5 Must-Have Resources for Social Media Managers

On paper, social media may not cost your business anything – but the successful management of any social media program is far from free. Whether you’re managing 1 social account or 20, an investment of time and money in some essential tools and resources will pay off, quickly, in the form of fewer daily headaches and avoidance of long-term problems for your business.

Let’s take a look at some of the most essential items for your social media task list:

Photo editing tools

Over and over again, analytics prove that social posts with graphics tend to be read, shared, and clicked more than non-graphic posts. In other words, graphic posts get more engagement.

With all this potential, it’s a shame when businesses kill off their chances to get great traction from their graphics because they’ve used a poorly integrated photo– one that’s too big, too small, blurry, or otherwise “off”. And yet we see it happen just about every day to brands large and small.

While some social media platforms provide behind-the-scenes editing that results in correctly-displayed images without any editing on the part of the person uploading the image, this capability is limited and varies across platforms. As a social media marketer, it’s critical that you have access to tools that can help you do some basic size configuration and touch-up. You should also have the ability to add text to your photos and generate simple infographics or collages.

If you don’t have access to a graphic designer who can take care of image prep for you, there are a number of free or affordable resources you can consider, including:

– The built-in photo and video editing tools that come with many desktop operating systems or office software bundles (like Paint, Photo Gallery or Movie Maker, and iPhoto or iMovie

– Canva, Pic Collage and other easy-to-use photo programs

– Photoshop Online Tools


Knowledge of community standards

All social media platforms have community standards – guidelines and policies that govern the online behavior of the platform’s users, including businesses. These guidelines cover issues like image posting, copyright protection, contests and promotions, the way that users interact with each other, and limitations on hate speech and profanity.

You may see people and companies break the rules without apparent consequences, but don’t let that lull you into a false sense of security. Most social media brands have content “police” working for them around the clock, and they are not reluctant to report violations. If you get your account flagged or suspended, it can be a time-consuming nightmare to regain access.

So it’s important that social media managers understand what they can and can’t do, with respect to both organic content and social media advertising. A good place to start is to review the community guidelines for some of the bigger social players – Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Create a cheat sheet of both shared rules and ones that are specific to certain social communities and keep it handy in your office.

Scheduling tools

If you’re managing multiple social media communities, or if social media is just one item on a long-list of social media responsibilities – or if you just want to take a day off once in a while – you’ll need to be able to schedule some content in advance.

Some social platforms offer built-in scheduling tools that are very easy to use – Facebook’s tool gets more robust with each passing year. Other options to check out include HootSuite or BulkBuffer, just to name a few.

By the way: Scheduling should be a tool, not a crutch. Businesses who over-schedule may find that they lose traction as followers realize that their content is too “branded” and never spontaneous.

An easy way to keep up with the Joneses

And by that, we mean keeping up with your competitors and collaborators on social media. Doing so will yield a never-ending supply of best practices and ideas to borrow, as well as business intelligence.

The best way to accomplish this is by arranging to have your competitors and collaborators’ content regularly pop up in your newsfeeds or boards. That means you’ll need to follow or “like” on behalf of your brand page – or in cases where you need to be a little more covert, you can follow from your personal social media accounts.

Other tools to investigate include mention.net, which allows you to set up social media “mention” alerts, as well as Hootsuite and IFTTT.

Backup Plans

Even if social media is just a one of many missiles in your marketing arsenal, and even if your organization is small or non-controversial, it’s important to remember that any page or board upon which you have a presence is forever a part of your digital marketing footprint – and your brand identity.

Which means you need to have backup, contingency, and crisis plans in the event of an emergency. These plans should include:

– Backup administrators (someone who has access to the accounts in case you become unavailable).
– A secure location where you store log-in information.
– A plan for handling negative comments and posts from customers or followers.

Need some social support? MindEcology can help.

(Note that the products or resources mentioned in this article are provided for education purposes only and do not constitute endorsements.)