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Just as the Lightsaber is the elegant weapon of a Jedi that seeks to bring balance to the force, a social media management tool is the device that simplifies the task of bringing balance to all of the many networks. Your ability to master the art of social media management might just depend on your proficiency with one or more of these programs, as they can organize the disorganized mess of several different networks into one location, making it easier to stay on top of trends and keep track of the progress you have made. With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few of the most useful tools to help you manage the ever-growing social landscape.

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HootSuite

HootSuite is considered by many to be the premiere social media management tool. With the help of their services, you will be able to stay connected with Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn and over 30 more social networks. The service allows you to collaborate with several team members, track your progress in analytics, and engage with your audience on several different networks.

By organizing everything into tabs, they’ve made it easy to quickly surf through all of your social media profiles. In a matter of seconds, you’ll be able to switch between retweets and favorites on Twitter to Likes and Shares on Facebook. As you’re answering a question for a customer on Google Plus, you’ll be able to watch as a photo trends on Instagram. They’ve also got a collection of over 100 apps to help you integrate your social media efforts onto your iPhone or Android device.

Spredfast

If you’re more interested in collecting data and managing a team, Spredfast might be the right social media management tool for you. With the ability to gather data from websites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr, you’ll be able to see who exactly you have reached and how they responded to your content. This service provides advanced analytical tools that are useful for anyone who is trying to become a trendsetter. If you follow the social trail, you’ll find out which content is received the best, which will make marketing and creating content in the future that much easier.

In addition to their analytical tools, Spredfast allows you to create handy calendars that you can share with teammates. These calendars allow you to give others access to a library of content that you manage, giving them all reminders of when to perform certain social networking tasks during the day. This can be very helpful if you are managing a team of social media gurus who are tasked with keeping track of specific networks, as you’ll be able to tell them what to promote and when to do it from one easy location. You can even help lead your teammates to valuable interactions with others on social networks by filtering specific tweets or messages for them to answer. If you want to take management to the next level, Spredfast will make that possible.

Bitly

Although most people just use Bitly to shorten their links, the truth is that this social media management tool can be used for so much more. With the help of their brand tools, you can track the progress of every link you share across several different social media networks, allowing you to see which links are being clicked on and where you are getting the most response.

In addition to these services, you can also take advantage of branded short domains, which allow you to post shorter links that are still associated with your brand. For example, espn.com links can be shortened to es.pn, giving you more space to send a message in your Tweet, which is especially helpful for social networks that limit the amount of characters you can use. If you’re looking to craft shorter, impactful links and follow their progress, Bitly is the way to go.

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Use The Force

While there is no one social media management tool that will give you everything you need, there are a few that are very good at what they do. Ultimately, your own success with social media will depend on your ability to make sense of everything that you see on the various different social networks. You don’t need a management tool to master the art of social media, but it definitely helps to use one. Thankfully, some of these tools offer trial runs, so it’s not exactly a case of “do or do not.” There is a try, and you should give it a shot with some of these great social media management tools.