I love tools, but more importantly, I love strategic processes.
I'm always asked about the tools that we use to market our clients, and even though I just wrote a pretty in-depth post about the tools we recommend to our clients, I thought I should give another, more specific post about the tools we recommend and the processes we use to make them more effective than they otherwise would be.
Remember, strategizing to reach the end goal is the most important part. Before you seek to implement any tool to make you more efficient, you should know perfectly well exactly what you're trying to achieve:
More social media followers
More referrers from social media to your site
More referrers from social media to your email list
More people on your email list to begin with
Deeper engagement to make sales directly through social media
More shares on your content to create larger reach
All of these are very distinct goals. A lot of them are synergistic so you can accomplish multiple at once, that's the nice thing about social media is it's such a versatile platform – however that doesn't mean you should be lazy and not have a goal to focus on when you're implementing processes.
"The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency." – Bill Gates
With that in mind, let's get started!
1. Get All Employees Using Buffer
This one is my first go-to setup for any client that wants to make their social media scheduling more efficient. The amount of content you can pour in to these accounts makes it an obvious win.
Sign up for either the 'Buffer For Business' or 'Awesome' plan (depending on your size), have all of your business's social media accounts linked up, and also all of your employee's linked up (this is a key part that most businesses miss). See this statistic from JeffBullas.com:
"The average midsize or large company (1000 employees or more) has 178 “social media assets” (Twitter handles, employee blogs, etc.)–yet only 25% of companies offer social business training to their employees."
The vast opportunity for organic reach from employees is usually completely lost on business owners. With even 10-15 employees that could be anywhere from 10-30x the organic social reach than just the business's brand accounts could garner on their own. By making every single employee an advocate for the business you can increase your social reach significantly, you can have everyone invested in supplying content to the Buffer feed (which is simple to do with their Google Chrome, Safari, and other web extensions, as well as their new "Daily" iOS app.
Also, if you have all of your employees sharing content, they feel more invested in the success of your business, their social presence will grow, and your brand's social awareness will grow. It's a cyclical process of growth that benefits everyone, if set up properly.
The point of this process is to increase organic social media reach, increase content output from social media accounts, and to get every employee invested in the social success of your business.
2. Post Pictures With Your Headlines Using Pablo by Buffer
People are 50% more likely to share a Facebook post if it has a picture on it.
Since this is such an obvious pressing issue, we should all be posting pictures with our content. Sometimes it's easy to just snag a photo from your article to post with. If you have Open Graph setup properly on your site, pictures should be pulled in automatically if there are any in your article (which there should be). However if not, and if you're just posting something without a link to your article or something on your site and you need an image for it, Buffer has set up a simple app called Pablo.
With Pablo integrating perfectly with new images posted to Unsplash (which was one of our recent Daily Content Spotlights) you'll always have beautiful, new pictures to post behind your headline!
This one is pretty simple, if you want more shares, more engagement, and more clicks use Pablo to optimize photos for your social media posts.
3. Set Up Schedules & Find People To Follow With FollowerWonk by Moz
FollowerWonk is a fantastic Twitter Analytics tool that was acquired by Moz not too long ago.
There are multiple things you can do with FollowerWonk, from finding people that your followers follow, finding influencers in your niche, finding where people following you are in the world, and finding your most successful content that you've shared.
The most important thing to me however, bar-none is peak times of engagement. Knowing when the people who follow you and your business are most active is a superpower. Tweets have a 24 minute half-life before it's possible they will never be seen again. With this in mind timing tweets to perfectly coincide with peak times of engagement is an absolute necessity. You can see the peak times of engagement for the people who follow me here:
So, obviously I should be setting my social profiles to post the most important updates at 12pm EST, followed by the secondary stuff at 11am EST, 5pm EST, and 6 pm EST. And notice that little call to action at the bottom? If you have a Buffer account (which you should by now) you can easily integrate it with FollowerWonk so that Buffer automatically pulls in these peak times of engagement and schedules your posts around those times. It's a simple, easy to set up, synergistic relationship.
Also, don't just assume yours is the same as mine, do this analysis for yourself no matter what. See what SimpleTiger's peak times are, even though I'm usually running the same tweets, schedule, and most of the people following SimpleTiger are also following me:
It's almost completely different. Do this for yourself, integrate it with Buffer, and start sharing at the right times.
4. Get More Shares On Your Content Using 'Share' by SumoMe
The primary use for this, for me, is to get more social shares on your content from mobile readers. The desktop bars are awesome, they give a ton of social proof, they look great, they function great, but the big beautiful part is that bottom mobile social bar. With around 50% of our readers coming from mobile, it makes sense that we should want a well optimized sharing bar for mobile, however there hardly aren't any on the market and with our CMS being Squarespace (which we love) we don't actually get a good share utility by default.
For this reason we love using Share, and recommend it to all of our clients to use on their blogs. It takes two minutes flat to set up, and SumoMe says that their users see a boost of over 20% in page views after installation, which I can surely attest to.
Make sure you also set up your company's Twitter handle in the backend of Share though, because each time your content is shared it will tag you, you can find it here:
After it's set up it will look like this when someone tweets your content from Share:
By the way, thanks for that Kathy!
5. Automate Your Social Media Ad Campaigns Using Kuhcoon
The goal of this one is pretty simple. If you want your Facebook ad campaigns to be more effective, and take less management than ever before (using their learning engine) set up Kuhcoon, sit back, and drink a Yerba Mate as you get everything else that you wanted to focus on done.
Social media ad campaigns can be a really annoying thing to deal with, especially Facebook's when their ad campaign setups are all over the screen and annoying to track results with. Kuhkoon makes it deadly simple with their all-in-one interface, and their learning engine has been proven to increase efficiency for all campaigns by over 40%.
Kuhcoon is even adding ad products to their lineup, soon to be adding Google Adwords, and potentially other social ad frameworks before long. We're extremely excited by this product and have been watching it very closely since its beta. The team is fast moving, very effective, and actually moving through YC right now as this post is being written. Expect to see big things from this tool, and use it for now to optimize your Facebook ads and save time for your whole team.
There are a ton of different tools to set up, we prefer to focus on the ones that automate incredible efficiency and negate the need for constant involvement from our team, as we focus more on creating incredible value for our clients. That being said, these tools have great benefits in automation, but there are far more out there that you can use.
We recommend these to all of our startup clients, as well as the ones we have previously mentioned.
Don't ever just sign up for a tool without a goal in mind though, here's the framework we go from:
Define a goal
Reverse engineer that goal to see what we would need to accomplish it
Seek out the tools that could automate that process with great efficiency
Set those tools up and monitor them to see if they are actually solving that problem
Profit while saving time
That's the skinny. I hope you got a lot of value from this post, please comment below to let us know if there are any tools you'd add to this list, or that you just really love using!