Every social media marketer has felt the effects of time deficit. Between emails and meetings, we try to manage multiple brand accounts across several platforms. Timing is everything and earning a piece of the attention economy takes diligence. Depending on our level of success, we create more work for ourselves through the exponential challenge of responding to comments and capitalizing on engagement.
Fortunately, there are some tools which can make these challenges manageable. In this post I’ll share with you some tips about the (nominally) free software-as-a-service (SaaS) tools that I use each day to manage my social media channels.
Buffer is a valuable time saving social scheduling tool, free for a single user (with limitations). With the click of a button using the Chrome extension I can add any webpage to my Buffer queue, queue tweets & re-tweets for later directly from Twitter, and even re-buffer previous posts from the analytics tab in Buffer. The Buffer app handles Facebook posts (no user tagging), Twitter (tag away), Linked In, and Pinterest.
For around $100 yearly, get upgraded to “Awesome” for 100 post queue limit (free limit 10, which is OK for daily posts to my personal accounts), multiple accounts on each social media platform, and robust analytics. Apart from their useful app, Buffer also provides helpful blog content and a great community team both of which provide social media insights and genuine enthusiasm for everyone, not just Buffer customers.
Bonus: Pablo by Buffer is a great and free tool to quickly create headline graphics for your blog or social media post. They’ve recently updated Pablo with over 50,000 free images–and I’m officially in love with this tool! Pablo deserves its own slot or maybe even post, but for now I’ll include it under Buffer.
Tweetdeck was a SaaS startup acquired by Twitter early-on. Tweetdeck displays a board of columns (not unlike Trello or Pinterest) that show streams of tweets. Great for social listening, twitter chats, curating content, and keeping track of multiple conversations.
Keeping up with individual conversations during Twitter chats can be daunting, so I use these side-by-side columns: Notifications; Favorites; the chat hashtag using a search column; and the chat host’s @Username. Tweetdeck helps me keep track of all the conversation threads, giving me the ability to both answer the chat prompts and engage other users. Tweetdeck is a powerful tool you can also use to segment your audience and deliver targeted content, engage influencers, and/or establish yourself as a thought leader.
Bonus: Another popular tool for Twitter chats is Nurph–which I haven’t had a chance to try. Reviews on Nurph are positive, and I’ve had a few people recommend it to me.
Stay organized with notes, to-do lists, photos, bookmarks (shortcuts), and even audio notes in one place. Organize notes into notebooks (similar folders or stacks) and share your work as a chat using Evernote’s cloud dashboard. The Evernote app allows you to do all those things from your device via app, which syncs to your account. You can also sign in on any browser if you’re borrowing or sharing devices.
Evernote extension for Chrome will save any webpage as a link, article (full) or simplified article (body content only) to your Evernote account with one-click, which I find more convenient than pocket or iOS reading list for saving articles. If I’m being honest, it keeps my home screen from getting clogged with saved articles. Evernote requires nearly zero time to learn, but when used correctly it can save you a lot of time.
If you’re a voracious reader like me, you may not get enough of your favorite blogs through social media (content overload anyone?). To keep up with the latest and greatest from your favorites, subscribe to RSS streams using Feedly, another SaaS that gathers data at your command using Chrome extension, app, and desktop hub. Feedly boasts a great visual interface that lets you consume content on the go without visiting each individual site–and as an added bonus, no ads! Categorize streams and consume one topic at a time or look back through all posts from each individual source. With the basic version, you can save to Pocket, tweet directly, or bookmark.
For faster service (refresh rate of stories), 3rd party app integrations like Evernote or IFTTT (If This, Then That), and premium support, choose a Basic account for $5.41/mo. If you really need to curate and consume articles fast (50x!), Pro will set you back $18.08/mo. Pro offers enterprise login and collaboration via Office 360, Trello, and Slack. Both paid account costs have the caveat of annual billing.
Bonus: For a different RSS reader experience, try Flipboard where your categories become a magazine that can be shared via social.
While not strictly a social media helper, Dropbox lets me keep my photos and other media accessible from tablet, laptop, and phone. Depending on when and where the need arises, a well organized Dropbox saves me the trouble of searching stock images or wondering where that perfect-for-this-post pic went. Set up auto saving of desktop screenshots and periodic upload of phone pics. Dropbox is as secure as any cloud service, and boasts millions of users.
They boast that Dropbox Pro is “as affordable as 3 cups of coffee per month!” Actual cost $99/year+tax. For around $100 (I’m starting to see a pattern in these SaaS prices), your storage increases from the 2GB limit of the free account to a whopping 1TB. Yes, you can buy an external drive for that much, but it won’t be accessible and sync photos from all your devices.
Have any tool tips of your own? Prefer other tools to manage your social media?
I’d love to hear about the social media tools you use in the comments below!
Note: I am not affiliated with any of these companies nor compensated. I’m merely sharing my experiences to assist my fellow social media managers and digital marketers.