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How to Use Social Media Tools to Save Time

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Social media is a delicate balance of skill, organization, and creating content that fits your needs. I'm going to share some tips for using tools to help you save time and produce better content so you can get back to the other things that you need to do.

How to Use Social Media Tools to Save Time There is one camp in social media that says that automation is the devil but I disagree with that theory. I feel that sharing your content in optimal times while allowing yourself the benefit of creating it when it fits your schedule is smart.  Social media is time-consuming but you can find ways to handle the tasks to give you more time for the socialization which is the fun part. You should share content when you have time to engage and respond to your followers, automation is not a replacement for engaging with your comments.

Just because you use tools, doesn't mean you have to be one. {click to tweet}

I asked my friend Rebekah Radice, who handles her own social media as well as Better Homes and Garden Real Estate's social media and blogging platform across all the major social media channels to weigh in on the topic of social media tools and why they are effective.

A bit about Rebekah: She's a social media strategist, content developer, trainer and community manager for Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate, serving as “the voice” behind the brand.  Rebekah is a powerhouse on all the major social channels: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google+.

This is what Rebekah had to say. “Grabbing the attention and interest of online consumers can feel like a full-time job. From content creation to marketing and promotion, there is no denying that building brand awareness through social media can be an enormous time-suck.

So what’s an author lacking infinite hours in a day to do? Incorporate automation!

Now before the naysayers of automation jump in, let me explain how I use it to delegate low-payoff activities and focus squarely on what matters most – building relationships.

The tasks I choose to automate are those daily to-do’s that can take an inordinate amount of time. For example, you write an amazing article, post it to your blog and now need to spread that message across your social channels. Using a plugin like NextScripts on your WordPress blog would allow you to automatically post to multiple networks at once.

Another example of automation is Buffer, one of my absolute favorite tools. I use Buffer to determine the best times to tweet or post and then schedule content as I find it across the web. The goal is to automate a portion of my social media in order to free up my time to engage with my audience throughout the day. This should be true for you as well. Stop running yourself ragged and instead fit social media into your schedule, rather than allowing it to run (or ruin) your day.

The bottom line: Automation should never be your social media strategy. It should be used to complement and support your strategy. {click to tweet} So give it a try! Free up your precious time to create meaningful conversations, and capitalize on relationship building opportunities that you might have missed otherwise.”

Here are five tools that I use on a daily basis to make my life easier and my social media more efficient.

1. Buffer (free and paid versions, I use the paid version) “Buffer is an easier way to share on social networks – you won't go back.”

“Be awesome on social media, easily add great articles, pictures and videos to your Buffer and we automagically share them for you through the day!” My #1 go-to social media tool, I would not be able to do what I do without Buffer. With Buffer, you can add posts to share on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ pages. You have the ability to schedule at a certain time or create a plan that works and Buffer will just add into it. Adding content to your Buffer from the Chrome Extension is seamless and easy. Buffer integrates with many other apps: Feedly, Pocket, IFTTT, ScoopIt, BottleNose and more. Buffer has a stellar team that responds on social media and email to help answer questions and fix problems, I've had some complicated issues that they stuck with until they were fixed.

Buffer hack: Drag and drop to reorder your buffered content or just hit shuffle to mix it up. Also, you can drag and drop previously posted content to reshare from another account.

A useful article from their blog: The Complete Guide to the Brand New Buffer App

buffer

2. PicMonkey (free and paid versions, I use the paid version) “Photo editing made of win”

I used PicMonkey for all the images in this post. I use their site all day long for writing posts and creating images to use in social media. This is a great alternative for folks who don't have Photoshop. You can edit photos with filters, crop images, and add text to images.

PicMonkey hack: they have the sizes for different social media photos like the Facebook timeline built into their crop dimensions.

A useful post from their blog: Claim Your Artistry by Adding a Watermark PicMonkey has easy to use tutorials and  fun Pinterest boards too. Load the Chrome Extension to make your life even easier. I also love that they are responsive on social media. I have a crush on PicMonkey.

picmonkey

3. SocialBro (free and paid versions,  disclosure: I have a paid version courtesy of SocialBro) “Powerful marketing tools to grow your business through Twitter”

SocialBro helps organize you and put your Twitter on steroids. One of the best features is the “best times to tweet” which I use with Buffer. I generate the report in SocialBro and it send the info to Buffer. I also like to find out who has followed me recently so I can follow them back. SocialBro is analytics heaven and helps focus your Twitter activities to maximize your time as well as find focused people to follow by using keywords for bios or what they tweet about. I really need to take a deeper dive into SocialBro because I know that I'm not getting all I can from it. I wish that SocialBro covered Google+ as well.

