Social media has taken over the planet.
Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are just the tip of the iceberg.
There are easily upwards of 20 popular social media platforms that people use to promote their businesses and connect with customers online. You’ve got YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, Ask.fm, Google+, Meetup, BizSugar—and who knows what new network is coming for us next?
It’s an all-too-common scenario for marketing agencies to have too many clients—and too many social media accounts between them—but too little time to manage them all.
You need to be on top of every like, message, poke, share and click. That’s why managing an agency takes so much time, effort, coordination and expert knowledge: Most digital marketing agencies now cover social media strategy.
Rather than being stressed out over the flurry of interactions occurring every minute, second or millisecond, let social media management tools do the grunt work for you.
There are a few choice tools that have been designed with agencies in mind, so they’ll take the more tedious work out of handling your clients’ social media accounts.
Beyond that, implementing the best social media management tools can help you track analytics and growth, manage clients and employees and coordinate with coworkers.
We live in an increasingly digital world. There’s no fighting it, especially if you’re working with a digital marketing agency of any kind. Get even deeper into the digital world, and embrace the simple beauty of social media management tools.
Don’t worry, the robots aren’t poised to take over our jobs just yet. For now, they’re only here to help us—I think.
So, if you’re ready to get some automated tools on your side, I’m ready to share my favorite social media management tools for agencies, based on my own personal agency experience.
5 Social Media Management Tools for Agencies with Too Many Accounts and Too Little Time
Wish you could set up posts and walk away from your computer for a day? How about for a whole week?
Well, walking away from your computer might be a pipe dream, since there’s still other work to be done. But with Buffer, you’ll be able to set up all of your clients’ social media posts with plenty of time in advance.
If you find yourself struggling to manage when you’re posting what, look no further than Buffer.
This tool takes the stress of maintaining multiple social media platforms away by giving you a simple, user-friendly place to schedule posts and track their performance, and a strong sense of audience response (or lack thereof).
One more thing to keep in mind: My agency uses Buffer to manage its own social media accounts. Not those of clients. Each Buffer account is meant to consolidate the various social media platforms for one single client—not the platforms of multiple clients.
Its reputation speaks for itself. Buffer is well known and widely used, noting that it serves over two million people daily.
Amazingly, even with that many daily users, its customer service, plus app and website speeds, are top notch. As a business, Buffer is known for being transparent and striving to provide a positive experience for its customers and employees alike.
I’ve reached out to them with my own agency gripes from time to time, and I’ve been impressed with every interaction I’ve had with Buffer. Man, they know what we’re going through, and they know our agency work moves a mile a minute—especially on social media.
Buffer has an intuitive interface that’s extremely easy to understand, navigate and put to use. As an agency worker on the go, the Buffer features that I appreciate and utilize the most are the browser extension and smartphone app. I love having Buffer readily available on my computer and other devices, and I especially appreciate the synchronization between them. I can work on my laptop and then leave my house, open the app and pick up right where I left off.
As far as pricing goes, Buffer is very small-agency-friendly and inclusive of all social media users. It offers a free plan for individuals (with limited features, of course) all the way up to mega enterprise plans. With the free plan, you’ll get a taste of what Buffer can do for you, so I highly recommend signing up and taking it for a spin.
That said, I’m sure most agencies will find the upgraded plans well worth the expense, since Buffer can automate so many otherwise tedious tasks. You can add more social media platforms, more team members and more scheduled posts. You can also add on Reply to manage social media interactions and Pablo to create images within Buffer.
In the end, it’s pretty much guaranteed to save agencies time on their own social media—and we all know that time is money, baby.
Another well-known and well-loved social media management tool, also used by millions of people worldwide, is Hootsuite.
It has its similarities to Buffer, naturally, since it’s another social media management tool for scheduling posts and checking analytics. The Hootsuite interface is relatively minimalist, easy to navigate and still jam-packed with intriguing automation features.
However, Hootsuite differs in the features it offers compared to Buffer and other competitors in this sphere.
Being an avid user of Hootsuite as well, I find that it works best for agencies who manage the social media accounts of many, many clients at once.
In the Hootsuite interface, each agency client can have their own dedicated tab. Under that tab, you can choose which social media streams you want to monitor.
I typically choose to monitor Facebook and LinkedIn’s posts and scheduled posts, and then I personalize the Twitter stream by following retweets, posts, scheduled posts, top hashtags and favorite Twitter lists as well.
I also found Hootsuite particularly helpful during Twitter chats when I needed to engage with people under my own Twitter account, as well as under a couple of different client accounts at the same time. Logging into Hootsuite and being able to click back and forth between tabs to keep engagement up during a Twitter chat is one of its best features.
