11 Free Services for Scheduling Social Media Updates

From mashable.com 11 Free Services for Scheduling Social Media Updates by Erica Swallow.  These services can help manage several profiles all from 1 platform.  I’ve used Hootsuite for a long time now.

11 Free Services for Scheduling Social Media Updates

This post originally appeared on the American Express OPEN Forum, where Mashable regularly contributes articles about leveraging social media and technology in small business.

Maintaining a constant social media presence can be difficult, especially for busy entrepreneurs looking to stay in touch with their communities. Luckily, there are plenty of tools out there to help ease the burden. One of the most useful functionalities for a social management tool is the ability to schedule updates.

Here is a list of 11 free services for scheduling social media updates, either across multiple social platforms or just for Twitter.

At the end of the list, you’ll also find a quick note on 11 paid services that you may be interested in investigating, as well. If your service of choice, free or paid, isn’t in this post, let us know in the comments.

Free Multi-Platform Services

If you or your company have an extensive online presence across multiple social platforms, you should check out some of the following services that allow for scheduling social media updates across multiple platforms.

  1. Hootsuite
mashable.com

mashable.com

Hootsuite has a broad range of apps, including their web-based original, mobile apps (iPhone and Android), desktop apps (Windows, Mac and Linux) and add-ons for Firefox and Chrome, all with the power to schedule updates.

Social Platforms: The desktop and web-based apps allow you to schedule to Twitter, Facebook, Facebook Pages, LinkedIn, Ping.fm, WordPress, MySpace, and Foursquare, while the mobile apps are limited to Twitter and Facebook.

  1. LaterBro
mashable.com

mashable.com

On the sign-in screen, you can log in using either your Twitter or Facebook information. After choosing your time zone, you can either start scheduling updates or add more social accounts. You can add multiple Twitter accounts and are limited to one Facebook account.

When scheduling an update, you can choose which accounts the update should be posted on and when. If you schedule a particular update to multiple accounts, they appear separately in the queue, so that you can edit them individually. For Facebook, you can mark posts as recurring daily, every other day, weekly, every other week, monthly or annually.

Social Platforms: Twitter and Facebook

  1. CoTweet
mashable.com

mashable.com

CoTweet is an enterprise-grade tool for monitoring a brand’s Twitter accounts and engaging with customers. One of the many features is the ability to schedule tweets by time and date. CoTweet can also be configured to send updates to Ping.fm. The Ping.fm configuration allows you to send updates to any of the social platforms that your Ping.fm account is hooked up to.

Social Platforms: Twitter and Ping.fm

  1. Twaitter
mashable.com

mashable.com

After logging in with your Twitter information, choosing your time zone, and providing an e-mail address, you’re on your way to scheduling tweets with Twaitter, soon to be called Gremln. Scheduled tweets appear in a queue and can be edited or deleted prior to being sent.

Twaitter has a built-in URL shortener and spell checker, and also boasts the abilities to translate tweets, save drafts and mark tweets as recurring. You can also connect your Ping.fm account to Twaitter and begin scheduling updates on that platform, too.

Social Platforms: Twitter and Ping.fm

Free Services for Twitter Only

For the Twitterati members out there who focus their efforts on Twitter, dismissing all other social platforms, the following seven services may be of particular interest. Whether your goal is to keep your Twitter followers updated on your social life, feed them with the hottest news in your industry or inform them of upcoming marketing programs, these free services will help you schedule each tweet accordingly.

5. FutureTweets

mashable.com

mashable.com

FutureTweets allows you to sign in using Twitter OAuth. Choose your time zone and get to tweeting.

Oddly, FutureTweets gives you the choice to “flip” your tweet upside down and in reverse. Why you would want to do this, I’m not so sure, but strangely they offer the option.

I enjoy the analog clock they provide, if only for its campy feel — the user experience behind manually choosing a time on an old-fashioned clock isn’t so swell. In that case, you can just type in a time and date.

  1. Tweetsqueue
mashable.com

mashable.com

Tweetsqueue puts an emphasis on frequency. Although currently in closed beta, you can request an invite, and after gaining access, simply sign in using your Twitter account, choose your time zone and set your tweet frequency (e.g. every 45 minutes). This queuing system allows for a constant flow of tweets at a predetermined interval.

