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social media management apps

The Best Social Media Management Apps (Bonus: Apps that Manage Instagram)

Let’s face it. With all the platforms available today, social media can sometimes feel a little overwhelming.

After all, you have to create content for Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn – and don’t forget Pinterest and Instagram.

Managing all of your social media accounts can be a lot of work.

The good news is, social media management doesn’t have to be hard.

With so many tools available at our fingertips, it’s never been easier to create and schedule amazing social media content. You just have to choose the right apps for you!

And to make it a little easier, we’ve put together a break down of some of the best social media management apps.

Grab your free copy of our easy-reference sheet for the best social media tools!

best social media management apps

The Benefits of Scheduling Out Your Social Media Using Tools

In case you needed a little convincing to get on-board with the social media management apps, here are a few benefits of scheduling in advance:

  • It creates consistency. One of the most important things when it comes to social media is consistency. You don’t want to pull a disappearing act by forgetting to post. You want to make sure you stay top-of-mind for your followers by posting on a regular basis. By scheduling your social media posts in advance, you’re able to do this.
  • You create better content. When you plan your updates in advance, you’re more likely to put thought into the updates you’re creating as opposed to the ones you craft on the fly. Your audiences expects to see the best and they deserve it, too. Make time to schedule so you can plan posts that your audience will enjoy and that your brand will benefit from.

Your Best Social Media Management Apps

To help you decide which app is right for you, we’ve rounded-up some of the best social media management apps to help you take control of your Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram profiles.

1. Buffer

Here at Express Writers, our go-to tool is Buffer. We use it to manage our many Twitter accounts, plus Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn. That’s not all it does! It also handles scheduling for Pinterest and Instagram.

The great thing about Buffer is that it’s incredibly easy to use. There’s really nothing complex about it! Both their website and mobile app (for Android and iOS) make it a breeze to schedule updates for any platform.

Check out our scheduled social media feed on Buffer (we have a lot of posts and profiles):

buffer

While you can use Buffer absolutely free of charge, you’d be missing out on some of the main features this social media scheduler has to offer.

The free plan limits you to scheduling only 10 updates at a time per account and you’re unable to add multiple accounts for each type of platform. (This means that two Twitter profiles or two Facebook pages would be out of the question.)

The good news is, Buffer’s “Awesome” plan is pretty affordable at only $10/month.

Buffer provides built-in analytics that give you insight into how well your posts are performing. You’re able to see which posts are actually resonating with your audience and which ones aren’t. This is essential so you can adapt your social media strategy for maximum results.

To make scheduling even easier, Buffer also offers an extension for your web browser. If you see a blog post you’d love to share with your followers, all you have to do is use the extension to quickly and easily add it to your Buffer queue without ever opening their website.

And finally, another great option on Buffer is their Optimal Timing Tool. What will this do for you? Well, you’ve probably seen all kinds of studies that show the best times to post on Twitter, Facebook, etc. While those studies are helpful, those times aren’t unique to your social media profiles. Buffer’s Optimal Timing Tool calculates the best times for you to post based on your own audience.

From its features and affordability to how easy it is to use, it should come as no surprise that Buffer made our list of the best social media management apps. It’s definitely one to check out if you haven’t already tried it.

Note: Buffer also provides plans for Teams & Agencies ranging from $99/month to $399/month, depending on your needs.

2. Hootsuite

When it comes to scheduling tools, Hootsuite is comparable to Buffer when it comes to price. Hootsuite offers a free plan that allows you to add three social media profiles. If you need a little more, you can upgrade to their Pro account for just $9.99/month, which allows you to add up to 50 social media profiles. It’s another great option if you want something that will get the job done without breaking the bank.

Here’s what a dashboard in Hootsuite would look like:

example hootsuite

Courtesy of matthewfarmer.com.au

Hootsuite provides scheduling for a variety of platforms, including: Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

However, one thing they do differently is that they offer support for YouTube scheduling. By linking your Hootsuite account with YouTube, you’re able to schedule and share your YouTube videos right from Hootsuite. This is definitely convenient for video creators.

One of the great features about Hootsuite is that it’s more than just a social media scheduler. You’re actually able to monitor and engage in conversations with your followers directly from the Hootsuite website. Their engagement tools ensure you’ll never miss an important reply from someone.

