If you want to keep moving your business forward then this post will show you some social media marketing tools and resources to do so.
These are the tools, books and resources that have transformed my business over the past few years. I've recently updated it for you so that you can continue to shape your marketing and business.
BY DONNA MORITZ | UPDATED JULY, 2018 | CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS
I included “Productivity Tools” in the heading because many of the things that made a difference in my business this year were not just Social Media Marketing Tools.
These were the books, apps, programs, tools, people and podcasts that have had a massive impact on my productivity and overall business strategy.
And they are not just one-hit-wonders. I will continue to use and integrate all of these tools into my social media and content strategy in the year ahead… because I have already been using most of these tools for years.
But I have added a new tool or two, and removed one that was retired (sob… I loved Google Sunrise App. RIP) .
Because let's face it, if I don't use some of these tools, then the old procrastination-queen will come out …and she's all kinds of awesome at avoiding the task at hand when not kept on track by these 26 little helpers!
Here they are … and the reasons why you should check them out for your business:
Productivity & Scheduling Tools
Momentum is a free Google Chrome plug-in, and it's like a personal dashboard that keeps me on task for the major goal I am working on for the day and up to 3 smaller “to do” tasks.
Momentum is just like a “new tab” dashboard. It keeps me from getting lost in new tabs. Literally.
How? By popping up on every new tab I open, with a reminder of my focus for the day, key tasks, the weather (cause a girl's gotta know when to venture out), time, and a motivational quote.
Not only that, it helps me to reduce distraction and keep inspired – it's a giant canvas of beauty on my desktop. Each day brings a new, awesome image from Momentum's library that greets me like this:
I can set the daily focus task each morning and also change out my small list of to-do items. Every time I find myself opening a new “tab” on my desktop I am immediately reminded of what I should be working on – in a visually calming way!
I have been focusing on a smaller “to do” list for the past year, with just 3 items per day to complete (usually one bigger one and 2 smaller ones). This app has been like a team member gently prodding me to keep on tasks.
Let's face it. It's flippin' hard to keep focused and be organised when managing social media – whether it's your own business or someone else's. This tool keeps me on track and will keep you on track too.
I did a review of Agorapulse in this post. Check it out if you want to dive deeper into the benefits of Agorapulse.
Agorapulse is my go-to tool for social media management – it's brilliant for posting and engagement.
Here's a peek inside. It's got a fresh look with a fresh UI, dashboard and awesome features!
I love how everything is in one column so you'll never miss a tweet, post, comment or mention. I can assign a post, tag it, reply to it or review it… you even get to Inbox Zero!
In the following example, I have zoomed in on the contact in question (Mari Smith) to check out her profile – it all happens within the Agorapulse dashboard:
Because Mari is a major influencer, Agorapulse flags her as being important and she is also flagged as having engaged with my content before – useful info to know!
Here are just some of the ways I love Agorapulse and why you should check it out:
- Inbox Zero – Now it's virtually impossible to miss mentions with one inbox. I don't get to zero every day but it keeps my inbox at bay. And when you do clear your inbox, it's super satisfying!
- Easy Publishing – easily publish to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn – and the calendar view makes it easy to keep organised.
- Engage with Your Advocates – Agorapulse tells you who they are based on the level to which they engage and share your content.
- Awesome Moderation Tool – no more spam with Agorapulse's easy filters and moderation rules. It's now super easy to get rid of the spam and manage your messages and mentions.
- Advanced Monitoring, Search and Reports – Agorapulse let's you publish some of the best reports you'll see in a Social Media Management tool. You can instantly see how your content is performing, team stats and compare data. And you can do handy hashtag searches.
- Re-Queue feature – After years of paying for Edgar separately, it's a breath of fresh air to be able to use Agorapulse to queue your evergreen content. Now you get one of the best social media management tools AND the bonus of a re-queue function.
- Easy-to-use Mobile App – The mobile ap is super easy to use and optimized for mobile so you can keep engaged using your thumbs!
- Auto-Posting to Instagram – Agorapulse is an Instagram Partners so they got early access to the auto-posting functionality to Instagram. As an Instagram partner you can be sure they will find out about features early.
- Pricing – Agorapulse is super affordable – for a single team of 1 up to a 20-person team. It beats the competitors on price across many variables and (IMHO functionality) by a long shot!
- Respond to Ad Comments – If you run ads this will save you hours – see and reply to all your ads in one place!
