One factor that is crucial to your success as a digital marketer or social media manager are the tools that you use to create your content, automate your activity, and distribute your content. I have been managing social media accounts for about 8 years now and here are some of my favorite tools that I am currently using in my social media management toolbox:
I’ve been using Buffer for about three years now and, as the Marketing Director of a small business, I really prefer it to Hootsuite for scheduling posts on social media. They recently updated the app and you can now drag and drop posts into different time slots that you have set up with the scheduler. This was a total game changer for me and made the app much more useful.
I use Buffer both on my desktop and on my cell phone to schedule posts directly from our blog, YouTube channel, and whatever relevant, high quality sources I find on the web.
If you are an iPhone user and you have the Buffer app on your phone, you can set up your browser so that scheduling on Buffer is an option when you want to share a web page. This has been very helpful to me as I sometimes need a break from the laptop or find myself catching up on news while I’m out and about. It’s just convenient.
Feedly has been helpful for keeping track of top blogs and news sources in my industry. I share some of this content on the many social media profiles that I manage. I tend to review my Feedly news on Sundays and immediately schedule any articles I like with Buffer or, if I don’t have time to read the entire article but it seems useful, I share it to my Evernote account for later review.
With Feedly, you can get all your news and blog posts in one place and they also have an app, which is useful for casual news reading on your phone or tablet when you are away from your computer.
- Revive Old Post
Having just started using the Revive Old Post plugin on our blog, which was built in WordPress, I am already loving it and seeing the positive effects from integrating it into my marketing machine.
Revive Old Post automatically shares old blog posts on some of your key social media accounts so you can make sure you get optimum use out of your content and to keep you from having to manually schedule posts.
You can set the scheduler at any time interval you would like. I set mine to share an old blog post on my personal Twitter account every four hours.
When posting to Twitter, Revive Old Post uses the categories you used to classify the blog post to automatically generate hashtags.
Probably the tool that requires the most skill, Photoshop will enable you to make truly beautiful, customized images. The sooner you get started on Photoshop the better because it simply requires time input and trial and error.
If you don’t have the budget or team to outsource the design of your creatives, developing some basic photoshop skills might be the way to go.
There is a plethora of courses and free tutorials out there, so just start with the basics and don’t be too intimidated. I like to find inspiration for the images I create on Pinterest, magazines, art exhibitions, and the images the other companies use for ads and regular posts.
I tend use Photoshop for all of my Facebook ad images, social media account banners, and anything else that I might classify as a highly important image that must be used to convert. You just have more control over the design this way and you will never be able to get the same texture or design level with the drag and drop design tools out there.
For those times that a quick image is needed (like for a regular old social media post), I’ll often just use Canva. It’s quick and you don’t have to think about the image size because it’s already done for you. Plus, there are tons of cool shapes and lines and text templates that you can use to create a beautiful image without knowing photoshop.
Canva is my go-to for Pinterest images. I stick to the same general design there and I’ve just found it pretty unnecessary to use Photoshop for my pins.
One downside is that Canva has yet to add the ability to use your own font so you might have to sacrifice a bit when it comes to branding.
With bit.ly, you can take a url that’s too long or ugly and make a shortened, more attractive link. You can also customize the url. I use bit.ly for analytics, too. You can view total clicks and see where the link was shared. When I want to, say, share a blog post directly on Facebook (without Buffer, which automatically shortens links) and keep the url in the text of the post, I’ll use bit.ly so it looks cleaner.
- Facebook Power Editor
Advertising on Facebook is easy and affordable because it’s so easy to target user with specific interests. I use it to promote courses, events, videos, and boost blog posts to get engagement.
If you’ve never used it before, I recommend starting small with $5 daily budgets here and they until you build up your chops and have a pretty solid grip on how it all works.
You can check out our post on Facebook Advertising, Risk Taking: The Hardest Growth Hacking Concept to Teach Entrepreneurs, which includes a general guideline on how to set up a Facebook Ad campaign, here.
- Promoted Pins
Promoted Pins on Pinterest are a great way to drive traffic to your blog. It’s gotten to the point where, every time I add a new post to our blog I create a pin and give it a little boost to promote it and see if people like it.
I usually invest about $5/day for up to a week. I create these pins in Canva and I use the same general template design with differing backgrounds so my boards look uniform and I don’t spend any unnecessary time creating new designs.
Sumo Me has become my new favorite tool and it has significantly increased conversions on our blog. With a simple WordPress plugin, you can access a whole suite of list building tools (like pop up boxes and welcome mats) and heat maps that will enable you to see what works or doesn’t work on your site, plus the percentage of blog content your site visitors are consuming.
I recently downloaded this app in my iPhone and I am using it to manage follows and unfollows on Twitter and Instagram. You want to keep the number of people you follow lower that the number of people that follow you and this tool really helps with that. It also makes it easier to skim through new followers and see if they are relevant for you to follow back.
One feature I really enjoy using is the Admirers feed for Instagram. This gives you a feed of posts from followers who have actively engaged with your posts. You can easily engaged with their recent posts from within the app and “return the love” to create loyal followers.
In addition, you can also “copy followers” from a peer’s Instagram account. This will help you connect with Instagram users who are likely to be interesting in your company.
Update on July 17, 2016: Crowdfire now requires monthly payment for Instagram functionality.
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