With so much information available through a multitude of platforms made up of diverse — and frequently overlapping — groups of users, a lot of what makes social media great also makes it difficult to use in anything resembling an optimal fashion. Fortunately, there are quite a few tools developed precisely to address the most pressing issues pertaining to social media use, and the five social media tools that follow are among the most highly recommended among social media marketing professionals.

Calendly – Scheduling

Given the fast-paced and rapidly evolving environment in which social media marketing professionals must thrive on a consistent basis, a well-organized, immediately accessible, and easily updated calendar is an absolutely essential tool. Those of us who use Google Calendar tend to prefer a tool like Calendly, which syncs up with Google Calendar and features a host of functionalities necessary to keep pace in the ever-changing world of social media marketing.

The Calendly application is a great organizational tool that also saves a lot of time. Perhaps the feature we appreciate most in the app is the ability to customize windows of availability for specific events, allowing the user to send a link through which a specific block of time can be selected through the application itself. The recipient then selects the most ideal time from those available, giving both parties a sense of autonomy when setting up a meeting.

Thanks to the availability of Calendly, we no longer have to go through the frustrating and time-consuming back-and-forth that occurs when setting up meetings, not to mention the fact that we no longer have to endure those periodic interruptions that quickly hinder productivity. Another subtle benefit of the application is the fact that we don’t have to worry about those embarrassing time-zone errors that everyone makes from time to time.

Impactana – Engagement Metrics and Tools

Trends emerge at an astonishing pace on social media, and it is all too often the case that a trend has come and gone in the time it takes to create a plan to capitalize on a quickly emerging development. Impactana ensures social media marketing professionals recognize trends early enough to take meaningful action by providing “Buzz Metrics” for content being shared across social media. The “Buzz Metrics” — as well as “Impact Metrics” — provide instant insights regarding the actual value of any trending content and the reasons for its popularity among social media users.

Obviously, audience-specific metrics are critical in any attempt to evaluate social signals or figure out the ideal way to interact with different audience members. Impactana’s Buzz Metrics allow us to review audience-specific metrics as well as platform-specific metrics, thereby ensuring our social media marketing strategies are precisely tailored according to the interests of specific audience members.

The app’s engagement metrics are also valuable for gauging both the short- and long-term impact of a particular marketing strategy, something that tends to be lacking in other platforms. The customizable templates and its versatility — Impactana can be used as a SERP overlay but can also provide SEO insights for every web page through its seamlessly integrated toolbar — represent additional benefits every social media marketing pro relishes in an app.

SocialRank – Filtering Tools

Social media professionals understand the importance of specifically tailoring content with the goal of appealing to a relatively narrow target market, as personalized content and communication is far more effective than the general, one-size-fits-all approach. SocialRank allows professionals to divide their followers into groups based on any number of factors taken from the freely available information provided in their biography, hashtags, geolocation, and more, saving time while also providing the key insights needed to ensure social media marketing professionals develop the most effective marketing strategy possible.

The key difference between SocialRank and other analytics platforms is the individualized approach it enables, as most other analytics tools provide a much broader perspective reflecting the “average” audience member culled from aggregated data. We particularly enjoy SocialRank’s “Most Valuable Followers” feature, which is determined based on the filtering options we select for the purpose of analysis, including, for example, topic- or location-based most valuable followers, or even some combination of the available options.

Among the most experienced pros in our field, it’s common knowledge that applying the “shotgun method” to any kind of communication effort is one of the surest ways to push audience members away. Social media is all about making a meaningful personal connection, and the best marketing efforts are individualized in a way that makes each audience member feel as though the message is intended for an audience of one. This is why we think SocialRank is one of the best tools available to social media marketers.

Periscope – Live-Streaming Video

Effective social media marketing requires a personal touch, and there is no better way to build a loyal audience base than the face-to-face communication made possible through a live-streaming app like Periscope. The mobile-friendly live-streaming video app helps in fostering the kind of immediate connection necessary for the success of any social media marketing campaign.

In the same way that SocialRank helps marketers make a personal connection, Periscope also creates a unique and valuable connection by allowing social media marketing pros to speak directly to an audience in a way that feels intimate and organic. When we complete a broadcast via Periscope, the application also provides some basic analytics that allow us to get an accurate sense of audience engagement during the livestream as well as how many viewers accessed the livestream through the app’s replay feature (users can access a livestream for 24 hours following its initial broadcast).

Of course, the fact that Periscope is a live-streaming video app means that advance preparation is necessary to ensure the speaker is able to convey a specific message while also taking great care so that the conversation does not feel contrived. We think it’s best to sign in to Periscope through a Twitter account, but the app can also be accessed by users with nothing more than a phone number.

Trello – Workflow Organization

Managing multiple projects simultaneously would be a daunting task if not for organizational tools like Trello, which allows professionals to create a custom visualization for organizing upcoming projects and tasks while also scheduling regularly occurring social media posts in advance. Trello is especially valuable in collaborative environments, and social media pros love the fact that the app is intuitive and highly customizable. In fact, many of us turn to Trello to organize our professional responsibilities as well as our personal responsibilities.

A lot of us in the world of social media marketing utilize — or, at the very least, are intimately familiar with — the productivity system known as GTD, which, appropriately enough, stands for “Getting Things Done.” The system revolves around the following steps: Collect, Process, Organize, Plan, and Do.

Trello is the perfect app for those of us who rely on this system, as users are able to create individual “cards” for the Trello board, including, for example, cards labeled with terms familiar to any GTD proponent, such as “Waiting For,” “Reference,” “Next Action,” “Plan Project Task,” “Someday/Maybe,” and “Done.”

Since the app is so readily customizable, social media pros can organize their Trello boards in whatever way works best for them. If, for example, someone prefers a workflow organization system focused on approaching deadlines or based on the priority level of each individual project or task, then they can customize their Trello board to suit their specific needs or preferences.

This guest post was written by Reed Gusmus

Reed Gusmus is the director of marketing at QASymphony, a role in which he is responsible for the oversight of an award-winning digital marketing team known for its highly effective lead and demand generation campaigns.

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