Social Media Management Systems – What it is and how it can help you!

How many of us today are time poor and looking to do things better? Remember when you just had one online account and you spent all day tending to that? Fond memories some of us say, since the inception of Social Media into the world has us working longer and harder.  I hate to tell you this, but according to Matt McGee at Marketing Land, you haven’t seen anything yet. Social Media is supposed to grow even faster in the future. How would you feel if I could tell you a way around having this type of overload and help with your productivity?

Most people haven’t head of Social Media Management Systems, or SMMS, but these types of systems can and will help you. I can see people not believing me or say that there’s no way something can help that much. Social Media Management Systems help you manage your Social media accounts in various ways. It can be keeping all different types of it together or just looking at different parts of it, but it will help you.In trying to get the best system to monitor my different types of Social Media, I tried many different types of systems. Then I narrowed my choices down to important aspects for both a home and business user. The aspects I was looking for were:

  • Free evaluation software which was only one software package that was web browser based
  • An advantage would be if it also included adaptability for mobile usage for accessibility
  • Easy to configure for a wide range of Social Media Tools (including Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Forums, Photo Sharing, LinkedIn)
  • Easy to update one or all of the wide range of Social Media Tools at the same time
  • An advantage would be if it also included a scheduler for periods when messages, tweets and status updates needed to be accounted but someone wasn’t available to do them
  • Reporting and narrowing of priority target groups can be done
  • Transferring of questions and referrals can be done within the software so the person asking questions or needing further information can talk directly to a knowledgeable person rather than someone with less knowledge.

I took this list of desirable features and searched to see what was on the market to meet these needs and wants

. Some of these features would be ideal for personal use and, I believe, all of them would be ideal for businesses to meet specific business targets. For over 4 weeks, I searched and trialled several systems including BuzzBundle, Kred, Sprout Social, and HootSuite. I ran or tried to run these systems concurrently, to truly test out the features in each.

However, a week into the research, there was a clear frontrunner out of all the systems – HootSuite. It did take a bit of time to understand how the software worked, but upon watching the online video of Hoot100 course, which is free to anyone, I was confident on using the software.

The video, below, directs you to the location, the look and the use of the software. You will see the system’s interface, the ease of setting up different types of Social Media accounts including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Flickr just to show you the different types of accounts you can access with this software. Further, writing status updates to one or all of these and the inclusion of a delay function are easy to use as well.

As you can see, the thought processes that have gone into this software are amazing. The screens are pretty straight forward, allow for much adaptation for personalization. I didn’t go into the help areas, but they have many areas for you to get help. These areas range from: videos that are step by step, to a blog which is updated, to feedback in different areas for improvement and that’s only a few areas.

To go along with the advantages, there are always disadvantages as well. Some disadvantages can be horrific and some are just a small blimp that it’s a user’s own preference as to if it’s a disadvantage or not.  I believe that I am being a very fussy user and these can be easily overlooked. HootSuite uses their own system for shortening the web address or URL in posts and this is known as Ow.ly. Not all social media tools accept the Ow.ly system and you can have problems. I found it irritating I had an added worry of making sure all links and pictures I posted over this time. Because I found it easy to miss these types of posts not posting to your sites. However, I don’t use this function enough to be really concerned at this point, but it is a concern if someone uses the software and the task doesn’t work properly.

The other concern I had was with the reporting. Remember, I was using the free plan of the software and it really didn’t give much functionality of reports. I did sit and work with the reports section for a while, but I found it was only reporting Twitter information only and I could only get a tiny bit of that information in a report. However, from the demos I saw, if you were on any of the paying plans, you would get that functionality with narrowing searches and groups to meeting business goals.

Lastly, as more of a warning, I want to reference the instance of HootSuite’s data center hosting failing for 15 hours. HootSuite knew this was something that could harm their business due to people needing a reliable system. They offered a credit to paying users to be used and took steps in preventing further mishaps. Shea Bennett from Media Bistro wrote an article concerning the outage and credit, besides she was one of the affected users, and continues to be confident with using HootSuite. It is important to note the instance of this event; however, I did not experience this so I must leave this out of my evaluation.

In conclusion, after all of my testing of the different software, I’d recommend HootSuite for those who use many different types of Social Media. It will make you and your business happier and more productive. This will help with the increasing nature of Social Media on both your well being as well as the company’s profit margin. This is one way we can decrease our overload of some of the work that we all do, while doing our best to maintain an open and clear line of communication with people who demand it.

Your comments and/or experiences concerning Social Media Management Systems and HootSuite are welcome below. HootSuite is the system we recommend and is our choice of a Social Media Management System.

Jo Ann J. Fitzgerald has worked in the IT Department for P&O Maritime Services in Melbourne, Australia and has worked for the Victorian State Government  in the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Pathways and Participation Division, as a Project Support Officer. She has used the internet and has had a webpage for over 15 years. In fact, she met her husband online!

To hear Jo Ann say this paragraph, please click on the play button below.