There just arent enough hours in the day to do it all, especially if you are managing all marketing efforts for your company. Sometimes, you want to just find the easy button. While there may not be a real easy button, there are a few tools out there to help make your job a little easier. There are plenty of really cool tools out there, but I tried to highlight a few of my favorites which are free or have a nominal fee.
One way to make your life easier is to update all your companys social profiles from one place. The tool is automatically set up for Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Foursquare, WordPress and Mixi. There are also apps you can add to manage other social sites like Tumblr, YouTube, Instagram, SlideShare and many others. From Hootsuite you can schedule and post updates, monitor mentions of your company or hashtags, and track success with built in analytics reporting. Hootsuite has a free option with the Pro account starting under $10 a month.
Buffer is a useful tool for the evergreen content you want to share on your social media accounts. You simply set up what times and days you want to publish content, then start adding content to your queue. Buffer will push the content you have lined up whether you are online or not. This is great for marketers who arent able to be on the social channels all day. You can check various sites or your established reader in the morning for industry news worth sharing and add it to Buffer. Then Buffer will publish the content throughout the day. It even has built in analytics to help you track performance. There is a free account or the Awesome account with advanced features is $10 a month.
When you publish content on your blog, its important to promote the post on your owned social networks. However, it can be time consuming to post on each social channel. Dlvr.it can help. You can sign up your blog and the tool will syndicate any new content across the social channels. They have a free account that will let you publish to 3 social networks. Or you can sign up for Pro account for $10 a month which will push to 15 social channels.
Another way to get your blog content seen and grow your audience is to get active on Triberr. Triberr is a community that brings together bloggers so you can build or join a tribe of similar interests. This is great to help you share your content, but it also is a terrific way to find valuable content to share on your social channels. As you know, your posts on social channels shouldnt be all about self-promotion. Its important to provide value to your audience from sources other than you and your company. Triberr has groups around all different kinds of topics, so youre sure to find one of interest to your company and followers. Find good content and help spread your posts " its a win/win!
Zapier lets you automate tasks between web services. The service works with nearly 250 services, so the options of what you can do are almost endless. A Zap is a recipe for what you want to automate. You pick the Trigger and the Action. For example you can set up a Zap that if you get a new follower on Twitter it adds the followers information to a Google Docs Row. Then later you can look at the new followers and decide who to follow back. There are thousands of suggested Zaps, or you can create your own. There is a free plan with limited Zaps per month. Or you can do a paid plan, starting at $15 a month, with more Zaps to meet your needs.
A Word of Caution
Marketing can be a tough job. There is a lot to do to be successful and its hard to get it all done. Often there arent enough resources like time, budget and people. Tools like these can help to ease the burden by automating some tasks. But not all tasks should be automated. There needs to be a careful balance of automation and personalization. Also, it is best if you dont automate tasks that deal with your audience. I strongly recommend against auto DMs. No matter how hard you try, they just appear spammy. Scheduling posts is okay, but make sure the copy is still personable and in your brand voice. Leave room in the day for posts as you go. More timely content will come up and you dont want to limit yourself because you already scheduled too much. Also, dont continue with scheduled content when the world is focused elsewhere. You dont want to be the brand that is still tweeting evergreen content during events like Hurricane Sandy and the Boston Marathon bombing. These tools will help you save time, but you still need to be present, pay attention and be human. It is still social media so you need to be conversational and build relationships. If done right, these tools will give you more time to successfully do just that.
Do you use any of these tools? Do you use other tools to help you save time?
Karianne Stinson is an Account Manager at Spring Creek Group, a Seattle-based social marketing agency. She currently helps global brands manage their online presence and grow their social communities. Previously she did social media and public relations for a variety of technology companies, large and small.