As a small business owner, you probably run your business on your own and wear many different hats each day. You know social media is important and that it can have a tremendous impact on your business but you have little time to spend on it.
You may have heard about a lot of social media marketing tools but many of them are complex and hard to use or don’t quite fit your budget or needs.
For the busy professional, here are some tools which promise to save you a ton of time on social media, so you can get back to doing the work you love.
Most comprehensive social media management dashboards are designed for managing multiple accounts with a large number of interactions. Oktopost, designed for B2B organizations, sets itself apart by helping its users to manage campaigns and relationships. Along with a single Social Inbox to review all incoming messages at once, it helps you with building customer relationships by creating profiles for those you interact with, including contact details and previous messages.
It also offers an Autoposter feature that allows persons to save draft posts as part of a campaign, then post or schedule as necessary. Another time-saving feature is the ability to see all your scheduled posts at-a-glance in calendar view, so you can fill in blank spots and not have to worry about any gaps.
Oktopost comes with a 30 day free trial (no credit card required) and costs $9/month after.
Swayy is the ultimate tool in content curation. You simply connect your social media accounts and plug in keywords of the content you’re interested in. It consistently brings you the latest and most relevant content. The best part about Swayy is the top articles they send in their daily email. A quick click allows you to read the articles that interest you and share them with your fans.
Swayy is available for free with paid options for additional features starting at $9.00/month.
Let’s face it – we’re not all fluent in Photoshop. And for the small business owner with minimal graphic design needs, Photoshop only uses up valuable time and money. Luckily, there are few online apps that have popped up within the last few years to take care of the non-designer’s graphic needs. The best one we’ve found – Canva. Canva provides a simple interface and beautiful templates that allows you to create ideal images for all popular social media profiles within minutes. You can also save your work to use them as templates later on.
Canva is free to use but some graphics and images cost $1 per use. To eliminate this fee, use images and photos from any of these completely free stock photo sites.
Onlypult (formerly Instapult)
Instagram is tends to be more difficult to use than other platforms because of their API restrictions, which do not allow others to build scheduling software for the app. Additionally, you can only post to Instagram from a mobile device, which limits usage. It is still a very useful and beneficial platform for those with visual brands, so many have built workarounds to help users who don’t want to have to post directly every time.
Welcome, Onlypult. Instapult is an online app that allows persons to upload, edit and schedule Instagram photos. It offers filters and space to write a caption, similar to Instagram’s native app and sends posts directly to Instagram.
It must be noted that, with Instagram’s restrictions, this app directly logs into your account in order to post to your profile. Hence, you must provide your Instagram username and password directly to Instapult for it to work. If you’re not comfortable providing this, you can use Chronogram, an alternative app which allows you to schedule posts with the app, then alerts you on your chosen mobile device when it’s time to upload to Instagram. [Update Sep 20, 2017: Chronogram has closed down. You can try using Buffer for this instead.]
Instapult offers a 7 day free trial, after which you pay $12/month for up to 3 accounts. Chronogram is free for up to 40 posts per month on unlimited Instagram accounts.
While tracking mentions of your social media accounts is great, it’s not enough, especially if you have a brand-specific hashtag. Tagboard offers a similar service as Oktopost’s Social Inbox, but for hashtag mentions across platform. Log in and claim your hashtag, then get a visualization of all the posts using it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Vine and Flickr. You can also embed it on a website. It’s perfect for brands that have a running campaign with multiple entry platforms.
Tagboard is free with a $99/month paid option for upgraded features.
The hardest part of social media management, and the one usually ignored by small businesses, is measurement and analysis of results. While it may seem complex, understanding your social media performance is crucial to improving. The good news is that a tool like SumAll makes it much simpler to understand your results and apply it to future posts and campaigns.
Once you’ve connected all the accounts you want to track (see the options below), SumAll automatically tracks the performance of each account and send you a daily or weekly report (based on your request) with changes in your performance. The emails are easy for anyone to read and understand, minus the graphs and complex charts. If you like graphs and charts, you can always log into SumAll and view the details.
SumAll has a forever free package with additional paid features such as more detailed reports.
Hope these apps take some weight off your shoulders. Once you take care of all the tasks that can be automated and simplified, your job as a part-time social media manager for your full-time business will be much easier to handle. Best of luck!