I’ve always been one to write things down on a piece of paper (& immediately lose it). Over the past 5 years of blogging I haven’t found an app I would think oh yes everyone (& their cat) need this in their lives! Well, that was until the very end of 2016 when I started blogging full time. You soon realise that automation is not a luxury – it’s a necessity. Manual Pinning takes hours (and if you’re working from home you don’t get those extra commuting hours anymore), replacing links in your Instagram bio is fiddly, editing your Instagram picture on the go is so 2015 – who’s got time for that!
You need to automate a MINIMUM 70% of all your social presence. The rest is direct interaction.
Now I believe that the key to automation is keeping it simple & efficient. There are many, MANY automation tools you could be using – from Zapier and Social Oomph to IFTTT. But automation should be simple – why adding platforms and tools where there the automation is inbuilt in the tools you’re already using?
💡 INBUILT AUTOMATION TOOLS YOU SHOULD ACTIVATE RIGHT NOW (all via settings on given channels)
Bloglovin’ pushes out your most recent post to Twitter & Facebook
Pinterest can push out your Pins to Twitter, Facebook & Google+ (although you have to be careful with this one not to spam!)
Blogger pushes out your most recent post to Google+
Instagram publishes your posts on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr and Swarm
Youtube pushes out your most recent video to Twitter
✅ WHICH AUTOMATION TOOLS WILL MAKE YOUR LIFE EASIER?
Planoly (sign up here)
FREE version: 30 photos a month, 1 account only
At first I wasn’t too sure about Planoly – it just seemed like a better looking Latergramm. But boy was I wrong! Planoly is actually MUCH better than Later. The mobile app is very easy to use and is not clunky like Later. This app allows you to schedule your Instagram posts in advance – both your photos & captions. Especially if your feed has a certain aesthetic to it you’ll really appreciate the ability to visually plan your posts. Because Instagram is just about the only social on the planet that doesn’t release their API (I give it to you Instagram – it does have a certain charm to it this mystery behaviour!), you can’t fully automate scheduling. Planoly will give you a push notification at the scheduled time, you go to the app, click post and Planoly will then push your photo to Instagram and copy your caption so you can just simply paste it into the caption field. It’s that simple!
Tailwind (sign up here)
FREE (but very limited) trial or you can get a FREE month on me via the link above (unlimited Pins, basic analytics)
Another tool that took a bit of convincing for me to try. I have a pretty decent following on Pinterest (just shy of 500,000) which I’ve achieved mainly by real time Pinning. So scheduling just seemed a bit silly. But the truth is – when you’re publishing your own content on Pinterest (something I’ve only started doing recently) you’ll realise that it does matter when your content is going out – it does matter who’s seeing it (be it your own followers or Group Board members). The key is to schedule your own content on rotation – and although you can’t loop on Tailwind (as you can on Boardbooster for example) you can schedule a Pin as many times as you want. You can also use Tailwind Tribes & Chats to increase engagement on your Pins (and you don’t even need to sign up to Tailwind for this).
Asana (get it here)
Asana is essentially your content calendar. It’s ever so easy to use and what’s even more important – it’s easy to edit. You just drag & drop your tasks and planned content into another day, week or month and you’re sorted. You can also colour code projects, tasks and campaigns which comes very handy when you’re a serial side hustler.
Hootsuite (register here)
FREE plan: max 3 social profiles, unlimited scheduling, can add photos, cross-posting
Every blogger seems to be using Buffer which I don’t oppose but don’t love it either. Buffer is a content publishing tool. Hootsuite is a social management tool. Whilst Buffer allows you to publish across a multitude of channels (for some of which you need to be using Zapier or IFTTT extensions), Hootsuite allows you to do that (without additional integration) plus it allows you to manage your social media feeds. You can reply, RT, favourite, like, comment across all your plugged in channels as you would on their native platforms. It has its downsides but it wins on the time-saving front for me.
Linktree (get it here)
Ever dreamt of including multiple links in your Instagram bio? Well the day has come and you finally CAN. Linktree is a completely free app which allows you to build a tree of links (going anywhere – to specific blog posts, your Twitter feed, your online shop etc). Once you’ve built your tree just include the umbrella link into your Instagram bio & boom! It even gives you simplified stats on clickthroughs! The neatest app of 2017 so far!
Notes (your standard Notes app, it’s right there on your phone)
Wait, WHAT?! Yes – even this simpleton of all apps can give you an automation boost. It’s the perfect place to store your Instagram hashtags in. Every time you post a new photo just click back to your Notes, copy+paste et voila – your hashtags are there within seconds (and those seconds can be pretty valuable in terms of Instagram exposure!).
⛔ AND WHAT MOST DEFINITELY NOT TO AUTOMATE?
Can we please leave automated Twitter DMs in 2015? Because that’s where they belong. And if you think that DMing me your blog link will get you a new reader then you’re wrong. It will make me click unfollow. Simple.
Blog comments & comment replies
Copy+paste blog comments & comment replies are a joke. Why do you even bother! I had a reader who used the very same first sentence in every single comment and just changed the rest of her comment depending on the article. 9 out of 10 times it didn’t even make sense! Just why?! I mean thank you but go away.
Any Twitter automation directed at an individual is just not acceptable. Thank you for acknowledging me for being your top follower this week – or should I just send my thank you card to Crowdfire directly?
This must be a new thing because it’s only started popping up in the past month or so – but hey, what is this about? It’s just the same old as Twitter DMs, just more annoying because they pop up with that huge red number at the top of your feed. Chop chop chop shuffle away!