The Best Social Media Tools for The Job: Top Social Media Managers Share What’s in Their Toolkits

Social media is one of the most important parts of a digital marketer’s job, and to be an effective Social Media Manager you need a combination of creativity, quick thinking, and solid writing skills. But even the most skillful social media pros know they’re only as good as the social media tools they use to post, promote, report, and respond to their customers and audience.

With so many apps and services on the market, we set out to find out what the industry’s top Social Media Managers are using right now. Here’s what’s in their social media toolkits.

Michelina Teti, Social Media Manager at lululemon

If you manage multiple Instagram accounts (whether they are personal or small business) Planoly is your new best friend.

What I love about it–it’s a visual planner. We’re able to map out our Instagram grid before sharing. With a quick drag and drop you can arrange your feed to create one consistent and cohesive brand story (which comes in handy when enrolling your cross-functional partners in your vision).

Planning ahead and creating a well-considered social media calendar creates the space for you to check and adjust in the moment, and create timely and relevant content. Need to add an unexpected post? Just drag and drop it in and see how it fits the feed.

With a business account, you can actually manage multiple Instagram profiles from one account. For someone who manages multiple channel sets, being able to pop in and out of each channel and see what’s coming ahead allows me to support my team, provide feedback, and stay in the loop in a very fast-paced environment.

Róisín Bonner, Social Media Lead at Microsoft

With much of our work focused on B2B social media marketing, we use applications that allow us to do very precise targeting to ensure our content lands with the right audiences.

  • We use Sprinklr’s social listening functionality to drill down to what is important to our enterprise, small business, and education audiences in order to curate or craft the right content.
  • LinkedIn, of course, is a key application and channel for us for social marketing, targeted social advertising, and employee advocacy.
  • Our teams, from sales, to marketing, to HR and more, are social media butterflies! They look to us for guidance on how they can find, share and amplify Microsoft content to their social networks. We leverage Sociabble to empower employees to easily do this.
  • Internally we leverage Microsoft Teams, our new chat-based workspace tool to share and collaborate on documents, files, and project updates.

Conner Galway, Director at JunctionYVR

There are so many amazing tools out there that one of the biggest challenges in digital marketing is not finding one to do the job for you, but taking full advantage of the ones that we do use.

What I’m most focused on right now is removing clutter and focusing on taking full advantage of the software that is most useful to my business, and to my clients’. For us, that essential set of tools is:

  • Later.com for Instagram organization and scheduling. At least that’s all that we used to use it for, but we’ve discovered that it’s also useful for searching content, reporting, and for customizing the link that appears in the Instagram Bio.
  • DashThis for reporting. We used to use a variety of different reporting tools and pulled them all into a single report, and by working with the team at DashThis we’ve been able to create a single-view dashboard that includes our most important organic, paid, email, and Google Analytics data.
  • Facebook Power Editor. It sounds simple, but one of the best things that a social advertiser can do is to create well-labeled ad campaigns within Power Editor that make it easy to go back, check results, and test creative or targeting against each other.

Christine McDermott, Director/Digital Content Strategist at Veritas Communications

Over the years, my social tools have varied dramatically. With the pace of digital change, some companies have managed to adapt and evolve while others have fallen behind. Instead of swearing by specific tools, I assess (and re-assess) options to ensure they continue to match our teams’ needs.

Outside of basic logistics such as user experience and cost, I’m typically looking for three things:

  • Customizable: there is no one-size-fits-all approach to the brands we work with. The tools we use to monitor, optimize, and measure campaigns need to be adapted to match the brand strategy.
  • Holistic: the social world doesn’t operate in isolation and tools that take into consideration owned channels as well as competitors and influencers offer a more complete view.
  • Customer care: there’s nothing worse than relying on a tool that fails you in a critical moment without support in place to save the day. From education to technical support, the best services operate as part of the extended team.

A program that has been in steady use at our office this year is Klear, which offers social media monitoring, influencer identification, and competitive intelligence. The individualized brand dashboards, the consistent evolution, and the responsiveness of the support team has made this an easy partnership.

The key is to remember that social media tools are helpful, but they’re only as good as the team putting them to use!

Want to learn the best social media tools and techniques to meet your digital marketing goals? Check out BrainStation’s Digital Marketing course to learn from industry pros and gain the skills you need to succeed in the industry.

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This post written by Patrick Faller originally appeared on the BrainStation Blog. Patrick is a writer, journalist, and TV host with a love of technology, digital design, and video games. After many years working in TV and radio news, he left broadcasting to start his own business focused on content strategy and digital marketing. He’s a proud boyfriend, entrepreneur, and dad to two Macaws and two Cornish Rex cats. You can catch him on Twitter: @patfaller.