There are a lot of tools out there for those working in social media marketing. Some try to do everything at once and others focus on doing one thing really, really well. There are tools for posting, writing, reporting, responding, growing and so on.
With so many options and such a wide variety of tools available, which should you use? Should you try to find something that does everything, so it’s all in one place, or should you look for the right solution for each aspect of the job?
To help you answer this question, we thought we’d give you a peek behind the curtain and share with you some of the tools that the social team here at TechWyse likes the best for all the different jobs that a social media manager takes on. Keep in mind that these aren’t the only options out there, but they are some of our favourites.
A social media manager has to curate, create and develop a lot of ideas. Every tweet, Instagram, blog and social post needs to be relevant, fresh, interesting and shareable. When you’re creating so much content, where do all the ideas come from? No matter how creative you are, constantly finding new ideas can be creatively taxing. These tools will help you find great content!
Feedly: Is an RSS aggregator that pulls everything into an easy to read format. You can divide your feeds into categories as well.
Pinterest: Is probably the most well known app out of the bunch. Every pin is a different idea, either visual or otherwise. And you can be sure there is a pin or a board for everything!
Finding ideas is one thing, but finding great and popular content is another. Creating content that gets shared is a key part of social media, but jumping in on the conversation and sharing content that’s already hot is another way to get seen by more people and add to the discussion. If there’s one thing we know about the internet, it’s that there is popular and buzzworthy content for almost every industry and vertical.
Buzzsumo and Ahrefs Content Explorer are two platforms that do pretty much the same thing. Type in a subject and see which pieces of content are the most popular! See how many shares any content has on different platforms. This is a great way to find interesting stories that you know audiences are already sharing!
Social media is a visual space. The more visual a post is, the more likely an audience is to engage with it. This isn’t just true of Instagram either. The same thing applies to Facebook, Twitter and pretty much any other social platform. After all, a good visual is worth 1000 words. But not every social media manager has a design team at the beck and call, or is even a Photoshop expert. Even more importantly, who has the time? When you need to create gorgeous visuals with ease and speed, turn to these apps.
Canva: Makes creating images so easy. It has a ton of built-in in designs, fonts, images and more. It also has templates specifically made for social posts, with the correct dimensions and everything. No weird stretching and scaling here.
Adobe Spark: Does things very similar to Canva, but also features Web Stories and video functionality. It comes with tons of images and text designs ready for use as well
Giphy: Gifs have a way of reaching people and sharing your feelings about something the way a regular image just can’t. If you’re looking to connect to a younger audience, Gifs are right visual to use. The best Gif library right now? Giphy.
Once you’ve got the awesome visuals for your great idea, it’s time to get them out into the world. For some, it’s that easy. As an agency, we have to make sure everything is perfect and that what we’re posting meets the standards of our client, and gets their approval. It’s also necessary to be able to plan ahead when you’re a social media manager, you can’t post live each day when you have a lot of clients. Think of the time that would take!
HeyOrca: HeyOrca is a visual content calendar, a client approval process and a multiple-platform posting tool all in one. It focuses on doing one thing really well. It shows clients what their posts will look like on each platform, allows them to approve, reject and/or add feedback to each post and makes that communication process seamless. No more emails bouncing between the client, account manager and social media manager.
Hootsuite: Is one of the most common tools for posting to social media, and no list of social media tools would be complete without it. That said, while we use it for posting as well, we use it with a bit of a different focus, which we’ll touch on later in this post.
Posting to Instagram
Posting to Instagram has long been an issue for any social media manager, especially ones who handle more than one client on the platform. You have to stop what you’re doing, get on your phone or tablet, which usually needs to be connected to a Drive or Dropbox and type out text and hashtags. A number of posting services will allow you to set up reminders, or set up a copy/paste image and text to Instagram, but you still have to handle things manually.
Onlypult and Schedugram changed the game for Instagram posting. These apps allow you to schedule and post to Instagram without having to grab a mobile device every time. With both services, you can schedule a couple weeks worth content in advance. Both services also allow you to tag users and autopost a first comment to get all those hashtags in. Of note, Onlypult and Schedugram clearly state they comply with all of Instagram’s policies and guidelines.
Another key component of of social media management is listening and responding to your online communities. Whether you’re fielding complaints or compliments, it’s important to be timely and authentic with your replies. This can become a hassle when you’re working with multiple clients. Rather than logging into each client’s social accounts, there are a number of platforms that make monitoring and responding to tweets, comments and messages much easier.
Hootsuite: Is the standard social media platform. It’s affordable, offers a free tier and allows users to put a wide host of columns together. You can monitor mentions, specific hashtags and even custom searches within a single dashboard. Switch dashboards and you have a new set of columns. Hootsuite integrates with just about every social platform as well, from Facebook and Twitter to LinkedIn, Google+ and more.
Sprout Social: Offers a slightly different approach than Hootsuite. Rather than having a variety of different columns, all your notifications for all your client’s accounts funnel into one column, the unified Smart Inbox as Sprout calls it. Choosing between Hootsuite or Sprout can really depend on the social media manager’s preference, whether they like things to be segmented or all together. It can also depend on resources, as Sprout is the more expensive option. Both platforms offer the ability to post and respond to comments and the ability to delegate tasks to team members.
You may have heard that across social media, especially on Facebook and Instagram, organic reach is down as more businesses and brands turn to paid options. With this in mind, when you go the paid route, you want to make sure that the ads you deliver to potential leads and customers are working.
AdEspresso: Aims to take a lot of work off your shoulders by auto A/B testing your ads for you. Which images works with which headlines best? Which text gets the most clicks? Which targeting interest sees the most return? Rather than creating a hundred variations yourself, AdEspesso takes care of it all. Punch in a number of variants for each item, and AdEspresso creates, tests, promotes and pauses all the different variations according to their performance. Talk about a time saver!
Just like you and me, clients want to see how their social media is performing. They want to know what their top posts are, how much reach and engagement they are getting and how much they are spending! And of course, as the social media manager, so do you!
Cyfe: Is a relatively recent addition to the reporting software landscape and it’s come to make a statement. It’s a dashboard based platform where you can populate every dashboard with widgets that cover everything from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram reporting to Google AdWords, Mailchimp and more. It also gives you the ability to set up monthly reporting emails to be sent out, or you can create a custom URL per dashboard. It’s all available at a very reasonable price point.
Crowdbabble: Is focused purely on social media reporting. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even Snapchat. This tool helps you dig deep to learn the top level stuff all the way down to the granular. Uncover key social influencers and really understand what is driving your social performance.
Your Own Toolbox
We’ve given you a lot of tools that you can use here, and not every one of them will work for you. That’s okay, there are a lot — and we mean A LOT — of tools aimed at social media managers these days. What you really need to focus on is what works best for you. What allows you to create the best work while getting the best results.