The number one tool that social media managers couldn't live without

Being a social media manager is a busy job. You need to manage all of your social media accounts, create content for each platform, communicate with clients, source and create graphics, videos, vlogs, blogs, be a community manager, engage with prospects, respond to reviews, cover live events, create reports for clients... and the list goes on!

Thankfully, there are plenty of tools out there to streamline processes and make the role of a social media manager as stress-free as possible!

We asked some of the world's top social media managers:

What's the number one tool that you absolutely couldn't live without?

...and they didn't disappoint!

Here we go...

CANVA

Canva, the free online graphic creator, was mentioned the most amount by our social media managers. With visual content so prevalent and important, it's unsurprising that many said Canva has become the one tool they couldn't live without.

"It's a game-changer for small business owners and small social media teams, making on-brand designs and branded content easier to make than ever," says Meg Hogan. Founder and Chief Strategist at Stunning Strategy

"Research continues to show how effective visuals are when it comes to social media marketing. From increasing engagement to blog shares on social channels, images are vital for marketers in this day and age," explains Emily Sidley. Senior director of publicity, Three Girls Media Inc. "You don't need a graphic design degree to create customized, compelling visuals for your social media campaign. I find myself using it nearly every day!"

"I like that it has built-in templates in sizes to fit all the different social media platforms. This makes it easy to create a good-looking post fast. I also like their large photo database and their pre-made text blocks. They've recently come out with the ability to create animated GIFs too, which we've started to use." Derek Hines. Internet Marketing. West Coast Self-Storage.

"When I need something designed quickly, it's my go-to resource. Even though I have zero design experience, I can use Canva to create professional looking images. It is way less intimidating than Photoshop, and has tons of images, fonts and icons within the system that you can add to your design." Maggie Aland. staff writer. Fit Small Business

But what about Canva alternatives?

"I also like Pexels, because it helps me obtain royalty free photos for the humanistic-type social media posts," says Vanessa Martinas. Communications Coordinator. Ann Storck Center, Inc.

Unsurprisingly, as a group, scheduling tools were the most commonly mentioned. Here's what people had to say about their favourites.

HOOTSUITE

Social listening and scheduling tool Hootsuite has been a long-time favourite of social media marketers and even into 2017 remains popular. Here are some of the top comments about Hootsuite:

"The interface is very easy to use and ensures that our content is consistent and streamlined. I currently have two weeks worth of postings scheduled. It helps me be able to post at the same times every week so our audience stays engaged." Shelby Williams. Social media and marketing coordinator for GetPayroll.

"I find that the ability for me to upload multiple posts as an Excel file, respond to comments/messages within Hootsuite without having to sign in to individual social media accounts, and easily shorten links, makes using Hootsuite completely worth it when it comes to saving time as I create and schedule social media content for my clients. Gertrude Nonterah. Freelance Writer/Social Media Manager." Nonterah Digital Media.

"I can engage followers, I can create lists, I can search and I can schedule posts across multiple social media. What else can you ask for?" Najeeullah Babar, President, Interloper, Inc.

"It's a fantastic scheduling tool for content across all social media platforms and also allows you to follow certain hashtags - whether they're hashtags related to your business or phrases relevant to your industry - so you can listen in and be a part of the conversation." Deborah Sweeney, CEO, MyCorporation.com

BUFFER

Buffer is another scheduling tool with a clean interface and some great functionality. For many, it even tops Hootsuite for overall ease of use and effectiveness.

"I have used Hootsuite and other social media management tools and Buffer is the only one that makes sure my posts happen even if I am super busy without a moment to myself." Explains Lew Hastings, the Host/Producer of Red Road Radio Show.

"Using the Awesome plan for individuals at $10 per month for 100 scheduled posts for up to 10 social accounts, I can update my personal twitter account, my Linkedin account, my Google+ account in addition to the twitter and Facebook pages for my Foundation and Radio Show. I can customize the messages and schedule them at my leisure and keep my online presence active even when I'm not on. It's brilliant!"

