10 Awesome Social Media Tools I’m Crushin’ On Right Now

If you’re looking for Awesome Social Media Tools then listen up! In this post I share 10 Social Media Tools I’m Crushin on right now right now.

To make it easy for you, I’ve divided all 10 social media tools up into simple categories, so you find the ones that may help you too!

10 Awesome Social Media Tools I'm Crushin' On Right Now
Hearts on Wood by Shutterstock

BY DONNA MORITZ | 14 FEBRUARY, 2018 | CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS

I get asked to test and try a lot of social media tools at Socially Sorted (a lot!). I receive emails every week about the “latest and greatest” tool for social media – for everything from social media management to DIY Graphic Design, growth tools, SEO and more.

There are some fabulous social media tools around ….so when I say that the 10 tools on this list are great tools, I mean it. I really am crushin’ on them and I am using them in my business right now.

This is not to mean I don’t use and love other social media tools, but these are the tools that are top of mind for me right now and are firing my business on a day to day basis.

Please note that part of writing about visual storytelling, tools and social media strategy over 7 years means that I have built up great relationships with tool companies.

As such, I get offered complimentary accounts for many of the social media tools that I use. It doesn’t guarantee a listing (the tool still has to be awesome). Some of these tools I pay for, and some are gifted subscriptions. All are great.

And obviously you don’t need to use all of these social media tools all at once either. I’ve divided them into categories to make it easier for you to find the best tool to “check out” for you business.

There might be something new for you to try, or perhaps one fo the social media tools is just what you have been looking for!

Ready? Let’s jump in!

10 Awesome Social Media Tools (and Why I am Crushin’ on them Right Now)

Social Media Management Tool (The All Rounder)

I’m starting with an All Rounder tool. If there’s one tool that can serve more than one function, and I use it every day in multiple ways, then that tool deserves top billing.

This is that tool:

#1.  Agorapulse

I wrote about why I love Agorapulse so much 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 – for posting AND for engagement.

Here’s how it looks inside. It’s just had a complete overhaul with a new look, UI, dashboard and features!

Agorapulse Dashboard

As you can see, I get a full view of my accounts and engagement. I can assign the post, tag it, reply to it or review it (process it as sorted!).

I can also zoom in on the contact in question (Mari Smith) to find out more about her from her profile, all the while staying in Agorapulse:

Agorapulse Dashboard Client View

Obviously Mari is a major influencer and Agorapulse already has her flagged as being engaged with my content and important to me.

The dashboard really is only a small part of what Agorapulse can do.  But here’s why I started using Agorapulse:

True story, I started using Agorapulse a few years ago after chatting with their CEO, Emeric, about struggling to keep up with tweets. All the columns and inboxes in other tools like Hootsuite weren’t cutting it. His reply?  “I’ll set you up on Agorapulse. You’ll never miss a mention again.”

And I’ve been using it ever since. And although the Zero inbox is my favourite thing by FAR, there are so many features of Agorapulse for you to love.

Here are just some of the ways I love Agorapulse and why you really should love it too.

  1. Inbox Zero – one inbox for all the things. Now it’s virtually impossible to miss mentions. I don’t get to zero every day but it’s close and it’s VERY satisfying.
  2. Slick Publishing – you can easily publish to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn with a great calendar view to keep you organised.
  3. Engage with Advocates – Agorapulse tells you who is important to your business based on the size of their own platform and profiles + the level to which they engage with and share your content.
  4. Awesome Moderation – you can kiss goodbye to spam with Agorapulse’s easy filters and moderation rules. It’s super easy to manage the “right” direct messages and mentions.
  5. Advanced Monitoring, Search and Reports – Agorapulse let’s you publish some of the best reports around (to see how your content is performing, team stats and comparisons), and you can monitor mentions really effectively across the web. I also love how you can do hashtag and location searches.
  6. Re-Queue feature that makes Edgar redundant – After years of paying for Edgar separately I am over-joyed that Agorapulse has a new evergreen queue feature that gives Edgar a run for its money. Now you get one of the best social media management tools AND the requeue function.
  7. A Killer Mobile App – I have many mobile apps for many tools that I don’t love using. This mobile app is a dream to use, is fully optimized for mobile and keeps me from getting behind with engagement!
  8. Auto-Posting to Instagram – Agorapulse is one of the few Instagram Partners that can claim auto-posting functionality to Instagram. They stay up-to-date with Instagram as a partner so you get to know about features early!
  9. Pricing – this is where Agorapulse really stands out. It’s super affordable, whether you are a one-person team or a 20-person team. It beats the competitors on price (and IMHO functionality) by a country mile.
  10. Responding to Ad Comments – this is an awesome feature for those of us that run ads. Now you can see (and reply to) your ad comments. Awesome!
  11. Team Functionality – if you have an agency-level account, you can access team approval whereby you can assign tasks and approve messages across multiple team members. And it’s in “real-time” so there’s no double up! This is vital if you have a growing team!

