If, like many MoreNiche affiliates, you are active on social media, you’ll know that it can at times be a confusing world. Especially when there are so many different sources of information that bombard you with the latest tech and tools on a daily basis. It’s hard to know which tools and techniques to trust, especially when they aren’t all free. And it’s almost impossible to know which ones you will enjoy using and which ones will work well for the niches you’ve chosen to promote.

Hopefully, through the course of this article, we can give you some reliable and impartial advice on which social media tools you should have in your arsenal. We’ll also take a closer look at which tools are performing well for us here at MoreNiche.

SCHEDULING TOOLS

As the saying goes, ‘first things first’. When it comes to social media, scheduling your content and having it in one easy-to-access and easy-to-view place is essential when it comes to managing a social media presence properly. So buckle up and get ready to schedule like a ninja.

There are more than a few social media scheduling options available, but it often comes down to personal preference. There’s industry standards Hootsuite and Sprout Social, as well as other systems such as Everypost and Buffer.

Hootsuite

Here at MoreNiche, we utilise an upgraded Hootsuite package that allows our team to manage a variety of social media streams across multiple big hitting platforms including Instagram, Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Pinterest.

Hootsuite is a very intuitive platform that offers a free trial as well as ‘Professional’ and ‘Team’ plans alike.

The great thing about Hootsuite is that it will grow with you as you expand. Maybe right now you only have three to four social profiles, but as niches and products expand in affiliate marketing, you might find you suddenly need 20+. Hootsuite allows you to upgrade your plan really easily and adapt to the situation as needed; you can scale up or down very easily and in our experience the customer support is excellent.

You can add extra seats if your team expands and assign different levels of access to different team members or clients. You may want to restrict access to certain social media channels for certain team members, or give them access to everything. It’s completely up to the admin seat to assign who sees what. It really is a fully customisable experience.

Hootsuite’s layout is also exactly what we need here at MoreNiche. It’s presented in customisable streams that allow each individual user to fully tailor their own view and set-up so they can prioritise what they are ‘listening’ to socially, and which aspects of Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest etc. they want to have instant access to. For example, here’s one of the stream set-ups we have for monitoring the MoreNiche Twitter account:

This stream is set up exactly how I like it. And I do the same for Pinterest, Facebook and Google+ too! It’s so easy to set up that anyone could do it. It’s just a matter of linking your accounts, setting up your streams and dragging them into a configuration that you like the look of.

Hootsuite also offers excellent social engagement analytics as well with the larger paid packages. The automatically created reports are fully customisable and the colourful and easy-to-interpret graphics and data allow you to track the performance of your social media posts, identify your audience, evaluate your brand presence and compare performance for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Here’s an example of some of the Facebook Analytics that are available:

Overall, Hootsuite offers a well-rounded and customisable set up that’s perfect for affiliates because it covers a lot of ground and has the capability to grow alongside your social media presence. The only downside is that some affiliates may want a free option. However, there is a free trial option, and once you give it a try you will likely want more! So watch out.

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COMPETITION TOOLS

Competitions aren’t right for every social media channel, nor every brand or niche. However they are a great way to boost your followings, gain more impressions and exposure, and, of course, more clicks. But it’s important to remember that you can’t just give prizes away willy-nilly. There should be a specific goal in mind; remember to try and always get a return from giving away a prize, such as getting people to join your email list or follow your chosen social account.

It’s also very important to remember that the prize you are giving away has to be desirable and placed in the right environment in order to have maximum effect. Giving away a free ebook is more likely to be something that you can run all the time in order to increase your email subscriber list, whereas giving away gym clothing or a range of supplements is something to be run occasionally.

Remember, if you’re constantly running competitions with the same products, people may wonder about the true value of the products you’re giving away. Make your competitions seem special and exclusive, and you should see some better results.

Technically, you don’t need a competition tool in order to run a competition. But it certainly makes things easier! Common problems like creating forms and landing pages are eradicated thanks to competition platforms and many provide options to help the whole process run more smoothly. The majority of tools also help you to pick winners fairly, quickly and truly randomly. Which is a good thing for everyone involved in the competition!

