We've been doing digital communications and marketing for a looong time, but there are still new tools that come out on the reg that surprise us, delight us, and make our lives easier.
We were browsing around this week and found this list from Hootsuite of the best social media apps in 2019. Naturally, we had to investigate!
Any good social media manager keeps up with lists like these, because you never know when some new app or tool will be the one that saves you hours out of the day or allows you to plan, publish, and measure like even more of a boss. Here are three of our favorites from the list.
And, if you've got a tool you love that you think we should try, let us know by hitting that comment button. We're all about sharing, y'all.
Insta-planning for pros: Planoly
Planoly is an Instagram management tool that's used by retail brands and fancy influencers to schedule content, manage comments, and sell products.
The main appeal of Planoly is that you can pre-plan your posts and visualize how they will look all together on your profile page, an important way to ensure you're sticking to your brand aesthetic and presenting a lovely collection of images to entice new followers to hit that follow button. But the tool does a lot more:
You can manage everyhing from the app or on your desktop (something professional social media managers LOVE),
You can create shoppable links so your followers can shop from you,
You can monitor analytics easily, and,
You can schedule Stories!
Now, there is one drawback: You can't engage with posts from others using this app, and that's important for Instagram. However, if your main goal is to keep your own account looking good and to be able to schedule things out ahead of time, this is a good tool to consider. Once things are planned and scheduled, you can use the Instagram app itself to focus on engaging with other accounts in a real way. You know, like an actual human being would.
Planoly has a free plan with some limited features, but if Instagram is your main social media marketing channel, consider using one of the paid plans; they're affordable (starting at $7 a month).
Video content that doesn't distract: Story Slicer
It may not seem that important, but creating video content that's easy to watch and re-watch matters when there are literally millions of other videos your users could be watching instead. Story Slicer is an iOS app that helps you turn long videos into short ones that you can upload to your Instagram Stories, Snapchat, Facebook Stories, WhatsApp... you name it.
This way, whether you're recording a tutorial video or recording your boss speaking at an important event, you can concentrate on capturing the entire event in one go and easily share short clips later on.
As any social media manager worth their Tweets will tell you, being able to concentrate on one thing at a time is everything when you're trying to keep up with posting on several different channels at once. (And, in the non-profit world, it's rare that a social media manager gets to just work on social media; they're usually being pulled in to lots of other work too!)
Story Slicer is $1.99 in the App Store but there is a free version, so give it a try if you've got an iPhone and you're itching to try out some more video. And, if you're not an Apple user, try out Slice & Save.
Getting on board with bots: Botletter
You might already be familiar with how Facebook Messenger allows you to market to your customers through pre-loaded questions, away messages that respond when you're not online, and other nifty tricks.
Now we can take that a step further with Botletter, a messaging service through Facebook that lets you set up automated messages and drip campaigns to proactively talk to your customers one-on-one. It's like an email newsletter sent through Facebook.
The key to making this work is to share content that your audience actually wants. For example, this is a great idea for anyone with a podcast, who might want to alert listeners that a new episode is up, or for a blogger who wants to let readers know about their newest post. But this can easily cross the line into annoying if you're just trying to push your customers to buy, buy, buy or donate, donate, donate!
If you try this, think carefully about what value you're creating for your audience that they will be happy to see in their Messenger inboxes, and don't be overly personal or creepy about it. If you're not sure what you can offer that they'll like, spend more time getting know your audience first; you can use our guide for that!