social media toolsAre you drowning in social media tasks?

Do you need better tools to help you manage your social media marketing?

Automating some of the more repetitive tasks related to social media can help you be more productive and efficient with the execution of your social media strategy.

To save you time and improve your marketing efforts, I’ll show you three social media tools that will deliver your content efficiently.

#1: Be More Efficient on Facebook

Post Planner, an independent application you install within Facebook, is designed to help you deliver content to your Facebook Page effectively. The app offers paid plans and a free trial. We’ve used the free trial for the demonstration below.


  • Automate publishing of selected content to your Facebook Page based on a time schedule that you predetermine.
  • Identify trending content to add to your queue.
  • Add your blog feed and publish your new posts automatically.
  • Crowdsource content from other Post Planner users. If a Post Planner user creates a folder containing content from the top Facebook experts, this folder is available to other Post Planner users to select content from.
  • View the latest content from your favorite Facebook Pages, Twitter accounts or blogs from within Post Planner and add articles, tweets or posts to your queue.
  • View simple analytics that show you the percentage of people who liked your post, clicked it or commented on it.
  • Target your posts based on a selection of details such as gender, age group and level of education and save the target for future use. Link the targeting to a time zone and Post Planner will adjust the publish time.
  • Post Planner provides a database of thousands of updates you can search to find ideas for your status updates.
  • Upload a bulk file of posts.


Go to Post Planner and select ‘Sign in with Facebook’ then ‘Go to App’ and grant permission to let Post Planner publish on your behalf.

relevant permissions

Provide Post Planner with the relevant permissions to post content on your behalf.

Here’s an example of how Post Planner will look when you initially login.

login screen

When you first login to Post Planner, this is the screen you’ll see.

‘Post to’ is where you type in content to post. Choose from:

  • Status: Post a simple text-only message or include a link to content.
  • Photo: Upload a photo to share on Facebook.
  • Bulk: Upload a file of multiple posts to automatically schedule them.
  • Blog: Add your blog feed so content from your blog is automatically shared (this is a paid feature).

When you want to share content, click ‘Post Now’ or ‘+ Queue’. ‘+ Queue’ will automatically place your post to publish in the next available time slot within your preconfigured schedule.

‘Status Ideas’ will show you a list of suggested status updates based on brands, seasons, calls to action, etc. Choose a status and add to your queue if you need help finding something to say.

select and add to queue

There are thousands of status updates that generally provide good engagement on a Facebook Page so you can select the most appropriate one and add it to your queue for posting.

Use ‘Content Engine’ to store and search your favorite content sources in Post Planner.

add content sources

You can select a folder that you can add to your content sources. This is a folder shared out by other Post Planner users.

For example:

  • Store keywords in ‘Get Trending Feed’ to find and share popular content.
  • Add the feeds from Facebook Pages, Twitter or blogs that you like and trust. Read new content from within Post Planner and add it to your queue with one click.
  • When a Post Planner user creates a folder of content sources, the folder and its content are made available to other users. Add any folder to your content queue and view all of the content from these experts or add specific blogs from the folder.

You can display content in chronological order or by most likes or most shares of the content.

content shares

Content from Social Media Examiner’s Fan Page is displayed in order of the content that received the highest number of shares on the web.

Click on a piece of content to read it within Post Planner and when you’re happy that it’s good for your audience, click on ‘Add to Publisher’ to place it in your queue.

add to publisher

This image is a really popular post from Mark Schaefer. Just click ‘Add to Publisher’ and it’s placed in the queue.

Click on ‘Insights’ to view simple analytics on content you share. For every post, you can view the time and date it was posted and the percentage rate of likes, comments and clicks the post generated. You can also filter by different types of posts that you published.


The analytics are simple but relevant.

‘Settings’ is where you configure your preferences for Post Planner. Enter details such as your time zone, define the queue schedule for sending out your posts, add team members, create Pages lists, etc. If you manage multiple Facebook Pages, you can group them into lists so you can post a single piece of content to multiple Pages at the same time.

queue schedule

Specify the times that Post Planner will use to send out content.


