Building your business: Social media tools you may not know about

06/17/2014 12:00 AM

06/14/2014 5:34 PM

Are you using the latest social media tools?

The do’s and don’ts of social media may be familiar to you by now. As a business owner, you know you need an online presence on the right platforms, and you know your posts should add value, be visual and happen consistently.

But how?

If you’re a “solopreneur” or have a small team, there’s likely little time for social media on top of everything else. Luckily, there are more and better social media tools than ever, and many are free. Here’s a sample of what the cool kids are using these days:

Schedule posts

There are many third-party tools for posting to Facebook and Twitter and their brethren, but all the chatter seems to be about Hootsuite versus Buffer.

In a nutshell, Buffer leads on points for simplicity, and Hootsuite leads on points for capability. If you’re managing social for just your own business, check out Buffer first, then Hootsuite. If you’re a professional social media manager, you’re probably already using Hootsuite.

Design graphics

Charlotte-based social media content specialist Katie Harding recommends PicMonkey for its ease of use and range of graphic design options, including photo editing, touch up, collage and social media covers.

Also worth a try is new entrant Canva, which is purpose-built for social media graphics and virtually eliminates the need for sizing or a separate stock photo source. Canva also offers design tutorials on everything from cropping to color schemes and a blog dedicated to better social media posting.

Fill your feed

Social media strategist Beth Blecherman, who was named one of Time Magazine’s 140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2011, recommends news aggregator Feedly. “I like Feedly because it pulls in updates from my favorite news sites, and then I can share directly from that stream, either to a platform like Facebook or Twitter, or to a posting tool like Hootsuite or Buffer.”

I also recently discovered a new mobile app: Daily by Buffer is a great add-on for people who already use Buffer (a number that topped 1 million last year). The mobile interface works by swiping single content “cards” either to the left to dismiss, or to the right to add to your scheduled posts.

The Daily app was brought to my attention by the website Product Hunt, created by Ryan Hoover as a daily leaderboard of new software products, many of which are relevant to social media. Because if you want to stay current on the fast-forward world of social media tools, you’ll need a tool for that as well.

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