Social Media Saturday: Management Tools

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Today’s guest post is from Lizzie Smithson.

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The last time I visited Twitter.com to tweet was…well, it was yesterday. I still use Twitter.com for some things. There are dozens of 3rd party management tools you can use to schedule tweets, find people to connect with and measure your effectiveness on social media. You don’t need all of those.

I could tell you all of the features for all of the management tools and do side-by-side comparisons of how they’re different, but the truth is other people have already done that for you and they’re all pretty much the same. I am pretty superficial when it comes to design, so for me, deciding which management tools I would use on a daily basis came down to how easy they were to use and how clean the design of the dashboard was. After all, I only judge books on their covers.

My two tools of choice are Sprout Social and HootSuite. Both are social media dashboards with similar capabilities. One is free, one isn’t.

Sprout Social costs $9/month to manage up to five social media “identities” – each with their own set of networks (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Google Analytics). They also have additional packages with location-based networks.

Infographic from OneForty and KissMetrics

Personally, I prefer Sprout Social because HootSuite has some goofy search options and limited metrics (check on the easy-to-use category) and both are equally good-lookin’.

Sprout Social has several tools they label “Discovery” that I find useful on a day-to-day basis.

Through keyword, business, people and twitter searches, you can easily see what people are saying about your brand, a certain topic, and find people to follow based on keywords in their bio.

Reporting metrics is really where Sprout Social busts out the big guns, though. Comprehensive analytic tools from a summary of the messages you’ve sent to how engaging and influential you are in your network and a breakdown of your follower demographics and everything in between, Sprout Social has PDF and CSV reports that are easy to export and understand to share with the powers that be.

If you don’t see value in Sprout Social after your free trial enough to pay $9/month for it, you can easily use a combination of HootSuite for scheduling and publishing and Twitter Search to get the job done for free.

And anyway, it’s not the program you use in social media that matters, it’s what you do with it.

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