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As you've been building your social media presence, I'm sure you learned one thing in a hurry: social media marketing takes time. And you're in need of some time-saving tools for social media marketing that won't break the bank, won't make you sound like a robot, and won't kill your engagement.
Not only does it take time and effort to establish your presence and build a following, it takes time to maintain that presence and interact with that following.
More time than it takes to run your business in some cases!
Especially if you follow the schedules posted by most of the experts (ie., post to Facebook 2-3 times daily, post to Twitter 22-30 times daily, post to Instagram 2-3 times daily, post to Pinterest 40-60 times daily).
Let me ask you something, if you're posting to social media 56-71 times per day — when do you actually get to do any writing?
The amount of energy devoted to social media for authors is staggering, but most everyone can agree it's necessary. Thankfully, there are some ways you can automate social media — or least part of it — to help save yourself time, energy, and sanity.
Why automate social media?
Let's make one thing very clear, we don't want to automate all your social media accounts. If you're looking for a strict “set it and forget it” method of automating your social media, this is not the page for you. And if you're thinking I'm going to teach you how to send out those automated Direct Messages? Forget it — no one likes those.
People get on social media to do one thing: to talk to you. No one like to call up a business and talk to a machine, right? Think of social media the same way — they didn't sign on just so they could talk to your automating software. They signed up so they could talk to you. So the things we are going to cover here are how to take care of the non-conversational posts — things like posting links, creating backups of your blog, and cross-promotions — so you spend less time on grunt work and have more time to talk with your readers.
My Favorite Time-Saving Tools for Social Media Marketing
If This Then That (IFTTT)
This is one of my favorites, and it is indispensable. And the best part about IFTTT is that it's free. You can either search for applets other members have already created, or create your own. It works by connecting your IFTTT account to your various other accounts (believe me, there are a ton including Facebook Pages, WordPress, Evernote, GMail…the list just goes on and on). Some of my favorite applets that I use all the time are:
- If I post to Instagram using the hashtag #WritersLife, share as a new post to my Facebook Fan Page (after all, I don't want to share all of the same posts to Facebook and Instagram, right?)
- If I post to Instagram using the hashtag #AuthorLife, share as new post to Twitter (for the same reason — so they aren't all the exact same)
- If I post a new post to this blog, upload a backup copy of the post and graphics to a notebook on Evernote
- If I pin a post to a certain board on Pinterest, upload it to a board on Evernote as inspiration for a new blog post
- If a new pin is uploaded to a certain folder on Evernote, email Scrivener to create a new folder with blog post inspiration in my blog project
Another awesome website for doing small things. Zapier is free for up to 100 zaps per month, so I don't recommend it for anything that you know is going to happen a lot unless you want to upgrade to a paid account. I once tried to use Zapier to give a little welcome tweet to my new followers on Twitter — nothing fancy just a “Hi @you, thanks for following! Can't wait to connect!” But I was constantly running out of zaps after 2 weeks, and didn't see a rise in my overall stats (although I did see a rise in my engagement). Some of my favorite Zaps include:
- Create Trello Cards from new starred GMail mails (so when people email me with a question or requesting a quote for work, it automatically creates a new task for me in my project management tool once I star the mail)
- If I post a new post to this blog, pin a link to a certain board on my Pinterest account
Of all the available post-schedulers out there, TASSI is the one I use the most. First of all, the available support and training is excellent, and their blog is filled with tons of helpful information. With one TASSI account, I can schedule unlimited posts to:
- Facebook (Page or Group)
I use it constantly.
And even better, they are working on getting Instagram integrated as well.
And with features like pre-written captions, a built-in social strategy calendar, and a graphic editor — TASSI has just proven to be an absolute necessity. Especially during NaNoWriMo season!! With TASSI, you can upload and post pictures, reschedule content at certain intervals, and so much more.
I am not joking when I say I am a tool hoarder. I love all the tools. But when it comes to creating graphics for social media, Canva is my go-to. Not only is it a fast website and a convenient mobile app, but it also allows me to save my branding elements right there, color palette and fonts, so I can easily access them in one spot.
And, although I use the paid Canva Pro account (so I can resize my images, download them as transparent PNG images, and download PDFs), if you don't need those features, the free account still has everything you need. It even has an integration with stock photo sites like Unsplash so you can create on the go without having to pop back and forth between different sites. I highly recommend signing up for the free trial and trying out Canva Pro and see how much time it saves you.
AgoraPulse has so many different features that it's hard to list them all. Besides being able to schedule to different social media platforms, AgoraPulse also has a social inbox, which allows you to check and respond to comments and messages right there in their platform (rather than having to log into the individual apps to check). They also have a hashtag organizer so you can store your most-used hashtags to be used on Instagram and add them to your post with just one click.
I can't recommend Tailwind enough. If you are using Pinterest to promote your business, scheduling your pins through Tailwind is a must. Not only that, but thanks to Tailwind Tribes, you can join up with like-minded pinners and share each other's content without having to go hunting for things to pin (in fact, if you're looking for a tribe to join for free, you can join my tribe for freelance writers! It's free).
Tailwind's free trial lasts until you schedule 100 pins using their scheduler — everything else is a free feature including board analytics, tribes, pin analytics, and profile analysis. In fact, even if you never use the scheduler or upgrade your account, Tailwind has so many other features, you will wonder how you did Pinterest without it.
Oh! And I almost forgot, they also schedule to Instagram, as well.
As you can see, there are several services available to help make your social media marketing easier and less time-consuming. And this is just the tip of the iceberg — there are still plenty of other services that I am still trying out or experimenting with to see if they have a positive impact on my blog, my stats, and the overall reader experience for my audience.
Do you need to use all of these services? No, of course not. I use them all because together they cover all my needs. They each do something different and provide a service that I have found to be indispensable. You may have other needs. I do recommend at least signing up for the free trials or free account plans for each of these services and trying them out to see if they will work for you. Any that don't work, simply cancel your plan and stick with the ones that do work.
Do you have a favorite social media tool that's not on this list? Let me know in the comments (names only, please, no links) and I will be sure to add it to my list to test. If I like them, I will add it to my list!
Did you enjoy this article? Here are some more posts on social media you may like:
- Using the new Clubhouse App for Writers
- Please Get Rid of that Twitter Feed on the Sidebar!
- What to do when you get Overwhelmed by the Social Media Marketing World
- If You Have a Chatbot for Facebook Messenger, Here's What you Need to Know NOW (Updated for 2020)
- What are you really getting when you hop onto one of those Facebook Like4Like Ladders?