Quick and Easy Social Media Management (without a Social Media Manager!)
Spending too much time trawling Twitter and fighting Facebook’s timeline? Use these free tools to manage your company's social media channels..
As an SME, likely you don't have full-time resources on your team to manage your social media so here are some tips and tools to help you get the most from your social media marketing.
Firstly, it’s important to say that quality is always better than quantity. If you are starting out in social media, chose one or two channels and focus your efforts on creating and publishing quality content. It’s better to have full coverage on one or two channels rather than a patchy presence across five channels.
Drill the analytics
There are no set rules as to when you should post on each of the social media channels. Certainly, commuter times can work well i.e. early in the morning and at the end of the typical working day. However, it’s best to investigate when your audience is active. Review channel analytics and you will see a pattern emerging of when people are engaging most with you.
Recycle and re-use content
Each social channel has unique features that you can optimise to make the most of your content. For example, use the Twitter poll function to crowdsource ideas or gather responses, which you can then turn into an infographic.
If you’re at an event, set up a dedicated hashtag to gather live opinions, which you can turn into a summary blog post. On LinkedIn, use the publishing function to share ideas and duplicate this onto your blog too. With Facebook, you can curate event photos into a new post.
Use social media management tools
Management software like Hootsuite, Sprout Social or Buffer can help you manage, schedule and research your social conversations. They broadly work along the same lines with some subtle differences across the three, which we’ll explore here.
Buffer allows you to manage all your social media profiles on the one dashboard. You can type posts directly, insert links, create and attach images all from the one interface. It has a URL shortener built in.
The analytics feature gives you rich data about your social media marketing reach. One of the most valuable features of Buffer is that it will determine the right posting times for your brand, based on the engagement of your audience. You can then schedule automatic posts to go out, for example over the weekend or in the evenings. And if you download the mobile app, you can share content on the go.
You can use Buffer for free with limited features, and they offer a free trial so you can check it out before committing to any monthly subscription. Pricing starts at around £8 per month.
Hootsuite allows you to carry out all the same functions as Buffer but it’s a bigger platform so has more features, more integrations, more supported platforms and more detailed analytics.
With Hootsuite, you can delegate tasks to other users so it works well as a team platform – when paying for it, you can manage up to 50 accounts.
The platform also supports a wider array of social networks beyond just Facebook and Twitter, including Google+, LinkedIn and WordPress.
Again, a free trial and limited free service are available – you can manage up to three accounts for free. Pricing starts at £7.60 per month.
This is the newest of the three management systems and offers the same features as the other two with one key advantage in that it provides full analytics whether you are a paid or free trial member.
For example, you can segment by social channel, create reports, compare various Twitter accounts and view overall Facebook engagements.
Sprout Social offers the easiest-to-use interface and is built for team use. For example, you can assign tasks to other team members with just one click. Just type a description and the team member will receive a notification- faster than an email. You will pay for the enhanced features here as pricing starts at £45 per month.
Track your results, monitor what works best for you and make the most of the tools available to achieve your unique social media goals.