Social media is one of the most effective marketing platforms for your small business.
Through social media, you can connect with your audience, build trust, and turn them into loyal customers. Furthermore, your business will gain more profit and scale up.
However, it’s almost impossible to get these results on social media without using the right social media tools. This can be a major headache for most small business owners.
You want these results but you also want to avoid throwing your money down the drain on unnecessary tools. How do you pick the right social media tools to help your business grow?
In this blog post, discover the ultimate 12-point checklist to help you select social media tools for your small business:
1. Your social media goals
You have to define why you want to engage in social media activities – and the objectives that you want to achieve.
Some common goals for social media campaigns are:
- Raising brand awareness
- Boosting your customer engagement
- Providing customer service
- Generating leads for your business
- Driving traffic to your website
- Making more sales
Why Do You Need to Specify a Social Media Goal?
First of all, it will give your campaigns a focus and help you to create an effective strategy. In addition to that, you’re able to understand your needs to select social media tools.
2. Set your budget
Every business must spend according to their means to ensure survival and growth. So, inside your marketing budget, you also need to define how much you want to spend on social media.
Usually, your social media budget will consider elements such as:
- Personnel cost
- Content creation cost
- Cost of tools
The reality is that some social media tools can be costlier than what you planned for your entire social media budget.
And the truth is, you need to be prepared to invest more than you might’ve wanted to initially. Because even if these tools cost you money, they can also help you save – and make – more money.
The right tools save you a lot of time and by provide you with better, more powerful tools to effectively sell online.
3. Cost of tools
You need more than a single tool for various aspects of your social media campaigns. Some of them are social media management, content creation, curation, and others.
After making a list of your preferred tools, you need to ask yourself:
- Does the total cost fit into my social media budget?
- If your answer is no, then see if you can find a similar tool that is just as good and has the features you need.
Otherwise, you might need to look into investing more than you initially planned for; and, where possible, leverage free tools.
For example, some tools, like Buffer, offer a free plan – however, there’s only so much that you can do with the free plan; the question you need to ask yourself is whether the features you get for free are enough for your needs.
4. Scheduling features
For a small business, a single person may be in charge of all your marketing efforts. This makes it difficult to catch up on all the profitable marketing activities.
Meanwhile, it’s impossible to get results on social media without the consistency of updates and engagement.
With scheduling, you can create social media content for a whole week and set them to go live at different times of the week.
You need to consider if the scheduling feature of a social media tool you select can meet your posting needs; for example:
- If you post a lot of content, then you need a tool that allows you to set up automated queues
- Likewise, if you post a lot, then you might also save a lot of time if you had bulk uploading options
- If you’re active on Instagram, then look for tools that support direct publishing
- If you share a lot of media content, ensure you can also schedule videos/GIFs, etc. and that you have a media library to upload them all for ease of use
5. Social media platforms supported
If you run a small business, you only need to focus on a few social media channels to optimize your resources. And these are the channels where your ideal audience hangs out.
After all, these are the channels that will be responsible for the majority of your results.
After deciding on the channels to go for, you need to ensure that your social media management tool supports them.
This will save time, cost and help you to manage your social media accounts on a single dashboard. For instance, a tool like Agorapulse allows you to create your post and send it to all your social media accounts once.
To get more important details on picking a social media management tool for your small business, you can check out this guide.
6. Engagement features
Marketing on social media is a two-way street. Apart from sharing great content, you also need to interact with your audience.
When you do this, you build trust and a stronger relationship. Ultimately, these bring in more sales down the line.
When you select social media tools, ensure they allow you to like, reshare, and reply to comments from the dashboard. This will save you the time and stress of logging into your different social media accounts to engage with your followers.
Plus, look for any extra features that can help, too; for example, some tools allow you to save replies so that you can respond faster to people and others allow you to create automation to respond automatically to certain users.
7. User experience
A social media tool should help you save time and improve your campaigns. But if the dashboard is so complicated you’re unable to carry out the basic tasks, then it will waste your time rather than save it.
Your social media management tool, in particular, will be a big part of your day-to-day life and something that will help you every step of the way.
Because of this, it’s essential that you’re very comfortable using it – and the best way to find that out is to try their free trial just to see if it’s the right fit.
8. Content creation
It’s simple, without great and regular content, you lose followers and more opportunities to engage with your audience.
To get high engagement for your content, you need to add visuals to your written content. Majorly, these include:
- Images: motivational quotes, ads, promotional posts, etc
Instead of spending hundreds of dollars to hire designers, you can spend a fraction of that on social media content creation tools. And you get professional visual content that your audience will love.
For example, tools like Canva allow you to create all of your social media imagery by yourself, easily, with access to hundreds of templates and images to use:
9. Content curation
For some platforms like Twitter and Instagram, you need to share a lot of content. This is where content curation tools come in. They can help you find great content in your industry to share with your followers.
With this, you can keep your social media accounts active and satisfy your audience.
If you need more content for your pages, then you should find a content curation tool. A tool that does this well is Quuu as the content is vetted by human beings before they’re recommended for your accounts.
The accurate way to track your social media performance is through your analytics. Of course, the metrics you track will depend on your social media goals.
You should check that your social media tool provides the metrics you want to track from your social media campaigns. Some common metrics businesses track on social media are:
Being able to track these metrics will give you an idea of how successful your campaigns are. Furthermore, it will guide your strategy for future social media campaigns.
See an example from Sproutsocial:
So take a look at your social media goals, make a list of the metrics you’d need to track in order to accurately measure your social media success, then look for tools that can provide that information for you.
Ready to Select Social Media Tools?
When picking social media tools, you need to understand how those tools can help your business bring in more customers.
Go through this checklist to make your own list of features that you need to have; then, you can use that to focus on the tools that are most relevant to you and find the ones that offer the features you need.
By doing this, you can improve your productivity on social media and generate better results.
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