From Facebook and Twitter to Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest, staying active on all these social media networks can be a lot of work. You may be asking yourself, “How am I doing to find time to do of this?” The good news is, due to the popularity and rapid rise of social media, several tools and apps have been developed to make it easier to not only manage your accounts, but also to find content worth sharing. Here are my favorite three tools-which are also free-to help you start saving time.

Arguably the most well-known social media tool available, HootSuite (HootSuite.com) is a social media management tool intended to make your life easier. It helps you manage several accounts seamlessly, including regular posting and commenting, all from a single dashboard.

Social Mention (SocialMention.com)provides free, real-time social media search and analysis. You can explore or opt to receive social media alerts (similar to Google Alerts but for social media only). You can also choose to receive free daily email alerts when things are mentioned on social media about your brand, company, CEO, marketing campaign, a competitor, a developing news story, or the latest gossip on a celebrity.

ChannelCaster (ChannelCaster.com) is a mobile app for people who need extra customization while still saving time by collecting from a variety of social media sites. Crowd sourcing is really handy in social media. ChannelCaster allows every user to add content that lets you have access to articles that are compelling to more people. The app uses a “tier” system that helps cut down on clutter and puts the most interesting content in one place, which is easy to use and saves time.

As social media continues to skyrocket, the ECPs and companies that will survive will be those paying attention to what’s being said about themselves, their competition, and their industry as a whole, and respond accordingly. If posting and responding are not a priority for your organization, you will see zero return. So start using these tools today to maximize your time and efforts.

Samantha Toth is the resident Marketing Rockstar for Innereactive Media, a full-service marketing company specializing in the optical industry, in Grand Rapids, MI.


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