June 09, 2015 | Social Media

5 Free Tools To Save You Time & Boost Your Social Media Game

When time is in short supply, social media is often the first thing to fall by the wayside for most business owners. But consider this: You go to a Facebook page full of engaging, daily updates and a competitor that hasn’t posted since 2012. Which business gets your vote of confidence?

Sharing and curating useful content with your online community doesn’t just happen by itself. And generating your own share-worthy content is an entirely different headache that requires a lot of work that may seem to provide little in terms of ROI.

The thing is that, according to HubSpot, consumers expect brands to be on at least three to four social channels. Digging deeper, 95% of Millennials say if they are going to put their trust in a brand (i.e. make a purchase, download content, give away an email address), they expect a Facebook presence. Why? As mentioned by the Social Media Examiner, social media channels signify a trustworthy brand that is transparent, accountable, and accessible. 

With all the pressure of your day, you could use a few ways to free up your time without missing out on connecting and engaging with your online community. Here’s a few of our best tips to stay on top of your social media game:

1. Canva, PicMonkey, or Piktochart

Telling the story of your brand is best done through imagery. Think of the old adage, “A picture tells a thousand words.” That goes double for social media, blog header images, and more. You have a limited amount of space to tell your story, even less time to convince your audience to care, and you need to stand out from the competition in any way possible. Each of these services has a ‘freemium’ option which will suit most users just fine. Crop, filter, add graphics; most importantly, start getting visual. Paid, premium versions are also available, but test each one first, find the one that suits you best, and take it from there. Note: The header image for this blog took 15 minutes to make using Canva. 

2. Topsy for Twitter

It’s time to dive deeper with your hashtag research, because unless you’re paying to promote your posts, sending out posts sans hashtags is post suicide. Tweets with hashtags get at least two times more engagement than tweets without. This service lets you find hashtags by topic, subject matter experts (influencers) in your industry, photos, video and more. It also allows users to compare various hashtags, such as sports (see the example below), and identify the one that will perform the best. And please, don’t stuff your post with 10 hashtags. According to Buffer, tweets with one or two hashtags have 21% higher engagement than those with three or more. Go with quality, not quantity. 

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3. ‘Save Link’ Feature for Facebook

Have you ever wanted to tell someone about this story you read on Facebook, but just couldn’t track it down? It gets awkward; the waiting and silence as you fumble around explaining its apparent awesomeness only to never track it down. Well, forget-no-more. This feature is relatively new to Facebook and we use it often here at Altos. Now when you’re thumbing through your feed but don’t have time to leave breadcrumbs to get back to it in the future, already have dozens of ‘must-read’ links in your email inbox (we all do it), or just flat out want the simplest way to do this, here you go.

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4. Buffer

There are a lot of possibilities to curate, schedule, and manage your variety of social media channels. For us, Buffer is the go-to. It has an easy-to-understand and simple-to-use interface that makes scheduling posts a much shorter time commitment than going back into each channel every day to post (though setting and forgetting still means you’re missing out on opportunities to engage your community). There is a limited amount of options for the freemium version, but it can work brilliantly for businesses that are looking to manage just one account in the least amount of time possible.

5. Social Bookmarking on Evernote

Earlier, we covered how to never lose a link again on Facebook. But what about the rest of the internet? It’s probably fair to assume you have come across -- and then lost -- hundreds of interesting links you wanted to get back to in the future. That do-it-yourself project that your followers would love? A list of blogs to keep track of that is specific to your industry? An inspirational blog you’d like to go return to in the future? Keep them organized by keywords in a few clicks with this bookmarking tool and have a cache of great content to share whenever you’re short on sharable content. Sure, you could favorite them like you’re doing now. But, be honest, how’s that working out for you at the moment?

Unfortunately, effective social media management isn’t just posting cute pictures of puppies and kittens anymore. It’s all grown up. There’s a lot that goes into keeping up with a consistent posting schedule, posting content people actually care about, measuring the effectiveness of your efforts, and finding the fine-line of tone between being engaging and overly sales-y. You might not have much time to devote to social media, but you can bet you’re leaving money on the table if you ignore it entirely.

With these five tools, that process is just a bit more manageable and a lot less time-consuming. If this all sounds like another language to you, you just can’t carve out the time, or have any other questions; we’re always here to help. Drop us a line, anytime.

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