Let me clarify my point with some relevant data on social media.
- 60% of your company mentions on Twitter occur when you aren’t at 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 to meet these demands of monitoring, connecting and creating on social media?
In this post, I’ll share social media tools that automate your marketing and save you hours every week.
Broadly, these are the 4 stages of social media marketing – discovering, creating, monitoring and scheduling, analyzing.
For your convenience, I’ve organized the tools in five categories – the above four and a miscellaneous category.
If you’re facing problems at a particular stage, directly head over to the relevant section.
Are you ready to get productive, optimize your marketing and become an expert social media marketer?
Content Research and Discovery
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 to 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 your friends and friends of friends networks.
You can pocket 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].
For adding 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 pocket it, buffer it to share with your audience, 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.
This is a great tool to dissect your competition, understand your audience and find the most shared content in your niche.
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 find out the popularity of content on a particular social channel as well by using the “sort by feature.”
You can also plug a blog URL in the tool to find its top performing content pieces.
Besides curation, BuzzSumo is 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 an 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 to use graphic design web tool with pre-made templates for all social media.
It has some of the best elements of photoshop and a drag drop functionality.
How about 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 you can use in your design.
Pinterest 1 pixel image tip by Buffer
The images you share on Pinterest should be vertically aligned. But if you directly insert a tall image in a blog post, it’ll take a lot of real estate.
The solution is uploading the tall Pinterest image below the first picture of your post.
And changing 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 in your post, right?
Here is a tutorial by Buffer on the leveraging 1-pixel Pinterest image.
Since June 2014, Facebook averages over 1 billion videos views everyday.
How can you get on this video storytelling bandwagon without breaking your budget?
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 your smartphone. Then order the photos, crop, zoom and add cool effects, and 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 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 facilitates you to monitor your website, your products, your name and your competitors at a single place.
It aggregates user-generated content 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.
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 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 entries published recently.
This is another great monitoring tool to search for hashtags relevant to your industry.
You can also track your brand mentions.
To start your search: Headover to www.tagboard.com and plug the keywords 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 accounts at the times you choose to post.
But let’s take your social media scheduling to the next level.
How would you feel if you can schedule 150 tweets in under 5 minutes. Awesome, isn’t it?
Inside the platform, choose import your file. Then select the social accounts where you want to share your updates and you are good to go.
You can do a final check for the uploaded updates by at 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% websites powered by WordPress, you’ll mostly like a lightweight plugin to streamline your social media marketing.
CoSchedule is tool with an easy to use integrated social media and blog publishing calendar.
The plugin integrates with Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Buffer.
So simply by 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 task to different people.
Plus, it has 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 tool to connect applications and automate social actions.
For instance – You can create recipes (series of events) to send your Instagram photo updates also as tweets.
You can also get a weekly notification email of all the people who followed you on Twitter.
The recipes look like this.
You can create your own recipe from scratch by choosing a trigger and appending an action to it.
But 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 the articles you choose to read later in Feedly will automatically get scheduled on your social accounts through buffer.
You only need Gmail and Buffer accounts to set up this recipe.
Social Media Analytics
As per 2015 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 91% of marketers are curious about the most effective social tactics and ways to increase their audience engagement.
If you are one of these 91%, you’ll also want to know your 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 tracking your social media marketing efforts.
Data empowers you to calculate the ROI from your social campaigns.
It’ll help you find your top performing content. You can use it to tweak your campaign and optimize your marketing efforts.
Let me introduce you to some great tools to measure and analyze your social activities.
To access your social reports you need to first login to your Analytics account.
- Then, head over to the reporting tab.
- Click on acquisition.
- Now, click on social.
If you get stuck, use Google’s official step-by-step guide for setting goals.
There are 8 reports 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 among others is conversions.
You can break down your social campaign by network and find out the most successful network.
Here is a network wise breakdown for Convince and Convert.
If you are interested in the user behaviour – 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 is 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 off 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 similar brand pages. You can analyze them to find what they’re doing better and incorporate it in your Facebook marketing strategy.
The 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, daily breakdown of your follower growth, 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 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 platform like Twitter, you’ve 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 at Buffer.
If your brand is doing visual marketing on these platforms, then Piqora will be a great tool to add in your armory.
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 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 answers of 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 strategy.
Brian Dean regularly uses these buttons in his blog posts. You can read this post to find out how to create such 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 media?
Then, all you’ve 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 top 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 to experiment with 2-3 social media share buttons (where your target audience hang out).
Alternate Plugin: AddThis Sharing Buttons
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 solve your misery.
It is a link shortener with a great add-on: a customized call-to-action for every link you share with the tool.
In the CTA, you can customize the color, 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 trusted source of information by 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 gets 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 virality. No wonder Upworthy used to write 25 headlines for every post.
As per BuzzSumo, Infographic followed by list posts get the most 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 variety of words you’ve used
- the top keywords in your headlines
- 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.
Further here are some quick tips for writing effective headlines for major social media.
Alternative: EMV Headline Analyzer
This tool by Advanced Marketing Institute gives your headline an emotional value score between 0-100%.
Head over to www.aminstitute.com/headline/ and plug 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 lead to decrease in social shares.
A score between 20-50% will work best.
A simple headline change can result in 127% improvement in conversion rate.
Why lose over 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 engagement, sharing and readership.
If a large section of your audience hangout on Facebook, then activating Facebook Comments on your website can increase the engagement.
But beware. There is a risk of comment scams that easily pass spam filters. Keep moderating the comments you receive.
Also, don’t be skeptical of investing a few hundred dollars on the tools that serve your business goals.
They’ll save you time every week. They also improve your ROI from social media marketing and your bottom line.