Social media tools businesses need to master

Finding the right social media tools for your business can be tricky, but John Cradden provides a comprehensive guide.

Few would disagree that a strong social media presence is a must-have for many small businesses. It’s proving to be almost essential in terms of marketing, but also for sales, PR, and customer relationships.

Of course, the time and manpower required to maintain a strong profile across the myriad of social media platforms now in circulation can be a huge drain on resources, as many firms are finding.

“A good social media tool should be affordable, easy to use, keep you organised and save you time”

The job involves not just creating good quality posts and content, but also data work like mining the analytics and creative work like designing graphics and other multimedia content.

The good news is that there is a wide range of social media management tools and software that can help businesses cope with the growing demands and challenges associated with having a visible presence on the likes on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), LinkedIn, Tik Tok, YouTube, WhatsApp and Instagram.

The right tools for the job

A good social media tool should be affordable, easy to use, keep you organised and save you time.

It’s somewhat of an irony, however, that while there are lots of options, finding the right tool for your business can be tricky.

As you’d expect, purveyors of social media management software have the SEO game well sussed because a google search will lead to you many blogs with titles like the ‘Top 10 Social Media Management Tools in 2023’. But it’s probably wise to take these with a pinch of salt as they’re often written by the very same companies that make the tools themselves – but cleverly written and presented to look like they are independent reviews.  

It’s better, instead, to find reviews by traditional media or verifiably independent sources, such as Forbes, TechRadar or Investopedia – but keep a watch out for words that indicate any sponsored content.

Some of the best known (and top-rated) names that crop up include:

There are also tools available from social media platforms themselves, such as Facebook’s Business Manager or X’s (formerly Twitter) Tweetdeck.

But what do social media management tools do? The main selling point is that they enable users to connect multiple social media accounts and post social media content in advance to those accounts from a single dashboard or user interface. Some common features include brand awareness, communication and analytics tools to help marketing departments to run social media marketing campaigns to their fullest potential.

Finding the best tool for your company depends on your priorities when it comes to social media. For example, the number of social media profiles and outlets you have, how much time can you spend on them, and how much of your budget can you devote to them.

If you have a presence on many social media platforms, then platform integration is a key feature. Can your chosen tool integrate seamlessly with all the main platforms?

If your social media is concentrated on one or maybe two platforms, then tools aimed at a particular one might be worth considering, such as Kicksta or Unfold, which are focused on Instagram.

If your marketing resources are limited, automation tools that allow you to schedule posts, set up a content caldendar and automatically share new blog posts to your preferred platforms will save a lot of time. A bonus feature would be something that allows you to identify the optimal posting time so that your target audience is online to see it.

Equally, if you have a team of people working in sales and marketing, software that allows team members to collaborate effectively without stepping on each other’s toes or overlapping efforts could be the best investment.

If you’re spending a fair chunk of your budget on social media, reporting and analytics tools are essential to help you demonstrate that the content is working for you and gauge your social media strategy’s return on investment.

It’s also worth considering tools aimed at helping you create and polish your interactive social media content. Canva, for instance, is an easy-to-use graphic design website for creating custom, on-brand graphics, while Adobe’s Lightroom helps you organise and edit photos and Movavi is a popular video-editing software.

Some tools are available free of charge, but naturally most of these will be limited in terms of features and functions, such as restricting the number of platforms you can post to, the number of accounts you can have or access to analytics. That said, if you’re starting out with social media management tools for the first time, a free plan can give you a good sense of their usefulness.

John Cradden
John Cradden is an experienced business and personal finance journalist and financial wellbeing content designer.