Managing Your Social Media (Part One)

Editors Note: There is an updated version of this article here.

Keeping up with Social Media can be overwhelming and time consuming. Using the right tools helps keep things organized and saves a lot time.

There are dozens of social media management tools. Here a few that will help you manage your social media accounts.  All are good services. Which one you choose will depend on your needs and what you want to accomplish.

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a social media dashboard and publisher, that streamlines all of your social media profiles and pages. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus, YouTube, Tumblr, Linkedin, FourSquare and more.

Your social media profiles are displayed in different tabs, and within those tabs you can add specific “streams” or feeds to track. I use Twitter tabs to:

  • Track lists of people that I’m following
  • Check @mentions for the accounts I manage
  • Reply to any Retweets, mentions and direct mentions for accounts I manage
  • Track hashtags
  • View newsfeeds

I also use the publisher tool to schedule posts. One of my favorite features is the calendar in the Hootsuite publisher, where I can view all scheduled and past posts at a glance while I compose posts. This makes it easy to see when I have blank spots to fill, or when something has already been published.

Hootsuite’s Google Plus feature lets you schedule Google Plus Pages posts ahead of time. At this time the tool only works with Business Pages, and not Google Plus personal profiles.

Hootsuite will auto-publish blog posts from an RSS feed, however I still prefer to schedule manually through the publisher.

What I like

  • Publisher and Calendar
  • Easy to see all social media streams at a glance
  • Can post to Google Plus Pages
  • Using Bookmarklet to save draft posts
  • Analytics and custom reporting
  • Set it to automatically publish new posts to social profiles
  • Auto-Fill reply for @mention tags
  • Cost effective and great for teams

What I Don’t Like

  • How it handles Facebook Images – Images need to be sized exactly or they will look funny when posted. Creating a post with an image for Facebook is a little cumbersome and not very intuitive.
  • No Custom Branding options for pro accounts.
  • Cannot tag on Facebook (Facebook does not allow this)
  • There is not a “duplicate” post feature

I have tried a lot of tools, and I keep going back to Hootsuite. I don’t love Hootsuite, but I still haven’t found another tool that does what I need it to. One of the reasons I keep searching for a better tool is that the posts made from Hootsuite always seem to get less engagement, especially on Facebook. There is research that suggests that third party tools do actually hurt engagement on Facebook.

Overall Hootsuite has a lot of features, including a nice free version that will suit most small businesses.

Cost: Free for 5 social profiles, $9.99 for unlimited accounts, Vanity Urls: $49 a month, Enterprise: $1500/month. There are other add-ons as well.

Plan Your Post

Plan Your Post is a Twitter and Facebook scheduler. It allows you to easily post to multiple Facebook and Twitter accounts.

There is a branding feature where you can add an “Action Link” and post to Twitter and Facebook from your own app. You can also add an icon image and text “via your studio” that is displayed in posts with your branding. The text can be customized for each Facebook  and Twitter Application you create.

What I like

  • The Duplicate or Reuse post feature – I used this quite often
  • I like the way it handled Facebook Images (auto sized to proper dimensions)
  • Easy to use
  • Branding features
  • Post creator was nice
  • Analytics for tracking engagement
  • Bookmarklet for posts

What I Don’t Like

  • Does not have Auto-Fill reply for @mention tags – that means I always have to look up any mention that is added
  • Using an Action Link removes the Facebook share feature (Facebook does this not the app)
  • I could not track twitter lists in the dashboard. For most people this will not matter, however I use lists to track followers.
  • No mobile app

I have been using Plan Your Post for the last four months. My main reason for using this app was the branding and how it handled Facebook images. Overall I liked this tool, especially the branding feature.

I ended up going back to Hootsuite because I liked the calendar and the simplicity of having an app that worked on all my devices with all my profiles.

I can bookmark from iPhone, iPad and web browser, I can tweet from iPhone, iPad and web browser. I like being able to Tweet things on the go, and not just from the desktop. The Hootsuite dashboard is easier to manage most accounts.
Cost: $10-$60 a month. Branding features start at $20 a month.

Buffer App

By far the easiest tool to use was Buffer App. Buffer is a tool for scheduling Tweets and Facebook posts, based on pre-selected times that are set. You simply create the Tweet, and Buffer will publish based on your settings. The app also spaces posts out, so everything isn’t posted as once. That is the best thing about this app – it does most of the work for you.

There is a Bookmarklet that you can use to add articles to your Buffer account. Just add it to Buffer, and it will automatically be scheduled and sent. There is also a Bookmarklet for iPhone, and some apps on iPhone which I really liked.

There is also a WordPress plugin that allows you to send posts right from the post editor to Buffer for auto scheduling.

What I like

  • Very Easy to use
  • Automatically posts and schedules for you
  • Handles Facebook Images nicely
  • The user interface was very nice
  • Analytics are the best of any I have used in terms of tracking each Tweet

What I Don’t Like

  • There was not an option to manually schedule things in advance

Cost: $10 a month for 12 social profiles.

Social

Social is a WordPress broadcasting and comment plugin, that integrates with Twitter and Facebook. I started using the plugin, because I could track social mentions of blog posts and see the conversation around it in one place. I also liked the ability to post right to Twitter and Facebook from the post editor.

The plugin pulls Twitter and Facebook mentions of an article or page, into the comments area making it easy to view all mentions and discussion around a particular article in one place.

You can also post right to Twitter or Facebook from the WordPress post editor using the Broadcast feature. You can customize the message for each network and post to them all at once. We use Social here on Seniors Ignite as well. Check out the comments if you’d like to see how it works.

