Social Media Tools That Will Save You Time

If you are serious about building a platform, you must be actively engaged in social media. Whether it is Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+—or all four—you need to develop a tribe of loyal followers and super fans who want to hear what you have to say.

HootSuite Dashboard

But who has the time? Social media can become a full-time job if you are not careful! And this leaves little time for doing your real job, whether it is writing, composing, programming, or doing something else.

However, if you take advantage of the latest social media software tools, you can leverage your time. With a small investment, you can produce big results. This is how I have built my platform.

Here are the three primary social media tasks and the software tools I am using to manage them:

  1. Creating. I use Buffer to create most of my social media content. This is the most used tool in my toolbox. I use it for both Twitter and Facebook.

    The basic idea is that you add posts to Buffer and it spreads them throughout the day, posting them at times you have predetermined. This ensures that you are posting on a regular basis without overwhelming your followers.

    I do most of my reading in the morning. I scan 200+ blogs, using Google Reader. When I find something I think my followers would find helpful, I share it on Twitter and occasionally Facebook. The only problem is that this pattern can create a flood of posts. It quickly becomes annoying to my followers.

    Now, when I find something I want to share, I simply click the Buffer icon in my browser. (Buffer offers browser extensions for Chrome, Safari, and FireFox. It even works with Google Reader.) I then compose my post, select which accounts I want to share it on, and then add it to my queue. Buffer then schedules these posts throughout the day.

    The cool thing is that you can set up your own schedules. For example, I have determined that I will tweet thirteen times a day. But I want to update my status on Facebook only twice a day. When I add a post, Buffer put it in the next available slot. I can always rearrange these later, moving posts around in an easy-to-use, intuitive interface.

    I still use HootSuite for direct messages, replies, and ad hoc posts, but I compose 80 percent or so of my tweets in Buffer.

  2. Monitoring. I use HootSuite to monitor my social media accounts. This is my social media dashboard. It allows me to manage all my social media accounts: Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. The biggest benefit of this software for me is that I can segregate my followers into “streams” (or columns) and follow different groups of people.

    For example, with my Twitter account, I have the following streams:

    • Direct messages
    • Mentions (or replies)
    • Family
    • Friends
    • Sources
    • Publishing

    Because I am interested in some streams more than others, I can focus my attention on those columns. For example, I check my Family stream several times a day but my Sources stream only once.

    You can also create streams out of search terms. I often do this when I am participating in a conference. I simply search for the “hashtag” and create a stream from the results. The stream is updated in real time as new tweets are added.

    You can manage individual Twitter followers as well. You can follow, unfollow, direct message, reply, or add a follower to a Twitter list. You can also report spammers with one click.

    You can also use HootSuite to schedule tweets. This comes in handy for posting messages while you are traveling or in a meeting—or just so you won’t forget.

    You can also invite your teammates to co-manage accounts with you. You can have several people monitoring one account and responding to comments and feedback. This is particularly helpful for organizations and larger brands.

    You can add multiple Twitter accounts, Facebook accounts and pages (I have five). HootSuite is adding more all the time. The only glaring omission is Google+ but that should be coming soon.

  3. Analyzing. I use a variety of tools to analyze my social media performance. Both Buffer and HootSuite offer built-in analytical tools. However, I am only using Buffer at the moment. It tells me exactly how many clicks and retweets each tweet generated.

    In addition, I use these two tools:

    • TweetCounter. I use this to monitor the growth in my Twitter follower count.
    • Tweet Grader. I use this to analyze my Twitter effectiveness.

As social media have become mainstream, the tools have continued to improve. Don’t think that what you are using today will be state-of-the-art a year from now—or even three months from now. Keep an open mind and continue to experiment. If you are using the right tools, you can build your platform and still find the time to create great content.

Question: What software tools are you using to manage your social media accounts? What do you like about your tools? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • Richard B

    Michael, Thank you for a very informative post.
    I have been wondering about buffer for a while now, this article really helps define it for me.
    Have a great Christmas and Holiday Season.

