Social media marketing is important for businesses, but it can take up much of your valuable time. As a startup or small business owner, you need to make the most of your time and find ways to be more productive.
Here’s a look at four types of social media tools along with recommended apps that are user-friendly and can streamline your social efforts.
1. Content curation tools
It’s important to mix up your social media posts by sharing interesting content, and that means curating content. You can waste hours sifting through countless websites, or you can use a time-saving using a free curation tool. Let’s go with the latter option.
Feedly is a news aggregator application that offers user an awesome way to find and save interesting articles to share on social media. Not only can you save articles to share later, but you can share content immediately to Twitter, send to Buffer to post or save for later, save to your Pocket account, or to Evernote.
Speaking of Pocket. Pocket is a productivity app that lets you save interesting articles and videos and view them later. You can access your list from almost any device, and integrate your account to save articles from Twitter, Flipboard, and more than 300 other sites.
2. Social media scheduling apps
Once you are organized with a strategy and content calendar, take your planned content and schedule it to save time. Now, that doesn’t mean schedule it and then run away to do something else.
Scheduling means that you have a consistent stream of posts going out, but take time to engage and answer any questions your audience might have.
The “best” social media scheduling software is the one that works best for your business. For businesses just getting started with social media and scheduling, Hootsuite is one of the easiest social media management tools to use.
But there are many options: Sendible, Buffer, Edgar, Sprout Social; all with great features, depending on what you need it to do.
For Facebook, using the internal scheduling option is super easy, but the other social media management options work too.
3. Content creation tools
When creating graphics, start with professional images. If you don’t have a budget, there are many free sites that have the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license which means the images are completely free to be used for any legal purpose. Pexels and Unsplash are two great sites to use.
Create branded social media and blog graphics using Canva which is easy to use, and if you need design help, there are pre-made templates available. They also have a good selection of free photos and paid images for only $1. With Canva, you can easily create social media posts, custom cover and header images, blog graphics and ads.
If you want a mobile option, Adobe Spark and Ripl App (to create animated graphics) are great options.
4. Social media analytics tools
Why waste time on social media platforms that don’t work for your business?
If you notice a platform really isn’t working out for you, don’t feel like you need to be everywhere. It’s okay to focus on your top performing social platforms and really grow your audience there.
Not all platforms will be perfect for your business, so you might have to do some research and experimenting.
Using both social media analytics, and Google Analytics, you can find out how much engagement you are getting when your audience is online, and how much website traffic is generated from social media.
Don’t just look at the number of users from specific platforms, but take a look at bounce rate, average number of minutes on your site, and what page they went to after they first landed on your site.
If you are already using Facebook, use the Insights area to gain information about your audience; age, gender, city they live in, the time of day they are online.
If Twitter is one of your top platforms, there are some analytics available which can show you your top Tweet (post with most activity), top follower, top mention, etc. It shows you how many people have viewed your profile, how many new followers you have, and shows you stats per month. There are more advanced analytics options available with a tool like Followerwonk, which gives you precise stats such as when your followers are online.
Avoid overwhelm by deciding what data is actually useful to your business and focus on that data. The analytics that you track and measure should align with your overall social media goals.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Leslie McDermid owns Social Media Marketing Tips Canada, a social media management company that helps businesses improve their online presence with social media, WordPress websites, blog and content writing and consulting. Leslie loves helping other businesses succeed online, learning about social media, and teaching others. She loves coffee too. Connect with @lesliemcdermid on Twitter.