New social media apps are a dime a dozen, it seems, and to be honest, not all of them are particularly helpful. Some just end up being one more dashboard you have to login and deal with.
Too many dashboards are a pain in the ass.
With this list, I wanted to share a few great tools that can help streamline your current social media content load by making it easy to create, manage, and schedule your content. But I also wanted to point your attention to a few new networks that you might not be aware of or haven't been serious about using yet.
Let's start with three that play well with each other and ultimately streamline into one dashboard: Buffer.
One of the best ways to promote your content and connect with influencers is to let them know when you've mentioned them in the content you've created. You have to tell people you've referenced them if you want them to bring attention to you work because hey don't magically find it.
While you can do this kind notification manually, finding the social media accounts and emails of each and every influencer you mention, automating this process a bit can make it more likely that you'll a) actually do it and b) see success.
Notifier, by ContentMarketer.io, is a new tool I've created that automatically looks for people or brands in your blog posts. Simply paste the URL of the blog post into a search box, and Notifier scans your content. It finds the people you've mentioned and digs up their Twitter handles.
Notifier then creates tweets for you that you can send to let them know you've mentioned them, or you can customize the tweets for yourself. You also have control over how many individual mentions you want in each tweet, whether you pack in all of them or send out individual tweets to each Twitter handle. You can send your notification tweets immediately, or you can send them to Buffer and handle them with the rest of your social media schedule.
Notifier automates the process enough that you'll be able to fit it into your already busy schedule, but lets you customize and personalize the tweets so you aren't spamming anyone.
Buffer's social media image creation tool got a reboot. First launched by Buffer in the spring of 2015, Pablo 2.0 is now even easier to use, making it a snap to create kickass images for Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook (the previous version had limited social networks).
While there are a lot of image apps out there that make it less fussy to create graphics than using Photoshop, Pablo now makes it easier by paring the process down even more. Choose from horizontal, vertical, or square graphics (depending on the network), use a few simple controls, mix text with images, and that's it.
Because Pablo is built by Buffer, easy social sharing is built in. Other than Instagram (a mobile platform, requiring you to download your graphic first before sharing via your phone), each graphic you create can be scheduled in Buffer, or shared directly with a few clicks. Plus, you'll get sharing data on how well your image fares on the social networks. A Pablo browser extension makes it easy to grab text or other design elements off of web pages directly.
In other words, there's absolutely no excuse for not creating powerful graphics for your social networks. Time and effort are stripped away, thanks to Pablo.
Finding curated content is another one of those time-consuming but necessary tasks you have to do to build your platform.
There have been several apps in recent years that have aimed to help make that easier (and I'll talk about one in just a bit), but Quuu.co takes a unique approach to the task: using real human beings to actually find and return the content.
First you choose content categories that fit your audience. Quuu will send content directly to your Buffer account, content that is curated by hand instead of an algorithm. That means you'll get high-quality and meaningful content that you can curate and schedule in your own Buffer account, like Pablo and Notifier, meaning that you don't need another dashboard to manage this content. You can do it in Buffer with the rest of your scheduled content.
Live streaming and live social media experiences is only going to increase in 2016, thanks to the success of social apps like Periscope and SnapChat. In-the-moment content, where the social media user feels like they are at an event, is much more attractive to users as Facebook and other traditional social media experiences seem almost tired.
Blab, in this scenario, is in a good position. It's like Periscope, for friends.
Blab "lets anyone have their own show", letting four people chat on camera simultaneously, much like a talk show, and letting other viewers watch the whole process. These viewers can participate in a live chat interface, ask questions of the speakers, and even mute any of the video chats in order to focus on specific speakers. Video creators can embed their blab profiles elsewhere, as well as access other controls (like when the blab session goes live). Blab is also closely tied to Twitter, using your Twitter account to login and making it easy to share to your Twitter feed and pull from the audience you've already built there.
For marketers, Blab gives you a fantastic way to put the always-popular video format to work for you. Forget Twitter chat -- you can have live video and podcasts with audience interaction. Build, teach, promote, interview, discuss, connect -- it's very easy to do on camera with Blab.
While Blab is still in beta (meaning there are a few kinks to be worked out yet), it's definitely worth a look at, with updates and new features likely as it continues to improve.
You might also want to try: Periscope (a mobile app). It's certainly not new, but if you haven't considered it, maybe you should. People love video, and live video is even better. Use it for your events and to bring fans behind the scenes where your team is working.
Yik Yak isn't exactly new (getting heavier use in mid 2015) but it falls in line with non-traditional social networks that are gaining ground as the old standbys, like Facebook, are seen by younger users as exactly that: old.
Yik Yak is about anonymous communication, and lets you get in on the conversations in your geographic area. Some cities have more action than others, so it might not be a perfect fit for you depending on where you live. But, if you have an audience or desire to connect with a specific geographic region, Yik Yak is an interesting way to do it.
You might spot trends, you might spot humorous outtakes, and you'll probably see a lot of extraneous commentary. Yik Yak has a peek feature that lets you see what users are talking about in other regions of the world. You can use the network to ask questions or talk cleverly about brands to get users to engage with you. If you find a funny Yak, you can share it on other social networks and create user generated content. The key here is to make sure your content avoids being overly and obviously marketed.
Yik Yak is particularly a favorite of the college demographic, so if that fits your audience, consider using it. Be warned: it's a brutally honest network (anonymity does that to a person), and users will talk about any topic at all, NSFW or otherwise.
You might also want to try: SnapChat.Brands are finding ways to use this ephemeral network, creating content that feels more personal and less staged-part of the nature of the app-than some of their other social content.
Latergramme makes it easy for brands to post to one specific network: Instagram.
While it's not exactly new (the idea was hatched during a 2014 hackathon), Instagram use has exploded this past year, and it is one of the most popular networks with teen users. Engagement on the network has increase over 400% in the last two years.
Instagram is a predominately mobile platform, making it a bit of a different beast than other social networks. With Latergramme, you can manage multiple Instagram accounts, schedule and plan content for the network, upload content from mobile devices or computers, and more, through a simple interface.
If you're one of the brands who have come to rely on Instagram, check out Latergramme.
Crate is a content curation tool that lets you build a digital library of blogs, topics, domains, influencers, and keywords. Create a great repository, and you don't have to worry about what will be curated.
From this list of acceptable sources and topics, Crate uses social graph data to determine which content, out of that library you've assembled, has performed the best on social networks. From your Crate account, you can send the results of that curation to Buffer, or you can publish it directly from Crate to your social networks immediately.
Crate doesn't offer human-picked content, but it does return results pretty fast so you can at least save yourself the time of going out and finding content. From those results you can choose what works best for your audience.
Essentially, you're looking for tools that are going to help you master and streamline your content process for the classic networks of Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. You'll also be looking towards brand new social media approaches that capitalize on live, unprogrammed, and natural conversational communication. You don't have to be on every network, but there's no reason to limit yourself to the same old thing you've been doing forever. 2016 is a good time to try a new network and a new approach.