Post Planner helps you:

  • Quickly find content specifically for your Facebook Page(s).
  • Easily add content to your queue.
  • Auto-schedule your posting based on predefined times.
  • Track what content is working or not working.
  • Find ideas for content to share when you’re stuck!


To be successful on Facebook, you need to post great content consistently. Post Planner helps you find and share this content, which can save you a significant amount of time.

#2: Automate Repetitive Tasks Between Platforms and Apps

Zapier will automate tasks between online services. For example, when a new video is uploaded to your YouTube channel, Zapier will send out a tweet. The app offers a standard free service and paid premium plans. We’ve used the free trial for this demonstration.

Zapier currently works with over 200 online services and more services are added regularly.


  • Automate trigger events (Zaps) between supported services so that if a particular event happens with one service, an action is performed on another service.
  • Set up multiple Zaps for multiple services.
  • Customize what gets included in the trigger: For example, select specific fields of a form to be copied to a trigger action.


Sign up for Zapier by providing your basic details.

zapier setup

Insert your details to create an account on Zapier.

Once you’re signed up, you’re ready to set up some automation, otherwise known as a Zap.

First specify the source of the trigger. In this example, we’ll use YouTube and define the action that springs the trigger as a new video uploaded to your channel.

Next specify the online service that is triggered and the event you want to execute. In this case, when a new video is added, you want details added to your Buffer queue so it can be posted to one or more of your social channels.

setup new zap

When something happens on one platform or app, a trigger action is performed on another platform or app.

Next, connect to your YouTube and Buffer accounts. You’ll be asked if you want to filter the videos, which lets you include all videos or only videos of a specific type or that include specific keywords.

define trigger

The custom filters allow you to specify what videos trigger an event.

When you connect your Buffer account, you’ll need to specify which social media profiles the content will be sent to before you configure the message. Your messages can simply include text or you can add variable placeholders that will be replaced by text.

We added ‘Title Text’ and ‘Group Player URL’, which means that when Buffer sends out the message it will include the title of the video, which is taken from YouTube, with a link to the video.

configure buffer event

Create a custom message using variables that will be replaced with content.

To test your Zap and make sure it works the way you want before you enable it, select a video from your YouTube channel and send it to Buffer.

tryout zap

Select a sample video from your channel and add it to Buffer to test out your ‘Zap’.

If you’re happy with the results, name your Zap and enable it.

enable zap

Give your Zap a suitable name so you can easily identify it within your list of Zaps.

Now, anytime a video is added to your channel it will be sent to Buffer and Buffer will add it to your queue.

Other Examples

Create your own Zaps or use one of the thousands of Zaps that are fully configured.

explore zaps

Choose from a wide range of Zaps for all the supported online services. You can filter by the online service(s) you’re interested in automating.

The following are other examples of Zaps you could consider setting up:


It makes sense to replace repetitive tasks with some automation. Zapier supports a broad range of services and Zaps will save you time and ensure that no task gets forgotten.

#3: Distribute New Blog Posts

When you publish a new blog post, you want to send it out to your social networks. allows you to do this automatically and provides good analytics in the bargain. The app offers free and paid versions.


  • Automatically post your blog articles to Twitter, Facebook, Google+ (business page),, Tumblr, StatusNet, Delicious and RSS feed.
  • If you have multiple authors writing blog posts, set to submit specific post to an appropriate account based on the author. For example, post a new article to the relevant author’s Twitter account.
  • Embed a Top Posts widget on your website to showcase the most popular content that was shared out through
  • Track clicks on any links you send out through
  • will automatically add hashtags to the content you send out.


Sign up for the free trial with your name and email address.

To create your first ‘Route’, click on the ‘+ Add Route’ button, then the ‘+add’ button in the Sources menu to enter details of the ‘Source’ where will pick up content from.

You can use three places as a source:

  • Standard RSS feed from your blog.
  • email. will create an email address and when you send information to this email address, the content will automatically be sent out to the channel you set up.
  • Twitter RSS feed. Monitor a feed of filtered content from Twitter and retweet this content automatically.

