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In the first quarter of 2019, Facebook reported that it had 2.38 billion monthly active users and 2.7 billion people were using at least one of its other products such as Instagram, WhatsApp, or Messenger.
Given the growing popularity of social media, brands naturally market on the various networks and platforms. More than 40% of digital consumers research new brands or products on social networks, while 71% of consumers who have a good social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others.
For these reasons, it’s important to use the right social media tool to interact with your customers and keep them engaged with your brand. The right solution will help businesses achieve increased sales, higher lead conversions, greater customer loyalty, more revenue, and widespread reputation.
To help social media marketing software buyers make the right decision, we have created this buyers guide with all the important information. Here’s what we’ve included in the guide:
Social media marketing software is a technology that businesses use to engage existing and potential customers on social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
From a single dashboard, businesses can create, review, schedule, and post content on their social media channels. They can monitor and track the social media channels for customer conversations, and then engage with these customers to get opinions about various products, services, queries, and concerns.
The software also helps businesses measure and track the success of their social media marketing efforts and use these insights to improve their marketing strategies.
Social media marketing software is available as a standalone suite, best-of-breed application, and even specific function or integration. The software offer features such as analytics, scheduling, and monitoring.
Here are the types of software and its details to help you choose the best-suited one:
Social media monitoring: This software will work well for marketers who need a platform to monitor social media conversations and understand customer preferences, interests, likes, etc.
Social media analytics: This tool is for users who want to track their social media campaigns and engagement. You can generate visual reports on metrics, such as clicks, opens, and shares, across social media networks on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. These reports provide insights on user engagement and help businesses improve their social media strategy.
Social media content curation: Marketers looking for a tool that allows collaborating on the content for all social media channels can opt for this tool. The features offered here are automated publishing, multi-user collaboration, social publishing workflow management, and automated scheduling.
Social media management suite: This tool packages all features, such as post scheduling and publishing, engagement, content curation, keywords and hashtag monitoring, and reports, into one. Marketers who want all these features in a single place for ease of use should choose this option.
Key questions to ask your vendor before you buy: Does my small business need a social media management suite? If yes, what are the different pricing packages for a small business?
Businesses can opt for on-premise or cloud-based marketing automation software, based on their needs. All marketing automation solutions offer features such as email marketing, content marketing, SMS, and social media marketing. Here are the details and differences between these deployment options:
On-premise social media marketing software: This software is deployed on servers located inside the client’s workspace. Usually, businesses need a dedicated IT staff as well as their own hardware and IT infrastructure to manage on-premise software, which makes it a bit pricey for small businesses.
Cloud-based social media marketing software: These solutions don’t require additional hardware and offer mobility of work. The software is hosted on the vendor’s or a third-party server. This option is gaining popularity as it can be accessed from any place, any time, on any device.
GetApp.com focuses specifically on cloud or SaaS software options as SaaS products are increasingly becoming the obvious choice for small businesses over on-premise options. SaaS solutions have lower upfront costs, faster implementation time, automatic updates, better scalability, remote work capability, and minimized need for IT staff and real estate.
Key questions to ask your vendor before you buy: What are the benefits of choosing a cloud-based or on-premise solution for my business size and type?
Understanding the software’s features will help you assess your needs, and therefore, choose the right solution. In this section, we have curated a list of features that social media marketing software buyers should explore to understand which solution to purchase.
Social media analytics: Offers real-time analytics to measure the performance of a brand’s reputation in its social media campaigns. Users can get metrics on content engagement, hits, and shares to improve their social media strategy.
Analytics in Loomly
Content library: Provides a built-in content library for teams to store pre-approved content (textual and graphical) that is to be published on social media channels. Teams can also tag content so that it’s easy to search and retrieve.
Store pre-approved posts and collaborate on Loomly
Keyword filtering: Provides users the best and most relevant keywords that they can employ to ensure maximum impact across demographics and location.
Get insights about top hashtags and keywords in Vaizle
Post scheduling and publishing: Allows users to schedule multiple posts for different social media channels. Users can choose a specific day, time, and channel to schedule the content that has to be published.
Schedule and post social media content on eClincher
Key question to ask your vendor before you buy: What are the additional features that you intend to offer in the near future?
While social media marketing software offers all the functionality that marketers would need for basic marketing efforts, the following advanced tools can enhance these capabilities:
Email marketing software: Users can integrate this software to their social media marketing solution for sending marketing emails with clickable social media icons. This can result in improved social media engagement with customers in the long run.
Customer relationship management (CRM) software: This integration can offer users detailed insights about customer engagement with their brand. It can help marketers develop customized marketing strategies.
Key questions to ask your vendor before you buy: What are the other integrations that you recommend for my business?
Before purchasing social media marketing software, you should find out about the developments in your industry and popular or upcoming trends. Finding out which vendors are innovating their offerings will help you shortlist solutions that use the latest technology.
After researching the market, here’s an important trend that you should know about:
AI to continue revolutionizing social media-based customer service: Capterra says that 53% of small and midsize businesses are using or planning to use AI by 2021-22. Powering social media marketing with AI would lead to improved level of customer service.
When customers interact with brands on social media channels (WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger), brands can use AI to respond within 24 hours. This would allow brands to merge mobile customer service with social media marketing. Customers will appreciate the prompt responses, which is good for building and sustaining a good brand reputation.
We referenced the following documents when creating this guide:
GetApp social media marketing software catalog (Date accessed: 5/21/2019)
Top 5 Tech Trends for Small Business (Date accessed: 5/21/2019)
*Note: The applications selected in this article are examples to show a feature in context, and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations, obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.
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