20 Tools To Stop The Social Media Timesuck

The longer I work in social media, the more I realize that the biggest danger for a social media marketer isn’t proving ROI, anticipating Facebook algorithm changes or even dealing with Twitter trolls — it’s the dreaded Social Media Timesuck.

You’re probably familiar with it. It’s what happens when you go to Facebook just to post a link to that latest blog entry but somehow end up staying for an extra 30 minutes and opening 7 new tabs. Or you fall down a Pinterest wormhole, can’t stop checking in on a great Google+ discussion, or randomly decide to update your LinkedIn profile — all while you’re supposed to be doing something else.

If you’re doing it right, social media does take time — but that time is better spent building real relationships with people who are important to you and creating great new content than mindlessly flitting through Twitter for the 12th time.

What’s more, even social media marketers deserve to have a life beyond social media. Being more efficient with our marketing time clears head space for us to get re-inspired and develop the kind of curiosity about the world that leads to more and better ideas — the kind that can only come from life beyond the screen.

With that in mind, here are 20 tools I use to keep the Social Media Timesuck at bay. Maybe they’ll help you do the same!

Finding Great Content

Finding and curating great content to share on social media is no easy task. Here’s some help.

1. SmartBrief

Offering specific, unique and well-curated headlines for nearly any industry, SmartBrief is a free, efficient way to keep up with important news in one spot.


2. Percolate

Percolate combs through your Twitter contacts and subscribed blogs to unearth a special blend of top links and send them straight to your inbox every day.

3. Feedly

Subscribe via RSS to get updates from news sources, thought leaders or even competitors. A feed reader like Feedly will keep them all organized on one place. Just remember to be picky about your sources — otherwise you’ll be overwhelmed quickly.

4. Who Shared My Link

Muckrack, the company that connects journalists and marketers, offers this simple tool and bookmarklet. Put in a URL to see how many shares the content got. If it’s a news site, you’ll often also get information about the journalist who wrote it.


Keeping Up With Ideas

A great idea can come when you least expect it — which is why it pays to have an efficient system in place to capture everything.

5. Pocket

Keep up with stats, studies and other information that might be useful later by saving links in a bookmarking app like Pocket or Pinboard. Tag everything aggressively (so it’s easy to find when you need it).

6. Findings

Want to highlight a particular quote or passage from something you’ve read and keep it for later? Findings is my go-to spot to house quotes.


Shutting Out The Noise

Making sure you’ve got the highest possible signal to noise ratio is often a huge social media challenge. Luckily, most social media tools offer a built-in solution.

7. Facebook Interest Lists

We all like to kvetch about Facebook not showing us the posts we’d most like to see. The underused Interest List function solves this problem and then some. Create your own list (public or private) or subscribe to others’ lists focusing on all kinds of topics.

interest lists

8. Twitter Lists

Similarly, Twitter lists — especially private ones — can be hugely helpful in making sure you hear from the people you value most without alienating the rest of your audience.

9. Unroll.me

Working in marketing can lead to a very full inbox — it’s easy to subscribe by email to lots of blogs and services. When the inbox begins to overwhelm, Unroll.me can help. This service quickly unsubscribes you from what you don’t want and rolls the rest into an easy-to-browse digest.


Posting & Scheduling

It’s the biggest question in social media: what’s the best time to post? These tools can help you find the answer — and then make posting simpler.

10. Tweriod

Post to Twitter at the best times for your audience with Tweriod, which analyzes your Twitter account to give you insights per day, week or even hour.

11. Facebook Insights

Looking for the best time to post to Facebook? Don’t let studies or infographics decide your strategy — your own Facebook Insights has the answer. Check to see when the biggest portion of your audience is online and go from there.


12. Buffer

Streamline your social media posting with Buffer (my employer), which queues your updates on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn at regular intervals or specific times you choose.

13. Editorial Calendar

Dealing with multiple pieces of content, many different networks and timing/time zone issues can be a big headache. A simple spreadsheet can save your sanity and keep everyone on the same page.