We’ll use the Standard RSS feed in this example. To post your blog articles to your social networks, enter the address of the feed for your blog, then click ‘Save’.

details of rss feed

Enter details of your feed and indicate when the first post should be sent.

Now, click the ‘+add’ button in the Destinations menu to tell where to post your content. We chose Twitter.

Now, when you publish a new blog post, it will automatically post to your Twitter account.

source destination

Blog articles from RazorSocial will be published automatically to a Twitter account.

Configure Sources and Routes

There are various filter options. Here are some of the important ones:

  • By default, will pick up any new content from your source feed, but you can configure it to pick up select posts. In the example below, will only pick up posts that have ‘news’ in the title.
    configure source

    You can configure what content and what posts are picked up.

  • Add tracking codes to the links you share so you can review them with analytics tools such as Google Analytics.
    add tracking code

    A tracking code will help you drill down on traffic with an analytics tool.

  • Replace the default link shortener with another shortening service such as bitly,, or your own branded custom link shortener.

    Replace the default URL shortener with your choice of shortening service.

The paid versions of allow you to:

  • Specify how often checks your queue for new content.
  • Limit the amount of posts makes during an update period or during a day.
  • Add text to the start or end of every feed post. For example, add ‘New Post’ before the title of every new blog article published from your RSS feed.
  • Specify a posting schedule that works for you instead of posting immediately.
  • Add location tags so that platforms such as Twitter will display location-specific information.

Configure Destinations

When you configure a destination, you can specify how the content appears. For example, include the title and a link to the content and mention that the content comes from Social Media Examiner by adding ‘via @smexaminer’ to all posts sent out.

configure destination

This allows you to configure the content that is delivered.

The advanced options allow you to:

  • Post content as a retweet when you share content from a blog that’s not yours.
  • Automate hashtag placement based on categories you assign to your blog article.
  • Choose how handles blank spaces found when it’s constructing an update.
    advanced destination settings assigns hashtags to your posts automatically.

Analytics provides good analytics to show how many people clicked on your content and where those people are from. You can also see which content got the most clicks.


Analytics provide you useful information to find out what’s working or not working.

The analytics can also be broken down by ‘routes’ so you can test multiple routes for performance.

route analytics

You can view analytics broken down by each route.

Summary will ensure that your blog content is sent out automatically to your social channels and the analytics will let you see which content is most popular with your social network connections.

Final Comments

Full automation of social media is never advisable, but automation of some tasks can save time and free you up for content creation, market research and overall engagement.

What do you think? Have you considered automating some of your social tasks? Have you used any of the tools above? Are there other tools you would recommend? Please leave your questions and comments in the box below.

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  • venkyiyer58

    Thanks for a 3-in-1 bumper. None of the three tools in this post were known to me.

  • Great to hear, I hope they are very useful for your business! thanks for the first comment! ian

  • hbrofman

    venkyiyer58, Actually, there are 4 tools here. buffer is itself a great automation tool for ‘staged’ posting to multiple social media platforms…

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  • How do you use for G+? It doesn’t seem to be an option. Is there a good scheduling service for G+?

  • gabebevilacqua

    Great post — we’re big believers in tools to help businesses be more efficient with their social and content marketing.

    I would humbly like to offer to give you a demo and tour of Rallyverse, which helps businesses to discover, curate and publish great content to social channels.

  • Ian, this is an excellent breakdown of some really awesome tools. We use a number of these in our business. For example, we use to share each of our clients’ blog posts to their respective social media channels and it is very reliable. I’ve had some issues with Post Planner in the past but maybe need to try it again. Have you tried Post Rocket? I like that one too, especially for posting images to FB. Thanks Ian!

  • Good post @iancleary:disqus! Mad love for including Post Planner!

  • Always interested in new tools! Contact me on twitter and I’ll take a look!

  • Thanks Scott, glad you like it!

  • I use Buffer every day also!!

  • Hi Tyler, Google + doesn’t support an external tool adding content to a personal profile but you can add content to a business page from, Ian

  • Hi Stephanie, Postplanner has certainly got better with a better UI, more functionality and some bugs resolved. I haven’t looked at Post Rocket for a while so I guess it’s time to have another look!!! Thanks for your feedback, Ian

  • @stephsammons:disqus if you are having issues with your app please reach out to us by emailing and we’ll get you taken care of.

