Marketing stars know that social media is a huge and vital part of every single media marketing campaign they run.
Consider the prevalence of social media.
But, it’s a double-edged sword. Even social media marketing stars know that without the right management tool or tools in place, strategizing and managing even a couple of social networks is a daunting task. This is especially true, given that businesses have many promises to keep on social media.
Let me clarify my point with some relevant data on social media.
- 60% of your company mentions on Twitter occur when you aren’t in the office.
- 42% of users who complain on social media expect a response from brands within 60 minutes.
- 58% of marketers state that original content (written and visual) is the cornerstone of social media marketing.
Do you already feel stressed when you think about how you’ll meet these demands of monitoring, connecting and creating on social media? How can you keep up with your Twitter account when you haven’t even checked Facebook for the day? And what about all the new social media sites that are popping up every other second (or so it seems)?
Not to worry.
Because while social media management may seem like a time-consuming endeavor, I know a number of social media tools that will automate your social media marketing and save you hours every week.
Broadly, these are the 4 stages of social media marketing – discovering, creating, monitoring and scheduling and, finally, analyzing.
For your convenience, I’ve organized the social media stages in five categories – the above four and a miscellaneous category.
If you’re facing problems at a particular stage, just head over to the relevant section.
Are you ready to get productive, optimize your social media marketing and become an expert social media marketer?
Learn how I generated 395,526 visitors a month by using some of these social media tools.
Content Research and Discovery
It can be overwhelming to find value-adding content in this noise.
It displays these aggregated stories from your social media circle as easy-to-read links in a feed. You can also add influencers in your niche.
You can catch up on news from the last hour or go through the past week, by using the sort by option.
You can also tap into the content shared by your second degree connections (friends of friends). So, you get to discover content from the networks of your friends and the friends of your friends.
You can also file or mail the posts you find interesting.
Feedly is a great replacement for Google reader. It helps you aggregate the top content in your niche from industry blogs and other publications.
It’s simple to set up RSS feeds from top blogs in Feedly.
Either click on “Add content” in the left sidebar or use the search bar at the top right corner.
You can use these strings to discover blogs: website name, website URL, the RSS feed URL or #[topic you want to follow].
To add a site subscription to your Feedly, click on the green + icon.
Once you find an interesting article in your feed – you can save it to read later, you can file it or buffer it to share with your audience on social media, etc.
Here is a video tutorial by Authority Hacker on curating content using Pocket and Feedly:
This is a great tool to make your content curation simpler and simultaneously save time.
Besides custom feeds, the tool has a wizard that recommends content that’s imminently shareable on social media.
This is a great tool to dissect your competition, understand your audience and find the content in your niche that sees the most social network shares.
Here is how you can use it: Enter your keyword or phrase to discover the top performing content.
You can find trending content by choosing “Past Week” in the “filter by date” option at the top of the left sidebar.
You can also find out the popularity of content on a particular social network by using the “sort by” feature.
You can also plug a blog URL into the tool to find its top performing content pieces.
Besides curation, BuzzSumo is also great for content research and analysis.
Similar to BuzzSumo, in Impactana, you can find the popularity of a content piece on social media under its Buzz breakdown.
Additionally, you also get impact metrics that include the number of backlinks, comments and views of the content piece. It is a great way to find actual user engagement on a piece of content.
Visual content creation
This is a simple graphic design web tool with pre-made templates for all social networks and uses.
It has some of the best elements of photoshop and a drag-and-drop functionality.
Perhaps you’re considering repurposing your most shared content in an infographic?
Here is a tutorial on creating simple infographics with Canva.
Here are 14 websites to source free stock photos that you can use in your design.
Pinterest 1 pixel image tip by Buffer
Pinterest should be vertically aligned. But, if you directly insert a tall image in a blog post, it’ll take up a lot of real estate.
The solution is uploading the tall Pinterest image below the first picture of your post.
And, you’ll want to change its height as well as width to 1-pixel each.
Now, this image will appear when you click on the “Pin it” button to share on Pinterest. The alternative text of this Pinterest image automatically serves as the caption for the image.
What a great way to save space in your post and include a Pinterest-optimized image, right?
Here is a tutorial by Buffer on leveraging the 1-pixel Pinterest image.
Since June 2014, Facebook averages over 1 billion videos views everyday.
