If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all of the advice I’ve given you for succeeding at your marketing objectives on social media, don’t worry.
It can seem unnatural — absurd, even — to be able to gain crazy amounts of followers and be present on all the social platforms at all times.
And creating content is demanding enough without thinking about community management.
You might be asking yourself: “When do I sleep?”
The social networks never do.
Take a deep breath.
Remember why you’re doing this. Social media is key for all businesses today.
Doing it right can provide huge opportunities.
So take a tip from the professionals.
Professionals don’t stay up all night biting their nails, worried about messaging and trying to survey every post that mentions their company.
The pros use tools. And there are lots of tools that do all kinds of things:
- Manage social accounts
- Schedule content
- Centralize feeds between social networks
- Manage communities
- Respond automatically to messages
You get the idea.
If you have to do it on social, there is probably a tool to help.
Some tools are free. Some are free up to a certain point. Some you have to pay for from the beginning.
All of them can help you in some way.
The trick is finding which tool meets your needs best since each and every business has different needs and objectives, depending on their industry.
- Fashion companies probably rely more heavily on Instagram
- News outlets might focus on Twitter
- A bakery chain could rely mostly on Facebook pages for each location
But the majority of businesses have multiple accounts on multiple social networks.
It’s a logical approach. Multiplying networks means reaching wider audiences.
Managing multiple social networks presents new challenges. Fortunately, there are tools to help, depending on your business needs.
If you’re managing multiple social networks, it helps to centralize the notifications in one place.
It’s much, much easier to manage each platform when you can see quickly across all of your networks.
But there is a hidden wrinkle that’s worth pointing out.
We all have our own personal accounts, too. And each time you check your company’s Facebook page, you can be bombarded by messages from Messenger and notifications from your friends.
One click, and down the rabbit hole you go.
Working with a tool helps solve that problem by helping you to focus on the content that you need to see for business goals while cutting out the rest.
By taking the content out of the context of social feeds, cross-platform tools let you focus on what really matters: your content and your community.
I’ve written a lot already about cross-platform social tools, but here are a few of the top options out there.
As one of the powerhouses, Hootsuite has been around for nearly a decade. Like its tagline says, Hootsuite can help you manage all of your social media in one place.
The dashboard centralizes different feeds and even lets you add feeds based on hashtags or topics. If you’re looking for a one-stop shop, Hootsuite is highly advanced in terms of functionality.
This tool is named after an acronym for “If This Then That.” IFTTT is a program that creates shortcuts to do multiple things at once.
To use IFTTT, you create recipes that rely on specific triggers and resulting actions. The trigger could be “post a photo to Facebook.” The action could be “post that photo to Instagram.”
This means that when you post a photo to Facebook, the post is automatically posted to Instagram.
Two networks, one post.
This is another do-it-all tool. Sprout Social helps with community management, customer service, post scheduling, and analytics.
There is a free trial to get you started.
Now let’s go deeper into some more tailored types of social management tools.
Content performs differently at different times during the day.
While most major companies tend to post during the workday, that creates an effect that drives down engagement.
As an example, here’s when Fortune 500 companies post to Instagram:
But here is when content has the highest engagement (all times EST).
It makes sense.
When there is more content posted on social media, fewer people will see each individual piece of content.
Plus, with the increasingly global nature of social, your audiences could be all around the world, which makes it extra difficult to properly schedule your posts.
Instagram has built-in metrics that show you when your audience is most active on the platform.
Your job is to optimize the timing so that the maximum number of people see your content.
Later is a post-scheduling tool for Instagram. It’s free for you to post up to 30 posts per month.
When you create an account, you are greeted with the dashboard and calendar view. The calendar view is particularly practical because you can immediately see which posts are scheduled for what dates and times.
The first thing to do is upload your media files. Later offers different syncing capabilities for ease of use with services like Dropbox and Google Drive.
Or you can use the standard drag-and-drop method if you’re using a desktop device.
Once your media is uploaded, you can decide when it should go out and sit back and relax!
And Later also will post to other social networks, such Facebook and Pinterest, too. Just click the Add Network icon at the top of the dashboard.
Post scheduling becomes even more important when you use Twitter to reach your target audience.
