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social media toolsDo you struggle to keep up with social media tasks?

Are you looking for ways to get more done?

Whether you need help maintaining your social accounts, finding content to curate or monitoring competitors, there are ways to simplify these processes.

In this article I’ll share a number of tools to maximize the time you spend on social media.

opitmize time with social media tools

Discover how to optimize your time with social media tools.

Listen to this article:

#1: Hire Out Social Media Signups

If you don’t have social media profiles and pages set up for your business yet, hire someone or use a service to create them for you. Companies like KnowEm offer a service where for about $85, they will create full business profiles and pages for you on 25 essential networks.

knowem username availability

Get your profiles and pages set up on the top 25 social networks.

Your name will be reserved on various social networks, and you can build up the profiles at a later date. Once you passed the setup hurdle, it will be much easier to maintain them.

#2: Monitor Your Social Inbox

Stay on top of your interactions on a regular basis. Rather than constantly checking all of your social accounts, use a platform like Sprout Social to monitor your latest notifications from Twitter and Facebook.

sproutsocial inbox

Set up a social inbox to make it easier to find and reply to public and private social messages.

After you connect your social profiles to the app, just go to your social inbox to see public mentions, comment replies and private messages from Twitter and Facebook accounts. You’ll still have to visit LinkedIn and Google+ to stay on top of those notifications.

#3: Keep Tabs on Your Reputation Via Email

To find out when people are talking about you, your business, products or services, set up a service such as Mention. You’ll get notified via email anytime someone on social media mentions your business using a branded keyword search.

mention email report

Set it up so you’re alerted to any mentions of your business on social media.

After you receive an alert, click on the links for each mention to view it in your Mention dashboard. You can then choose to reply inside your dashboard or view the original post on social media.

#4: Curate and Share Valuable Content

Posting valuable content from your industry is an excellent way to keep your social media accounts active. Plus, it helps position your business as an excellent source of information.

Use IFTTT (If This Then That), Feedly, Gmail and Buffer to easily share curated content to your social media accounts. IFTTT is a free service that automates actions among different platforms, while Feedly allows you to subscribe to your favorite blogs and Buffer helps schedule updates to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+.

If you don’t already have a Gmail account, grab a free email address and continue.

Here’s how to curate content to keep your social media accounts active.

First, connect your social media accounts to Buffer and set up a schedule for each account.

buffer scheduling set up

Set up a schedule on Buffer for all social media accounts.

Next, select all of the accounts you want to post your curated content to as the default. Just check the circle to the left of each chosen profile.

connecting profiles on buffer

Check the circle next to the default social accounts you want to post to on Buffer.

Now, go to Buffer’s How to Email Guide. Leave this page open, so you can grab the custom email address that allows you to schedule updates to Buffer via email for IFTTT.

set up a buffer email

Go to Buffer’s How to Email Guide to grab your secret Buffer email.

Now, use Feedly to subscribe to the best sources of content within your industry. Create a free account and use the search box to look for specific blogs or blogs on relevant topics.

content sources in feedly

Find the best blogs in your industry on Feedly, and then subscribe to them.

Now that you have your favorite blogs and your Buffer info, use IFTTT to put it all together.

Sign up for a free IFTTT account. Then create a recipe that allows you to post any items you save for later in Feedly to the social accounts you selected as default. The recipe will start with Feedly as a trigger channel.

set up recipe trigger in ifttt

Create an IFTTT recipe using Feedly as the trigger channel.

Once you’ve connected your Feedly account to IFTTT, you’ll get to select articles saved for later from the following options as a trigger.

choosing a trigger in ifttt

Create a trigger to have new articles saved for later.

Next, select Gmail as the action channel.

choosing an action channel in ifttt

Set up Gmail as the action channel.

Connect your Gmail account to IFTTT, so you can select Send an Email as an action.

send an email action in ifttt

Use Send an Email as the action.

Now, configure the email to your secret Buffer email address, the Article Title field as the subject line and the Article URL in the body of the email.

customize email in ifttt

Customize your email to tell Buffer what to post to your default social accounts.

Once you’ve saved your recipe, test it by going to your Feedly account and saving an article for later. Just click on the bookmark icon next to a post you like.

save an article in feedly

Save articles for later in Feedly.

Now, go back to your IFTTT dashboard and click on the refresh icon to force your recipe to run.

test your feedly ifttt recipe

Force your IFTTT recipe to run to test it.

After a few minutes, go to Buffer and you should see the post you saved for later in Feedly in your default social accounts’ queues in Buffer.

review your article in buffer

Review your saved article from Feedly in your Buffer dashboard.

