There are some really handy tools out there for automating your social platforms each offering a range of different features.
Automated platforms can be used to schedule your tweets, determine the optimum time to send them to your followers and for finding new influential profiles to follow.
We’ve compiled a list of automation tools each with different features, some focus on one or two things while others offer a range. Check them out and give them a try to see which ones work best for you and your brand.
The big boys
Buffer is the tool of choice for many social media managers. You can use it to schedule your tweets at different times throughout the day with the option of allowing the platform to optimise the send time for the best results. It then gives you information about the performance of the tweets including replies, clicks and reach so that you can learn what your audience engages with and use it to improve your future content.
A really great feature is the ability to add web page links to your scheduled posts with ease using the browser extension or mobile app. You can also link the profiles from the social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn.
As with most of the automation tools there are free and premium plans available, the main difference being the number of profiles and users that you can add.
A long time favourite with many social media users, Hootsuite helps both individuals and businesses build their profiles with both free and paid plans available.
By adding different ‘streams’ to your dashboard you can follow topics, hashtags and profiles plus send tweets all on one screen, in real time. This can be very handy when you need to monitor what is being said about your brand and gives you the ability to join the conversation as it happens.
The free account has many of the benefits of the paid accounts, allowing multiple accounts to be added, the scheduling of content and basic analytics. For users with more than 3 social profiles or multiple users managing the accounts, there are team and business plans. They’ve also recently introduced an enterprise plan aimed at large organisations using social marketing on a large scale
Hootsuite is not just for Twitter either, users can also add and manage personal profiles and business pages on Facebook and LinkedIn. Check out the rest of Hootsuite’s plans and features on their website.
This is an extremely powerful tool for larger organisations that need to manage a community of followers over a number of platforms and agencies that manage a number of client accounts.
Content can be scheduled, or posted directly from Sprout to the social profiles, while the monitoring and listening features of the tool make it ideal for customer service. Sprout’s reporting feature delivers insightful analytics that can be used for marketing strategies and social campaigns.
It allows teams to be created so that a number of users can manage accounts and collaborate on the content that is posted. Team managers can use it to notify the team of tasks and team members can draft posts for approval.
Most of the major social platforms can be managed using Sprout. There is a 30-day free trial, but unfortunately there is no free plan, with different plans available charged per user according to which features your team want to make use of.
The fringe players
TweetDeck is a great tool for managing numerous accounts. Users set up different columns on the dashboard that provide them with real-time information. The columns can be a combination of things, for example, relevant hashtags, profiles and topics can all be followed and viewed together on one screen.
Teams can be created to manage business profiles, the owner of the team can assign different levels of access. Rather than a central login and shared password, users are invited through their own personal TweetDeck account.
Once users had the ability to use TweetDeck for a number of social platforms but it is now owned by Twitter so is purely focused on Twitter. This is not such a bad thing either, as it has become a really powerful platform as a result. The best thing is you get all of the features for free!
Social Oomph offers a free version with lots of bells and whistles. Allowing up to 5 Twitter accounts you can use it to schedule tweets, track keywords and the URL shortener tracks your links so you can view their performance in the analytics.
For those wanting a little more, the premium version allows you to follow new followers back – with approval as Twitter doesn’t allow it to be automatic and automatically DM new followers, find targeted people to follow and link your other social media profiles from Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest. Check out more on the Social Oomph site.
This free tool is aimed at connecting you with the right people and growing your audience. In their own words, Crowdfire ‘gets to know you and your goals’.
By learning what you want to achieve it finds relevant content for you to share on your profiles that is targeted at your audience, saving you time and helping you focus your marketing efforts.
Users sign in using their Twitter or Instagram account but the app connects and helps you to manage all of your digital profiles, including blogs and websites.
You probably want to avoid automating your accounts entirely – the idea of social is to be social after all – but you can incorporate them into your social media calendar to take some of the pressure off of the day to day management.
But with some of these automation tools in place, you’ll be finding yourself with more time to create awesome content!