In my long experience as a social media manager, consultant, and trainer, there seems to be 9 “types” of tools someone needs to be successful in their social media marketing business.

And in this post we’re going to explore the first 3;

    • Calendars,
    • Scheduling Tools,
    • and Invoicing Systems.

To be super clear — This is not a list of tools for managing your social sites per se; it is a list of tools to manage your client’s social media accounts as their social media manager.

In my world simplicity reigns supreme. Find the one or two best tools for each type, and try not to get distracted by the next shiny tool. If you find the systems you use don’t work for you, then go shopping for just that type of tool.

[click_to_tweet tweet=”Hey #SMmanagers TIP: Try to avoid the “Top 200 Tools” lists. Instead, tap your community to ask what they use and ask for reviews.” quote=”TIP: Try to avoid the “Top 200 Tools” lists. Instead, tap your community to ask what they use and ask for reviews.” theme=”style1″]

Another TIP:  Breathe deep when you run across an AppSumo offer 🙂 Ask yourself, Do I really need this shiny new tool? What tool will it replace? Will I save money by using this tool instead of the one I use now?  Those of you with an addiction to purchasing everything that is promoted by AppSUMO need to be extra vigilant to not buy everything they promote.

What Are the 9 Types of Tools? 

      1. calendar
      2. social posting scheduler
      3. invoicing system
      4. social account management
      5. relationship management
      6. image and video creation and editing
      7. reporting system
      8. file management
      9. and an online meeting system

You only need ONE tool in each of these categories. Everything else is just too much icing on the social media manager’s cake. And some tools are combinations of this list. For example, Dubsado, which we mention below is a combination of 3 of these types.

If you are starting a new business as a social media manager going through these 3 posts in this series will save you time and boatloads of money in the long run.

If you already have clients this will help you streamline your process and save you time so you make more money!

Let’s go through the first 3 types of tools a good social media manager needs.


1. Calendars for Social Media Managers

You absolutely need a calendar system. This is the top category of tool you’ll need if you plan on having more than one client.

Use your calendar system of choice (Google Calendar for the win) to be your:

    • Daily Time Management Journal (so you stay productive)
    • Editorial Calendar (that you share with your client)
    • Social Post Planner (to make sure everything gets done)
    • and Product Launch Calendar (if you are part of that type of Team)

Whichever calendar system you choose, you need to make sure it auto-syncs with your mobile phone and allows you to create and make edits through that mobile interface.

Avoid Task Lists and To-Do Lists, as I have found these really don’t serve you in the long run – unless you transfer the items to a calendar. Add any task “to do” on an actual calendar time-slot to really keep the momentum going.

One of the many nice features of using Google Calendar is you can create a Calendar for each client and color-code each calendar on one view. This gives you loads of flexibility for you as a manager or consultant.

And if you use a Project Management System (more about those later in the series) other than a simple Google Calendar – make sure your Google Calendar syncs with this tool for the most productivity.

Google Calendar     

2. Social Media Posting Scheduler

Every social media manager needs a way to schedule social posts. If you have more than one client there is no way to manually post everything you need for yourself and clients. You would have to spend 15 hours a day staring at a screen – which is not healthy for anyone.

The good news is there are many excellent systems for this type of tool. But this category might take you the longest to figure out and might be changed to a different tool through time. I can make some recommendations, but you should ultimately find the best systems for your world and the way your brain works.

Yes, your brain. Some people have an engineer-type of brain and some people have a visual-planning type of brain. Seriously. This is why it’s hard to just suggest one social media scheduling tool. Do you know which way your brain prefers?

Here are a few I’ve used with great success:

SocialJukeBox is my #1 tool for scheduling tweets for businesses that use “seasonal” posting (Halloween, Spring Break, Summer Sales).

A close second is eclincher and then MeetEdgar. AgoraPulse, SproutSocial, CloudCampaign – like I said, this category is FULL of good tools.

Facebook’s built-in scheduling tool is still the best for scheduling Facebook Posts to a Page if you only have a couple of clients.

Members of Social Media Manager School have access to a Preferred Tools List and another larger list of tools to explore. Another reason to take a look at the School? 

[click_to_tweet tweet=”TIP: Social platforms tend to change their API on occasion making it difficult for these 3rd party apps to be able to do all the things you need them to do. Be aware of industry changes and be prepared to adjust the way you schedule posts.” quote=”TIP: Social platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.) tend to change their API on occasion making it difficult for these 3rd party apps to be able to do all the things you need them to do. Be aware of industry changes and be prepared to adjust the way you schedule posts.” theme=”style1″]


3. Financial Tools for Social Media Managers

You need an invoicing system as a social media manager. You might already use QuickBooks or any number of software programs, but FreshBooks is very easy to set up and has a very nice user interface. You can track your time, get paid online, have accounting forms sent to your accountant at tax time, set up late payment reminds, create recurring bills, and so much more. It’s worth a look.

I’ve also been enjoying WaveApp. I like how it works, I like the pricing, and I like how easy it is to set up.

When I asked the members of Social Media Manager School’s membership Group what tool they liked for invoicing they reminded me that PayPal can be set up for this task and also systems like Invoice.ZOHO.

It’s true you can just create an invoice in a Google do and ask for a check to be physically mailed to you, but having a professional system set up will save you time and money.

But over and over again Dubsado was highly praised. I consider this tool to be 3 tools in one; Invoicing, client relationship management, and lead generation systems. You should take a look at Dubsado before you make any final decisions.


Coming Up Next: Tools 4-6 for Social Media Managers

In the next post in this series, we’ll do a deeper dive into the next 3 top categories of tools; social account management, customer management, and the ever popular and tool-rich category of image/video creation and editing.  

We’d love to hear all about the tools you currently use as a social media manager or consultant. This is a huge topic of discussion online and you can tag us on Twitter @SMManagerSchool, on Instagram @PhyllisKhare or our Facebook Page.