When it comes to online marketing, sales, and support, social media is practically an inevitability. Few tools can help you reach and stay connected with as many people as the right social media platform, and businesses that aren’t leveraging them are likely missing a trick. However, social media is also a lot of work, as many can attest.

This doesn’t have to be the case, however. Social media management tools are allowing business owners, online marketers, and social media managers to automate more and more of their campaigns as time goes on. From scheduling to replying to analyzing, you can make every step of social media marketing much more efficient.

As a result, you don’t have to spend as much of your day looking at a screen (or at least looking at a social media account). You can strategize and create content and posts to deliver in the future rather than having to do everything in real time. You can even manage multiple accounts and platforms from a single platform. Here, we’re going to look at some of the best social media automation tools around and how they can help you increase your reach and sales.

CoSchedule

CoSchedule is a tool that’s perfect for planning and carrying out a social strategy with the benefits of bird’s eye organization and preparation in advance. This is, in large part, down to its social calendar feature that outlines your planned social media account activity over the following week (or however far ahead you wish to look.) As such, it includes social media post scheduling, allowing you write content whenever and see it delivered when you want it delivered, instead of having to write it in the moment and on the spot.

The entire platform focuses on tracking, maintaining, and updating your social media marketing campaign across the board. It supports Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Tumblr, showing the social media content you have planned for any given day. This ability to centralize all your planning and post scheduling in one dashboard makes it much easier to ensure you’re not neglecting any of your touch points. This is especially helpful when you have a specific goal, such as a holiday promotion campaign, and you don’t want to miss an opportunity to reach your customers.

A nice feature is the ease with which you can click on the WordPress blog. CoSchedule constantly posts advice, tips, and strategy ideas from some of the best social media marketers in the business, helping you better learn how to use their tools as well as which strategies it can help you implement. We also particularly like the ReQueue feature that allows you to reschedule your top performing posts, even going to the effort of picking out the best hits in your social history.

HootSuite

On the face of it, HootSuite supports Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube and WordPress. However, under the hood, it has and likely always will be a Twitter-centric toolset. As one of the oldest established social media management platforms, it’s one of the best when it comes to all things Twitter and effectively set the bar as far as publishing and scheduling posts ahead of time goes. Though it’s missing the ReQueue feature (or auto publish, in some other platforms) it does have a host of features that can make it highly valuable for planning Twitter campaigns.

This includes bulk scheduling, allowing you to plan and schedule the delivery for a month’s worth of posts at once (or even more if you’re so inclined). Furthermore, it can help  you create sweepstakes, posts, and offers for social media platforms, as well as some RSS integration. The ability to track follows, mentions, replies, and keywords in different vertical dashboards makes it easy to both plan your posts and stay fresh by responding and retweeting on the fly. Relying on scheduled content alone can make a social media account look a little unengaged with its audience, after all.

Though it does support other social media accounts, the features for Facebook, Instagram and the like aren’t quite as well designed as their Twitter centric functions. When it comes to managing multiple Twitter accounts, however, you can’t ask for much better than Hootsuite.

Sprout Social

Sprout Social is a tool that’s designed for social media managers, marketers, and agencies. Those who are savvy about social media already will get a lot of benefit from has a lot of benefit from this tool, which makes monitoring and analyzing your social strategy so much easier. It has a lot of the cool basic features you would expect from social media managers, such as publishing posts, scheduling posts, and approving posts (if you’re leading a social media team or working with an agency but want to approve their work before you publish it).

However, the real power of Sprout Social lies in its analytics. Most social media platforms provide access to analytics for each campaign or account, but few make it as accessible as Sprout Social, with visual graphs, highlights of best posts, and reports that can be generated in as little as a few seconds. Furthermore, it provides the ability to generate reports for multiple social media accounts at once, bringing the “Big Data” appeal to social analytics. When it comes to social hacking, few tools give you access to as much data quite as easily, allowing you to see what you’re doing wrong and what you’re doing right to improve the quality of your future campaigns.

The social engagement tools are a little clunky compared to tools like HootSuite, but they’re still there, such as a smart inbox that brings all of your social channel messages into one place, and the ability to search and monitor keyword usage across multiple platforms.

Buffer

Another one of the more established offerings on the market, Buffer might what every novice social media marketer fears when they think about management tools. It is a little overwhelming to begin with (though they’ve taken great pains to streamline its design over the years.) However, when it comes to feature-packed social media management tools, it’s hard to ask for much more. With publishing, analytics, monitoring, and even team features, it has you covered. It supports fewer platforms than most, keeping it to the big five of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, but its offerings are top notch for each platform.

Scheduling and queuing posts are part of its basic features, though it doesn’t have the ability to keep and republish top performing posts, like some of the other tools here. It does, however, have an RSS function allowing you to easily disseminate content from your blogs. The social engagement tools are where it really shines, however, with the Reply feature serving the same function as Sprout Social’s Smart Inbox, bringing all your channel inboxes into one place so you can be a lot more responsive and engaged across platform.

For those running a team of social media marketers, the team features can be pretty useful, as well. You can manage permissions across accounts, approve posting, and much more, making it easier to work together.

Edgar

When it comes to bringing all its features together on one dashboard, then Social Pilot has the same simplicity and accessibility that you’ll find in CoSchedule, but its focus is in complete content control. It’s less about how you schedule across different platforms, but more about creating an overall content strategy.

How does it manage this? By allowing you to split your content publishing channels into different categories each with timeslots that it will automatically populate and publish on your behalf. Edgar is relatively feature light, focusing mostly on content posting and scheduling, automating pretty much all of the process for you. It also has an Auto Post feature that will take your evergreen posts and consistently publish them for you, with features allowing you to set how frequently such content is posted. The RSS feature makes it easy to pull new content from your blogs and to set how often you want it published as well.

In terms of planning and publishing content, Edgar is one of the best tools, though it is undeniable feature light, otherwise. It’s also a little light in the platforms that it supports, keeping it relegated to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. However, if you’re simply looking for a tool that will keep your social media channels populated and allow you to throw new content into the rotation easily, then Edgar is a fast, accessible, and highly simple tool to get the hang of.

Are you ready to improve your social strategy

With the ability to manage multiple campaigns from a single space, to automate the posting process, to hack social growth, and to implement a long-term strategy, social media management tools can increase the reach and impact of your campaign in some truly significant ways.

Hopefully, we’ve highlighted some tools that are going to be strategically valuable for your campaigns. Do you use something different? Let us know and we’ll be sure to review it in a future article.

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