  • http://twitter.com/SixOkay Justin Korthof

    Man, I have tried HootSuite three or four times and I just can’t get into it. I manage about 6 Twitter accounts, and I find that switching back and forth on the tabs to review them all is a really clunky, high-friction experience for me, and the load times are always really slow. I really WANT to use HS because of the analytics, but I personally find TweetDeck a far better tool for glancing at Tweets across multiple accounts all at once. Buffer is a great recommenation. I’ll check that one out. Thanks for the write-up! 

  • http://somewiseguy.com ThatGuyKC

    Buffer is awesome. Would you mind sharing your schedule pattern or the logic behind it? I’ve set my up for every hour on the hour between 6am-7pm, but sometimes I run out.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I set mine up for eleven times between 7:00 am and 9:00 pm. It’s pretty much hourly, but I add odd times, so it doesn’t appear to be so robotic. I also skip lunch and dinner. I try to post manually at those times about what is going on during the day. Thanks.

      • http://www.revivallifestyle.com Daniel Vogler

        That’s a great idea. I read some statics on the most effective tweeting times and Noon (lunch break) really is the best time in the day. I also found out that 80% of the US population is in the Eastern and Central Time Zone, so although I’m in California I make sure to hit their lunchtime as well.

  • http://jackalopekid.com jackalopekid

    Using buffer now. Thanks for the recommendation. Question: if I have multiple times that I tweet throughout the day preprogrammed into buffer and not enough posts to fit into all of those slots, will buffer repeat the tweets I have in there or will it just stop tweeting? I hope that makes sense…I just don’t want it to keep repeating tweets.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      It will just skip tweeting. It won’t repeat them.

  • http://reconciled.me Matt Smith

    The moment I think I may have learned enough to get me started effectively  you post something else that makes perfect sense to use NOW.  You’re like my personal Yoda, or something like that.  If I want to know something I go to you to try to find it out.  What’s great is that so many other people do too and so many of those are trying to spread the Gospel.  Your influence for the Kingdom really is terrific.  Thanks for all you do.

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  • http://www.itsworthnoting.com Levi Smith

    Nutshellmail, http://www.nutshellmail.com, is another great tool. You give it access to twitter, facebook, linkedin and other social media profiles and receive an email digest one or more times a day of activity you want to see from each profile.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      That looks like a really cool tool!

  • http://www.facebook.com/ayomide.akinkugbe Ayomide Akinkugbe

    I really found this helpful. Thanks Michael :)

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  • Joanna Hyatt

    You may have already written a post on this….what is the major difference between Buffer & Hootsuite? They look similar to me & just wondering if it wouldn’t be more streamlined to use just one? 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      HootSuite is really for monitoring your social media accounts. Buffer won’t do that. Buffer is really for generating posts and having them spread throughout the day. Both are free, so give them a try. You’ll learn more by doing that than what I could explain. Thanks.

      • Joanna Hyatt

        Thank you!  Signed up and trying them out.

  • http://www.revivallifestyle.com Daniel Vogler

    I use buffer and hoot suite as well and am loving it! Scheduling social media is absolutely imperative for consistency and therefore success. I find it interesting that you only post 2 times a day on Facebook. Do you have a specific reason for that?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      That’s what the experts I have read recommend. My own observation confirms this. It’s a different culture than Twitter, where I post 13-14 times a day.

      • http://www.revivallifestyle.com/ Daniel Vogler

        Okay, thanks. That’s true they are completely different cultures. Facebook’s peak time for example is saturday around noon, while Twitter slows down on week ends a lot. At least that’s what the experts I read said ;)

  • http://twitter.com/tolmema Bailey Bliss

    I use Postling for a lot of client accounts. I’m going to check out Buffer since you speak so highly of it. 

