What Are Social Media Marketing Platforms?
Social media marketing platforms are digital platforms that allow users to create and share content through social media channels. A social media marketing platform often refers to tools or software solutions that facilitate easier sharing, posting, and other features, or it may refer to advertising platforms that allow you to run advertising campaigns on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. In this article, we will be discussing social media marketing platforms – also referred to as social media management platforms – as the tools that facilitate posting and other beneficial features, not advertising platforms.
Social Media Management Platforms
Managing social media accounts and posting timely, on-brand content can be time-consuming and complex. Social media marketing strategies may involve posting to multiple social profiles and posting content numerous times a week. Social media management platforms are designed to streamline the management of a brand’s social media presence.
Social media management platforms are online platforms that simplify and consolidate social media marketing. These platforms come in a range of sizes, shapes, and costs and include a wide range of features, like the integration of multiple social media channels, scheduled or automated posting, brand guideline governance, user management, social listening, and generally creating an organized structure for implementing your social media marketing goals.
Benefits and Uses of Social Media Management Platforms
1. Scheduling Posts
A huge benefit of social media management platforms is the ability to schedule posts in advance. After you create the content, you simply add it to the queue or content calendar.
Platform users can schedule all of the posts for a period of time, such as for the next week or month. This saves significant time compared to uploading content piecemeal. Some social media management platforms allow you to specify the exact time you want content posted and will even let you designate and set posts for “peak times.”
2. Storing Content
While scheduling posts in advance, social media content creation and social media content posting are two different efforts, and the two do not always occur at the same time. You may discover content that would be perfect for your brand, or you may create content that will resonate with your intended audience, but it is not time to post or add it to a schedule yet.
Having a place to store content allows you the space to be creative with your content development since you are not bound to creating the content at the time of posting. For companies with defined brand guidelines, maintaining a repository of brand-approved content that can be pulled to a social media post when needed, saves time and results in a more cohesive social media presence.
3. Sentiment Analysis / Social Listening
Understanding how people feel about your online brand presence involves more than tallies of followers and likes. Sentiment analysis, a component of social listening, measures the emotions and opinions, good and bad, in posts and comments circulated about your brand. This is helpful when refining brand tone and messaging.
For instance, your brand may see a spike in social media mentions following the launch of an ad campaign. Sentiment analysis of this spike can offer a nuanced understanding of public reaction to the ad campaign, which can then inform ongoing marketing efforts.
4. Dashboards & Analytics Data
Some of the best social media marketing platforms include ways to track how the audience engages with your brand on social media. This is invaluable when measuring social campaigns and determining campaign success. Manually tracking this data across multiple platforms is inefficient and reporting on them is complicated because the metrics can differ on each platform.
Social media dashboards streamline the tracking of engagement metrics across multiple social media marketing platforms using a single interface. Engagement data is pulled from linked platforms, creating a unified data analysis and reporting system.
5. User Management & Posting Governance
Many social media management platforms offer shareable content and interfaces that are tailored for multiple users or user groups. For a team collaborating on a social media marketing platform, shareable content ensures that posts are vetted by responsible team members and there is consistency in messaging. Additionally, the shareable calendar feature makes posting by multiple people seamless and more efficient. These shareable content and calendar features are helpful in any collaboration environment, especially for teams with distinct but overlapping social media profiles and marketing goals, such as corporate and franchise marketing teams.
How to Choose the Best Social Media Management Platform for Your Business
Social media marketing platforms for business come in all shapes and sizes. To better understand the features you need, consider the following before you choose the best social media management platform for your business:
1. Number of Social Media Profiles You Are Managing
Each social media profile you are managing requires your business to connect the account to the social media management platform. You will likely need a robust platform to manage a high number of profiles. Alternatively, a simple scheduling tool should suffice if you have only a few profiles to manage.
Besides considering the initial logistical set-up associated with multiple profiles, you will need to consider who the audience is for each profile. Your target audience, or the people you want to be influencing or engaging with on social media, may be the same, overlap, or be entirely different between your social media profiles.
When the audience is not the same across social media profiles, there is added complexity to how you set up your profiles, post content, and manage your accounts long-term. In such cases, it is helpful to have a management system that allows profiles to be grouped for posting content and tracking progress.
2. Content Posting Needs
Your content posting needs may be as simple as scheduling posts a month in advance. A straightforward scheduling platform would be suitable for such a situation. Other businesses may have multiple users posting content at different times to the same group of social media profiles. For this collaborative scenario, shared calendars and schedules are extremely helpful.
Additionally, some businesses need similar content posted to different accounts with slight variations. A corporate brand with brick-and-mortar stores nationwide, for example, may want a holiday message sent out in December following certain guidelines, but have that message tailored to each store location and sent out from each location’s separate branded social media account.
Trying to administer this without the help of the best social media management platform can cause messaging errors and duplicated efforts at each store location. A content template feature would be a game changer in this scenario.
3. The Importance of Content / Brand Governance
Each business has different brand guidelines (or don’t have them at all). The extent to which the brand identity has been crafted, how content is aligned with the brand identity, and the oversight of this can vary significantly by organization.
Businesses with strict brand guidelines will want content governance features, such as shareable content galleries, trending topic sharing, rating capabilities for content relevance, and content that is scalable while remaining on-brand. For businesses that do not have defined branding expectations, these features will be helpful in content creation, but necessary to helping you reach your marketing goals.
4. User & Profile Needs
Large brands with store locations may have social media profiles for their corporate headquarters, different profiles for each store location, or both. For example, Coca Cola does not have store locations and needs only one corporate profile. On the other hand, Home Depot likely needs a profile for the corporate brand and profiles for their locations, with each social media account managed by different users.
Companies like Home Depot with multiple locations may approach their social media presence in one of three ways: a centralized, decentralized, or hybrid approach. A centralized approach is a single, corporate-driven strategy. Decentralized is when each locality develops a social media presence independent of corporate headquarters. Hybrid is when there is a combination of a corporate and local strategy. In this case, users posting to the corporate account and local accounts need to remain separate, although the content overlaps; this brand interaction requires a robust social media platform.
For the hybrid scenario, managing social media] can be complex. Franchises, independent owners, authorized realtors, co-ops, and third-party property managers may need to post content relating to their locality and local brand that is in keeping with corporate branding expectations. Meanwhile, corporate brand posts may also need to appear in the local profile.
Some of the best social media marketing platforms can facilitate the integration of corporate and local messaging. Corporate pre-loaded, brand-approved content is available to franchise owners to post at their will. If you have multiple user groups with different posting permissions, you will need a platform that can do this.
Learn More About SOCi, the Central Command for Multi-Location Marketers
SOCi is an award-winning social media marketing platform for business, designed for the organization with complex social media needs. Features like shareable calendars, posting automation, and scalable, shareable content allow businesses with multiple locations to strengthen their digital media presence across all locations with on-brand content.