Editor’s Note: As we are building our SkiftEDU service for marketers and SMBs in travel, we recently launched a new initiative: our new weekly series on digital marketing tips and tricks, SkiftEDU How-Tos. These How-Tos are a series of free in-depth weekly articles around various topics in digital marketing, such as this one below.
Considering the speed at which the travel and hospitality industry is evolving, you must make sure to consolidate your digital marketing initiatives. According to Mobile Marketing Watch, unfortunately,
- 85% of companies are unsure as to the best tools to use to manage their digital marketing;
- 48% of brands indicate that developing an effective social media strategy is the hardest part of their overall social marketing plans.
Each tool meets a specific need which is why it’s so important to understand the main marketing objectives that social media can help you achieve before suggesting the most appropriate management platforms.
Essentially, the goal of your social media management tools should be:
- Acquiring, in real time, market data and better understanding what key factors are influencing your brand
- Optimizing advertising campaigns
- Developing strategies to promote products and services
- Collaborating with your current customers as well as acquiring leads and prospects in real time
Nowadays, there are over 200 different solutions that can help you coordinate your social media strategy. They can include management, monitoring, or analysis tools—or a combination of all three. Most of these tools have a monthly fee for individual, small business and large enterprise accounts. Some even offer trial periods, too. From all of the different platforms available, six truly stand out thanks to their versatility.
Mention is a multi-channel media monitoring solution. It is a powerful search and analysis tool that, using specific keywords, allows you to identify who or what media outlet is talking about your brand.
- Mention enables you to integrate your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, which allows you directly sign into them and take part in conversations.
- The tool also takes into account YouTube, Pinterest and other social media networks.
- Mention has a mobile app, which means you can access it anywhere.
- It allows you to share alerts and mentions, assign tasks to members of your team (e.g.: your customer service), and create and share reports.
- It has a real-time search engine for specific keywords found on the web: blogs, information websites, forums, etc.
- As soon as a conversation is initiated about your pre-defined interests, it automatically appears in your feed.
- Mention also integrates with Slack, the real-time messaging solution that helps organizations streamlining their internal communications.
By creating specific alerts based on precise keywords and delegating tasks to members of your team, you can leverage Mention to set up an efficient and effective after-sales service using social media. Imagine interacting with customers the minute they express themselves!
Another great tool? Brand24. Known for its rich social media management, monitoring and analysis features, this solution offers several options, including:
- Automatically detecting the sentiment behind a comment or reaction (positive, neutral or negative)
- A structured mentions feed for faster interactions
- A dashboard that features discussion volume
- Suggestions to quickly make decisions based on collected data
- An influence score for each participant in a discussion
- A popularity score for each post to determine which ones are performing well and the type of engagement they are creating, without having to view the post directly. More information here.
When addressing your social monitoring needs, particularly regarding your competitors, Rival IQ is a simple tool that quickly gives you the status of a brand’s social media landscape vs its competitors. Rival IQ offers:
- A dashboard that you can filter and display content based on interests, comments, types of posts, and much more so that you can easily analyze which posts are more appealing and which are not
- A means to identify the type of content in your market that triggers the most engagement
- An analysis of each message from your social media landscape, filtered by hashtag, keyword, emoji, channel, type of post, hour, etc.
For advertising agencies as well as medium and large-sized businesses, Hootsuite is an end-to-end social media management solution that oversees over 32 different networks. It enables you to:
- Target content and search for conversations based on geographical location and language
- Access all your interactions with a specific contact (across all of your company’s departments)
- Automatically suggest relevant content
- Present analyses on your posts’ engagement levels and popularity
- Identify influencers and leads
- Analyze public opinion on your brand
- Organize workflows for each team located in different regions
One of Hootsuite’s biggest strengths for the travel and tourism industry is its app, Reputology. It allows you to follow customers’ opinions on various businesses, including hotels, restaurants and stores. You can check out reviews on Yelp, Google, Facebook, and many more sites. The app is a powerful tool to keep you in control of all reviews as well as how they are answered and attributed. You can even label them based on their status.
SproutSocial has been developed for all types of businesses (big or small) and for community managers or customer service teams for the following reasons:
- Multi-account and personalized platform management for your team, based on their role and responsibilities
- Monitoring various social media channels, hashtags, keywords, engagement, etc.
- A unified Smart Inbox, which displays all social messages (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram) in one centralized feed so that you never miss a conversation
- Its Landscape tool allows you to crop images to the appropriate sizes required for social media, messages and campaigns
AgoraPulse is an easy-to-use social media analysis platform that has many of the same features as the other tools mentioned above. However, it stands out based on the following functionalities:
- Data is saved based on each user: comments, mentions, private messages, etc. This means you can access all past interactions with a user. You can therefore identify your best users and add more context to your conversations.
- You can share your access with the entire team using one Facebook account.
- Compare certain KPIs of your pages with those of your competitors, such as engagement levels.
- Create and manage contests on Facebook and Instagram.
Sprinklr is another complete customer experience management solution. It provides cloud-based monitoring and management features to help major brands to create, coordinate and optimize experiences across over 20 different social media networks and brand sites. The tool also enables you to plan, approve, post and measure the results of your content marketing initiatives throughout their entire life cycles; this includes TV spots, social media, email, web site, SMS, etc.
Sprinklr is popular thanks to its seamless workflow across all of an organization’s departments, its efficient content categorization, and customizable fields. It’s a robust platform that can handle large amounts of data. Sprinklr may not be the best option for small businesses just starting out in social media, due to its high monthly fees, which can amount to several thousand dollars.
Buffer is focused less on offering an array of features and more on simplifying how small businesses manage and post content on their social media networks. It’s an excellent alternative if you are starting out in your social marketing efforts. Buffer analyzes each of your posts, rather than all of your social media networks. You can nevertheless monitor your engagement, conversations and trends to prioritize your marketing initiatives. What’s more, Buffer recently launched a new support inbox for Twitter: Respond.
While it’s not a complete social media management platform as those mentioned above, Ahrefs is a highly relevant tool to increase your brand’s awareness. Ahrefs is a tool that is dedicated 100% to SEO. It enables you to optimize your website and social media networks for better search engine rankings. Ahrefs analyzes backlinks, keywords and brand mentions. It is especially useful for everything that can influence your SEO besides your website. You can:
- Identify what keywords your competitors are buying
- Monitor the ranking of your keywords in every country and language, and find out how well you rank on mobile devices
- Receive email alerts each time you or your competitor obtains (or loses!) a backlink
For the travel and tourism industry, this tool has two very important strengths. It:
- Identifies influencers that have engaged with a company thanks to its PR 2.0 efforts
- Identifies the most popular and engaging content from competitors so that you can align your efforts around these topics
Unfortunately, none of these above mentioned tools monitor Snapchat activities or interactions yet, which would be an amazing asset due to this mobile app skyrocketing popularity.