- Team Functionality – The agency level account gives you team approval whereby you can assign tasks and approve messages across multiple members of your team. It's also in “real-time” so you don't cross over at all… you'll see instantly if someone is replying to a post.
Oh and here's proof that I do sometimes reach Inbox Zero:
Note: If I was forced to choose only one tool for managing my social media, Agorapulse is definitely my pick!
I have recently started using Tailwind for my Pinterest marketing (to avoid “dumping” my pins as I was not getting to pin as regularly as I would like).
It took me all of 5 minutes to love this tool.
Tailwind is a Pinterest marketing, analytics and management platform. Here are a few reasons why I love Tailwind:
- Tailwind provides suggested times to post at, right out of the box. I love that it can suggest when my followers are the most active and set up those posting times straight up. Otherwise it's just another thing to set up for me. This way, I can come back later and modify or add times as necessary.
- Editing Pinned Images is Easy – just add your correct URL link, description etc – just like on Pinterest
- I can create images using Canva from within Tailwind!
- The Tailwind Publisher for Google Chrome allows me to pin any image from any website and the Tailwind button conveniently shows up on image-rollover.
- You can even schedule your Repins!
- There are loads of stats, reports and tips included – too many to go into here, but detailed information helps you to quickly understand what is working and what is not. I suggest you check out Tailwind here if you are serious about getting more results with Pinterest.
Slack, Slack, Slack. Where do I begin?
I can't take the credit for telling you about Slack (though you can send me a virtual hug anyway). I heard about it via Michael Hyatt and he in turn heard about it via Pat Flynn and he in turn heard about it from the team at Fizzle.co.
I am merely passing on the awesomeness…
I experimented with Slack this year as my business started to grow. I was finding myself juggling more and more email – even with a small fledgling team of VAs and contractors.
Slack removed team/contractor conversations out of the email I was slowly drowning in.
What is Slack? It's a tool that brings all your communication together in one place. It's real-time messaging, archiving and search for modern teams.
But it's so much more – watch this cute video to find out just how much more and I guarantee you will be curious enough to try it!
Slack has a number of things going for it:
- It's highly searchable – you can find old messages easily just like in email.
- It's well designed and super easy (and fun) to use!
- You can set up “channels” of conversation around common interests or projects
- You can swap files, images, documents within Slack and it integrates with many other tools like Asana, Dropbox and Google Docs (even SoundCloud).
- All that plus the power of instant messaging and … yes… Emojis!
Don't be Slack – check it it out. Read Michael's article about how he cut his email back by 83%.
PS it's also a great replacement from longwinded Skype chats. I would suggest you try Slack – you don't have to have a big team. It would work for you even if you are having conversations with contractors. Enjoy!
Psst.. I am not sure whether to call it an “alternative” to Meet Edgar or an upgrade, it's that good but read the post above and you will see why ;o)
I had to mention Ian and Razor Social. His weekly newsletter and blog posts keep me up to date on what is happening with tools for my business.
Many of the tools I have listed here, I discovered through Ian. He is my go-to-guy for tools and tech, but he also makes it super simple.
Not only that, for a slighty-but-not-overly techy person like me, he helps me to understand how these tools get results – from engagement to conversions.
Ian knows his stuff and he knows how to break it down!
If it's easier to do with a tool, Ian will tell you – be sure to follow him!
I've long used Post Planner to find content that's “proven” on the web and then share it. PostPlanner analyzes content that works (their recommendation engine does the hard work for you) to find the most engaged with and shared content, so you can then use it to direct your own social media marketing. Either share that content directly within Post Planner, or use it as inspiration to create your own similar content.
Here is what I love about Post Planner:
- It allows you to post natively within a dashboard that resembles Facebook – so it's easy!
- You can set up “hit lists” or Folders of pages you love to follow and share from. Don't panic now, these are good hit lists to be on and do not involve anyone being in the trunk of a car. With Post Planner you can add all the pages that you love into folders – because you know they provide quality posts on a consistent basis. Find out more about Hit LIsts here.
- You can pre-determine queue times for posts to go out, so you can schedule your posts weeks ahead.
- Post Planner has an uber-cool viral image tool that allows you to check the popularity of visual content on other Facebook Pages and share it. It makes sense that content that performs well on one page, should perform well on your page when you share it, right?
Check out Post Planner and sign up for a free trial here.
I wanted to include Books in this post as even though they are not “tools” in the tech or traditional sense, they are “ways of enacting change” in my business, which is something a “tool” does.
