Stop working harder and start working smarter.
Everybody wants to be great at social media, but instead of spending dozens of hours every week making it happen, start relying more on tools that can help you drive amazing results in less time.
The 14 Most Popular Social Media Tools of 2016
Create Stunning Graphics
To cut through the social clutter you’re going to need some exceptional social media graphics that not only hook the audience’s attention, but also drive them to click and learn more. While you could outsource your social media marketing and rely on a team of creative designers to use tools like Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator while also having access to photo licensing databases like iStock or Adobe Stock, the tools below will allow you to create truly stunning social media graphics without the hassle of robust software and image licensing.
Before you begin designing, you’ll need one very important element…a visual to start with! If you have a photographer around the office, or a basic smartphone that can take high-resolution images then that is a great place to start.
Otherwise, consider using a photo collection like Unsplash. All photos published on Unsplash are licensed under Creative Commons Zero which means you can copy, modify, distribute and use the photos for free, including commercial purposes, without asking permission from or providing attribution to the photographer or Unsplash.
Browse the database, find a visual that captures your overall message, and include it with your social media post to help increase overall community engagement.
If you don’t have access to visual images and need them for your social media messaging, Pablo by Buffer, is an excellent tool to source images and also overlay text and a company logo before finalizing.
With Pablo, users can select what social platform they would like the image to be created for, ensuring it is sized appropriately. A search function allows you to browse through 600,000+ images and select the perfect graphic to fit your needs.
Originally called Adobe Post, Spark Post is a mobile application available in the Apple App Store that allows users the opportunity to add templated text on top of a picture they have taken.
By using preset templates and themes, users can choose the specific platform they want to create a visual for, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest and the image will be sized appropriately once completed.
With the tagline, “Graphics that design themselves” how could you not give the Relay photo editor a try? While the Pro version costs $96.00/year, users can set up an account with and receive a 14-day free trial before committing to the extended annual agreement.
Once inside the Relay dashboard, users have 539 social media image layouts and templates to choose from. Simply add your text, image, logo and messaging and click publish to finalize the creation process and push your newly designed graphic to your social platform of choice.
Layout from Instagram was launched in early 2015 and is, in my opinion, the easiest and most effective way to combine multiple photographs into a collage.
While I think there is a ton of value in adding multiple photos to Facebook in an album, or attaching four images to a tweet (note: Twitter sets the limit to four images per tweet) there is also value in combining multiple pictures into one condensed overview.
Layout, lets you create an excellent picture collage that can be pushed to Instagram or Facebook within the app, or saved to your device’s photo library to be shared across different platforms later.
Schedule Your Posts
You have your strategy. You have your images. You have your content. Now how do you keep track of it all and make sure your content goes out consistently on a daily basis?
Buffer allows you to connect all of your social media platforms into one easy to navigate interface that let’s you schedule your social media posts for publishing at a determined time. Want the same post to go to your company LinkedIn page and personal LinkedIn page. You can schedule it for both! Want to create a custom message for every platform…then that’s fine too!
Along with scheduling content within the Buffer dashboard, you can also install the Google Chrome extension and schedule content as you navigate the internet. Come across a great article on Forbes or Entrepreneur? Click the Buffer shortcut and add it to your queue for posting at later time.
It should be noted that a free version of Buffer is available for use, and will allow users to schedule up to 10 social posts per each platform connected. Highly recommended is the Awesome Plan ($102/year) which will allow users the opportunity to connect up to 10 social platforms and schedule up to 100 social posts per platforms. If you are looking to truly go all-in social media, the Awesome plan will give you the perfect foundation to do so.
Similar to Buffer, Hootsuite is a social media scheduling tool that gives users the option of creating a custom social message and then selecting which social platform it should be shared on and at what time.
Curate and Share Third-Party Content
What is social content curation? Within your social media marketing strategy you’ll want to include a healthy mix of original and third party content. Content curation is the process of gathering this third party information so that you can use it and distribute it to your followers.
