Tools of the Trade

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I love social media (yes, I'm sure you already know this about me). But it's more than just the awesome interaction I get to have with all of you. Don't get me wrong, that's more than enough for this gal to have a permanent smile on her face. But the geekery behind social media? The way that you can track, manage, explain and regurgitate information that's tied to those interactions and the building of relationships? Well, that's just a little too much for this nerd!

I spoke about some of social media management tools at Niche Parent and the gals from Social Influenz and I got into them at the Florida Blogger's Conference. Here are some thoughts on 2 in particular.

Sprout Social

Sprout is my go-to app. It's the way that I am able to keep my client profiles for social media accounts, schedule posts, listen to conversations, etc. I love that I am able to create one profile and then add all of the components to it. So, for example, the "Mamihood" profile in Sprout Social currently has the following components:

  1. My Mamihood Twitter account
  2. Mamihood Media Twitter account
  3. My Mamihood FB page
  4. Mamihood Media FB page
  5. Personal FB page
  6. Google Analytics

I also have the option of adding a Google+ page and my LinkedIn profile which is pretty neat. The beauty of the tool is that it provides you with one comprehensive report and quick hits list that you can compare over time. I have a few "oh yeah's" within Sprout Social as well. I have the ability to schedule posts for any of the accounts listed above. Of course, this is a feature that we find within FB for pages but having a place to schedule everything make things so much easier. The ability to see who posted what is also helpful. While managing social media for a hotel, we were able to pull information and if there was ever a question about who posted what, Sprout would provide an answer. The caveat here being that all transactions needed to happen within Sprout Social. Along the same lines, I was able to add a team member to that particular group which makes it easier when delegating social media management tasks.

My next favorite thing is that Sprout Social uses algorithms to determine the most active times for your followers (by profiles) and allows you to add up to 5 outputs to the "queue" which will send these messages out during those active times where your followers are more likely to read them.

Membership is on an individual basis and there is a cost incurred for usage. Pricing varies and is dependent on some of the bells and whistles as well as the number of profiles allowed.

You also get some reports with snapshots of the various activities taking place. Here's a screenshot of the homepage for the grouping mentioned above.

Sprout_Screenshot

Messages that come through can also be triaged from a customer service standpoint as they can be turned into tasks and assigned to other team members.

HootSuite

HootSuite provides some of the same perks with multiple profiles, reporting, managing of posts, etc. This application, however, allows you to add additional profiles like FourSquare, Tumblr and YouTube. With Hootsuite, you're able to have a free personal account that allows you up to 5 social media profiles for management.

Reporting is available and you are able to customize those reports a little more than with Sprout Social as they have over 40 different reporting modules to choose from. Each report is different for each profile though a comprehensive one could be created by copying and pasting the information after its downloaded into a CSV file.

HootSuite can be easier to use when you are managing your personal social media accounts. Though I have not tested their premium plans, the ability to manage your social media accounts via this tool is certainly useful.

Where I Stand

From a personal standpoint I think HootSuite more than serves the need for a blogger/influencer. Though I am curious to see what the premium plans would feel like and like the idea of being able to add a wider range of social media profiles, I prefer Sprout Social.

I am better able to keep my clients organized and ensure that posts don't go on the wrong profile/account. I also prefer the navigation and usability of Sprout Social. It's a bit more in line with the way my brain works (and that's saying a lot!).

Do you have a preference?

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Disclosure: this post is part of my course project at SNHU. For more information, please go to my SNHU page.