Each of these books has resonated greatly with me and has directly resulted in me making change in my daily activities that has impacted my business.
I want to share them with you.
I am leading with this book, as it absolutely flipped a switch in me this year.
I can't do this book justice but let's just say that if you are struggling with managing your time and “fitting it all in”, Thrive will help you to separate the essential from the non-essential and to look at the world, your family, your business in a new light.
Or at the very least it will reinforce what is important to you.
And if you love the Huffington Post you will get the back-story on why this smart, savvy lady completely flipped the way she was working and how she approaches her company today. It's life changing and business changing stuff.
And she will make sure you get more sleep, just sayin'.
Before you post another social media update….Before you download another tool…Before you launch onto another social media platform…. order this book. And read it.
Kim Garst is one of the Top Forbes-Listed Social Media Influencers in the World for a reason. She knows what works and why.
Surprising as it may seem to most people, this is not just a book about Twitter (which Kim rocks at, with over 300k followers).
This is not just a book about Facebook (Kim defies the odds on a daily basis and gets 500-1000% engagement when most pages struggle to get 2-6%).
It is a book about how to let the real you shine through in your business, so you can tap into the shift in HOW people are buying. As Kim says, we buy from people we know, like and trust, but how we make our purchases is changing.
In Kim's words: This is NOT a “how to” book on social media. It is something much more powerful. It is a guided journey to discovering the most unstoppable force in nature, something which you already have but just don't know how to harness and unleash…YOU!
Grab it. Read it. Apply it to your business.
I had read the amazing book ReWork which started me on a journey to rethink the way I do business, especially as I was growing a small team. This book, The One Thing has extended (yet simplified) the concept of going back to basics. This book truly does give the “Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results”.
If you are a multi-tasker doing lots of “work” but getting nothing of substance done, then…You. Need. To. Read. This. Book.
It's my holiday reading and I am only 3/4 of the way through it but I have learned so much from this book, and have already started to implement changes ready for next year.
Read “The One Thing” if you want to cut out the clutter, achieve more results in less time, build momentum towards goals, overcome overwhelm, have more energy and stay on track!
When Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick join forces to write about Social Media you really should read, listen and take notes. This is an essential guide for knowing how to cut through all the noise and be on the right platforms in the right way.
As Peg and Guy say, this is “the essential guide to get the most bang for your time, effort and money”. I was one of the Beta readers for this book and I can tell you that it was awesome then and the final version is just as awesome.
It's jam-packed full of practical tips, case studies, insights and tricks for getting more results out of your time online. It's a no fluff, “do this” book you will keep by your side in the future.
Melanie Dodaro has always been my go-to-gal for LinkedIn advice.
She is one of the world's leading experts on LinkedIn and put simply, if she writes a book on LinkedIn, we all should be reading it.
That is all.
Ok maybe one more thing – Melonie's blog is also a great source for content, not only about LinkedIn but all things “social selling” and she knows her social media and marketing. She is the real deal. Follow her.
Visual Social Media Tools
It wouldn't be a post on my site without my favourite visual content apps and tools. They keep my blog and social media marketing ticking away… and keep me productive!
13. Animatron Wave
Animatron wave is my go-to online video builder – with the added benefit of being able to choose from a huge library of video stock footage. Here's a quick walk-through of Wave:
Wave has a number of features that make it worthy of adding to your social video tools:
- choose from over 200 million stock videos clips (and images)
- ability to upload your own media (including audio files!)
- access over 100,000 commercially licenced music clips
- instantly preview the effects you add including filters and transitions on your videos.
- easily switch between landscape, vertical video and square video and resize your video to 30+ formats. This is one of the only tools I know that offers vertical video format as well as square video:
- a growing range of video templates to make your content creation super easy!
As well as landscape video you can create square video, mobile/vertical video, Instagram stories, and Facebook Cover Videos.
Easil might well be my favourite new visual content creation tool. I've been using it for a few months now and I love it. You can read my full review of Easil here.
I've also mentioned it here in this post, all about their awesome infographic template tool.
In short Easil has some of the freshest, most eye-catching graphics, templates, and fonts I have seen.
I think we have all become a little “stale” with the types of templates available to us with the DIY visual content creation tools and Easil was a breath of fresh air when I first discovered it. Here's a quick overview of just a few of the features that you can use in Easil:
Here's some of the things I love about Easil:
- Awesome fonts. You can also upload your own fonts!
- A huge range of templates that are fresh, new and eye-catching. Their designers have mad skills, that's all I will say about that!