  1. Dynamic Tweets
mashable.com

mashable.com

Dynamic Tweets allows you to schedule tweets in advance by the hour or for a specific time and date. The most unique feature in Dynamic Tweets is the option to upload a CSV file of planned tweets, including information for the time, date, Twitter account, tweet and optional tracking code. This could be useful for companies that have massive lists of scheduled tweets planned.

  1. Taweet
mashable.com

mashable.com

What’s happening in the future? That’s the question that Taweet asks of users, as opposed to Twitter’s default, “What’s happening?”

The purpose of Taweet is to allow users to schedule future tweets in coordination with events they are planning on participating in. When scheduling, you have the option to share a tweet that announces your future tweet. For example, on July 30th, I planned to be at Chelsea Piers Date Night. As you can see in the example above, I scheduled the tweet and shared it with my followers in case anyone was interested in joining me — killing two birds with one stone, I suppose. If you’d rather not share the future tweet at the time of scheduling, you can deselect the “Share Now” button.

From the Taweet platform, you and other users can comment on future tweets. This can be useful for planning and coordinating.

  1. Tweet-U-Later
mashable.com

mashable.com

Tweet-U-Later has three main options: Scheduling a tweet, scheduling a private message (known as a Direct Message on Twitter), and scheduling tweets via e-mail.

When scheduling a tweet, you choose the time, date, time zone, message, and whether you’d like the tweet to be a recurring message. Pending tweets appear in a queue, where you can edit or delete them.

To schedule tweets via e-mail, you are given a Tweet-U-Later e-mail address. In order to successfully schedule a tweet via e-mail, you must follow this format: “Your message goes here;YYYY-MM-DD@HH:MM.” This option seems extremely susceptible to human error, so be careful if you plan on using it.

10. TweetSched

mashable.com

mashable.com

TweetSched is a desktop app, available as a free download, that allows you to schedule your tweets by date and time. The simple interface includes a text box, add button and queue where you can edit and delete pending tweets.

  1. Twuffer
mashable.com

mashable.com

You can easily sign onto Twuffer using your Twitter username and password. After setting your time zone, preferred time and date formats, and whether you’d like your tweets shown on Twuffer’s homepage, you can begin scheduling tweets. There are two lists of tweets, the queue for scheduled tweets and the list of sent tweets.

Unfortunately, you can’t edit your tweets once they are queued. The only option for defunct tweets is deleting and starting from scratch.

Not Free

For the record, there are also a lot of services out there with various pricing plans. This post was dedicated to free services, but if you’re interested in checking out a whole slew of options, check out Objective Marketer, SocialTALK, Vitrue, AMP, Postling, Sendible, Buzzom Premium, Media Funnel, Converse, SocialOomph and Social Tomorrow. Some of these services have freemium models, with limited-usability free versions.

Social management tools are growing in popularity, and scheduling social updates is just one of the great features that many of these tool come packaged with.

5 Digital Marketing Ideas to Embrace in 2015

Another good read by Susan Tucker at http://www.get-susan.com

get-susan.com

get-susan.com

5 Digital Marketing Ideas to Embrace in 2015

January 20, 2015

Digital marketing is a world of crazy changes. It seems like every single day we are presented with new tools to help us become more successful in our online marketing endeavors.

  1. Location-Based Marketing

With all the technological advances and growth of smart phones, it’s no surprise that we can now utilize location-based (aka geo-location) marketing and it can be pretty powerful. Have a brick-and-morter store? Geo-location based mobile beacons could be a way to deliver digital and mobile coupons while consumers are in a specific location.

Sheri Amass of Mobile Marketing Studio recently chatted with me about location based technology. She says, “geo-fencing features within mobile messaging platforms such as SMS text message marketing and mobile app push notification platforms allow businesses and marketers to fine-tune target audiences. For instance – send sale announcements to all customers within a 10-mile radius.”

How can small businesses do this? With ibeacon technology. Beacons are a small, low-cost piece of hardware which may be placed in or near a business which connections to transmit messages or prompts directly to a smartphone or tablet.

Sheri goes on to remind us that any and all location-based marketing should be done responsibly sending messages only to those customers who have opted in to a permission-based list via text-to-join, online sign up pages or have downloaded the business’ mobile app. Create incentivized campaigns rewarding the users with mobile coupons or exclusive offers for joining your list or downloading your app to build a valuable mobile marketing list.

  1. Retargeting

The concept of retargeting – a cookies based technology that follows website visitors – may feel creepy at times, but it can be utterly effective. Let’s say you had a website visitor interested in some of your products, and may even put those products in a shopping cart. However, there is a large chance (67.9%, in fact) they will actually not even make the purchase.

