One size fits all? Choose social media tools that are right for your biz

Most businesses have embraced social media as a marketing channel these days. However, the frequency, depth and scale of a business's involvement in social sites would often depend on its size.

It may be enough for a restaurant to keep an eye on Yelp reviews and to maintain a Facebook page. While a corporate entity with offices all over the globe would often employ a brand management team who'd juggle as many as hundreds of social media profiles to communicate with their audiences.

Hence, there are various social media management tools, designed for businesses of different sizes. With this review, I'd like to go over some SMM solutions offered by the industry's vendors, and see which offers would be right for which type of business.

Enterprise social media tools

Big companies love big data. To be more specific, big companies would love to be able to understand the big data they're dealing with. Hence, when it comes to social media marketing, iconic brands normally prefer solutions that:

  • Grant team access to SMM tools, with permissions adjustable at different levels
  • Do social listening and sentiment assessment
  • Provide in-depth analytics and tracking
  • Allow for lead nurturing, effective fan base engagement, etc.

Let us have a look at some major enterprise-level SMM solutions available today. Some stats in this article are from Digital Marketing Depot's 2013 report.

1. ExactTarget Marketing Cloud (SalesForce)

ExactTarget is a cloud platform that lets one manage email, mobile, social and online marketing under one roof. Its social listening module is powered by Radian6 (which SalesForce acquired in 2011). The service includes real-time and historical analytics, and integrates with Google Analytics, Adobe SiteCatalyst, Webtrends and other SalesForce platforms.

Supported Networks: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube

Price: starts at $5,000/month. Average annual pricing is not disclosed.

2. Shoutlet

Shoutlet is a solution that allows brands to "publish, engage and measure all of their social marketing in one platform." Not only does it provide you with publishing tools that let you create custom web apps and webpages, but also lets you launch campaigns based on pre-defined criteria, track their effectiveness, and more.

Shoutlet offers open API, which allows for integration with other CRM platforms (e.g., SalesForce), email service providers and web analytics tools (e.g., Adobe SiteCatalyst).

Supported Networks: Facebook, FourSquare, Twitter, YouTube

Price: Corporate - $60,000/year on avg., Enterprise – from $300,000/year (annual contract required)

3. SocialWare

SocialWare is a marketing platform designed primarily for financial service providers. It helps one wage brand- and IT policy-compliant social media campaigns, effectively coordinate them on different levels, while simultaneously avoiding sensitive information leaks, and more.

Supported Networks: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter

Price: starts at $250,000/year (annual contract may be required)

4. Spredfast

Spredfast makes it easy for multi-national, multi-location companies to consolidate their content marketing and social management efforts, and effectively execute them from one mission control center.

Performance analytics, open API and content pre-approval are available as well.

Supported Networks: Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Foursquare, Google+, LinkedIn, Lotus, SlideShare, WordPress, YouTube, Blogger, BazaarVoice.

Price: $100,000-plus/year for multiple brands

5. Votigo

Votigo is a publishing and social tracking platform that lets one organize social media-driven contests, sweepstakes, and promo campaigns (also for mobile), and measure how each individual customer interacts with the brand during a particular event.

Different levels of permissions and multiple APIs for custom application integration are provided.

Supported Networks: Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Vine, YouTube

Price: $25,000/year (annual contract may be required)

6. SocialVolt

SocialVolt is a social listening, brand management and social relationship building platform designed for large companies that strive to keep all their departments and offices compliant with content publishing, branding and other company policies and guidelines.

Supported Networks: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter

Price: $20,000/year (annual contract may be required)

7. Engage121

Engage121 is primarily designed for local social marketing which involves social listening on key social networks and key review sites, monitored content publishing, and detailed analytics.

Engage121 integrates with Google Analytics, Bit.ly, Adobe SiteCatalyst, and Webtrends.

Supported Networks: Blogger, Facebook, Flickr, Foursquare, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Vine, YouTube, Ning, Twitter, Hyves, Tumblr, WordPress, Yelp.

Price: $30,000/year on average (annual contract required)

8. Sprinklr

Sprinklr provides a wide range of social media marketing tools: a social listening platform, an application/survey/contest creation kit, a powerful analytics service, and more.

The service integrates with a number of web analytcis and CRM tools (Coremetrics, Google Analytics, and Adobe SiteCatalyst), and supports tiered approvals as well as postponed posting.

Supported Networks: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr, Foursquare, Slideshare, Instagram, Google+, WordPress, Tumblr, Sina Weibo, RenRen, QQ, Vkontakte.

Price: $100 to $250 per user/month beginning with a minimum of 10 users.

9. Adobe Social

Adobe Social is part of Adobe Marketing Cloud, and is offered as a standalone solution within the 5-piece suite. Adobe Social allows one to see how their social data correlates to other digital analytics, as well as provides one with eagle-eye view of their social marketing channels for most effective social listening and engagement.

Supported Networks: Facebook, Google+, Twitter

Price: ask for a quote (annual contract required)

10. Oracle SRM

Oracle SRM was designed for effortless management of full-blown social relationship marketing campaigns. It lets one launch and tweak their campaigns based of analytics data, and hence get the most of their SMM buck.

A variety of publishing tools and integration with other Oracle apps (Eloqua, Siebel, RightNow, ATG and Fusion CRM) is offered.