Inbox Zero is what I covet now with Agorapulse (and I actually do reach it!)

Inbox Zero on Agorapulse

And I am loving the new re-queue function which means you no longer need an extra tool to set category-based re-queued posts!

Queued Post in Agorapulse

There’s way more to love about Agorapulse (and I outlined it all in this post)  but check it out for yourself and start a free trial of Agorapulse.

If I was forced to choose only one tool for managing my social media, this would be my pick.

So if you are looking for an affordable “swiss army knife” of social media management (for publishing, listening and engagement), then Agorapulse is the best place to start.

 

Animation and Video

I’ve shared a lot of great video and animation tools on this blog over the past year.

In this post I have pulled out two tools in particular that have me crushin’ on them right now:  Wave and Giphy.  Here’s why:

#2.  Wave.Video

I am loving Wave Video for creating social videos.  Here’s an example of a video I just posted to highlight a recent blog post:

There are a few key things to love about Wave:

  • It’s super simple to use. Use their templates or use their simple drag-and-drop building blocks to build up your own video style.  I like to use a mix of video footage, still shots and text on blank backgrounds to mix it up a bit.
  • You can access to their huge library of video footage and stock images. The video footage is something that you don’t come across easily with video tools. I love that you can choose your level of access via subscription or you can also do pay-per use if you have a smaller budget or a one-off project.
  • It really is as easy as one-click to change the size of your video. This video above was created initially for an instagram story but I resized it quickly (in just a few seconds) to optimize it for mobile viewing on Facebook.  Hot tip:  Mobile format will take up more real estate on the newsfeed! You can share square, mobile, instagram stories…even Facebook Cover Videos!
  • The rendering is slick. I can honestly say I have had very few issues with videos glitching or not rendering properly. Whatever is under the hood of wave is pretty impressive!
  • They are adding new templates, fonts and features all the time.  It’s a tool to watch and grow with, for sure!

Here’s a sneak peek at Wave’s dashboard. The elements along the bottom are where the magic happens. You can easily add video blocks, images, sound, transitions .. and everything is drag-and-drop.

It’s heaven for video-editing newbies!

Wave.Video Dashboard showing the workspace for video editing

I’ll leave you to try Wave for yourself.  Get started here.

#3   Giphy

I have been having loads of fun with Giphy and I can say that it has become one of my favourite tools.  You can visit my Giphy Branded Channel here for Socially Sorted TV.

Socially Sorted TV Channel on Giphy
Socially Sorted is now an official Branded GIPHY Channel (woot)

Feel free to share my GIFs anytime (and anywhere) you like!

Over the past few months I have realised there is more to Giphy than just a GIF search engine.

