How to handle Social Media like a pro (stress-free)

Do you use Social Media for your work and (like me) struggle to keep on top of all your Facebook and Twitter mentions, Likes and messages and other Social Media activity?  Following on from my blog post “Think less enjoy more” this is the first in a series of posts sharing the technology and approaches I use to try and simplify my life.  Today I’m going to share with you the Social Media Management (SMM) apps I have used in the past and what I use now and I have also included a free downloadable spreadsheet showing all the major SMM apps I looked at and their pros and cons (in my opinion of course).

I have used Buffer in the past and enjoyed it’s super clean and simple interface.  I moved away from it however because it was damn expensive ($99 per month) to get a plan with Social Analytics.  There were a couple of other reasons, like the lack of a unified inbox where i could see all social media activity at a glance.

Currently I am using Hootsuite but I’m not satisfied with this app either.  You only get limited free reports, the rest you have to buy on a points basis.  I also find the user interface a bit old-fashioned and messy and you have to jump around a fair bit in the app to find all the info you need I find.

The two apps I am currently considering as my new SMM tool are Sprout Social and Zoho Social.

These two are quite different animals.  Sprout Social is a lot more expensive ($99 per month), has a lot tio it and offers excellent sources and inspiration to create/find/share new content.  It also has tags for posts which makes it super easy to find old posts to re-use.  Their calendar is also one of the best in my opinion.  It has some weird design flaws to it too.  Like if you add a post to the Smart Queue auto-scheduler feature you can then delete it or edit the content but not change/add to the social channels it will be shared on or change the scheduled post date.  So chances are if you accidentally schedule it to share on the wrong social channel you will have to delete it and start again.  Also, like Hootsuite I feel like I spend a lot of time flicking between tabs in Sprout to get the job done.

Zoho Social, on the other hand, is a lot cheaper and has a much simpler and intuitive interface.  Zoho Social was pretty much the only app where I could instantly see/find new Facebook Likes and notifications, where as with all the others I felt llke I had to search the app to find them.  Zoho Social also has some of the best reporting in the sense that you can view reports from individual posts with one click and you can also drill down and see more info from within each report.  The big downsde with Zoho Social for my money is the lack of a publishing calendar to see exactly what you want to post when.

I still don’t know which of these two I will end up choosing.  If it wasn’t for the money Sprout Social would probably be the clear and easy choice.  Zoho Social is super easy and intuitive to use but the lack of a calendar is probably a deal-breaker for me.  Once I make a decision and do further testing I’ll update this blog post.

In the meantime, below is a downloadable PDF spreadsheet showing all the major SMM apps I tested and the pros and cons I found with each of them.  I hope you find it useful.

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