  • http://fitnessexpose.com Michael Mahony

    I just examined Buffer and I have to say that I’m not sure what benefit it would have over HootSuite. I can do exactly what you describe in your article using HootSuite. I can find content and create Tweets and then schedule those Tweets to go out over the course of the day at exact times I want them to go out. Thus, I am not sure why I would want to add another tool (ie. Buffer) to my tool belt.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Here’s how the two workflows are different. Let’s say I am reading an article in Google Reader and want to share the link with my followers on Twitter.

      With HootSuite:

      1. Open the original article on the website.
      2. Go to the address bar in my browser.
      3. Copy the link to the clipboard.
      4. Now go to HootSuite.
      5. Compose my message.
      6. Click to add a link.
      7. Paste in the link from the clipboard.
      8. Click on the scheduling icon.
      9. Remember the next time slot I want to use for this tweet. (I may have to double-check my Pending stream in HootSuite.)
      10. Schedule the Tweet.

      With Buffer:

      Assuming you have installed the appropriate Buffer browser extension and have already set up a posting schedule:

      1. Click on the Buffer icon on your browser.
      2. Compose my message.
      3. Click “Add to Buffer.”

      You’re done. Buffer adds this post to the next available slot. It’s four times as easy.

      Hope that helps.

      • http://fitnessexpose.com Michael Mahony

        Awesome! Thanks for answering. That makes more sense. I hadn’t thought about that issue. So HootSuite should get smart and create a browser plugin for creating content!

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          I wish they would just integrate Buffer with their existing platform. That would be awesome.

      • http://fitnessexpose.com Michael Mahony

        And it seems they have just that type of plugin called Hootlet:

        http://help.hootsuite.com/entries/131320-what-is-the-hootlet

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          It’s still not quite the same, because you have to determine when you are going to post each tweet. With Buffer, you determine the schedule one time and just let it handle when the tweet appears.

  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    Mike, thanks to your technical advice. I am averse to technology initially. But, I have shed my inhibitions and started building my platform in the social media.  

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  • http://sevensentences.com Geoff Talbot

    Hi Guys,

    I would also add to this Market Samurai for your SEO work. It is a fantastic tool that I use on our Seven Sentence Blog and it has really boosted my search traffic!

    I think it is important to create some synergy between your search and social strategies if you are looking to monetize.

    Thanks again
    Geoff Talbot
    creative synergy in Seven Sentences

  • http://www.theuniuni.com/ cheap bras

    Amazing write-up! This could aid plenty of people find out more about this particular issue. Are you keen to integrate video clips coupled with these? It would absolutely help out. Your conclusion was spot on and thanks to you; I probably won’t have to describe everything to my pals. I can simply direct them here!

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  • paulawhidden

    Michael, thank you so much for continuing to help us grow in our skills because of your generosity.  I’m on the hunt for churches and pastors and nonprofits who make good use of social media, could you point me toward anyone specific?

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  • Kristi Johnsen

    Thanks so much for all your great information.  I’ve been using Buffer and HootSuite for both my personal and church social media.  Wow, what a difference!!

    And I thought everyone sat around and posted all day…  Now I know the secrets but don’t tell anyone else OK?

    Seriously, I really appreciate all you do and want to say a special thanks.

  • Ian

    Thanks Mike this post was very timely for me. Ian

  • http://twitter.com/kerrybeck kerrybeck

    Thank you…much to think about
     

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  • http://everydaysnapshots.com Dave Anthold

    I use a mixture of Buffer (free account) and Tweetbot.  I have some saved searches in Tweetbot & custom Timelines which is great for cutting out the noise.

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  • http://onlinebz.com/ OnlinebzDOTcom

    I heard of Buffer, but never really use it. I believe it is a big loss after reading your article. Thanks for making comparison and make me understand Hootsuite can’t replace Buffer.

  • Ben

    Michael, I agree with you about Hootsuite, it’s a great tool. I’m just curious as to why you choose buffer to schedule your posts when Hootsuite will do this too.

    Thanks.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      They schedule in completely different ways.

  • Dan Chapman

    When do you think it’s worth upgrading to a paid version of buffer? The free version has been awesome so far.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I do. I’ve used it since it came out. I use t multiple times daily. It is an indispensable tool.

