Innovation

5 Free Time-Saving Social Media Tools

Fast ways to find, be found and generate content

Written by Cybele Negris

I hear from small businesses all the time that they don’t have time to engage in social media. Many executives of large companies don’t participate at all, leaving social interactions to junior staff in their marketing department, often citing the lack of time or know-how as main reasons for their avoidance.

In my opinion, it’s important for leaders to take part in social media, whether you own a small business or run a large corporation. Potential customers like to hear directly from a company’s leadership. The personalities behind a brand are often of more interest than the brand itself.

Read Don’t Be a Robot: How to Defend Your Brand Online

Below are some of my favourite social media tools that help me save time, share effectively and expand my reach.

Hootsuite.com: Free, pro and enterprise versions are available

Post to multiple social media profiles at once. One of the great advantages of this tool is that you can post to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Foursquare and other social media profiles at the same time. While it is best to customize your message to individual audiences on each social media platform, sometimes, this time-saving feature is really handy.

Pre-schedule posts. Very few business owners or executives have time to tweet and post to Facebook during the workday. I tend to catch up late at night when everyone else is sleeping, but posting then is like picking up the phone to talk to people when there’s no one on the other end. Real-time engagement is still best but HootSuite can be used to pre-schedule messages and replies during times that I know my audience is listening.

Bulk messages. You can use the Bulk Message Uploader to schedule days or even weeks of posts in advance.

Auto-scheduling – If you don’t know the best time to post to your audience, use the AutoSchedule tool. It uses certain algorithms to automatically figure out when you will get the most reach depending on whether you are posting to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or other social media platforms.

Read The Perfect Tweet

JustUnfollow.com: There is a free and pro version

This simple application lets you unfollow Twitter users you follow who don’t follow you back. The tool also helps you identify accounts that are inactive (have not tweeted in three months or one month). You want to make room for people who are actively sharing good content and are connected with you. Another great feature: it allows you to copy followers from another account. So, if I’m going to speak at an event for an organization, I can go and easily follow their followers and engage with that audience online before the in-person event.

Paper.li: This tool is free

Use this to automatically find and aggregate articles, photos and videos from people you put on your Twitter lists and publish them daily. It tweets the digest to your followers at a time you pre-schedule. This is a great way to share other people’s content in a customized, newspaper format. I publish my own daily digital newspaper called The Cybele Negris Daily. Readers can subscribe or retweet and share the link to my daily news. Rebelmouse is another aggregator that takes all your social pictures and videos and posts them to a webpage.

Cardmunch (Acquired by LinkedIn): This service is free

Take a business card, use your mobile device to take a picture of the card with your phone’s camera and the contact information is transcribed accurately, verified by a human and sent back to your mobile phone as a contact you can now store.

Since the business card transcription service was purchased by LinkedIn in January 2011, the service is now free. No more having to spend time manually entering contacts into Outlook or your phone.

.TEL

I use a .TEL as a hub to integrate all my social media links and other contact information. At an event, people want to connect with you in different ways. Some want your Twitter profile, some like to connect on LinkedIn, while others prefer Google+. I tell people, just go to Cybele.tel and all my details are there. I see this more as a digital business card than a domain name. Optimized for mobile, anyone who has your .TEL automatically has your most up-to-date information for life. It has a place for my picture or logo, a map of my location and a keyword section that allows me to optimize my .TEL so that it can be found based on search terms I choose. With the ability to store up to 3,000 pages, it’s a super-sized business card or directory that packs a lot of punch.

A .TEL isn’t free but webnames.ca will give away a free .TEL to the first 1,000 PROFITguide readers who redeem. (limit one .TEL per individual or company). To redeem, just email us and within 24 hours and you’ll receive a code to redeem a free .TEL for a year.

Read 5 Tips for the 21st-Century Tech User

This column is reposted with the permission of Business in Vancouver, which posted it originally on biv.com.

Cybele Negris is president and co-founder of Vancouver-based Webnames.ca Inc., Canada’s original .ca registrar and one of the country’s leading providers of web hosting and other internet solutions. She has been on the PROFIT/Chatelaine W100 ranking of Canada’s Top Female Entrepreneurs for the past nine years.

More columns by Cybele Negris

What are your favourite tech tools? Leave your comments below.

Originally appeared on PROFITguide.com
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