Due to the emergence of social media as an essential aspect of digital marketing, it is now a must for small law and accounting firms to create and grow their online presence.
However, the time it would take to manage a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or any other social network you decide to incorporate on a daily basis may feel like it’s not worth the effort.
Fortunately, many tools have been developed to help simplify the administration of multiple social media accounts by enabling small businesses to connect them all to a single management system, queue posts in advance, track and analyze data, generate reports and more.
Many of these platforms, which drastically reduce the time and effort it takes to maintain several accounts, offer a free or low-cost option.
Here are a few of the top social media management options available that will help any law or accounting firm manage and grow its social network, creating new opportunities to build brand awareness and reach new clients.
With a clean interface and support for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest, Buffer offers a great option for small business looking for an effortless way to share and publish content across multiple networks.
Buffer also happens to be one of the most straight forward and easiest to learn with simple tutorials that explain how the program works and the advantages of various features.
These include extensions for Chrome, Firefox and Safari that allow you to share webpages and articles with the click of a button, basic analytics to track your social results, the ability to schedule posts for days or weeks in advance and more.
Best of all, Buffer offers a free version (though there are limitations to the number of scheduled posts and analytics features), but the next price level is only $9.99 per month.
Supporting Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube and Instagram, Hootsuite offers more options as far as social networks are concerned, as well as a tab-based interface for managing multiple accounts.
Additionally, Hootsuite has a unique app directory that lets you integrate and monitor other networks and services than the core supported social platforms. Some of these include Flickr, SlideShare, Constant Contact, Mailchimp, and Sales Force.
However, Hootsuite is not quite as user-friendly as Buffer and may require more time to figure out how everything works. While many small firms and practices may find some of the extra features useful, the interface can be confusing at first.
Like Buffer, Hootsuite has several different pricing options available that include a limited free version, though pricing levels start at just $9.99 per month.
Limited to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+, Sprout Social offers the fewest options when it comes to supported social networks.
However, where Sprout Social lacks in quantity, it makes up for in quality analytics and reporting, a clean interface and easy-to-understand dashboard.
Some of the biggest advantages Sprout Social offers include their “Discovery” tool, which helps you easily identify Twitter followers that frequently interact with your posts, as well as those that are inactive or do not follow you back. This helps you determine the accounts that may be worth developing a networking relationship.
Additionally, the real-time analytics provide constant updates on how your content is performing, as well as data about your audience. It can also be linked to Google Analytics for added depth to the reporting features.
Unlike Buffer or Hootsuite, there is not a free option. The lowest tier plan starts at $59 per month, though a free 30-day trial is available.
While all of these programs are similar in that they offer the ability to schedule posts and track analytics, each emphasizes different aspects of social media management. Fortunately, they all offer either a free version or trial, so you have the opportunity to try each and determine which is right for your practice.
Don’t simply dismiss social media marketing as an impractical waste of time; with all the tools available to simplify the process, it takes very little effort to create a simple social strategy to improve your firm’s online reputation and brand awareness.