Anyone who has invested time managing and growing a social media following knows that it can turn into a time vacuum. Open up Instagram and suddenly you find yourself scrolling through beautiful photos from your friend’s excursion to Iceland. Those ponies are so photogenic with their manes blowing in the icy wind! Logging in, posting and getting out without being distracted is a challenge even the most self-disciplined struggle with.
Social media marketing is an important part of customer acquisition and sales strategies. You need to focus on running your business and to minimize the time spent on pushing content until you can afford to hire someone to manage it all.
How can you save time managing your social media?
Social media admins can save time by managing their channels with third-party apps. There are many options available at various price points. You may find one app works for Facebook, but you prefer another one for Twitter. The right apps will help you organize content while preventing you from wasting time from Motivation Monday through Caturday!
Below are some of the apps that can minimize distraction and make you more productive. Price points are low — from free to under $300 per month — depending on the number of users and accounts.
The first social media management tool is Hootsuite Pro. This app can handle multiple social networks including Facebook pages, Instagram, Twitter and Google+, and can even post to YouTube. Hootsuite offers a free version that is perfect for businesses that are just starting out. The app can scale to enterprise and agency levels, too.
Hootsuite Pro can bulk upload posts from spreadsheets. Teams can save draft posts to hold them for approval or to reuse them later.
For years, Google Alerts was my go-to app to keep current on tech news and to find content to share on social channels. Daily emails based on searches I set cluttered my inbox. It is a free and easy way to find content for your social media channels, but there are better apps that can keep it all organized and productive.
Feedly is a website that organizes content from RSS feeds and podcasts. Content can be grouped into folders, keeping the clutter out of your inbox. I use it to organize posts to read later and to find interesting content to share. The app also rates content based on popularity, letting readers know what’s trending.
One of the convenient features of Feedly is that it can also pull YouTube feeds into folders. An annual subscription lets users access all of the integrations, including Hootsuite and two others tools, IFTTT and Buffer.
Buffer is a direct competitor to Hootsuite that queues social media posts to multiple social channels. Those who use both Buffer and Feedly can use an integration that quickly sends posts from Feedly to a custom Buffer posting schedule.
Hootsuite is a little easier to learn than Buffer. Both are reasonably easy to use once you get the hang of them.
Apps for managing followers
For those just starting out building up an Instagram following, a free and bare bones app called Followers Insight can help. It’s very simple to use and has only a few features, including who is or is not following an account. In the past, I have used Crowdfire for this task too. Iconosquare is far more robust than either of the two aforementioned apps. It has analytics and is good for team environments.
I am very active on Twitter and have a few Twitter management tools running. Who.Unfollowed.Me lets me know who is playing the follow-then-unfollow game to grow their vanity numbers. Another app, UnTweeps, sorts out inactive Twitter accounts. Both are simple yet excellent for cleaning up your Twitter. TweetDeck is a must-have to keep up with fast moving Twitter chats, although Hootsuite can be used for chats too.
SEMRush is another online tool I use. It’s positioned as a keyword research tool, but also has a few social media tools too. SEMRush’s social media tool monitors and benchmarks your social media account engagement, activity and growth as well as that of your competitors.
One of my projects saw a competitor gain an amazing 30,000 followers in one month! The app reported which piece of content was responsible for the spike in follower growth.
If you have an article or blog post to write, then use keyword research, along with your website and social media analytics, to get inspiration from your followers. If your website is an ecommerce site, then this data can let you know what your customers are looking at and buying. Use that information to sell more of the same.
If This Then That, IFTTT.com, is an easy-to-use website with thousands of “recipes” for productivity, life hacks, billing clients, connect-to-home automations and managing social media. I use it for recording certain hashtags in a Google doc, auto-tweeting from Feedly and sending tweets to Google+ or sometimes Instagram.
Don’t forget the hashtags
Your hashtag strategy is important on Instagram. A free website, All-Hashtag.com, generates related hashtags based on a seed word. There are also categories where users can copy pre-selected hashtags.
The next time you find yourself trapped in Instagram following your friend’s cross-county road trip, think to yourself, “This is great, but what should I really be working on?” Then pick a few of the apps and get started with being more productive!