Managing Your Online Marketing Efforts
The opportunities to market your food business online through the well-established online marketing channels is endless. Given the many platforms offering free opportunities to publish content and that the promotion of that content is scalable, it’s tempting for food businesses to jump at creating a presence on many or all of them. However, it’s important to consider the overall expense of being on multiple channels both in real dollars and the tradeoffs in terms of resources to manage an online marketing campaign. Attracting a new visitor to a website or converting a visitor to a sale, both have costs that should be weighed against the value of their initial and repeat sales.
One option is to hire a social media or content specialist to manage the process on your behalf. Many individual practitioners and small firms can offer services for food businesses in the early stages of their social media communications initiative. We’ve provided several paths to resources here. For those interested in creating and managing their own online presence, but looking for assistance.
Leading Social Media Management Platforms
Social media management companies offer their clients services to help schedule, manage and publish posts with ease and trackability. Three of the leading platforms are summarized and compared here. Similar to website hosting platforms, each offer unique benefits on top of a core set of similar services.
Hootsuite is a social media management platform that helps companies optimize their time by scheduling posts, pictures, or videos for publishing via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Pinterest. The tool allows the user to build out a social media campaign and schedule posts for specific predated times without pushing the ‘send button’ for each individual post. The system offers four subscription levels to accommodate number of users and social profiles. The platform is organized on one dashboard to help schedule, publish and manage content. Hootsuite enables users to create custom reporting and analytical tracking–more so than Buffer and Sprout Social.
Sprout Social is a social media management and optimization platform that provides a single hub platform for social media publishing, analytics, and engagement across all social profiles. It offers full integrations with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Pinterest. And similar to Hootsuite offers plans for various numbers of users and social profiles. Sprout Social hosts a three-tiered subscription model but does not offer a free user option. However, it does have a 30-day free trial. Sprout Social has a user-friendly interface and offers extra features like social CRM and audience discovery capabilities.
Buffer is a software application designed to manage accounts in social networks by providing a means for a user to schedule posts to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram (IGTV), and LinkedIn. Buffer has two services that go hand-in-hand but are individually priced: Buffer Publish and Buffer Analyze. Buffer hosts a five-tiered subscription model with a free option. Buffer is a point solution platform, meaning the software focuses on one point of your social media presence–content publishing and scheduling. Food businesses only focused on publishing and scheduling content may find this platform efficient rather than an all-in-one social media management tool like Hootsuite and Sprout Social.