- The ability to re-size your designs with one click.
- Design to print service (currently in Australia but word on the street is that it is being rolled out to other countries).
- A cool colour palette picker to immediately get a range of branded colours to use (pulled from your branding or a picture or graphics)
- The ability to design in basic layers
- Easil Stock photos – some of the funkiest (and free) stock photos I have seen. Perfect for the modern entrepreneur or brand. You can also upload your own images.
- A Big range of hospitality specific templates (and a hospitality level of membership) for those of you working in tourism and hospitality!
- GIF Maker – it's super easy to create custom, unique GIFs in Easil.
- Text Effects like drop shadow, text masks (image in text), neon/glow and more!
- PNG Backgrounds.
- Awesome folders for saving your designs and templates and images.
There's a whole lot more to love about Easil. Trust me, the best way to experience Easil is to give it a try here.
I have been a long time fan of Picmonkey using it as my first social media graphic tool. I don't necessarily use it so much anymore but it has some great features that I call on if I need them – like awesome photo editing tools, ability to create circular text, PNG backgrounds etc. Picmonkey is an image editing program with cool filters, overlays and all sorts of functions to make your image and photos look awesome.
But it also works pretty well for creating original visual content. I love Picmonkey for their advanced photo editing tools, as well as:
- their cool themes for seasons and events like Christmas, Halloween, Winter, Celebrations
- their color picking tool for matching colours from the web
- circular text – this is about the only tool that currently does this. I'm sure others will follow.
Picmonkey now has some templates on offer, but honestly I haven't found any templates as good as the ones you see in Easil.
It might not be my go-to tool any more like it was in those very early days, but Picmonkey is handy for the features I mentinoed above, and besides, their team and marketing is just plain fun so you'll always have a laugh using Picmonkey.
Picmonkey has a free plan where you can take it for a spin for 7 days (the previous Forever Free plan was discontinued). Then you can upgrade to the full-featured version after that.
Over has long been one of my favourite visual content creation apps. I have always loved their layers and funky fonts. Especially for creating social media images on your phone.
Over has had many additions added over the last year, but here's a video showing some of the cool things you can do with over, including blending and masking effects:
Over is also one of the few tools to do Instagram Stories templates on a mobile well…
Over gives you a huge content library in your pocket – choose from 4,000+ editable templates, millions of beautiful, commercial-free stock images and 20,000+ incredible graphics.
Love love love love love Videohance. I can't do it justice so you need to watch this video:
And is it any coincidence that this awesome in-the-hand-real-time video editing app is made by the same people as WordSwag?
I think not people. I think not.
Check it out. Download it. Love it. Create some cool videos and be sure to come back and share them with me!
Podcast Shows that kept me up at night
This was the year I fell in love with Podcasts. I can't get enough of them and listen to them for my beach walks or when driving.
If can wrestle the Spotify playlist away from my kids. BTW, is it a sign I listen to too many podcasts, if Miss 9 knows who Michael Stelzner and Amy Porterfield are by their voice alone?
I digress. Instead of listing all my favourite podcasts (as there are many), I want to list my favourite episodes.
These are the episodes that made a difference for me in the past year and enacted change in my business:
Amy Porterfield often refers to the concept of finding someone who does something well and learning from them – to model from the best.
So, apart from LOVING her podcast, when Amy says she is doing an episode on what she learned from 2014 and what she intends to do better, I listen.
And so should you.
In fact I recommend you go ahead and subscribe to her entire podcast).
This episode was a game changer for me. I didn't have 9000 unread emails like Pat Flynn did, but I had a few hundred and they were growing daily and overwhelming me.
I needed a system and I found that system in this podcast episode.
Pat goes through the process he took with his Executive Assistant to turn his email management around.
This episide of the Smart Passive Income Podcast is well worth listening to (as is the entire podcast!).
I know of number of people, like me, who have changed their way of operating after listening to this podcast – and started working with Virtual Assistants to get some help.
I try to catch most of the episodes of this podcast. Social Media Examiner (and the Social Media Marketing Podcast) by Michael Stelzner are two of the best, current sources of social media advice there is.
I was honoured to be featured on the podcast in 2014 with Mike Stelzner, and I wanted to share with you a couple more of recent episodes that you will get great content, tips and strategy from:
- Instagram Growth: How to Build a Community on Instagram – Sue B Zimmerman is the best Instagram Strategist I know. This is an awesome podcast episode and Sue BRINGS IT with some really savvy ideas for how to build community and ultimately make sales from Instagram.
