Running your own online business is a lot of work. Running your own online business while still working full-time elsewhere is a lot of work packed into quarter of the the time.
At times you wish you could clone yourself. Since that’s not yet doable, the next thing you can do is offload some of your tasks like social media sharing. You can hire a VA if you have extra cash or automate your social media sharing using awesome tools available to us today.
I love social media. Meeting awesome people, sharing and finding cool tips and articles, getting inspired and getting news, or simply making somebody’s day.
I also can’t ignore how important social media is for my business. Ways of interacting with others, getting your business known out there, finding like-minded souls and client have changed in recent years. The internet and especially social media have allowed even the smallest businesses be heard and have a chance to grow into something amazing.
It’s important to have a presence online and especially social media, but then comes that issue of lack of time and lack of cloning.
To the rescue come automation tools. I’ve seen some amazing tools come on the market in the past couple of years and I decided to give them a try.
Since I’m still growing my business, the usability AND the price of the tool are an important aspect to me.
Single platform tools
CinchShare for Facebook
If your main focus is Facebook, CinchShare is perfect for you! It can post to your Facebook timeline, pages, groups and events. So if you run a group or a lot of Facebook parties – you will be in heaven.
CinchShare connects to you all of your Facebook networks and all you have to do is compose a post that can be text, image or link and post immediately or schedule.
CinchShare saves all of your posts so if you have a need to repost certain posts (like daily themes in your FB groups), they are there for you when you need them.
CinchShare also has a feature TextClips where you can save your most often used snippets of text or links (like your full signature or rules for the party or anything that you find yourself using ALL the time). Whenever you’re putting together a post, you can drop those TextClips, no typing needed!
CinchShare also integrates with Canva for that quick image design. CinchShare is only $10.00 when paid monthly and offers a free trial.
Latergram.me for Instagram
However, what Latergram.me allows you to do is to create all your images on your computer, schedule them and Latergram will send them to your phone at the specified time.
The companion phone app will alert you of the arrived image at which point you post it through manually like you regularly would.
The advantage of this is to prepare all of your images at your computer where image and text editing software is at your fingertips and schedule them so you don’t forget to post at the best times.
You can do this once a week and not worry about your Instagram account being unfed.
Latergram.me is free for 30 images a month and 2 Instagram accounts, but the re-gramms from other users are free and unlimited.
Tailwind for Pinterest
Just like Instagram, Pinterest was always about pinning from within the app itself. There were several apps available that could post to Pinterest “behind its back”, but Tailwind is the first app officially allowed to post to Pinterest.
Tailwind is a well developed web-based app that allows you not just post your pins, but also interface with your Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts, as well as Google Analytics.
It reviews your Pinterest account and suggests improvements like adding descriptions to your boards, enabling functionality you haven’t taken advantage of yet.
It keeps track of your followers, most followed boards and how many domain pins you have.
You can use the blog tab and Tailwind will lay out all the pins from your blog allowing you re-pin them right from there.
It also tracks when your pins reach the most people, allowing you plan your post times better.
You can try Tailwind for free. It offers first 100 pins for free, and after that $9.99 a month allows you unlimited pins for one account.
TweetDeck for Twitter
TweetDeck as apparent from it’s name, was designed to make managing your Twitter account easier.
It is very straightforward and super easy to use.
It allows you to create feeds for your feed, scheduled posts, mentions, notifications, followers, likes, etc.
You can tweet straight from this app or schedule tweets for later, you can like and retweet, all from the same dashboard.
You can connect to as many accounts as you want but make sure that your personal one is default so you accidentally don’t tweet something you didn’t mean on other accounts.
TweetDeck is free.
Multiple platform tools
Hootsuite is one of the “classic”, well-known social media automation tools.
It supports connections to over 30 networks including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, FourSquare and Google+.
Hootsuite is a dashboard (similar to TweetDeck) where you can create streams for your favorite social media accounts and post and re-post to all of them from one centralized place.
It offers statistics tracking via it’s ow.ly link shortener and provides reports on different metrics.
I love Hootsuite because it’s very straightforward and easy to use.
Hootsuite’s free plan supports 3 social profiles (in any combination, i.e. 2 Twitters and 1 Facebook, or 3 Facebooks, etc), basic analytics and scheduling options that can be posted in real time, custom time defined by you or auto-scheduled to be posted later based on optimal times determined by Hootsuite.
Paid Pro plan (from $9.99/mo) allows you to manage up to 100 social networks (great for social media managers) and offers advanced stats and ability to bulk auto-schedule up to 350 posts in advance.