Here are the top three places go when looking to curate content.
If you’re looking for content to share through your social media platforms, start by looking into the data provided by Buzzsumo. With Buzzsumo, users can search by topic, keyword or domain and see the top related content that is being shared on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.
Buzzsumo will return a list of articles across various sources that match the keyword search request. Within the circles to the right of each article is the current share count for those articles on various social media platforms. Take note of what is already working well on a specific platform and use that to your advantage when considering what you should be sharing.
*Bonus Tip: Instead of searching for a keyword, you can also search by domain. When looking at what original content that you should repurpose and reshare, search for your own domain and see how your content is performing on social media. Continue sharing and repurposing the top pieces of content.
While Pinterest is it’s own social platform by nature, using the search function of Pinterest to curate content is an often overlooked method.
Once you establish an account, login to Pinterest and navigate to the search bar at the top of the page. Type in an overall topic that is fitting for your audience. The example below is a display of results from a search for “Interview Attire”.
Thousands of results show visually eye-catching content that you can include within your social sharing strategy to supplement your original and unique content.
Already have a few blogs and websites that you check on a regular basis? Feedly gives you the opportunity to combine multiple RSS Feeds into one collective content feed. Instead of going to multiple websites and navigating different blogs, fresh content will display in your Feedly so that you can share them with your audience through your company and personal social media channels.
Create Better Content
It may seem elementary, but before you push content to Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn…you’ll have to actually create a blog content.
When you have to sit down and develop a content strategy for the quarter, what tools can you use to make sure you’re answering the questions your audience really cares about? How can you make sure you’re not just creating throwaway content that no one will care about?
Answer the Public
What questions are people searching for on Google? Answer the Public has the..well…answers.
Say for the month of July you want to focus specifically on blog content that revolves around home improvement projects. Navigate to Answer the Public, insert “Home Improvement Projects” in the search box, and select US as your primary country.
Answer the Public, will display a series of top questions that people are currently searching on Google that revolve around this keyword combination. Use these common questions to help formulate blog content ideas for your content plan.
- Which home improvement projects pay off
- How to finance home improvement projects
- Are home improvement projects tax deductible
- What home improvement projects require permits
If you have been blogging for a while, Google Analytics is loaded with data for your content planning phase. Log into analytics, navigate to Behavior – Overview to see the most viewed pages on your website.
Make note of the most viewed blog articles. These are the pieces of content that are resonating well with your audience. Use this knowledge to prepare similar content that answers related questions or continues the conversation.
Sure it’s great to share third party content, but ultimately all that does is drive traffic away from you and your brand. What if you could share another company’s blog post and still place your messaging in front of your target audience?
With Sniply, you can create a custom, branded, call to action banner that appears over third party content. When you share a blog resource and drive your social followers to a website that you don’t have ownership of, your messaging will stay prominent and ideally drive viewers back to a conversion page.
While the primary function of Yoast SEO is to provide content creators the opportunity to optimize webpages for search results, it also gives content creators the opportunity to customize Facebook’s Open Graph data and Twitter Card information that will be displayed when the content’s URL is shared on those respective platforms.
By having distinct fields to enter Open Graph Title, Description, and Image, users have complete control over what will be displayed when a URL is shared on Facebook.
Want custom messaging when your blog article is shared on Twitter? You should! Twitter is a place where saying less means a whole lot more. Yoast SEO lets you customize this as well so your content will also come through looking exceptional.
Did I Miss a Tool You Rely On?
What tools do you find work really well? Let me know by leaving a comment below!
Make Social Media Marketing a Priority in 2016
With Social Pro by BARQAR Marketing, one of our skilled Social Media Marketing Advisors will take responsibility for developing your organization’s voice on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. By posting quality content and branded shareables every day, your business will be positioned as a premier resource within your target market.
Make social media marketing a priority, and let us help you craft a perfect social media strategy for 2016. Contact BARQAR to learn more about Social Pro.