As a startup, social media is a minefield. When you’re starting with nothing - no followers, no reach, no engagement - it's sometimes hard to see the value in making content and creating conversation, as it feels like nobody’s listening.
As a business, however, social media is a crucial part of any Marketing strategy. Social media allows you to build a following of interested parties (or fans) who not only help you get the message out about your business and services, but also give you an indication of what your ideal buyer persona could look like (with regards to their social profiles).
Here at telbee, we have trialled and tested many social media management tools; platforms which promise to make our lives easier, up our engagement and, of course, help us save time on scheduling, publishing and tracking our metrics.
So here's our list of our top 5 social media management tools - including the ones we actually use at the moment. But please read this with an open mind: What we use might not be best for you, so have a read, sign up and test them out to find your own perfect platform.
Our first choice and first love. Hootsuite is one of the grandparents of the social media management world, and that used to be their achilles heel, but they redid their UI in July 2020 and it's now looking great. Essentially, it has the same amazing features as before, but it’s way easier to navigate Hootsuite, manage your posts and report on your metrics.
Hootsuite allows you to create and schedule content, report on various metrics, run paid social media campaigns and a whole lot more.
Its monitoring features (or streams) is where the real power lies, allowing the user to monitor social channels as a whole for messages and mentions, but also to track hashtags and other channels and social feeds. This makes monitoring those events or trends you have to engage with a breeze, while also improving your competitor analysis.
We still use Hootsuite today for trend and event monitoring, as well as for our social enterprise. I doubt it will ever disappear from our tech stack.
Hootsuite offers a 30 day free trial, as well as a free plan for 3 social platforms and 1 user. Paid plans start at £25.
#2 HubSpot Marketing
Our current go-to system (you’ll see why a bit further down), HubSpot is first and foremost a great CRM for businesses of any size. It allows you to purchase add-on packages which offer a wide variety of functions - and the one we are interested in is the Marketing package.
While it's way more expensive than the others on this list, startups are offered a special rate should they apply, which led us (telbee) to start using it. And we haven’t looked back!
HubSpot Marketing’s functionality is out of this world, offering a real marketing database complete with insights, email marketing and automation, landing pages, live chat and of course social media management (to mention a few).
Social media management in HubSpot is easy to do and set-up, allowing you to schedule content to most major networks (including Instagram video) as well as monitor streams, much like Hootsuite. (Note: Streams are far more cumbersome in HubSpot). Analysis of your social health is also just a tab away and makes Monday morning reporting a breeze.
HubSpot CRM is free, but Marketing will set you back anything from £33.60 a month to £655 per month for the Professional package (unless you are a startup and get in contact with them).
#3 Buffer Publish
Buffer is another old timer in the world of social media management tools. This platform started with a great free plan which garnered a huge user base and a lot of evangelists. It very much started as a scheduling tool only and through many iterations (unlike Hootsuite, which stayed the same for ages!) has become a powerful management tool.
Buffer really shines as a scheduling tool, being faster to adapt than many similar platforms and embracing a lot of the functions social tools have to offer. These include scheduling a first comment on your Instagram posts, allowing you to remove the deluge of hashtags from your all-important content, and planning and preparing Instagram/Facebook stories whilst working with a team (and the approvals needed). It’s a beast!
The only thing lacking is proper trend and event monitoring functionality, as can be found on Hootsuite and HubSpot.
Buffer offers a free plan, but the Pro versions start at $15 per month up to $99 for large teams. It must be noted, though, that reporting is lacking unless you purchase the additional Buffer Analyse package, which offers in-depth analysis, reports and strategy recommendations. This package starts at $35 per month and can be bought separately.
#4 Sprout Social
Hootsuite but on steroids… Sprout Social is a social listening tool with some powerful management features.
Being able to track share of voice across social networks, as well as the bigger picture of how you are performing and perceived on social media, is a big deal, allowing you to react and tailor content to trends quicker. Sprout Social also allows you to tailor your content to YOUR unique audience, increasing engagement and audience sentiment.
Sprout Social allows you to schedule posts and track your channels (much like Hootsuite), but the feature which we love the most is the smart inbox feature, which allows you to respond to users who comment on your posts or ask questions. It just saves so much time and stops you from missing out on that all-important conversation.
Sprout does not offer a free plan, but it does offer a free trial, whereafter its monthly costs are $99 for Standard, $149 for Professional and Advanced at $249.
I love Sendible. It's a great platform with some amazing features! Whilst there is a large focus on agencies or managers who work with multiple brands, it still feels great for those of us with smaller businesses or teams.
Sendible’s super-intuitive interface makes bulk loading scheduled content an easy task and its simple-to-use content library makes it easy for team members to share and update content, should the need arise. This library feature also makes hashtag management (the bane of my existence) easy, allowing you to easily insert content specific hashtags in a few clicks.
The platform also hosts features like social listening, analytics and a mobile workflow for those at events or on the go. It also has integrations with popular platforms like Wordpress, Canva and Google Analytics, allowing you to really use its data across all of your Marketing activities.
The good news is that Sendible offers a free trial and its paid packages start at just £25 per month.
We couldn’t finish this article without sharing some of the bonuses of our own platform; the voice recording and messaging platform for business.
When you create a free account with telbee, you can add a personalised voice recording widget to your site, which will allow your website visitors and prospective leads to quickly and easily record you a voice message on your site. These voice messages could be anything from spoken reviews, testimonials or questions, to competition entries or general customer support requests.
You’ll then receive all of your visitors’ voice messages in one dedicated voice inbox, where you’ll be able to respond to visitors directly (with a voice note of your own), assign voice messages to different members of your team, see the voice notes transcribed into text and/or save them as MP3 files to use in your own social content.
From helping you supercharge your Conversational Marketing strategy to deepening your understanding of your customers, there are a huge number of Marketing benefits to introducing voice messaging to your website.
Perhaps one of the biggest bonuses of encouraging visitors to leave you voice notes in this way is that you then have access to a mine of rich, user-generated content that you can download and share on your social media in order to stand out, diversify your content, build trust among new customers and spark interest in your brand.
Using an online tool such as Wavve.co, for example, you can combine your audio files with an eye-catching image to create a short, engaging video that, once you share it out on your social channels, will keep the ‘likes’ coming.
The era of voice-first social Marketing is here
We hope that the above helps you get started with - or improve - your startup’s social media strategy.
Remember: At the end of the day, good social Marketing is all about creating and sharing regular content that combines creativity with authenticity, and offers your followers something new.
When you use the tools we mentioned above, you’ll have all of the basics covered - and be free to design, create and schedule posts as unique and exciting as your own startup brand.
To find out more about how our voice recording and messaging platform can help supercharge your business’ social Marketing strategy, get in touch with the team at telbee today. We’d love to hear from you!