Social media activities are time consuming and the fact that they need to be conducted regularly means it’s advisable to automate them. Automated social media publishing is quite popular these days, with businesses competing with each other in a bid to make the best impression on social media.
There are some activities that take up a lot of time, but don’t require a lot of thinking on your part. These activities need to be automated. Take the case of posting blog entries. Now, you don’t want to be waiting around for posting your blog entry do you? So, automate this task for e.g. if you want to post a new blog, every day at around 9 p.m., automate the publishing accordingly.
Another example of automating social media activities is when you are asking question of fans and followers. Create a line-up of questions to ask and all you need to do is ensure that they are scheduled to be posted at the right time.
These and many other publishing activities that are a part and parcel of a successful social media campaign can be automated. You need to automate because it helps you save a lot of time and effort that you have earmarked for your social media campaign.
What it also does is that the time you save can be put to better use to personally connect with your fans and followers. You can take time out to understand interests, preferences and the likes and dislikes of your fans and followers and improve your products and services to meet their expectations. The social media tools that help you automate social media publishing are like an answer to your prayers; they allow you to focus your energies into building real relationships with real people. This is finally what turns them into your customers.
But first, how do you choose the right social media management tool?
Let’s answer this question before listing out the top tools.
ü Your social media tools must be able to facilitate successful conversations. They must be able to queue and publish messages at the specified time in order to make the maximum impact amongst your target audience. More importantly, these social media tools must be able to ensure message discipline across diverse social media platforms in order to consistently deliver messages to global audiences with proven efficacy.
ü Social media tools must also allow you to track target user behavior and the impact they have on branding. They must also ensure that you are able to deliver a satisfactory experience to your social customer. More importantly, they must enable you to compartmentalize social activity, to manage and optimize all the benefits associated with specific activities.
ü And finally your social media tool must be easy to use and understand so that you can use it without taking expert help.
Here are, what I believe are the 5 must-have tools that will help you automate and dominate social media publishing:
- 1. Hootsuite
This is the complete social network management tool. It helps you manage all your social networks through a single dashboard, and one of the strongest points in its favor is its extremely simple interface.
This platform allows you to track all the content from your profiles on different social networks. So, if we talk about your Facebook profile, it allows you to track news Feed, videos, photos, status updates wall posts etc. You can upload pictures directly on your Facebook Profiles and Pages and also access Facebook Insights directly from its dashboard.
You can use Hootsuite bulk scheduler to schedule Tweets, Facebook updates; this tool also allows you to automate publishing for other platforms like LinkedIn, Google+, Foursquare, MySpace and Mixi.
One of the biggest benefits of Hootsuite is that it allows auto scheduling through its dashboard. Now, you can schedule the publishing content in the time that you think is best suited for publishing, ensuring that you can spend more time finding great content. What’s so great about this? Well, you don’t need to find the optimal times when you want to share messages; this tool help you find the perfect time to share your social media messages, and queues them up accordingly.
- 2. Onlywire
Think social media automation and you are forced to think of Onlywire, because it’s that good. Every social media tool has but one objective and that is to help you promote your products to the right people and help your brand grow, as well as, increase the profitability of your business.
This is what this platform promises as well, and if you can use this platform well, there is every chance that you will be able to grow your brand and reap the benefits of improved brand visibility.
This tool helps you submit and publish your marketing messages to both social and professionals’ networks; all the top networks are covered meaning you can broadcast your message to all high quality and popular platforms.
You can also streamline and schedule your submissions for multiple social networks and it’s easy to use functionalities help you do this quickly and effortlessly. This means you can take your time to write your posts and ensure that they are sent/posted at the best possible time, when your audience is most likely to read them.
Now we come right down to the feature that makes this such a great publishing tool. The fact that it can be integrated into all the best websites, blogging and content management systems, means you can automate your submissions across all the high performance, high authority websites on the World Wide Web.
But that’s not all. Like every other automation tool, this one also helps you monitor your social media performance with respect to the traffic generated and back links earned.
