A couple of weeks ago I asked my pals on Instagram to tell me what social media management tools they used. If you are new to social media, let me back up and say that all a “social media management tool” is, is something that helps you to get it done. To get your stuff from your brain, to the Facebook/Twitter/Instagrams of the world. I wasn’t surprised that our answers were all pretty similar! As you will see below “Social Media Management Tools” don’t have to be fancy… mine sure aren’t!
First and foremost I use several places to keep notes. I mostly use the Notepad on my iPhone to jot down ideas as inspiration strikes. I’m one of those geeks that thinks about social media and digital marketing about 18 hours a day, so I need to get original ideas down fast. Whether it’s just a few words to remind me later about an idea I should expand on, or the entire caption for an Instagram post, I keep lots of content right on my phone.
Evernote is another popular choice. Evernote is a notepad app that you can also have on your desktop. Whether you are on your phone or your computer, all your notes are stored neatly there inside, so you always have access. Along a similar vein is Google Docs. I have tons of Google Docs with lists of blog post ideas, outlines for my next ebook, etc.
While my broad-based ideas are in some kind of word processor, once I actually start to write social media posts, things get moved in to a spreadsheet. I prefer Google Docs so that I can access things from wherever I’m at, even if I’m on someone else’s computer. My Social Media Calendar spreadsheet has a tab for each channel that I post on: Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Instagram. On each tab is a series of columns for day of the week, date, time of day, post description (the actual text of what I want to say), the name of the image to include, and a column where I can put an “x” once the item has been posted. A spreadsheet makes things easy to shift around, or cut and paste as I need.
If you don’t have the luxury of posting to all your social networks from your desktop with a fresh cup of coffee in hand (newsflash: most of us don’t), the app built specifically for your social network of choice becomes your friend! So much easier than trying to work through your phone’s web browser. Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn all have apps you can download from your respective app store. A note about Facebook, if you are going to manage your Facebook page while on the go, you want their PAGES app, not just the regular Facebook app.
So, it would be really nice if I had enough time in a day to manually post to each of my social media accounts at the exact moment that I wanted it uploaded, but that’s not most people’s reality. In order to get all of my messages uploaded in a timely fashion and keep each social media channel humming along without interruption, I use a scheduler… HootSuite!
There are many services out there that will allow you to upload your social media posts for posting at your specified date and time, but the tool I like to use is HootSuite. HootSuite is free for use for up to three social networks. After that, there are very reasonable paid plans.
A scheduler saves sanity, and gives me more time to interact and engage with people… which is where the real value in social media lies.
For me, these are the basics. Nothing too fancy here! However, I have a few other tools that I use to do things like: saving articles I come across so I can post them later, cross promoting content across multiple social channels, and creating graphics. You can download the resource list here.