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Apps to improve your social media productivity

By Joe Linford, Kiwi Commons

Ever since Facebook became a much needed component of our personal and professional lives, it gave way to other social networks which, over time, have created the same need as Facebook. Look at Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest – isn’t it hard to imagine a life without them?

While it may not be so hard for someone whose livelihood doesn’t depend on social media, living without social media can be detrimental to a small business. What constitutes a small business? Anything that you do as an entrepreneur or with a small team, or even a home based business such as baking, quilting, or crafts.

With increasing rates of unemployment, more and more households are now developing businesses that they can run from home. Social media gives them the opportunity to market their services effectively and affordably, without burning a hole in their pocket, and giving them a strong leverage that allows them to compete with global players.

As a small business owner, you’re in charge of literally every function that can be tied into your business – right from buying raw material to marketing to customer service and so much more. You’d think 30 hours in a day would somehow ease the workload on you, but all you need is the tools to manage your work better.

Also, if you’re a small business owner, you use social media to get more clients, customers, or leads! Social media marketing may sound challenging at first, but with the right tools, it’s a breeze to manage. The two easiest things you can do are to create a Facebook page and a Twitter handle. Both are very easy to set up and manage, and with the list of time saving apps listed below, you can really be at the top of your game in no time.

Before delving deeper into social media productivity tools, you need to do a little bit of homework – start your day early or set two hours from your schedule to create a bi-weekly or monthly social media marketing plan that is appeals to your target audience. This marketing plan will form the framework for your future social media activities.

Your social media marketing plan should include all the things you plan to launch via social media and how you plan to interact with your fans. For example, a home based baking business could use their Facebook page to announce specials or even to ask what their fans really like. By getting valuable feedback such as flavors your fans like, you can start offering these and expand your clientele.

Now, for the social media productivity tools that will help you better manage your marketing efforts:

Google Calendar

Google Calendar is a free application that comes with any Gmail account. If you don’t have a Gmail account, you can just as well sign up for Google Calendar using your Google account.

Notice how you can add tasks to the date header and add activities to the listed time slots. Because of its easy to use interface, you can use it to better organize your time for all your activities.

Use the task header to add important information about product launches or announcing something important, and use the time slots to add stuff about posting on social media.

Though social media is a crucial marketing tool, it shouldn’t take up all your time. Keep a time slot of 30 minutes before you start your day to create messages and tweets spaced throughout the day, and keep evening hours to reply to fan posts.

Buffer/Hootsuite/Tweetdeck

TweetDeck, Buffer and HooteSuite are social media marketing dashboards that make it easy to manage multiple social networks through one dashboard. Buffer is free to use, and Hootsuite is also free to use for the basic plan, which is really all that you need for your business.

Add your social media accounts to these dashboards, and use them to schedule posts and tweets to appear throughout the day. By scheduling your tweets, your fans and followers always have something to read about from you, and can participate more on your social media profiles, thus increasing customer engagement.

All these dashboards can be used through your smartphone, so you can use laundry time or waiting-for-dinner-to-cook time to check how your social marketing efforts are performing.

Social Bro

Social Bro is a great tool that not only makes Twitter wonderfully easy to use, it also provides statistics and insights on improving your social media strategy and telling you when your followers are online, so you can use this information to schedule tweets when they have a likelihood to be seen by most of your follower list.

Make social media fun to use, and your fans will also have fun communicating with you!

The above article is reproduced from Kiwi Commons, a news, and information weblog dedicated to providing readers with the most relevant and up-to-date resources available on Internet safety, cyberbullying, social media and digital legacy.



Comments:
Comment by Sandra Fernandez, posted 6/17/2012, 11:09 PM:

Wonderful suggestions! I haven't tested Social Bro yet, so I'm putting that on my to do list. Thanx.
Comment by Kelly Stilwell, posted 6/1/2012, 6:29 PM:

I'm so glad I take the time to read your posts. I learn something new each time!
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