As small business owners’ aptitude for social media increases, they’re becoming more interested in taking the reins. Thirty-percent of SMBs say they plan to decrease social media spending on outside agencies and consultants this year, according to a survey by the research firm Clutch, even while 89% still rate social media as their top marketing method. This is true despite findings in Street Fight’s 2015 Local Merchant report that 38% of SMBs see no return on their investment in social media marketing.
Instead of relying on agencies to manage their social media accounts, local merchants are increasingly using self-management platforms to post on multiple networks, optimize campaigns, and calculate ROI from their social investments. Here are 11 platforms that SMBs can try.
1. Sendible: Manage multiple social channels and understand ROI.
Small businesses and startups can use Sendible to manage their social media accounts, schedule posts or messages, and measure ROI. Sendible’s dashboard tracks engagement with new and existing customers across platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr. Each customer post is analyzed and merchants are notified immediately when a post requires attention. Businesses can also schedule content to go up during the most opportune times and measure the success of the content they share. Sendible’s Startup plan costs $59 per month.
2. Hootsuite: Manage multiple accounts through a central dashboard.
Perhaps the best-known social media management platform, Hootsuite provides SMBs with dashboards where they can measure and visually see the impact of their social campaigns on more than 35 networks. Hootsuite streamlines social media management for SMBs by allowing users to use one login for all of their accounts. It also facilitates post scheduling and automated content discovery. Hootsuite offers a free plan, however most businesses opt for the Pro plan at $9.99 per month.
3. Agorapulse: Run custom promotions on multiple networks.
For businesses that are interested in running social media promotions, Agorapulse offers DIY tools for creating and promoting contests and quizzes on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The platform can also be used to post status updates on multiple networks and measure the results of social marketing campaigns. Merchants are alerted when messages or comments have been posted by customers about their businesses. They can also generate an unlimited number of reports in PowerPoint. Pricing for Agorapulse starts at $29 per month for a Micro account.
4. Sprout Social: Collaborate and publish across multiple social profiles.
Sprout Social aims to help its users build and manage lasting customer relationships with social media management, social customer service tools, and social media marketing tools. Teams can collaborate through a unified inbox and publish on popular networks like Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn. Advanced features allow businesses to use Sprout Social for customer support, CRM, and scheduling. Sprout Social’s pricing starts at $59 per user, per month for the Deluxe plan.
5. Surefire Social: Create and share content across multiple profiles.
Surefire Social’s SurePulse publishing tools offer a way for merchants to avoid having to log into and out of multiple social media accounts each day. The company enables users to create and share content across multiple social profiles, along with blogs, directories, and their own websites. Using SurePulse, businesses can track posts without logging into profiles directly and better understand which influencers are sharing the content they post online. Surefire Social’s Start plan costs $1,640 for setup and $675 per month.
6. SocialCast: Locate customers and manage multiple social profiles.
SocialCast is a social media marketing and engagement platform from the local internet marketing firm LocalVox. Small and mid-size businesses can use SocialCast to organize, prioritize, and stay engaged with their fans on social media. While most businesses will use SocialCast to keep their social profiles organized, the platform’s advanced features also enable users to find mentions and locate customers on social media within geo-targeted areas. Merchants can use SocialCast to schedule messages across their social profiles, as well. SMBs should contact LocalVox for specific pricing information.
7. Union Metrics: Tools for optimizing social strategies.
As the name implies, Union Metrics is a platform that focuses on metrics and analytics. However, rather than strictly giving businesses access to social media analytics, Union Metrics takes a more expansive approach by providing its users with answers to questions like how content can be optimized, how to encourage discovery, how to identify local influencers, and how to build digital audiences. Union Metrics offers multi-channel analytics for platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr. Although Union Metrics does offer free tools, its single-channel plans start at $99 per month.
8. Main Street Hub: A do-it-for-you approach to social media.
A full-service marketing platform for local businesses, Main Street Hub falls somewhere in between self-serve and digital agency. The company updates and maintains its users’ social profiles. Main Street Hub posts messages and responds to customer reviews. It also collects testimonials and offers a way for merchants to cross-promote their businesses. Main Street Hub helps merchants find customers nearby and then reaches out to those customers on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Merchants can automatically thank customers who’ve checked into their businesses online or ask for personal feedback. Main Street Hub’s Basic package costs $249 per month.
9. Crowdbooster: Optimize social media accounts.
Crowdbooster is a social media marketing optimization platform. The DIY solution recommends the best days and times for merchants to post messages on social networks, like Facebook and Twitter, based on levels of customer engagement. It also provides users with real-time reporting data and metrics, along with graphs and tables. Audience insight tools show merchants which fans they should engage with and help users find their most influential followers. Crowdbooster’s Bronze plan costs $9 per month.
10. Trackur: Monitor the influence of social campaigns.
Trackur focuses exclusively on monitoring social accounts for its small business users. The company offers a way for merchants to monitor social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, along with mainstream news outlets. It also provides users with insights, like trends, keyword discovery, influencer scoring, and automated sentiment analysis based on what people are saying about a business online. Pricing for Trackur starts at $97 per month.
11. SOCi: All-in-one social media management.
SOCi leverages its own content discovery and creation technology to provide efficiency to enterprises and small businesses. Designed for multi-family properties, dental offices, and national brands, SOCi enables its users to schedule and publish social media at optimized times and monitor online mentions. SOCi’s platform also includes a private content library where users can discover and save content to publish at later times, along with tools for quickly creating professional social media profiles. Businesses can contact SOCi directly for specific pricing information.
Know of other social media management tools for SMBs? Leave a description in the comments.
Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.