This may seem like a long setup. However, once everything is connected, all you have to do is visit Feedly on your desktop or use the Feedly app on your mobile device, and save good articles for later.

All of the social media accounts you marked as default in Buffer will share those articles with your audience at the times you scheduled them.

#5: Research Your Competitors’ Social Media Presence

Another way to assess and reconfigure your social media strategy is to see what others in your industry are doing.

Rival IQ is a powerful competitive research tool that allows you to quickly add your business and your competitors to a landscape. Rival IQ pulls all of their social media data into one dashboard, so you can see how they’re performing compared to you on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram and YouTube.

competitor twitter information

View the social dashboard on Rival IQ to see how your social media performance stacks up to your competitors.

You will even receive regular email updates to alert you to top content and performance on social media.

competitor report from rivaliq

Read a simple recap of your social media audience growth, activity and engagement.

This report allows small businesses to keep tabs on their (and their competitors’) social media presence without having to use multiple tools or platforms.

#6: Publish Social Media Testimonials

In most cases it’s time-consuming to collect testimonials and recommendations. The need to format them so they display properly on your website even adds to the challenge.

Here’s the good news. If you offer great products and services, you likely already have people who are singing your praises on social media. Easily display positive mentions from Twitter and your Facebook page on your website, using the embed code provided by both networks.

On Twitter, click the three dots under a tweet to get the embed code.

tweet embed code

Easily embed tweets as testimonials on your website.

On Facebook, just click on the timestamp for posts on your Facebook page. You can then click on the drop-down arrow at the top right to get the option to embed the post (sometimes this is under More Options).

facebook embed post option

Find the embed code on Facebook to post testimonials from the platform on your website.

Although LinkedIn doesn’t have an option for embedding their recommendations on your website, there is an easy way to do this. Start by connecting Spectoos to your LinkedIn profile to import all of your recommendations. Then, select the recommendations you want to display.

linkedin recommendations in spectoos

Select LinkedIn recommendations to display on your website.

You’ll receive an easy-to-install embed code that you can add wherever you want your recommendations to show. Get one recommendation at a time for free, or for $10 a month you can add the widget, which will show up to 12 at a time and slowly rotate through the rest.

spectoos widget

Add an interactive LinkedIn recommendations widget to your website.

Back inside the Spectoos dashboard, you’ll get stats on the recommendations that get the most attention for your business.

recommendation analytics

See which recommendations resonate best with your customers.

Use testimonials you get from your social media to raise your profile and build your business.

#7: Outsource Routine Social Media Activities

While a social media presence is important for any business, some businesses have absolutely no time to handle their social media. Individuals who manage a business on their own have to focus on the products and services they deliver. Or maybe they just don’t have the time to learn how to do it properly.

Fortunately, outsourcing your social media management is another option. Hire someone to keep it alive until you can devote more time and resources to it.

There are lots of great social media consultants and services designed specifically to help small businesses run their social media for less. For example, 99 Dollar Social will update your Facebook, Twitter and Google+ accounts with new content once a day every day of the week (including weekends) for $99 per month.

If you do decide to outsource, take the time to learn how the pros do it, so you can be a part of or take over the social media plan someday.

Conclusion

Granted, some of these tactics may take a little time to set up, but the long-term benefit is worth it.

Social media will enhance your business presence. And it doesn’t have to take all of your time to be effective.

What do you think? How much time and energy do you put into your social media management? What tips and tricks do you use to maximize your time? Have you tried any of these social media tools? Which do you find most effective? Please share your thoughts and recommendations in the comments.

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  • Great suggestions here Kristi. Just checked out Spectoos and it looks really cool. I’m a huge fan of IFTTT and there are just so many different recipe possibilities. Have an AWESOME day ~ Mike

  • Terrific detail of setting up IFTTT channels.

  • Thanks Anneliz! 🙂

  • Thanks Mike! I’ve been looking for a way to add LinkedIn recommendations to my websites for ages – that tool is perfect for it. And $10 a month isn’t going to break the bank by any means. 🙂

  • Виталий Пронин

    Buffer, Canva, Feedspy, Fotor – are the best ones.

  • Can’t argue with Buffer or Canva. Feedspy doesn’t look like it comes in an English version though. 🙁

  • Larry Butchins

    Very comprehensive…nice article.

  • Thanks Larry! 🙂

  • deb1221

    Kristi, Lots of helpful information. Great article!