  • It’s a great place to create GIFs – there is a complete set of tools in Giphy or you can bring in your own images or video and turn them into a GIF or video format within Giphy.com. I use the tool Easil to create GIFs primarily, but it’s good to have a back up with Giphy.
  • It’s a place to grow awareness for your business with a Giphy account. I have always had a Giphy account but never really used it. Recently I started adding more GIFs to it and found it super useful for keeping them all in one place so I can access the links.
  • My Branded Giphy Channel – Socially Sorted TV.  I applied not so long ago for a Branded Giphy Channel and I was excited to be accepted.  Now I can add GIFs to the account, and see the number of views. My GIFs are also searchable on Facebook via Giphy which is HUGE.  I see so much potential with this platform and I am already seeing substantial views of my GIFs, so expect to see me diving into Giphy more and sharing what I learn with my audience.
Acceptance to a Giphy branded channel (and how it works)
Socially Sorted TV was accepted as a Branded Giphy Channel!

Note: at this time I can’t give any advice as to how to be accepted as a branded channel as I don’t know the criteria, but I do recommend you have some fun GIFs uploaded to your regular channel before applying (and don’t over-brand them).

Remember that people love to proudly share GIFs “as if they created them”. Make it about the GIF and not about your brand.  Here are some FAQs that may help you.

DIY Graphic Design

As you would know, I write about visual storytelling, so it’s an occupational necessity for me to use a lot of visual tools.  I wrote about many of them here and here.

But this post is about my current crushes and where I am spending most of my time, and because of that I am sharing one main DIY Graphic Design tool with you:

#4.  Easil

Over the past few months I’ve been hanging out with Easil a lot and you will have notice me talk about Easil more on this blog lately.

You can check out my full review of Easil here.

Some things I love about Easil:

#1  The Killer Templates. This is what drew me to Easil in the first place. The templates stand out because they are such great quality… like a Pro-designer created them (and they did!).

Here’s a quick taste:

They are so easy to edit with simple drag-and-drop functionality, and I am in love with their:

  • social media templates
  • Instagram story templates; and
  • tall Pinterest images (medium length infographics)

There are templates for days.  And the BEST part is that you don’t have to pay for any elements, images, or icons that are IN the templates, which is a nice change from other tools where you get an extra fee on checkout/download.  Woot!

#2  Design Merge and how Photoshop-like it is to use layers, and move elements around… without the Photoshop level of tech know-how required!

Check out how easy it is to drag and drop elements, and merge different designs or templates together:

#2  The GIF Maker. Oh how I love the GIF Maker. As per my mention above re Giphy, I use Easil’s GIF Maker to create most of my GIFs now.

I’m addicted. That is all.

#AllTheThings I love including the Color Palette Generator, the Text Effects, Folders to keep my messy creative head organised… and more … are all listed in this post, so check it out when you get time.

You can start a free trial of Easil here.

Enjoy .. and maybe get someone to check in on you if you are using the GIF Maker. It’s a rabbit hole hehe.  

Storytelling on Instagram

I wanted to feature a section on Storytelling on Instagram as the Stories format has become a huge focus across many platforms… including Snapchat and Facebook.

And these tools can be used for any stories format, but I am focusing in on Instagram for the purposes of this post.  I know you’ll be crushin’ on them as much as I am!

#5.  Planoly

I love Instagram Stories. I love creating them, I love watching them.

But sometimes it’s just hard to keep up with creating them every day… or even a few times a week.

And then I realised that there was a tool that would allow me to schedule my Instagram Stories… right under my nose.

Planoly is an awesome planning app for Instagram that exists on desktop and mobile. You only have to look at their Instagram Account to see that they are committed to beautiful content on Instagram.

So here’s what I love about Planoly. Planoly has:

  • the ability to plan and schedule Instagram Stories as well as regular images or video.
  • a listing as an approved partner for Instagram so you can now schedule to auto-post like Agorapulse can, and Tailwind too.
  • the ability to schedule GIFs to Instagram. Planoly will convert them to video which is the format that Instagram will accept. It’s ready to go and you save a TON of time.   Note: you can currently only auto-post images but I’m hopeful that videos are coming! 
  • an optional extra Link In Bio tool (additional monthly fee) that you can use to direct people to a landing page from your Instagram profile. This is great as you only get one link on Instagram. It’s also a shoppable feed so you can add shoppable products to the landing page.  It’s worth considering if you are an ecommerce store or blogger.
  • a handy hashtag hub that allows you to store your hashtags.
  • one of the slickest, prettiest user-interface experiences I’ve had. It’s a dream to use.

