Oct 29, 2015

10 Tools to Stay Ahead of Your Competition on Social Media

Most of us know that social media is a great way for us to create, share and stay in touch with our friends, but what about for businesses? 

As more companies turn to social media as a means of selling their product or service, it is becoming an increasingly more competitive market place. It’s no longer a case of simply posting a picture or article and hoping that people will visit your website/buy your product. 

There are more social media platforms popping up all the time and learning how to use and manage each one can become time-consuming and stressful. So, without further ado, we present a list of 10 of the top tools to stay ahead of your competition on social media.

Managing multiple social media accounts

We’ve all heard the term “work smarter, not harder”, and no doubt if you’re managing multiple social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram then you will know just how many hours of the day it can eat up logging in and posting across each of them. 

Well, thankfully there is a solution. 

Enter Hootsuite, or what is commonly known as a SMMS (Social Media Management System). Hootsuite is, without a doubt, one of the most comprehensive tools available for social media management. It allows you to manage multiple accounts (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn to name a few) and lets you post across all channels at once, schedule posts during peak traffic times, monitor analytics and even delegate tasks within your team. 

The downside? Hootsuite can be expensive. Starting at a monthly price of $US14.99, and adding the cost of URL extensions, Hootsuite can get more costly if you want multiple users in your team. There is, of course, a free version of Hootsuite but its features are somewhat limited. Some other alternative SMMSs are: TweetDeck (free) or Buffer (free version or premium from $US10 per month).

Building your social media accounts

After you’ve got a handle on posting on your various social media accounts, the next thing to worry about is growing them. 

One handy tool we came across recently is Crowdfire. Crowdfire gives you a detailed breakdown of your followers and easy to use tools to capitalise on this information. With Twitter, it informs you of recent followers/unfollowers, nearby followers, people to follow/unfollow and a whole heap of other cool features. 

It also can help you build your Instagram following by the app’s simple to use bulk follow feature. You can essentially follow a lot of people, have them follow you back and then delete whoever has not followed you afterwards, thus growing your audience in a very quick manner. Sound spammy? It is an unorthodox approach but can be a great way to grow from 0-1000 followers very quickly and establish yourself on Twitter and Instagram in the initial stages. It’s only $US10 in both the iPhone and Android app stores.

After a more organic approach to growing your audience? The most natural and sustainable way of doing this is with great content. Statistically speaking, pictures and videos give you the best chance of the most exposure on social media so it goes without saying that you will want to make sure you’re uploading the best picture or video you can. 

One powerful photo editing tool is Snapspeed (iPhone and Android). It’s completely free and offers you a great range of powerful and easy to use filters and editing tools. 

Want to add text to your photos and really make them pop? We recommend Phonto, which is another free app that’s easy to use.

When it comes to video editing, there’s no better app out there than iMovie (Mac and iPhone) for a mixture of both great effects, transitions and easy to use interface.

Analysing your social media analytics

Okay, so you’ve set up multiple social media accounts, put out some great content and now you really want to harness the full potential of marketing with social media.

One of the most important ways to stay ahead of your competition on social media is through reporting and analytics. Whilst platforms like Facebook do have their own inbuilt analytics and insights, there are limitations and it’s not always the most user-friendly to navigate.

Our personal favourite tool when it comes to analysing social media, in particular Twitter, is SocialBro. It has way too many features to name them all but amongst them are finding relevant followers, spying on your competition, post optimisation and important insights in to your audience. It may be a bit of a steep learning curve but well worth the cost at $US13.95 per month. 

Of course, if you want one that covers a broader range of social media we would recommend Kissmetrics. It’s essentially like an amped up version of Google Analytics. It has more detailed funnelling systems, more accurate tracking of how well your social media campaigns are converting, and where people are landing and leaving your website. The only let down about Kissmetrics is the hefty price. The pricing starts at $US200 per month, which, for a lot of people just starting out, makes Google Analytics (free alternative) the preferred choice. However if you want more options to get ahead of your competition, it’s definitely worth applying for a free trial version and seeing how it can benefit your business. 

The most powerful tool of all

If you’re part of the new wave of internet business people looking to automate as much as you can (especially tedious tasks ala Tim Ferriss), then by far the most powerful tool for you is IFTTT

It stands for “If This, Then That” and it is essentially a recipe book for time management on your social media. Have you ever wished that a tweet would be sent out as soon as you post a blog on your website? Or that you were sent an email when your competition posts something new on their website/social media? Well IFTTT is a free (yes, free!) tool that allows you to create conditional statements which are triggered based on changes to social media/email services.

While these tools are extremely useful in staying ahead of your competition on social media, the biggest asset is, of course, you. Being aware of rising trends, tuning in to what your followers are saying, responding to comments and concerns, sharing good experiences and caring for poor experiences – these all require you to pay more than just lip service to one of the biggest trends in digital marketing this century.

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