There's an overwhelming offering of tools available to social media managers, so knowing what to invest usually takes time and research. Most of us end up using a variety of different tools to create content and gather the information we need to reach our goals. It's rare that you hear someone say they use one platform for all their processes. I, for one, live in a constant state of 15+ tabs open at once. I'm referring to this puzzle-piece system as the "social media manager's toolbox".
On Tuesday, Social Media Today held a Twitter chat to bring all of our social media manager friends out to share tools that help us accomplish our goals and make our work-lives easier. We covered a variety of different topics from content creation to analytics.
Here are the questions we asked:
- What tools do you use to create and manage a content calendar?
- What are your favorite tools for creating and curating content?
- If you work with ambassadors/influencers/advocates how do you manage and regulate the content?
- What do you use to monitor hashtag activity and conversations about your brand?
- Are there any revolutionary Instagram or Twitter analytics tools that you swear by?
- What tools or templates have you found helpful when building social media reports?
Please note that this is not a sponsored chat. In no way are we trying to promote one software platform over another. These are merely suggestions by other social media managers in the field who have experience using these tools.
1. What tools do you use to create and manage a content calendar?
There are many great platforms that offer similar capabilities when it comes to building and managing a social content calendar. Here are a few that were mentioned during the chat:
There was an interesting theme I saw in people's responses to this first question. The majority of people mentioned more than one platform, and many admitted to still using Google Docs, Excel, Google Calendar and other manual forms of documentation along with the free version of these platforms.
2. What are your favorite tools for creating and curating content?
These are the tools that can change lives. Content is so important in our work, so finding the right tool(s) is crucial.
Best tools for curating content:
A2: @eclincher is amazing! Not only can you curate content via @Feedly, @Pocket and RSS feeds, there's also a built-in stock image & gif library. @canva or @AdobeSpark make creating visual content quick and easy. #SMTLive— JMS Insights (@JMSinsights) June 12, 2018
A2: We use @SproutSocial's "Publishing" features to curate content - specifically on LinkedIn. It's a newer feature, but it's been making life much easier in the way of curation! #SMTLive pic.twitter.com/Ta12aXOWcv— The Infinite Agency (@InfiniteAgency) June 12, 2018
Best tools for creating content:
- Pablo by Buffer
- Photoshop, InDesign and Final Cut Pro if you are practiced and skilled in Adobe Suite
Canva is a life saver! Great for social media posts. Wish it was better for creating slideshows... #SMTLive— Suzanne Woodward (@SuzyKaye) June 12, 2018
3. If you work with ambassadors/influencers/advocates how do you manage and regulate the content?
When collaborating with influencers, it's important to share clear guidelines and examples of content you are looking to see from them. The best advice shared was to monitor influencer content via Google forms.
A3: As an influencer marketing agency, managing influencer content is our life! Creating post guidelines (with image and copy guidelines) is important to provide before influencers begin creating content (providing examples of work you're looking for is helpful, too!) #SMTLive— Sway Group (@SwayGroup) June 12, 2018
A3: Manage it thru Google forms. The influencer will submit the links via the form and we go through the submitted info one by one and curate.— My Musings (@musingsandme) June 12, 2018
As for ambassadors, nobody shared groundbreaking tools to manage these programs. For the most part people are still just having meetings and encouraging sharing from their ambassadors.
A3: most of our advocates are our own employees and for that we have an employee advocacy program that goes over our social media policy and branding guidelines. For the most part there isn't too much regulating, we encourage sharing! #SMTLive— Loewe Chan (@sincerelyloewe) June 12, 2018
4. What do you use to monitor hashtag activity and conversations about your brand?
I personally find hashtags to be a tricky one. There are so many hashtag tools out there but rarely do they give you all the information you need. It will take a bit of research to find the right tool for you.
Make sure to identify your goals and KPI's before marrying one tool. Do you need a tool for hashtag listening similar to your other social listening tools? If that's all, a platform like HootSuite or Sprout Social might be all you need. If you need some further analytics, you may want to consider investing in a more niche tool.
There were a lot of tools shared, each with unique functions.
Tools used for hashtag listening:
- Sprout Social
- Crimson Hexagon
- Union Metrics
- Google Alerts
- Twitter itself
Tools used to for hashtag research:
A few of the same above were mentioned.
We love using @hashtagify to help kick-start hashtag strategies! Even at a basic free level they provide great insight into conversation around brands and topics.— The Infinite Agency (@InfiniteAgency) June 12, 2018
5. Are there any revolutionary Instagram or Twitter analytics tools that you swear by?
Finding a deeply insightful Instagram analytics tool seems to be a common issue. Some of the same names from earlier (Sprout Social, Buffer, Iconosquare, Socialbakers, etc.) popped up, but many people expressed a need for deeper insights.
A: Can't say I've found analytics tools that are 'revolutionary'. Usually, I have to review data from various tools, then create custom reports. #SMTLive— JMS Insights (@JMSinsights) June 12, 2018
For Twitter, I honestly believe that @AwarioApp pulls more data than any other app.— anna.bredava (@anna_bredava) June 13, 2018
6. What tools or templates have you found helpful when building social media reports?
The general consensus was that people might use the larger tools to gather numbers, but we are still using Google Spreadsheets and other manual forms of building reports.
A6: Shared Google Docs (spreadsheets) were teams can keep and share information and generate formulas can be a very useful tool for tracking social media metrics and building off of for reports. #SMTLive— Sway Group (@SwayGroup) June 12, 2018
A takeaway for social media SAS platforms: please build more customizable reporting options for us!
Q6: Clients usually want reports on their PPT templates... so Powerpoint. Plus, most tools don't let me custom a report build enough for what I need or want. I want to see COMPARATIVES not just monthly totals. #SMTLive— Suzanne K. Madore (@SuzanneKMadore) June 12, 2018
What else do you need help with to improve your social media management?
To end the chat I asked everyone to share other tools they wish existed.
Q7: Consistent data points. Affordable tools. and about 5 clones of myself to do it all the way I want and need things to get done. #SMTLive— Suzanne K. Madore (@SuzanneKMadore) June 12, 2018
Sierra asked for "a magic key to unlock all the feed algorithms." The best advice I can offer here is to bookmark our page dedicated to algorithm updates: Keeping Up With the Algorithms.
The life of a social media manager is chaotic and there is no all-purpose tool that will fit everyone's specific need — at least not yet.
Thesis of today's chat: #socialmediamanagers are crafty/scrappy/creative and will get the job done with any and all free/low-cost tools even if there isnt buy-in from the C-suite for a big budget. #SMTLive pic.twitter.com/SbVvc0NeDC— Robin Selvy Re (@RobinSelvy) June 12, 2018
Explore new tools and see if any of these offer new insights or can improve daily workflows on your team.
Once again, huge thanks to everyone that showed up and participated in this chat. Your contributions and ideas go a long way. I hope you all learned something new here.
If you're interested in joining future #SMTLive chats, learn more here.