4 Social Media Tools to Improve Your Social Media Marketing

social media toolsAre you struggling with day-to-day social media marketing tasks?

Are you looking for tools to speed up your social tasks?

In this article, I’ll share four social media tools and tips to help community managers save time, show creativity and streamline community management for their companies.

Why Social Media Tools

Community managers for organizations of all sizes are tasked to cover everything from curating content to creating it. Customer support, marketing, Vine and webinars all fall into the mix.

The sheer volume of tasks can be overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be. With just a few tools, individuals and teams can manage their responsibilities better, while presenting a successful social media presence.

Keep reading for four social media tools that will make your social media tasks much easier.

#1: Manage the Appearance of Links to Your Website With Facebook Debugger

We all know Facebook updates that include pictures and snippets of their content do unbelievably better than ones that publish bare links. We’re a visual bunch, us humans.

Has this ever happened to you? You updated a page on your website with new images. Then, when you tried to publish a link to the page on Facebook, you found yourself staring at the link text for way too long.

debug link

If Facebook has trouble finding an image to include with your link, the preview can take a long time to show up.

After what seemed like an interminable amount of time, you ended up with a link that looks an awful lot like the link text.

debug link

This link leads to a page that hasn’t been debugged.

There are times when you’ll need to debug the links you want to share. Learning how to force Facebook to refresh its cache of your site is a rite of passage for social media pros. Once you know how, you’ll want to tell everyone how to do it!

When you add content and images to a webpage, use the Facebook Debugger to make Facebook update its information for the link.

debug link

Use the Facebook Debugger to refresh the cache on Facebook.

After you enter the link in question, Facebook will publish the image you added to the page, alongside your link.

facebook debugged story

This is how the same link previewed after I put the link through the Facebook Debugger.

Bookmark the Facebook Debugger for quick and easy access, and your links will include an image in the preview each time you update a web page.

#2: Create Your Own GIFs With GIFBrewery

GIFs are “in” right now, and for good reason. Brands use these mini-clips/short demos/video previews to communicate emotion and engage their communities.

Because GIFs often have a choppy, raw quality to them—they can even be pretty arty—they add a human touch to your marketing. GIFs are also incredibly lightweight, which makes them perfect for emails. They add an animated element to an otherwise static medium.

Gone are the days of complex frame extracting and layer fiddling on Photoshop. GIFBrewery lets you quickly and effortlessly convert small video clips into GIFs, with almost no technical or animation skill. In fact, you can create high-quality, original GIFs in about 2 minutes or less.

Here’s how it works.

Use QuickTime’s Screen Recording option to capture a short demonstration of your app, a brief clip of how to use a tricky new product feature or a workflow tip to share with your community.

quicktime url

Create a quick screen recording, then use GIFBrewery to make it into a glorious GIF.

Then use GIFBrewery to convert the video into a GIF.

gif brewery

GIFBrewery has a slick, simple interface that takes just minutes to learn.

InVision, the free prototyping and collaboration tool for design teams, has definitely got this trick down.

They sent out this newsletter the other day. It shows you just how powerful a GIF can be, when it comes to immediately summing up a new feature. Don’t worry, this is some pretty advanced stuff (don’t expect these results your first time). With GIFBrewery, you can get similar results without much effort.

invision gif

InVision perfectly pulls off the use of a GIF to tell how to use a new feature.

GIFBrewery has a number of useful features and is available from the Mac App Store for $4.99. Want to get more creative with it? Use it to create GIFs for Twitter replies, animated team portraits for your About page or to introduce a longer video over social media.

No Mac? No problem. Android users can create GIFs using GIFDroid.

#3: Set Up a GIF Database on Tumblr

Now that you’ve got all these awesome GIFs, you need to make sure your community management team can access them at a moment’s notice.

Tumblr is the perfect platform for this. Famous for sharing animated GIFs, Tumblr also lets you create password-protected blogs and grant access to multiple users—perfect for your team.

tumblr blog

Tumblr’s protected blogs allow for multiple users.

Load or reblog the GIFs that fit your brand’s tone to your protected blog, and your whole team can access what they need from anywhere.

#4: Automate Community Management Tasks With Zapier

Have you ever thought to yourself, “Whenever X happens, I always have to do Y. I wish I could make that happen on its own.” Wish no more—welcome to the future of the automated Internet!

One of the fastest and most powerful ways to streamline your community management workflow is to use a service like Zapier to automate your social media–related tasks.

zapier app

Use Zapier to streamline your social media workflow.

Zapier integrates directly with over 250 other apps through what they call zaps, “a connection between two apps that automates time-consuming tasks.”

While you can spend hours going through the site and getting inspired by new app connections, here’s just one way I use Zapier every day to make my community management an automatic breeze.