  • I don’t think G+ has opened their API to anyone but HootSuite at this point. I could be wrong.

  • I love me some Buffer!

  • Hi Ian,

    I agree you have to use wisely automation tool to improve your social media efforts

  • Thanks for your feedback, Ian

  • I believe it. My dream is for G+ to be added to Buffer!

  • You’re welcome and you’re really fast answering 🙂 Take care

  • venkyiyer58

    yo, thanks, hbrofman, i suppose i ignored buffer (a) because it is not new to me and (b) because i use hootsuite and am happy with it

  • Dara Khajavi

    Wow. Thanks for all these great tools. I will definitely start utilizing them. It is amazing how these apps continue to evolve and improve.

  • Thanks Dara, they are certainly worth checking out! Ian

  • Great advice! I’m going to check out Zapier first and do a video review!

  • Thank you Stacy, a video review is a great idea. Ian

  • Teresa O’Connor

    Was excited to learn about Post Planner. But disappointed to learn that Post Planner won’t give me the option to post to my Facebook Fan Page. Only my personal profile and groups, which doesn’t help me really. Thoughts? Tips?

  • Hi Teresa, I use it to post to my Facebook page all the time. You connect to your personal profile but then you can select your business page! Ian

  • Awesome! Let us know when it’s posted. 🙂

  • This is a really good list of tools Ian and very timely as I’m running a charity golf tournament using Wufoo forms and need to have it feed to Aweber. I saw the post title in the SME email and then when I saw you wrote this I had to check it out!

  • JoanM

    I’m curious about Post Planner, as I’ve heard that using HootSuite for FB posting isn’t the best thing to do. But the features of this look excellent. Are there any negatives from FB if you use this app?

  • Hey Rich, thanks for stopping by. Glad we provided you the info at the right time!! I hope all is great. Ian

  • It’s an app sitting within Facebook and that’s where Facebook would prefer you! It’s more likely to be negative posting from outside of Facebook, Ian

  • Dennis Teseling

    Hey guys, Post Planner seems like a nice tool. But is Twitter and LinkedIn post-scheduling not included/possible?? As well as autofollow on Twitter, which makes Sendible the best for me and my clients now.

    Anyone happen to know if the two things I describe above are available on PP cause then I would seriously consider swapping managers…

  • Teresa O’Connor

    That wasn’t presented as an option for me, unfortunately. Just my personal page and groups. Sent a message to their service folks to see how to remedy that. But thanks for your reply.

  • Hi Dennis, this is a tool purpose built for Facebook. If you want a tool to manage multiple social networks this isn’t the one for you. As it’s custom built for Facebook it provides more features than other tools I’ve tested out but as you mention the big disadvantage is that it’s Facebook only. Ian

  • Joan Muschamp

    Thanks, that’s what I thought, but didn’t want to waste time without checking that out first.

  • Dennis Teseling

    Yeah I was afraid of that, tx anyway!

  • Our goal has been to not be all things to all people and focus on doing one thing well. And that’s providing an easy to use tool to post to Facebook. But how we differ from anyone else is we aren’t just a tool to schedule posts. We also provide you status ideas and trending content. No one does this.

    Twitter and LinkedIn could be coming down the road, but our focus is Facebook.

  • There doesn’t appear to be any negative issues with using a 3rd party app any longer. For some time Facebook was collapsing all posts from a certain app together. But they stopped doing that.

    Plus with our premium plans we actually build an app just for you that no one else is using. So definitely no penalties.

  • Post Planner looks really interesting. I will definitely try that out! As for other app recos, I’m a big fan of Buffer for Twitter.

  • Teresa yeah our app is meant for Pages for sure! If you’re running into an issue please email and we’ll get you taken care of.

  • jcraig17

    Am I missing something? Your post says that you used the free trial of Post Planner and you were able to set up a posting schedule. But when I tried to set up my schedule, it says I need to upgrade to access the calendar.

