As social media continues to grow, it is a necessity for marketers to keep up with their social profiles.
Because of this growth, however, it is also more difficult to maintain an advantage over one’s competition.
Being able to understand your social marketing performance, and optimizing your efforts is more critical
This need leads marketers to search for tools that can help them maximize their social media presence.
There are four main types of social media tools, but many suppliers of each which can make the marketplace seem confusing. This paper aims to help you understand the four main types of social media
tools, their key features, main benefits, and the value they can bring to your social media marketing
efforts. We will look at the following types of tools:
Social Analytics Tools
Social Listening Tools
Social Media Management Tools
Social Media Advertising Systems
Each type is very different, both in terms of purpose
and the features they possess, and this will be discussed
in greater detail below.
The tools are listed in the order that they might be used.
This refers to our recommended Social Media workflow:
Analyze - Engage - Promote
The tools are listed in the order that
they might be used. This refers to our
recommended Social Media workflow.
Interaction is everything that happens as part of an online conversation. From making original wall posts
to answering comments and sharing.
Fan interaction -- aka, engagement
-- is critical to social success, and
using social media management
tools helps you do this efficiently.
Social media management tools also
allow you to improve your customer
services response time and quality
by allowing your team to work in
a more structured and efficient way.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to
remain visible and reach your fans
with your content, as competition
for attention increases. The ability
to boost reach using advertising
is hugely important for getting ahead
of the competition, and using social
media advertising tools to get smart
with which posts to promote and
to who is invaluable.
Key Differences between Social Media Tools
Posting & Scheduling
Manual Sentiment Analysis
Follower / Fan Growth
Industry Based Benchmarking
Customer Service Metrics
Automated Sentiment Analysis
Geo Based Benchmarking
User Rights Management
Third Party Software Integration
Social Analytics Tools
Social analytics tools help you easily interpret a wide range of metrics, primarily based on your content
and audience. Socialbakers Analytics, for example, helps you to understand and compare metrics
across platforms and brands, allowing you to intelligently benchmark your activity.
Social analytics tools will lay out a range of key metrics such as audience growth, engagement rates,
response rates, reach and more, such as:
Volume of user posts/questions
Top performing posts
Views and view time
The most engaging type of content
Response rates and times
This wealth of data aids in optimizing social media strategies and ultimately in improving results.
By understanding current performance, a number of actions can be taken - from optimizing content
strategy, to changing focus entirely, all of which would be done blind without the help of effective social
Aug 01, 2013 - Aug 31, 2013
One of the key benefits is the ability to get a clear view of engagement and interaction over time. Seeing
the trends gives valuable insight as to where to improve, and which days and content efforts are reaping
the best results. Again, understanding data helps to optimize content strategy for better results, as well
as providing clear data for reporting throughout the business (picture 1).
Monthly Executive Report
Aston Martin vs.
Relative Fan Growth
Fan Count Overview
Total Fan Count
Fan Count Change
Max Fan Count Change
Week 35 (26.08.)
Week 35 (26.08.)
Avg. Fan Change per Day
An example of an Executive Report from Socialbakers Analytics. This excerpt compares Aston Martin vs. Jaguar, focusing on Fans and Fan Growth. As we can see from
the report, Aston Martin has a bigger Fan base. But while Aston Martin has grown more in absolute numbers, we can see that Jaguar has grown faster n relative numbers.
Another key aspect of social media analytics tools is the availability of competitive analysis. It’s not
enough to know how your posts and interactions are performing, you also need to know how the competition is doing. It is essential to monitor your competitors and also benchmark yourself against the market
and region. Publicly available metrics for other business profiles and Pages available in Socialbakers
Analytics allow you to contrast and compare their key metrics and activity with your own. (Picture 2).
Abs. Change in Fans
Rel. Change in Fans
Luxury Cars Label
Avg. Page ER
0,17 % (+0,01 %)
0,18 % (-0,14 %)
0,33 % (-0,19 %)
Avg. Post ER
0,03 % (+0,00 %)
0,12 %(-0,09 %)
0,16 % (-0,10 %)
RR for Questions
An example of the KPI check feature from Socialbakers Analytics, comparing Ferrari to Lamborghini and a custom-made label, Luxury Cars. Labels like this one can serve
as custom-made benchmarks that create a comparison with a group of competitors, or any segment of the market. From this comparison alone, we can see that when
it comes to Fans, both brands are falling below average for their category. Ferrari is more active when it comes to posting and absolute interactions, and Lamborghini is
more successful when it comes to relative Fan growth and Engagement Rate.
For anyone responsible for social media accounts, a social media analytics tool is a must in order
to be successful. It may be cliche but knowledge is power. And social media analytics platforms
empower users to improve their social media presence by knowing what is going on across all channels
and compared to competitors in a user-friendly way. This is absolutely core to the ‘understand’ element
of our social media flow.
