According to the Pew Research Center, 65% of adults use social media. It's hard to believe that ten years ago, only 7% of adults even used social media at all. With the huge numbers of your target audience actively using social media, it's essential that you promote your business on Social Media somewhere.
Here are 29 ultimate time-saving social media hacks and tools you need if you want to get the most out of social media marketing for your business.
Social media can help your small business raise awareness about what you do, communicate with your audience and find new, loyal customers and clients.
But, all of those perks require an established social presence, which does take some time to build. Even when your profile pages are complete and you have a large following, your work isn’t done.
Small businesses that are most effective with social media marketing post to their accounts frequently and interact with their followers. They create campaigns to attract new followers and leverage their communities to reach business goals.
Sound like a lot of time is involved? It is. While you can’t make social media marketing a success without investing time, you can do some things to make sure this doesn’t turn into a huge time-suck.
The way you approach social media for your business is critical. To get the highest return on investment you need to use your profiles to their fullest potential, without letting them get in the way and take up too much of your time.
So let's dive in and take a look at some social media hacks and tools that are sure to make a huge impact on your business if you use them.
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Determine Specific Goals
Without social media goals, the time you spend on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media sites will be aimless. You’ll spend a lot of time posting and maybe joining groups, but you won’t see many benefits from your efforts because your time won’t be used efficiently.
Part of your social media marketing plan should include some very specific goals. What do you want to achieve with social media? How do you want it to support your other marketing tactics and the rest of your business?
Outline Goal-Oriented Tasks
Once these goals are defined, you can outline some very specific tasks you’ll need to do in order to meet the goals. These should form a roadmap that you use on a daily or weekly basis as you post to social media and interact with other users.
Your tasks will probably include things like “post my own, branded content,” “share relevant content from others,” “follow other industry players,” “interact with customers,” “join groups,” and other actions that will help you meet your goals.
With these tasks in mind, you won’t find yourself getting distracted and wasting time on social media.
Schedule Social Media Time
One of the biggest mistakes people make is jumping on social media whenever they have a little down-time and then getting sucked in and not using it in the way they outlined in their marketing plan.
To combat this, set aside some time to spend on social media marketing. This way, you’ll be in the right mindset to execute your plan. You’ll also have a pre-determined time limit to prevent you from getting pulled in and losing the focus you need to get results.
Rely on a Social Media Content Calendar
Another common pitfall is failing to plan for social media. It’s not enough to just log in once a day and click “like” a few times and share an article once in a while. You need a social media calendar that is in alignment with your overall marketing plans.
Decide what content you will share each week or month and what kinds of special campaigns you want to run. The calendar should be in alignment with other things happening at your business like events, product launches, or sales pushes.
With a strategic calendar, you won’t waste any time looking for something to share or wondering how you can use your accounts effectively.
Track Efforts and Results
It’s crucial that you track your social media efforts and results if you want to avoid wasting time. If you don’t keep track of what you are doing and what results you see, how will you know if your actions are worthwhile?
Use analytics tools to track things like clicks, shares, “likes,” and traffic. Keep your social media content calendar and notes about how you used each account throughout the month.
Then, reflect on how your efforts have helped you move closer to making your goals a reality and how you can improve. This habit will prevent you from wasting time on strategies that aren’t bringing results.
One of the most important things you can do is have invaluable tools at your disposal that will save you time and effort. Here are some time-saving tools you'll want to have in your Social Media tool belt. Do you have a favorite tool that you use for your social media marketing? If so, let me know in the comments below.
Time-Saving Social Media Tools
Password keepers are essential when you use several social media sites and accounts. Remembering usernames and passwords will be a thing of the past, and logging in and out of several accounts a day won’t be a problem.
This password keeper stores all of your usernames and passwords and any other confidential information like credit card details and PINs. With the browser extension, you can sign in once when you get online and then log in to any account with just one click. Other features include tagging, security alerts, advanced encryption, auto save and auto-fill for online forms and a strong password generator.
Another great option is LastPass, which offers username and password storage, the ability to store sensitive information, encryption and auto-fill for forms.
It also has a browser extension so you can log in once with a master password and then quickly login to all of your online accounts. Secure password sharing is a great feature that gives you a safe way to share passwords or anything else you have stored in LastPass.
Dashlane also offers all the usual perks: auto login, encryption, sensitive data storage, security alerts, secure password sharing and a password generator. But, Dashlane also boasts a few things other password keepers don’t, like automatic password changes and a digital wallet.
QR Readers are apps that read those square barcodes you’ve seen and they can quickly send a user to a website, contact form, landing page or any other source of information. They are great for bridging the gap between traditional marketing tactics and social media marketing. This is one tool every serious business person should become acquainted with especially as they are becoming more widely used.