  • Hey Rashelle, thanks for your feedback, yes Buffer is certainly on my list also! Ian

  • As an angel investor in Buffer, thanks for your support!

  • Thanks for you reply, maybe you are right let me check. I have a paid account but did most testing on the free account! Ian

  • Dennis Teseling

    How bout Hootsuite’s keyword search, I suppose its similar to PP’s trending content. You guys also offer free try-out right?

  • Teresa O’Connor

    I’m finding the same problem. The free trial isn’t letting me schedule a post, which was the main reason I signed on to Post Planner. The cost is running $29/month to do that feature.

  • Teresa O’Connor

    Yes, I had to reinstall it. But the support people were fast and helpful.

  • Not sure about HootSuite’s search. Our Trending Content lets you add it easily to posts and into your Content Engine inside the app (premium users only). I’ve never been a fan of HS for some reason. Even way before I started doing work for Post Planner in January. Was always a TweetDeck guy. Guess it’s the MAC vs PC kind of thing!!

    We don’t have a free “trial”. We have a free plan you can use forever! It will let you simply plan and post to the pages you admin, and does have some limits as to the number of posts. For someone with just 1 page they are running it’s perfect. If you’re running multiple you’ll need the Expert or Guru as you’ll want the unlimited abilities.

  • Good to hear Teresa!! (Don’t tell anyone but our CEO Josh and I primarily handle support too! We’re workaholics!)

  • yes you can schedule posts for your pages using the free plan. Just click on the click icon and a calendar will open to let you schedule. The Queue feature is an upgrade. If you are having issues please email

  • Dennis Teseling

    I need to manage about 15 or so, but I want to be able to schedule posts so I need the guru-plan right?

  • Yes you can schedule posts for your pages using the free plan for pages you are an admin of. Just click on the click icon and a calendar will open to let you schedule. The Queue feature is an upgrade. If you are having issues please email

  • Hey Jay, Buffer is a tool I use every day! It was a good investment! Ian

  • If you’re only planning 1 post at a time the free would work. But you wouldn’t be able to schedule very far in advance. I’d recommend the Expert plan. The Guru gives you the Trending content and etc.

  • You’d be fine with the Expert plan too. Just wouldn’t get all the features.

  • Ian, WOW. Great value here! I am all over after reading this post. Also, I absolutely LOVE Post Planner; we used this for all of our Facebook pages and groups – it’s an amazing app, and I’m happy to see it featured here! Thanks so much for this detailed post.

  • How does it differ from hootsuite

  • Ian, Thanks for your wonderfully detailed introduction to these three time-saving tools. I’ve been using Buffer this week to help my clients get help with scheduling their posts at peak traffic times for Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

  • James

    Post Planner looks great. I run a series of closed group accounts that I can see Post Planner will help with. Looking forward to setting it up and giving it a go.

  • Tina

    Also, the only option available on the free trial is queuing posts (which is basically the same as the facebook scheduler, anyway). You can’t access the content engine, or source engine in the free trial – that costs $20 a month.

  • Actually the Queue feature is for premium members. Our free plan lets you schedule posts or post immediately for your pages only. The content engine and source engine are for upgraded members correct.

  • Post Planner offers some content options and status ideas options, which no one else has. Plus it’s inside Facebook. It’s not a “Management” app in the sense of interacting with your fans and replying. It’s for scheduling posts and finding content.

  • Let us know if you need any assistance James.

  • Cheers Scott thanks for clearing that up

  • Emily Brown

    Thanks for sharing these. And I was just feeling so overwhelmed with the task of running two websites as well as social media by myself. Being a solo entrepreneur is not easy. I’m implementing these right away.

  • Csaba Sári

    What about

  • Tyler, does post to G+ pages. We are one a few partners that have access to the API. You can read more here:

    Bill Flitter

  • Hi John, thank you! Yes that is a great tool and I enjoyed testing it out as it has lots of great features! Ian

  • Thanks for your feedback Daniel and thanks to Scott for his reply!