When it comes to the tools to use, there’s quite a few available. Two of the more popular and more affordable options are Woobox and ShortStack. These both offer free trials so you’ll know exactly what you’ll be getting before signing up for one of the more costly packages.

But one we’ve been experimenting with here at MoreNiche is Rafflecopter!

Rafflecopter

Rafflecopter describes itself as “the world’s easiest way to run a giveaway”. And to some extent that is pretty much true. The interface itself is really intuitive to use and you can run multiple independent competitions for multiple separate brands or social accounts at once without them overlapping or becoming confusing.

Setting up your first competition is simple (once you’ve decided what it is you will be giving away!). All you need to do is go through the steps to create your competition ‘widget’ which can eventually be coded onto a landing page of your choice. Then let people know where they can find it.

It really is as simple as ‘filling in the blanks’ since Rafflecopter helps you to customise your competition from start to finish.

Start by naming your competition and filling in the terms and conditions. This is important since not having the correct terms and conditions can cause trouble with rules and regulations on social media platforms, which understandably only want fair and trustworthy competitions to be run on their platforms.

Rafflecopter makes this super easy by providing a ready-prepared terms and conditions form that you can customise for your competition with dates, business names and extra legal details. It really does take most of the legal headache away from running a competition. And you always want to make sure you’re playing by the rules, don’t you?

You can then fill in the prize section and decide how people can enter your competition. You have quite a few options when it comes to this. You can choose from one or multiple options from the below list. But remember, a multi-entry process is likely to reduce the amount of entries you receive because people don’t like multiple steps!

One of the more simple options is ‘Following an Account’ on one of the major platforms and this will likely add to your social following. The ‘Tweeting a Message’ option works well for viral spread of your competition. Just make sure you choose the content of the required Tweet carefully, ensuring you use relevant hashtags to the prize.

Once you have decided on all the variables for your competition, you can install your competition widget on a landing page of your choice with the handy embed code:

But before you do that, you can see exactly how your competition widget will display in the preview.

Once your competition start date arrives, the competition will go live, and you can pretty much just focus on promoting it to the right people, letting Rafflecopter do the rest.

Rafflecopter doesn’t stop there however; it will also help you determine a winner at random chosen from entrants that have met your outlined entry criteria, which is great because it means an end to annoying spreadsheets and the toil of trying to select a winner truly randomly.

Overall, Rafflecopter is a good option to test out your first competition, but you may find it limiting if you’ve chosen one of the cheaper packages, as there’s much less scope for customisation. Also, the more comprehensive options begin to get expensive as part of a monthly subscription and this is a potential problem for affiliates with little to no budget.

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REPORTING AND ANALYTICS TOOLS

As an affiliate marketer, you probably know quite a lot about the importance of reporting, analytics and metrics. So we won’t give you the presell on this one. Just know that you should also be monitoring progress specifically on your social media channels as well, so you can tell what’s working and what isn’t.

Facebook pages, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook Ads Manager all give you access to some level of analytics, but it can be annoying to have to flick through everything individually, signing in and out of multiple platforms. It would be much easier to have everything in one place, where you can glance at customisable stats and metrics, and build analytic reports with the information that matters most to you.

That’s where platforms like Hootsuite, SproutSocial and Google Analytics can really help you out. But there are other options too. One platform that we get a lot of use out of at MoreNiche is Cyfe.

Cyfe

Cyfe describes itself as an “All-In-One Online Business Dashboard –
Social media, analytics, marketing, sales, support, infrastructure… monitor everything!” And it does exactly what it says on the tin although we mostly use it just for generating social media reports.

Cyfe lets you build custom dashboards that pull information in from a variety of social sources including, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, and many more. And the best part is that there’s no limit to how many dashboards you can create. It’s completely up to you once you subscribe (£14.68/$19 per month).

