Sign up to our newsletter and get news, opinion and industry insights direct to your inbox

Tools of the trade: social media management

Opinion

Tools of the trade: social media management

Managing social networks can be a time-consuming business. But targeting and building communities, finding quality content and organising that content has never been easier.

From scheduling posts to identifying key trends, community manager, Nicky Hughes, gives her top tools for managing social media networks.

Social media management

Buffer
Buffer is essentially a social media management tool which allows you to schedule posts within user-defined time slots - with a slick interface and some great features.

Like all social media automation apps Buffer allows you to schedule one post across any combination of six networks, but where Buffer excels is in the detail. It automatically strips out network-inappropriate symbols (e.g. @ is removed from LinkedIn posts) if you want to post the same message across more than one channel, free combined analytics allow you to see how many people clicked on or engaged with your post and you also get a daily top post to allow you to quickly identify popular posts and steer content choices.

The free version of Buffer allows you to schedule up to 10 posts for your social networks (the Awesome Plan at $10/month allows up to 200 posts across 12 networks) and gives detailed analytics of each post - as well as emailing a weekly report with channel performance across metrics like engagement, community size etc.

On top of its main function Buffer offers daily content suggestions, segmented by genre, and they publish their own blog which I highly recommend.

There’s a sense of dealing with real people when you deal with Buffer - customers’ needs are highly valued and feedback is regularly encouraged.

News aggregation

Feedly
There seems to be no end of news aggregators out there but having tried a few I’ve settled on Feedly. It’s a doddle to set up - just select your publications, categorise them and you’re good to go.

Every day Feedly loads up the top stories from all your publications on the homepage, then, click a publication to see the top stories for each day. The interface is pleasing to the eye, content is presented in a digestible format with thumbnail images - just click on a story for a preview giving you a flavour of the story. You can add it to your Buffer queue directly from the preview pane or click to read on. The free version gives me everything that I need but Feedly pro offers some useful add-ons such as extra integrations and power searches.

Community Management

ManageFlitter
Manageflitter is a social media management software app with a host of options to help you grow and refine your Twitter community.

For the most part, I use ManageFlitter to identify who in my community is inactive/quiet, and to follow users who might be interested in our tweets by running a keyword search. Search results are packed with user stats to help you quickly determine who to follow - both of which you can do in-app.

If you want to know your tweet sweet-spot, ManageFlitter has a ‘powerpost’ feature which suggests when people you follow/are following are most active. The pro service allows you to cast your search slightly wider.

Manageflitter also offers analytics as part of its pro package at $12/month.

followerwonk
There’s a lot of overlap between ManageFlitter and followerwonk. Essentially, both offer community refinement tools through a range of search options, but followerwonk (part of Moz) has gone one step further in terms of analysis.

If you’ve ever wanted to analyse your competitors’ followers - or users they follow - a search by up to three twitter handles will deliver stats on where you overlap; very useful for competitor analysis and targeted community growth.

Hashtag analysis

Hashtagifyme
Hashtags are an integral part of the social media vernacular. They help users sift through the noise to find exactly what they’re looking for and help users attract people to their feed and pick out key trends. In an industry full of technical jargon, it’s important to be specific to attract like-minded users and hashtags can be the difference between a tweet being far-reaching and disappearing into the ether.

By entering a hashtag into hashtagifyme you can quickly identify its popularity and how its usage breaks down between genders. If you want to drill down further there’s an option to track top influencers within a given hashtag - useful for refining your community.

More options are available through their paid packages.

In summary

With the right tools managing your social networks, finding great content and refining and building your community can be quick and effective. We'd love to hear which tools work well for you - just leave your comments below.

Follow us on Twitter.