Social media is a necessity. It's moved far beyond a nice thing to have to a must-have piece of a successful business. Entrants to the social media world face an uphill battle because it's crowded across industries. So, gaining brand awareness and lead conversions requires a clearly defined target audience, clear business goals, and consistent effort.
But, what all social media marketers soon find out is that keeping up a social media presence takes a lot of work. You need the tactical plan---content, lead capture, graphic design---and an adoption strategy for each platform. The time spent on graphic design and copywriting alone can feel like a full-time job. And that's because it is! And we haven't even discussed the time it takes to post your content and engage your audience.
That's why it's imperative that you outsource and automate as much of the "doing" of your social media marketing as possible. Thankfully, there are a lot of great options out there to make this all-important task much simpler. Using a few basic tools and resources can make the difference between 6+ hours a week of work and less than one hour per week. Even better, it doesn't have to be expensive. Here are some of the best options to manage your social media based on cost, ease-of-use, value, and integration.
My primary platform is Instagram. It is the most all-around site for my audience. It's visual, allows videos, and text. It's great for engaging your audience with different types of content.
The best tool for Instagram is Planoly. It's the most all-around solution for the price. Planoly allows you to auto-publish (you must have a Facebook/Instagram business account) square images with a caption and hashtags. Instagram doesn't allow you to auto-publish carousel, videos, and images larger than 1.91:1 (horizontal) or 4:5 (portrait); that is 1080px x 566px for horizontal images and 1080px x 1350px for vertical images.
Planoly also lets you schedule stories and post them from the app.
The desktop and mobile version mirror each other making it pretty easy for you to move seamlessly between the two. You can respond to comments directly in the app, and depending on your plan you can get analytics for the history of your account. To make content creation more manageable, you can repost images through their "Discover" feature and make use of their free stock photo library. The app offers a way to save hashtags and captions for easy one-click use.
Now, my favorite part is the grid display. You can plan your visual design easily by using the preview grid. Moving posts around requires a simple drag-and-drop motion, and you can add placeholders to hold a spot. You can pull in images from your computer, Google Drive, and Dropbox. To build your grid, you can switch back and forth between the planning grid and the drafts section. Beside your grid is your calendar so you can see at-a-glance when your posts will go out and for those that have how many likes/comments they've received.
Planoly has a free plan, and paid plans start at $9/month.
If you use Pinterest, and you should, then you have to use Tailwind. It's the best (and really only) app available for Pinterest. It's an approved Pinterest app, which makes the integration with the app the best you can get. You can schedule pins, join Tribes to boost your posts and get great analytics on your account. There is a desktop and mobile version.
Besides the ability to schedule and automatically post pins, Tailwind's phenomenal analytics will suggest the best posting times based on your audience and similar content. This helps you get your pins in front of your audience.
But, the real benefit of Tailwind is its ability to drive traffic to your website. Yes, it is great for automating social media posting and scheduling, yet your goal is to get eyes back on your website. Tailwind does that. It connects directly with your Pinterest and your site. It also integrates with Google Analytics so you can see exactly where your traffic is coming from and what pins are working hardest for you. Once you add Tribes to the mix, you're pretty much guaranteed high traffic and virality if you're consistently posting and sharing quality content on your site.
If you haven't already guessed that means it's great for sales conversions---of your products and services and affiliate marketing. If you use group boards, tribes, and a consistent posting strategy, you can build your email list, get more sales, and grow your business on the cheap. Because Pinterest functions like a search engine, you can reach a lot of people outside of your current base who are in your target audience for a relatively low price! Just do a Google search, and you will see how many times Pinterest results show up in the top spots!
Tailwind offers a free trial, and plans start at $15/month.
What about Facebook and Twitter? Well, I'm combining the two platforms because most of the good apps offer services for both. They still are the largest, best-known platforms. Their ad features are also some of the cheapest options you can find. So, finding a great app is not that hard. The key is to find a really great app that works equally well for both of these platforms. Hootsuite and Buffer are good, but there's an app that's even better and that’s Smarterqueue.
Smarterqueue not only allows you to post to Twitter, Facebook Pages, and Facebook Groups (they even connect to LinkedIn and Instagram), but it will automatically repost your content. That makes your content evergreen. One of the biggest time-savers for online marketers is repurposing content. If you create content that can be used over and over than Smarterqueue offers you a set it and forget it opportunity.
The ability to automatically repost content gives you more mileage for your content, too. It helps you get your message in front of more eyeballs. We all know our audiences are not online at the same time, so they often miss a great blog post or tweet or Facebook post. When you schedule content in Smarterqueue (from your RSS, uploads or created in the app), you can set how much you want it to repost your content. You can also schedule the messaging for each platform all at once. They have a great design layout, which lets you see how your post will look on each platform in the same window.
Here's how it works. You set up categories for your content, such as articles, blog posts, questions, inspiration, self-promotion, etc. You set a schedule for when you want that content to go out (or use their suggestion). Then as you schedule your content or content from influencers or your audience, you give it a category and set how long or many times you want it to repost and Smarterqueue takes it from there. They then offer you analytics on your posts performance.
In the app, you can get social media monitoring and competitor analysis. Both are vital features when you are building your brand and keeping up-to-date with what's going on with your audience.
Smarterqueue offers a free trial after that plans start at $19.99/month.
With these three apps, you can control all of our social media platforms easily. If you have a VA, you can add them as a team member. Each app allows multiple sign-ins/user accounts. Social media is essential, but it doesn't have to be hard.
This is a partnered post which may contain affiliate links.