Supported Networks: Facebook, Google+, Twitter, YouTube

Price: Pricing begins at $2,000/user per month; ask for a quote (annual contract required)

Social marketing tools for mid-size businesses

One of the main difference in SMM tools used by large corporations and those employed by mid-size companies is their capacity to be multi-user, and the scope of analytics data those tools present.

Other than that, SMM software that's best suitable for mid-size businesses would allow one to:

  • Social-listen
  • Effectively reply to posts by juggling several social media accounts
  • Schedule updates posting

So, let's go over some SMM tools for mid-size businesses available on the market today (we do not claim that any of these tools is superior than the other; each has its pros and cons).

1. BuzzBundle

 

BuzzBundle is a desktop-based social media management dashboard that allows one to listen, join and keep track of brand-related conversations in social media. Delayed posting and over-time mentions tracking are available as well.

Supported Networks: Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, WordPress, forums (phpBB2, phpBB3, vBulletin 3, vBulletin 4)

Price: Free Version, Pro - $199 flat fee (includes 6 months of free search algo updates)

2. HootSuite

HootSuite is cloud-based social marketing software (with mobile apps available as well) that lets one manage their activities in multiple social networks in one place. Team access, permissions settings and social analytics are provided as well.

Supported Networks: Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Foursquare, WordPress, MySpace, Mixi

Price: Free version, Pro –starts at $8.99/mo for annual plans, Enterprise – begins at $999.99/month

3. Buffer

 

Buffer for Business is a web-based app that enables one to schedule updates to multiple social networks, by multiple users from one program. Team access and analytics (the number of likes, shares and retweets each post gets) are provided, too.

Supported Networks: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and App.net

Price: Small- $50/mo, Medium - $100/mo, Large - $250/mo

4. Sprout Social

SproutSocial offers solutions for both, mid-size and enterprise-size businesses. Its core features include social listening, posting to multiple networks, at-a-glance analytics and CRM. Collaboration features and HelpDesk integration that lets you turn messages into support tickets are provided.

Supported Networks: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn

Price: Standard - $39 per user/mo, Deluxe - $59 per user/mo, Premium - $99 per user/mo

For Enterprise solutions, ask for a quote.

5. Socialoomph

Socialoomph is a program that lets one post to multiple social networks, track mentions in those networks for certain keywords, find relevant people to follow, and more. Daily DM digest via email, postponed publishing to blogs (with remote pubilishing APIs) and other sought-after features are available.

Supported Networks: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Plurk

Price: Free version, Professional - $17.97/two weeks

Free social media tools for small businesses

It probably doesn't make sense for a small biz owner to invest hundreds of dollars into the tools they may never get the time to use. However, to manage their online reputation and maximize Facebook marketing, one can resort to the following social marketing tools.

1. Google Alerts

Google Alerts is a free service created by Google. It lets one create an alert for the name of their company and each time the brand gets mentioned online, one gets a message into their email box.

Pro tip 1: To keep track of alerts from specific sites such as Facebook.com, use advanced search operators (replace [brand] with the name of your brand):

site:facebook.com [brand]

This way, you will get alerts only from Facebook.

Pro tip 2: If your brand name triggers irrelevant alerts because it’s similar to another search term, exclude irrelevant results or tell Google to only include the ones that apply.

 For example, if your brand name is Sherlock Homes, you can create an alert like this:

"Sherlock Homes" (to look for the exact spelling)

Sherlock Homes -Holmes (to exclude pages with Holmes)

2. TweetDeck

TweetDeck is a Twitter-owned dashboard that allows one to manage their tweets, Twitter pages and personal accounts in an efficient manner. The tool permits you to easily track tweets on a topic, tweets by specific people, schedule your Twitter postings, and more.

3. EdgeRank Checker

EdgeRank is a vital Facebook metric that demonstrates how likely one's Facebook post is to make it to their followers’ News feeds. You may say that EdgeRank is a sort of popularity rank. Facebook revamped the algorithm for calculating it on August 23, 2013. EdgeRank now takes more signals into account.

However, tools like EdgeRank Checker are still good to use to run a quick check of your EdgeRank Score to see how popular your posts are on Facebook in general.

4. SocialMention

Update: the service seems to be currently unavailable, hence the link has been removed.

SocialMention is a free online service that lets you search for content associated with your brand name on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, different blogs, and other social networks. It lets you see top users mentioning your brand name, top hashtags used, as well as provides insight into the sentiment associated with your company (positive, neutral or negative).

If you run a small biz, SocialMention could be of real help to quickly see what everyone is saying about your brand in the social-sphere.

Conclusion

Social media marketing tools available on the market today vary to the scope of networks they support, the range of services they offer and the number of third-party tools they integrate with. When looking for an SMM solution for your biz, it’s important to take all these factors into account, and to be clear about the results you want the tool to deliver.

Do you know a great SMM tool that not on the list? Do let us know in comments (also expand on what the software does).

Alexandra Shkalikova heads WebMeUp’s marketing, PR and support teams which she calls Customer Happiness Team altogether. She started SEO and Internet Marketing back in 2007 and spends every day experimenting, learning and mentoring ever since. When not working to benefit the SEO community, Alexandra is a cooking freak, piano amateur and a snowboarder.