A Small Company’s Guide to Social Media Management Tools

You’ve just opened a small business. You’re managing and operating all aspects of the company, from budgeting to ordering to customer service. You also want to establish a strong social media presence, but how can you possibly allocate the time to posting, listening, and replying across 4–6 social media channels on top of everything else? That’s where a social media management tool comes into play. Its software allows you to publish, monitor, and manage one or more social media platforms from a single interface.

I know what you’re thinking: my budget is already tight, so why pay for something I can do myself for free? Over the course of this article, I’ll explain exactly why a social media management tool is worth every penny. And I’ll give you two budget-friendly options to get you started.

Benefits

  • Saves you time: Arguably the biggest benefit of a social media management tool is the amount of time it saves. Rather than logging onto one platform and posting and then logging onto the next and posting, you can draft and post everything from a single dashboard.
  • Keeps you organized: Having all of your content in one place certainly beats jumping from tab to tab in your browser hoping that you’ve published everything correctly. Management tools also allow you to plan and schedule your content. Rather than having to post throughout the day or having to remember #NationalHatDay, you can queue up content days, weeks, and months in advance. It will also provide you with a robust calendar of what you’ve already published and what’s coming next, so you can keep your content fresh and organized.
  • Allows you to collaborate with your team: Most social media management subscriptions allow for multiple team members to access the main dashboard. This allows you to delegate tasks to your employees and monitor each other’s content before the posts go live (which could prevent some embarrassing errors!).
  • Helps you monitor your progress: Without stats, it’s impossible to maximize your social media presence. You need to know what works, what doesn’t, who your audience is, and where your company should go. The best management tools offer analytics and data reports.
  • Social Listening and Community Engagement: A tool that allows you to access all mentions, comments, and DMs in one place leads to more successful social listening and community engagement. Social media should be a two-way conversation. With the right tool, you can plan engaging content, track its reach, and monitor feedback on all platforms. A successful social media strategy is about being proactive rather than reactive, and a social media management tool gives you the resources to listen to your audience and adjust your content strategy accordingly.

So, you know the benefits and now it’s time to pick which tool is right for you. It’s important to recognize that every business has a unique set of needs and priorities. What is most important to your business? Are you looking for the most affordable option? Maybe you only utilize a specific set of platforms? Or perhaps your focus is on analytics? There are a number of other factors to consider — collaboration abilities, customer service, calendar organization, social ad reports, optimal posting times, suggested content, hashtag assistance, and the list goes on.

It’s a lot to consider! I’ll help you get started by taking a closer look at two of my favorite “bang for your buck” low-budget options.

Buffer vs. SocialPilot

Buffer is one of the most popular social media management tools available. As a result, SocialPilot has specifically marketed itself as “a feature-rich alternative to Buffer.”

And they are indeed similar. They both allow for the management of multiple social media platforms, a content calendar, scheduling of posts, and team collaboration on their basic plans. Where SocialPilot aims to differentiate itself is by providing detailed analytics reports, a social inbox, and Facebook advertisements without the additional subscription and cost requirements of Buffer (via Buffer Publish, Buffer Analyze, and Buffer Reply).

Both platforms are great, affordable starting points for a small business owner. While Buffer may be more known, SocialPilot offers a ton of features on a slick, easy-to-use interface. I recommend trying out both tools for the 14-day free trial and seeing which works best for your unique set of needs. SocialPilot worked best for me, but Buffer may work best for you.

Conclusion

When you think of a social media management team, you generally think of a large company with a big budget and tons of followers. If you are one of those companies lucky enough to have a devoted social media team, a management tool can help you allocate tasks within that team. But, in the case of smaller companies without a big budget, your management tool becomes your team. It is your one-stop-shop for helping you maximize your reach with limited resources.