Social media is time-consuming, complex and easy to get wrong. All too often, brands misunderstand the power of social and make predictable, costly mistakes: they under-utilize their social platforms, or they get themselves into hot water by over-stretching their reach. Over time, every brand needs some kind of third party management software for their social media campaigns – something that hooks in to their most frequently used networks and makes the job quicker and easier. Many of these tools come with useful mobile apps. In this article, we’ll look at the three main players in the market and analyze their pros and cons.
Buffer (Android/ iOS)
Buffer is a scheduling service with a difference. Rather than automatically updating your social networks as soon as new content appears, Buffer allows you to stack up a series of updates and have them sent out on a schedule. Each social network can have its own schedule, its own update queue and its own analytics dashboard.
Buffer makes it really easy to promote content at peak times and mix marketing messages with regular tweets and replies in a natural pattern. It’s also great if you need to work on several marketing projects at the same time; schedule everything for your first client, then move on to the next one.
Buffer has its own iOS and Android app, and you can also schedule updates from Echofon, one of the best-regarded Twitter apps on iOS.
Hootsuite (Android/ iOS)
Hootsuite, like Buffer, has been designed to pull all of your social media accounts into one friendly interface, streamlining the process of updating all of your accounts with the same marketing messages.
Hootsuite’s worth using because it’s one of the few tools that posts to Google+. It also hooks into some of the key tools marketing pros use, like SocialFlow, Constant Contact, Statigram and RankSpeed. Note that some add-ons are paid extras and are not included in the HootSuite fee.
One of the apps we really like is Vidyard, a handy video library that provides quick access to marketing videos and harnesses data on viewer behavior. If your clients are big on video marketing and want to go for that big viral push, Hootsuite and Vidyard are a match made in heaven.
SocialEngage (Android/ iOS)
SocialEngage is used by some seriously big brands around the world. Previously known as CoTweet, it’s a veteran in this sector and has most of the important features sewn up. However, SocialEngage only really integrates with Facebook and Twitter, and that’s where it lets itself down.
You can see messages in a unified inbox, schedule updates and collect data to plump up your email marketing lists. But compared to Hootsuite and Buffer, it’s not as easy to get to grips with. Even the website copy is wordy, and it’s clear SocialEngage is designed for people who want to dig deep into Facebook in particular.
Which One’s Best?
SocialEngage, a Salesforce product, is worth a look if Buffer and HootSuite are too basic for your needs, but the limitation is clear: Facebook and Twitter aren’t always the best match for business. For broader reach, HootSuite offers power for a price, whereas Buffer is an affordable solution that any business can afford.
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