A beginner’s guide to social media marketing tools

The right social media marketing tools make a big difference.

And without the right social media marketing tools, your social strategy may fall flat before given the chance.

Good social media marketing can transform the success of your brand. But without an arsenal of specific, powerful tools that align to your organization’s goals, you can’t create or share valuable content, or attract new audiences or drive meaningful engagement.

The list of marketers’ responsibilities never stops growing. Luckily, we’re doing a detailed breakdown of what you should be looking for in each social marketing solution, so you don’t have to. Let’s dive in.

Looking for something specific? Use these links to jump to the section that fits your needs.

Table of Contents

Social media scheduling tools

There are several different types of social media scheduling tools available on the market for everything from composing posts to content curation to queuing and organizing.

But all of them have one common goal: Save time.

Every marketer knows that jumping back and forth between networks is a time-drain. Multiply that time across all of the social properties you manage, and your workday may be an uphill battle against content scheduling.

Reclaim your time, not to mention your sanity, by seeking out interactive tools.

Sprout Social Product Image of Publishing Calendar Month View

Social media scheduling tools make it easy to schedule and track every social message you’ve created across all of your individual social media profiles and networks.

Social scheduling tools also make it easy to work with a larger social team. By designating access to the proper managers, or by creating advanced permissions, you’ll ensure that no message is sent without a second look.

What can social media scheduling tools do?

  • Share the same content to multiple profiles and networks with a single click.
  • Use your unique social media data to automatically post content when your audience is most engaged.
  • Queue and publish the same post across multiple profiles in one step.
  • Plan and organize all of your social content with the help of a dynamic calendar.

More resources on social media scheduling:

Social media analytics tools

If your data is off, your social strategy is off.

Whether you’re tracking Facebook impressions, tallying up Twitter click-throughs, measuring follower growth on Instagram or evaluating your LinkedIn engagement—you can’t get the full picture of your efforts without the tools to analyze each piece of the puzzle.

Social media analytics tools are key to a cleaner big picture.

Sprout Social Product Image of Analytics Cross-Channel Tag Report

What can social media analytics tools do?

  • Track the performance of all your social networks and profiles in a single place.
  • Monitor the efficacy of social campaigns by tagging and reporting on them individually.
  • See which messages resonate most in your audience to guide your social publishing strategy.
  • Spy on the competition to see how their engagement and growth measures up to your own.
  • Track how quickly and efficiently you’re responding to messages that require a response.
  • See which of your team members are the most efficient and engaging and publishing content.

More resources on social analytics:

Social media engagement tools

Engagement tools are the nucleus of your brand’s visibility, responsiveness and efficiency. With every instant, consistent interaction with your customers on social, you’re building loyalty.

Consider seeking out collaborative tools, like review management systems for customer comments, task management and tagging. The more organized your incoming customer messages are in the backend, the more seamless a user-experience you’re creating on the front-end.

Sprout Social Product Image of Engagement Smart Inbox with All Filters Selected

What can social media engagement tools do?

  • Unify all of the messages from every network and profile in a single inbox.
  • Notify you when your profiles are seeing a sharp increase in mentions.
  • Assign messages to individuals on your team who are most apt to answer questions.
  • Show you the full social media history of someone reaching out to your handles.

More resources on social engagement:

Social media listening tools

Social media listening tools let you analyze and provide actionable responses to the insights you’ve collected through social monitoring, using more advanced features. Together, these tools help you meet higher standards for your customers and improve overall brand health.

Sprout Social Product Image of Listening Performance Sentiment Summary

What can social media listening tools do?

  • Show you the general sentiment social users have to a specific topic or brand.
  • Analyze entire campaigns quickly and enable you to create succinct reports.
  • Identify trends in your industry long before they become the newest hot topic.
  • Identify industry gaps, track share of voice and understand consumer attitudes toward competitors to uncover business opportunities.

More resources on social listening:

Social media monitoring tools

Social monitoring is often used interchangeably with social listening, which only does a disservice to the respective value of each method.

Social media monitoring tools help with the “what” vs. the “why” of listening. Think of it as the searching and collecting stage gathering of data from social conversations that will help you better understand your understand your audience and improve how you engage with them.

When looking for a tool, remember that monitoring is not an alternative to Enterprise-level listening tools. So first assess your needs: If you’re starting out and your immediate needs can be met with a tool that will help you track social media mentions, stick with reactive monitoring tools to avoid being overwhelmed by the full capabilities of a listening suite. If you’re looking to dive deep into customer sentiment and drive change in the way you understand your audience, a listening tool’s proactive nature will cover those needs and more.

It all depends on your business goals at hand, but any marketer will tell you that monitoring and listening tools in tandem is the way to go.

Sprout Social Product Image of Engagement Smart Inbox with Instagram Brand Keywords Selected

What can social media monitoring tools do?

