Technology can be a beautiful thing. If you're managing your clinic's social media presence on the go, having a few of the right apps on your phone can make the process even more efficient. Since inspiration strikes me all hours of the day and night, having these apps on my phone allows me to act quickly to implement ideas. That said, I am a huge believer in work-life balance and normally do most of my work at my desk during my normal "hours." Still, these apps have all been lifesavers when I'm traveling, and many of you have indicated that you like to work on clinic or personal phones and tablets.
So here we go- my top 10 social media management apps (I use iOS devices, but I'm pretty sure these are all Android friendly as well). I'll be doing a similar blog next week of my top 10 photo editing/design apps, so stay tuned! And remember, there is no right or wrong way-- just like different veterinarians prescribe different treatment plans, different social media managers use different social tools. You do what works for you, and your practice!
The countdown begins, Letterman style!
10. Google Drive: I save all of my clinic's logos and photos into files on Google Drive. That way I can access them anytime I want to brand a picture or need to pull up an old photo- without taking space on my own phone. I have access to all of our "media" across devices this way, and can save items directly to it from a text or email too!
9. Tweets Nearby: If you're not sure if your clinic should use Twitter, Tweets Nearby identifies tweets that have been sent from your geographic location in a map viewfinder. If there's not a lot of Twitter activity in the few miles around your clinic, it may not be the right demographic for you and therefore not worth your time. For instance, if I open up Tweets Nearby in some of the outer suburbs of St. Louis, it's crickets in the Twitterverse. But if I'm downtown in the city, I practically can't see the map because of all the activity.
It also lets you see what's trending around you- great for conventions, concerts, etc.
8. Facebook Ads Manager: While not as powerful as actual desktop Ads Manager, this app will definitely let you manage the ads you've created from your phone. I use it as a quick way to check in on my ads and see how many people they've reached. You can also allow it to notify you're reaching a spending limit or they're about to expire. Editing features give you the ability to fix typos, alter budgets, schedule and audiences. The app does allow you to create ads, but I'm apparently getting old and like to see those in a larger screen size.
7. Repost: Think of this as the Facebook "share" button feature for Instagram. This app allows you to post other people's Instagram photos on your own Instagram feed. No need to screenshot if you'd like to reuse a popular photo or meme, plus this way you're allowed to give credit to the original Instagramer- great for building those relationships with your clients and your community. This is great if you have a client post a photo tagged at your location, and you want to share this on your clinic's Instagram feed. Or if you want to repost photos from my feed of my adorable dog Maple, either way :-)
6. Yelp for Business: a handier version of the website, you can set this up for your clinic in order to respond to reviews or questions right from your phone, track visitor traffic, and upload photos. For those who want regular and instant access to what's happening on their clinic Yelp page, this is the best way to do it, since you can enable it to send you a notification with each new review.
5. Pocket: Pocket lets you save articles, videos, links in a convenient spot that you can access anywhere. Think of it like using the Facebook "Saved" feature but from literally any website or social media device on your phone. Instead of emailing yourself links or keeping the browser window open forever, I find it easy to come back to these articles later. I use this for animal stories throughout the week, and then when I need something to share, I've got several already saved and ready to go. It will also suggest articles based on your interests/previous saved content (so for me, um....cat videos, basically).
4. IFTTT (IF): This stands for "If This, Then That" and is one of my favorite apps (and websites) of all time. This app allows you to create "recipes" using more than 60 different connected apps- including Facebook, Twitter Instagram, Gmail, FitBit, Dropbox, etc. For a non-social media example, you can create a recipe that if rain is forecasted tomorrow, you'll get a text reminding you to bring an example. My favorite social media use of this is a receipt that takes photos I post on Instagram and then automatically posts it on Twitter too (but it look like a native photo, not just a link to Instagram). Shhhh...it's a little bit of a secret, but I can't post everywhere all the time! :-) I also like the option to save all your photos from Instagram or Facebook to a Dropbox or Gmail folder, or the recipe to get a notification if a specific person posts on Instagram (great if you have those famous four-legged patients with their own Instagram accounts)! There are literally a billion other combos and recipes already out there- so check them out and streamline your stuff!
3. Bitly: Another app and website combo, Bitly allows you to shorten a link quickly, and if you want, share to Twitter, Facebook, text or email directly from the app. As you can imagine, this is most handy if you want to tweet an article with a super long web address. It also saves your recent links and tracks how many people have clicked then, which can be handy too!
2. Hootsuite: This app is a great sidekick to the website service, which allows you to share and schedule posts from your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin Accounts all from one place. It's free for up to 3 social network accounts. I use the website every day, but the app is handy if I have a last minute message I want to schedule to post in the morning before my day begins. It also has a built-in link shortener as well!
And my number one app is.....Drumroll....
1. Facebook Pages Manager: This may seem like a no-brainer, but there are TONS of people who aren't using this app. If you're managing any sort of Facebook page from your phone, ever, you absolutely need this app. Pages Manager lets admins post and respond to comments AS YOUR PAGE, and prevents you from accidentally doing so as your personal account. You can also view and reply to private messages your Page receives (if you've enabled that feature), view your page insights, schedule future content, and get pushed notifications on comments, reviews, etc. While I have mixed feelings on getting notifications on your phone (again, work-life balance here), if nothing else you should use it so you can't mix up your personal profile with your business page.
Not sure what to post? Have a slow day and want to work ahead on your clinic's social media? Look no further- we've got suggestions, ideas and shareable for every day in March! Click on each date for info, links or hints. You can even integrate this with your own Google calendar for reminders and alerts if you need to.
Hopefully, this will help you save time by giving you content to schedule now. In addition, by planning ahead you'll have more time to create your own new photos and ideas! My goal is to make social media easier for veterinary staff, and to help us become THE source of pet health information online.