  • calista

    Michael – I noticed you said that you tweet 13 times per day. In other places I have read that you like to tweet 20 times in replies/retweets for each original tweet you post (deposits and withdrawals). So is that 13 TOTAL tweets? Or are those just your original tweets (not including your deposits, or replies/retweets)? Thank you!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Yes, those are my original tweets and do not count replies. By the way, I see most of my tweets, even when I am linking to my own posts, as deposits. To be honest, I haven’t counted in a long time. The issue is not so much how many as it is you have to give way more value than you extract. Thanks.

  • http://MartinAndJulieJohnson.com/ Martin Johnson

    I’m a missionary serving in Indonesia and need to post in Indonesian to Indianians and in English to Americans. However, I don’t think either wants to see posts that they cant read. How can I separate my two “lives.” I use facebook and twitter.

  • Pam H.

    Michael, you didn’t mention Scrivener. I thought you did all of your writing in Scrivener first. Have you changed that? And why?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      This article was about social media tools, rather than writing tools. I don’t really use a writing tool for social media posts.

      And, yes, I am still using—and loving—Scrivener. Thanks.

  • Rev. Ron Hunter Jr.

    What have you gone to for an RSS now that Google reader is gone?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I use Feedly. It’s even better than Google Reader.

      • shoeboxapps

        Glad to see that you like Feedly, Michael! I was one of the lucky 5,000 to get a lifetime membership for the pro version, so I’m very invested in it’s continued success.

        I did, however, find myself going to check my feeds too often, which cut into my productivity. To solve that, I created Countly, a Mac status bar app that keeps track of your unread post count from your Feedly account. I would love to give more details, but I want to respect your Comments Policy. If interested, please check it out at my blog http://shoeboxapps.com

        Thanks
        Kevin

  • http://rickbulow1974.freesmfhosting.com/ Rick Bulow

    I notice you mention HootSuite, but you fail to mention TweetDeck. How about using TweetDeck as an effective social media tool?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Yes, it’s a fine tool. I used to use it. I just like HootSuite better. ;-)

  • http://geekfree.net/ Aaron

    What about Social Oomph, which you mention in your book? I assume you’re still using this based on your syndication of older content….

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Yep, I do still use it. It’s a great tool.

      • http://geekfree.net/ Aaron

        Thank you sir :)

  • http://andrewledwith.com/ Andrew

    Hi Mike! I’m curious to know what you use as your RSS reader now that Google Reader has been retired.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I am using Feedly.

  • https://plus.google.com/+MattGentile/posts Matt Gentile

    Great post. I just discovered this morning that Feedly now requires $5 per month for Buffer integration…oh well…it was great while it lasted.

  • http://visionwriting.marklvolz.com Mark L. Volz

    I hope this post is still active, if not, sorry Michael. As I read about these tools, I see HootSuite offers the ability to schedule posts and covers Twitter, FaceBook, and LinkedIn. I might be missing the point, but was wondering why you use Buffer rather than HootSuite to schedule your posts?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Mark. I use Buffer, because it has a Chrome extension that allows me to share a post for the web page I am on. Also, I don’t have to worry when to schedule it. I just add it to my buffer and it gets added to the next available slot.

      • http://visionwriting.marklvolz.com Mark L. Volz

        Ahhh, … I’ve been thinking of switching to Chrome… thanks.

  • Rick Theriot

    You referred to Google Reader as the software that you use for processing blog post, although I thought this was shut down Do you have a different service that you use?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I wrote this post back in 2011. Now I use Feedly. I actually like it more than Google Reader.

  • Preston, Clemson Road Creative

    We love Hootsuite here! Excellent tool for social media monitoring :)

  • Lora Schafer

    Google reader had been cancelled. What are you using now to track your blog feeds?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I wrote this post in 2011. I now use Feedly.

      • Lora Schafer

        Thanks for responding…I’m on Feedly and loving it.