Like Buffer, you also receive access to analytics on Hootsuite. You can use this information to see which posts are performing well on each of your platforms. With a Pro account, you’re able to go even more in-depth to improve ROI and analyze campaign performance through your analytics.

Note: Hootsuite also provides plans for small businesses and agencies. You can sign-up on their website to learn more about pricing.

3. Edgar

You can’t talk about the best social media management apps without mentioning the powerhouse that is Edgar.

edgar-schedule

Courtesy of Problogger.net (Darren Rowse)

While Edgar is certainly pricier than Buffer and Hootsuite, coming in at $49/month, it comes packed with features the other two platforms are lacking. It’s the only tool that will back you up in case your post queue goes empty.

Edgar is designed so that you add updates to your “library.” You can choose which platforms you want each post to be shared on, plus you’re able to save each one in a certain category. For example, you could create a category for “Blog Posts,” where you’d save any posts that link back to your blog. If you’re a big fan of sharing cat photos, you could even create a category for that, too.

Then, your next step is to create a posting schedule. You get to tell Edgar which types of posts you want to share and at what time. So, if you want to share a link to a blog post every Tuesday at 10 AM, you can do that no problem. Edgar will pull a post from your “Blog Posts” category and share it for you.

Edgar pulls your social media content straight from the library you’ve created. Whenever something has been posted, it goes back into your library at the bottom of the list. When Edgar runs out of content, he starts all over by pulling from your library. You’ll never have to worry about your queue going empty and not having something to share with your followers. Talk about making social media easier!

If Edgar sounds like one of the best social media management apps for you, you can give it a go with a free trial. Edgar currently works with Twitter profiles, Facebook profiles, Facebook pages, Facebook groups, LinkedIn profiles, and LinkedIn pages. It may not provide scheduling for as many platforms as Buffer and Hootsuite, but it sure packs a ton of value with its library feature.

Bonus: Tools That Manage Pinterest & Instagram

Now that we’ve given you scheduling tools for Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn, let’s talk about Pinterest and Instagram. First up, Pinterest!

4. Pinterest Scheduling: BoardBooster & Tailwind

First, you can use Buffer to schedule posts to your Pinterest boards (for paid accounts only). This is quite handy if you’re already using Buffer as your primary scheduling tool. You wouldn’t have to pay for something else and you’d have everything right in one place. However, if you’re looking for a tool with a few more features, you have a couple great options.

BoardBooster and Tailwind are both powerful tools for scheduling your Pinterest content. They each offer a free trial so you can see which one fits your needs and purchase from there. Both tools allow you to schedule your pins and have them post at optimal times for your account. If you’ve been seeing lackluster results on Pinterest, one of these tools could be just what you need to step up your presence there.

With Tailwind, you’re able to see a visual representation of your Pinterest queue before it posts. It makes it easy to see how many pins are in your queue and what’s coming up next. You can also schedule certain pins to be shared at specific times, which is quite convenient if you want to time a pin for the same time your latest blog post goes live.

To use BoardBooster, the application sets up a secret board on your current Pinterest profile. You pin to that secret board, then BoardBooster moves your pins from there to the public board throughout the day. In your “Board Performance Report,” you’ll be able to see exactly what BoardBooster has posted for you, plus a few stats on each pin. You’re also able to “loop” old pins by reposting them and you can pull popular pins from another user’s board.

Tailwind’s most affordable plan is for bloggers and small businesses. It comes in at jut $9.99/month. BoardBooster’s plans are set up differently in that they’re based on how much you pin per month. If you pin only 500 pins each month, you’d end up paying only $5/month, which is quite a bargain.

Instagram Scheduling

The tricky thing about Instagram scheduling is that the platform doesn’t allow third-party applications to access its API. What does that mean? None of the scheduling apps can actually post for you. Instead, you can schedule posts within the tool of your choice, which then sends a notification to your phone as a reminder to post. There are applications that post to Instagram for you, however they technically go against Instagram’s rules and we’d advise not using them. There are a few great options to consider for your Instagram scheduling that are absolutely safe to use.