This QR reader claims to be the most widely used mobile barcode reader in the world. It’s easy to use and available for iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone.
i-nigma is high tech, letting you scan colorful, creative, and bright barcodes on dark backgrounds. You can use it to share scanned codes through social media or text messaging and even create your own QR codes.
Zapper specializes in online payments. Anyone can use the app to scan a special Zapper QR Code to sign up for an online service or log in to a website and make a payment. This app is perfect if you’re in the e-commerce business or want to make sales at your brick-and-mortar locations a snap.
This app is easy to use since all you have to do is point your phone’s camera at the barcode; no need to tap any buttons. It also has a handy light feature, which lets you turn on your phone’s light if you need to scan a barcode in a low-light setting.
Time Block Social Media Hacks
Finding ways to use your time efficiently is vital to getting a high return on your social media marketing investment.
The Pomodoro Technique is a popular time-management system that can work really well with social media marketing strategies. The idea is that by taking regular breaks your mind will stay sharp and you’ll be more productive.
To use this technique on any task, just set a timer for 25 minutes and work, without changing tasks or allowing yourself to get distracted until time is up. Then, take a five-minute break before your next 25-minute work block. After four cycles, you take a longer break to recharge. And yes that means turning off your cell phone, email and etc. so you can stay "laser-focused" on the task at hand.
There are a few tools that make it easy to use the Pomodoro Technique, and other time management systems, for social media marketing.
The 30/30 app uses a method similar to the Pomodoro Technique: you work, distraction-free, for 30 minutes, take a 30-minute break, and then get back to work for 30 minutes.
The app lets you make a list of tasks to be done in your 30-minute blocks and times you while you work and take breaks. Its clean interface almost makes to-do lists fun! You can even customize the time limits you set for working and taking breaks.
This app also lets you set up a to-do list and helps you check things off by timing periods for working and taking breaks.
You can set up exactly how long you want to focus on work and then how long you want your breaks to be. An extra perk Be Focused brings is analytics that will show you how productive you’ve been over the past week.
Content Curation Social Media Hacks
The term content curation refers to the process of sharing content online through social media, your website, a blog or any other platform. It can include content you create for your brand or content others’ have created that is relevant to your business and target market.
Curating content to your social media feeds is an excellent way to both save time and share valuable and sometimes even epic content with your followers.
Feedly is a news reader that makes it easy to keep up with all your favorite and industry relevant blogs. It has both a web interface and a mobile app.
Once logged in, you can add the sites you want to follow. Then, when new content is published it will appear in your feed where you can read it, click through to the website and even share it directly to social media. This tool is perfect for finding content that will resonate with your audience, keeping up with industry news and even watching your competitors.
Google Alerts has been around for a long time, and for good reason. This tool makes it easy to stay on top of what’s happening online and find the newest, most up to date content to share on social media.
You can use it to create an alert for any search term and then whenever Google finds new content with that term, you will get an email alert. The advanced settings will allow you to choose how often you receive alerts, designate a source, choose a region and set other preferences.
Don’t forget that many social media sites have built-in tools to support your marketing efforts. For example, Twitter lists can help you organize the people you follow so you can streamline your engagement and keep tabs on relevant industry influencers. Through your account, you can see which lists you are on and even follow others’ lists.
Your Facebook feed is also a great content creation tool. You can use it to see what’s popular online and what people in your industry or market are talking about. Of course, you can also share content you find there to connect with your followers and attract new ones. This is also an effective way to connect with other relevant Facebook accounts.
Pinterest is perfect for more visual brands and is a good place to share tutorials, products, and inspirational ideas. You can do searches to find content that is relevant to your own brand and that would interest your followers. Then, pin it to your boards or share it through other social media marketing channels.
Flipboard is an excellent tool with both a web interface and a mobile app. It touts itself as “your personal magazine” because users can build custom feeds of content sources or browse feeds based on specific categories.
You can use it to curate content that you can then use as part of your social media marketing strategy and even build your own branded magazines your market can use.
When you know what topics are creating a buzz on social media, you can leverage them to grow your own accounts. You can create an effective content calendar that helps you make your accounts more relevant and makes people want to share your posts.
BuzzSumo shows you exactly how people interact with your content across social media. It also shows you what content has been shared the most in the past 24 hours, weeks, months, or even year.
This tool makes it easy to find social media influencers you should connect with to bring your own accounts into the spotlight. BuzzSumo also has content alerts so you know when you are mentioned online, analytics, competitor analysis tools and more.