Britton Lorentzen, Owner, Visual Designer of Empac Design describes Buffer as an "amazing platform that allows me to schedule out my entire SMM schedule in a quick and timely manner. I'm able to schedule out a couple weeks in advance, on all my social media platforms, within about an hour. Buffer allows me to schedule posts at the optimum times that my audience will be online and allows me to track what my most popular posts are."

"Being able to schedule social media posts for different platforms in one place while simultaneously providing a social media content calendar that the client can easily see is extremely helpful and helps us save time." Juan Reyes. Digital Marketing Manager, Full Funnel Marketing.

"The real star of the tool is the quick chrome plugin to instantly share an article or blog post. You can customize the text for the entire post, from the article title, image, etc. It makes blog marketing for your own company blog super quick, and you can schedule the same post multiple times. This is great when you have your own blog post and want it to go out today, but also in a week, 2 weeks or even 6 months from now. It has saved me a ridiculous amount of time since I can do all the social media posting in one space instead of all the different platforms individually. It's totally worth the $10/month!" Samantha Avneri, Director of Marketing at Regpack

But what about if you need a hand finding the right content for your brand?

"The one tool I can't live without is probably Quuu. It allows you to hand pick social media topics that interest your customer base. To start just connect Quuu to your Buffer account and pick the categories that are relevant to you and your audience. It's that simple!" Tyler Riddell. Director of marketing for eSUB Construction Software.

But what if it's social media reporting that creates your major headaches?

FLAUNT

Well, it would have been silly not to mention Flaunt, the super-duper screenshot reporting tool!

"The one tool I couldn't live without is Flaunt, the social reporting software. You use the Chrome extension to take screenshots which automatically populate reports. It's then very simple to finalise and send these reports to clients." Natalie Johnson, founder, The Y Project.

"As a busy social media agency, keeping our clients happy and informed is so important. The one tool we couldn't live without is Flaunt, for the easiest reporting ever!" says Emily Allen, general manager, of specialist agency JC Social Media.

HOPPER

Hopper has grown rapidly over the past two years to service thousands of the world's largest brands around the world.As a specialist Instagram scheduling tool, it is one of the few that actually posts on your behalf rather than sending you a reminder to post.

"All my Instagram images can be scheduled in advance along with the relevant hashtags, and they are sent out for me at specific times of the day. Instagram is becoming more and more important to our clients and we love Hopper for saving time and hassle," Rob Walsh from Brookwood Cafe explains.

"We can't live without Hopper because it gives us the freedom to plan and schedule our campaigns in advance without having to manually post form our phones at that exact time" Samphire Communications tell us, "the tool has grown from strength to strength and we love all of the functionalities within the app too!"

"Clients depend on us to keep their brand's message and social presence going (even when they sleep) or they work with us to add value to their social campaigns - a big part of these strategies is working on Instagram. Being able to schedule posts for our clients and not have to worry about doing this manually or via a push notification gives us, and our clients, a leg up on other brands," says Wonderland Firm.

HUBSPOT

"The one tool I couldn't live without is HubSpot. In addition to the ease with the Chrome browser plug-in to curate and post content, and the daily social reminds EVERY time I open a new tab, the real reason I respond with HubSpot is because of the reporting and the integration of the social media activity with other marketing efforts. Having an integrated view of what is resonating, with whom, where and when, is critical to measuring and evaluating what is working and what isn't and what the ROI is." Lynne. Lone Armadillo.

"The social publishing tool allows me to easily clone and refresh messaging across channels, and the monitoring system allows me to track the performance of posts in a user-friendly format. Plus, I can connect all of our clients' business and personal accounts and easily schedule ahead of time messages with correctly sized images to post across all channels." Katie Hall. Social Media and Influencer Marketing Specialist at SPROUT Content.

The best of the rest

It turns out that there is a huge variety in what social media managers and agencies regard as their number one tool! Here are just some of the others that came highly recommended!

Amazingly, after all the trials and tribulations, good old TweetDeck gets a mention! Arguably, the original scheduling tool, it still holds weight into 2017 and maybe beyond!

