Small Business Marketing Social Media

Social Media Tools for your running your social media more efficiently (and most of them are free!)

As we all know Social Media presence is a must for any business, whether you are using it to develop your brand, communicate your products or services or to directly sell to your customers.

Managing your social media presence can seem like such a huge task, but it doesn’t have to be.

Aaaaannd it has the potential to be sooooo time consuming.  So to help you on your way here are some suggestions of the tools that I use to keep it as simple as possible (and not suck up too many hours!).

And the bonus?  Many of these are free for the basic or into package (with a paid option for upgraded features)

So if you are struggling to manage your social media accounts on a consistent basis then check out a few of our suggestions – there are lots of options but these are the ones that we like the best.

Scheduling

Buffer:

Buffer is a really simple tool for scheduling and posting updates to Twitter, Facebook and Linked In.  To also be able to schedule to Google + and Pinterest and to have more than 10 updates in the queue  at anyone time, you do need to upgrade to the awesome. The interface is easy to use, and its quick and easy to get going with Buffer. There is a mobile app to go alongside the Desktop version and they have added features such as Pablo – which makes it easy to add images to your posts. They have a library of over 50, 000 royalty free photos and a text editor so you can be creating great graphics easily. More info at buffer.com & pablo.buffer.com

Hootsuite:

Probably the most comprehensive but also the most complex of the tools Hootsuite is a management and listening tool in one.  The dashboard can be confusing at first,  but Hootsuite does offer  great features for both scheduling and monitoring your accounts (more on that later!) Hootsuite allows for you to schedule Facebook, Twitter LinkedIn, G+ and Instagram (kinda). The free version allows you to add up to 3 social profiles, schedule your posts and gives you some basic analytics.  More info at Hootsuite

Hootsuite Dashboard
Hootsuite Dashboard

Edgar:

The relative new kid on the block compared to others Edgar uniquely will repurpose content and repost if you haven’t had time to top up your content. Basically you enter content ( yours and curated content) to your library, you set up a posting schedule, connect your accounts and then Edgar does the rest.  Once posted Edgar adds the content back in the queue so if you are ever too busy to top up your library Edgar will repost for you – ensuring that you continue to post consistently to all your profiles. At the moment Edgar only works for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, although it does allow posting to Facebook Groups which is a real bonus. More info at meetedgar.com

Tailwind:

Tailwind is the app for you if you are working a lot with Pinterest. essentially  it allows you to save time as it  allows Multi-board pinning, bulk upload, has a drag-and-drop calendar all of which help to mitigate time spent on Pinterest. Done right and Pinterest can be a great platform for referring traffic to your website. As with Postplanner there is no free plan (although they do offer a month free trial) and the basic plan starts at $9.99 per month. More info at Tailwind

Content Curation

A core component of social media marketing is content curation. There is the old adage that 20% of what you share on social should be your own content and 80% should be content curated from other sites. The key here though is to ensure that it is the right content for you community and you are providing engaging content in a consistent manner.

post planner:

The peeps over at post planner provide a platform which makes it easier to find, plan and post content that increases your engagement on Facebook & Twitter. it works by providing a dashboard of engaging content – think fluffy bunnies, funny memes etc and allows you to easily report to your own sites.

The postplanner dashboard - select from high performing content
The postplanner dashboard – select from high performing content

You can also add your own favourite sites to pull in content from to ensure that your content stays relevant to your target audience. For example in my Postplanner account Ive added such sites as Conde Nast Traveller and Travel Photography # so I can see all the high performing content straight away in my dashboard making it easier to  find and share content.

content pulled into dashboard to select from #travel photography
content pulled into dashboard to select from #travel photography

There is no free version of postplanner but you can get started with the basic version from $7 per month. Check it out at Postplanner

Feedly:

I was recently re-introduced to Feedly and its is a great tool for keeping track of all the blogs you follow and finding you great content. Basically you can keep track of all your favourite blogs, news sites, websites all in one place. When you see an article you like you can then shar eit to your connect social profiles from right there within your feedly account. Its important to spend a bit of time setting it up correctly but once done it means you only have to go to one place to check all the updates of your favourite sites.  And since they are so helpful they have a lovely tutorial of how to make the most of the site features. More info at Feedly

Brand consistency

Probably the most important thing to think about on your social media accounts is that you present your social media images, graphics and quotes in a consistent way.   This uses to be a bit of a problem if you were not a whizz with Photoshop, but thanks to some great web and mobile apps, there are now loads of tools out there to make even the least creative person look fab. Canva, Wordswag, Steller, Typorama all offer great solutions for creating the types of graphics you see at the top of this post, as well as story books. Again all are free to use at the basic level but if you want to have more features and remove the app branding for example you might need to pay a one off fee.  We will be covering these apps in an upcoming blog.

If you like this blog (or didnt) or have any questions then please comment below – or why not check us out for more tips and connect at  Twitter, Instagram, G+

 

Author Info

Caroline Sumners

Blogging about small business marketing, venues, events and social media!

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