With Scoop.it, you can search for content that fits your marketing plans, add your own thoughts or twist to it and then share it on your own Scoop.it page.
Through your account, you can create pages for different topics and even embed your content on your website and share it through social media.
Scheduling Tools For Social Media
Are you always trying to find the time to post content to your favorite social networks? With the right scheduling tool, you can organize your content and schedule it to be posted on social media later, so it’s easy to keep your accounts alive and active around the clock.
While it’s extremely important that you check in on social media regularly and use it for live posting and conversations, it would be impossible to give it your full attention 24 hours a day, seven days a week and these tools offer a kind of "set it" and forget it" for your social media marketing.
Hootsuite is one of the top scheduling tools out there for social media, you can connect your social media accounts to your Hootsuite dashboard and schedule posts to be published on a specific day and time in the future, keeping your accounts alive and fresh.
The tool also allows for collaboration among team members, offers some social media monitoring, and has an analytics feature. You can even use it to engage with others, making it a one-stop shop.
Buffer is another major time saver and is very similar to Hootsuite. It allows you to schedule posts to be published on all of your accounts later. But, it also includes a built-in image-editing tool.
With Buffer, you’ll set up a posting schedule (say a post every two hours on weekdays), and then anything you add to your Buffer will automatically be shared on that schedule. You can also see at a glance which of your posts are generating the most engagement and then “re-buffer” or re-post them for even more engagement.
Meet Edgar is a huge time saver, as it makes it possible to put part of your social media marketing on autopilot. Just add content, your own or others’, and organize it into categories.
Then, set up a schedule that tells Meet Edgar when you want content from each category to be published to your social media accounts. The app does the rest! In my opinion, it's a little pricey, but I've only heard great things about Meet Edgar.
Social Oomph is a basic scheduling tool that allows you to schedule posts to be published later on most of the major social networks. Extra features make it easy to track keywords, save post drafts, follow others, and delegate account management. But, that’s not all. This tool is packed with dozens of other time-saving features!
Tailwind is for Pinterest and Instagram and is another tool that will help you schedule posts, easily participate in conversations and use analytics to perfect your social media marketing strategy.
Visual Image Tools For Social Media
Canva is a very popular image creation tool for social media because it allows you to create outstanding image posts, even if you have no graphic design experience.
It's an easy-to-use design tool that you can use to create anything from infographics to eye-catching images with quotes. You can use templates, images, photo filters, icons, and fonts to create images that will make people stop mid-scroll and notice your brand.
This is a major time saver because it's so simple to use and create stunning images. You’ll spend more time leveraging your social media accounts and less time trying to make a complicated graphic design program work.
The folks at Adobe claim that you can create an image in seconds and with a little practice that's absolutely true! I really love using this app because you can create "thumb stopping" post easily on the go. Adobe Spark Post has settings for most social posts and profiles so you don't have to worry about whether or not your picture is the correct size.
You can upload your photos or search from a large stock photo library. I also like that they have featured posts which can be "remixed" to suit your brand. The app is free and you just have to verify your email address to remove the watermark.
Word Swag is a really popular image app that will turn your "words into designer text". You can create quick images by searching Pixaby images, uploading your own image or taking a photo on the go.
Word Swag allows you to get clever with fonts, colors, tints and other imagery settings. I really like how creative you can be with the text in this app and it's definitely worth experimenting with if you've never tried it.
Social Media Listening Tools
One of the best things about social media is that it allows you to listen. Unlike other marketing channels that only allow you to push messages to your target market, social media allows for two-way communications.
Knowing what people say about your brand can help you understand how you can use social media to improve your reputation and shape your online presence, ultimately helping you save time you would otherwise waste trying to resonate with your market without any insight.
SocialClout is a great social media monitoring tool that helps users track when their brand is mentioned and what is being said about their company and relevant topics.
To use Tagboard, you just type in any hashtag and it will show you pages of social media posts that include that hashtag.
Tagboard searches for posts across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google Plus, Vine, and Flickr, so it’s pretty comprehensive. You can filter the results to drill down deep into any of these networks or see all results at once. From the results page, you can even interact with posts with a reply, “like,” “retweet,” “share,” or other action, depending on the network.
With Tagboard, you can stop sifting through each social media account to tediously search for hashtags relevant to your brand. You’ll save a lot of time and be able to interact quickly, so you can engage with more people across your accounts.
Social media marketing does take time, but it shouldn’t distract from your other marketing efforts or from running your business.
These time-saving hacks and tools will make your social media marketing much more effective and focused, saving you time and bringing better results. What's your favorite social media time-saving tool? Let me know in the comments below.