  • Biswajyoti saha

    cool information . i want to learn email marketing will u help me kristi hines?

  • Linda

    Love this article! It has so many ideas and suggestive software. This is going to be my homework for awhile. Have a great day! – Linda

  • Thanks Deb! 🙂

  • Thanks Linda! I hope these tools will help save you some time. 🙂

  • There’s lots of great email marketing advice out there Biswajyoti. I just wrote a post here last week on the integration between email marketing and social media. Be sure to check it out: http://new-theme-socialmediaexaminer.pantheon.io/use-social-media-to-improve-email-marketing/ 🙂

  • Great list Kristi! Buffer is definitely great for scheduling, Canva for the graphical capability. I love IFFFT simply because of the scope of what you can do on their platform, but it’s definitely a swiss army knife approach when sometimes what you need is a surgical knife.

  • Great article! Looks a bit overwhelming but I started using Buffer only two weeks ago and it’s absolutely amazing so will definitely go through the steps here. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Great Article. Just love the detailed information ptovided.

  • Hi David! If you need something more powerful than IFTTT, check out Zapier. It’s not free, but definitely surgical over swiss. 🙂

  • Thanks Emma! Stuff like this is always hardest on the setup end, but so much better once you have the processes running smoothly.

  • Thanks Hema! 🙂

  • I’ve heard of Zapier but haven’t given them a try yet, will certainly take another look. Thanks for the tip!

  • Hi Kristi,

    Amazing information and I am sure this news very helpful. Can you let me know any free tool for Research Competitors’ Social Media?

  • David

    Great suggestions. Thanks!

  • Gemma

    Hi Kristi. Thank you for this great article. Is it correct though that I have to upgrade to Feedly Pro ($45 p/y) to be able to connect with IFTT and share content automaticly?

  • Sue

    Thanks Kristi – your article makes things easy for those of us who are not all that familiar with social media and curation.

  • HI Vikas,

    I don’t know of free tools for in-depth competitor research on social media. You just have to do it the hard way by going to all of their profiles and examining their data. If you’re doing it as a one-time thing, you can sign up for the free trial of Rival IQ to get initial data for 14 days. After that, you’ll probably be hooked though. 🙂

  • Thanks David! 🙂

  • Yes, that’s correct. I’ve been a Feedly Pro user for a while – I signed up to use the power search. Didn’t realize that IFTTT integration is included in that. But it’s still a great deal considering.

  • You’re welcome Sue! 🙂

  • Great suggestions. I’m going to look into posting testimonials from the social media, very useful..

  • Thanks Tim! 🙂

  • They connect with a lot more platforms, but more importantly, their filtering and customization options are much more useful. 🙂

  • Gemma

    Hi Kristi. Thanks for your reply. Do you know any free alternatives to achieve the same result? (A different Feedly ór a different IFTT)?

  • Виталий Пронин

    Sorry. Feedspy is Russian service.

  • Guest

    my friend’s ;

  • Hi Kristi, an informative article. When linking Feedly, IFTTT to Buffer do article images also transfer to Buffer so that when you tweet an image as well as the article headline is tweeted. Thank you

  • Pawan Mandav

    Nice info Kristi. Thanks for sharing.

  • Janbask

    Thanks kristi. Such a helpful blog..

  • Terrific suggestions here. We have just discovered Buffer and have been using it frequently. And I’ve outsourced a lot of tasks, but will pass along your suggestions to my marketing arm. Thanks!

  • Hi Kristi, thanks so much for including Mention! Love that you have embedding tweets on here – that’s immediate, easy-to-add social proof on your website. Easy win. 🙂 – Brittany, Mention Content & PR Manager

  • You’re welcome Debbie! 🙂

  • Hi Matthew! It all depends on whether the site is set up with Twitter Cards. Buffer will pick up a standard text and link if not, but if it is, then Buffer will pick up the card with the image. 🙂

  • You’re welcome Brittany! 🙂

  • Great post Kristi! These are some great tools with great examples of how to build better relationships on social media. We are very passionate about building relationships on social media and will definitely use your tips. Especially the portion about competitor analysis.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Sharel

  • Harry

    Social media activities are really so important to create a relationship with users. You mentioned great tools which will definitely help most social media manager to handle their account more efficiently. I will try some of the tools from it to do my social media task on various channels like fb, twitter, linkedin etc.,

  • With the use of social networking sites and social media there is no reason why someone would not share your nexuses, Top way to manage social media is to utilise them and construct your social media profiles, Education and guidelines/policies are needed before your take into social media.