SocialBro hack: use the best times to tweet report.

Useful article from their blog: Optimize Your Tweet Reach with Buffer and SocialBro

socialbro

4. Tweetdeck (free version only)

Tweetdeck is my favorite Twitter app and it has been for several years. I love the columns, the ease in organizing them, and that you can follow lists easily. They recently updated their features which included a new side bar on the right, I'm not sure I love this feature but overall, tweeting with Tweetdeck is great.

Tweetdeck hack: When you only have one or two chunks of time to respond to tweets, schedule the responses out over time so you don't have a group of five tweets in 3 minutes and nothing for hours.

tweetdeck

5. Feedly (free and paid versions, I use the free version)

Feedly is what I use to fill up my Buffer with great content. I choose RSS feeds for blogs that I like and then put them into my Buffer to share later. You also have to option to share directly to Google+, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or email it. If you upgrade to Feedly Pro, you can use one-click to save to Evernote. I organize my Feedly with categories and you can read the article on Feedly or go to the website to read it. You can load the Chrome Exension here which takes you to a cloud version of Feedly.

Feedly hack: It works on tablets, mobile and your computer so you can use it anywhere with Buffer.

Useful article from Feedly: Feedly Tutorial – v1

feedly

A few honorable mentions that can help you because being social is not only talking, it's also listening.

Social mention – searches the web for mentions of your name, brand or a keyword. social mention Topsy – Search and analyze the web with quick results. Find influencers for your brand or competitor. topsy I hope that this helps give you some ideas on how you can work smarter with your social media. Use these tips to organize and take control of your time as well as do a better job with your social media.

What tools are your favorites? Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below.

If you'd like to catch the beginning of this social media for writers series, you can find the articles here. Next week I'll be focusing on editorial calendars and how they can get you organized.

Featured image Big Stock Photos, Tweetdeck image from Mashable.

Article by Peg Fitzpatrick

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16 Comments

  1. Hi Peg,
    That’s a solid list of social tools. PicMonkey is a new one for me. I love the Feedly paid version, loading up Buffer each eveneing.
    Where’s HootSuite :-)?
    – Cole

    – Cole

  2. Great post. I’ve read about of all these tools but left them on the ‘Someday’ pile. Seeing them integrated together in this way renews my resolve to actually build them into my process.

  3. colerwiebe I use HootSuite as well as Buffer but if I had to choose between them I’d pick Buffer. My goal with this article was to give newer folks a foundation so I didn’t want to give two choices for the same task since that could be confusing. Make sense?
    Try PicMonkey and let me know how you like it. What do you get with the paid version of Feedly that you don’t have with the free version?

  4. I would add Scoop.it and Commun.it to this list of SMM automation tool-set. 
    I like how Commun.it shows me WHO are my most engaged Twitter followers, their most used #hashtags used in their Tweets and how it tracks their social engagement on Twitter, although SocialBro (free or fee) version is pretty handy too. Scoop.it when connected with Buffer App is handy for curation and syndication of content (by Topic). Friends+Me when connected to Google Plus enables one to Post to Plus and share to Li, FB, and Twitter, although the Rebel Mouse rendering sometimes doesn’t come out as nicely as when I use manual post/share routine.

  5. Social SEO Consultant I use Friends + Me and RebelMouse too, I’ve used ScoopIt in the past but haven’t in awhile. I also used Commun.it for awhile too but one Twitter admin tool is plenty for the time being.
    How do you use Scoop.It with Buffer?

  6. I agree! Yes, http://socraticsbc.com/ tools can really help saving your time such as I’m using HootSuite for scheduling my tweets for the whole week i can do it one at a time same as to Google+ and to my Facebook account too.. this is very helpful when you were using a social media tools.

  7. PegFitzpatrick Social SEO Consultant Hey Pag – You have the option to share and update via Scoop.it directly to FB, T, LI (or) you can opt to have the share/updates get processed viaa Buffer App which I prefer for scheduling ease and the added analytics Buffer provides on its dashboard

  8. I am all for easier social media tips and some automation as long as content isn’t being pushed aside to just get more traffic or leads that may not have to do with your industry. Great tools thanks for sharing!

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