An example of the dashboard from Socialbakers Analytics, showing analyzed pages with labels “automotive” and “luxury cars”, sorted by the number of fans. We can see
from the dashboard that while Ferrari is the largest brand in this group, Aston Martin is the fastest growing, Lamborghini has on average the most engaging content, and
Mercedes-Benz was able to collect the highest number of interactions.
Social Listening Tools
Social listening tools are one of the most common social media tools. Social listening tools allow
a company to listen for mentions of their brand, and focus on metrics such as share of voice. These tools
generally work via keyword search, so the data that’s provided depends on the input to find the right
data. In other words, just as keywords are important for good search results on the web, choosing the
right keywords when listening definitely affects the quality of what’s found.
Businesses involved in social media need to listen for mentions of their business name, or other key
terms related to their product, service, industry, region, etc. There are a number of reasons for this,
which will be discussed below.
An example from Socialbakers Listening showing the three different social listening features. In Picture 4, we can see a map showing the geographical source of mentions.
Picture 5 shows us a word cloud of phrases associated with the keyword, "Socialbakers". In Picture 6, we can see the split between positive, neutral and negative sentiment.
Why Listening is Important
The first reason is the need to be proactive in social customer care. Just as in everyday life, if a customer
says negative things about a brand on Twitter, tools like Socialbakers Listening allow these brands
to detect these comments immediately and respond - providing an opportunity to diffuse the situation
publicly before widespread complaints start. After all, customers are listening too and the faster a brand
responds, the better the chance of recovering from a potential disaster.
Alternatively, being proactive in listening to discussions about your business can allow you to generate
sales - someone may be querying how your service works or what your delivery times are for example
- this allows your team to dive in and give the relevant information to guide the user from being a prospect
to becoming a customer. You can generate sales by responding to the way Fans are reacting and
engaging on a macro level with your content and about your products or services. Listening gives you
the power to be proactive instead of reactive.
Social listening tools also often allow you to measure brand sentiment, defining a percentage of positive
vs. negative conversation about a brand (picture 6). Some tools work by automatically analyzing the
words in the conversation. This isn’t completely foolproof due to reliability issues, language variations
and appropriately measuring irony and sarcasm, but it gives a reasonable indication of how a business
is being talked about online. Many brands measure this on an ongoing basis and try to ensure that the
sentiment is at least consistent, and preferably improving, at all times.
With social listening tools, there is also the ability to generate engagement, not only by jumping
in on conversations that are relevant, but also by analyzing the conversation trends over time. Monitoring
trends helps predict the performance of the next post, and possibly provides clues for what needs
Listening in on a wide range of topics and about specific businesses, and getting a feel for their overall
sentiment enables a marketer to more easily identify the key influencers on a topic. By knowing who the
influencers are, marketers can begin to develop relationships, which could lead to mutually beneficial
promotion. A sign of a truly social brand is one that engages with the key influencers as well as the
grassroot fans, and also attempts to convert detractors into brand ambassadors over time.
An example from Socialbakers Listening showing the process of keyword-based searches on Facebook and Twitter. In Picture 7, we can see adding a keyword with
appropriate search parameters. In Picture 8, we can choose between which platforms we’d like to see results. In Picture 9, we can choose a country and language options.
Finally, in Picture 10, we can see the results according to selected criteria.
Social Media Management Platforms
Social media management programs have been around for almost as long as businesses have had
a presence on social media platforms. Currently, there are a host of relevant tools to aid marketers in this
A social media management system in this context is defined as a tool that focuses on page or profile
management. This primarily relates to content posting and response monitoring.
A tool like Socialbakers Builder is essential for agencies and businesses which manage multiple
profiles. Whether running multiple platforms for a business, or for numerous client accounts, a social
media management system is vital for effectively managing workload.
Typically, social media management systems will provide a column-based layout where users can see
multiple profiles next to each other. This allows you to see all content and interactions across profiles
and platforms in one easy view. Likewise, some tools also show exactly what the competition is posting
and who is interacting with their posts (Picture 11).
An example of the dashboard from Socialbakers Builder, with tabs covering competitors, incoming, sent & direct messages, outbox and unpublished posts.
For agencies and larger brands, this provides scalability as these dashboards can be shared between
users, allowing more social media managers to create content and monitor customer interactions whilst
Where social media management tools also add value is in their scheduling and automation functionalities. The peak time to publish content may not necessarily be during office hours. A lot of social
engagement happens in the evenings, for example, when users are on their phones while running about
town, or relaxing at home after work. These tools allow the user to work around these issues, as well
as schedule posts by timezone and more.
Like Socialbakers Builder, social media management tools allow you to organize team management
in a highly efficient manner. The job of managing social media often involves various departments, and
external agencies typically. So these are powerful collaboration tools that enable user rights, approval
and internal performance reporting (Picture 12).
An example of a report on team performance from Socialbakers Builder, showing interactions, conversation content distribution, and the most engaging admins.