Another great thing about Hootsuite is its excellent training platform to help teach you how to get the most bang for your buck out of the site. The truth is, social media management agencies will have no issue seeing that the investment is worth it—if they’re not already using it, that is. Pretty much every agency managing social media that I know of is already on Hootsuite.
To get all of the benefits of Hootsuite, you’ll need to invest in a paid plan. If you’re unsure of what you need, compare their offered plans and take advantage of their free 30-day trial to see what it can do for your agency.
IFTTT, short for “If This Then That,” is an automation tool that makes it easy for users to manage social media platforms, apps and websites all in one place.
Its purpose is to automate repetitive or overlapping tasks to make our digital work simpler. Honestly, IFTTT can benefit individuals who need to manage their personal lives as much as it can benefit agencies that want to simplify their social media management work.
To work IFTTT, you have to find or create applets that work by following the protocols you set up.
For me, I have an applet set up that says “if I am tagged in a photo on Facebook, then I want the photo also saved in my Dropbox account” and now, every time I am tagged in a photo on Facebook, it’s automatically uploaded to my Dropbox account for me to have a copy for myself.
If you think that’s cool, imagine how much more of your life and agency work can be made simple with the hundreds of thousands of applets it has to help automate things.
To get a better sense of how it actually works, check out this video tutorial. It’s pretty cool for digital geeks like myself. If you’re doing social media management work for an agency right now, I can only assume you’ll geek out over this too:
IFTTT is definitely on the cutting edge of automation technology and it’s only growing, which makes it a great social media management tool for agencies who have tons of simple, repeating tasks to automate.
The trickiest thing about social media postings—you don’t just have to schedule them, you have to create them too. How do you decide what topics to cover? What to write? Which images to use? Which hashtags to deploy strategically?
When it comes to content marketing research, BuzzSumo can be your best friend.
It makes the challenge of finding great content easier by helping you discover the highest-performing content for any topic.
This website provides data on high-performing articles and domains, helping others write competitive, unique content about trending topics and ideas. Definitely different from Buffer, Hootsuite and IFTTT in spirit, BuzzSumo is meant to help people grow through research and engagement insights.
BuzzSumo provides detailed information about competitor articles and social media postings to show you where you rank. Many agencies use the performance feature to develop a plan for outperforming their competitors and then share their success with clients through BuzzSumo analytics and reporting.
Agency clients love nothing more than to see that they’re finally outstripping the competition.
Whether you want to boost your agency’s brand or your clients’ brands, connecting with top influencers in the social media world can help get you there. BuzzSumo not only helps you discover the top influencers, it will also help you engage with them to amplify your management efforts.
All of BuzzSumo’s plans do cost something, with the fees being dependent on the scope of services you want. To see if it’s right for your agency work, you can try out its 14-day free trial and get a good feel for what it can do.
Sprout Social was founded in 2010 with the idea that agencies and customers are more satisfied if they’re able to openly communicate with each other.
With that in mind, Sprout Social developed this tool to provide multiple services, including the ability to streamline conversations between customers, prospects and enthusiasts in one place.
Its platform is so packed with features that it can feel overwhelming at first. After you’ve started learning the ropes, things will become clear thanks to the built-in guidance right in the interface. After signing into your account, you’ll be met with insights, statistics and features that aren’t offered by any other social media management tool.
Sprout Social offers a platform where you can manage all client social media in one place while also offering cross-functional collaboration between strategy, creative, account management, analytics and more. It facilitates real-time collaboration with clients through separate, secure environments for each client account.
Sprout Social can be used on computers, tablets and smartphones, which makes open, real-time communication even easier. Another cool feature of Sprout Social is that it allows users to conduct a smart search to find keywords that are trending and that customers are using. Its uniqueness and vast number of services in one place make it an ideal, multifaceted social media management tool for agencies.
Sprout Social might be the sleekest, smoothest option for social media management on this list, so as you’d expect, it’s also a tad pricier than the rest. It does offer a variety of pricing options, all of which can be tested out with a 30-day free trial.
So, that’s what I’ve got for you today! I hope my agency’s trial-and-error experience will give you a leg up in the search for adequate social media tools.
As technology continues to grow and develop, we’ll be bombarded with even more information and data—brace yourselves. We’re only just getting this party started.
That’s exactly why spending the time to find the right social media management tools for your agency is worth the effort right now. It’s the perfect time to get on this. If you think social media is hard to keep up with now, trends are pointing to an even more interconnected world with even more social media interaction.
And testing out tools isn’t too hard either. Each of the five platforms I’ve introduced here makes it easy for interested agencies to sample their services.
When you find the right tool or tools, it becomes so much easier to create, schedule, analyze and manage your social media work. Once you’ve got a solid grip on that work with automation, you’ll have more free time to focus on big-picture ideas, empowering your team, pleasing your clients and growing your agency.