Monitoring Your Brand

14. KnowEm

A new social network pops up every day, and it’s important to make sure your brand name is protected everywhere. Enter KnowEm — set your brand up here, and it’ll check for your username of choice instantly on 550+ popular and emerging social media websites.

15. Topsy

On Topsy, you can search for a keyword or phrase to see who’s been talking about it over the past hour, week, month or more. See specific languages or types of posts, or sign up for email alerts for your keyword. (Topsy Pro users get even more insights.)


Guarding Your Time

Even social media managers can’t spend all day on social networks. Keeping your social media activities to a certain, fixed amount of time per day can help keep you focused.

16. FocusBooster

Sometimes a simple solution is all you need to give yourself a little push. FocusBooster is an unobtrusive timer that counts down from 25 minutes (or the time period of your choice) to help you work in focused bursts.


17. RescueTime

We marketers love our analytics, so why not get a little insight on your own productivity? RescueTime gives you just that with a dashboard that shows you how you use your time.

rescue time

18. StayFocusd

The most drastic solution time-guarding solution, StayFocusd is a Chrome extension that allows you to set maximum time limits for your specific timesuck sites. Once you’re out of time, that’s it for the day.


Reporting Results

19. SharedCount

At the end of a reporting period, wouldn’t it be useful to see a list of all the content you’ve promoted on social media along with how many shares it got from each of the big social networks? That’s what you get with SharedCount. Enter your links, export to CSV and get a great look at what’s working — and what isn’t — with your strategy.

20. Google Analytics Custom Dashboard

Google Analytics provides so much great information to marketers, but if your focus is on social media, you may only need a small fragment of what it can offer. That’s where custom dashboards come in — they offer the ability to select just the metrics you need and nothing more. Here’s a great start for a social media-focused dashboard.

What tools help keep you focused and productive? Share them with me in the comments.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Social Media Marketing | Marketing Tools | Marketing Tools: Social Media | Social Media Marketing | Social Media Marketing Column


About The Author: is a content crafter at Buffer. She has been an editor and writer at publications including Allure, Time Out New York, Playboy and The Tennessean. She speaks frequently on social media marketing and community management topics.

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  • http://www.postplanner.com/ Scott Ayres

    I would have included Post Planner! http://www.postplanner.com

  • http://www.SocialAna.com/ Ana Lucia Novak

    I use Hootsuite for overall day to day engagement, scheduling and curating content from various apps (trendspotrr, delicious, reddit); ViralTag to schedule PIns into my Pinterest boards, WordPress to blog directly from Hootsuite; Dlvr.it to publish content from my favorite feeds and allows me to select day, time, append hashtag and calls to action; curate content from Swayy, Everpost.co, Contentgems.
    I built a cohesive streamlined system so that I can spend quality time engaging online.
    I also measure and analyze using Tweroid for Twitter, Edgerankchecker for Facebook pages, Google Analytics; ManageFlitter to maintain twitter;
    As far as engsgement goes, partcipating on Tweetchats makes the best use of time on Twitter unless you use Twitter for customer service so TwitSpark is good tool for that; and I am addicted to google communities and enjoy Facebook page engagements. Pinterest is spent mostly on pinning, repinning and i am only in that site 2-3 times per week.
    Google Analytics reflect web traffic from twitter, facebook, linkedin and pinterest when I am consistent.
    Hootsuite makes it quite effective to engage in Linkedin groups daily.
    It is all about having a plan, scheduling the short term posts with calls to action, and deciding what the goals and objectives are when getting online.
    There are day to day stuff, weekly maintenance and monthly review of analytics.
    And be ok with imperfections. Things come up daily so be flexible and make it fun!

  • Amitesh Misra

    Not just that, I would include http://sociota.net as well… it offers almost all of these features under a single umbrella.

  • http://www.sociota.net Sociota

    thanks for mentioning ….. and it is true … we have put in a lot of effort to integrate as many features as we have. try it for your self… ask for a walk through or a free trial


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