Consumers abandon shopping carts for a variety of reasons such as: website loading too slowly, there was not shipping info, they ran out of time, etc. Regardless of the reason, implementing a retargeting program can woo them back to you.

Here are some retargeting platforms to consider:

  1. Email Marketing

Email, email, email. As a consumer, you either love it (think flash sales!) or hate it (think spam). As a small business marketer, however, email marketing – when done correctly – offers the highest return on investment. The way you stand above the rest is be taking the time to understand your subscribers, and to deliver the content they want, when they want it.

Here are a few quick tips:

  • Segment leads up front
  • Trigger campaigns based on actions (such as clicking on a link)
  • Deliver messages that are personal, timely and relevant.
  1. Personalization

Speaking of “personal” messages, that is the next tip I think small business owners should embrace in 2015 … personalization. Before the onset of inbound marketing, there was mass marketing. Throw a message out there and hope it sticks somewhere. There is nothing personalized about that type of marketing at all.

Whether or not you have noticed it, personalized marketing has been on the upswing over the past several years. Have you noticed how Google search results are aggregated based on your search history? And, how Facebook’s timeline is a result of what types of content you’ve interacted with? Personalization is popping up all over the place. So, how can a small business owner get personal?

Here are a few ideas:

  • Start gathering data about your customers. What do they click on, what don’t they? What gets them to engage? What questions do they ask you?
  • Based on the information you’re gathering start building micro-segments: who they are, what are their buying preferences, where are they in the stage of the buying process, and how qualified they are for the purchase.
  • Consider fancy technology. For example. Hubspot offers a new Content Optimization System allows you to fully personalize your web visitors experience.
  1. Paid Promotion

Sure, us inbound marketers tend to dismiss traditional “outbound” marketing methods, but the fact of the matter is that there is still a place for paid promotion. You just have to be thoughtful about it. Don’t just run an ad. Run a highly targeted, trackable ad. It’s easy to do these days with Google AdWords, and many of the heavy-hitters of social media. Pinterest recently rolled out Promoted PinsFacebook has a long and successful history of delivering a high ROI on their ads; and there are also Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn ads.

To get started with paid promotion- start with an offer. Map through the process of what it is you want out of a prospect, and at the very least capture their contact information. If they don’t convert now, they may convert later.

10 Best Social Media Sites for Small Business Owners

Great article by Susan Tucker, who has a lot of tips for small businesses on her website get-susan.com.  Personally I use numbers 1 through 6 for the list below.

10 Best Social Media Sites for Small Business Owners

By Susan Tucker

Are you confused and overwhelmed by social media? Face-what? Twit-who? You-

get-susan.com

get-susan.com

how? In this post, I’m going to lay out a few of the best social media sites for small business owners, and why.

First off, when considering your online marketing strategy, your website MUST come first. Think of it as sort of a “base camp” that you will connect to/from any number of external points. Your website is property owned by you, whereas social media pages are owned by someone else. Look at social media sites as simply a vehicle to get your message out there and drive traffic back to what you have control over. Still, getting “social” is an important component to any marketing plan.

Did you know… there are more than 100 thriving social media sites online right now and more popping up every single day. It’s enough to make a persons head spin!

Where do you start when deciding what sites to include in your marketing strategy?

Here is my list. You don’t have to do them all. Decide which ones (2 or more) will most benefit your business and go from there.

Ok, here goes:

  1. Facebook.

Launched in February 2004 for college students, Facebook has come a long way in a short seven years. Now with an estimated 800 million active users it is ranked as the most used social networking service in the world (by the number of active monthly users).

Lucky for you, starting a business page – and tapping into the power of Facebook – is pretty easy. Once your page is created, users ‘like’ it (opt-in to get your posts) and your news will be posted to their ‘wall.’

The Facebook interface makes it easy for your fans to ‘like’ or share your posts and when they do, their friends (the average user has 130 friends) will see this activity, therefore putting your brand in front of an audience you may not normally have access to.

  1. Twitter.

A micro-blogging social media site that has been around since 2004, Twitter has an estimated 300 million users world-wide. It has been described as SMS of the internet, because posts are short, sweet and to-the-point.

Twitter is a tidal wave of information. Posts come in at 140 characters or less and can be organized via hashtags (#). Topics range from totally practical (I often search #Boulder) to the absolutely absurd (#gympetpeeve).