Tweets are by far the social content with the shortest lifespan, clocking in at just 18 minutes.
With only 18 minutes before a post disappears into oblivion, you need to make sure that a Tweet hits its target.
Twitter’s use has changed a lot over time. People have found success with different rhythms and frequencies that work better than others. You can check out my article about the 5 tools to boost engagement, which is focused specifically on Twitter.
According to Socialbakers, businesses can tweet up to three times per day before engagement starts to drop off.
And it matters when those three Tweets are sent. The windows for optimal engagement and reach are constantly shifting.
You need to find your windows of opportunity depending on your business objectives.
For example, social management platform Buffer found that Tweets posted in the early hours of the morning are best for gaining clicks.
You might also want to avoid the heaviest parts of the day when everyone else is Tweeting, too:
As you can see, that noon to 1:00 p.m. window might be enough to drown out your message.
Buffer’s data is no joke. It has emerged as the go-to tool for post scheduling on Twitter (and other social networks).
It lets you select the time periods that are most appropriate, and when you see something you want to Tweet, you can save it for the future.
It also helps you Tweet regularly even if you find a bunch of interesting content at one time.
Here’s how it works.
Step. 1 Create an account by linking in your Twitter
You can also link it to other social accounts. It depends on which ones you want to use. For this example, I will use Twitter.
Step 2. Select your times of day
At the top of the dashboard, you will see an option for Schedule. Click on it.
You immediately receive a list of times spread out throughout the day. You can decide to Tweet less often by removing times, and if you want, to you can adjust the times of day.
Step 3. Install the Chrome extension
When you are on Buffer’s site, there is a bar at the top with a blue button to install the extension. Or you can search in your Chrome extensions.
Once you’ve installed the extension, you can share content that you find on the web by adding it to your Buffer queue.
Step 4. Buffer your tweets
When you find an article, click on the Buffer icon at the top right of your Chrome browser window.
The extension will open the Tweet box overlay. It will automatically import images that you can use to accompany your Tweet from the article.
Then click on the “add to queue” button.
Tweets added to your Buffer queue won’t be Tweeted right away. Instead, a Tweet will go to the next available time slot in your schedule.
This is a great functionality for people who spend a few hours researching, find 10 interesting pieces of content, and want to share them all without Tweeting 10 times in an hour (which can annoy their followers).
Social listening tools
The foundation of community management is finding people who praise you and bringing them closer to you. Of course, you also want to find people who trash your brand and try to figure out why.
You could search for mentions or rely on your notifications to do this.
But that’s really tedious.
And you will almost certainly miss things.
Social listening tools monitor social networks for you, bringing you the content that concerns you straight to your inbox.
Mention is one service that is easy to set up. They offer a free trial to get you started, which you should certainly take advantage of.
It works like this:
Step 1. Create an account
Enter in your email address directly on the home page.
Step 2. Identify what you want to track
There are three types of things to monitor: your company or product, your competitors, or a specific topic (noted as “Anything Else.”
Click on My Company or Product and you come to the search screen.
I start off by typing in “Neil Patel.”
Next, Mention wants you to get a little more specific. They ask for advanced information like links and my social profiles.
The final step to creating my monitoring is to add the source. I can focus in on what people are saying on specific networks and in specific languages.
Now it’s time to see the results.
Step 3. Go through the results
Mention gives you a feed of all of the people who are talking about you. You can add multiple feeds if you want to monitor different things, such as specific content like Tweets that come from India.
Here is the overall feed from my settings regarding my name, website, and social accounts:
When you click on one of the mentions, it expands in the window to the right, much like the layout of Microsoft Outlook.
Where Mention really gets interesting is in the ability to filter your mentions. To do this, click on the icon above the feed of mentions.
The filter menu drops down and you can choose to see mentions from a certain time of day, source, place, or language.
If I wanted, I could filter my list to only receive mentions only on videos on which I’m tagged.
But these filters are rather simple compared to the other filters when you start scrolling down the menu.
Here we find two of Mention’s niftiest features. The first is Sentiment.
From machine learning and boolean logic, Mention can tell (more or less) the tone of a post that includes your mention.
