When you’re launching a startup you don’t have a lot of, well, anything.
Everything you do have, from your bank account to your downstairs office, is being stretched to the limit to help you achieve in your goal: getting your new business off the ground.
And the area where you’re the poorest?
You don’t earn it back when your product goes viral. You can’t save it up in a bank and spend it later. And there’s no way to create or buy more of it.
Nope, the only way you get time-rich is to find ways to maximize the use of what you’ve got.
The Fast Track to Social Media Marketing
Some of that precious time will inevitably (and necessarily these days) be spent on your social media marketing strategy. You’ll want to build a social media following, generate brand awareness, sell products or services, and increase website traffic for your startup…which takes time.
Time you don’t have to spend.
If you cut corners and skip steps, your efforts will be wasted or under-effective. If you rush through tasks, you’re bound to make mistakes.
But what if you could do more in less time? What if you could increase your efficiency and, in turn, cut down the time needed to achieve these goals?
It sounds too good to be true — but it’s not. It’s possible, and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg either.
7 Time-Saving Social Media Tools
If you’re an entrepreneur looking to make an impact on social media in the most efficient way possible, I have your solution: social media tools.
Here are seven must-have tools I use to achieve this goal.
It’s not a social media tool specifically, but it’s essential to keep you organized, especially if you work with a team.
This free collaboration platform allows users to create digital boards as projects, with assignable tasks listed, and columns marking each step within the completion process.
Tasks can be moved across the board into different columns as the project progresses, so everyone assigned to the work can effortlessly share status updates with the group.
Forget e-mails explaining what got done and whose task is up next, or long conversations with project newbies to get them up to speed on what’s going on. Everyone’s status updates are right there, for all to see, no lengthy explanation required.
The basic Trello platform is free, but there are also two subscription-based options for individuals and businesses if you prefer all the bells and whistles (and your budget allows).
As you should already know, social media updates with images perform better than those without them. So you’d better have some kind of image (or video) featured with your post if you really want to get peoples’ attention.
Canva can help you get there, for free, in a matter of minutes. Paid accounts are also available, depending on how extensive your needs are.
Choose from a collection of icons, images, backgrounds, text options, templates and designs to build eye-catching images – in sizes specific to virtually every social media platform. You can even upload your own photos or images at no cost, as well as purchase additional options within the available database, starting at only $1 each.
Design, create, save, download and voila! An original design, ready to elevate your next post.
Think of it as a quick way to put on your graphic designer hat, without the lengthy learning curve and cost of education/training.
“I don’t want a free online storage space to hold all my copy and images until I need them”, said no one ever.
Forget USB drives and pulling your hair out when you arrive at work and realize you saved everything to your desktop at home. This file and sharing platform is widely used (you’ve likely heard of it already) and super convenient.
Categorize your pictures, content, PDFs, etc. in various folders, keep it private or allow multiple users, transfer big files without crashing your inbox — the benefits of using Dropbox speak for themselves.
The fact that it’s free, keeps you organized and allows for improved sharing capabilities makes it one of the most comprehensive time-saving tools out there, resolving some of the major time-sucking challenges of any entrepreneur’s work.
If you were a grammar fiend you’d be an English teacher, I get it. That’s why you need Grammarly in your life.
Conveniently available as a browser extension, this tool reviews the grammar and writing style of whatever copy you’ve created, and lets you know where you’ve made mistakes (and how to correct them).
Nothing says business professional like sending out a Tweet only to come back in three hours to notice you totally botched the spelling of “business”. Put an end to careless copy mistakes — for free — without consulting a dictionary.
Speaking of social media copy, sometimes you’re confined by character limits. Condensing everything you want to say in a short, impactful statement (or two) is hard enough as it is – without excessively long URLs taking up precious real estate. That’s where Rebrandly comes in.
Also a free, easy-to-install browser extension, Rebrandly quickly shortens your URL novel of gibberish into a succinct link, branded however you please – just by you clicking the browser extension, customizing the fields and clicking “create link”.
There are other free link-shortening tools out there as well, such as Bitly, but Rebrandly gives you the option to not only cut the length of your URL, but also tailor it to your brand (hence the name).
You’re most likely familiar with Buffer already as a way to schedule social media updates in advance, for multiple channels. But when you leverage its benefits as a browser extension, you undoubtedly unlock a whole new (and super fast) way of doing it.
When you’re online and you come across a piece of content you want to share with your followers, the Buffer extension lets you do it in just a couple short clicks – without even leaving the page.
From there, Buffer autofills the title for you and allows you to select the accounts you want to share to, and choose whether or not you want to include any accompanying photos. Then you have the option of either adding it to your queue for later or sharing it now. Hit the button and Boom! On to the next task.
Buffer makes sharing content now or later fast. Easy. Inexpensive (basic accounts start at $15/month). Those are words I (and hopefully you) like to hear.
When you’ve got a Buffer account and a whole list of social updates to the schedule, you’ve got your afternoon cut out for you, right?
When you sign up for a Bulkly account for as little as $12 a month and connect it to your Buffer account, you can bulk upload lists of social media updates and schedule them out on various social channels in a matter of minutes.
Just download the CSV file template available with your subscription to Bulkly and fill in the columns with your social media content updates as outlined. When you’re finished, save the file, then head to the “content upload” section of your dashboard and hit “upload content (CSV)”.
All that’s left is selecting the channel to share to, frequency of posting, the order of posting, etc. Hit activate and your updates will slowly be “dripped” into your Buffer queue based on the settings you’ve chosen.
But that’s not the best part.
Once you’ve done all of that once, you NEVER have to do it again.
Unlike uploading content to other scheduling tools where queues eventually run dry, Bulkly recycles your posts, based on your selected specifications, so the drip of posts sent to your Buffer queue never ends.
Of course, if you want to edit your updates, or dump your lists and refresh everything once a month/year you can, but the time-saving advantage is that you don’t need to.
The key is focusing on scheduling core, evergreen content to be shared via Bulkly (blogs, e-books, etc.) and then manually doing one-off shares for special events, promotions, etc.
Or, as another available feature of Bulkly, balance core content with content automatically shared from RSS feeds of your choice. The tool even lets you control which content gets featured and when, before sharing.
Finally, Bulkly is scalable as your business grows. The basic “Pro” plan does all of the above when you’re managing just a few accounts for one company. However, the mid-level “Pro Plus” and premium “Pro Plus Agency” plans double and quadruple the amount of posts shared and profiles serviced, respectively.
Tools Help You Do More with Less
Have you ever tried hammering a nail with a rock?
Is it possible? Sure. Challenging? Yup. Potentially painful? Sounds like you’ve been there before…
The point is that without the proper tools, the job is a lot more time consuming, problematic and, in some cases, treacherous.
Stop wasting time on the tedious tasks involved with social media marketing. By operating without the proper tools, you’re missing out on the opportunity to invest your efforts where they’ll generate the greatest impact for your startup.
Put these seven social media tools into play today. You’ll thank me tomorrow.
Since 2003, Chris Makara has developed a broad digital marketing background with a focus on SEO, Social Media, Automation and Analytics. He is the founder of Bulkly, a social media automation tool for individuals and small businesses. Feel free to find him on LinkedIn or Twitter.