Jenneth Orantia
Smarter Writer

Jenneth Orantia is a journalist who has been reporting on tech developments and trends for the last decade

Jenneth Orantia
Smarter Writer

Jenneth Orantia is a journalist who has been reporting on tech developments and trends for the last decade

If you’re just starting out, hiring a full-time social media manager is probably a tad premature, but there are alternatives.

Social media can be an invaluable resource for any small business, whether it’s for gathering intel on your competitors, keeping up-to-date with industry trends and influencers, knowing what people are saying about your brand, and even finding sales leads. 

These days, having a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram presence is a business imperative - the only problem is that social media can be time consuming. If you’re a one-to-three-person band, this time could otherwise be spent growing the business using traditional methods. The good news is that it’s possible to take advantage of the opportunities offered through social media with minimal time investment using a handful of apps and services that streamline the procedure and offer set-and-forget tools for staying on top of it all.

social media apps graphic

Mention

Even if you had all the time in the world, it would not be physically possible to monitor the internet for every mention of your company name or brand. That’s where Mention comes in. This real-time media monitoring application isn’t limited to social media, and will track keywords you specify (which can include employee names, competitors and meaningful words that are specific to your industry) across social, discussion forums, blogs and news sites. It’ll even cross the border and monitor in other countries, with support for 42 languages. The first keyword alert is free, after which you can go on a monthly plan to add more alerts to your account.

Buffer

Consider Buffer your social media dashboard, making it easy to post across your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ accounts. When you have a little more time to dedicate to your social media outreach, you’re best off tailoring your posts to each platform in line with the different types of audiences, but from the outset, Buffer will enable you to post the same thing across all of your social media accounts simultaneously. It also has built-in analytics that’ll tell you which posts are resonating with your followers (and which ones aren’t), as well as inform you when the best times are to publish your updates. With the latter information in mind, you can schedule your posts ahead of time to ensure you reach your audience at the time that they’re most likely to read it.

Hootsuite

It’s not as easy-to-use as Buffer, but Hootsuite has some advanced social media listening tools built-in for free that you’d typically have to pay a monthly subscription for. This includes the ability to create custom streams based on a specific keyword so you can stay on top of any relevant conversation, see what social media users are saying within your neighbourhood, and create separate lists for influencers and important clients so you can stay up-to-date on what they’re saying without having to read your whole social media stream. You’ll have to put in a bit more effort to set these things up compared to one of the paid services, but it’s a set-and-forget procedure – once you set all of your keywords and lists in advance, you’ll be able to monitor everything much quicker and easier than through accessing each network the conventional way.  

Global companies are moving beyond seeing ‘social’ as media

and are engaging social tools into everyday marketing messages.See our report here.

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