What do you love most about blogging? Writing, graphics, social media? I don’t know about you, but I started this blog because I wanted to write. I absolutely love creating – blog posts, study guides, workbooks, journals, etc. Then I discovered that blogging isn’t only about creating great content. You have to also market and promote that content, grow an audience, and develop community through email and social media.
If I’m not careful, the non-writing parts of the job can take up all my time – and I’m already thin on available time to devote to blogging. With a full-time job and two active children, I need to maximize the impact of minimal time investments. Automation is the only way I’m able to keep up any presence on social media. I use tools to automate as much of the administrative work and lower-value tasks, so I can spend more of my time on higher-value tasks, such as creating and interacting.Automate the conversation starter, so you have more time to be present in the conversation. Click To Tweet
4 Must-Have Social Media Scheduling Tools for Bloggers
I use several tools to automate my conversation starters and keep my platforms active. These help me revive and repurpose my older content, as well as share other great content I find from other sites. Automation tools allow me to do social media work on my own schedule and then drip posts throughout the week.
Below are my essential tools for automating social media. There are many others on the market, so I’d love to hear what else you’re using. Add your favorites to the comments! (As a note, I’m primarily on Facebook and Pinterest, dipping my toe into Twitter. There are probably other tools you’ll want to investigate if you’re on Instagram or other platforms.)
1) IFTTT (If This Then That)
I use IFTTT to set a regular schedule of Facebook posts for my older content, as well as anything I want to schedule in advance or set a recurring post. IFTTT (If This Then That) is an app that connects and automates tasks you do every day. You find (or create) ‘recipes’ of If-Then steps. For example, I have one that IF rain is forecasted for the next day, THEN send a message to my phone. I love this one, so I can plan ahead how the kid are getting to and from school (if the weather is too bad for them to walk).
I use a few different ‘recipes’ to automate my Facebook posts, but all with the same basic principle. I add an entry to my Google calendar with the details I want in the Facebook post, then IFTTT posts to Facebook according to the calendar date/time. I love that you can visually see your posting schedule on a calendar and even set up recurring entries (such as post this blog post every 12 weeks).
I created a detailed step-by-step guide (with screenshots) to show you how I use IFTTT. Sign up below and I’ll send you a copy.
I know a lot of the experts say that the Facebook native scheduler is best, but I don’t find it as easy to use as these others. Maybe distribution and engagement rates are higher if you schedule directly in Facebook, but it’s more about the quality of your posts and how the people who see it will engage with it. For now, this is saving me a ton of time, reviving older posts, and keeping my Facebook page active while I focus on creating new content.
>> Click here to learn more about IFTTT (The best part about IFTTT? It’s FREE!)
Want the details about how I use IFTTT? Sign up below and I’ll send you a free step-by-step guide to setting up my three favorite recipes for Facebook scheduling.
Buffer is a great scheduling app for Facebook and Twitter. They’ve recently added Pinterest, but I haven’t tried it yet. This is my essential tool for scheduling social shares of other posts that I find through link-ups, Facebook group post shares, or following my favorite bloggers. It has a browser plugin so you can easily schedule both Facebook and Twitter posts with a single button click.
You set the schedule for each platform so you don’t overwhelm your followers. This tool allows me to carve out time blocks during week to make the rounds of other blogs and schedule great content to share and schedule a week of Facebook and Twitter posts in one sitting.
>> Click here to learn more about Buffer (This is also a free tool if you’re on the basic plan.)
You can use Buffer for FREE! In fact, I’d start on the free plan and see how much you use it. There are some restrictions on the free plan, such as you can only schedule 10 posts at a time. I recently upgraded to the Awesome plan so I can schedule out further (up to 100 posts at a time) and use the Content Inbox, which creates an easy-to-post list of your 10 favorite blogs. It’s a nice convenience, but I’m still deciding if the $10/month fee is worth it for me at this time.
BoardBooster is my essential tool for Pinterest. It’s honestly been a game-changer for me. A year ago I didn’t really know much about Pinterest, but I’d occasionally post an image to my account. As I reviewed my stats one month, I noticed that a majority of my traffic had started to come from Pinterest – from a single pin! That one pin (and not even a great one) drives huge traffic to my site every month, so I decided I needed to dig in and learn Pinterest.
Maintaining all the boards and continually pinning and repinning is too much to do live. Plus, you’d overwhelm your followers with all your activity and probably miss pinning at the most beneficial times. BoardBooster allows me to time block my Pinterest time, too. I use it to spread out my repinning activity throughout the day, even though I’ve filled the queue all in one sitting. I also use it to automatically pin to my group boards at specified frequencies.
>> Click here to learn more about BoardBooster (This is an affiliate link.)
Note: This is a paid service, but I definitely believe it’s money well-spent. You can start with as little as $5 per month (for 500 pins). I’d start small and grow into it as you see how much you’re pinning. I’m currently on the $20/month plan (2000 pins).
Tailwind is another popular automation tool for Pinterest. I’m just digging into this one. It provides more granular pin scheduling, but so far I still love the ‘set it and forget it’ ease of BoardBooster for my group boards. I use Tailwind when I want to schedule specific pins on certain days/times to targeted boards. I also use it for pin shares (when you agree to share pins from a fellow blogger’s board every day for a week). Tailwind allows me to schedule these in bulk, instead of live pinning daily.
Tailwind is $10/month. You get 400 pins per month (if paying monthly) or unlimited pins if you pay the whole year upfront. I do love their analytics! You can try it out for free for the first 100 pins.
>> Click here to learn more about Tailwind (This is an affiliate link.)
Don’t forget your FREE How-To Guide to Using IFTTT for Social Media Scheduling. Sign up below and I’ll email it to you!
How Do You Streamline and Automate Your Social Media?
What are your favorite tools and tricks for automating and simplifying your social media? How do you keep from getting falling into the black hole social media can sometimes be and instead keep the majority of your time focused on creating? Share your favorites in the comments. I’d love to hear about other essential tools and tricks.
Caveat: These tips will help you begin to grow your social media platform and sustain some level of engagement, but real community and growth need more of your interaction, particularly if you want to grow your Facebook audience or start a Facebook group. However, these are a great place to get started and begin to gain traction for your blog without sacrificing time to develop content.
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