5. Later

Later (formerly Latergramme) is a nice tool for scheduling your Instagram content. You can easily upload images and captions via desktop or through the mobile app for Android or iOS. One of the handy things about scheduling with Later is that you can actually upload multiple images and save them in your library. So, you don’t need to have your post planned out right away. You can save images and move them from your library to your queue later on.

6. Buffer or Hootsuite

Both Buffer and Hootsuite provide scheduling for Instagram. If you’re already using one of these tools for scheduling on other platforms, you may want to stick with them just to keep everything in one place. It’ll make things much easier for you!

Using The Best Social Media Management Apps To Your Success

By putting your social media management under one application umbrella, you save yourself a great deal of time, management, and trouble.

It’s a necessary step for the modern content marketer!

Take that a step further and hire a social media manager expert from our hand-picked, expert team! We’ll manage your profiles, create custom imagery, and write original, creative posts. Visit the Content Shop.

social media guide 2014

Consistency Is Key for Social Media: 20-Step Management Guide

We’ve already established that going social for your business in 2014 is not a matter of if, but why. Armed with that knowledge, we thought it was only fair to share the nuts and bolts of howto establish and manage your social media presence.

We have not 5, not 10, but 20 concrete steps to take you from “What social media platform is best for my industry?” to “What, you don’t have a social media manager?” in no time.

2014: It’s Social Media Party Time!

Let us invite you to our party. That’s right, with all our talk of cake lately; we’ve also gotten in the mood for parties. And with social media’s emphasis on engagement and, well, being social, we thought a party with all its intricacies — from venue to wardrobe and guest list — was the perfect illustration. So, for the duration of our time together, it’s party time. Who knew reading a blog could be so much fun?

Pick Your Parties: Platform Selection

Think of each social media platform as a swanky party. Each has its own vibe, venue, and party-goers who can’t get enough. It is your mission to find the parties your business should attend and get in the conversation. Which leads us to…

 

Step #1: Finding the Right Social Media Platforms for You

It’s tempting to setup a profile on every available platform to get the most exposure for your business. But as a small business owner, your time is precious and this one-size-fits-all strategy runs the risk of wearing your resources too thin.

Instead, you need to research and find out where your social media target demographic hangs out, and go to those parties. You wouldn’t see a bunch of guys at brunch, would you? So if you run an online Poker site you wouldn’t necessarily need to party on a Pinterest page (used predominantly by women at 84%, according to Business Insider).

The only exception to this rule? Google+. Although this platform is overwhelmingly used by men, all businesses could use the SEO pick-me-up this site provides.

 

Dress to Impress: Social Media Profile Set Up

You know which platforms to focus on. Now, how should you prepare your profiles for the best exposure possible? This next tips and tricks will get your business profiles dressed to impress in no time.

 

Step # 2: Choosing the Right Profile Picture

If your company has a logo, you are probably farther along on this step than you think. The perfect profile image is, you guessed it, your logo. Already a key part in your branding, your logo will make it easy for potential clients to identify your business, no matter where they bump into you.

 

Step #3: Using Quality Imagery

Banner. Cover. Header. Theme. Channel Art.

No matter what the platform calls it, most of them have space for a larger image on your profile. Think of it as your chance to accessorize your party-perfect profile picture (your logo, right?) with an engaging pop of color and personality.

To brand your profile further, we suggest using your website’s color scheme and images as the inspiration for your larger feature image. It is also crucial to adhere to the imagery guidelines for each platform. Fuzzy images or an overuse of text, like too much makeup or a clashing tie, will totally throw off your look.

 

Step #4: Choosing an Easily Identifiable and Keyword-Conscience Username

Your social media handles need to be easy for customers to connect with your company name, tagline or main service, according to Forbes. In other words, when people see your posts on their feed they shouldn’t be confused about who the post is from – that’s as silly as not introducing yourself. So, thoughtfully pick a social media name and stick with it across all platforms.

And remember to use keywords. Say you are a Wedding Planner. Instead of using your company name, you may want to consider including your location and main service, like “DallasWeddings.”

 

Step #5: Crafting Consistent Company Taglines and Descriptions

Before you complete your profile set up, take some time to distill your company’s goals into a succinct tagline, longer description, mission statement, and history blurb. As with the “big picture” in step #3, you can take key points from your website to craft this information. Once you (or the copywriter you hired) write a tagline, long description, and mission for your business, you can plug them into all of your profiles.

