Small Business & Social Media Series, Part 2: Time-Saving Tools

By Katie Kearsey You're a small business owner.  You know it takes work to be great on social, but you’re faced with limited time, budget and resources, and you're not sure how to succeed with what you have at hand.  This is the second in a series of four blog posts that will help you get up and running.  While the first post aimed to help you choose a network and strategy for your brand, this post will list and describe several easy, free community management and reporting tools you can use to make the most of a tight schedule and even tighter budget.

Community management is a particularly time consuming task, and so it’s important to ensure you’re set up to succeed with the proper tools.  We generally use Hootsuite and/or Bufferapp to save time and to stay organized.  Here’s a brief rundown on these two community management tools.

  • Hootsuite is a social media dashboard that lets users manage and measure their presence across social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ Page.  You’re able to publish and schedule posts and tweets, and monitor and respond to your fans and followers right in the platform.  You can track mentions of your brand, and also your key competitors, and you can create a stream to monitor conversation surrounding relevant keywords.  Hootsuite ensures that you’ll never miss an opportunity.
  • Bufferapp is another tool that allows you to schedule Facebook posts, tweets and LinkedIn updates.  Where it differs from Hootsuite is that it selects times to automatically publish content when your audience is most engaged.  It also allows to you analyze your content to determine what has been most popular and least effective with your audience.

Reporting on metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) can also be a time consuming process if you’re unsure of where to start, but it’s essential to measure success and to determine which of your strategies are working, and which ones aren’t.  For Facebook, we generally use the analytics tool that Facebook provides all page owners with: Facebook Insights.  For Twitter, we frequently use SocialBro, and for Pinterest, PinPuff.  Here’s a brief description of what each of these tools has to offer.

  • Facebook Insights: Facebook Insights is a tool that will allow you to learn more about your page’s audience, and how your content is performing.  You can learn about your fan demographics, where your likes are coming from and when, which posts users are finding most engaging, and which tabs receive the most traffic.
  • SocialBro: is a tool specializing in Twitter analysis.  Through it, you can learn about your follower demographics, when your followers are online and when they’re most engaged with your content, and engage and interact with your followers.
  • PinPuff is a relatively new tool used to measure your brand’s influence on Pinterest.  It takes into account the reach and virality of your pins, and you can learn your Pinfluence score and determine which boards and pins are most engaging.
At this point, you should have at least one network and an initial strategy in place, and the community management and reporting tools that will save you precious time and money.  In the next portion of this series, you can also expect to read about tips and tricks for content creation, website socialization, and online/offline integration.  I will be concluding the series with a fourth post containing a set of case studies of small businesses that have done big things on social media.  Stay tuned!

What free or inexpensive tools do you use to save time and money for your business? Download our free ROI ebook here. Share with us below in the comments!