To be super clear — This is not a list of tools for managing your social sites; it is a list of tools to manage YOUR life as a social media manager.
In my world simplicity reigns supreme. Find the one or two best tools for each type, and try not to get distracted by the next shiny idea. If you find the systems you chose don’t work for you, then go shopping for just that type of tool. Try to avoid the “Top 200 Tools” lists. Instead, tap your community to ask what they use and ask for reviews.
Let’s go through them one at a time, and I’ll try to explain why you need to figure them out now – even before you have a client. If you already have clients, hopefully, this helps you streamline your process and save you time and make you more money!
You absolutely need a calendar system. This is the top category of tool you’ll need if you plan on having more than one client. Use your calendar system of choice (Google Calendar for the win) to be your Daily Time Journal, Editorial Calendar, Social Post Planner and Product Launch Calendar. Whichever system you choose, you need to make sure it auto-syncs with your mobile phone and allows you to create and make edits through that mobile interface.
Avoid Task Lists, as I have found these really don’t serve you in the long run (unless you transfer the items to a calendar.) Add any task “to do” on a physical calendar time-slot to really keep the momentum going. One of the many nice features of using Google Calendar is you can create a Calendar for each client or color-code each calendar on one view. This gives you loads of flexibility for you as a manager or consultant.
Google Calendar http://calendar.google.com
BEST time management system: http://TimeBliss.ME
2. Social Post Scheduling System
Every social media manager needs a way to schedule social posts. There is no way to physically, manually, post everything you need for yourself and clients. You would have to spend 15 hours a day staring at a screen – which is not healthy for anyone.
The good news is there are many excellent systems for this tool. This category will take you the longest to figure out for yourself. I can make some recommendations, but you should ultimately find the best systems for your world.
SocialJukeBox is my #1 tool for scheduling SEASONAL tweets, especially for your e-commerce clients.
And of course, I love Agorapulse (please note the School I built with Andrea Vahl Social Media Manager School was acquired by Agorapulse in Jan. 2020) and like I said, this category is FULL of good tools. You can explore this post for other tools to evaluate.
Facebook’s built-in scheduling tool Creator Studio is still the best for scheduling Facebook Posts to a Page and Instagram Feed Posts (and IGTV).
3. Invoicing System
You need an invoicing system as a social media manager. You might already use QuickBooks or any number of software programs, but FreshBooks is very easy to set up and has a very nice user interface. You can track your time, get paid online, have accounting forms sent to your accountant at tax time, set up late payment reminds, create recurring bills, and so much more. It’s worth a look.
Recently, I moved my accounting over to WAVEAPPS. I love this system. I have a free account (no monthly fees) and have it set for Pay-as-you-go for when I have ann invoice to a client. Super good value and a wonderful dashboard and clear graphs.
WaveApps https://www.waveapps.com/ My Pick
4. Social Account Management
I’m sure you’ve found that keeping track of all the usernames, passwords, email confirmation addresses, IDs, and all those important details about a client’s account can be challenging. You absolutely need a good system to keep it all organized. You might have come to be a social media manager from a job that had a great CRM system in place. Sometimes you have to create your own or use a system built for this.
You can start out as simply as creating a text doc for each client with all the important info on it. Just keep this handy! You might need to get to it at a moment’s notice.
Evernote might be the system for you. Maybe you already have an account and you just need to freshen it up. Check out my favorite Evernote Coach right here.
One system to explore for keeping passwords: LastPass
5. Relationship Management
Old School would have used a paper folder for each client (and new school still does this – only it lives in Dropbox or Google Drive). There are so many options here, too. Just like the Social Post Scheduling system category, there are a lot of companies that have created systems for you to use. Even LinkedIn contacts work well if you’ve integrated your email contacts.
The question is: “Which system is easiest for your workflow?”
You can consider using Gmail’s contact interface or any number of CRM systems; SalesForce, Nimble, Insightly, and much more. You’ll need to figure it if you just need it to manage contact information or manage sales flow from social to lead to a customer because those are really two different types of systems.
I have to say, Agorapulse’s Note section for their Listening Inbox is the BEST for keeping track of social engagement that could use some follow-up.
6. Image and Video Creation plus Editing
I use Snagit at least 10 times a day. It is an invaluable tool for my work for clients. You can use the free Snipping Tool that comes with your operating system, but Snagit is a breeze to use. I used the video Snagit to record all the video tutorials I created for Social Media Manager School. It is the one tool I can’t live without.
But hands down, the best image creation tool I use is Canva. You can use your own images and the free fonts and backgrounds they provide, but I highly recommend getting their PRO account for the best features.
Others in this category are PicMonkey, Adobe Photoshop, InVideo, Filmora, and a zillion mobile apps.
And I’ve recently started enjoying Lumen5.com Check this one out!
7. Social Dashboard for Reports
While you are researching the system for your Social Posting tool (#2 above), make sure you check into their reporting features. You might be able to combine these two tools into one system. For example, Agorapulse has a lovely interface for Reports.
I also think Google Analytics has a lot of what you might need for reports, especially with their custom dashboards and auto-emailing reports.
It all goes back to your original conversation with your client. What do they really want to know? If they just want a quick report on the growth of Followers month by month, then a simple spreadsheet (Google Spreadsheets would be perfect to share with a client) is plenty. If they want a finely detailed multi-page report then you’ll need a dedicated social dashboard that tracks everything you need.
8. Online Meeting System
If you’re working as a virtual assistant, social media manager, or consultant, you absolutely need a good, reliable online meeting system.
Other well-known systems in this category are; Skype and Facebook Messenger video chat
9. File Management Tool
You absolutely need to have some type of online file storage system which you can share with a client. I use Google Drive and Dropbox every day, both with my clients and between my business partners.
There you have it – a list of tool categories to manage YOUR life as a social media manager. Just find the one or two tools in each category and you are set to go!