But most of all I am crushin’ on the Instagram Stories feature.

Here’s a screenshot of the dashboard with some of my story screens or videos imported.

Planoly dashboard for Instagram Stories

I can click on each element of the story, preview it, rearrange it (drag-and-drop), schedule it or add notes.

Note that this “video” below started out as a GIF. When I uploaded it into Planoly it was immediately converted to a video, which saved me so much time.

Scheduling Instagram Stories on Planoly

I am now posting more stories including short tutorials,  and content I couldn’t really do on the fly… just like the example above.

Some of my content is planned and scheduled along with some ad hoc posts. I can get more done now thanks to Planoly!

#6.  Fastory

Fastory is a FUN tool with a lot of potential!  I am just learning how to use it but it is great for creating engaging instagram stories for your audience.

I mentioned Fastory here in this post featuring their infographic about Instagram Stories.

Fast story combines interactive branded content with entertaining games in a cross-channel experience. This means that you can either create content for Instagram stories that plays and engages in the Instagram stories platform like this:

OR you can send people to a separate mini-site where you have more creative control over the interactive nature of your content… think:  Games.

Here’s a screenshot of the Batman game that Fastory did for Warner Bros. It involved a fun chat with Batman… including Quiz Questions:

Fastory Interactive Game for Instagram Stories

and of course it’s all about Batman:

Fastory Interactive Game for Instagram Stories

The cool thing is that you can also create a game like this, in Fastory if you op to pay for some additional game “add-on” features.

Chatbot game on fastory

There are quite a few games formats to choose from including quizzes, memory, even a basketball game.

  • You can set up the games and the templates to work on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat!
  • It’s easy to get started – it’s just a matter of choosing the format you want to work with:

Choose your format on Fastory

Fast Story has a low entry point. You can get started for free with a basic subscription at $9.99 per month.  You can buy  “add-ons” per month which allow you to access the game templates.

They also offer an enterprise level membership and work with brands to create custom game content. Check out their work with big brands like Warner Bros here on their website.

#7.  Cut Story

I mentioned CutStory in this post.

The reason I use this app is very simple – to allow me to do longer Instagram Story videos without looking at the time …and getting cut off every 15 seconds.

CutStory allows you to upload any video from your camera roll and splice it into segments:

  • Instagram (15 sec)
  • Facebook (20 sec)
  • WhatsApp (20 sec
  • Custom video length (this is ideal for Instagram feed videos up to 60 seconds)

Cut Story App - Set the duration of your videos for Instagram Posts or Instagram Stories

Once you have your footage in 15 second segments you simply load them into Instagram stories (or whatever story format you chose) to result in a  seamless video.

You can check out CutStory here.

Growth Tools

The are a couple of new tools that I am using right now in terms of growth – in terms of both listening for mentions of my brand and opportunities for outreach as well as sharing blog content to a wider audience.

#8  Brand24

As your brand grows online it’s important to know what people are saying about you – both in terms of protection of your brand but moreso for the opportunity to engage in conversations around your brand, identify the people talking about you and monitor sentiment.

Brand 24 is a great tool for listening and discovering what people are saying online about your brand – as it unfolds in real time.  You get instant access to mentions about your brand (or competitors!) across the web from social networks and influential websites.

Here’s an overview of how social media (and media) listening and monitoring works on Brand24:

Cool, hey?  Some features that I love are as follows:

  • Influencer Score – where you can easily identify the people talking about your brand with the most social influence.
  • Sentiment Analysis – easily identify posts or mentions based on whether they are positive, negative or neutral.
  • Reach customers quickly – I love how Brand24 let’s you keep on top of conversations about your brand – or around topics related to your core content or industry – even competitors!
  • The ability to super-charge your customer service – by responding to comments from raving fans right through to dissatisfied customers before things get out of hand.  In an age where reviews and online comments are so powerful, it’s important to be able to respond quickly and show you care!
  • Grouping of results – You can group results based on different topics, keywords or even word clouds.
  • Review Monitoring – Brand24 allows you to monitor TripAdvisor and Yelp reviews – which is HUGE for the tourism and hospitality industries.
  • Live Customer Tutorials Widget – Brand24 has a cool Widget function where you can display LIVE testimonials and positive comments/reviews on your website. How cool is that? Now your customers and potential customers can see legitimate, real-time feedback about your brand or business.