I have all of my scheduled Buffer posts set to be immediately added to our Google calendar so everyone on my team can keep track of when I post what.

buffer interface

Use Zapier to automatically add scheduled social updates to your Google calendar.

Zapier ties these services together, asking your permission to allow it to act as a sort of bridge between them.

This is such a powerful tool. Bringing services together can cut down a variety of repetitive tasks. Consider using Zapier to help you and your team work better… and smarter.

Conclusion

Social media community management is a high-volume, fast-paced undertaking. As your brand grows, so do the number of social media profiles, tasks and demands for original content. As the size of your community management team grows, so does the need for tools to help streamline the workflow.

Use the tips and tools in this article as a starting point to help you manage how links to your website appear on Facebook, create content that supports your brand and automate repetitive tasks.

What do you think? How do you streamline your day-to-day process of creatively engaging with users? What tools can you share? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

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About the Author, Alex Manthei

Alex Manthei is the Community Manager at mention, a media monitoring app that lets you monitor, react, collaborate, and analyze your online presence. He’s based in Paris and edits twowordsfor.com. Other posts by »




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  • http://tigerlilyva.com Lillian De Jesus

    These tips are GOLDEN! Awesome. Thank you.

  • http://alexmanthei.com Alex Manthei

    Hey Lillian, thanks!

  • http://GodOfSEO.Co/ Charles Floate

    Didn’t even realize the debugger was a thing! ^.^ Will also have to get to grips with Zapier, looks incredible!

  • http://alexmanthei.com Alex Manthei

    Yah, it’s a total A-HA moment when someone shows you how to debug a link on FB! First time I saw it, I was like: http://25.media.tumblr.com/efec1619209dd88d9cf66db5688c6b0b/tumblr_n1d46n3hWr1smcbm7o1_250.gif As for Zapier, they’re a great team! We love working with them at mention, and we even have an awesome list of great Zaps for our app: https://zapier.com/zapbook/mention/

  • http://entrebond.com Blake Schreckhise

    Zapier sounds a lot like If This Then that. Do they have major differences?

  • http://alexmanthei.com Alex Manthei

    Hey Blake, great question! Zapier is more focused on B2B, so their integrations get a lot more nitty gritty (in an awesome way) for businesses, integrating with powerful SaaS solutions like mention, Salesforce, Zendesk, and over 250+ more services. I’ve always found IFTTT more suited for personal use. Hope that helps!

  • http://www.christiankonline.com Christian Karasiewicz

    Nice post @alexmanthei:disqus. Been using most of these tools for years – with the exception of InVision. Looking forward to checking it out.

  • FrancesCaballo

    This is a really great post. I knew about the Facebook debugger but I didn’t know about GIFBrewery or Zapier. Very cool apps!

  • http://entrebond.com Blake Schreckhise

    Thanks! I don’t use either but I think I should start, sounds like it could really save me some time!

  • http://alexmanthei.com Alex Manthei

    Hey thanks! Really kind of you to say that! Definitely check out InVision, our design team swears by it!

  • http://alexmanthei.com Alex Manthei

    Thanks! They’ve both saved me a ton of time! Let me know what you think!

  • http://alexmanthei.com Alex Manthei

    Yah, and Zapier especially has let me do things in a much more logical way, combining services that do slightly different things, but can be combined into one awesome workflow, complementing each other. I love our integration with HipChat via Zapier here at mention – it auto-posts out favorite tweets in our chat room, letting us easily share great feedback and product ideas from our users!

  • http://www.MySmallBizResources.com Justin Thompson

    Hi Alex, thanks for the great post! Quick question about GifBrewery, is this only available for Macs or is there a version for iphone/IPad? Can you recommend any other apps which can create GIFs on a PC?

    Thanks,

  • http://alexmanthei.com Alex Manthei

    It’s Mac only, I’m afraid, but I can actually let you in on a new little secret: a new file format that’s better than a GIF called a Gfy, I only just learned about it in the past few days! Check out http://gfycat.com – it let’s you upload video and create both gifs and gfys. A gfy is based on HTML 5 and is a fraction of the weight of a gif – it’s nuts!! They give you a link to share with embed and iframe options for both formats. I’m a huge fan of gfys now!

  • NhaSing

    cool tip, i’ve met trouble when sharing url. now I know fb’s debug ;) tks

  • Brandi Good

    I had the exact same question, so thanks for the extra detail about Zapier vs IFTTT – will have to check it out!

  • http://alexmanthei.com Alex Manthei

    Cool! Please let me know if you have any other questions- they’re a great service and I can’t recommend them enough :)

  • http://alexmanthei.com Alex Manthei

    No worries! Welcome to the club! You’ll never share a post without a photo again ;)

  • Candy Donovan

    Once again – yet ANOTHER awesome post…..I love anything that streamlines my work as an SM marketer. Thank you Alex

  • http://entrebond.com Blake Schreckhise

    Thanks I’ll give it a try!