Consistency is the name of the game here, too. Not only do you want to coordinate with the formality and tone on your site, you also want all of your profiles to communicate the same message as well. And as with your username, remember to use industry keywords while maintaining a written-for-people vibe.

 

Step #6: Providing Consistent Contact Info, Address, Hours

This party parallel is pretty obvious. If you met someone interesting at the party, they would need a way to get in touch with you. Your social media profile should tell customers exactly where and how to contact you.

 

Step #7: Claiming Custom URLs

Just like a manicure adds imperceptible polish to any party prep, your effort to claim vanity URLs will add a much-needed touch of professionalism to your profiles.

First, a pop quiz: Which URL looks more polished and inviting?

A. www.facebook.com/yourbusiness

or

B. www.facebook.com/yourbusiness/390691057733835

(The correct answer is A, of course.)

This step takes a bit more effort because some platforms have requirements to claim your URL — like these for Google+. The extra elbow grease is totally worth it to provide a more inviting persona for your customers to interact with.

 

Get the Party Started: Social Optimization

Help people find, connect, and share content from your pristine profiles with these next steps.

 

Step #8: Making It Easy for People to Connect with You

After all of your (readable, but SEO-friendly) profiles are created with their shiny, custom URLs, you need to spread the word. From the social side, simply add the links of your profiles to each of your other profiles for a seamless experience. Your super fans will be able to connect with you at every party you attend.

 

Step #9: Connecting Your Social Profiles to Your Site

Another crucial way to spread the word? As soon as your profiles are established, add social icons to your header or footer — or both. If you have room, add some encouraging copy like “Connect with Us!” Another fun touch: You can even get your site developers to add a live Twitter feed to your sidebar.

 

Step #10: Allowing People to Share Your Content

You also need to make it easy for people to post your blogs and pages to their social media profiles by adding share buttons wherever possible.

 

Party Personality: Consistent Messaging

These next tips will help you find your social media voice and the right content to share.

 

Step #11: Creating Consistent Personality

Before you post your first tweet, you need to decide what personality or voice you want to have. Totally professional? Friendly, conversational? Again, you want to represent yourself well, so your voice needs to be consistent with your industry and your social media engagement as it grows.

 

Step #12: Picking Consistent Content

Next decide what kind of links to share. Think of this as your acceptable list of conversation topics you have up your sleeve when approaching party-goers, ahem, potential clients.

Here are a few lists you can make to help you find quality content.

1. Competitors sites. Never link to pages that could give your top competition business over you!

2. Acceptable industry relevant sites. You know your industry and what people interested in your industry like. Take some time to find some sites that regularly generate great content on your industry. Check them daily for potential posts to share.

3. Fun sites. Does your industry lend itself to any type of playfulness? We’re big fans of puns and wordplay here. Going back to the poker site example, you may want to find movie clips of famous poker scenes to share for your social platforms. This little bit of entertainment will help establish the personality behind your brand. Don’t overshare this type of content, but a few entertaining posts will enhance your personality potential.

And don’t forget to generate your own quality content (like a blog) to share via social media.

 

Step #13: Linking to SEO-Friendly Sites

This year SEO is all about quality content, so you should make sure to link to trusted content that’s valuable or interesting to your potential clients. One tool that makes this super-easy is the MozBar. You can download it to your browser’s toolbar and access each link. You are looking for a site with a Root Domain DA of 40 or above.

 

Time to Chat it Up: Consistent Connection

You’re at the party, you’re dressed to kill, and you even have some conversation starters in your back pocket. Now it’s time to get in there and engage. Bonus points for making a plan.

 

Step #14: Finding the Right Friends and Clients

Now that you’ve entered the scene, the most important thing to share is information relevant to your industry. Remember you’re not going for a certain number of likes; you’re going for quality connections. Here are a few ways to find the right people to engage with.

Say you’re a local grocer. You can conduct a Twitter search for keywords that match your top products. You find someone who needs milk you carry. Take the opportunity to respond and share your pricing and deals. Odds are, you have gained a new follower, and more importantly, a new customer.

Another option: Offer incentives or run games. Social Media Examiner shares 4 great (and fun!) ways to build engagement on Facebook. Try them!