Presenting Flipagram – an easy to use app to create bite-sized, 15 second videos.
You can start creating a video from the photos in your Facebook account or from your smartphone. Then, order the photos, crop, zoom and add cool effects. You can even add a tune from your music library.
You also have the option to choose a clip from Flipagram’s free 30 second audios.
Once you create your Flipagram, you can share it on the largest social networks: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Monitoring and scheduling
Social media monitoring and scheduling tools are there for your rescue.
These tools will save you hours every week, by combining your brand activity from multiple social media networks in one dashboard.
Let’s have a look at these time saving tools.
Social Mention is a real-time social media search engine. It empowers you to monitor your website, your products, your name and your competitors all in a single place.
It aggregates user-generated content that’s referencing your brand and displays it in a single stream of information.
You can choose whether you want to search for your website (or brand) on blogs, microblogs, bookmarks, images, videos, questions or all of the above.
In the left sidebar, you can see – the sentiment, top keywords, top users, top hashtags and your last mention. Here is social mention analysis of pixelhub.me.
You can also setup RSS feed search or email alerts, from the right sidebar.
This social media tool helps you find out your brand mentions on Facebook, Twitter and blogs at the click of a button.
Just key in your name/business (use double quotes for exact match) in the search box and press enter. In the left sidebar, you get the option to filter searches by results that were published recently.
This is another great social media tool for monitoring and searching for hashtags relevant to your industry.
You can also track your brand mentions.
To start your search: Head over to www.tagboard.com and plug in the keywords that you want to search.
Here are search results for #neilpatel.
You can directly respond to these mentions, right from the screenshot page.
On the right sidebar, you get useful stats around the frequency and sentiment of your hashtag.
Tagboard is especially useful to track conversations and engagement during conferences and live events.
8. Bulk Buffer
Do you use Buffer?
It is an amazing app to schedule updates from your social network accounts at the times that you choose to post.
But, let’s take your social media marketing scheduling to the next level.
How would you feel if you could schedule 150 tweets in under 5 minutes? Awesome, isn’t it?
Inside the platform, choose import your file. Then, select the social network accounts where you want to share your updates and you are good to go.
You can do a final check for the uploaded updates in your buffer account.
By uploading items in bulk at Buffer, you’ll save time and stay ahead of your weekly sharing schedule.
If you face problems, you can watch this short video tutorial on scheduling to your buffer account in bulk.
Going back and forth between many dashboards and tools can suck your energy.
If you are one the 23% of websites that are powered by WordPress, you’ll mostly like a lightweight plugin to streamline your social media marketing.
CoSchedule is a tool with a simple, integrated social media and blog publishing calendar.
The plugin integrates with Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Buffer.
So, by simply logging into the backend of your WordPress website, you can manage content distribution.
It can also schedule your blog posts, help collaboration with different authors on a post and assign specific tasks to different people.
Plus, it has an easy to use, drag-and-drop interface.
In the calendar view itself, you can also keep track of the most shared and engaged content.
Pro Tip: Integrate CoSchedule with Buffer. The plugin will then automatically post on social media at optimal times. You can read the tutorial on using buffer with CoSchedule to get started.
If This Then That is a fantastic, free social media tool to connect applications and automate social actions.
For instance – You can create recipes (a series of events) to send your Instagram photo updates to your Twitter account.
You can also get a weekly notification email of all of the people who followed you on Twitter.
You can create your own recipe from scratch, by choosing a trigger and appending an action to it.
And, you can use recipes created by other people, as well.
In this article, Kristi Hines explains a killer recipe to directly schedule social media updates from your Feedly account.
All of the articles you choose to read later in Feedly will automatically get scheduled on your social network accounts through Buffer.
You only need Gmail and Buffer accounts to set up this recipe.
Social Media Analytics
As of 2015, Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 91% of marketers are curious about the most effective social media tactics and ways to increase their audience engagement.
If you are one of these 91%, you’ll also want to know the most effective social media platform for your business.
Let me get it straight to you:
The best way to find the most effective social network for your business is by tracking your social media marketing efforts.
Data empowers you to calculate the ROI from your social media marketing campaigns.
It’ll help you find your top performing content. You can use it to tweak your campaign and to optimize your marketing efforts.