Social Media Advertising Platforms
Social media success is becoming increasingly driven by paid social advertising. With Facebook
in particular, organic reach is decreasing, leading marketers to boost their content within the native
news feed. At present this can be difficult to set up, and knowing which posts to promote can be hard
Social media advertising systems are growing in the number of tools available, and in terms of the number
of marketers using them. The number of social media advertising tools will continue to grow as the need
for paid social activity increases throughout 2014.
Advertising systems like Socialbakers Ad Analytics incorporate social advertising campaign creation,
management, optimization, post boosting and reporting.
There are a number of benefits of using social media advertising tools. The first is the ability to set up
complex campaigns quickly, particularly with Facebook. Many of the tools offer bulk uploads for advert
creative and targeting options, allowing the user to test multiple variants from the beginning of a campaign.
This is a huge time saver in terms of set up, and puts you in a strong position to be able to optimize
campaigns for better results over time.
Another key benefit would be the ability to set auto-bidding and optimization rules. Setting auto-bids and
optimization rules means that a company can run advertising campaigns without having to worry about
the budget. Once set up, the system will decrease bids as needed, or pause any poorly performing
adverts. Socialbakers Ad Analytics can also boost the impression share of the best performing posts,
and continuously optimize different versions of adverts to strengthen their performance—all based on live
data. Not only does this give the marketing team some breathing room, it also allows them to optimize
much quicker. As as soon as performance hits the specified level in the rules, optimization takes place.
This picture shows the impact of correct timing on organic, paid & viral impressions, as well as engagement.
With paid reach becoming even more important for your content, particularly on Facebook, some social
media advertising systems also allow you to automatically promote your best performing posts. They view
interaction levels, and when they find a post that is performing above average, they can automatically
boost it to a relevant audience (Picture 14). This ensures that any strong engagement performance
is capitalized on quickly and efficiently in an automated environment. Organic reach of posts is naturally
declining on Facebook due to the competition for NewsFeed placement, so placing your best content
in the NewsFeed on a sponsored basis is key.
An example of the auto-boost trigger from Socialbakers Ad Analytics. This feature enables automatic post promotion at the moment when the posts reach a pre-set organic
Social media advertising systems often enable you greater targeting capabilities and flexibility too. They
often allow you to choose more audience targeting types such as custom audiences (based on emails,
user ID’s or phone numbers), lookalike audience (users with similar profiles to those in your custom
audience), and partner categories in the USA (which is based on external consumer data) (Picture 15).
Many tools allow access Facebook Exchange (FBX), Facebook’s re-marketing solution that allows
remarketing (re-posting) to users based on their cookied browsing histories.
An example of Fan Overlap from Socialbakers Ad Analytics, showing to which extent competing breweries share the same fans.
Many social media advertising systems will analyze advertisements as well, in terms of the audience
targeted. Socialbakers Ad Analytics, for example, lets the user overlap their target audience with that of
competitors to see the uniqueness of their targeting set (Picture 15).
No matter whether the goal is to achieve fan growth or boost content on Facebook, or dabbling with
promoted tweets and accounts on Twitter, social media advertising systems are crucial to scaling advertising operations and adjusting budgets.
At Socialbakers, we’ve predicted that social advertising will become bigger than digital advertising this
year. Whether this happens or not, it’s important that social media marketers have the flexibility in their
budgets to boost posts at different times to make the most of their strongest content.
Regardless of the level of social media expertise in your organization, it is essential to understand
the different social media tools available in order to effectively manage your social media presence.
At Socialbakers we believe that businesses need to analyze, engage and promote on social media, and
that tools are required to be able to achieve success at each of these three key stages.
No matter what your business is, or which industry you are in, social analytics tools are an essential
starting point. Without a social analytics you will be unable to understand your performance in context
of your industry peers and competitors.
If your strategy is based on reputation management or social media based research, then a social
listening tool is definitely needed to enable you to find the data you need around what people are saying
about your brand or business outside of your extended networks.
With social media management tools, these become more important the bigger your organisation
becomes. The more pages you control, and staff you have managing your social, then the more value
you will see from having a social media management tool to control workflow, save time, and measure
performance. Social media management tools can also ensure you deliver a higher level of customer
The social landscape has now changed, and being smart around boosting your content into the Newsfeed
on Facebook can make or break your campaigns. Facebook is a more challenging environment,
and organic reach is harder to attain, making the boosting of posts essential for all. Knowing which
to boost, and being able to do this quickly and effectively through social media advertising tools
is essential for gaining competitive advantage.
Consider your options carefully, but be realistic about your needs - can you really manage the social media
side of your business without the extra data and capabilities these tools give you? Social media tools give
you a much higher chance of success as you can follow our workflow of Analyze > Engage > Promote
in an efficient and insight driven way. Good luck!
Our vision is to become worldwide
standard for the way,
social media marketing is measured