What I like

  • Being able to post to Twitter and Facebook from your
  • Being able to see who mentioned and shared blog posts
  • Easy for people to comment on the blog with Social Sign in
  • Cuts down on comment spam

What I Don’t Like
There are plugin conflicts from time to time – all related to Facebook and authorization. This has nothing to do with the plugin itself. It’s just like the problems with all the other tools, Facebook does not play well with others.

Cost: Free

Sendible

I was really excited about trying Sendible a few months back because it offered everything that I needed. This service offered far more options for publishing than Hootsuite did. Sendbile works with a lot of different social media sites and features.

What I liked about Sendible was the Photo Sharing features for Facebook, specifically being able to schedule ahead for publishing photo albums and Timeline cover images. We update the Timeline cover once a week and being able to schedule that ahead was a nice feature. Unfortunately this feature did not work very well and there were glitches with Facebook not publishing images. In fact none of the scheduled Timeline images ever published correctly. I also noticed that they have no longer offer the Timeline Cover image service.

After a number of items not publishing, I left the service and went to Plan Your Post. I’d still recommend giving this service a shot. As I mentioned above, the issues were with Facebook, rather than Sendible. Sendible also offered good support, which is more than you will get from Facebook.
What I like

  • Being able to publish photo albums to Facebook
  • Being able to set posts to repeat
  • Create templates for posts to drop info into – great for hashtags that you use frequently
  • The Calendar Features
  • Analytics

What I Don’t Like

  • Cannot tag on Facebook (Facebook does not allow this)
  • I didn’t like the post window
  • Did not work well with Facebook (this was a Facebook Issue)

Cost: $9.99 for 15 social services, $29.99 to manage up to 30.

Do Share

Do share is a Chrome Browser extension that lets you schedule and post to both Google Plus Profile and Business Pages. There are not a lot of tools that work with Google Plus yet, however I expect that change in the near future.

What I like

  • You can write and schedule ** your Google+ posts
  • It works for personal Google+ profiles as well as Google+ pages
  • Easily share links to Google+ from any tab on Google Chrome
  • Create a post, and schedule it for later – Do Share will automatically send it
  • Supports sharing to circles, +mentions, notifying circle, link sharing, reshares, and photo uploads
  • Supports Hashtag autocomplete

What I Don’t Like
The Chrome Browser has to be open or posts will not go as scheduled**

Cost: Free

Pinerly

Pinerly is a management dashboard for Pinterest. Pinerly tracks your “campaigns” and provides stats on repins, likes and click-throughs. Campaigns are simply “pins” you create for Pinterest. There is a Bookmarklet for pinning that works just like the Pin-It browser tool. I actually like the Pinerly bookmarklet a little more since it has more features (see above).

Using this tool doesn’t take any extra time and it’s nice to have the extra stats. You need an invite to sign up. I have 20 invites left with the link below.

Pinerly Invite

Cost: Free

What I like

  • Bookmarklet
  • Tracking repins, clicks

What I Don’t Like
You cannot schedule pins ahead – however this is due to the Pinterest API. Pinerly has a scheduling feature ready to go as soon as Pinterest opens it up again. Pineterest did allow this at one time and then removed it.

Statigram


I wrote about Statigram last week. Statigram as an online dashboard for your Instagram account. It provides management, analytics and tools for Instagram.

What I like:

  • See the number of likes and comments received
  • View your Top 5 most liked and commented shots
  • Filters you use most – or don’t use
  • Your hashtag cloud
  • Optimization tips about best time to post or how filters impact engagement
  • Send private messages to other people you follow on Instagram
  • You can like, comment or print an image
  • Create a follow button for your website
  • There are also tools for Facebook, including an app for Pages. (see next section)
  • You can create a profile page so people can view your Instagram photos.
  • There is also an Instagram contest app for brands.

Cost: Free, Photo Contest: $420

Crowd Booster

Crowdbooster may be a tool worth looking at. It streamlines Twitter and Facebook like the others however there are deeper insights into who engages with your content more. Crowdbooster also makes recommendations on when you should publish.

I haven’t actually used this tool, but it’s on my radar to check out.

Cost: Free for 1 Facebook and Twitter Profile, $39 for 10 social profiles, $99 for 30 social profiles.

A few thoughts on Facebook. With any of these tools, when there were issues, it was almost always with Facebook. Of all the social sites I use, Facebook is where I run into glitches the most. Facebook is constantly changing things and it’s open graph does not always work as smoothly as other services like Twitter. Any issues I had related to Facebook had nothing to do with third party tools.

Facebook does not allow tagging from third party tools, which is a big drawback since that is a very viral feature on Facebook. So having to remember to go back and tag someone can be a pain.

Facebook now has a scheduling feature built in to the post window, which would make it easy to schedule ahead. However, there is no way to track what you have already scheduled which is a bit of a hassle. While you no longer need to use a third party tool to schedule ahead, I still prefer it. Posting directly in Facebook may mean more engagement with posts than from third party tools and it’s easier to tag, so those are all things to keep in mind when choosing which tool to use.

In the end I chose Hootsuite because it allowed me to track, post and publish from one dashboard. I’d recommend any of these tools.

Editors Note: There is an updated version of this article here.

 

8 thoughts on “Managing Your Social Media (Part One)”

  1. Great post Nancy! I really like some of the tools you featured. I am a huge Buffer fan and didn’t know that they had a WordPress plugin. Thanks for the tip! Can’t wait to get your feedback on Crowdbooster, especially if it helps increase engagement based on post times.

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