10 Time-Saving Social Media Tools for a Productive Summer

3.2K Flares Filament.io Made with Flare More Info'> 3.2K Flares ×

Imagine you’ve got a week’s vacation planned this summer (lucky you!), and you’d love nothing more than for your social media efforts to keep humming right along while you’re gone.

No problem. There are a handful of social media tools that can assist with your out-of-office marketing. Automation techniques can help fill your queue, and the 10 tools below can help you keep tabs on your profiles, engage with your audience, and communicate with your team.

Here are 10 time-saving social media tools (actually, more like 28–each featured tool has a few similar alternatives I’ve listed) to keep in mind whether you’re on the beach or onto other tasks.

(What tools did I miss that help you hack your productivity? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.)

The 10-part tool recipe for saving time on social media

When it comes to productivity with your social media marketing, I’ve found that there are a handful of areas that are worth investigating, improving, and experimenting.

  1. Automate
  2. Schedule
  3. Communicate
  4. Engage

When I look for helpful, time-saving tools, I often grab ones that make a difference in one or more of these areas. It’s how I got started with Buffer’s sharing app, and it’s how I’ve tested tools in the past.

Each of the 10 time-saving social media tools I’ve highlighted below fit into one of these categories. Here’s hoping that a bit of help in each area can unlock some spare time for you this summer.

Time-Saving Social Media Tools

1. Automatically tweet your new posts, complete with rich media – Twibble

With Twibble, you can set up any RSS feed you want to publish automatically to your Twitter feed, complete with a featured image pulled directly from your article. And the fun doesn’t stop with images: You can edit the times that new posts go out, the frequency with which they’re sent, and the text and attribution on each. You could end up with something like this:

Twibble example

Twibble offers filters, too, in case you only want to post articles containing certain words (or want to exclude articles that contain certain words). You can wire up multiple feeds and track clicks and performance, too, all for free.

Price: Free

Also consider: TwitterFeed, TwitRSS, the new Feeds inside Buffer

2. Sell and distribute anything at all – Gumroad

For those sites and companies that lack a traditional e-commerce area (SaaS products like Buffer tend to fall into this category), what do you do when you have a one-off item you’d like to sell or share? If you’re an individual with something to sell, where might you turn?

That’s where Gumroad comes in. With Gumroad, you can sell a digital product, a subscription, or even a preorder, and your Gumroad sales page can be easily shared to Twitter and Facebook or embedded on your website (an SSL certificate is required for embedding). Gumroad boasts that a customer is never more than two clicks away from completing an order. Not bad!

Here’s an example product (hamburgers just happened to be the stock image I had on hand):

Gumroad example

Gumroad takes a small cut off the top of each sale (5 percent, plus $0.25 per transaction) and doesn’t charge anything additional for hosting, bandwidth, or refunds. You get to keep all the data from your sales—email addresses included. It could be an out-of-the-box way to build an email list!

Price: Free

Also consider: Shopify, WooCommerce

3. The best (only?) solution for scheduling Instagram posts – ScheduGram

We’ve been eagerly anticipating the opportunity to add Instagram scheduling to Buffer; once Instagram opens up an API that allows us to do so, we’ll jump right on it!

In the meantime, the guys and gals at ScheduGram have created a rather neat workaround hack. You can schedule your Instagram posts via ScheduGram by uploading them via computer to the app’s back-end. How does ScheduGram get around the sticky issue of Instagram’s upload API? They’ve built a custom process in their office that uses an encrypted, secure physical phone. Go figure!

ScheduGram example Schedugram - upload

(Note: ScheduGram will need your Instagram password in order to upload on your behalf. Same with Postso, an alternative listed below.)

Price: Plans start at $7 per month with a free 7-day trial

Also consider: Postso, Latergram

(Note: If you’re itching to schedule to Pinterest, too, ViralWoot offers Pinterest scheduling and analytics. They’re one of a select few with Pinterest API access; we’re excited for Buffer to be added to the invite list soon!)

