Here at redhotblue we often hear from businesses that the reason they aren’t on social media is because it costs too much time and money to constantly post across multiple platforms. While we understand that the pressure to be on all platforms is real and they really can eat away at your time, the introduction of social media management systems now makes it more possible than ever for small business owners to have a strong presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all other social media platforms.
Below are just some of the alternatives business owners can consider to help manage multiple social media platforms in one hit.
Probably one of the most well known social media management systems, Hootsuite has a relatively easy to use dashboard loaded with plenty of support, forums and tutorials.
The free option works for small businesses that don’t have many social media accounts, as it is limited to 3 accounts. The free Hootsuite version works great for companies with a Facebook, a LinkedIn and Twitter account. However, for businesses with additional company pages in Instagram and Google Plus, an upgrade to a paid account would be needed. Having said that it’s not too expensive, starting at only $10.99 per month. If you do have more than three accounts but don’t want to pay you can still opt to stay with the free account, connecting only 3 social media accounts, using any extra ones manually.
Another great benefit of social media management systems, such as Hootsuite, is scheduling. With the scheduling capabilities you can get content ready ahead of time and set them to post whatever day or time you need. You also have access to analytics and reports that provide easy to export/print templates allowing for simplified reporting processes. Reports are limited though and some are only available for higher level users.
While Hootsuite can save you time and money when it comes to managing your social media accounts there are some glitches when posting. For example, sometimes an image won’t show up properly in a link that we have shared on LinkedIn. Also, you can’t tag other companies the same as if you were to post directly in Facebook or LinkedIn.
All in all if you are looking for something to help you manage multiple social media platforms Hootsuite is definitely something to consider. There are plenty of other options out there but Hootsuite has been identified as the more broadly used system. Other platforms include Buffer, Tweetdeck and SproutSocial, which all run off the same principles and are designed to help you become more efficient in the day-to-day management of your company’s social media platforms.
Another option to streamline the management of your social media accounts is inter-platform sharing. Through this you can actually set up your Facebook account to automatically post to Twitter. However, keep in mind this only works properly for very short posts. Due to Twitter posts being limited to 140 characters, if your Facebook post goes over that wordcount Twitter will automatically cut your post short to suit their limitations. To avoid this issue it’s better to scale down your message, include a short link and a few hashtags and away you go.
Inter-platform sharing also allows you to share from Instagram to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr. Instagram is purely a mobile platform meaning you can view your account from a desktop and perform minor tasks, but actual posting can only be done from a mobile device.
If you want to pay for a premium service, it is possible to schedule posts and interact on your account through sites such as http://schedugr.am/ starting at $20 per month. Another service such as http://iconosquare.com/ allows you to monitor statistics on your account, run contests and promote your account across various platforms. These last two are best left for the major Insta-fans
Always remember, not every social media platform account will be suitable for your business. Don’t feel like you have to sign up for everything straight away. Depending on your company abilities, resources and target market, it is best just to choose 2 or 3 platforms and do them really well.