Recommended Social Media Management Tools from a Seasoned Social Media Manager

social-media-management-tools-blog

Nearly half of small businesses are spending about six hours a week on social media. That’s almost a whole day of business! Social media management tools can help to make you more productive and effective during the time spent on social media.

Below is a comprehensive list of the tools I have worked with or am currently using to schedule content for myself and my clients. Many are accessible on mobile, and some are accessible on both mobile and desktop. Take it from a pro – it’s always nice to have your social media management tools right on your phone for easy access on the go!

Top Social Media Management Tools to Make Your Content Creation Tasks Easier

Social Media Management Platforms

Deciding on a social media management platform is like picking what type of ice cream you want at the local creamery. They’re all generally the same (frozen milk and sugar), but with slightly different ingredients based on your preferences.

Deciding on a #socialmedia management platform is like picking what type of ice cream 🍨 you want at the local creamery. It's hard! Click To Tweet

Hootsuite – With the free option of Hootsuite you can connect three social media accounts and schedule up to 30 messages. If you’re scheduling posts once a week or more frequently the free one may be enough, otherwise they have a paid plan that can handle more.

HubSpot – HubSpot is excellent for larger companies looking for a full-blown CRM (customer relationship management) system. You can do social listening, schedule content, and analyze your efforts based on campaigns within the platform.

Planoly– I recently started to use this, and I’m so glad I did! The drag and drop feature and grid view make it incredibly simple to plan your Instagram content. It even lets you know how many hashtags you have space left for with the Instagram mandated maximum of 30.

Buffer – If you’re a fan of drag and drop, this is the social media manager for you. At the time of this blog post, it’s one of the few platforms that offer drag and drop to reschedule content.

CoSchedule – Businesses with an active blog will like CoSchedule. It integrates with WordPress, and you can see social messages and blog posts in a single calendar for easier planning. Scheduling additional social messages for each blog is convenient too with your related images readily available.

Image Creators/Editors

Whether you’re creating the perfect Instagram post, the featured image for your next blog post, or thumbnail for your upcoming viral video, you’ll likely want a tool – especially if you’re going to add any text.

Canva – I wrote in-depth about Canva and how to use it in 2016. It’s one of my top two tools I recommend to clients if they want to DIY their social media and blog/website images.
steps-to-creating-canva

izkiz Cam – This is my favorite Instagram image editor. Created by a popular Instagrammer with nearly 3 million followers, this app is $1.99. I highly recommend it if you’re looking for something to make your photos brighter and more vibrant.

Analysis/Maintenance Tools

A big part of your social media marketing strategy should include analyzing your content to identify what works and what doesn’t. Accurately measuring your results from social will help you to generate top-performing posts as you move forward. Don’t guesstimate like this guy.

Most social media management platforms and social networks include analysis features within them, but if you’re looking for something more check out this list.

Google Analytics – Get an overall look at which social media platforms are performing best in bringing visitors back to your website with Google Analytics. You’ll also be able to see which formats are resonating the most with each social networks’ users.

InsTrack – Many Instagram users’ “strategy” to get followers is to follow and then unfollow as soon as the other account reciprocates. How this is still happening is beyond me! It’s incredibly disingenuine and a waste of time. To whittle these people out of your account, you can download InsTrack or a similar app to your smartphone that identifies who has unfollowed you.

ManageFlitter – The same follow and unfollow tactic from Instagram happens on Twitter too. Clean up who you’re following with ManageFlitter.

Hashtagify – Track hashtag popularity and find new ones using hashtagify.me.

Google Sheets – Google Sheets can’t do any analysis for you (unless you’re kind of an Excel wizard), but it’s a convenient way to track your social media engagement and to plan future content.

Employee Advocacy Platforms

Enterprise companies looking to grow their brand’s reach online can mobilize their employees to share content. As Forbes reported, “brand messages shared by employees on social media earn 561 percent more reach than the same messages shared by the brand’s social media channels.”

Executing an effective employee advocacy program necessitates a software that is simple to use for employees. The process of sharing your content needs to be as easy as possible. These are two of the tools I’ve used in the past – both as a user and in managing the platform.

GaggleAMP – In addition to engaging your employees in sharing, GaggleAMP makes it easy to include your other brand advocates (possibly your customers) in sharing useful content.
Everyone Social – The user has the option to create their own streams of content in Everyone Social. Similar to the feeds your business creates on company news, or other industry related content that your buyers will find helpful, they can add publications or hashtags that populate relevant content.