Let me introduce you to some great tools that’ll help you measure and analyze your social activities.
To access your social network standing, you need to first log into your Analytics account.
- Then, head over to the Reporting tab.
- Click on Acquisition.
- Now, click on Social.
You’ll need to set up goals inside Analytics to access these social reports. There are standard templates inside analytics that you can use to set actionable goals for your social media marketing campaigns.
If you get stuck, use Google’s official step-by-step guide for setting goals.
There are 8 reports that you can see under social analytics – Overview, Network Referral, Data Hub Activity, Landing Pages, Trackbacks, Conversions, Plugins and Visitors Flow.
If you’ve set up goals, then, in the overview report itself, you’ll be able to see your social media impact.
The most important report is conversions.
You can break down your social media campaign by network and find out the most successful platform.
Here is a network breakdown for Convince and Convert.
If you are interested in the user behavior – the like and share buttons your visitors are clicking, you’ll need to setup social plugins.
Although setting up this report might take time, you’ll be really happy with the end result:
A clear picture of the social network giving you the best ROI and the kind of content you should create for it.
Alternative: Quill Engage
Technical hassles aren’t my cup of tea.
If you are like me, you might’ve found setting up goals and analysis using Google Social a bit complicated.
So. I found another, simpler tool to gauge your website metrics – Quill Engage.
Then, it sends you a weekly analytics report in a convenient, easy-to-read format.
In plain English. you can understand the important changes that happened on your website. And, it’s completely free.
If you find something fishy, you can dive into Google Analytics directly from the links in the report.
You can’t just quit Facebook.
So, as you are not going to probably ignore Facebook, would you like a tool to get insights into your Facebook Page performance?
Presenting LikeAlyzer, by Meltwater.
It gives you an overall score and some recommendations to increase the engagement on your page.
You also get insights into your likes, comments and shares per post, length of posts, timing and number of posts.
In the right tab, your page is compared with the average of similar Facebook pages in your niche.
You are also presented with similar brand pages. You can analyze them to discover what they’re doing better and incorporate it in your Facebook marketing strategy.
The social media tools we’ve talked about, until now, mostly deal with Twitter and Facebook.
GPlusData is a great tool for real-time Google+ analysis.
You can find users who are currently active, top G+ posts, a daily breakdown of your follower growth, the time of the day when most of your followers are active and the largest communities on G+.
You can also analyze a competitor’s G+ page and integrate what is working for them in your media marketing strategy.
You can also find Google+ accounts for any Hangout On Air (HOA) event attendees (you need not host the event).
Here is a video guide by Ilena Smith on using Circloscope on your business page or personal profile.
To get the best results from a real-time social network like Twitter, you’ll want to post tweets when your followers are available to engage.
To get started, you only need to enter relevant industry keywords.
Among other features, you can also track your followers in the last week or in a given period.
Finally, you can integrate your optimized posting schedule from FollowerWonk with your posting schedule in Buffer.
If your brand is doing visual marketing on these social media platforms, then Piqora will be a great tool to add to your arsenal.
You can use the tool to discover, curate and schedule updates on Pinterest and Instagram.
Further, by digging into the analytics, you can find the most pinned, repinned, most liked, commented on and shared content.
Pageviews are vanity metrics.
Engagement is where a marketer’s heart starts beating.
Introducing KISSmetrics – a tool used by 2,000+ companies to measure engagement metrics.
It analyzes your website and creates data visualizations (within 10 minutes) to help you make smarter decisions.
You can use it to drill down for answers to very specific social media questions.
Miscellaneous tools to increase social engagement on your website
You are already equipped with the best tools to research, curate, plan, schedule, monitor and analyze your social media marketing efforts.
But, what about social engagement on your website? The end goal is to increase your website’s engagement and traffic.
Here are some tools to power your website and make it fertile for social media interaction.
A simple way to increase the number of tweets on your blog post is by adding “click to tweet” buttons beside every actionable comment.
Brian Dean regularly uses these buttons in his blog posts. You can read this post to find out how to create similar Twitter callout buttons.
As per Brian’s analysis, these buttons increase the success of his posts on Twitter.
As we can see in the above screenshot, it is also easy to track the tweets shared by these “click to tweet” buttons.
If you’re on WordPress, there is a simpler alternative – Better Click to Tweet plugin.