Twitter differs from Facebook in that users ‘follow’ each other. If someone follows you, you can follow them back. Therefore it is easier to gain a following, but the followers are not as targeted as they are on Facebook.

I have found that Twitter is an awesome way to connect with people and/or other businesses participating in the same event. Following a hashtag at a concert, live performance or webinar creates a richer experience. As a business owner you can utilize this at events your company participates in – try it! – I’ll bet you’d be blown away by the response.

  1. YouTube.

YouTube is a video sharing social media site that is owned by Google. There are more than 48 hours of new video uploaded to the site every minute. Wow! As a small business owner, using video in your online marketing strategy – and the back-end key words of your YouTube video –  is just as important as your other online strategies.

YouTube recently announced YouTube for schools and I predict more ‘stations’ will be rolling out in the future. Will your specialty be included? Maybe!

  1. Google+ (Google Plus).

Google is a power house, this is no surprise. Originally launched as a search engine company in 1996, Google has continually added, updated and created new products that will appeal to it’s 1 billion unique visitors per month.

Google Plus was introduced in June 2011 for personal use and in November 2011 was opened to brands. Some of the features of Google+ include: Circles, Hangouts, Messenger, Instant Upload, Hashtags and more. These products are definitely designed with the user in mind. The downside – there is no way to create a vanity url for your brand page.

Even though this is Google’s fourth go at a social media site, you cannot deny the importance of adding your brand to there, if for search engine rankings alone.

  1. LinkedIn.

Founded in 2002 and launched in 2003, LinkedIn is THE premier B2B social networking site. LI gets 2 new members every second, putting it at 135 million active users in more than 200 countries.

Traditionally viewed as the spot to put your resume and search for a job, LinkedIn has grown into a robust networking site. From job listings to interest groups (there are more than 870K groups) there are great benefits to keeping your profile up-to-date. Look at it like a business after hours event…. put on your suit, add a smile to your face and be on your best behavior because you never know what kind of business leads you’re going to get.

I always recommend dedicating an hour or so a week maintaining your LI profile. Also, be sure add your company listing, and update it as well. Use your LI company profile page like a resume for your business.

  1. Pinterest.

If your products are visually appealing, then this social media site is for you. Pinterest is a vision board-styled social photo sharing site that was launched in 2009. The mission is to connect everyone in the world through shared taste and the things they find interesting.

Users find and create theme-based boards, populating these ‘boards’ with a “Pin It” button. Pins may be divided into pictures, videos, discussions, and gifts.

Users may follow anyone or any brand, users can also ‘re-pin’ your pinned items. Companies with product photos can gain a huge following and quick.

  1. Ryze.

Started in 2001, Ryze is a social networking site for professionals – particularly entrepreneurs. It’s free to join and there are paid memberships are available. There are currently over 500,000 members worldwide.

More than 1000 organizations host networks on Ryze. According to their website, networks on Ryze let existing organizations and communities plus new ones use Ryze’s technology to connect their members with each other.

As of this posting, Ryze is not accepting new members. How intriguing!

  1. Talkbiznow

Talkbiznow is a web-based business community that provides business services for small businesses and professionals. In addition to the basic functionality of creating a profile and connecting with others, users can manage a calendar, store files (up to 50MG of free space!), host webinars, manage all other social media sites with Social One and lots more.

The company’s mission is to simplify the essential business services and seamlessly integrate and deliver them through the internet for Free. Making it possible for businesses of all sizes to network, collaborate and essentially expand their services in avenues they might not have explored before.

Talkbiznow could be a great site to help get the social media newby moving in the right direction. Sign up is easy, and the profile build and management is user-friendly. I especially like the free collaboration and desktop services: file sharing, web conferencing and voice conferencing.

  1. Affluence.

This is a social media site for the (you guessed it) affluent. In fact, you you must prove your worth before you can even join, so I can’t tell you much about it, other than it’s intriguing.

Affluence is a private social network where accomplished individuals connect, share information, and engage in meaningful conversations. Members also enjoy exclusive, high-quality content and feature advice from industry experts on subjects such as art, technology and travel.

So, if you fall in the income range of a “verifiable minimum household net worth of $1 million (US) or annual household income of $200,000,” then this most certainly could be the spot for you!

  1. Quora.

Now that LinkedIn has disabled their popular Answers feature, Quora is a great place for small business owners to be.