When a new calendar year begins, there also comes a flurry of content planning. Yet keeping up with your established social media plan during the busy Spring months may prove to be challenging when you have many other content marketing initiatives in the works. If you’re now feeling overwhelmed with the prospect of updating and maintaining a regular social media calendar, you’re not alone. Even businesses with full-time social media support (which is very rare in the B2B world) can struggle to continually create fresh and unique content.
Social media has grown and developed into so much more than just a tool for people to share pet and vacation photos. It’s a curator of news and a conversation starter among friends, family, and colleagues. Everything from political debates to live make-up tutorials are happening on the various social networks. Not to mention the continual updates and overlap in offerings – live videos, stories, filters, etc.
So where do you start? If you’re like me, you tend to stick with tried and true tools to help you manage your social media presence. As a Platinum HubSpot Agency Partner, PMG primarily uses the HubSpot social publishing and monitoring functions. But even a robust platform like HubSpot can benefit from the addition of new tools and templates. So don't be afraid to try tools outside of your comfort zone! With that in mind, here's my short list of 9 tools I’m going to check out over the coming months.
The "Definitely Going to Try" List
If you’re looking for a social content template, then look no further. This free Excel template offers character counting, a customizable calendar, and features even a hyper-organized marketer can appreciate. In fact, we’ve already started using this template for our internal social strategy. Without a doubt, this template is probably more advanced than the average B2B company needs, but it’s easily configurable and did I mention free? What’s not to love?
Animoto | $8 - $34/month
Every marketer’s 2018 to-do list should include making more videos. According to TechCruch, over 8 billion videos or 100 million hours of videos were watched on Facebook every day in 2016 alone. Back in December, I dipped my toes into vlogging and created a simple video on Animoto. If you’re not ready to shell out the big bucks for a videographer just yet, Animoto is a great way to experiment with video. To use Animoto you need photos, PowerPoint style bullet points, and a video-friendly voice. No hair, make up, or lighting required. However, if you’re looking for "live action" video of you speaking into the camera, this tool isn’t for you.
GIFs | Free - $7.99/month
No matter how you pronounce ‘GIFs’, there’s no doubt these entertaining video snippets have been having a moment for some time now. I’ve seen them in everything from emails to blogs, but social media is where these mini-videos have really made a home. As the name implies, gifs.com allows you to easily create and edit your own GIFs. There are several user-friendly features that allow you to crop a video, add text, and add other customizable functions like stickers. To get unlimited GIF storage and the watermark removed, you do need to upgrade to the premium version for $7.99 per month. But this would a great tool for marketers who want to test the GIF-waters before making the investment.
The "Maybes" List
We all have limited time and budget. Realistically, you may not be able to try 10+ new social tools within the span of a year. But if time allows, here are a few other tools you may want to explore along with me!
Ghost Browser | Free - $15/month
Ghost Browser considers itself to be a ‘productivity browser’ geared for social media managers who have multiple clients or profiles (and these days, who doesn’t manage at least one LinkedIn and one Facebook profile). This tool allows you to log into any website with multiple accounts from one window. I recommend having a social scheduling tool like Hootsuite or HubSpot in place to schedule social posts in advance, rather than manually posting content the day of. But if you’re finding yourself monitoring social profiles or logging into and out of accounts to make changes on a regular basis, this could be a great time saving tool.
I also really like the ability to associate certain website pages with tasks. For example, if you have a goal to check your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn profiles on a weekly basis, these tabs can automatically open when you’re working on this specific task.
Facebook Local | Free
Did you miss the relaunch of Facebook’s new event app? I wrote about this app in a recent post, 3 Social Media Quick Tips You May Have Missed. This Yelp-style application is designed to help promote local events and businesses. Facebook describes this app as a tool that helps you “Discover places to go and events happening near you. All powered by the people you know and trust.” For me, the jury is still out if this app is a good use of time for the average B2B business. But whenever Facebook comes out with something new, it’s worth an investigation at the very least. Particularly if you host local events, it may be worth promoting them on this new app to determine whether or not it’s a good addition to your long-term marketing plan.
Thurderclap | Free - $650/campaign
Thunderclap is a really intriguing tool that allows you to synchronize messages across multiple profiles. Not to be confused with your standard social scheduling tool, Thunderclap allows people to donate their social reach. With this tool, you set a supporter goal, promote your message, and people “donate” their social power by promoting your content. This tool could be especially powerful for non-profit organizations. However, if you’re one of the many businesses who regularly donates to charities, this could be a great tool to build momentum and promote your altruism. As always, businesses should tread carefully in this area. And, for me, I’ll have to assess if this makes sense for any of my clients in 2018, but it certainly provides a unique content promotion strategy.
The “If Time and Budget Allows” List
Storeo for Instagram | Free - $9.99
I came across this tool in a recent Amy Lynn Andrews Useletter. Amy commented that Storeo can be “used to record a video of any length and then 'automagically' cuts it up it into 15-second spots per IG’s limits.” The iTunes description also notes this tool allows you to:
- Stop worrying about the 15-second countdown timer and, instead, focus on what you have to say
- Easily tell an Instagram or Facebook story longer than 15 seconds
- Shoot a long video without continuously holding the record button
- Convert pre-edited videos into Instagram stories
- Make a selfie video that's not a mirror image (so they can actually read your shirt!)
- Create Instagram AND Facebook Stories from a single video
Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear this app has an Android version. And, it costs $9.99 to remove the watermark. However, with a 4.5 star rating, it may be worth a try if your business frequently creates Instagram videos.
Followerwonk | Free - $79/month
While I have not personally used Followerwonk, it was recommended by our Paid Search & Social Strategist, Patrick McDaniel. Patrick has his own blog and social following and he uses Followerwonk to grow his Twitter channel. The most intriguing aspect for me is the ability to sort your followers based on specific categories, including, influential, dormant, and old users. If you use Twitter as an information gathering tool for your sales team, this could be particularly powerful. This tool is no doubt more beneficial for a Twitter-power-user, but it’s worth testing one profile for free.
Social Drift | $39/month
Social Drift uses Artificial Intelligence and filters to enable you to target audiences based on various data inputs – hashtags, usernames, locations, etc. The tool then automates engagement, like following and linking appropriate posts and accounts. The website and demo video is a little vague and warrants more research. However, they’ve thrown out some big-name users, which helps lend credibility to their claims. I suspect Instagram is not a widely adopted B2B social media platform, but if it works for your business, this tool could help you grow your following fast.
*Bonus* A Facebook Feature Worth Trying
Have you ever seen the Facebook frames for the various holidays and social movements? Facebook frames allows your followers to temporarily place a designed overlay on their profile picture. I’ve seen them used for everything from sports teams to my personal favorite: commemorating a Marta bus running the filming of the Georgia Dome being demolished (this is very much an inside joke shared by the metro Atlanta area). I don’t know when this feature will be appropriate for my clients, but it’s something I would like to explore this summer!
Share Your Favorite Social Media Tools with Me!
So there you have it, my online to-do list of nine social media tools and templates to explore in the new year. Am I missing any important tools in this list? I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below.
And, if you just can’t find your footing with your social media strategy, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. I wish you a 2018 filled with new followers, all the likes your heart could wish for, and an endless number of good Facebook reviews.