Not sure which tools you should be using to help with #socialmedia #marketing? Check out this list! Click To Tweet

Where to Find OPC

Your social media plan should include a mix of (OPC) other peoples content and your own. Many social media managers, myself included, recommend an 80 to 20 ratio. 80 percent being OPC and 20 percent being content from your website or other online channels. Here’s a list of the places you can look to find relevant content to share with your audience:

  1. BuzzSumo
  2. Google Advanced Search
  3. Anders Pink
  4. Feedly
  5. Relevant, Non-competing Industry Magazines and Blogs

Understand that these are just the tools that I use. There may be better options out there; new apps are coming out all the time. Agorapulse and Edgar, for example, are two commonly recommended paid tools I hear from my peers.

So what’s your flavor? Are there any tools I missed that you recommend to others? Are you going to try any of these out?  Let me know in the comments below.

 

Reach out to me for a free 20-minute exploration call if you’re still struggling to get a grasp on managing your social media. I offer management services and training to help you grow brand visibility using social media.

How Website Load Time on Mobile Affects Your Facebook Page’s Reach

Earlier this week Facebook announced that they’ve once again changed the algorithm delineating which content to show in users’ News Feeds. Content shared from websites with slow load times on mobile will decrease in views over the coming months.

“During the coming months we’re making an update to News Feed to show people more stories that will load quickly on mobile and fewer stories that might take longer to load, so they can spend more time reading the stories they find relevant.”

While this should fire you up to check on your own site’s load time, don’t forget about the OPC (Other People’s Content) that you’re sharing. If you share a lot of OPC from a slow moving website, your Page’s overall reach will begin to lessen.

Facebook went on to say that the user’s “current network connection” will also be considered. If the user has a slower network connection, and the web page URL you’re sharing has a long load time, it will appear lower in their News Feed. Obviously, you don’t have control over their network connection, so the focus is on the time it takes your website to load that page on mobile.

Testing and Improving Your Pages’ Loading Times

The first thing you’ll need to do is check mobile load time. Facebook provided a list of Best Practices to Improve Mobile Site Performance that included a few options for evaluating current load time. Below is an example of the information you’ll receive on PageSpeed. This tool was easy to use and very self-explanatory. It even provides suggestions on how to optimize your page further.

pagespeed_insights

I also tried a few of the other tools on Facebook’s list. Instead of an overall grade, many gave me specific load times and were honestly overwhelming with the amount of data provided. Those tools are more for a developer, while the data from PageSpeed offered suggestions I could follow through on myself with a little bit of digging.

As a site owner, this may feel frustrating, but looking at it from a user perspective this algorithm change makes sense. Improving your website for a better mobile experience is necessary in today’s world, especially if you want to reach your audience on Facebook. According to Venture Beat, 56.5% of users only log in to Facebook from mobile. Another eye-opening data point – there are over 1.74 billion mobile monthly active users on Facebook. If you don’t speed up your pages load time over the next few months be prepared to see your Facebook referral traffic fall.

If you don’t improve your loading time over the next few months, be prepared to see your Facebook referral traffic drop. Now more than ever before is the time to consider the user experience of your website.

free-def-guide-facebook-pages

How to Educate & Entertain Your Prospects with Videos and Images

When it comes to building a relationship with your customers, visuals – specifically videos – are your best option. In this Social Media Day Recap, you’ll hear from various experts on how to educate and entertain your prospects with video and images while guiding them through the buyer’s journey. Read on or watch the video below to learn how your brand can build solid relationships with your audience through the use of video content.

How to Invite User-Generated Content on Snapchat

Mark Kaye, a host on the radio station 95.1 WAPE in Jacksonville, is a Snapchat influencer. During his session, he talked about how to involve your viewers and encourage them to create content. User generated content can then be used in other ways. He made a “12 days of Christmas Mash-up” by asking followers to send him one word that they like most about Christmas. He then took all of the clips and pulled them together to make a video.

Casie Shimansky from Cisco discussed their employee advocacy program. They enlist employees to conduct daily takeovers of their Snapchat. Selected employees are given the password to Cisco’s Snapchat and encouraged to post to their story. Their posts include snapshots of their days while working at Cisco, their favorite products, and more.