"I work with a variety of clients, and need to be able to easily customize the feeds and users that I am viewing. In addition, there are certain projects or events where I will be publishing content for multiple accounts at the same time, and TweetDeck gives me the ability to transition between users seamlessly. And of course, I want to stay up to the minute on all breaking news so we can hop into relevant social conversations, and TweetDeck allows me to see news as its happening. Nici Bentivegna, Social Media Manager, STN Digital

"The one tool I couldn't live without is MeetEdgar because it allows us to recycle our evergreen content automatically, posting it at a regular cadence across all our social media platforms. That way, I can extend the life of our most valuable content while focusing most of my efforts on building relationships with our customers and community on social." Shauna Ward, Content Specialist at Terminus

Another alternative to the above tools is Smarter Queue. "The one tool I couldn't live without is SmarterQueue. It saves me insane amounts of time each month." Tena. Social Bloom.

"Buzzsumo is a resource that I wouldn't give up for anything. The ability to analyze content, compare domain/social content and find influencers is invaluable. This should be in every social marketer's toolbox!" Nate Cofounder, Digital Radar

"The one tool I couldn't live without is Iconosquare. We rely heavily on Instagram to stay engaged with our clients, so knowing our most successful post times by engagement rate at any moment is very key. Their influencer and profile bio keyword search has been very helpful for our influencer campaigns." Chanel Robinson, Social Media Manager for Visual Country

"The one tool I couldn't live without is Commun.it for Twitter. It allows you to set up automated tweets triggered by an event or day of the week. Fantastic for small to medium companies who don't have a dedicated person to engage every new follower or tweet regularly." Lauren Holz, Business Development Coordinator. Yuppy Puppy City Kitty

"The number one social media management tool I cannot live without is Recurpost. It is a huge time-saver and it ensures that old content isn't forgotten about. How it works is this: you upload posts into your content library folders. You pick whether you want the posts to be a one-off, or whether you'd like them to keep recycling over a period of time. You schedule which days of the week you want which content folders to post. And then you leave it to work its magic. I find it easy to schedule 2 months of content for Facebook pages, groups, LinkedIn and Twitter in under an hour." Steph Taylor, Wild Bloom.

Rebrandly is a link shortening tool, sort of like bitly, that allows us to track individual link clicks, the website traffic we've sent (through UTM parameters), do link retargeting and increase brand awareness through the use of a custom short domain.

"I use this tool for all of my clients because the one thing a social media marketer needs to understand is where the traffic they are sending is coming from, which platforms are converting the best and where to spend the most effort when implementing different types of marketing campaigns and trying to reach varying marketing objectives." Shana Haynie, Co-Founder and Creative Director at Vulpine Interactive.

"The one tool I couldn't live without is Trello. It allows me to easily organize and keep track of everything I need to get done. The platform is very intuitive and simple to use, but allows for a high degree of customization so you can arrange and prioritize all of your tasks in a manner most pertinent to you. You can set it up for personal use, or use it collaboratively with other team members." Daniel Brophy. Social Media Specialist. Page 1 Solutions.

"Finding good analytics and monitoring tools for Instagram can be difficult. I had always had to use multiple tools. The Agorapulse dashboard allows you to manage your Instagram account(s) for engagement by responding to comments, leaving comments, and liking other users' content. You can also schedule posts to Instagram to better organize your posting strategy. You can track and monitor your engagement with real data and trend analyses to see what's working for your campaigns and content strategy." Bradley, SEO Expert Brad Inc.

But what about if your major need to keep a note of your schedule and content ideas?

"The one tool I couldn't live without for managing social media is Evernote. I have found it to be incredibly helpful when scheduling campaigns or simply keeping track of content for the week, for example. As someone who often works within an organized mess - multiple words docs, sheets of paper lying around, post-it notes - it's been nice to have the inherent organization of Evernote present in order to manage social media rather than simply working through it." Jake Tully. Head of Creative Department. www.TruckDrivingJobs.com.

Do you have a number one tool that we haven't mentioned? Tweet us and let us know! @FlauntReport.

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