For community management, this is incredible. In one click, you can see all of the people who love your product and make sure that you go through and like or comment on their posts.
At the same time, you can see all of the people who are leaving negative reviews about your brand or company. You could try to assuage their problems, contradict their false claims, or find a solution to a problem.
The other great feature is the Influence Score.
Mention has a way of calculating how influential each person is on a scale from 0 to 100. It’s very similar to a Klout score.
One of the biggest challenges with community management and social media marketing is locating the most influential people in your audience.
You need these people who already know you to become your brand ambassadors.
They are really hard to find manually once your community starts to grow.
Mention lets you filter from different levels so you can find either the most influential or the least influential people who are talking about you.
When I set the filter to the very high score of 70, I can see the recent result of author and entrepreneur Marc Guberti, who is certainly a very influential person.
Social analytics tools
One of the biggest arguments for adopting digital strategies is the ability to measure everything.
On the surface, social might seem hard to quantify. The ROI of content creation and sharing is often murky.
Social analytics tools help you understand what is working and what isn’t.
In the test-and-learn environment of digital, that’s extremely important.
By helping you understand what’s working, you can focused on your strengths.
By seeing what isn’t working, you can cut your losses.
Over time — if you’re testing and learning correctly — your metrics should steadily improve.
It’s not enough to see how you are performing. Social networks are continuously evolving, and much of your social performance will be impacted by that.
This is why it’s extremely important to see how your competitors are performing in comparison.
Socialbakers is a tool to do just that.
There is a free, 14-day trial period that you can immediately take advantage of.
Step 1. Create your account
Just enter your email address. No credit card is required for the trial period.
Step 2. Add your profiles
For this example, let’s examine a couple of car companies. I’ll add Mercedes’s Facebook page in first.
Click on the Monitor New Profile option, then search for Mercedes. Once the search results come in, you can click on the profile that you want.
Socialbakers lets you monitor networks like Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.
When you click OK, Socialbakers asks you for the timezone that you are the most concerned with.
This is important because content doesn’t perform the same way at different times of day.
I’ll select the Eastern time zone in the U.S.
Here are my analytics results.
See those circles? That’s to show how many sets of metrics there are to look at.
You can scroll through these metrics by clicking the right arrow.
The metrics range from total fans and local fans to number of posts, number of interactions, and even number of promoted posts!
But there’s more.
Click on the little settings icon on the right.
This shows you all of the metrics that you can view right now, plus your inactive metrics.
You can scroll down the list to add even more indicators, like organic reach and different types of feedback.
You can track almost anything you want. Pay special attention to organic results because it’s the real indicator of the health of your community.
If you need a reminder, watch my video about why you should never buy your Facebook followers.
All of this information is practical to have for your own business. In many cases, you would have to calculate these metrics by hand. Socialbakers saves you a lot of time.
But like I said, comparing your performance to your competitors is really where Socialbakers adds a ton of value.
Step 3. Compare with your competitors
Let’s continue the example in the car industry and add in a couple of competitors: BMW and Audi.
Immediately, we can see the differences in community management. Mercedes has a super high response rate for user questions, while Audi has a very low rate of response.
Mercedes is also much more active than Audi in terms of organic posts, with 293 to 5!
As we continue to the right, we see that organic post interactions are correspondingly disproportionate.
This type of horizontal view is not extremely practical or ergonomic, so Socialbakers has another method of going deeper in terms of comparison.
Select the tick boxes on the left for the pages you want to compare and click Compare.
The result is a much more visual comparison of all of the metrics, which are laid out like an infographic.
You can also dynamically change the timeframe if you want to see analytics by week or month.
If you keep scrolling down the comparison, you will get to the Most Engaging Posts Overview.
And finally, remember when I talked about scheduling your posts at the beginning of this article?
Toward the bottom of the comparison, you can see exactly when people in their communities are most active — both the time of day and day of the week.
Just as there are many demands coming from managing social networks for your marketing goals, there are many tools to help you streamline, execute, and master social media marketing.
If you think that you can get by on posting manually and gleaning insights from analytics provided directly from the platforms themselves, you will be in for a bad surprise.
Don’t go it alone!
Your competitors definitely aren’t.
What social management tools do you use to streamline your marketing?