The modern demands of commerce and online optimisation illustrates that social media is a mandatory outlet for businesses wanting maximum exposure. These are free platforms where communities of thousands, millions and billions are regularly exploring, sharing and talking about subjects that overlap with your enterprise.
Having no presence on social media simply makes no sense.
Yet proceeding through the establishment phase in just step one. Perhaps your brand has even reached the stage of posting content semi-regularly and tapping into the advertisement options to boost views and score a higher click-through rate.
The challenge then arrives with consistency of messaging. Unless there is an individual or team dedicated to social media output, it can is a headache for owners and operators to promote content that is not a copy and past effort from earlier. To build on that anxiety and stress, it is another task altogether just to login to these accounts and streamline that message on time.
Marketing under the banner of social media is another beast than the generic commercials, messages and listings that come from other domains. Facebook and Twitter users are noted as lunchtime and afternoon specialists, leaving the early risers to scour LinkedIn and Google + between the hours of 8am-11am.
So how on Earth are you expected to stay on top of all that, not to mention the meetings, proposals and real life reports that occur in the non-digital sphere?
The good news is that there is a series of social media dashboard applications that are freely accessible, each one giving you the power to connect your message and broadcast it in a concise and timely manner.
Whether it is multiple accounts for the same social media platform or various accounts spread across Facebook, Twitter, Google +, LinkedIn and more, you can schedule these posts ahead of time.
Here are 8 of the best.
TweetDeck is an outlet that bundles together your twitter accounts under one single dashboard to manage as you see fit. Originating back in 2008 before a failed attempt to branch out to Facebook, this application was forced to scale back their operation to focus solely on twitter. Since that social media has taken over TweetDeck as we know it, this has been utilised as a Chrome app and web app by organisations who operate under a variety of guises as they require multiple twitter accounts to sync in time.
From the team at LaterBro comes a handy software application titled Twittimer. Emerging from a set of fellow small to medium business owners, not-for-profit operators and entrepreneurs, this is a fantastic application for those that want a simplified operation that is completely streamlined. The use is completely free and links your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts with an ability to time and release your posts on schedule.
Don’t be thrown by the name – SocialOomph means business. This social media platform offers a user-friendly guide that places the appropriate tabs across the dashboard:
- RSS Feed
The last couple of add-on’s aren’t entirely necessary or relevant for the general social media user, but they are should you feel the need to integrate your blogging content into the entire marketing strategy.
One of the real perks of SocialOomph is the tie-in and collaboration with Bit.ly, allowing posts to shorten links and URLs that can become too elongated under normal conditions. This tool also carries the added incentive of follower suggestions and an automatic messaging prompt to thank new followers as soon as they subscribe to your account.
There is plenty more features for SocialOomph courtesy of their premium service, something that can be accessed by free users if they experiment through the free 7-day trial on offer.
On the surface, Postcron could come across as a Facebook imitator but this is not the case whatsoever. Home to over 4 million social media accounts, this is a site that will extrapolate Facebook’s features to coincide with other outlets. Tapping into Postcron will allow users to cater and sync the following:
- Facebook Pages
- Facebook Groups
- Facebook Events
Throw in the additional features of watermarked logos onto images and a 1000 post bulk loader, and this is a highly recommended program for operators who need variety and rely on Facebook for their promotional work.
Like any quality SEO performer, Postcron also provide detail and rationale behind the need to source your posting through their services. Issuing key points courtesy of FAQ topics, this is an organisation who will explain not only the how of the post scheduling but the why, informing those who might overlook the necessity of running such a comprehensive activity.
On the scale of amateur social media operators to the experts, Sprout Social probably fits more comfortably in the latter’s category. The sheer depth of analysis on offer through this insightful management tool can give the owner a degree of knowledge that they simply would not be afforded through other outlets. In this respect, Sprout Social is a powerful application that opens up the communication pathway between consumer and brand.
Even for those who might see Sprout Social as too overwhelming from the get-go, it is worthwhile getting to know the dashboard and become familiar with its features. Account owners are on the right hand side whilst the current trends and breakdown of demographics are formalised on the left.
This will integrate the profiles of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google + and Instagram with the end objective of lead creation and call to action front of mind. For Sprout Social, they understand the business requirements are front and centre for companies, wanting to go above and beyond the use of social media as a glitzy PR tool that has no tangible cut-through to the audience.
The only downside is the investment required, with a free 30-day trial being the catalyst to any of the following options:
- Premium (US $99 per month)
- Corporate (US $149 per month)
- Enterprise (US $249 per month)
There is bang for buck with Sprout Social should you have the capital, particularly for those enterprises operating in the realms of customer service, agencies or small to medium businesses – all departments they specialise in.
Buffer is a terrific means of allowing users to integrate their own social media platforms into one neat location. By downloading this through either the browser extension on the Internet search page or via the official mobile app, users can access of all the features on the go.
Choose to either connect or disconnect any of the following accounts for your brand:
Choosing to include or cut out one of these domains is as simple as adding or removing fro the dashboard on the left hand side. In that sense, the usability and navigation of Buffer is one of the superior options sitting out there in the marketplace.
The content can sit under the “Queue” tab where posts can be systematically scheduled according to your internal needs and habits of the consumer base. Posts can be repeated on an hourly, daily, weekly or monthly basis and also catered and filtered towards different time zones and geographic locations should the content need to be altered.
A top feature of Buffer is found with the “Analytics” tab that gives the operator a comprehensive rundown of the results from the posts, the demographics, the click-through rate and identifying opportunities that might be missed.
If bells and whistles are not your thing but results are – then Everypost is the social media posting program for you. Here you will find no gimmicks or flashy features that makes this an aesthetic exploration, just a basic means of promoting and marketing your content to the largest possible market of people.
Adding accounts is merely a step of clicking on the “add accounts” tab where you can tap into Dropbox, Facebook, Email, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, Flickr, Instagram, Google+ and Pinterest – essentially, if your brand is home to a social media page, you can include it in the Everypost dashboard.
This is a domain that operates under various pricing plans, with the free edition limiting your capacity to drive a holistic approach to social media management.
The greatest platform available for online marketers to schedule social media posts is Hootsuite. This platform is considered the gold standard in the industry to hold dominance over the competition.
Content can be designed to be sent to one channel, multiple channels or all channels across the major social media hubs – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn and more.
Due to the unique nature of each social media site, character limits and URL sizes can be changed to ensure that nothing is lost in the posting process. Analytical reports are also on hand to offer a graph of progress or decline depending on your output.
Hootsuite sits atop this industry for a reason, including a majority of the best features available while eliminating most of the hang-ups that can derive from a social media posting platform.
It is worthwhile considering the fact that the software program you choose to implement will not be the decisive factor for success. Whether it is a site that cuts out confusion and helps to streamline the process, you still have to follow through on the guidelines that successful operations executive on a daily basis.
Should you want to catch up to your peers, tick the following boxes:
- Vary your content output
- Be quick with response time
- Monitor when your target market log’s in
- Implement and stick to a coherent, simple strategy
- Take action when content is not delivering click-through success
- Always remain proactive
Kieran is the Social Media Manager and SEO Expert at SEO Shark. He is an expert in Social Media, link building, PPC and of course SEO. In his time off work Kieran enjoys reading and playing rugby, as well as following all kinds of sports! You can read some more of his articles here.