- 3. Socialoomph
I love the name and also the fact it has a free version and there is a professional version that you need to pay for. Now, as can be imagined the free version has certain base features and most of these are Twitter centric; these include scheduling Tweets, extended Twitter profiles, save and reuse drafts, manage unlimited Twitter accounts and lots more.
But, this is by no means is enough and for my money, it’s the professional version that you need to go for. Its professional version is value for money as it offers support for multiple social networks. You can schedule status and wall updates and photo uploads; its LinkedIn feature helps you schedule shares; apart from these features it offers plenty of interesting features like enabling social updates submission through email; scheduling and publishing blogs posts and pages and a whole lot more.
The professional version acts like the one stop social media tool that help you manage all your social media activities under one roof.
- 4. TweetDeck
With Twitter increasingly being used as a B2B lead generation tool, and that too very successfully, I thought it fit that at least one tool in the lineup was all about Twitter; and there is no better social media tool for Twitter than TweetDeck. It’s brought to you by the guys at Twitter Inc. and hence it seamlessly interfaces with the Twitter API to help you manage your Twitter presence better and more profitably.
So, what does it offer you? Well, the first great benefit of TweetDeck is that it helps you manage your multiple Twitter accounts through a single window. It also helps you schedule multiple Tweets in advance and you can post your Tweets to your Twitter account. But remember TweetDeck is just a dashboard, so you can’t Tweet with it.
But the great part about TweetDeck is that it also links to Facebook, Myspace and LinkedIn. But, if you want to manage multiple accounts on Facebook, this is not the tool for you, as you can link just one Facebook account to TweetDeck. Something else that you also need to consider is that it doesn’t help you manage Facebook, Myspace and LinkedIn accounts in a comprehensive manner.
With its simple layout and the fact that it makes Tweet management a far simpler exercise makes TweetDeck an absolute must in your media tools kitty.
This is one of my personal favorites as it is really a very simple to use social media management tool that offers a comprehensive range of features.
So when it comes to auto publishing, it allow me to not just create but also send my social media posts from a central portal; I can either send my posts immediately or I can schedule them to be auto posted at a later date. More importantly, I get inputs as to the right time to schedule my posts for publishing. This means my posts have better readership or at least the chances of achieving higher readership or views go up by a long way.
More importantly, even while publishing, I can manage multiple accounts, which makes a very daunting task immensely straightforward.
Now something else that this tool allows me to do is tell me which one of the social channels I should target for publishing. It gives me the data to zero in on the most profitable social media platforms for my business, by telling me how many leads have been referred by which particular platform. So, over time I can fine tune my publishing strategy to majorly target only that platform that benefits me more than the others.
Another feature that stands out is that it allows me to find brand advocates. It helps me connect with people who have great personal reach and engagement. These are people who can influence opinion and if I have them on my side, they can influence public opinion in favor of my business.
Now mind you, most of the social media tools listed here are as comprehensive in scope and offer the same benefits, but it’s just that this tool suits my needs and requirements perfectly.
Should you only choose from this list?
Type in the search phrase, ‘social media tools’ and you will be given a huge number of options, with each tool claiming to offer the best services in the industry. You will also come across other articles like these, where writers have listed what they think are the top social media tools. So, the fact of the matter is tall this information is apt to confuse you.
But the question is – why should you get confused?
If you are well aware of what you want and the purpose you want achieved with the use of social media tools, you can pick a tool that suits your requirements to the last letter. With so many options available I am sure you can get your hands on a tool that is just what the doctor ordered for your social media activity.
What you must do is, you must first download the free version of the tool and check whether it tickles your fancy or not. Go for a paid version if and only if, you think the free version was some great shakes and you were very comfortable using it. Look up the reviews of the various social media tools, to help you decide whether you are making the right choice or not.
As for the question whether you should only pick from this list, I will be truly honored if the information given in this article helps you make a favorable decision regarding the social media tools listed here. But, all I want you to do is make an informed decision regarding your choice of tools.
Use a tool because you know it to be the best, not because someone has told you it is the best.