Time Saving Tools For Managing Social Media Marketing
Sick of having to create interesting things to share on your business’ social media? Then you have to log in to each of your platforms and post the bloody thing… Check out your new likes… Respond to anyone that has liked or commented on any of your recent posts. It’s exhausting!
Don’t despair, there is a better way. There are heaps of different apps and software out there that are designed to make your social media marketing easier. So if you’re looking for a way to improve the quality and efficiency of your social media marketing, check out my top recommendations for time saving tools for managing your social media marketing.
Social media marketing can be broken down into 3 main tasks;
• Producing content
• Scheduling content
• Monitoring results
These 3 areas are equally important in an effective social media strategy. Let’s look at what they are all about and the best tools to manage each area.
Producing content just means preparing the text, images or videos that you’ll be posting. These days you’ve got to have engaging content if you want to compete and interest your customers. That means good design, good quality images, and engaging copy. That’s no easy feat.
With the quality of cameras in new smart phones ever increasing, you can take perfectly good images and videos with your phone. But if you’re still using Word, or worse – Publisher, to create your flyers and such this new solution will CHANGE YOUR LIFE. You won’t need to employ a graphic designer to create impressive content, this will save you time and increase the quality of your graphic design by at least 100 times. Seriously.
The absolute best tool around for content creation is canva – ‘amazingly simple graphic design’. It’s like a super simple version of Illustrator, with a shed load of icons, images, photos, fonts and other design features to use. For those of you that don’t have the time or imagination to come up with your own designs you can choose from hundreds of their in-build templates and simply add your logo, pics and colours. I’m a big fan, and use it for everything that I produce that uses any graphic design elements. From flyers and adverts to infographics and banners.
They also have a number of tutorials that you can go through at your own pace if you want to improve your skills. You can start with a free account or upgrade for around $120 USD a year to get advanced features.
Here’s the link to check it out for yourself – canva. Seriously, do yourself a favour and get signed up now.
Obviously this won’t help you with your video content though. I’m no video expert though, so check out this post on mashable for a list of 10 great video editing apps mashable.
Scheduling your content simply refers to when you’re posting it. Unless you want to be tethered to your phone or computer 24/7, you should look at some scheduling tools so you can plan and organise things in advance. Sort of a ‘set and forget’ approach.
There are a few options when it comes to scheduling software or apps. Hubspot, for example, is fantastic, but quite expensive and probably overkill for a small business. I recommend checking out buffer if you’re a beginner or hootsuite if you have intermediate level skills.
With Buffer, you can write a bunch of posts at one time, choose which social profiles to send them to, and then Buffer will spread them out throughout the day or week so that you don’t have to be at a computer all the time in order to have a social media presence. You can also attach a photo, video or animated GIF to any of your posts. You can choose the time, or buffer will use its own internal research to choose the best time to post.
It’s a very easy to use platform, which you’ll be able to pick up pretty well straight away. It only works with facebook and twitter though, so if you also use Instagram or any other platform you’ll have to do that separately.
Buffer has a free basic account and you can upgrade for more business friendly features. They have a great blog with tips on how to improve your social media presence too. Buffer is for you if you are a tech newbie and facebook or twitter are your most important social media platforms. Here’s the link to check it out buffer.
Hootsuite is a pretty comprehensive social media management tool. It has a free version where you can add up to 3 social media profiles. You might have twitter, facebook and Instagram for instance. If you have more you can get the pro version for $9.99 US a month. You can schedule unlimited posts, again nominating your own time or getting hootsuite to decide the best time.
The best thing about hootsuite though is that you can reply and engage with others directly through the platform. See who has commented on your posts and reply to them all in the one place. Hootsuite is a little more complicated to get the hang of, as it does a lot more.
They also have a pretty awesome blog with tips to get better at social media and a Hootsuite University to even teach you! Hootsuite is for you if you have some tech expertise and Instagram is your best social media platform (or you use more than 3 social media platforms) Here’s the link to hootsuite.
Although both these tools allow you to ‘set and forget’ to a degree, don’t forget to monitor your engagement. Keep reading for more on that.
Simply put – you’ve got to measure what you do to see if it’s working.
This is the third, and the most boring, but by far the most important part of your social media marketing. Just imagine the time and resources you could save by knowing what your audience likes, where to find them, and when to post?
Unfortunately there’s no such thing that lets you to see integrated analytics that span all your social media platforms. Each social media platform has their own reports, which you can access using the ‘analytics’ tab. There you’ll find some useful information if you drill down on your audience, their engagement, and the effectiveness of your content.
Yep, I also mentioned Hootsuite before – that’s because it’s a pretty comprehensive tool. As well as helping you schedule your posts across different social media platforms, the paid service provides access and can even customise your own reports.
While they only cover each platform individually, you can still access them all in the same place, and the charts make the data easy to understand. Hootesuite requires an intermediate skill level, so save the $$$ if you’re a beginner.
Iconosquare is an Instagram specific tool. It does a lot of things, but I’m putting it in the monitoring results section because that’s what I think it does best.
It has heaps of pretty charts to tell you which of your content is the most popular, what are the most popular filters you’re using, the best time to post, which hashtags to use.
You can also track likes and comments of your photos and respond within the platform.
And you can view your feed in a thumbnail style. So you don’t have to scroll down one image at a time like on your phone.
You can even identify influencers by industry and geographic location so you can see who the top foodie influencers are on Instagram in Australia – pretty neat, huh?
Best of all – it’s completely free. Here’s the link for iconosquare.
I hope you’ve found something new here to help you. Let me know if you have any comments or questions below. I hope you’ve been finding our marketing posts helpful. Please let me know if there are any other marketing issues you’ve got and I’ll try to help you solve them 🙂