Marketing through social media seems to get more and more relevant every day, as does the need to make these processes as efficient and stress-free as possible. Our intention with this post is to share with you the tools and platforms we use that are sure to help save you time and money. There are plenty of tools being created all the time to help with social media management, though often they can be unaffordable or over the top given your specific needs. Maybe you have a much smaller brand that is looking for the perfect combination of basic and easy-to-use. Maybe you’re growing rapidly and want to make sure you’re investing in the processes that will help your team for the long run. To get you started, here are a few basic tools with a great value that could very well reduce costs and stress-levels for your brand:
One of the most widely used social media management platforms, Sprout Social, can make a major difference in efficiency if your brand is regularly publishing content through multiple platforms. It integrates with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+ and more to help you schedule your content for future publishing. Having an automatic publishing tool at your fingertips takes a great deal of stress off your social media management team and frees up time for other work, like putting more energy into creating impactful content. SproutSocial allows for multiple users which makes it great for teams and for task delegation.
Along with the scheduling perks, the tool also offers analytics and reports to help with crafting and evolving your strategy as your brand grows. A feature that sets them apart from other similar services is their “Discovery” dashboard, giving you the opportunity to explore what topics, trends, and influencers are related to your brand’s conversation. From there, you can easily create stronger connections or expand your community.
Carole Baker, the owner of Cherry Pie Social says, “I cannot imagine life without Sprout Social! The scheduling tools are wonderful but the robust reporting is what helps me show my clients the results of the work I do for them, month by month. I LOVE Sprout Social!”
SproutSocial offers a 30-day free trial which is a great way to see if this particular platform works with your team’s way of doing things. Pricing starts at $59 per month for up to 10 profiles, a great value for an easy to navigate snapshot of the state of your social profiles with all the tools you need to keep improving.
A management platform specifically for Instagram that streamlines the process of uploading, editing, and scheduling visual content. You can easily upload media and edit through the application, preparing it for customized posting times, or if you’re still designing your timeline things can be saved as a draft for later. If you tend to pre-edit your content on Photoshop or other software, you can also upload your ready-to-publish photos in bulk and use the app for your scheduling needs.
This is a great option for teams that have a great deal of visual content and use Instagram more than other platforms. Schedugr.am is great for campaign planning as they allow for multiple users and management of multiple accounts. You can even track which team members have scheduled what for greater accountability.
Pricing starts at $20 per month for accounts with 100,000 followers or less. They offer a yearly payment option which gives you two months free, and users with a high number of accounts can inquire about customized pricing. Try their 7-day free trial to see if it’s a good fit.
Sometimes the best tools are free! Google Drive is a great tool to utilize for teams due to how easily files can be shared and saved online, no risk of losing content. For example, content calendars are something every brand should use for creating, organizing, and scheduling content to be posted on some or all of their social channels. Most management platforms won’t offer an easily customized content calendar feature, though the most effective one tends to be what your team can create based on your needs in Excel or in a Google Sheets document. In Google Sheets, the file can be live with multiple people editing and updating at any time, making collaboration on building out your month’s content easy and streamlined.
Another simple but great tool is having Google Docs dedicated to brainstorming for the early stages of content creation and campaign planning. Having a place where team members can go at any time to jot down whatever piece of inspiration they might find relevant is great for the design process once it comes time to craft some publishable material.
Analytics reports, quarterly reviews, and other important work can be managed through Google Drive, as well, making it a great asset to any brand’s workflow.
Tweet Deck is another great (and free!) tool to utilize, particularly if your brand’s greatest focus is on Twitter or a select few platforms. Twitter offers this feature with any account, allowing for easy scheduling of posts as well as customized feeds based on your brand’s interests, target market, or relevant trends. If you’re rolling out a twitter campaign, use one of these “Lists” to track your influencers and interactions with your content. Maybe you’re planning to post on Twitter live during an event. TweetDeck makes it easy to track your conversations with followers throughout, so engagement doesn’t get dropped or overlooked.
We all know that in the fast-moving world of digital marketing, time and money are our most valuable resources. There’s a new book, blog post, or magazine article every day offering suggestions for greater efficiency in social media management. What’s important to remember as we wade through this sea of advice is that every brand has its own personality and way of doing things which makes a one-size-fits-all approach unproductive in the long run. Take a good look with your team at where you are now: what are common sticky areas that seem to take up too much time, energy, and resources? What’s a process that constantly makes you think, there must be a better way? The greatest resource you will ever cultivate is the creativity and knowledge base within your own team’s world of experience. They know your brand, your goals, and your processes better than any third party can, so use this to your advantage. Never doubt the internal creative capacity to solve problems, while constantly being inspired by what is working well for others in your industry.
Feeling overwhelmed at this point? You may want to consider either hiring a professional or hiring a trainer to teach social media short-cuts and strategy to your internal team. Either way, Cherry Pie Social would LOVE to help! Please contact us to begin a conversation.