  • Cassise

    Does anyone know of any good tools that offer automated twitter campaigns aimed at followers of specific handles?

  • http://alexmanthei.com Alex Manthei

    You’re totally welcome! Have you checked out mention.com before?

  • http://alexmanthei.com Alex Manthei

    I’m not entirely sure, but mention’s a great way to follow specific keywords and topics and get informed when they’re talked about online :)

  • http://www.antoniocalero.com/ Antonio Calero

    Excellent post Alex. On top of using the debugger sometimes I also recommend to simply upload a good pic as a replacement for the one Facebook suggests (Facebook shows the ‘Upload Photo’ right below the link), I’ve found this very useful for cases when you want to use a different image on Facebook only (e.g.: to use as a promoted post)

    In regards to the gif tool, VERY interesting, so thank you for the heads up!

  • http://www.antoniocalero.com/ Antonio Calero

    Does it make sense to use it if you are a single person business? What are the benefits?

  • http://alexmanthei.com Alex Manthei

    Cheers! Great advice on the “Upload Photo” – one thing to note: it appears that FB requires at least one photo on a post to be already present for it to pull it before being able to select to upload one along with a link as a replacement. Otherwise, it doesn’t give you the option to upload :/ So it’s always important to have great graphics to go along with a post – this is just true about the pacing of content anyway, images go a long way in terms of allowing readers to take a breath. Also, another great gif tool to check out for Mac is http://recordit.co – they are great for even faster screencasts and gif-making!

  • http://alexmanthei.com Alex Manthei

    It’s biggest selling point is honestly its collaborative features, but that shouldn’t stop you from investigating it more, especially as there’s a free version. They’ve been doing a series of great use-case interviews with designers from major companies on their blog. Check it out: http://blog.invisionapp.com The History Mode could be useful for you too, keeping track of what version you’re on with a design

  • AmandahBlackwell

    Thanks for sharing these great tips! I’ll try out Debugger GIF Brewery.

  • Stacey Herbert

    Zapier looks very interesting *heads off to find shiny new toy*

  • Raquel M Ramirez

    Thank you so much Alex for sharing the tip of Facebook debugger. That can be super annoying. Thank you for the GIF creator too. Lots of great nuggets here. :) Gracias.

  • http://www.nolongerunemployed.com/ Matt Schmidt

    Never heard of GIF’s before. They seem the perfect medium for short videos with a tageted mesage. Thanks for the intro.

  • http://www.souravghosh.com/ Sourav Ghosh

    Thanks a ton Alex! Specially for the FB debugger thing. I was scratching my head for long wondering why my site is showing up ugly on Facebook. Can you please help me a bit deeper? I run my blog on WordPress. How can I have the og:image set to the featured image of each blog post?

  • http://www.itechdigest.com/ Zoey Louise

    Wow great tips! I think I need to try Zapier then!

  • Madhava Verma Dantuluri

    Wow! Nice stuff.

  • http://alexmanthei.com Alex Manthei

    Great to hear it! Hope you enjoy!

  • http://alexmanthei.com Alex Manthei

    I hope it saves you some time – it’s definitely a great way of getting creative with how you use the services you’re already using :) That’s never a bad thing!

  • http://alexmanthei.com Alex Manthei

    De nada! :) Let me know if you ever have any questions using them!

  • http://alexmanthei.com Alex Manthei

    That’s awesome Matt, I’m glad I could do a little intro course! You’ve probably seen GIFs around before, though, the format’s almost 30 years old now, but just seeing a huge re-birth thanks to Tumblr and Twitter :)

  • http://alexmanthei.com Alex Manthei

    Hey Sourav – this is a great question! I’ve always had trouble with WordPress – it seems they resize featured images and then FB doesn’t pull them b/c they’re too small. Try this workaround: go into the HTML editor on your post and add an image tag with the image you’d like at the bottom of the post with this style:

    By doing style=”display:none” in the tag, it should be invisible in the post, but Facebook will still crawl it and give you the option at least of choosing it for your FB post :) Hope that helps!

  • http://alexmanthei.com Alex Manthei

    Definitely! It’s fun exploring all the Zaps they offer, and finding some new combination!

  • http://alexmanthei.com Alex Manthei

    Thanks!

  • http://webdesigntranslate.com/ Manuela Langella

    I didn’t know Zapier…never realized something similar could existe!

  • http://alexmanthei.com Alex Manthei

    I hope you like it as much as we do here at mention!