 

Step #15: Timing Posts Just Right

Timing — just like telling a great joke at the best moment — is crucial for clicks and engagement on social media. So study up! Find out the best days and time of day to post for the platforms you are going to focus on. From Huffington Post, this guide to optimal Facebook and Twitter timing is a great place to start right about…now.

 

Step #16: Responding Consistently

Social media can be a great place to deliver spectacular customer service. So set a time to check all of your platforms and address any customer complaints, requests or rave reviews as soon as possible. For any disgruntled customers, don’t hesitate to message them with an email to take the conversation out of the public sphere. That way, you can take the time to give them the personalized attention each customer deserves. This gesture, and each speedy response, will do wonders for building customer loyalty.

 

Step #17: Planning to be Consistent

Ready, set, PLAN! You look great, your tone, perfect. Now you need to set goals and plan your level of commitment to posting. And, going a step further, decide how many posts will be to your blogs, industry articles and fun topics. Here are 3 sample plans you could put into motion.

Plan 1 – Minimal Management:

Schedule requirements:

  • 1 industry relevant or entertainment post to all platforms weekly
  • 1 link to a blog, video, or picture from your site (we like to think of this as “fan bait,” this is rich, engaging content that should tell customers WHY to check you out and share your content with their friends)

Feeling overwhelmed? Think of this as social media light. With just 2 posts a week, you’ll have time to test the waters, practice your tone, and get the hang of finding content. This is a great place to start, but we’d encourage taking your involvement to at least the next level.

Plan 2 – Traffic Flow:

Schedule requirements:

  • 2 industry relevant or entertainment posts to all platforms weekly
  • 1 link to a blog, video, or picture from your site
  • Engage in conversations
  • Respond to any incoming messages or comments

With the addition of engagement and customer service, you’ve upgraded your presence from wallflower to party participant. Having trouble with the interaction piece? Try to compartmentalize – set aside 15 minutes each day to search for conversations to join and respond to any comments. Just a little bit of time can make a big difference.

Plan 3 – Life of the Party:

Schedule requirements

  • 3 industry relevant or entertainment posts to all platforms weekly
  • 3 links to a blog, video, or picture from your site
  • Share seasonally-relevant content
  • Run occasional polls, surveys, & games
  • Engage in conversations
  • Respond to any incoming messages or comments

You’ve finally arrived. Adding engaging touches like seasonal content and games gives your social media profile a vibrant, lively feel. Suddenly YOUR page is who everyone wants to talk to. This does take a lot more work, so you may need some help to achieve this “Life of the Party” status.

 

Step #18: Consistently Communicating

This step may seem silly, but even the most amazing plans can end up being worthless if not implemented. If you are overwhelmed by this multistep process, it may be time to call in reinforcements.

 

Short on Resources? Time to Call in Some Help

Feel like you’ll need 3 hands to get everything done? Try one (or both) of these tips to get the job done.

 

Step #19: Using the Best Tools to Help

There are a lot social media content management tools out there, but Hootsuite is our current fav. Why?

Wide Connection: You can add all of your social media profiles — from Facebook to Google+ — onto your company’s Hootsuite dashboard. This makes it a snap to post updates to all at a time or just one if you need to.

Clean Organization: Hootsuite allows you to organize information into different streams and different tabs. That way you can focus in and “listen” to a certain social media profile as closely as you need to.

Perfect Timing: If you’re still scratching your head over step #15 (timing your posts just right), Hootsuite offers an answer to that, too. According to the Hootsuite blog, their social media auto schedule feature “uses algorithms to determine the best time to post, per network, and schedules your post to take advantage of that timeframe.” Just use that feature to get your posts onto potential clients’ feeds at just the right moment.

Analyze That: Hootsuite includes analytical tools to help you understand what works and what doesn’t.

 

Step #20: Finding a Manager

And finally, it may be best to give your social media management over to a pro. Don’t feel bad, many companies have a full-time social media expert on staff. Why? It can become a full-time job.

So yes, you know the value of social media. And yes, you may even know what you should do. But you don’t have the time to generate content, find content to share, craft engaging posts, take time to engage, address any questions and more.

Parties are fun, but as a business owner, attending them all the time may not be an option. Finding a manager who can set up your profiles, develop a plan and represent you could be the best investment you make this year.