by Chris Makara, founder of Bulkly
When you’re running a startup, pennies aren’t the only thing you’re pinching.
You’re squeezing every last minute out of your day to “get it all done”, to tackle the to-do list that seems to always be growing.
But effective social media marketing takes planning, scheduling, monitoring, engaging, liking…all of which take up more of the time you don’t have to spare.
If you choose to rush, cut corners and skip steps, your work will fall short of goals or be wrought with mistakes.
But what if you could do more in less time? I.e. easily attain efficiency in your endeavors?
It sounds like a pipe dream, but it’s not.
If you’re a business owner seeking social media marketing success in the most efficient way possible, social media tools are the answer to your prayers.
Here are six awesome tools you can use to reach this goal.
First things first.
As you’re developing images and content and schedules for your social media marketing initiatives, you’ll need a place to store them. And adding them to a USB drive or your desktop is a sure-fire way to forget where they’re at or leave them behind when you’re working elsewhere.
Dropbox is a free online storage space that allows for the ability to organize your pictures/content/documents/etc. in various folders, transfer big files without stalling inboxes and allow for multi-user access.
The convenience benefits of Dropbox no doubt remove some major time-sucking obstacles from your day by providing easy online access to materials you need to get the job done.
Email chains of issue troubleshooting or decision making with everyone’s input involved waste more time than anything at the office. And keeping everyone up to speed on a project’s progress is a headache that gives you a headache to even think about.
Trello makes it easy to organize work and keep everyone on the team informed without lengthy update discussions.
Although it’s not a social media tool per-se, this free collaboration platform (paid options are available if your needs require a more robust version) transforms projects into digital boards of assignable tasks, listed in columns that mark each step in the execution process. Individual tasks can be moved across the board as the project continues, to visually communicate progress to everyone assigned to the project.
If someone unfamiliar with the work jumps in to contribute, everyone’s status updates are readily available for all to see, no catch-up meetings or long-winded discussions required.
Do you suck at grammar?
Don’t feel bad if you do. You’re an entrepreneur! Not an English professor.
But you do want your social media copy to appear polished and professional.
That’s where Grammarly comes in.
This free tool, also available as a browser extension, quickly reviews any copy you create, pointing out grammar and style errors, along with suggested fixes.
Spending hours scanning your copy for minor mistakes with tired eyes just got a whole lot easier and more efficient.
Guess what? You don’t have to be a graphic designer these days either, thanks to this convenient tool that’s both free (more extensive paid options available) and actually fun to use.
Canva allows you to easily create images in sizes applicable to practically every social media platform. Simply choose from a selection of images, backgrounds, texts, templates, etc. to design, save and download original images. You can even upload your own pictures or pay for additional add-ins, starting at only $1 each.
At this point, you’re well aware that social media updates with images perform better than those without them. So including images with posts better be part of your strategy if you’re really looking to make an impact.
Canva offers a way to crank out solid images without the time and budget costs of scheduling lengthy training sessions or hiring designers.
As a popular, inexpensive (basic accounts start at $15/month) social media scheduling tool, you’ve probably already heard of or are currently using Buffer.
But did you know it’s also available as a browser extension?
By using Buffer this way, you can just be perusing a site online, come across an article you’d like to share on your company’s social accounts, and get it added into your queue – in just a few clicks.
The Buffer extension fills in the article’s title and lets you choose the accounts you want to share to, along with the option of whether or not to include any accompanying photos. From there, you can either schedule it to be shared later or right then and there. Click the button and Voila! Done.
All the benefits of Buffer as a social media scheduling tool – just a whole lot quicker and easier to use.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve undoubtedly heard a lot of talk about automation going around these days.
Automation is a fancy word that ultimately translates into convenience. And Bulkly helps you achieve it, when applied to your social media marketing endeavors.
Buffer makes scheduling posts easy – every time you want to share something.
But when you sign up for a Bulkly account and sync it to your Buffer account, you can bulk upload lists of social media updates and schedule them out on various social channels in a matter of minutes.
Simply fill CSV files with the updates you want to share (template provided on the platform), follow the steps to upload, select your preferred scheduling settings, and click “activate”. Your updates will then be fed into your Buffer queue based on the settings you’ve chosen.
And here’s the best part…your queue will never run dry.
Bulkly recycles your updates, so the feed of posts sent to your Buffer queue never stops.
If you’d like to edit your updates, refresh your lists, add new content, etc., you’re perfectly able to, but the time-saving benefit is that you don’t have to.
As a final mention, Bulkly’s basic “Pro” plan is only $12/month, but “Pro Plus” and “Pro Plus Agency” plans are available, if your business needs demand more robust options.
Tools are designed to make all jobs easier.
Social media tools are, in many ways, exactly like the tools you’d find in your kitchen, garage, desk drawers, etc.
All vary in terms of size, cost and intended use, but ultimately their purpose is the same: to help you do more with less. Less time. Less effort. Less stress.
Stop doing things the long way and start doing them the smart way.
And with the help of these six tools, you can build a social media marketing strategy that’s both efficient and effective.
See? It’s not just a pipe dream after all.
Since 2003, Chris Makara has developed a broad digital marketing background with a focus on SEO, Social Media, Automation and Analytics. He is the founder of Bulkly, a social media automation tool for individuals and small businesses. Feel free to find him on LinkedIn or Twitter.