Buffer is very similar to Hootsuite and has its share of devoted fans who swear by it and usually don’t like Hootsuite (rivalry, anyone?).
Buffer allows you to schedule a bunch of social media posts in one sitting and Buffer’s algorithm will spread them out throughout the day based on the best posting time.
It will keep your feeds up to speed without you having to sit there and send them one by one.
Buffer connects to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google + and Pinterest (on paid accounts only).
Buffer offers free and paid plans.
With the free plan you can connect one account from each platform (ie 1 Twitter, 1 Facebook, 1 Google+, etc).
With lowest paid plan (“Awesome” plan at $102/yr) you can connect to up to 10 account combo.
With Buffer you can post immediately, schedule for the specific time you want or let Buffer spread the post out for you throughout the day.
Buffer has a link shortener and offers analytics.
MeetEdgar is pretty recent and it has taken the automation world by storm.
Edgar’s most attractive feature is its library of posts.
You can create a whole bunch of posts, categorize them, create category-based schedule and Edgar will post them for you forever more, basically making your social media management hands off.
The more posts you load into the library the less frequently your followers will see same posts repeat. With categories you can have seasonal posts, days of the week posts, etc.
Edgar connects to Facebook (profile, page, group), Twitter and LinkedIn.
It offers a 30 day free trial via invitation.
Unfortunately one of the downside of Edgar to me is its monthly fee which is $49.00, however I know of many people who rave about it and swear by it.
It is quite a time-saver.
And the last multi-platform automation tool on my list is CoSchedule.
Just like Edgar, it’s pretty new but has got a lot of traction with big names in online world like Pat Flynn.
CoSchedule is my favorite tool and here’s why.
CoSchedule is not just a social media sharing and automation tool, it’s actually a blog post promotion tool.
Besides being a way to manage all your social media in one place, it integrates with your blog, creating a content calendar inside of your blog management software (WordPress) and can be managed from within there.
You can create a bunch of blog post drafts and drag and drop them into to the time slots on your calendar, later turning these into scheduled, ready-to-go posts.
As you write your blog post, at the bottom of your page you have a ready to go sequence of reposting time spots that you can schedule before you even finish your post – they work based on the posting day and can go as far into the future as you would like i.e same day, next day, week later, month later, custom time, etc.).
CoSchedule integrates with Twitter. Facebook (profile, page, group), LinkedIn, Google+ and Tumblr.
CoSchedule tracks your most popular blog posts so you can share them over and over, getting more traffic to your blog.
You can easily schedule old post to be shared or compose posts for social media, all from the same screen.
CoSchedule offers a free trial, after which you can switch to paid options, the lowest of which is $19/mo (or $15/mo when paid annually).
This option allows you 5 social profiles, headline analyzer, bit.ly link shortener and Google calendar integration.
Since CoSchedule is pretty young they are constantly adding new features and currently are in development of auto-pilot automation similar to Edgar as well Pinterest integration.
Additional automation opportunities:
Besides the full-on social media automation dashboards, some of the automation providers also offer Chrome extensions that let you to share/schedule right from within a blog post or some other article you happened to be reading.
Some of the ones I use are:
- Hootlet from Hootsuite that allows you to grab the article and shared it right there or autoschedule for later
- Buffer extension from Buffer that allows you to put your social media share into the Buffer queue where it will be shared later at the optimal time
- Pinterest Browser Button from Pinterest lets you pin any photo on the page or the article itself to any board of yours that your choose right from within the article
- Tailwind extension from Tailwind allows you to grab those pin-worthy images and articles and schedule them for later post in Pinterest when the time is just right
To take your convenience level even further, you can connect social media platforms to each other and post same content on different platform simultaneously since your followers most likely don’t hang on all of the platforms you post to:
- Within the Instagram account you can connect to Facebook pages, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr. You can choose to post just to Instagram or to any of these platforms as well
- Tailwind, even though intended for Pinterest can also connect to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, allowing you to grab content from those connections and create pins
- Facebook even though seemed as a rival to Twitter can be connected to it while you are within your Facebook account. In the same manner, you can connect your Twitter account to Facebook when logged in to Twitter. By connecting these two you can share post on both at the same time.
And if all this automation seems like too much for you at the start of your journey, you can always go as simple as enabling auto-sharing on your blog.
Some WordPress themes come with it built-in, while with others you will need to install a plugin which will share your blog post on social media when it’s posted or, if you choose so, any time you make edits to it as well.
Hope I provided enough information here to help you make your decision or at least to see what’s out there.