I remember when there was one social media channel. One. Companies were still buying billboards and full-page newspaper ads. Yes, that’s me in the corner relaxing in my sarcophagus, passing time with my abacus, and sending emails from my Hotmail account.
But I digress.
Then the last decade happened and then the deluge. Then the big cultural shift. And then every kid on the block had a Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, and insert 50 other social media channels.
Here’s the thing. Social media is work. You have to create content, post it, monitor it, optimize it, and then you hope and wait for the magic — a connection with your customer. But then…there’s, you know, the rest of your business to run. Emails to respond to. Problems to solve. A life to live with your friends and loved ones.
Imagine if your load was a little lighter. Imagine if some parts of your day were a little easier. Enjoy this resource list — my top ten must-use social media automation tools. What’s automation? Technology that takes care of some of the work — leaving you time for what matters most: your business.
I’ve used a lot of tools over the years and these are some of my favorites:
Crowdfire started out as one of the many apps that tracked your unfollows on social media. It’s since evolved into your personal marketing sidekick. Not only does it allow you to view new unfollows and schedule your content on Instagram and Twitter, but it also analyzes millions of data points to serve up daily prescriptive advice on growing your following through its Clean-Engage-Grow philosophy.
Clean: Eliminates spam accounts and inactive followers.
Engage: Attracts the right target audience for your business.
Grow: Puts your content in front of the right people.
- Recent un-followers, inactive users
- 3in1 Scheduler + Viral Hashtag Tool + Photo Suggester for Instagram + Repost ability
- Direct message marketing
- Twitter analytics + detailed stats
- Follow competition // copy followers
- Search by location and keyword
2. Post Planner
Struggling to get engagement on social media? Can’t find the right content for your audience? Post Planner helps you find, post, and schedule smart, quality content. You can use Post Planner for Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. With plans that start at only $3/month and a 30-day free trial, you can:
- Create a personal content library for your audience based on industry and interests by keyword, hashtag, and Facebook/Twitter handle searches
- Get predictive about future content performance and audience engagement via Post Planner’s analytics tool. Content performance is no longer a mystery
- Schedule new posts and recycle popular evergreen posts. Post Planner’s algorithm creates ideal posting times based on content performance. Consider your content execution strategy, as Olivia Pope would say, handled
For me, Buffer was my OG of content scheduling. I used the FREE service (you can view plus-ups here) to schedule posts on Twitter, source new articles I could share with my followers, and track the performance of my content. Over the past few years, Buffer added more social media channels to their arsenal. Now, you can use it for Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, G+, and I hear Pinterest is on the horizon.
Pro-tip: With one click of Buffer’s Google Chrome extension icon, any webpage that you’re visiting immediately becomes a tweet-ready summary and is saved in your account for scheduling.
Do you already have established Pinterest boards, a fanbase, and know the nuts + bolts of manual pinning? If so, you may want to take your Pinterest pin game to the next level with BoardBooster.
BoardBooster has some awesome *free* features:
- Pin other people’s pins to your boards
- Circulate your pins to Group Boards automatically, without requiring reminders or prompts
- Finds relevant pins for you to pin to your boards, so you don’t have to go hunting for new content
- Loop content within your boards, re-circulating pins that you’ve already found
- Delete duplicate pins after looping them, to keep your content fresh
- Allow you to share your content with Tribes to be shared by other Pinners
For a little extra coin, you get:
- Pin Mover: Move pins across boards
- Pin Doctor: Check your pins for broken links and eliminate them
- Group Manager: Identify poorly-performing pins/pinners in your Group (free) and delete pins that aren’t living up to your stat snuff (paid)
Learn how to use BoardBooster with this video tutorial (start at the 4:43 mark if you want to get directly into the tutorial).
While BoardBooster is all about Pinterest, with Tailwind you can pin and post like a pro on Instagram AND Pinterest. While I love BoardBooster, I find Tailwind a little easier to use (if you love Buffer, you’ll LOVE Tailwind) and the pricing makes sense for me managing two channels. You can give Tailwind a spin with a free trial. Here’s what you get:
- Smart Scheduler: Powered by Tailwind’s algorithms, you can schedule your posts when your audience is most engaged
- Analytics + Reporting: Identify your top-performing content and measure the effectiveness of your content by tracking likes, pins, comments, traffic, and revenue — all in one place
- Content Management: You can schedule an unlimited amount of posts
- Pinterest Monitoring: Track your content, industry trends, engagement + conversations.
- Tailwind Tribes: It’s true — it takes a village, so why not relay on your tribe to get your content and grow your fanbase?
- You’re probably like…BoardBooster + Tailwind are kind of the same? Here’s an epic comparison between the two services
- Getting started with Tailwind? Here’s an epic tutorial
- How to use Tailwind to schedule your pins
- How to master Tailwind for Instagram, a deep-dive tutorial
- Want to learn more about Tailwind Tribes? Here you go!
Mailchimp isn’t just a marketing automation platform — it’s a second brain for your business. Create and send emails, manage subscribers, and stay on top of your marketing, all from your mobile OR desktop device. I LOVE this service and you’re getting this email from it. I’ve used it to send newsletters, create segments and send customized offers and newsletters based on interests, and I’ve also used it to create landing pages — kind of like the one that likely got you here. I also don’t need to use a fancy-pants designer because there are so many cool, pre-designed templates you can use.
The good news? You get to use all the services (well, almost all) FREE for your first 2K subscribers. Plans start at $10/month. Not too shabby for building one of your most important assets — your email list. Remember, you don’t own your social media followers and you’re beholden to finicky algorithms and consumer trends. However, you own email.
Mailchimp is one of the few services that has INSANE tutorials on their site. Start here.
Learn how to get more done with less with Workflow. Yes, I realize workflows are a mouthful but trust me — this is all about making your life easier. With a few simple taps, you can connect all of your apps. Build your own workflows (or use popular, pre-defined workflows) with a simple drag-and-drop interface. Mix & match hundreds of actions to create quick shortcuts, manage your media, share content, and much more. It’s like making your own apps. Only way easier.
9. Social Pilot
If you’re expanding your team and you want to dial up your social media, content management, and analytics, get involved with Social Pilot. Plans start at $10/month and you get a free trial! Key features:
- Automate the heavy lifting of scheduling content across multiple social media accounts — in BULK
- Get to know your fans and how they connect with your content. Learn more about influencers and your followers through Social Pilot’s SOUPED-UP analytics
- Collaborate on the platform with your team and your clients
- Get an endless reservoir of content ideas — consider Social Pilot your content team brainstorming session!
- Learn how to schedule a Canva image (btw, if you’re not using Canva, START NOW)
- Get an analytics overview from this video tutorial
- This Social Pilot-Buffer-Hootsuite comparison chart is the gift that keeps on giving
Imagine if your apps and devices talked to each other? No, I don’t mean literal chatter, but get connected in a way that makes your life a little less complicated. That’s where IFTTT comes in. IFTTT is a free service that allows all of your most-used tools, apps, and platforms to connect with one another, automatically, with IFTTT being a master of ceremonies of sorts. Once all of your services are linked, IFTTT allows you to create “recipes” to create a chain reaction once one action is taken.
Want sample recipes? Here you go! Automatically post your tweets on Facebook when you use a specific hashtag. Start brewing your coffee when your FitBit senses that you just woke up. Always keep your social media profiles in synch. Ask Alexa to call your phone…and SO much more. See what I mean? IFTTT is more than social media — it’s about creating efficiency in your LIFE. Whoa. I just sounded like an infomercial.