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Tools To Save Time With Your Social Media


Do you consider social media a science or an art…?

Being creative with your messaging, actually listening and engaging with your audience, that’s quite artistic. It demands original thought and insight to capture another’s attention.
But the actual posting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram….mucking about with image sizes, tracking what engagement you’re getting on what posts to see what’s working and what’s not; that bit can be pretty dry and scientific. The people that win at social media have mastered the art of combining data insights with creative potential.  Want to get the science part down so you can focus on what you’re good at – connecting with people creatively? Read on…

If you’re on more than one social media platform and are looking to save some time – it’s probably time to call in reinforcements.

Below are some recommended social media management tools we recommend you check out.

1) Hootsuite 
Hootsuite is one of the most popular social media management tools and comes widely recommended across the blogosphere.
What can I do on it?
–       Schedule and automate Facebook posts and tweets to specific locations and at the best time for your audience.
–       See all engagements and comments in one place to talk to your followers in one dashboard to look after any  questions from your audience.
–       Shorten and track links so you can see how many people clicked and from where.
–       Get Twitter and Facebook analytics in one place.

Pros
The basic package has pretty much everything you need and is FREE
– The dashboard is easy to use.
Cons
– Can only schedule Facebook and Twitter. Your other social platforms, if you have them; Google+, Pinterest, Instagram will have to be done manually.

Japanese photographer Hironori Mizuno (@iphonegrapher_hiro) uses image compositing techniques - combining elements from separate exposures into a single image using an iPhone camera and photoshop
Japanese photographer Hironori Mizuno (@iphonegrapher_hiro) uses image compositing techniques – combining elements from separate exposures into a single image using an iPhone camera and photoshop

 2) Sprout Social 
Sprout Social is on a par with Hootsuite. It focuses on the use of social media as a ‘customer service’ tool e.g. its customer relationship management tool enables you to see conversations with audience members  from the last 30 days. It enables you to track and talk to highly engaged fans/followers to maintain a close relationship.
What can I do on it? 
–       Schedule Facebook posts, Tweets, as well as posts on Google Plus, LinkedIn.
–       Shorten links for easy tracking.
–       View all your engagements and comments in one place to talk to your audience from the dashboard instead of going into each social media platform.
–       Allows you track performance and engagement analytics in one place and also track against competitor benchmarks.

Pros: 
–       Can automate the posting of messages from more social media platforms compared to Hootsuite
–    The dashboard is easy to use.
Cons
–       You get one month’s free trial but after that, the lowest price option is $39 per month

3) Buffer
Ever struggled with finding great content? Buffer actually suggested for things for you to post if that’s your bag. Personally, I have found, as the suggestions for what to post are generated by an algorithm, you need to check the content to see if it truly is relevant to your audience first before posting.

Buffer’s focus is to make sure you have a consistent stream of posts queued up and ready to push out to your networks throughout the day at regular intervals.

What can I do on it? 
–       Schedule for the following platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn
–       Can shorten links for tracking

Pros:
– Can load up content to go at regular automated intervals so you always seem ‘active’
Cons:
–       The analytics tracking is only available in the paid package which costs  £7 per month
–       The free analytics reporting is vague, without statistics which doesn’t help when looking to improve your content: e.g ‘most popular post this week’, ‘least popular post this week’

Professional photographer and creative director Simone Bramante @brahmino uses mobile apps like Snapseed and VSCO to edit his instagram posts
Professional photographer and creative director Simone Bramante @brahmino uses mobile apps like Snapseed and VSCO to edit his instagram posts

4) Edgar
By now it’s pretty common knowledge that regardless of how many social media updates you make, they’ll only be seen by a fraction of your audience. Edgar creates a ‘library’ of your posts, allowing you to recycle the updates and get different people in your audience to see the messages each time they are re-posted. To avoid being spammy, the tool categorises the different types of updates you make and shuffles them about in the library so you’re always posting something different e.g. a video, inspiration quote, photo image etc. 

Pros:
– Allows you to make the most of better quality content you have, rather than posting the naff stuff you find just for the sake of it
– Easy to set up with intuitive dashboard
– Automates posting to Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin so this saves time.
Cons:
– Currently, to even access the platform there’s an ‘invite only’ policy which can take 2-5 days to come through
– It’s not free. Using the platform will set you back $49 per month for the basic package.

5) Pocket 
Pocket isn’t really a social media management tool. It allows to collect and store cool articles, videos or web pages you discover. While the other tools focus on saving time by automating the posting process; it’s also important to remember that finding amazing and varied content that will continually engage your audience also takes time. Pocket helps to save time in content creation by allowing you to store great content in one place, as you find it – you can then pick and choose what you want to repurpose at a later stage.
Pros:
– 100% FREE!
– There’s a web browser extension and a mobile app so you literally bookmark and save on the move
– You can share the collected content directly to Facebook, Twitter and Buffer (it’s great to use these two platforms together) from the app or web dashboard
Cons:
– This only allows you collect content not automatically schedule and publish (hence where Buffer steps in)

Have a play to see which tools work best for you and let us know what you think in the comments.

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