4. Get feedback from friends – SiteDrop

Collaborating on your work should be a snap, especially if you and your team are spread out with travel or remote work. One way to keep a project in sync is with SiteDrop, a fun tool backed by the team behind Digg and Chartbeat.

SiteDrop syncs with a chosen DropBox folder, pulls in all the files and photos from the folder, and displays everything in a stream of information that you can easily share with teammates. Each file comes with its own areas for likes and comments, and you can create as many different sets as you like, based on your DropBox folders.

SiteDrop example

SiteDrop pitches itself as a tool for project management, design, and photography, and I think there could definitely be uses for coordinating content research, social media campaign ideas, and more.

Price: Free

Also considerIcebergs, Evernote

5. Chat quickly with teammates about anything and everything – Pie

When we last mentioned Pie as a helpful tool for small businesses, Pie was a link sharing app that helped teammates collaborate together on content curation. It has since morphed into a full-fledged chat tool—with a fun twist. Pie chats are topic-specific, meaning that instead of a general, broad chat room for everything, you essentially create mini chat rooms based on specific topics and conversations.

Pie Topics and ideas

Beyond the slick web app, you can interact with Pie via Chrome extension, iOS app, and Mac app.

Price: Free

Also consider: Slack, HipChat

6. Sync and automate any two apps – IFTTT & Zapier

Two of our favorite automation tools—IFTTT and Zapier—can help you coordinate and automate your marketing efforts in a variety of fun, unique ways. We’ve written before about 34 tips to wire up an IFTTT recipe for social media, and anything you can’t figure out with IFTTT, you can try with Zapier. The former is a free service, the latter gives you your first five free and then switches to paid plans (Zapier has hundreds of connectable apps and services, compared to IFTTTs dozens).

Here are a couple examples of the way we use each service.

An IFTTT recipe to add to Buffer every time I tag something with “shared” in Pocket:

IFTTT Recipe: Add Pocket 'shared' to Buffer connects pocket to buffer

A Zap that pulls in all blog comments right to our chat room: Zap example Price: Free for IFTTT, Free-to-paid for Zapier 

7. Save time building beautiful surveys that people love to use – Typeform

I quite enjoy a survey that doesn’t feel like a survey. Those are exactly the type that TypeForm specializes in. Typeform surveys ask one question at a time; survey takers move through the survey chronologically via the smooth UI or keyboard shortcuts (e.g., press Enter to go to the next question). Plus, you can add visual components to your questions and that make it even easier on those filling out your form.

Creating a new survey is a time saver as well. You simply drag and drop the types of questions you want to include, and you can set the color scheme, fonts, and images with just a couple clicks. And of course, TypeForm provides all the relevant analysis and data that you might need from the survey results.

Price: Free

Also consider: SurveyMonkey

8. Create an awesome GIF with ease – Gifmaker

Animated gifs have slowly but surely found their way onto many major social media networks—Tumblr, Google+, Pinterest, and most recently Twitter. (Facebook is still a holdout.)

If creating a GIF seems like a daunting task, rest easy. There’s a tool for that. Gifmaker is one of my favorites for creating a quick and easy GIF from existing photos on your computer. Simply upload your pics, place them in order, and set the timing, and Gifmaker will combine them into a single animated image—for instance, me with Kanye glasses, a tiny top hat and a mustache.

Kevan GIF

Price: Free

Also consider: Makeagif, IMGflip (GIFs from video)

9. Save time choosing where and how to engage - Social Rank

I find myself occasionally wondering where and how I should spend my time on Twitter. Are there particular people I should be engaging with? Which of my followers should I be focusing on?

Social Rank answers these questions with its follower reports, identifying which of your followers have the most influence and which are most engaged with you. The output from Social Rank makes it quick and easy to see some spots where you can focus your Twitter time.

Social Rank

Free accounts are allowed to run a report every month.

