Being an agency owner and a team member, I have used a lot of business tools over the years. I’ve come to a point where I have a handful — OK, six– tools that I use on a daily basis to keep my business going and have my visuals looking as good as they can be.
Yes, Agorapulse is a great, all-around social media management tool. But it’s really a must-have for its listening features.
Having an inbox that tells you, “Hey, you need to respond to this,” and then being able to assign that item to a team member has been invaluable. The social team and I at Social Media Examiner used Agorapulse at the previous Social Media Marketing World, and it was incredibly helpful to monitor all the mentions and conversations about the conference.
With Agorapulse, nothing slipped through the cracks. When I clicked that “Review” button in the inbox, I said, “Okay. That’s done. On to the next one.” I went right down the row in the inbox and got through all the queries out there. That was huge for me.
It’s really great for listening when you have a team of people with different skill sets. For example, if there’s a live video or Instagram question, the team assigns it to me. If it’s a Twitter question, that typically goes to Eric Fisher, etc.
I also use Agorapulse’s Instagram scheduling for my clients. With Instagram, you need to post every day to build your brand. So it’s really helpful that I can schedule posts for whenever I’m out of the office.
Pricing: Plans begin at $49 (for 3 accounts, 1 user, unlimited publishing, saved searches, and reports). A two-week free trial is available.
I could not do my job without Tailwind.
No matter how much I love Pinterest, the sad fact is that I can’t be on it 24 hours a day. With Tailwind, I only have to spend around five minutes a day to schedule my daily repins. Easy!
Its analytics allows me to see which of my boards and pins are doing well. This helps me determine what I should pin (or not pin) in the future.
And Tailwind Tribes takes Pinterest group boards to the next level.
A Tribe is an exclusive group of Pinterest users who support each other’s content. Each Tribe has rules what they want and what type of pins and how often you can post. Once you start sharing content and abiding by the rules of a particular Tribe, Tribe members will start “paying you back” by sharing your pins. It’s a great way to get more exposure for your pins. The more active you are in a Tribe, the more you’ll see results in terms of traffic and shares.
Pricing: The $9.99/mo plan allows for unlimited scheduling and basic analytics. A free trial is also available.
Easil is more than a “Canva competitor.” It’s an essential tool if you, like many marketers out there, create Instagram Stories.
If you’re looking for a way to add variety or a spark to your Stories, check out the tons of different templates this tool has. Easil tends to have a wider variety and bigger churn of templates than Canva — so your audience won’t wonder “Now, haven’t I seen that template a million times already?” or “Isn’t that from Canva?”
Simply upload the template to your Dropbox (or Google Drive) account. Download the image on your phone and upload it to your mobile Instagram app. You’ll see an instant improvement to what you’re already doing with Stories.
(There are also a bunch of templates for other social networks and content if Instagram Stories isn’t your thing.)
Pricing: A free plan is available. For features like downloading transparent PNGs and animated GIFs, you’ll need to sign up for a paid plan (starting at $7.50/mo).
Toggl is my go-to tool for tracking my time.
What’s super about this is how the desktop and mobile apps work together.
Let’s say, I’m working for Social Media Examiner then my daughter calls me. We start talking and I think to myself, “Oh, man. I left my timer running.” I just go to Toggl on my phone and turn it off.
At the end of each month when I want to send an invoice with my time spent, I simply export the Toggle report for that business or client.
Another cool thing about Toggl is that it senses you on your keyboard for a certain amount of time. It then asks me, “Do you need to track your time?” It’s a great way to remind me to turn the clock on — or if I got sidetracked, to get back to work.
Pricing: Basic plan is free. For more features like billable rates, you’ll have to subscribe to a paid plan (starting at $9/mo).
Todoist helps me with my task management like no other tool has.
One big reason I love Todoist is that I can assign emails I get to tasks on my Todoist board.
If I get an email to be part of a roundup post, I typically can’t reply right away. But I put that email down as a task. When I’m ready to do the task, the email is right there. Super handy.
I also love setting up recurring tasks in Todoist. There are things I do every day for Social Media Examiner like check Instagram comments. To make a task out of checking comments, I simply write “check Instagram comments daily” and it automatically shows me that task daily. If I’m only doing a task, say every Friday, I can write “Write a blog post every Friday” and it will remind me on Fridays. That natural language processing is really handy.
Pricing: A free plan is available. However, if you’d like reminders and a customizable task list, you’ll need a paid plan (starting at $3/mo).
While I use Easil for Instagram templates and graphics, I go to Lightroom Classic CC every day for photographs that I post to Instagram.
Lightroom CC is a desktop app but also syncs with my mobile app. It’s speeded up my Instagram workflow a ton.
I typically use the Lightroom CC app on my desktop to do all my photo editing. This photo syncs with my Adobe Creative Cloud app. I just open up my phone app and it’s there — and I can share it right there to Instagram. Unlike Easil templates, I don’t have to take the extra step to download Lightroom CC photos to my camera roll before I upload them to Instagram.
If you don’t consider yourself a designer, don’t worry. Lightroom CC has great features like straightening photos, cropping, and adding effects.
Pricing: A free trial is available. Paid plans start at $19.99/mo.
I shared this “short list” of tools with Scott Ayers on a Facebook Live broadcast last week so I thought I’d share it with you here. Think I should be using any other tool? Let me know in the comments. In the meantime, here’s the Facebook Live where I go into more detail on these tools.