8 Awesome Time-Saving Social Media Marketing Tools
Being a social media manager, digital marketer, content marketing coordinator, or any other similar position at a small business is tough. We need all the help we can get. Enter the social media marketing tools!
Bigger businesses spread copywriting, content marketing, content strategy, social media strategy and creation, social media customer relations, and overarching digital strategy out over different individuals per role. Heck, there might even be multiple people doing each of those jobs. I can’t even imagine what that’s like.
The Forge and Smith team is a small, close-knit group of craftspeople who wear many hats. I handle the Forge brand social media (except Instagram, because Damian says my non-iPhone can’t take real photos). I also manage social media for several of our clients, write most of our blog copy, create monthly digital strategy reports for clients, provide copywriting for website redesigns… the list goes on.
For everyone out there who works at the front desk while also handling social media, or writes posts between answering phone calls, or was asked to “do social media” for a business because no one else has time or knows how — social media marketing tools can save you countless hours.
Here are my current favourite (and free!) time-saving tools that you need in your belt.
1. Pocket/Save to Pocket
Pocket is my new BFF. I’m not kidding. If you need to curate other sources’ content to share on social media — and you should for a healthy content balance — this is exactly the tool for you.
I used to frantically scroll through Twitter on my walk to work and in bed at night, find potential content, and email myself the links to read later and possibly schedule. Talk about time-consuming. Pocket allows you to easily save content in one attractive dashboard.
I have the Pocket app on my phone and the Save to Pocket Chrome extension in my browsers. One click on the extension or selecting “share to Pocket” tucks everything away for later, easily accessible when you find a chunk of time. I pair Pocket with Buffer for quick and easy content curation and scheduling.
Momentum is probably the gentlest nagging productivity tool ever. This extension creates a to-do list that appears every time you open a new browser tab, and the list is set against a rotating backdrop of gorgeous scenic photos.
The best part about Momentum for obsessive list lovers is that when you complete a task and check the box, a line goes through that item and stays that way all day. It’s incredibly satisfying, and better than sticky notes.
Buffer and Hootsuite are similar social media scheduling tools that I highly recommend for small business. I use both apps, and have both browser extensions. A free Buffer account allows you to set a content schedule and queue up to 10 posts at a time on your chosen days and times. The paid plans give you more connected accounts, more scheduled posts, and post analytics.
Automated scheduling is a dream come true for sharing non-brand content (like the kind you store in Pocket) with your followers. Once your schedule is set, curating content can be one click away.
When reading any article you like, click on the Buffer extension. A window pops up with the blog title already composed. If you’re in a rush, one click adds it to your queue, shares it now, shares it next, or schedules it. Content added to the queue is dropped into the next available slot based on your schedule.
If you have half an hour to read blogs saved in Pocket, you can add one after another seamlessly into the queue and fill up days at a time in minutes. I always tweak the suggested text and add hashtags to make it searchable and unique to Forge, but that’s your call.
A free Buffer account is currently compatible with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. Its analytics also give you helpful stats on all past posts.
The downside to the free account is that you can only schedule 10 posts per profile at a time, so you do have to keep on top of filling it up. An Awesome account is quite affordable and allows a much bigger queue, as well as the ability to specify a unique schedule per day rather than the same times across the board, which I prefer for weekends.
Like Buffer, Hootsuite is all about simple scheduling. Instead of remembering to post on Facebook every day, you can sit down and compose any number of posts at once and schedule them for 8am every day.
With a free Hootsuite account you can connect up to three social profiles, and easily schedule the same content to Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, and more. The Hootlet extension works the same way as Buffer’s, with a pop-up that allows you to auto schedule, post now, or schedule for later.
The downside to using the Hootlet to schedule later posts is that unless you use auto scheduling, there is no way to tell if you’ve already got another post scheduled for the same time without launching the Dashboard and consulting your queue. I need to manually set post times for some clients, so Buffer wins for quick curation through the browser.
I don’t recommend using Hootsuite of Buffer for Instagram. Both allow you to schedule posts, but you still have to be available to receive and confirm push messages in order for them to post. Kind of defeats the whole purpose.
If you’re wearing many hats, you likely perpetually have many browser windows open. I have two monitors, and sometimes there are usually 15+ tabs in each one. What you might not know is that all of those tabs are using memory, which can impact your machine’s performance.
OneTab does exactly what it says and puts everything into one clean tab. When you click on one item from the list it relaunches a new tab, but the ones you were keeping open, maybe as a reminder of another task for later, stay filed away. It’s not complicated, and it works.
Klout has content exploration and scheduling options, but the element I love and use is ranking measurement. Klout measures users’ social ranking based on analytics from their connected profiles. It’s compatible with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and several more platforms.
While it can be an ego boost (or an ego buzzkill) to see your own score, enabling the extension allows you to see everyone’s scores on Twitter – right next to their tweets! When you’re starting out this doesn’t make much difference because you’ll probably follow back most profiles to build a base. Down the road, however, it’s helpful to see those scores for more finely tuned following.
The Klout extension basically allows you to silently judge everyone on Twitter from the comfort of your chair, and only allow the good ones into the inner circle.
7. feedly/feedly Mini
This app is my newest friend, and one that I’m already loving. feedly is a news aggregation tool, great for content curation, and incredibly user-friendly. The app allows you to tailor a steady flow of articles on your favourite topics by setting up folders channeling specific blogs, topics, or website addresses, and it displays them all in one beautifully organized dashboard.
I can’t say enough about Feedly’s attractive layout. You can customize how you view each blog, and easily share content you’re viewing to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Buffer, Hootsuite, and more. Like Flipboard and other magazine-style apps, it’s a highly customizable resource for excellent content curation.
The feedly Mini extension appears in the lower right corner of pages you’re viewing (don’t look for it up at the top with your other extensions), and allows you to easily add new blogs you’ve discovered to your feedly.
8. Social Analytics
This is a sweet extension that displays exactly what it says – the social analytics – for any page you’re viewing. The stats provided include Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest. Why would you want to view that kind of information? When curating content it can be helpful to see its performance on your intended sharing platform. But more importantly, it’s awesome for quick real-time stats on your own brand’s content.
If you want to stalk the performance of your own blogs without needing higher level analytics access and while getting other work done, Social Analytics is a great tool.
The downside is that it’s no longer compatible with Twitter. There’s a link to accessing that information via Topsy, but it doesn’t work for non-iOS users.
Bonus: Adblock for YouTube™
This extension doesn’t save time, but it sure does make my job better so I had to include it. Adblock for YouTube™ blocks ads from playing before YouTube videos (in case that wasn’t obvious from the title).
I need silence or lyric-free music to get into my creative groove for writing blog copy. In an office environment, silence isn’t often an option. Spotify and Songza are great, but sometimes you just really want to hear a particular soundtrack. In December I listened to the Nutcracker Suite about 100 times, and this awesome extension prevented all those annoying ads from interrupting me getting my Tchaikovsky on.
I hope some of these social media marketing tools make your social media marketing and content curation easier. To quote Canadian comic and handyman Red Green, “keep your stick on the ice. We’re all in this together.”