Today’s blog post is a guest post from our favorite social media guru, Jennifer Greene. Enjoy!
As you build your business, you know the importance of having a strong presence on social media. The word of mouth benefit, the ability to join in conversations about your brand, and simply keeping up on the latest news in your industry are all solid reasons to take part in social media. However, it is definitely a good way to suck up a lot of time for seemingly few results.
How do you know who to talk to? What to talk about? What’s the difference between the platforms, and why do some people have so many followers or fans while you never seem to get any? It can all be so overwhelming that you don’t even want to touch it – much less try out the tools that could make social media a lot easier.
If you’re not taking advantage of social media, but know you should, this will help guide you to some of the best tools that can make juggling all the channels much easier.
For starters, I highly recommend researching the various social media platforms and making an account on the top few to ensure you secure your name or the name of your business. Age of the account can help later on as you start to build followers, so even if you’re not working on it now, someday, you’ll be glad you set up the accounts early.
Once you’ve outlined the answers to these questions, it will help you decide which of the following tools will work best for your situation.
I will proudly say I’m kind of a fangirl of Buffer. They have excellent customer service, an extremely easy to use interface, and they integrate easily with both iOS and Android mobile phone operating systems. You set the schedule for each channel (they recently added Pinterest to their supported social media channels), and then just add the post as you think of it. Buffer automatically schedules it for you based on the times you set already – so you just write the post and let it go. Once you get into the habit of buffering your posts and adding articles as you find them online or on your phone, you’ll find you easily have days or weeks worth of content ready to go at any moment. It is free for two channels and up to 10 posts, or $10 for 10 channels and 250 posts (I’ve never come close to hitting that). It tracks clicks, works with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus pages, and now Pinterest as well. For easy scheduling, you really can’t go wrong. However, you can’t see replies or content streams, which leads me to the next great low cost option….
Once I started using Buffer, I could never really get comfortable again with Hootsuite’s scheduling system, but it does let you schedule all posts by setting the date and time for each one. Hootsuite lets you see the feeds for Twitter and Facebook pages, as well as LinkedIn, Google Plus, and your WordPress blog, too. You can set up streams to view statuses and updates side by side, which is incredibly helpful for trying to keep up on Twitter chats, LinkedIn discussions, and more. It lets you see a stream of search terms (great for Twitter – who is saying what about your brand), mentions, and more. There’s a free version, which is limited, and there’s a paid $9.99 per month version which will take care of pretty much everything a small business needs. Between Buffer and Hootsuite, if you just want to schedule and review things for your business, you should be pretty set.
The Pinterest scheduling app for when you want to go to the next level on Pinterest. At the same level of affordability for the basic plan as Hootsuite or Buffer, Tailwind is only $10 a month for the Plus subscription. What it does is let you set a queue for your pins, and pins them when there are the highest number of followers online. You can upload images and have them link to your website, and you can schedule pins to go to various boards. I’ve seen incredible results for clients through the use of Tailwind, with jumps of engagement and pins of over 100% and more in just a few weeks. Check it out here – if you’re using Pinterest as one of your social media platforms, you should have been using this a while ago. It’ll analyze your boards, your pins, and your followers, and provides a ton of data that helps you make your business’s Pinterest quite successful.
This is the beginning of the next step-up in cost. MeetEdgar has been so popular that you have to submit your email to get invited to use the app once you’ve found it. When I signed up, it was $49 a month, and price has gone up since then. What it does is let you build a library of statuses – I recommend using what they term “evergreen” statuses, those that don’t have a time constraint on them and would be relevant no matter when they post. You can create categories for the statuses, and from there, set a schedule for when posts go out. What’s beautiful about it is that your statuses get continually recycled. Your content never goes away, and the bigger your status library, the better it works. It ensures that even if only 6% of your followers saw a post when it first went out, there’s an excellent chance a different 6% will see it the second, third, or fifth time.
This is what you’ll want when your social media management reaches a point that it is worth it to have scheduling, reports, feeds, and curated content all in one easy to use place. Sprout Social is my preferred platform as a social media manager, and if you are a busy business owner, I can’t recommend it enough.
The viralpost feature lets you set how often during the day you want posts to run, and you simply compose and add posts from any tab in the dashboard. You can add Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and GooglePlus easily, as well as Google Analytics. I also hooked up my Feedly account, which allows me to have a curated RSS feed for each account, meaning I can easily share curated content from other sources without having to google it. You can smart search through Twitter for key words, new accounts to follow, and it even acts as a basic CRM by letting you take notes on contacts that you can see when you click on them. At $99 a month for the level that lets you use viralpost, it’s not cheap, but it is worth it when it comes to saved time across multiple channels.
At higher cost packages, you can also add users, meaning you can delegate tasks and responses to various members of your social media team (if you have one), or simply have a company Sprout Social account. It lets your staff manage Facebook and Twitter without logging into their personal accounts; for some managers, that can be quite valuable in ensuring no wasted time outside of company accounts.
At the moment, I am also in a free trial for Nimble, a CRM management tool that combines social media information for all your contacts across multiple channels. I am still quite new to the platform and learning its ins and outs, but if you’re in sales, consulting, or coaching, it has a ton of potential value as a way to manage your leads. Check out this article from the amazing Jack Kosakowski, an extremely talented “social seller”, who wrote about his experience with Nimble. He’s also very nice and worth connecting with on Twitter – say hi to him with @JackKosakowski1 !
That wraps up my highest rated tools for social media management. Be sure to check out my blog for more in depth reviews of the various platforms based on my use of all of them, as well as a breakdown of the best Twitter chats and dashboards to use to easily participate.
Jennifer Greene is an experienced social media marketer, skilled at utilizing various social media channels to build brand influence for both B2C and B2B companies. From strategy to implementation, training or staff support, Jen makes social media as easy and painless as possible for clients. Learn more about how to streamline your social media process – check out Tyrannosaurus Marketing for details!
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