When it comes to social media, you get what you give…
2 hours a day can achieve some decent follower growth, 4 hours a day could massively raise your brand awareness, and 8 hours a day? Well, your social channels would be thriving.
But let’s face it, who has the time to pour 70% or more of their day into social media management? Certainly not a lot of us.
Now, we’re probably not the first people to recommend you try a social media tool. In fact, we’re probably not even one of the first ten. But if there’s one thing you should take away from this blog, it’s the importance of finding the right social media tool.
So, without further ado, here are the key questions you need to be asking when seeking the perfect social media tool…
1. Does it make your life easier (now, and in the future)?
At the end of the day, if it’s not going to make your life easier, then there’s just no point. When selecting a social media tool you should be looking for something reliable, easy to understand, and simple to start using from the moment you sign up. While it’s easy to follow the crowd and sign up to the most popular social media tool to pop up on your Google search, you need to be realistic about whether you really need so many fancy features that you’ll probably never fully understand or use.
For each new tool you discover, you need to ask yourself; are you really going to use this tool to its full potential? Are you willing to spend hours of time in training sessions with an account manager learning how to use the tool? If the answer is no, then your search is not over.
It’s really important to define early on, which features you really need from a social media tool. Perhaps you’re an agency looking to streamline client approvals, or seeking a more visual interface to help with content ideation. Decide what you need, and focus on finding a tool that ticks all of your boxes.
2. Does it help you with the entire content creation process from start to finish?
This question might actually be hard to answer until you start. While you may enjoy using the first social media tool you try, you might not realize what you were missing out on until you try your hand at a completely different tool with different priorities and functionalities. As a result, it’s important to test out a number of different tools before deciding on the right one for you. Although they may not advertise it, if you ask for a free trial, you’ll more than likely get one.
When choosing your tool, think about the content creation process step-by-step and make sure your new social media tool fits the bill in every department. Does it help make the process of content creation less overwhelming? Does it help you plan out your content before you come to write it? Does it allow you to change your plans easily? Does it help you work with others? Does it let you check on progress? Does it keep you organized? Etc. etc.
It’s pretty common for social media tools to be too focused on the end goal; scheduling and publishing your content. As a result, many people are turning to the likes of spreadsheets for the sake of planning, alongside using a social media tool to schedule the content when they could be using a tool that fills both shoes. And furthermore, agencies managing multiple clients are sure to struggle using spreadsheets to show content and manage approvals.
ContentCal, however, is one example of a tool that helps marketers with the entire process of content creation. With features such as Category Tags, Calendar Notes, Draft Posts, a Pinboard section, Campaign Folders, and more, planning and preparing your social content becomes so much simpler and far less intimidating. You’ll also save time without the need to move your content from one place to another.
3. Does it make you want to create content?
Passion is important. If you’re using a complicated or intimidating social media tool, it’ll be practically impossible to avoid procrastination. But if you’re using a tool that makes you excited to do your job? You’ll be whizzing through your to-do list like there’s no tomorrow, and you’ll probably create better quality content too.
Generally speaking, if a tool is more visual, has fewer steps to it, and allows you to work in a way that suits you best, you’ll be much more enthusiastic about planning and creating your social media content.
While there are a few available scheduling tools that seek to make content creation more visual, approachable, and un-intimidating, it’s ContentCal’s flexibility that gives it the edge on the competition with features that allow you to work in the way that you prefer. You can move your posts around with a simple drag and drop or leave notes or assets in a variety of locations, as well as get a bird’s eye view on your progress in monthly view or weekly view.
4. Is it teaching you how to improve?
If you’re thinking about your long-term goals, you need to be making use of a social media tool that comes with analytics. You need to regularly check in with your content performance to assess which posts are receiving the best engagement and helping your channels grow. If you don’t want to waste your time and energy on ineffectual content, then you need to maintain an awareness of your results in order to improve for the future.
When it comes to analytics, there’s a number of tools on the market with varying degrees of detail and complexity. While social media networks Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn are able to provide analytical information within the platform, a social media tool that can pull all of the important information together in one centralized location will save hours of time and make it easier to compare results across multiple accounts.
When seeking a social media tool with built-in analytics, ask yourself which statistics are most valuable to you. Are you looking to keep an eye on follower growth, engagement levels, etc. Where are your priorities? Define what you want to track and find a tool that will give you this information in a clear and digestible format.
With ContentCal Analytics, you’re able to pick out your top performing content at the drop of a hat, spot any trends in regards to your most successful content, and pinpoint which content types and themes are receiving the highest engagement. This information is crucial to identifying which content is resonating most with your audience, and furthermore, will indicate where an alteration in your current social media strategy may lead to greater success.
There’s also the option to view high-level data in a visual graph format as well as the option to export this information; perfect for sharing with colleagues and clients.
5. Does it allow you to collaborate?
You’d be surprised how much time you save when you’re using a tool that’s built for teams. Your usual social media tools are often built for bigger businesses and brands but if you’re looking for something to help you manage approvals, minimize risk (eliminating embarrassing typos), manage multiple accounts, and communicate with your team (or clients) on upcoming content, then you need to factor in these requirements.
Take ContentCal for example. Birthed from a social media marketing agency in 2014, ContentCal was built specifically with teams in mind. One of ContentCal’s biggest USP’s is its simplifying of the approval process which allows only certain team members to set content live (perfect for internal marketing teams who require sign-off from more senior members of staff, as well agencies needing client approval). There’s even the ability to keep multiple calendars/clients separated within one centralized account making it easy to dip in and out of different content calendars.
Think about it, how much time do you waste looking through (and trying to decipher) long and complicated email chains about the upcoming social content? With a social media tool, you can centralize these communications, and keep everything in context. ContentCal for one, allows comments and feedback to be left on individual posts. You can even tag other users of the calendar in the comments.
And finally, for the best teamwork, you also need shared visibility over the content plan. Colleagues or clients need to see a live-updating plan in order to best collaborate. We all know that the best content is made together so you should also use a social media tool that lets you freely share thoughts and ideas.
Finally found your perfect social media tool? The next step is mastering your content marketing strategy. Check out ContentCal’s ebook for a comprehensive back to basics guide.