Price: Free

Also consider: Followerwonk

10. See all your social stats in one place – SumAll

How’s this for a time saver: All your daily analytics from over 30 services delivered straight to your inbox every morning.

Since I’ve started using SumAll, I’ve been more on top of my stats and numbers than ever. You simply wire up any number of different accounts—Twitter, Facebook, Google Analytics, and MailChimp are a few of my favorites—and SumAll will pull the data and send you a report daily. Here’s a taste of what the email looks like:

SumAll report

 

You can log into your account dashboard to see even more statistics and to edit the reports you get sent. If daily stats aren’t your thing, you can change the range to weekly, monthly, or custom, and there are pro accounts for those interested in expert analysis, notifications, and more.

Price: Free

Also consider: Moz

Bonus time-saver: Buffer

Since we’re talking about productivity, I’d be remiss not to mention our own little app. Buffer lets you schedule your social media posts with ease, building up queues of content for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+. We’ve recently added additional topics to our content suggestions, so you can always discover fresh new articles and quotes to post. Suggestions now include our favorite stories from marketing, design, lifehacking, business, and inspiration. Buffer content suggestions

Price: Free (w/ paid plans if you’re interested)

Also consider: HootSuite, Sprout Social

Over to you

I hope you’ve found some fun new tools to try as you seek to save time this summer. I’m always eager for a new tip, tool, or trick that can help me automate, schedule, communicate, and engage better.

What tools and services do you use that save you big time on your projects and strategies? Got a favorite summertime tool to share? It’d be great to hear from you in the comments!

Image credits: Michael Melloy Images

  • http://www.wiredhealth.org WiredHealthOrg

    Thanks Kevan for this tools. I try now SumAll.
    I will come back with impressions about this tools.
    Take care my friend.

  • Niro

    Awesome tips here. Just what I’ve been looking for especially SumAll.

    Thanks again

  • http://www.contentimo.com/ Robin Yearsley

    Kevan, great list… But you missed a couple of great ones:

    1. Snip.ly enables you to customise outbound links with a branded link to anywhere, so visitors get content with your message on it

    2. https://unroll.me – pushes all (or selected) emails that you’ve subscribed too, into one daily email that you can browse like a web page. It’s a real time saver.

    Hope these help you save more minutes per day and hours per week.

    Cheers,
    Robin.

    • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

      Hi, Robin! Those are such great additions! I use Unroll.me on a daily basis to manage newsletters. It’s a life saver (and an inbox saver). I haven’t seen snip.ly before. Thanks for the lead on that one!

  • Tyler Butler

    An Instagram scheduling app. My hero.

    • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

      Enjoy, Tyler! Hope it works well for you!

  • Cathleen Rucheli Berry

    Giving SocialRank and SumAll a try right now, thanks for the list!

    • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

      You got it, Cathleen! :) Hope there’s a winner there for you!

  • dvonbieker

    Giving SumAll a try. So far looks like a great tool – thanks for the heads up!

    • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

      Absolutely! It’s been really fun to use that one for my Buffer stats! :)

      • dvonbieker

        I use Slack quite a lot – why do you prefer Pie?

        • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

          We actually use HipChat for team communication at Buffer. I’ve got tons of experience with HC! In my experience with Pie, I’ve found that the topic-specific focus of a chatroom is a neat touch. The way we often set things up is to have “rooms” for different teams and areas of the product. Pie, if I’m understanding right, would tend toward “rooms” for a certain bug or a certain fun Internet find. Maybe Slack does the same?

