For social media managers, social media tools are not merely luxuries; in fact, they’re more like necessities.
There’s a tool for everything — from monitoring your social mentions to measuring the effectiveness of your campaigns (both of which I talked about quite a bit in my previous blog.
Think about it, though: Social media management tools focus on, naturally, social media-specific problems, such as publishing content across social media sites or keeping track of your audience engagement metrics. However, how about other relatively minor (but no less important) tasks, such as taking notes, preparing posting plans, or creating quick images to go with your updates?
That’s where these surprisingly helpful tools and apps come in handy. You might even have some of them on your desktop PCs or smartphones — perhaps you need to consider exploring what else they can do to help give your social media management activities a much-deserved push.
5 Useful Apps for Social Media Managers
Okay, I admit that this one isn’t so much a “surprise” as it is what some people may consider redundant when used with social media. You’re probably familiar with Bitly, too, or have at least seen a Bitly-generated link. In simple terms,
Bitly shortens long links, making them easier to copy, pass around, and share on social media. Twitter users probably remember Bitly fondly, as prior to the establishment of its own link shortener, Twitter and Bitly went together like peanut butter and chocolate. Eventually though, Twitter incorporated automatic link shortening into its operations.
Still, Bitly remains useful to this day because of its analytics and tracking capabilities; in essence, Bitly allows you to keep track of how many times your shortened link was accessed — and even the network the reader was using when they clicked it!
All you have to do is to add a “+” at the end of the shortened link to see who has clicked your link and the click frequency. Pretty useful, right?
Google Sheets is the search engine giant’s answer to Microsoft Excel. With both offline and online editing capabilities, Google Sheets enables you to create, edit, and share spreadsheets, which multiple users can all access at the same time.
Google Sheets combines the functionality of Excel – complete with complicated formulae, high-quality charts and reports, data filtering and other features – with the flexibility that comes with storing files and documents on the cloud. You can access Google Sheets anywhere, using any device (provided there’s an internet connection, of course).
Perhaps the most significant purpose a social media manager can find Google Sheets quite useful for is in creating a posting plan — a spreadsheet that maps out the copy, links, images and other content to be shared on a particular day.
Posting plans are typical done to cover a week or two weeks, depending on the strategy. You can create your posting plan in Google Sheets, allowing others to access and edit it as necessary and making it available to you from any device when it’s due for scheduling.
If you’re note, er, not familiar with Evernote, it’s a smartphone app that you can use to keep track of anything you need to remember or find immediately, whether it’s a grocery list, an interesting link you saw on Facebook, or even just some random poetry that you came up with on a whim.
The great thing about Evernote is that it’s so easy to use when you’re making lists. This is very helpful if you need to quickly take down notes or plan the day’s schedule of activities. In case you forget anything (like what you were supposed to do next after reading this blog post, for example), you can simply pull it up on your smartphone with Evernote.
That’s not all that Evernote can do, though. Evernote also allows you to send pictures and notes to your social media accounts — handy when you’re on the go, but need to send or share files urgently. Evernote can also save links that are relevant to your brand, which is a highly useful feature for content curation.
Ah, and the cherry on top of the ice cream sundae? If you’re using Hootsuite, you’d be pleased to know that Evernote can sync with the tool, allowing you to access the files via your Hootsuite dashboard.
Though it actually seems obvious once you take the time to think about it, search engine optimization (SEO) plays a bigger role in social media than most people realize. Keywords are vital for social media, every step of the way.
From spotting trending topics and finding out which services or products people are paying attention to at the moment, to determining what most users are searching for online (and more importantly, why), keyword research is a necessary step in figuring out how to effectively say what you want to say, in order for people to not just find you, but to also understand how you can add value to their lives.
This is where Google Analytics and Keyword Planner come in. Google Analytics is used to track brands’ monthly performance and the effectiveness of their campaigns, while the Keyword Planner identifies the best social media keywords for your content.
The Keyword Planner is fairly easy and straightforward to use: Simply select the right criteria, enter the proper search terms, and you’ll end up receiving keyword and keyword group suggestions for your posts.
And of course, there’s Canva, the free, easy-to-use online image editor. Need a design for a cover photo or quote? You can use Canva to create a unique image for you to upload or share on social media. Canva also grants you access to a database that contains thousands of pictures — illustrations, custom graphics, stock photographs — all ready for your use.
Different social networks have different requirements and specifications when it comes to images. With Canva, you can easily use free templates to ensure that your image will be in the right dimensions for the social media platform of your choice.
Take note, however, that these are far from being the only tools out there that social media managers may find incredibly useful. It’s all really just a matter of knowing what you need to do, finding a method for you to do it, then actually doing it. It’s the same rule when choosing tools for your social media “toolbox.”
How much time should you spend on your social media management?
If you’ve already chosen your tools, the next challenge is how much time should you spend on using them. Below is an infographic that can give you a benchmark on how much time you should be spending on managing your social media.
Liz Azyan is interested in the ways new kinds of social data and technology introduce challenges and opportunities to society. Get involved with Liz’s latest project here.