There’s no denying that social media marketing has become a necessity for any and all marketers. Regardless of your business’ size, location or sector – social media is an absolute must for brands looking to increase awareness, establish thought-leadership and connect with potential buyers. Given the high expectations of prospects (especially B2B ones) that companies to provide a constant stream of valuable and insightful information across social channels, managing social media marketing activities and closely tracking campaign can be overwhelming.
What’s the best way to pick a social media marketing platform that works for your business? Apart from budget constraints, there are a number of factors you should consider when researching platforms. Regardless of the functionality and features a platform offers, your primary concern should be the ability to manage, monitor and measure all of your social media from one powerful interface.
1. The Right Social Networks (B2B v. B2C)
Before you drill-down into a comparison of features, start your research by determining which social networks are most relevant for your marketing objectives. For example, if you’re a B2C company, chances are that most of your target audience is active on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Foursquare. If you’re a B2B company, it’s still crucial to build your presence on Twitter and Facebook, but you should place considerable emphasis on LinkedIn as well as Google+.
2. Ease of Content Distribution
No matter what your goals are, the bottom line is that you need to be able to distribute content on a frequent basis, in just a few clicks. Although B2B companies tend to post more often than B2C, the platform you use should give you the option of quickly creating a message and easily selecting social networks, profiles and company pages to post to. The solution should also provide a message interface tailored to the specifications of each social channel (for example, 140 characters for a tweet, or a subject line field for a LinkedIn message). It’s also helpful if all of the messages you post are automatically saved, so you can easily edit, access and reuse them in the future.
3. Advanced and Repeat Scheduling
Lack of time is definitely the number one obstacle facing busy social media marketers today. Make sure the platform you select enables you to schedule multiple posts – in advance – for any day or time of the week. Chances are you’ll most likely be creating more posts during the week, but if you’re launching a campaign that entails dozens of posts, scheduling them ahead of time – and then analyzing their performance to see which times are optimal for each network, is an ideal way to stay efficient. Also, if your company is interested in tweeting or posting a certain message to Facebook every week or month, check whether the platform enables repeat scheduled posting.
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4. One Unified Social Inbox
Speaking of lack of time, any powerful social media marketing platform, such as Oktopost, eliminates the need to log into each network individually to view and respond to comments. Verify that the solution you’re considering offers a consolidated inbox, which collects comments left on each of your posts, and lets you respond to each one in a timely manner, directly from the platform itself. This is a great time-saver, and lets you manage your engagement with prospects across the social web.
5. Message-Level Social Analytics
All of the long hours and resources you’re investing in social media marketing are worthless if you can’t measure the results. The best kind of platform will offer clear, branded analytic reports that feature major KPIs (click, engagement and most importantly, conversions) on a message-level. Tracking the number of conversions is the best way to measure your ROI and understand whether or not your marketing activities are profitable for your business.
6. Multiple Social Profiles and Company Pages
Social media marketing is so effective, precisely because each user is connected to tens if not hundreds of other individuals. Check that the platform you’re considering enables you to easily add multiple social profiles and company pages. Having the ability to post across several employees’ social profiles (with their permission, of course) is a great way to spread the message about your brand.
7. Third-Party Integrations
In today’s hyper-connected world, every forward-thinking platform is connected to at least one, if not several, third-party providers. For example, managing and connecting to your client base is much easier if your social media marketing platform is integrated with your CRM solution, e-mail marketing automation software or webinar interface.