  • http://www.christiankonline.com Christian Karasiewicz

    @alexmanthei:disqus I’ve never seen the requirement to have at least one photo before being able to upload an image on a page post. Do you have a screenshot you can share?

    I share posts from some blogs all of the time on pages I manage that don’t include at least one image and have always had the option to upload a photo.

  • http://alexmanthei.com Alex Manthei

    Totally! It’s something I’ve noticed a lot recently on my side project: twowordsfor.com When sharing links without images on our FB page, it’s not giving me the option of uploading one anymore. Unless, that is, I do that little trick I detail below of adding a display:none image into the post. http://recordit.co/UnQGB8CEV8

  • Steve Morozumi

    2 questions about Zapier: Can you utilize Zapier to export your Twitter followers to a Google spread sheet, and/or Twitter folowers export to an email list for a newsletter, for example? 1 elongated comment (apologies for not being more concise) about your example utilization of Zapier: Check in the left margin of Hootsuite’s home screen for the paper airplane (publisher) icon. Click on it. Hootsuite allows you, and your team to see, and/or schedule all posts across all social platforms by list, day, week, or month views. It’s an editorial calendar for all your, and/or your clients’ social platforms including WordPress.com. You can set specific posts for approval, schedule posts in bulk, look at past scheduled posts, and feed all your RSS feeds to all yours, and/or your clients’ social.

  • Steve Morozumi

    Wow!

  • Steve Morozumi

    Holy crap!, Alex! Your post, plus the resultant comments section is a treasure trove of social media management knowledge, insights, and wisdom! Thanks for adding significant value, potentially improving the world of social media management outcomes for managers, and communities. In turn this potentially makes for a better world. I just bookmarked this page as an “smm go to reference” for myself, and my clients. Kudos! :)

  • Steve Morozumi

    Alex, one last question (I swear!): Can Zapier be utilized to Link a WordPress.org, and/or a WordPress.com blog to a LinkedIn profile, and/or a LInkedIn page?

  • Cheri

    Hi Alex, I loved the idea of Facebook debugger, I clicked on your link and entered my url, but it said “Could not retrieve data from URL.” Any idea what I am doing wrong?

  • Candy

    I haven’t, but will do from now on Alex

  • http://alexmanthei.com Alex Manthei

    Hey Steve, looks like you can! There’s over 20 pages of Twitter integrations on Zapier, and I see that the 3rd one looks good for you: “Add new Twitter followers to a Google Docs row.” https://zapier.com/zapbook/twitter/ They may have even better ones, so take a look. Great tip on Hootsuite, I’m not a Hootsuite user myself though, I’m afraid, preferring to use more low-cost tools like mention.com, bufferapp.com, and Zapier to get the job done quickly, and for less.

  • http://alexmanthei.com Alex Manthei

    Thanks so much Steve! That’s so nice of you to say! Thanks too for continuing the conversation and adding alternatives, this has been a blast

  • http://alexmanthei.com Alex Manthei

    https://zapier.com/zapbook/wordpress/ Yep! Here’s one I saw just taking a glance at the WordPress Zapier page: “Share WordPress Posts to LinkedIn” – Hope that helps!! Thanks again for your questions

  • http://alexmanthei.com Alex Manthei

    Hi Cheri, without more information, I’m afraid not :/ Doesn’t sound like you’re doing anything wrong though, it could just be that FB has a problem with that page, or that you just need to try again. If you want, you can shoot me an email to alex at mention dot com with a screenshot and I’ll take a look! Cheers!

  • http://www.christiankonline.com Christian Karasiewicz

    @souravghosh:disqus the best thing to do to get Facebook to pick-up the features image is to upload that first and save your draft. Then Facebook should start to pick it up.

  • http://alexmanthei.com Alex Manthei

    That’s awesome! Please let me know if you have any questions about our service :)

  • Jess Byrne

    Hey Steve! Jess Byrne from the Zapier support team here. You can certainly grab new follower information and record it in a Google Spreadsheet, however, you’ll be unable to move them to an email address as Twitter’s API does not allow access to a user’s associated email address. Feel free to email contact@zapier.com with any other Zapier questions!

  • http://fblikesupply.com/ Sam Fischer

    I knew about most of the techniques like about Gifs and Facebook Debugger but I certainly didn’t know about Zapier. Are there any more tools likes zapier. Thank you for this great insight. It was helpful and did enlighten me about what more can I do.

  • http://alexmanthei.com Alex Manthei

    Hey Sam, there are similar tools like IFTTT.com, but I’d strongly suggest Zapier over them, especially if you’re doing the heavy lifting of managing a brand’s social profile: it’s a lot more powerful for businesses and startups who like to get creative and save time by combining a lot of different apps in innovative ways. Hope that helps!

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  • guptaabhijit318

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