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The world of social media is large, complex and at time quite overwhelming for businesses of all sizes.  The process of posting status updates, responding to tweets, posting photos and blogging can quickly overtake your day. Wouldn’t it be great if there were some tools that would make the process of managing the world of social media just a little bit easier? Good news, there is! Today’s blog post examines the top tools for social media management that you can use in your business. These tools are affordable (in some cases free!), easy to setup and very effective.  Let’s take a look at the tools.

Best Tool for Overall Social Media Management: Hootsuite

Hootsuite. A top social media management toolHootsuite is the one tool that can do just about everything you need as part of managing your day-to-day social media activity. Hootsuite is a Web-based tool that allows you to post updates to your social media accounts as well as monitor replies and mentions using a series of columns that can be customized for specific activity. I like to think of Hootsuite as my social media dashboard. Initially created for Twitter, it has expanded to include management of Facebook, GooglePlus, LinkedIn, Foursquare and more. Setup is simple– just add a social network and Hootsuite will monitor it for activity. Free accounts on Hootsuite can monitor up to 5 social networks and include 10 columns to monitor traffic.  Paid accounts go just a little further and introduce a workflow system for social media teams. Hootsuite also has smartphone and tablet (iPad) apps that allow you to continue monitoring while you’re away from the office. Below is a great video that shows Hootsuite in action and spotlights several of these great features.

Best Tool for Managing Facebook Fan Pages: Pages Manager App

Facebook is the largest social network on the Web today. Businesses engage with an audience on Facebook using fan pages. A fan page allows businesses to develop a community of customers, share relevant information through posts/status updates and offer special deals that appeal to their target audience. While managing the Facebook fan page is easily done inside of Facebook by the page’s admin, there are many times where you’ll need to manage the page while you’re away from the office. Enter the Facebook Pages Manager app for your smartphone or tablet. This tool allows you to directly access the fan page(s) you manage and make updates via the smartphone/tablet. As a result, you can keep your social media presence on Facebook moving and stay engaged with your audience.

Best Tool for Online Reputation Management: Trackur

Trackur. A top social media monitoring toolDo you know what others are saying about your company and its products/services online? If you don’t, you could be in for a world of hurt.  Do this quick test: type the name of your company (or its products) followed by “ratings” or “reviews” into Google. What did you find? Anything out there catch you by surprise? If you’re like most companies, there’s probably a bad review or two out there. The problem here is that each of your prospective customers will see those same items and if you haven’t already responded to them, you run the risk of losing a customer before you’ve ever had the chance to talk with them. Fortunately, there is a tool that can help you monitor items like these to save you the time of performing all these searches on your own. It is called Trackur and it does a wonderful job of helping you manage your online reputation. Trackur is Web-based and scours the Web to find mentions of the terms you want to track (i.e. company name, product name, keywords, etc.). It delivers those reports to you in a dashboard panel that includes a link directly to the source. This allows you to develop a response and submit it accordingly so your prospective customers get “the rest of the story.”  Trackur has free and paid versions.  The paid versions scale to meet the needs of your organization.

Best Tool for Google Plus Status Updates: Do Share

The popularity and importance of Google Plus in social media strategy has grown significantly in the past several months. Businesses that avoid the social network do so at their peril. While I like using the Google Plus interface directly through the Web browser or on my smartphone, there are times when I’d like to schedule posts to show up at later points in the day. There is a handy little extension for the Chrome Web browser called “Do Share” that connects to your G+ account and allows you to schedule posts in advance (just as you can in Hootsuite). So, during those days when you know you’ll be tied up with all-day meetings, you can use this extension to line up your G+ posts in advance so you can continue to be active on the network throughout the day.  Of course, don’t forget to engage with those who respond to your G+ posts since that’s the entire point of being a part of the social network to begin with!

A Final Word About the Top Tools for Social Media Management

I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that there are plenty of tools out there to help you manage your company’s social media presence and I’m always on the lookout for new and better ways of overseeing this process. But the tools listed above are those that I’ve found helpful. If you have any questions about these tools, please contact me at Dijital Farm and I’ll be happy to help.  And of course, if you have a favorite tool that you’ve used in the past, please share it in the comments so that others can learn about it as well!