You can pull a HUGE variety of stats and metrics directly from Social Network API feeds, which makes your data very accurate and up to date.

Here are some of the ways we like to customise dashboards at MoreNiche:

  • Brand specific
  • Social network specific
  • Organic
  • Paid
  • Full social overview for client-facing documents

Here’s how one of our full brand overviews looks with all active widgets in place:

As you can see, it really can present a lot of information in one place!

Cyfe is fantastic in many other ways as well; you can send your dashboard feeds to a TV or monitor so you can track progress in real time and around the clock.

Users are also able to set up regular emails for each dashboard, allowing you to generate daily, weekly or monthly reports in a recurring ‘fire-and-forget’ format. This means you can stay up to date with all your most important accounts and data easily. And it’s really easy and intuitive to set up.

The one big drawback to Cyfe is often the load time. The more information you ask it to generate when creating dashboards, the longer it takes to load. So if you have a large amount of information to review or multiple dashboards that you like to switch between, be prepared to wait a little while. But overall it’s a great option for affiliates looking for a relatively inexpensive way to get all their information in one place.

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CONTENT-FINDING TOOLS

There are a variety of ways to keep your eyes on what content is currently most popular on different social media channels. You can trawl Twitter for trending subjects and hashtags, and you can do the same on Facebook. But do you want to spend hours every day watching developments as they happen? Probably not.

Thankfully, there’s a few tools that you can use to check on the content that is taking the social media world by storm. Here’s one of the free ones that we like to use at MoreNiche.

Social Mention

Social Mention is a great tool because it allows you to tap into broad keywords and subject matters and get a quick overview of the kind of activity around that content. Here’s what a search for ‘bodybuilding’ returned:

With this information you can see the top keywords associated with the subject, as well as the hashtags you should be using alongside your content that focus on the subject at hand.

You can also view the top sources for content relating to the subject, so you know where to direct your attention when sharing content relating to a specific topic. This helps you to avoid wasting time by putting content on a platform where it might not perform quite so well.

Although Social Mention is a great way to start looking for what’s trending and where, it is a little restrictive and simple in terms of functionality. But for a free-to-use tool, you couldn’t really ask for more. In terms of what’s available for free, it’s a standout amongst the crowd. But just be aware that there will be limitations to any free-to-use tools.

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NEWS, GROUPS AND CHAT

When it comes to social media, it’s important to stay up to date with all the latest developments and news. You’d be surprised how fast things move and you can quickly get left behind. We have a trusted group of go-to websites that we use for our social media news that we’ve listed below. These websites really have their fingers on the social media pulse and we get loads of great ideas about tools and techniques from them as well as all the current news.

Social Media Today
Social Media Examiner
DigitalMarketer Blog
Digital Trends

But it doesn’t stop there. There are also a lot of groups and other sources that you can tap into for more information.

Reddit

 

Reddit actually has a variety of useful subreddits for the digital marketer and social media specialist alike.

The first port of call for those interested in social media is reddit.com/r/socialmedia, where you can find a wealth of information about the latest tips, techniques and questions. It’s also a great place to post up a question when you’re completely stumped by a particular social media issue.

There are a variety of experts and experienced marketers, community managers and social media enthusiasts just waiting to give their feedback on ideas, questions and problems. So don’t be shy. Head over there if you have a specific problem that needs sorting, or even just to take a look at what’s going on. You’ll be wowed by what you pick up in half an hour of browsing the hot posts in this subreddit.

Although slightly less active than the social media-specific subreddit, it’s also worth checking out the DigitalMarketing subreddit as well. It has some interesting general reading that can be applied to a multitude of affiliate activities, not just social media.

In general Reddit is great because you can ask what you want, when you want. And while you might not get the answer you were seeking or expecting, there’s a lot to learn on there. But just be careful what you reveal in comments and posts, as you never know who is watching!

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Okay, so that’s all from us for now. I hope you’ve learned about some new useful tools that you can try out to take your social media presence to the next level! Happy posting!