The results are in: Forrester released their quarterly analysis of social media management solutions this summer, identifying the top SMM suites and vendors used today. The study identified major needs clients have, scoring the biggest names in social media management based on their abilities to meet those needs. Because cultivating a social following isn’t limited to large companies and B2C brands, Forrester also scored the best SMM tools based on their focus outside the B2C space.
Which SMM tools are best given the recent study? We’ve picked out the top three based on each platform’s biggest strength, helping you find the tool that’s best suited to your own needs. Whether you want to work on responsiveness, get the most out of your ads or navigate a social media crisis, we’ll help you find the best SMM suite based on Forrester’s findings.
Where SMM Tools are Headed: The Features You Need Most
Social media management is not just a matter of marketing anymore, nor is it simply about community management. For some brands, social media management tools are increasingly used by multiple departments: content generation/design, customer service, sales and community monitors. When everyone at a company is involved in social media management, enhanced response management is key—both for team collaboration and for responding to fans.
Advertising is also becoming a big need for social media management teams. According to the Forrester report, most businesses are expanding their advertising efforts and boosting posts (most notably on Facebook). With the need to drive engagement and moderate discussion around these promoted posts, advertising capabilities are increasingly essential to the best SMM tools.
The Best SMM Suite in a Crisis: Lithium
Brands must be equipped to respond quickly to a crisis. In times of crisis or tragedy, it can be easy for a brand to unintentionally offend their fans with a seemingly tone-deaf post. And when a brand is in the midst of a reputational crisis, it’s best to halt all communication until a response is drafted and published. Forrester identifies Lithium’s Social Media Management product as a leading social media management tool, highlighting its automated post locking system. The platform allows a team to pause all postings in a time of crisis. For brands with large or multi-department teams, this is a great feature to ensure no post slips by during a moratorium. Because your posting is paused—not deleted—you won’t lose any of your content; it’s there and ready for publishing as soon as the crisis blows over.
A large part of reputation management that Forrester’s report neglects is comment moderation. Comment moderation point solutions like our very own allow entire teams to act swiftly to stamp out problematic posts. This allows for representatives to engage with commenters and monitor their communities more easily.
The Best SMM Tool for Ad Management: Sprinklr
With increased focus on boosting posts, social media management solutions must offer ad implementation. But it’s not just about creating and publishing social media ads; social media management involves facilitating and responding to discussions around promoted posts, too. For this reason, Sprinklr’s Experience Cloud, another leading social media management tool identified by Forrester, offers full ad functionality within its platform. It’s the platform of choice for brands looking to expand their advertising strategy on a given social network—especially if they need to coordinate personnel from different departments (marketing, community management, sales, etc.) to do so.
The Best SMM Suite for App Integration: Hootsuite
Social media management platforms aren’t very helpful if it doesn’t play nice with your existing technology. While many SMM tools offer integration into point solutions, many users experience friction when trying to connect apps to their suite of choice. But integration is key for analytics purposes and ease of use, allowing social media managers to get a comprehensive view of their communities at a glance. Forrester commended Hootsuite in particular for its integration philosophy. Thanks to its App Directory, Hootsuite makes it incredibly easy to continue using your favorite SMM tools within the platform (including Smart Moderation!), offering a customized approach rather than a one-size-fits-all platform. If you’re managing your community with Hootsuite, you can check our guide to the platform with tips here.
Point Solutions Still Make Strong Social Media Management Tools
While most of the clients Forrester polled agreed that it’s more effective to buy all social tools from a single vendor, the group stands by their recommendation of using best-of-breed point solutions. These include niche tools that fulfill a specific purpose. Again, this is where the importance in integration sits with enterprise suites: point solutions allow brands to adapt their approach to their specific needs, and a good SMM suite should allow them to manage these tools.