          • dvonbieker

            I think it’s similar, but not the same. In Slack, you create ‘channels’ – which are basically chatrooms for topics you decide on. It sounds like Pie adds these ‘rooms’ automatically, which would be great for a while, but I could see getting overwhelming and having hundreds of different top-level threads after a while. But I haven’t used it, so I’m not sure. Slack also creates a channel between you and each user, and funnels notifications from a bunch of services into the channels of your choice. We use RSS, Trello and Mailchimp integrations with Slack currently – which makes it a good hub for all of our team communication tools. Plus, it has its own robot :)

  • http://peter-rocks.it/ Peter Piskun

    TypeForm looks fantastic – can definitely be of use on my bachelor study

    • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

      Glad to hear it, Peter! What’re you studying? :)

      • http://peter-rocks.it/ Peter Piskun

        the program is named “Marketing & Communication Mangement”. It’s a part time program so i’m really happy that this semster comes to an end this weekend ;-)

  • http://about.me/Brian.Fanzo Brian Fanzo

    Not a big fan of people auto link dropping and using RSS feed direct posting without reading and/or customizing what they share but thats just a personal thing… Love using @IFTTT to have stuff from my pocket and feedly auto added to a buffer account that isn’t scheduled to share then I read the post and customize what the share will look like and add it to my active buffer accounts! Great stuff as always @kevanlee:disqus

    • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

      Great one, Brian! Yes, auto-linking isn’t the best, especially when it gets quite extensive use. Hopefully folks will augment with engagement! (Or maybe use Twibble’s filters.)

      IFTTT is a winner indeed! Have you tried Zapier for anything that IFTTT can’t do?

      • http://about.me/Brian.Fanzo Brian Fanzo

        Played with Zapier but can get most of what I need done via IFTT

  • http://www.BluewireMedia.com.au/blog Adam Franklin

    Hey Kevan, I’ve heard good things about SocialOomph too. We’re testing that out right now. Thanks for the SumAll suggestion.

    • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

      Hi, Adam! Interesting! I’d love to hear what you think of SocialOomph after you give it a go! (Same for SumAll, too.) :)

  • http://www.mindwhirl.com/ Michael Miller

    Hi Kevan, I like tweepi.com to find, follow, and flush twitter users. I’ve got it down to about 20 minutes a day to find 100 potential followers, and flush 100 non-followers. Not bad. Tweepi, Buffer and Feedly are my “go to” social media tools.

    • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

      How awesome to hear your workflow with this, Michael. I’ve tried Tweepi before, and I might just head back there based on your recommendation! :)

  • Rob Montgomery

    Hi Kevan! :)

    These are really great tips. I have been looking for a way on how I can minimize the time I spend updating my social media sites. These tips would definitely work! Robin, thank you for the great additions too!

  • Jeff Domansky PR

    Wow, great list Kevan. I’ll add PicMonkey to the list as my favorite fast tool for image creation.

    • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

      Hi, Jeff! PicMonkey is a great one! Thanks. :)

      • Mirjana

        I’ve been using Canva for images for social media. It’s super easy for dummy designers like me.

  • http://about.me/Brian.Fanzo Brian Fanzo

    Discovering content is important as well.. With so much noise it’s hard to find a good place to not only find content but share it and provide customized comments!

    Big fan of Scoop.It.. It is great because you can not only find content but share it with scoop.it community and add it to your buffer to share on social.

    My social media page: http://www.scoop.it/t/social-media-by-brian-fanzo

    • sylviadstrong

      My Uncle
      Riley got an almost new red GMC Canyon just by some parttime working online
      with a laptop. visit their website C­a­s­h­f­i­g­.­C­O­M­

    • charlesjdion

      my buddy’s sister makes $87 every hour on the internet
      . She has been unemployed for 6 months but last month her payment was $19402
      just working on the internet for a few hours. go right here C­a­s­h­f­i­g­.­C­O­M­

  • http://timmilburn.com/ timage

    Kevan! Dude…you are publishing great material for Buffer. Love all of the great content you are writing. Keep it up. Cheering you on from Idaho!

    • Sarah

      I second that. Possibly the only newsletter I open, read, and click on!

    • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

      Hi Tim! Three cheers for Idaho! Hope things are great with you. Thanks for the encouragement. :)

  • Rachelle Strauss

    I’m a huge fan of social oomph. It’s intuitive to use and doesn’t offer too much of the stuff you’ll never want. It works best for the evergreen content you’ll want to share again and again, IMO. It has suggestions for people to follow which is a bit lacking, but it does the job and it’s easy to filter multiple accounts so you can keep on top of what you have scheduled.

  • DariaAmosova

    Thanks for ScheduGram!

  • http://www.combridges.com/ Jon Leland

    Selz.com looks like a slick, easy to use e-commerce option and more flexible that the one you mention. No SSL required to embed on your own website.

  • http://www.sjfpc.com/home.html Steven J Fromm & Associates

    Kevan these are great tips. Thanks. I have a Twitter/Buffer question. It seems that I can’t attach a picture to my Twitter posts through Buffer even though there is a picture on the linked page. Is this correct or am I missing something?
    Hope you respond.

    • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

      Hi, Steven! So glad you enjoyed this article!

      I’d love to help get you squared away with your Twitter/Buffer sharing. My feeling is that our awesome Heroes might know just the trick to help you out here. They’re at hello@bufferapp.com. Would you mind sharing with me how you’re composing your posts? Do you perhaps use the browser extension or do you compose straight from the Buffer dashboard?

      • http://www.sjfpc.com/home.html Steven J Fromm & Associates

        I go to Buffer, then just copy and paste the blog or website article page and add my discussion to it. Now there is a picture attached in the below box at Buffer when I post to Facebook or Google +, but if I just post to Twitter there is no picture in the lower block anymore at Buffer that would post with the Twitter post. I hope that is clear.

        • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

          Ah, Steven! Thanks so much for your patience here. Really sorry for not circling back to this sooner. Here’s my take on it: Photos on Twitter are handled a bit differently than photos on FB/G+. On Twitter, I think you’ll find success if you add your link, type your discussion, then click on the little image button on the same line as the Add to Queue button. You can add any image you have on your computer this way (or one you’ve downloaded from the web).

          Alternately, what I like to do is grab the Buffer browser extension and Buffer images right from the post. It’s fun! https://bufferapp.com/extras

          • http://www.sjfpc.com/home.html Steven J Fromm & Associates

            No worries Kevan. I took your advice and went back to Buffer and did on online chat to learn how to use image button. It requires you to copy the image to your computer and then upload to the buffer. A little bit of a pain but not so bad.
            As to your buffer app you mention, does the image come with the title of the text of the article it is attached to?

  • Sherry Hayes-Peirce

    I just discovered your great blog Kevan and so thankful for all the tips, tools and techniques to help marketers like me!

  • Ervin Ruhe Jr

    Thanks Kevan. I love using Buffer. I need to use more of it, since I’m a paid member.
    Keep up the great work Buffer Team!

  • sehatpharmacy

    This is extremely insightful

  • Natalia Bednarz

    Great job! Some of them seem to be extremely useful. I would add postspicker.com that helps to deal with Facebook Page posts and comments. You can download them to a file for further analysis :) Also, have a look on fanpoint.com – third party Facebook apps with no coding skills required. Perfect for quick promotions and small budgets.

  • Edward

    Hi Kevan, nice post. For chat and internal collaboration we use proofhub.com. It is an intuitive software with features like group chat, discussions and much more.

  • http://www.MarketMeSuite.com/ Allison Davis at MarketMeSuite

    Hi Kevan,

    I would love for you to try out MarketMeSuite as well! Especially since we have an awesome integration with you. :)

    We’d love your thoughts!

    Allison Davis
    Community Manager @MarketMeSuite

  • Jason

    I’m using Buffer for Twitter, AppNet, Facebook and Polarbear app (http://www.PolarbearApp.com) to post to Tumblr, Blogger and Webhooks.
    Saves me a lot of time! :-)

    • http://blog.bufferapp.com Kevan

      Glad to hear it, Jason! :) Thanks for the comment.