Well, it’s been two months into my internship at Portent, and I’m beginning to get a firmer hold on my day-to-day workflow.
I get the feeling that my friends still think I spend my entire day surfing Facebook and Twitter… and to be fair, I do spend a good chunk of my time each day on different social channels. And, okay, sometimes I find myself mindlessly scrolling Twitter feeds to waste time (shh don’t tell my boss). But, really, the thing I’ve realized most about this job is that there are tools I need to have each day in order to do my job well.
Social media tools, which I use for a variety of reasons, help me perform tasks like scheduling posts ahead of time, and digging into the analytics of a page to check on its performance. I have to say, the amount of time I save using these tools really makes me feel like a social media ninja.
Below I have listed five social tools that I use daily as a social media intern (and that hopefully prove to my friends that my job is more serious than the title may let on).
1. Facebook Insights:
The Facebook “Insights” tab is located in Business Manager on Facebook, or within the “Insights” tab of a regular Facebook page. It lets me look at things like page likes and visits, post reach, total engagement, and fans. I can look at the overall performance of a page or how each post does individually. There are even easy to read graphs for all you visual learners out there.
I spend most of my time looking at the “Posts” tab. Most helpful for me is the first graph that you see above, which lets me know the days and times that most of my fans are online. This can help me determine when I should be posting and at what times these posts are performing best. I can then dive further into insights to suss out why I think a particular post did better than another, or what difference a paid promotion made for a certain post. If you really want to overwhelm your mind you can download page and post excel performance sheets that give you every tiny detail of everything and anything you could every need to know about a post. Go ahead, if you’ve never downloaded it before just do it for fun. I dare you.
2. Twitter Analytics:
Twitter analytics is, for the most part, very similar to Facebook insights. The major different is that the tool doesn’t give as detailed an analysis as what Facebook provides. The home page gives a month by month overview of your page’s performance on Twitter, and includes metrics like top tweet, top mention, top follower, profile visits, new followers, how many impressions your page had.
The “Tweets” tab lets you look at how many impressions (number of people who saw a tweet) each tweet made and how many engagements (favorite, retweet, replies, or clicks) each tweet received. The “Followers” tab is next, and is pretty neat in that it lets someone look at what types of topics their followers are interested in, as well as their location and gender. This is all valuable information for ad targeting purposes. For example, Portent’s followers’ top interests include marketing, SEO, and technology (big surprise there, right?). But this is important to have so that we can make sure the content we’re publishing resonates well with our followers.
3. Sprout Social:
Sprout Social is a a little different than the first two tools I took a look at, in that it’s not baked into any social media platform. Among its many implementations, Sprout Social lets you schedule posts for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. It also offers proprietary analytic measurement and reporting on audience demographics, engagement, impressions, and more. These can all be further broken down into more specific numbers, but for the purpose of this blog I won’t get into the heavy details.
The publishing tool is most helpful for me as it allows you to schedule posts ahead of time that can go out on one or multiple social platforms. Images can be added to any post you want and a preview of the post appears before it is sent. There is also a built in bit.ly function that lets you shorten any long links. Let me tell you, this tool is a life saver if you’re trying to schedule a weeks worth of posts at a time! I can manage the process in less than an hour, and I never have to stress about the possibility of forgetting to post something important.
Buffer is a tool for social scheduling that’s significantly simpler than Sprout Social. Like Sprout Social, you can program posting days and times (and even set the time zone) for multiple platforms at a time. There are also analytics available that show how each post is doing, but it is more specifically related to what Buffer sees you post, rather than the results you’re seeing on your social pages themselves. Link shortening features bit.ly and buff.ly are included, and Buffer allows you to upload pictures from your computer to use in whatever posts you want. An awesome feature on Buffer is its extension/app that lets you push any article you like on Google search, Facebook, or any other page to your own personal Buffer account to share on your social channels. I don’t use this tool nearly as often as I use Sprout Social, but it’s definitely one that I couldn’t do without.
Hootsuite is another social media scheduling tool, but for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+, WordPress, Tumblr, YouTube and many (many) more. Hootsuite is arguably more advanced than Buffer, but can also appear more intimidating as a result. Hootsuite lets you organize by “streams” which is basically just another term for a social channel. Streams are incredibly customizable – you can monitor your Facebook page wall it one, while keeping a constant stream of posts from selected Twitter followers in another. Hootsuite really makes it easy to monitor your social networks all in one place, probbly better than any other tool I use.
Hootsuite will auto schedule your post for optimal impact or you can manually schedule your posts. As with Sprout Social and Buffer, Hootsuite can also attach an image and post to multiple platforms, but I think it does it more elegantly than those other two tools. The Publisher tab organizes all your scheduled post in an easy to follow format, with notes, direct messages, and social feeds all integrated into the dashboard.
Phew! That was a lot, but seriously I couldn’t do my job here at Portent without these essential tools. I am constantly referring back to these sites to figure out what I can do to better promote any of our social networking channels. Each offer unique insights into the magical world of digital marketing, something I continue to learn more about every day (cue Tinkerbell fairy dust).