We get asked (A LOT) about which social media management tools we use to keep our tiny agency running like a well-oiled machine.
Today, I’m putting them all in one place….RIGHT HERE!
Below is a list of our current favorite social media management and general time-saving business tools that keep our tiny agency running like a well-oiled machine.
“No organizational system or software will fix you being a lazy ass. People buy millions of dollars of productivity books, software, and coaching seminars, but at the end of the day YOU STILL HAVE TO DO WORK.”
– Noah Kagan, AppSumo
That being said – I’m that person who’s spent tons of money trying out different software systems, reading new books and case studies, investing in coaching programs…you name it, I’ve tried it. And most of it has been a bust.
So I’m about to save you a lot of time and money. You’re welcome.
SPROUT SOCIAL (Social Media Management Hub)
I’ve tried Hootsuite, Rignite, Buffer, Edgar, you name it. And although Sprout Social is the most expensive, it’s still the cleanest, quickest, most reliable hub with the most integrations. We recently switched BACK to Sprout (after transferring to Rignite because of its ad campaign integration features) because we decided that the money we were saving wasn’t worth the extra time spent fiddling with wonky dashboard settings and working around the lack of Google+ integration (as well as the fact that they don’t currently support Facebook profile tags appearing anywhere besides the very end of the post…which is just bad social posting structure…which was a deal-breaker in itself). This tool is worth it’s weight in gold. For realz.
TEAMWORK (Project Management, Time Tracking, Task Tracking)
We use Teamwork internally to manage all projects and tasks that we’re working on. It allows me to assign specific tasks to employees and contractors with set deadlines (and attach files and google docs if needed), and they can clock in and out of tasks to track their time – which makes end of the week contractor payments super easy. There’s multiple ways to set this up based on your business needs. For us – we use a single project, and create individual task lists for each client. Bonus feature: you can export those lists into reports that can be used internally or submitted to clients, and super bonus: you can create ‘template’ task lists (this is my favorite part) that allow you to streamline recurring setups involving a series of tasks (such as setting up a new wordpress site or onboarding a new social media client).
FANCY HANDS (Outsourcing Tasks, Virtual Assistance)
This is the best time-saving service ever invented. Need a virtual assistant but don’t have the cashflow to invest in one? You can create an account with Fancy Hands and outsource up to 5 individual tasks (up to 20 minutes each) for less than $30/month. (They’ve also got larger plans if you need more “hands”). The dashboard makes it super easy to throw tasks in and forget about them, and once they’re done you get an email alert. I’ve had them do everything from calling the Sewerage and Water Board about a leak (if you live in NOLA you know how much time and sanity that saves), locating and replacing a part for my trash can that I lost in our move, researching information for blogs and reports, and transcribing audio/video files into text.
GO TO MEETING (Online Meetings and Project Demos)
Try as I have, I cannot train non gmail/google+ users to use Google Hangouts. Can. Not. The initial setup and initiation is confusing, and the lag time is too unprofessional – especially for people who are paying good money for quality consulting time. SO – this month I bit the bullet and invested in GoToMeeting. There’s nothing shiny or new about this tool, but It’s reliable and easy to use, even if it’s your first time. AND it integrates with calendar systems to keep online meetings organized. Consider my remote meeting game UP’D.
PROPOSIFY (Proposal Streamlining + Design)
For the past six years – yes, SIX – I’ve been creating all of my proposals in a plain old fashioned Google Doc, then exporting to PDF to submit via email. During years 1 and 2, I was convinced that the more proposals I’d write, the closer I’d get to a “template” that could streamline all future proposals. So I would work really hard to make sure they were clear, but comprehensive. Compelling, but not too salesy. And as nicely formatted as a Google Doc would allow. BUT GUESS WHAT: as of the beginning of this year I was still spending an average of 3 hours on each new proposal. Because copying a previous template made me worried I’d forget to change out a key word/words. And because when it comes to Social Media and WordPress Website Design, every project really is unique. BUT GUESS WHAT ELSE: I really didn’t want to spend ANOTHER extra $30/month on literally anything. Recurring fees = overhead. And I hate increasing my overhead. HOWEVS: with Proposify I was able to produce 6 proposals in under an hour each over the past month. That means I saved 12 HOURS. 12 potentially billable hours. @ $125/hour that means this system saved me a potential of up to $1,500. Soooooo. yes. This one’s a keeper.
ZAPIER (Recurring Automations)
You may have already read/heard me talk about IFTTT (ifthisthenthat.com) as a free recurring automation tool. It’s super badass and does lots of things. But following suit with “stepping it up a notch” this year, I’ve been getting a little frustrated at how often you’ve got to go back into their system to plug things back in when they come unhitched. Worse: you don’t always get a notification when the ‘unplug’ occurs. So I switched over to Zapier (free up to a certain # of tasks and pretty cheap thereafter) to create very specific automations that I need to recur. Example: Each time I post a new blog to a specific wordpress site, Zapier automatically pulls that title and link into a social media post and shoots it over to Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or wherever I tell it to go. Every. Time.
THIS is the kind of thing you can automate that frees up your social media management time for the really important stuff – like responding to customer questions and engaging with online influencers.
Got some tools, systems or tips of your own?
Drop them in the comments below, and reap the karmic benefits of sharing your hard earned digital lessons with others:)