  • Bring all your messages from your Twitter, Facebook and Instagram profiles into a single stream.
  • Enhance your social media monitoring with Brand Keywords that uncover valuable social engagement opportunities.
  • Configure the Smart Inbox with profile, message type, keyword and date filters to quickly find what you need.
  • Create custom tags and apply them to incoming messages to better organize and report on social monitoring efforts.

More resources on social media monitoring:

Social media automation tools

The trick to helpful automated marketing is not relying too heavily the automated tools to do what a human should, but rather to identify the repetitive tasks that can be automated without compromising the user experience. That will free you, the human, up to handle the more challenging or sensitive items.

It’s a common misconception that automation tools are meant to make the social marketing process a hands-off experience. But that’s not true. They’ll certainly save you time and effort, but they won’t replace the marketer’s brain behind the brawn.

To start out, consider integrating automation tools like social media chatbots into your social marketing strategy, to streamline customer service across Facebook and Twitter. With a bot, you can quickly create logic-based replies to your customers’ most frequently asked questions.

Sprout Social Product Image of Bots Builder Twitter Bot with Customer Care

What can social automation tools do?

  • Create rules to automatically flag or archive inbound social messages to clear your inbox.
  • Increase your response rate by showing you suggested replies based on your typical social behavior.
  • Evaluate how effective your social marketing is with automated feedback requests.

More resources on social automation:

Facebook marketing tools

If Facebook is a part of your social media strategy, you’ll want to make sure your marketing tool belt is stocked. From everything you need for publishing content, engaging with your audience and analyzing your results, these tools will help you transform your Facebook strategy.

With all the algorithm changes, figuring out how to boost Facebook engagement is a priority for every social media marketer. Use these tools to plan, execute and analyze the perfect Facebook marketing strategy.

A Facebook dashboard is the central hub for your data and analytics. Read through this guide to learn why a dashboard is so important, which metrics to include and the tools you need to build your own.

Sprout Social Product Image of Analytics Facebook Competitors Report

What can Facebook marketing tools do?

  • Simplify your Facebook posting by scheduling messages to automatically publish.
  • Delegate or remove access to users to manage your Facebook presence as a team.
  • Give access to a Facebook CRM, allowing you to cater messages to individuals.
  • Report on your Facebook performance across all of your profiles.
  • Dig into your Facebook competition to see how you stack up.

More resources on Facebook marketing:

Twitter marketing tools

Plenty of Twitter tools have come and gone over the years. So how do you know what software is worth investing your time and money? These roundups will give you plenty of reliable and proven marketing tools for Twitter so every piece of your strategy is valued.

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Tired of buying Twitter tools you only use for a week? Bad software wastes time and money–even if the tool is free. We’ve compiled a list of 10 great tools for everything from scheduling Tweets, running Twitter Chats, automating processes and more.

Which Tweets get the most engagement? What’s the age range of your audience? Who’s liking and Retweeting you the most? Use the tools in this list to answer all these questions and never be left in the dark about your Twitter analytics again.

What can Twitter marketing tools do?

  • Manage multiple Twitter profiles from a single location.
  • Schedule months of Twitter content from a single social calendar.
  • Provide historic data on interactions with your social media followers.
  • Monitor all of Twitter for mentions of your brand or products.
  • Run detailed reports on your Twitter marketing to showcase internally.

More resources on Twitter marketing:

 

Instagram marketing tools

Looking for the best apps to edit photos before sharing them with your audience? Or maybe you need data on how well your campaigns are performing. Having the right Instagram tools handy makes it easier to engage with your audience, create better content and analyze your efforts.

Sprout Social Product Image of Analytics Cross-Channel Sent Message Performance Report

It’s time to do a deep dive into what is and isn’t working for your brand on Instagram. Brands know they need Instagram, but how do they measure and make sure the platform works? Use these seven Instagram analytics tools to measure engagement, audience growth, hashtag stats and more.

Engaging your audience at a glance with eye-catching images is key to Instagram success. Master every element of producing great-looking visuals for Instagram with these apps for every situation.

What can Instagram marketing tools do?

  • Manage and publishing engaging content from a single place, including desktop.
  • Benchmark your Instagram performance with deep analytics.
  • Monitor the network for hashtags to leverage or messages that need a reply.
  • Measure your overall performance to prove the value of Instagram internally.

More resources on Instagram marketing:

Targeted solutions, broader business

When done right, social media marketing can bring remarkable success to your brand. With the right tools, you can create, curate, publish, schedule, analyze and so much more. And all of that doesn’t only amount to more efficient work, it means bigger business—attracting new audiences, driving brand awareness and increasing engagement.

Ready to dominate the social landscape? Start filling your arsenal with the right tools. If you need help figuring out where to start, try a free trial of Sprout Social or get in touch with one of our social media professionals today!