We all know how it goes. You sign in to Facebook to write some social posts for your brand. But whilst you’re there you also realise your old school friend has a new puppy. Then you see a video of a dancing pony. Oh! There’s another video of a sloth being tickled! And so it continues, until 25 minutes have passed you by, during which time you managed to get zero work done. Welcome to the world of social media.

Of course it’s not all about distraction. Learning what and when to post on each network isn’t as straightforward as you’d think and research takes time and patience. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a sucker for a new digital marketing tool, but when hundreds of new tools are being released on a monthly basis, it’s hard to know which ones genuinely fit your needs.

Over the years that I’ve been managing social media accounts for businesses I’ve managed to narrow down these tools from the time-wasters to the essentials. Below I’ve shared a few of my favourite social media tools to use if you manage your business’ social accounts – have a play and let me know what you think.

Social Analytics for Chrome

This plugin adds a little icon to your Chrome browser window and allows you to quickly view how many social shares, likes or comments an article or blog post has had. This comes in super handy if you want a quick overview of the performance of a blog post, or if you want to quickly spy on how well your competitor’s blog is doing…

Buffer

There are a lot of social scheduling tools out there at the moment, but Buffer is my personal favourite purely for its easy to use interface – plus you can add one account for each network (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest) and schedule up to 10 posts at any one time for free before you need to upgrade to their paid account. Which is plenty for small businesses.

SumoRank

Have you ever reaaalllllly looked in to what works on your business Facebook Page? Let’s face it – getting into the nitty gritty of Facebook Insights is a bit of a chore, but fortunately the awesome team at BuzzSumo have launched SumoRank, which will tell you when and what you should be posting on your Facebook Page in a really easy to read way.

Tweet Reach

If you can find out all this useful information for Facebook, it makes sense for you to want the same for Twitter too. As well as being able to see how many people any Twitter account reaches with their tweets you can see their top contributors and how active they are. Plus you can do the same for a hashtag which is great if you have one specific to your brand or an event you’re involved with.

TwitterCounter

Ever wonder how long it took for another brand to get the number of followers they currently have? TwitterCounter lets you see a handy graph showing how much any Twitter following has grown over the past two months and how many new followers they get on average each day.

Trends Map

It’s all well and good saying that real-time social is what it’s all about, but knowing what is trending around the world or in your local area requires more than a quick scan over Daily Mail’s sidebar of shame. Fortunately this nifty website allows you to see what phrases or hashtags are trending on Twitter at any moment in time and anywhere in the world so you can join in too.

Pablo

Tweets with images get 150% more retweets than those that don’t. There’s a similar trend for Facebook too. Creating social media posts is one thing, but if you need to also create images for all of your posts too now, you’re going to be here a while. Fortunately, Pablo (run by Buffer, above) makes this so easy that you’ll be whipping up social images aplenty in no time.

IFTTT

If This Then That (IFTTT) is a bit like LEGO: it’s one pretty simple thing on its own, but play around a bit and you’ll realise you can create some pretty cool stuff out of it.  If you haven’t heard of IFTTT, then I strongly encourage you to have a look at their website. They have a number of set up ‘recipes’ which automate processes to make life so much easier. For example, if you want to automatically save all Instagram photos hashtagged with your brand name, there’s a recipe for that. If you want to save all of your favourited tweets, there’s a recipe for that too.

 

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