What this social media management tool post IS:
This is a framework for choosing a tool based on the process I go through with my clients and what I use myself to choose tools. This guideline will prove useful in nearly any tool choice, so, feel free to keep it around.
The framework for choosing a social media management tool:
Before you start looking at any tools, the first thing you’ll want to do is answer a few questions for yourself. Preferably on paper, so you don’t have a blinking cursor taunting you on the page. There’s something about paper that slows down time a little and affords you a little space to think. Analog at its best.
Ok, so, it’s time to ask yourself four questions:
What is your budget?
As with any new business (160 days as of November 1!), keeping a clean, tight budget is key to long term survival. Pricing is critical. Here are the things I consider when thinking through the dreaded pricing question:
In my case, I can build in the cost in a management fee (that’s clearly called out in the invoices – transparency is key). Having one place I can post from in a way that’s efficient will be a huge time savings for me. In fact, I estimate that it will save me and my staff 2-3 hours a week (as long as the UX isn’t annoying) and that time savings will increase as my client roster grows. If you use my billing time as an estimate, then I’m saving between $250-375 a week.
Obviously, I don’t want the service I choose to eat up my profit in this way. But it is helpful to understand how the cost can be recouped through business efficiency and through customer satisfaction gives me the necessary impetus to invest in a social media management tool that fits my needs.
Now I know I’m willing to spend up to $100 a month to manage my and my client’s social media accounts.
What are you using it for?
It’s likely that you’ll be using a social media management tool to post and track content for your business(es). Which seems simple enough. But consider if you want to be able to schedule posts, and if you want evergreen posts to recycle. What networks do you want it to manage? Do you need to separate the social posts by campaign so you know what you’re pushing when? What kind of reporting needs do you have?
In my case, I’m specifically using the social media management software to manage client social media accounts as well as my own social media accounts. I want to make sure it’s easy (and safe!) to toggle between the accounts and post the appropriate content in the appropriate spot. Concerns that come up for me:
After making an exhaustive list of things I was worried about (that’s stressful) or wanted to make sure I was doing to keep my clients happy, I couldn’t stop myself from going down the feature rabbit hole.
What features do I need?
As I started thinking through the types of features I wanted, things started to get a little weird for me. How important was one feature over the next? So, I had to start ranking them (from 1-5, 5 being the least important):
Who will use it?
In your case, it’s likely that you, and possibly a few key folks in your company will want to chime in on social for your company. If you’re lucky, you have a whole army of people across the company sharing content that is likely to be interesting to your customer. If so, you’ll want to plan for that as you dig into your social media options. If you’re solo and you’re managing it alone, that will make things easier (and harder as you have to do all of the content creation) and you’ll want to consider a platform with a strong content curation perspective.
In my case, I will be using this social management platform, but I’ll also want my assistant to be able to help with it as well. And since I serve a variety of small businesses and startups, I’ll want a self-service option as well. That leaves me with a need to look for a platform that has a robust team offering.
Who's the social media management tool winner for me?
Here are the companies who seem like they fit the bill best for me. I’m in the process of asking questions of their teams and I’ll be test driving them this week.
I’ll keep you all posted on which one I end up going with. I want to test drive them and see which UI/UX drives me the least crazy. But if you’re interested in more helpful social media management information, you might also enjoy my blog post: Guide to Social Media for Startups & Small Business.
Starting the first week of January 2018, I'll be doing a weekly tweetchat called #toolchat that invites marketing service providers an opportunity come in and answer questions about their tools! I'll pitch a few critical questions and then the floor is yours! If you're interested in being notified of the upcoming tweetchats, I invite you to join our mailing list! We'll do a monthly email that gives you a preview of what's next! Add your name!
I'm a veteran digital marketer whose career has grown up with the Internet.