Casie_Shimansky

Focus on a Problem in Your YouTube Videos

Roberto Blake is a Designer, YouTube Creator, and Marketing Consultant. He recently hit the mark of 1,000 YouTube videos on his channel. Roberto noted how 80% of adults over 25 years old are watching videos on YouTube. To build your brand on YouTube, he recommends owning a problem.

You can look at YouTube as oversaturated, or work to own the problem or solution that your company solves. If you’re not sure what to create your videos about, Roberto recommends starting with a Twitter search of #_____problems (fill in the blank with your industry). Try to address every stage of the buyer’s journey. Create content answering your company’s FAQs to save your sales team time from answering the same questions over and over again.

How 100 Facebook Live Videos in a Month Evolved to Two a Week

Nasdaq’s Head of Social Media, Anna Gonzalez spoke about how they’re using Facebook Live in their content strategy. Their social team consists of three people, but that didn’t stop them from creating 100 videos in one month. A few other months they were pretty high up there with their video count too. They’ve scaled back now and publish about two a week, but they collected a lot of data to analyze during those high volume months.

Anna_Gonzalex_NASDAQ

Anna pointed out that a view is counted after three seconds of a person watching your video. Keep this in mind when analyzing your own videos. Experimentation on Facebook Live is a must, especially with their ever-changing algorithms.

Influencer Marketing and Instagram

Marketing expert Kenny Harper is Co-Founder of Rock My Image in Jacksonville. He talked about influencer marketing and how 92% of those who have worked with influencers see it as successful. To be the best influencer you can be, he says to be consistent. That doesn’t mean daily postings but stick to a schedule.

Chad Israel from Hertz Rent a Car gave real-life examples of how their brand is partnering with influencers. There doesn’t have to be an exchange of money; many influencers will collaborate on a trade if what you are offering is valuable to them. In their case, a rental car. Working with influencer Matt Pierce, Hertz invested about $3,000 in trading a car for two months. Chad said that the return on investment was about $200,000! That’s from images and video assets that the influencer created. This example showed that you don’t need a huge budget to work with influencers.

The final speaker at Social Media Day Jacksonville was Curtis Midkiff from Southwest Airlines. Previously a DJ, his entrance with a Yankees cap and Jay-Z playing in the background only made sense. Curtis reminded everyone about social listening to gauge audience sentiment. He said you need to have a plan but be flexible, adapting as necessary.

Curtis_Midkiff

Tieing back to part one of my recaps, Carlos Gil said, “The word fun is often lost in marketing.” When creating content of any kind remember to make it enjoyable. People don’t want to see advertisements. But if you make it a pleasurable experience, they may not be so apt to jump away to the next thing online.

The word fun is often lost in marketing. - @carlosgil83 #SMDayJAX Click To Tweet

Read and/or watch part one of my Social Media Day Jacksonville Recap: Biggest Takeaway from Social Media Day Jacksonville – Video is a Major Key

free-def-guide-facebook-pages

Biggest Takeaway from Social Media Day Jacksonville – Video is a Major Key

Social Media Day Jacksonville 2017

Attending Social Media Day Jacksonville reiterated one thing for me – videos and images are the best way to connect with your audience in 2017. Speakers included social media executives at Nasdaq, Southwest Airlines, Cisco, and online influencers like Carlos Gil and Amy Scmittauer who are major proponents of video. Established eight years ago by Mashable, Social Media Day is an event that’s held on June 30th in many cities across the country. This was Jacksonville’s first thanks to the efforts of host and keynote speaker Carlos Gil who planned the event.

With it fresh on my mind that video is the way to go, I wanted to create a vlog for my experience at Social Media Day Jacksonville. Check out part one of my video recap below, or continue reading this blog post to hear more.

Using Snapchat to Reach Your Brand’s Target Audience

Let’s start with a few quick facts from Carlos about Snapchat:

  • There are over 150 million active Snapchat users
  • The platform reaches 41% of millennials
  • 77% of users are over 18
  • People use it to connect with friends and see what they’re sharing (think rainbow vomit filters and puppy dog ears)
Carlos_Gil_SMDAYJAX
One of Carlos Gil’s many references to DJ Khaled.

