Anyone who has invested time managing and growing a social media following knows that it can turn into a time vacuum. Open up Instagram and suddenly you find yourself scrolling through beautiful photos from your friend’s excursion to Iceland. Those ponies are so photogenic with their manes blowing in the icy wind! Logging in, posting and getting out without being distracted is a challenge even the most self-disciplined struggle with.

Social media marketing is an important part of customer acquisition and sales strategies. You need to focus on running your business and to minimize the time spent on pushing content until you can afford to hire someone to manage it all.

Laws of Social Media Marketing

How can you save time managing your social media?

Social media admins can save time by managing their channels with third-party apps. There are many options available at various price points. You may find one app works for Facebook, but you prefer another one for Twitter. The right apps will help you organize content while preventing you from wasting time from Motivation Monday through Caturday!

Below are some of the apps that can minimize distraction and make you more productive. Price points are low — from free to under $300 per month — depending on the number of users and accounts.

Hootsuite Pro

The first social media management tool is Hootsuite Pro. This app can handle multiple social networks including Facebook pages, Instagram, Twitter and Google+, and can even post to YouTube. Hootsuite offers a free version that is perfect for businesses that are just starting out. The app can scale to enterprise and agency levels, too.

Hootsuite Pro can bulk upload posts from spreadsheets. Teams can save draft posts to hold them for approval or to reuse them later.

How to Choose the Best Social Media Marketing Tool For Your Business

Feedly

For years, Google Alerts was my go-to app to keep current on tech news and to find content to share on social channels. Daily emails based on searches I set cluttered my inbox. It is a free and easy way to find content for your social media channels, but there are better apps that can keep it all organized and productive.

Feedly is a website that organizes content from RSS feeds and podcasts. Content can be grouped into folders, keeping the clutter out of your inbox. I use it to organize posts to read later and to find interesting content to share. The app also rates content based on popularity, letting readers know what’s trending.

One of the convenient features of Feedly is that it can also pull YouTube feeds into folders. An annual subscription lets users access all of the integrations, including Hootsuite and two others tools, IFTTT and Buffer.

Buffer

Buffer is a direct competitor to Hootsuite that queues social media posts to multiple social channels. Those who use both Buffer and Feedly can use an integration that quickly sends posts from Feedly to a custom Buffer posting schedule.

Hootsuite is a little easier to learn than Buffer. Both are reasonably easy to use once you get the hang of them.

Why You’re Not Getting Customers From Social Media

Apps for managing followers

For those just starting out building up an Instagram following, a free and bare bones app called Followers Insight can help. It’s very simple to use and has only a few features, including who is or is not following an account. In the past, I have used Crowd fire for this task too. Icono square is far more robust than either of the two aforementioned apps. It has analytics and is good for team environments.

I am very active on Twitter and have a few Twitter management tools running. Who. Unfollowed.Me lets me know who is playing the follow-then-unfollow game to grow their vanity numbers. Another app, UnTweeps, sorts out inactive Twitter accounts. Both are simple yet excellent for cleaning up your Twitter. Tweet Deck is a must-have to keep up with fast moving Twitter chats, although Hootsuite can be used for chats too.