By now, every business owner should know they need a social media presence. The current issue that looms over businesses large and small is how to organize and track their multiple social channels.
As the demand for social media management tools increases, entrepreneurs have been more than happy to supply solutions.
To give you an idea of what's out there, here's a round up of the 10 most popular business tools companies can use to organize their social network accounts.
HootSuite offers three packages -- Basic, Pro and Enterprise -- that are targeted toward small or medium-sized businesses and others who need control and analytics for their online activity.
Users who sign up for the free basic plan get five profiles and two RSS feeds for Facebook and Twitter, as well as a 30-day free trial for its stats-tracking service, Ow.ly Pro. After the free trial expires, users can either purchase an upgrade or stick with the basic plan.
Pro Plans range from $5.99 to $49.99 per month and include unlimited profiles, RSS feeds, and Ow.ly stats, one "team member" to help you maintain your status updates, Google Analytics Integration, and more.
The company's Enterprise Package costs about $1,500 per month or $2,000 per month if you want to use a vanity URL shortener. This delux service includes geo-segmented social network monitoring, a full-featured analytics package, Zendesk integration, "HootSuite University" certification training and other features.
2. Sprout Social
Sprout Social is a social relationship manager designed to help small businesses and brands manage multiple social networks from one place. Prices start at $9.99 per month under Sprout Social Professional, which lets you manage up to five identities.
Sprout Social Professional can monitor Twitter, Facebook (fan and personal pages) and LinkedIn. This means you can search, monitor and cross-post to networks, schedule messages to be posted, as well as track links and referrals.
For $49.99 per month, Sprout Social Business lets you manage 10 identities or locations. You also get additional metrics, more advanced tracking data, Foursquare and Yelp support, geotargeting ,and the ability to create daily specials or offers.
Used by Facebook's internal marketing team, Involver offers four packages: Basic (free), Professional ($99/month), Business ($549/month) and Enterprise ($2,749/month).
The basic package consists of a number of social media tools, such as RSS Feed, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, etc., from which you can choose two that will be added to your Facebook page. Each succeeding plan offers more tools like analytics, an account manager to set up your accounts (comes with Business and Enterprise), multi-media publishing (publish images, audio, video, and text across multiple networks) as well as tech support.
Users can choose between CoTweet's free Standard plan or its new paid option, Enterprise. The Standard plan is aimed at individuals and organizations that manage a small number of Twitter accounts and need only basic features to manage their conversations. CoTweet Standard offers Tweet scheduling, email notifications, multiple account publishing, click tracking, message assignments, and some analytics reporting. It does not include Facebook account access or have a native iPhone app.
Last year CoTweet added a paid option to its standard plan, which provides additional analytics and tweet history and starts at $7,000 per year. The Enterprise plan includes more detailed analytics resources, a lifetime archive of customer interactions, faster Twitter updates, and help with account management from CoTweet's team.
An oldie but a goodie, Tweetdeck is a free tool that has been ramping up its features.
In addition to managing Facebook and Twitter accounts, users can also update their Foursquare, LinkedIn, Googlebuzz and MySpace accounts, share photos on Flickr, watch YouTube videos and more.
Vitrue offers three main components -- Vitrue Tabs, Vitrue Publisher, and Vitrue Apps -- to help businesses personalize their social media networks.
With Vitrue Tabs, users get a content management system for creating a Facebook fan page and custom homepage. Tabs lets users manage as few as one Facebook page and one Twitter stream to multiple streams.
Vitrue Apps helps you create custom videos, photo slideshows, polls, surveys, coupons and other marketing tools for Facebook.
Vitrue Publisher allows you to post scheduled messages and apps to Facebook and Twitter as well as monitor responses to your posts.
Vitrue offers a month-to-month license in three price plans, beginning with a $300 entry-level package. For more information, first tell Vitrue what your budget and tech needs are here.
Formerly known as TweetLater, SocialOomph lets users schedule messages on both Twitter and Facebook Fan pages and send targeted messages to specific audiences.
The Twitter scheduling feature is free while Facebook scheduling is available for $29.97 a month with the Professional plan. The paid plan also includes a spam-blocking feature; users can customize this with their own spam words.
Ping.fm is a free service that allows you to "ping" or update multiple social media accounts and transmit the same data or message to various accounts.
Ping is designed to provide the easiest way possible for users to post to their social networks all at once. It's a simple service that eliminates the middle man when it comes to posting information on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Bebo, Blogger and other networks.
Gist integrates all your contacts to one location from Salesforce, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, email, and other sources onto one dashboard, which you can divide among people and companies.
It pulls news and updates from the various networks onto one newsfeed automatically. Gist also recently added Tungle to its list of integrated profiles.
10. Nutshell Mail
Nutshell Mail brings social networks to your email inbox for free, enabling you to keep track of all your Facebook, Twitter, and other email accounts by sending scheduled, consolidated email alerts.
Nutshell Mail sends one email updating you on multiple social media accounts, such as Facebook and Twitter, without clogging up your inbox. It's ideal for those who have several accounts but aren't heavy social network users.