- Visual Content – How to Create Shareable Images that People Love – I mentioned Kim Garst's book above and how much engagement she gets on Facebook. This interview with Kim reveals one of the big reasons why her Facebook page engagement is so high – her visual content.
- Advanced Blogging – How to go Big with Your Blog – I have learned a lot about Blogging from Darren Rowse (founder of Digital Photography School and Problogger). so it was great to hear him share his insights on this episode – check it it out!
I love Michael's Blog and Podcast. I have followed him for a number of years now (fun fact: he was the first person who made sense to me on Twitter!).
This episode in particular grabbed me – in fact any of Michael's episodes or blog posts on morning routine are great to listen to. I am not a morning person but when I do make the effort to get up early, it's great! I can get some exercise in, start the day out well and ultimately get more done.
If you are struggling with getting more out of your day, then listen to this podcast episode:
Real Life Events
There is something to be said for attending real life “events” – I consider them a “tool” for my business as they allow me to network and create great connections with other social media marketers as well as to learn from the actual event.
In 2014 I did a lot of speaking and I was fortunate to be a speaker at 3 of the top social media/marketing events around the world – Social Media Marketing World, Problogger Event and Social Media Tourism Symposium.
I highly suggest you check these out, or attend a local event or an event in your country next year:
It was a huge honour to speak at Social Media Marketing World in 2014-2018 and I can't wait to speak again in 2019.
If you are going to make one big journey (within the States or from overseas) to a major Social Media Event, then this is the one to book in your calendar.
Over 120+ Social Media Marketers present every year and many of the top brands in the world present and attend.
Even if I was not speaking I would be making the long haul flight to get there from Australia. I've travelled over 100,000 miles back and forth to SMMW since the first one in 2013!
It's cool. Very cool.
Content Marketing World is THE best conference for content. I had always wanted to attend and then got the chance to in 2017 when invited by the founder, Joe Pulizzi to run a tourism workshop. If you have a team that is invested in content marketing, or even if you are not doing content marketing yet then I would recommend this conference.
It's also big like Social Media Marketing World but it doesn't seem so. It's held at the Cleveland Convention Centre in Cleveland Ohio and it's a great venue – very intimate despite its size and you feel like you get to meet a lot of people and you're not just one of thousands.
The speakers are also super friendly at this event and you'll meet lots of them. They have some superstar keynote speakers and the year I was there we had Casey Neistat, Colson Whitehead and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Other years they have had Tina Fey, Mark Hamill and all sorts of wonderful content creators from actors to writers.
And Cleveland is actually a pretty cool place. The opening night party is held at the Cleveland Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and it is AWESOME.
You can find out more about Content Marketing World here.
Darren Rowse and his team put on a stellar event for many years and I have been a speaker at 3 of these events in the past.
These tickets sell out quicker than a Pink Concert. I'm not kidding. Last year sold out in about 2 hours.
Keep an eye on their Facebook Group or subscribe for updates from Problogger for future event dates. They have changed the format in recent years to hold smaller events and in 2018 they didn't hold a Problogger Event. I believe it's just a break and there will be more to come!
And to find out more about getting the most out of your next event check out this post.
Real Life Tools
This is my Monipod “istablizer” selfie stick. It's great for stabilizing and holding your iphone as a camera or a video camera when out and about. It's like having your own personal camera person!
I looooooove this desk. Last year I was doing so much sitting it was starting to feel really uncomfortable so I decided to switch to standing in spurts throughout the day. And you've probably heard a lot of research about standing vs sitting. All in all I think it's worth mixing it up at the very least! And I find that I get energized when I stand for a while. Even dance!
My current standing desk is unique because you can flip from sitting to standing in an instant – all with an easy movement to raise it easily to a standing height position.
It's not heavy to operate and sits on my desk like a normal worksplace.
Until I decide to stand up. Then it looks like this.
You can even dance while working…if that's how you roll!
That's my year and all the awesome tools, resources, books, podcasts and people in it.
I hope you find some golden nuggets in here to take with you into the next year.
Over to you:
What are your top 3 Social Media marketing and Productivity Tools from the last year?
How have they helped you? Please leave a comment below and don't forget to tell me WHY you love them!
This post contains some affiliate links, and as such I may be given a commission for referring you to a particular company or product. Please read my Disclosure page for more information. Please know that I only recommend products, tools, websites, and programs that I personally use and love myself.
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