5 Tools to Stay on Top of Social Media
Social media management is one of those tasks that technology has added to a small business owners already very long ‘to do’ list. And as a social media consultant here’s my favourite time-saving tip for you.
“Plan and schedule your social media posts in weekly or monthly batches."
Now this might sound obvious, yet very few people actually do it. I spend around one hour one day a week, creating and curating content for the week and scheduling that content to be published at strategic times. This one tip will save you hours of time and stress.
Once I’ve put together the social media content, I schedule it to be published at strategic times of the day using a number of different applications.
These are my top 5 social media scheduling applications:
1. Facebook Native Scheduling
Where ever possible, I try and schedule Facebook Page posts directly within Facebook. It’s a known fact that Facebook isn’t overly keen on 3rd party scheduling apps; I’m not saying Facebook don’t allow scheduling apps, it’s just that your scheduled content may not get as much reach if you use a 3rd party app opposed to the native scheduler in Facebook.
TIP: To schedule in Facebook, click on the drop-down to the right of the ‘Publish’ button on the status update box and select ‘Schedule’.
With a simple interface, easy scheduling and generous free plan, Buffer is the first choice for many small business owners. Buffer allows you to add several social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and now Instagram) and schedule up to 10 social media posts ahead of time.
To make things easier for you, Buffer is available on all web browsers, and offers Android and iOS app versions, as well. Within Buffer you can setup preferred posting times and then add content into a silo. Team Buffer with Feedly.com and you’ve got a powerful content curation machine as well.
HootSuite is one step ahead of Buffer regarding the features and functionalities it offers. You can opt for the free version which allows you to add up to 3 social media profiles, or start a monthly plan from USD$9.99 and enjoy the full range of features, including monitoring your social media activity and preparing a small selection of free reports on how well your posts perform. The paid version allows you to add your profiles from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+ and LinkedIn and lets you install other apps like YouTube and RSS Feeds.
Even more attractive for scheduling posts is the Autoschedule function, which uses your previous posting history to schedule your posts accordingly.
For USD$7 per month, Post Planner makes it easy to find, plan and post content across Facebook and Twitter. The app has a unique engine that goes out and finds relevant top performing content that you can curate and schedule, saving you loads of research time.
As an added bonus, Post Planner also research top performing hashtags so that your content can be found more easily by people interested in those topics.
One of the more pricey applications, SproutSocial starts at US$59 per user per month, but it’s packed with time-saving features to make your social media tasks a breeze, especially if you have teams of people working together on your business’ social media strategy.
SproutSocial provides a unified social inbox where teams can monitor and engage across all your business’ social media platforms from the one spot. Sounds like a time-saver to me.
As a business owner myself, I understand that we’re all looking for the most cost-effective time-saving tactics. So do yourself a favour and look into testing out some of these applications to find the one that you feel will provide the best time-saving results for you.
When it comes to being more productive, it is generally about establishing the right rituals, routines and systems. In this instance it applies to social media, but this concept works in any aspect of our daily business life.
About the contributor:
Tracy Raiteri is a social media marketing 'technician' with a knack for demystifying the complex world of social media and online marketing. Her goal is to help local businesses understand, develop and implement an effective and efficient digital marketing plan. She publishes articles that help small business owners and their internal teams work out what they should be doing online and how to do it without wasting time and money.