.15
★★★★★
★★★★★

TrackMaven | Marketing Analytics Software helps marketers prove ROI and improve results on 18 integrated digital and social channels

Percolate Content Marketing Icon

Percolate Content Marketing

4.11
★★★★★
★★★★★

Percolate Content Marketing | Optimize your content operations with Percolate and unlock the potential of your marketing department

Cision Media Database Icon

Cision Media Database

4.00
★★★★★
★★★★★

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