Social Media Interaction Tip by Buffer
Would you like to directly start interaction about your new blog post on Twitter or other social networks?
Then, all you have to do is tweet about your new blog post and then embed this tweet back in your post.
Kevan from Buffer breaks it down for you.
This way, you’ll make it easier for your visitors to follow your social media accounts and discuss your post.
Try embedding such a social media update at the end of your next blog post.
Floating sidebar social media share buttons have been found to increase the shares by 52%.
But, Smashing Magazine found that removing social media sharing buttons from their website increased their engagement.
The best way to find out what works for you is….
If you’re on WordPress, you can start with Share Buttons by AddToAny plugin. It has the option to activate share buttons in the sidebar, as well as above and below every content piece.
You can also customize the number of social networks you want to show your visitors, from the ones below.
My recommendation is that you experiment with 2-3 social media share buttons and keep them to the social networks where your audience hangs out.
Alternate Plugin: AddThis Sharing Buttons
This is another WordPress plugin to embed beautiful social media share buttons on your website. This plugin also has options for showing buttons above and below content, as well as in the sidebar.
Do you feel that you lose time curating and endorsing content by other publishers?
Then Snip.ly can give it back to you.
It is a link shortener with a great add-on: a customized call-to-action for every link that you share with the tool.
In the CTA, you can customize the color or theme and add a photo along with your message.
Besides direct traffic, you can drive app downloads, email list signups, event registrations and other creative things.
You can measure your efforts under its analytics dashboard. It tracks the number of clicks and conversions.
Influencers are a trusted source of information for your customers. A recommendation from them can lift your product sales and brand visibility.
But, how can you can find these influencers that will be interested in your post, service or product?
This is where Onalytica chips in.
It finds relevant influencers, based on your article link or uploaded file.
It generates a list of targeted influencers in under a minute, after scanning your article and finding its theme.
After reverse engineering relevant influencers:
You can connect with them and start building a relationship by engaging with them.
Don’t ask for a favor (like promoting your content) right away. You need to first add value to their business or blog.
As Gary Vaynerchuk puts it
Give, Give, Give, Then Ask.
Headlines play a key role in determining an article’s virility. It’s no wonder that Upworthy used to write 25 headlines for every post.
As per BuzzSumo, infographics followed by list posts get the highest number of social media shares.
CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer is a great tool to ensure that your headlines are attractive.
Using it is simple.
- Head over to www.coschedule.com/headline-analyzer.
- Plug your headline in the “Type your headline here” bar.
- Press the “Analyze Now” button.
You’ll get an overall score for your headline.
As you scroll down in the tool (not shown):
- you’ll get a grade for a variety of words you’ve used,
- the top keywords in your headlines
- and the sentiment your headline evokes
A score of 60+ and a B+ grade are decent.
You can use the tool to craft seductive headlines that get shared on social media.
Here are some quick tips for writing effective headlines for major social media platforms.
Alternative: EMV Headline Analyzer
This tool, from Advanced Marketing Institute, gives your headline an emotional value score between 0-100%.
Head over to www.aminstitute.com/headline/ and plug in your headline.
Choose a category and submit your headline for analysis.
You’ll get a EMV score like the one below.
Over-emotive headlines might actually lead to a decrease in social media shares.
A score between 20-50% will work best.
A simple headline change can result in a 127% improvement in conversion rate.
Why lose the extra social shares, traffic and conversions?
KingSumo Headlines is a WordPress plugin that allows you test headlines.
You just need to craft multiple headlines for your post.
Your visitors will see different headlines. You’ll then get an analysis you can use to find your best-performing title.
There is a prerequisite for this plugin to work properly though:
Your website needs to have significant traffic.
Huffington Post and BuzzFeed have shifted to Facebook comments to boost their social media engagement, sharing and readership.
If a large section of your audience hangs out on Facebook, then activating Facebook Comments on your website can increase engagement and bring you closer to your social media marketing goals.
But, beware. There is a risk of comment scams that easily pass spam filters. Keep moderating the comments you receive.
Achieving your social media marketing goals requires focus and strategy.
Also, don’t be skeptical about investing a few hundred dollars in the tools that serve your business goals.
Have I missed any of your favourite social media marketing tools? Can you share your social media productivity secrets? Please let me know in the comments below.