I don’t know if you’ve found your perfect Social Media Planning and Management tool, but I have been searching for the right tool for quite a while now and have not been able to find one.
Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of them out there, but none of them worked for me or they were so expensive that I couldn’t justify the costs.
I almost gave up, when I decided to create my own system. I started by making a list of all the features I need and by looking for the tools that might cover all or some of them. I’ve set myself a target of max. 30 Euro per month for everything and after 10 days of research and some trial and error, I came up with following solution:
Then I set out to get it all organised to work together without loosing myself in complexity, but still be in control of my planning. To understand the process, have a look at my planning table:
For the actual content I created a Google Calendar for each media and added the headers for each item. This allows me to plan ahead and see what has been done already in a very easy view. By giving each category a colour and assigning the colours to the content, I can see if I overdo-it with a specific category or if one is not represented enough.
I use Buffer to schedule all my posts and I also use Buffer for re-tweets or shares by using the Buffer plugin for browsers. This adds the share to the list to be published at the defined times. All times are set in Buffer. Buffer also informs me if a media has no more content to avoid any inconsistency.
Buffer gives me some basic stats and the rest I get via Google Analytics. I use those stats to re-publish well running posts and add them manually to my Google Calendar into the right media (falls under shared media). So, if I run out of ideas or time, I can create re-tweets fairly quickly (no stress there )
For my posts, I use Evernote to write everything. I can just create a list of headline ideas and whenever I feel like it I can write the post. When it is time, I can copy it to my blog and finalise it. Doing it in Evernote makes it very easy to include research, voice, content from other sites and all of it is fully searchable and indexed. Can’t be better.
I also have a list of sayings I really like and I use those for posts as well.
To create nice images with the sayings, I use Pablo by Buffer. Its free and quick.
For my other images, I created some pre-sized templates for each media in my graphic program. It already contains everything important (size, logo, copyright, etc.). All I need to do is use a photo as background, add some words (if necessary) and save. Takes 2 minutes.
For images I use Shutterstock or Fotolia.
For my Videos I usually cut out a frame and use it as background.
However, I am thinking of experimenting with plane colours or simple backgrounds, putting the emphasis on the category name (word) instead of the photo. I see this more and more and it would save a lot of money.
I also re-use my photos as much as possible. Sometimes all it needs is to apply a filter and it looks completely different. Worthwhile playing with.
When it comes to time spent on Social Media, then that depends on your way of working. I currently spent about 50% of my time on social media (creation, posting, planning, etc.). By doing so consistently for a few month now, I was able to double my likes, followers and friends on almost all channels. This has led to an increase of visits to my site by almost 60%. My connections on my main platform (LinkedIn) has risen by nearly 70% in the last year alone. My EA Facebook page is slowly working towards 1000 likes and my personal Facebook page is running at 2500 friends at this stage.
This is all from natural traffic, not me trying to connect or asking people to like my page (I did this at the beginning, but I found it more harmful than worth it).
The video part is fairly new to me, but is the only platform (YouTube, Patreon, Dashburst) that actually might create some direct income.
I believe video becomes more and more important on all platforms. Even Twitter started now.
As you can see, I was able to stay under my budget, but I heard that Buffer is planning to increase their prices. Even so, I think It will still be okay.
I hope this helps you and points you in the right direction.
For most businesses Social Media is too important today to just not do it or to do it badly. But at the same time it is the biggest time waster there is. It is so easy to get caught up once you’ve opened Facebook or Twitter. That’s also why I like Buffer. I can now dedicated one hour a day (after I’ve done my work) to go through the profiles and be social, responding to questions, show my interest and create new bonds and make friends. Suddenly everything becomes so much easier and I saved a lot of money.
I would like to know how you are managing your Social Media. Just drop me a line below, I am always willing to learn something new 🙂