Social Media Management Platform Buying Guide

How to choose the best social media management platform for your business

The guide below outlines the importance of asking specific questions when choosing the best social media management platform. Here's a link for those who prefer to jump straight to the printable checklist.

When it comes to choosing a Social Media Management platform of the enterprise, there are many factors to consider. It’s important to start broad by clearly defining your content team's high-level strategy, then move to more specific tactics and ultimately day to day workflow.

The questions are broken into five main sections:

  • Your Content -- what kind of content are you creating and why
  • Your Audience -- who are you targeting and which networks are they on
  • Your Team -- who are the people actually implementing your social strategy
  • You Workflow -- what day to day needs do you have for a social platform

Your Content:

  • What is your goal for publishing content on social?

    This is the core question you need to answer before looking at specific platforms or features. Are you hoping to generate leads? Build awareness? Engage customers in conversation? Once you solidify your high-level goal, you can define the appropriate tactics to achieve it, and only then does it make sense to identify a platform with the right mix of features to support your strategy.

  • Will you be doing paid promotion?

    It's uncommon for teams to be able to accomplish their goals by relying solely on organic reach. If you're planning to supplement your content’s reach and engagement with paid promotion, make sure the social platform you choose supports both paid and organic, or at very least makes it easy to interface between the two.

  • How much content do you produce? What kind of content is it?

    Are you putting out a few simple blog posts per week, or hundreds of posts per day? Is your content mostly links, or rich content like videos? Finding a platform that’s optimized for your workflow will make life your life significantly easier.

Your Audience

  • Which social networks do you care about publishing to?

    For most brands, one or two key social networks deliver the majority of their results. Make sure you choose a platform that supports the networks you need to publish to, and will make the lower priority outlets easy to manage. You’ll want to factor in how much bandwidth you have for creating content, as well as which platforms your target audience members favor.

  • Are you targeting specific audience segments?

    Chances are there’s a particular group of people or interests you are trying to engage. Ensure your platform is capable of helping you reach those particular people.

  • Does your content have any restrictions?

    Some brands sell products or services that are only legal for people of a certain age, while others have to deal with laws or platform restrictions around publishing and promoting specific subject matter. If that’s a concern for you, make sure your social platform can support this need.

Your Team:

  • How many team members do you have?

    If you have multiple team members, they’ll probably need to collaborate and share access to your brand’s social profiles, so it’s important to find a platform that makes this easy.
  • How is your team structured?

    It’s fairly common to have multiple teams within an organization, all of whom need access to the same social media management platform. This can become a nightmare if your vendor isn’t ready to support the challenges that come with collaborating across multiple locations, time zones, and groups of people. Be sure to evaluate whether the platform you choose can handle sharing social profiles, managing creative assets and permissions, and optimizing workflow in a way that will scale with your brand as you grow.

  • Do you need to varying levels of access or permissions?

    If you need to limit access to specific features for some or your users, it’s important to consider whether you’ll be able to create multiple roles within the system, such as admins, editors, etc.

Your Workflow

  • Do you publish the same content to multiple networks?

    If so, you’ll need a platform that can support that. Some platforms require you to define each network’s posts manually, while others enable automatic cross-posting.

  • Do you re-post the same content multiple times?

    Only a small portion of your audience will see any given post, so many teams recirculate content several times. If this is important to you, choose a platform that will allow you to quickly queue up many posts across multiple networks.

  • Does anyone need to review posts before they go live?

    It’s common to have one team member create drafts, and another set them live. Not all platforms support this.

  • How are you importing your content?

    Some platforms make it easier than others to import your content, with some requiring everything to be done manually, and others allowing bulk import via RSS or API. If you’re a high-volume publisher, an automatic option will save you lots of time.

  • Do you need to schedule posts in advance?

    If you’re queueing up a day or week’s worth of posts, consider which options are available do you. Not all platforms are equally flexible, or support intelligent publishing.

Choosing an enterprise social media management platform is a high-stakes process, with many providers to choose from and major implications for your workflow, potentially for years to come. That said, finding the best platform for your needs can pay major dividends on a daily basis and help drive growth for your team.

With all that in mind, you're now ready to start evaluating platforms. We've put together a handy printable version of these questions you can run through and evaluate.