Implementing a social media marketing strategy can seem like an impossible task for a small business.
Whether you own a small business or have a dedicated marketing team working for you, you may feel like you simply don’t have the time, money, or proper resources to maintain a consistent and engaging presence online. But like it or not, social media has proven to be one of the most effective business tools for connecting with both current and potential customers — and it’s here to stay.
Networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn allow you to communicate directly with your audience, which helps you spread brand awareness and can even turn your customers into brand advocates!
Benefits of social media suites for small businesses
It may seem overwhelming for one person to keep up with the 24/7 social media world while running a small business or managing a business’ broader marketing strategy. As a result, many small businesses turn to social media suites to help them manage their social presence.
What is a social media suite?
A social media suite is an all-in-one platform that enables users to fulfill multiple aspects of a social media strategy within a single product. Social media suites typically offer features for social media management, analytics and monitoring.
In a survey conducted by Statista, about 50% of small-business owners said they planned to use social media as part of their marketing strategy in 2019. At the same time, however, the majority of small businesses said they only spend about two hours of their week on marketing efforts.
If you can relate to these statistics, consider investing in a social media suite. These comprehensive solutions are popular among small businesses for their ability to handle all aspects of a social media marketing strategy within a single platform. With just one tool, you can manage, monitor and analyze information related to one or more social media accounts.
Let’s say you have business profiles on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Rather than visiting each of these websites individually to post content, you could connect all three of these accounts to your social media suite and then plan, schedule and publish content to all three of your feeds.
But getting your content out there is just one piece of a social media marketing strategy. It’s also important to understand your audience and measure how well you’re doing with the members of that audience. Thankfully, social media suites provide social media analytics tools, allowing you to track the performance of your campaigns, determine successful marketing tactics, identify trends, and understand audience demographics.
Another major feature provided by most social media suites is social media monitoring. Businesses use these tools to track mentions of their brand across social networks, promoting brand advocacy by thanking customers for sharing positive experiences and managing brand reputation by quickly responding to negative feedback.
The bottom line
There are many social media products on the market that can help businesses manage their social media feeds. Likewise, there are just as many products that provide solutions for social media monitoring or analytics. The reason so many small businesses prefer social media suites is because they offer management, monitoring and analytics within a single product. Some social media suites even provide capabilities for managing your social ads or engaging in social customer service.
By providing so many features within one product, social media suites reduce costs and limit the amount of time you spend learning how to use the software.
Choosing a social media suite
If you’re in the market for a social media suite, there are a few things to consider. First and foremost, you should think about your business’ social media marketing strategy and what problems you hope a social media suite will solve. Is social advertising part of your strategy? Do you need robust management capabilities, or are you more interested in highly detailed reports?
It’s important to consider which social networks you’ll need to manage. Many social media suites will support the most popular networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn. If you want to manage accounts on Tumblr or YouTube, however, you may need to seek out more specialized products.
Finally, keep your budget in mind and ask yourself if there are any other integrations you want your social media suite to support.
Best social media suites for small businesses
Let’s take a look at four of the highest-rated social media suites on G2. These products were chosen because of their high satisfaction scores based on real user reviews. The star ratings and number of reviews indicated for each product exclusively reflect the ratings and reviews from small business owners and employees.
Product name: Zoho Social G2 star rating: 4.5 out of 5.0 Number of reviews: 1,329
Overview Part of Zoho’s full suite of cloud software, Zoho Social is an all-in-one social media marketing tool that provides features for management, analytics and monitoring across five networks: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Google My Business. The platform also integrates with two of Zoho’s other products, Zoho CRM and Zoho Desk, making it a good choice for anyone already using these tools.
Image courtesy of Zoho Social
What users say “I love the ability to make one post on many social platforms at once, especially Google My Business. Other platforms do not have that option. I love the reporting, monitoring and messages section of the software. With the app, you can post on the go.” — Zoho Social review by Dell R.
Product name: eClincher G2 star rating: 4.7 out of 5.0 Number of reviews: 190
Overview eClincher is a powerful social media suite that’s popular among small marketing agencies. It supports many social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Google My Business and Yelp. eClincher also provides integrations with Sniply, Pocket and Canva.
Image courtesy of eClincher
What users say “The features are incredible. So easy to use. I love the 24-hour support (which I use regularly). The best thing is that the platform is just getting better and better. They clearly listen to what their customers want because every update is just AMAZING. Instagram hashtag suggestion is amazing. Publishing without push notifications is incredible. Feed/keyword monitoring is powerful. Can't wait to start making use of the influencer feature.” — eClincher review by Kiesha G.
Product name: Hootsuite G2 star rating: 4.1 out of 5.0 Number of reviews: 1,586
Overview With more than 2,600 reviews on G2, Hootsuite is one of the most widely used social media tools on the market. Hootsuite offers functionality for social media management, monitoring and analytics, as well as employee advocacy. Their platform supports Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest, and offers integration with a number of different apps like Slack, Trello and Asana.
Image courtesy of Hootsuite
What users say “I like how you can preview the posts in their latest feature. I also love having my channels set on my dashboard. It gives me great insight to what my feed will look like in the next few weeks. Hootsuite helps you get ahead of your social media and gain control of your brand.” — Hootsuite review by Gabriela T.
Product name: Sprout Social G2 star rating: 4.4 out of 5.0 Number of reviews: 425
Overview Sprout Social is a social media suite with a wide range of features. The software provides social media management, monitoring, analytics and customer service tools, in addition to hashtag monitoring. Sprout Social integrates with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest, and offers integrations with other software you may have in your marketing technology stack, including Google Analytics and HubSpot. This platform’s powerful features make it a particularly popular choice with small marketing agencies.
Image courtesy of Sprout Social
What users say “Sprout really powers how we approach social media — before we started using managed software, most of our social was simply guesswork. With Sprout, we get great data on how our posts are performing in both an objective sense and relative to our competitors. Sprout is especially useful for managing the Twitter accounts of several of our staff, particularly when at major events or conferences. With Sprout, we've seen major improvement in a number of our key publishing metrics.” — Sprout Social review from a user in computer software
Next steps for social media suites
Social media suites are an invaluable tool for any small business looking to boost their social media marketing efforts. While these are just a few of the highest-rated products currently on G2, there are many more platforms available with different features, integrations and levels of support.
If you’re on the fence about a social media tool, you can usually find products with free trials or even free basic plans. While free plans provide only a limited feature set, that may be all you need for your business. Free options are also a great way to learn about different tools and determine what features will be most valuable to your marketing strategy.
Looking for a more efficient way to organize and plan your social media marketing strategy? Download our free social media calendar templates.
Stephanie is a senior research analyst at G2 concentrating on marketing and digital advertising software. Prior to joining G2, Stephanie spent four years in B2B marketing and event management at an independent publishing company. This experience nurtured her passion for understanding how technology can help solve the unique challenges small businesses face today. Stephanie’s areas of interest include brand perception, customer experience, SEO, and local marketing. She received her BA in journalism and Spanish from Marquette University and in her spare time enjoys reading, gaming, and trying new vegetarian restaurants.