My Top Social Media Tools

13 Jul 2016
Alan Martin

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Top social media tools

Are you spending too many hours on social media?

Want to discover some tools that will save you time and help you stay productive?

In this article, I’ll reveal my top time-saving and productivity tools that will allow you to maintain a professional presence on social media, without spending all your time on social media.

Finding content to post

Content is the fuel for your social media. Without it you are simply left with promoting your stuff all the time, and that just doesn’t work any more, if it ever did. What do I mean by content? Of course everything you publish is technically ‘content’, but what I am talking about here is useful information that in some way improves the lives of your readers by ‘informing’, ‘educating’ or ‘entertaining’.

You can and should create your own content, perhaps a blog article or a YouTube video or some other medium that you link to in your social media posts, but creating unique content is time-consuming and there are only so many hours in the day, so a better approach is to supplement your own content with other people’s content that you have curated.

Not only does this mean that you don’t need to create everything yourself, but sharing other people’s content shows that you are community minded and that you are helping other people get their message out to a wider audience. It’s a win-win for everyone! But where do you find good quality content to share? Here are my Top Tools for this purpose!

  • Content Gems is my favourite content curation tool at the moment! Sign up for a free account and then tell it what keywords you are interested in and it will email you every day with a daily summary of relevant articles. What I particularly like about Content Gems is that it integrates with BufferApp (more on this tool later), meaning that you can easily schedule articles to go out on various social media sites, straight from your daily summary email.
  • Nuzzel is my second favourite content curation tool. It does not have an easy interface with another scheduling tool unfortunately, but what’s awesome about Nuzzel is that it surfaces content that is already being shared by other people in your network, the logic being that if others are interested in the content, then it is likely to be of interest to your community too. It is a bit like peer curation!
  • BuzzSumo also finds popular content being shared across various social media platforms but the results are not related in any way to your own community. Still a useful tool though, if you want to find trending articles in your niche.
  • Quuu is a hybrid of a content aggregation tool and a post scheduler. I use it to find content to share on Twitter, as I have found that the hand-curated content definitely lends itself to that platform (use of hashtags within the text for example), although it is possible to connect it to your other social accounts as well. It’s very similar to Buffer’s ‘Curated Content’ feature, but much more sophisticated. Quuu syncs with BufferApp, making it super easy to schedule content.

Crating images to share on social media

When you are creating your own content you will definitely need to think about creating images to enhance whatever it is you are sharing. Whether it is a blog post or a tweet you are sharing, images are becoming increasingly important on all social media platforms and help your content stand out. Here are my top image creation tools.

  • My number one Go-To tool for quickly creating images for sharing on social media is Pablo. I use this to make my ‘Motivation Monday’ quotes which I share in The Social Media Dojo. Its so simple to use and even suggests quotes for me if I am struggling to find something motivational that I’ve not already shared. Pablo also lets you access over 60,000 royalty free images, so that’s a great help if you need a nice background for your images.

Mark Zuckerberg Quote

Here is an example of a quote image that I created using ‘Pablo’

  • As much as I love Pablo for its simplicity, sometimes you need a bit more flexibility. That’s where Canva comes in handy. With dozens of templates available, for almost any conceivable promotional situation, this is my Go-To tool when I need to create something other than a basic social media image. I use Canva to create most of my blog post images. It is free to use if you have your own images and there are some freebie graphics and backgrounds that you can incorporate into your designs, but what’s cool about Canva is that if you need a professional photograph, you don’t need to buy expensive stock photography, most of the images are available for only $1. When you compare this with some of the other stock image sites like iStock Photo or Shutterstock, you will see what great value Canva is.
  • Another image manipulation tool that I love is PicMonkey. PicMonkey is a little bit like what you would imagine an earlier version of Canva to be like. It does have some limited templates that you can use, but you can also set your own image dimensions, so it is every bit as flexible as Canva in that respect. Mandy far prefers using PicMonkey to Canva. She finds the User Interface more intuitive, but what I like about PicMonkey is the different options when overlaying text onto images. Although you can overlay text with Canva too, there just seems to be greater flexibility with what you can achieve with it. There are additional fonts available that you don’t have on Canva and I sometimes use it to create a 3D effect or Drop-shadow by duplicating text and adjusting the perspectives between foreground and background.

Social media scheduling tools

Managing your time with social media is really important. It’s so easy to get distracted reading a post or clicking about Facebook and before you know it you have lost an hour someplace. To be more productive and manage your time better, you need to use one of the many scheduling tools available, that let you write your post when it suits you but publish it when it suits your community.

  • I tend to use Facebook’s in-platform scheduling tool (accessed via the little drop-down arrow to the right of the “Publish’ button on your Facebook page) for my Facebook posts and a scheduling tool for all other platforms.
  • Hands down my favourite social media scheduling tool is BufferApp. BufferApp has a free plan which is great to get you started, but has some limitations. I use the “Awesome Plan” which is $102 per year. What I love about BufferApp is its simplicity. It is so intuitive to use, you will be up and running in no time. I also love it’s integration with other tools such as Quuu (mentioned above) and Content Gems, to name just two awesome tools that I use all the time.
  • If you are looking for a tool that lets you schedule posts to Instagram from your desktop, I would highly recommend a nifty tool called Grum. It is a paid tool, but depending on which package you go for, you can manage up to 5 accounts which is great if you are a social media manager.
  • A great tool for scheduling to Facebook Groups is Edgar. Edgar’s main purpose is for re-posting old content so you continue to get value from all your hard work into the future, but it can also be used for one-off posting to all your social channels, including Facebook Groups and your Facebook profile.

Conclusion

Social media does require a time commitment, but by using appropriate tools you can really leverage your time to your benefit. It is definitely worth experimenting with the tools I have highlighted above to see what works for you.

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