Brand24 can be like having a crystal ball. It allows you to find sales opportunities before they happen – literally talking to people while they are still in the research phase.

As Brand24 says, 80% of customers do research or ask online before making a buying decision and by using their listening tools you can literally find customers before they find you and help them make that decision!

#9 Tailwind Tribes

I’ve been an avid user of Tailwind for a few years now. It’s my go-to tool for Pinterest Scheduling and one of my fave social media tools.

You can check it out here.

But I’ve only been using Tailwind Tribes for last year and really consistently for the past few months. And the results are shaping up to be great.  My Pinterest traffic has almost doubled and is now higher than Facebook referral traffic.

Here’s a recap of Tribes and how it works.

And here’s my blog post review of Tailwind Tribes.

I am a member of 10 Tribes and I will be slowly growing that number and posting into (and sharing from) Tribes more often.

Tribes are way more beneficial for growing your Pinterest traffic than Pinterest group boards. The key is finding great Tribes that share great content so you always have something to share!

Tribes are free to join at Tailwind, but I highly recommend you check out their scheduling tool and consider getting a paid account. It’s the best tool for Pinterest growth, hands down. It’s amazing.

#10 OutreachPlus

OutreachPlus is an outreach tool for doing influencer outreach and email marketing and is founded by my friend Ian Cleary (also founder of Razor Social).

It is a very recent tool for me and I am using it to set up some blog post campaigns where I will reach out to influencers and speakers I know to contribute for comment.

If there is one person that knows how to do influencer outreach the right way… it’s Ian.

He knows how to build relationships with brands and individuals and he knows how to build communities.

I know you’ll be in good hands if you decide to check out this Outreach software. Here’s what the website has to say:

Outreach Plus Homepage

OutreachPlus is designed to generate leads, get more backlinks and press mentions.

But I like that you can also use it to coordinate outreach for blog posts where you want to ask influencers to contribute and so many other things that require you to “organise” and communicate with warm leads.

I’m just starting to dive into this tool but I’m loving what I see so far.

I love these features:

  • Personalized emails – OutreachPlus has advanced personalization features that allow you to tailor your emails in a way that will more likely result in a response.
  • You can fine-tune and check every email before you send it (so crucial if you don’t want to sound like a robot).  Just like this:

Outreach Plus Feature - Send emails individually

  • Smart automation technology that detects if someone has opened an email, replied, clicked a link. It’s so smart it detects if they replied from a different email address so you won’t send unwanted automated follow-up emails.
  • Emails are sent through your own email client to ensure maximum change of deliverability.  But it’s easy to manage all the responses in one inbox.
  • You can easily track which emails belong to which campaign. This is huge, especially if you have multiple projects going on.   Here’s an example from Outreach Plus:

Outreach Plus Inbox

  • There’s loads more to it, but I’ll save that for a later blog post when I’ve been using it for a while. For now I’m crushin’ on it!
 You can find out more about OutreachPlus here.

 

Over to You

That’s a wrap. That’s 10 Social Media Tools I am crushin’ on right now (and will be crushin’ on for the long term, methinks).  

Are you using any of these social media tools?  Which social media tools caught your attention? 

10 Awesome Social Media tools

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Donna Moritz

Visual Social Media Strategist at Socially Sorted
Donna is the founder of Socially Sorted, winner of Best Business Blog in Australia 2014 and a Top 10 Social Media Blog for Social Media Examiner, 2015-2017. She helps brands leverage the power of visual storytelling and content strategy in their business. Her content has been featured in publications such as Forbes and Entrepreneur Online and she is a contributor to Social Media Examiner. Donna speaks about digital and visual content for the marketing and tourism industries internationally.
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