By Amanda Warren
Without social media wedding professionals could not, despite the loveliness of their websites, make ends meet or reach new clients. How would traffic ever find you and where would you find your clients? I mean, who looks in the yellow pages anymore?
Unfortunately, many wedding professionals put all of their eggs in one basket when it comes to social media. Sure, Facebook, with its 2 billion active monthly users, gets you exposure, and maybe you have a malingering Instagram account somewhere that gets occasional traffic despite your infrequent posts, but who has time to manage more than one social media site when one is actually busy working?
Social media management tools (SMMT) do exactly what they say they do…they manage one’s social media. They work for you so that you don’t have to.
You already have your hands full with your business, so the last thing you need is one more task. SMMTs are an option for saving one’s valuable time, and increasing one’s exposure.
SMMTs allow users to publish content to various social media sites from a single point, manage multiple social media profiles, alert users to reshares and conversations, gather valuable analytical data, and schedule posts to achieve maximum exposure based on audience habits.
So, if you have a great idea for a post at 2 am you can schedule it to publish when your potential customers are awake and active, and therefore more likely to see your post.
Here’s a rundown of 5 SMMTs that will help you out.
PROS: Data-driven powerhouse!
- Hootsuite provides a centralized command center for your social media empire while providing real-time analytics to help your business target potential clients.
- If you are an analytics junky, then Hootsuite’s data on your social media engagement will feed your need for delicious information.
CONS: Hootsuite could cost you in two ways.
- It is literally $19/mo (which isn’t a price buster compared to some of the other SMMT tools).
- One common critique of Hootsuite is that it can be a bit user-unfriendly. Another potential cost, ironically since this is a time-saving tool, is time needed to learn the system
PROS: It can make the most out of your social media posts.
- Buffer provides tools for formatting (based on specific social media platforms), scheduling, and individualized cross-promoting (rather than just blanket cross-posting).
- Two tools, Pablo (which creates customized social media images), and Respond (which allows users to reply to comments), turn Buffer into a social media command center. Instead of hitting up each of your social media sites daily (or constantly), you can sit in the captain’s seat and survey everything at once.
- Buffer’s auto-pin tools could be an advantage for wedding professionals who know how brides love Pinterest,
CONS: Sounds perfect, yes? Well…no.
- Buffer’s individual pricing is fairly low cost (with a free option using limited features and an “awesome” option with more access), but its business pricing is significantly higher than Hootsuite’s, starting at $99/mo.
- You could _technically_ use an individual account, but only the business plans provide analytic data.
PROS: This free, platform-specific, tool helps you tweet like a BOSS!
- Tweetdeck manages multiple accounts from a single control panel which tracks specific hashtags, @mentions, notifications, and accounts you follow.
- Creating custom columns around your interests can help you navigate the chaos of Twitter to find customers.
- Tweetdeck will schedule tweets, keeping your Twitter content fresh even when you don’t have the time to keep on top of it.
- Only good for Twitter.
4. Sprout Social
PROS: Helps users to monitor and join social media conversations.
- Use Sprout Social tools to respond to customers quickly, optimize marketing, and organize posts.
- Sprout Social’s “Viral Post” tool can automatically post material when you don’t have the time.
- You can build a professional looking portfolio with your collected data.
- Word on the street is that it is one of the more user-friendly SMMTs as well.
- The price is fairly high for this service starting at $59/mo.
5. Social Pilot
PROS: The most low-cost multi-platform SMMT around.
- Monthly fees range from free to $30/mo for larger packages.
- It works with FB, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn, providing analytics and even suggesting content.
- If you are a fan of guest blogging or coordinating with other vendors, their client management tools can help.
- Doesn’t provide as robust a service in terms of data collection and analysis as other SMMTs.
Be sure to test-drive these options before buying because these SMMTs aren’t a one-size-fits all solution to your social media advertising needs. Then again, if you are cross-platform engaging, then anything to save time might be worth the extra investment.
Ok, now, which one of these tools will you implement first?
Amanda Warren is a freelance word-nerd interested in a variety of topics from medical discoveries and digital trends to fine art and critical theory. She is a former college instructor with a doctorate in English, and a slew of creative and professional publications. You can check her out on Google Plus.