With all of that in mind, he pointed out that Snapchat is simply not the place to sell. Shaun Ayala, another Snapchat influencer, gave a few creative ways to use the platform. For example, by incorporating the tap feature that takes you to the next Snap, you can show a visual progression. Another idea he had was to offer wallpaper through screenshots. These can be created on Canva or another design software, or if you’re very artistic, within Snapchat using the various features.

Shaun_Ayala_SMDAYJAX
Shaun Ayala speaking about effective strategies for Snapchat

Something many of us forget is the option to delete. Shaun said not to be afraid of deleting part of your story. Just because you posted, it doesn’t mean it has to stay there. If it doesn’t fit within the story you’re telling – delete it.

Don't be afraid to delete part of your story. - @ShaunAyala #SMDayJAX Click To Tweet

Making the Most of YouTube

Amy Schmittauer, the host of Savvy Sexy Social, is a well-known YouTube influencer. As the second largest search engine in the world, I think she’s on to something by focusing her efforts on YouTube. Amy talked about the importance of having a home base to send people. This could be your website and blog or main social channel (in her case YouTube).

Amy_Schmittauer_SMDAYJAX
Amy Schmittauer presenting at Social Media Day Jax 2017.

An actionable tip from Amy that you can use when you’re creating any form of content is to segment your topics by day. Perhaps you only do how to videos on Monday, reviews on Wednesday, and interviews on Friday. This way when you’re thinking about what to create, you have a starting point.

Consumers are not loyal to one particular platform. - @carlosgil83 #SMDayJAX Click To Tweet

As we’ve all heard many times now, you have about eight seconds to grab your audience’s attention. And, if they don’t know you, you have about 2-5 minutes to hold their attention if you’re an unknown. So creating 15 minute long videos is probably not a good idea until you have a solid following. Hence, why this video is less than five minutes long, and why you’ll have to wait for part two to hear about the key takeaways from the other speakers.

I finally met Carlos Gil after following his social media posts for the last two years.

What creative ways are you connecting with your audience on social media? Have you started to use video yet? Let me know in the comments below.

 

free-def-guide-facebook-pages

How to Find Powerful Hashtags for Social Media

Over the last few weeks, I’ve had two yoga teachers ask me about how to use hashtags on social media. Technology is often not high on the priority list for many yogis, and I’m gathering that very few in our industry know how to attract new students or customers by properly utilizing hashtags.

If you grew up with social media this may not apply to you, but you still may learn a new way to find powerful hashtags that can help to get your brand noticed. Skip down to the section on Finding Hashtags if you already know how to use them.

Finding Powerful Hashtags

Hashtag Basics (or #basics)

Hashtags help you to get noticed. If you click on a hashtag on Twitter, it jumps you to a stream of every tweet with that hashtag. Same goes for Instagram and Facebook. Someone that is interested in yoga is likely to scroll through photos/posts with #yoga. If you’re using #yoga too, they’ll see your image.

Try to use only two per tweet, maybe three max. You should be using them in EVERY tweet you post.

On Instagram put your hashtags in a comment below your caption. You can use up to 30 on Instagram.

For Facebook, a lot of people don’t use them. I’ve even had some people ask me why I was using them there and almost get defensive like I wasn’t following the “Facebook rules.” But, these were individuals who don’t work on digital so, poo on them! If you do use some in your Facebook posts, three is a good number. Test it out and see how your audience takes to it.

LinkedIn is another place where many users aren’t used to seeing hashtags, but you should still be adding them to your posts. The hashtags on LinkedIn help to categorize posts and allow new readers to find your content.

Finding Hashtags

You’ll need to find hashtags that are relevant to what you’re sharing. So if your post is about writing a book use tags like #amwriting #fridayreads #amreading, etc. You can find new ones to use by looking through the streams of others using these hashtags. Click a photo in the hashtag stream you’re viewing and see what other tags that user listed.

If you are targeting a geographical area, use relevant hashtags to your region, i.e. #StAugustine #JaxBeach #Jax. Again, if you look at other people’s posts, you can find new hashtags to use on yours.

Here’s a trick to finding new hashtags on Instagram:
Go to the search section on Instagram and click the Tags tab.
Type in the hashtag you want to find more about (using yoga in my example). You can see from this screenshot a list of other relevant hashtags.
>hashtag_research_instagram

Click one of the tags and then read the Related hashtags at the top of the page, you can scroll to the right for more. This can be a rabbit hole and lead you to find tons of new relevant tags.
>instagram_hashtag_research