  • Hi Kate, you are very welcome. You should stick with Buffer but also consider some of the tools above! All the best, Ian

  • HI James, thanks for your feedback, glad you like Post Planner, Ian

  • Thank you Emily, we love some action!! Ian

  • Hi Csaba, this is also a very good tool and well worth considering. Ian

  • Vivek G Maudgalya

    Thanks Ian. this was helpful. I am thrilled to use Post planner. That is the new thing that I haven’t used so far.

  • Sarah Jocson

    Most marketers, associate social media with positive outcomes but it doesn’t always the case.

  • Hey Vivek, delighted to help. Thank you so much for your feedback, Ian

  • Hey Sarah, to be successful on social media you need a good strategy but also the right tools! Thanks for your feedback, Ian

  • socialmediaplus

    Great tools thank you 🙂

  • You are welcome, thank you!

  • Anindya

    Hi Ian. Thanks for the post… really helpful. With the app for postplanner though, I cannot post to pages. It just has options to post on my own profile or in a group that I belong to.

  • Arthur Pritt

    i highly apprecited your article i never new this. you people are social meia addicts

  • kkerski

    Postit is only useable to those who only need to post on facebook. Many of us have multiple social media platforms that we want to post to using same content. What program allows you to post to ANY social media venue? (Linkedin, Twitter, G+, Stumbblr, Facebook, etc.)

  • We certainly are Arthur, thank you for your comment! Ian

  • There are a broad range of other tools. Hootsuite provides a lot of functionality for free and I still use this daily. Ian

  • Hi, I’m not sure what the issue is because pages are certainly supported. The guys at postplanner are very helpful so if you email I’m sure they will get you up and running. Ian

  • Yeah just shoot us an email and we’ll see what’s going on.

  • Thanks for the props John! GO FIRE NATION!

  • Thanks for checking out Contact me if you need assistance. Email: Bill At

  • As Ian pointed out, allows you to post and schedule content to all the major social networks. (Disclosure, i am the founder of )

  • Keep in mind that you should be posting different content with a different format and verbiage to each social site. Posts on Facebook don’t work on Twitter and vise versa. Twitter has more abbreviations typically and flows different. So IMHO it’s best to NOT post the same stuff to everything at the same time.

    Plus if someone follows you on different platforms and they see the same update from FB, Twitter and Google+ all at the same time it could turn them off…

    That’s why I use Buffer for Twitter and of course Post Planner for Facebook!

  • Sure thing Wade!

  • Hi Scott I turned my account back on. It’s MUCH better! So glad I gave it a 2nd try.

  • jay

    great help, thanks

  • Thanks Jay, glad it was useful!

  • Amazing tools!! Really help the marketers in their business for effective results and more profit. Thanks for sharing such an insightful post.

  • Thank you Swapan, glad you found it useful.

  • Albert

    I have tried Post Planner, and found it to be below standard, you pay 19.00, and it does the same thing as hootsuite, and it has a 100 post limit per day.

  • Scott does post planner let you post large pic with post links when using other people’s content? Now I am copying the photo and then uploading it again. I don’t find linked content gets as much interaction.

    How do you know that Facebook is no longer penalizing for third party applications.

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  • Does Post Planner still integrate INSIDE Facebook? Because I’m not seeing that.

  • John Smith

    Are there any free tools available that allow for posting into facebook groups all at once? My company would greatly benefit from a tool such as this. I do not want to pay monthly for programs like Hootsuite just for this function.

  • Liz Angelene M Verano

    Yes! This is the answer of my nightmares! Been a social media manager for a long time and due to the numerous accounts I am managing, I usually get stumbled on what I will do next or what are the things I needed to do. Now that I have read this post, my worries will come to an end now. Thanks to this brilliant ideas! I never thought these exist either. Also been able to come across this article which also teach us how to do a content automation which will help us drive more leads and higher sales.

  • marcos

    Very nice. I just started my company and these tools sound great. However, do I need to pay to get soething like that? How much? Which companies offer the best in the market(best value for money)?

    Great post

  • Luigi Nica

    Postplanner: I was billed $948 for a wrong plan and unwanted upgrade that they won’t cancel. And I had everything paid until July 2016. Buyers beware!!! #scam #fraud