In theory, social media is easy enough. You simply share whatever is on your mind with hordes of followers and watch the shares and new follows role in. But if you’ve had any experience managing social media accounts for your business or organization, you’ve likely realized that it is not quite so easy in actuality.

A successful social media strategy takes planning, dedication, and a surprisingly large amount of time. But there are several free social media tools across the web that can minimize time and effort spend on social media tasks, and maximize reach and efficiency. Try any of these four helpful social media mechanisms.

Social media content calendar
The purpose of a social media content calendar is to hold you accountable. No matter how busy you are on a given day, you know that you have certain social tasks to perform — and having the topic planned in advance can decrease the time spent trying to decide what to post. Content calendars should be organized into monthly, weekly, and even daily schedules depending on the intensity of your social media efforts. Use a spreadsheet to keep track of important dates, marketing campaigns or promotions, and reminders. But keep the 80-20 rule in mind — no one wants to follow an endless stream of advertisements.

Social media manager
Social media managers are a lifesaver when you manage multiple social media accounts for your business. They allow you to schedule and post to various social platforms from a single, convenient dashboard. They are beneficial because they cut down on time spent hopping from one social media website to another — instead, you can view all social activity from one location. Hootsuite and Buffer are both popular social media managers that are easy and free to use.

Social media analytics
Understanding which posts perform more successfully than others is essential for tightening your social media plan and maximizing its effectiveness. Social media analytics tools can track follows, shares, re-tweets, and numerous other actions regarding your posted content. Tried and trusted services such as Google Analytics can track and summarize your social media, or you can use other services such as SumAll.

URL shortener
Struggling to squeeze a link and your message into 140 characters? URL shortening services can help you out by shrinking links to take up as few characters as possible. While some social media managers offer the service within their own applications, sites like Bitly can shorten links as well.

A successful social media plan can increase your brands reach and reputation and bring in new potential clients. Use these four tools to streamline your social media efforts for a smarter, more effective plan.

Are you lacking original content to supplement your social media efforts? Contact the professionals at Active Blogs at 800-720-5398 or contact@activeblogs.com for a no-cost consultation.

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