The 3 Social Media Tools That I Couldn’t Live Without
September 13, 2017
Everyone's a social media expert these days, right?
I'll be honest, I'm not. I experiment, try things, measure what works and what doesn't work and yeah, I sometimes get things wrong.
But I get things right, too.
Social media is a funny thing when you think about it. It's the one thing that can really drain our time yet by the same token, it can drain other peoples' time and our goal as business folks is to try to grab a little of that time and push it to our content.
The big challenge for folks like us is that we, much of the time, have to adopt this “try to be everywhere” attitude and whilst I don't wholly buy into that, I do appreciate that we have more to do on social media in order to generate results, than our schedules really allow.
At this point it's worth mentioning that there are a million social media tools out there, some great and not so.
And, for every piece software, there are a hundred social media companies willing to “run” your social media for you, too.
These have their place but for me, only when used for specific things. Perhaps a one-off run of consulting on a new Facebook campaign, for example.
In my opinion, at least in the early days, you should manage as much of your social media as possible.
Because just like every other facet of your business, it's your responsibility to know it inside out during these vital early stages. You must know the workings of your social media marketing so that if you do eventually get to the point where it's managed by a team member, at least you have the experience and knowledge to be able to accurately ascertain whether this management is really working or not.
But then, how does one stay on top of all of this social media management?
After all, a Tweet has a “lifespan” of only around five minutes; Facebook requires a completely different approach; Instagram needs much more visual content.
The list goes on and on.
Add into the mix the notion that you should be doing some kind of live streaming pretty regularly and suddenly social media becomes an overwhelming mass of updates, replies and those pesky red notifications.
You need the tools, it's that simple
Social media scheduling. Auto-posting. Argh!
It feels uncomfortable. I've been doing it for a good long while now, and it STILL feels uncomfortable to me.
But the reality is that you probably need to incorporate this into your social media marketing arsenal.
Simple. Social scheduling allows you to do a few things that “procedural posting” wouldn't allow you to do:
- Batch content. You can sit down and really mark out content specifically for each platform. It's important to treat each platform, e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, as their own platforms and whilst repurposing content is great, it's vital to create content that fits the requirements of each.
- Throw in a grenade. Say what?! I use social scheduling to ask questions of my audience at set times. I ask a question that I know will generate some engagement, not always a “business question” (see: “Arnie or Sly?”), but something that will show me who regularly engages and what kind of audience I have – are they driven by pop culture, politics etc…
- Focus! That's right, by automating some of the more “standard” social media expectations (i.e. content promos, etc), you can focus on building and engaging with your Facebook group, live streaming or trying out new channels during the time that you set aside for social media work.
But, it's important when auto-posting / setting out with social media tools to understand what these tools really are: facilitators, not easy wins.
They aren't a “set and forget” solution to social media, despite many people treating them like they are.
Rather, they're enablers. They allow you to become more efficient with your social media efforts but they should never replace actual human interaction.
The 3 Social Media Tools That I Couldn't Live Without
These are the three tools that I believe allow you to automate your social media in a way that complements, not replaces, the need for you to be present.
They're the tools that I believe adhere to the three points I made earlier and that remove the dependency on “always being online”.
Tool #1: Edgar
Why I recommend it: Despite it's $49 per month price tag, Edgar is by far the best overall social scheduling tool that I've ever used.
There are so many reasons for this but the main one, particularly when coming off the back of using something like Buffer, is that rather than build a finite queue that you need to manually replenish every time it finishes, you actually build a categorised library of content that then gets fed into a calendar scheduling system (broken down by social network) that you can control in a really granular way.
Once you've set this, and it does take a while to set up, your social posting queue is generated and once all of your content has been posted, it simply shuffles your library and starts again.
This is extremely powerful, especially when considering that you can add content to this library at any time (via RSS feeds or manually) and that the queue that Edgar generates tells you how long, based on your set posting calendar, it will take to complete the posting of the whole queue.
Tool #2: Later for Instagram
Why I recommend it: Instagram has some weird API rules that prevent the true auto-posting of content. That can be a real pain in the ass when it comes to scheduling content for the platform.
Later gives you a desktop and mobile app that allows you to drag and drop media (including videos on the paid plan), add captions and hashtags (with a really handy hashtag count tool) and view all of your content in a really simple calendar view.
But the real kicker with Later is that you can save captions/hashtag combos as templates that, when combined with Later's media retention library, allows you to create a really strong Instagram content schedule within minutes.
And posting to Instagram when each of your scheduled posts is due is super easy thanks to the mobile apps that Later provides – everything is done for you, as much as the Instagram API will allow.
Tool #3: Canva
Why I recommend it: Not strictly a social media tool, the reason that Canva made the list is that I rely on this SO much to create content that works across all social platforms. Canva Pro, in particular, is a really cost effective way of being super efficient with your creative output.
By allowing you to create one image for, say, Facebook and then allowing you to auto-replicate and auto-resize with the click of a button for a myriad of other social platforms, Canva makes is really simple to maintain your brand integrity without investing disproportionate time into creating imagery that generates click-throughs.
Do you use any of these tools, or is there another that you'd recommend?
Sound off in the comments or share in the Facebook group.
Don't forget, the more you expect from yourself, the more you WILL excel!