Have you been dreading the inevitable dive into social media management? Scared of tackling the multi-headed social hydra that lurks beyond your computer screen?
That’s why social media tools exist! They will be your sword and shield when you are ready to start your quest to manage your social profiles.
There are always new tools that offer a variety of differing services. Being surrounded with tools can make it hard to figure out which one is the right weapon for the job. (No more fantasy metaphors, I promise!)
This is especially true when you don’t have much of a budget to work with! Don’t fret though, I’m here to point out 7 great social media tools to help get you started.
Hey, hold up! Why do I need to do this?
It’s a good question if you still have some skepticism. The answer depends on what your goals are for using social media. Those goals could be to increase your reach, scoping out your competition or just to make your posting easier.
For a small business, there are some stand-out perks to using social media tools:
- Community Building! Finding the time to reach all your communities can be troublesome. Using a social media dashboard will save you a lot time by providing post scheduling and all-in-one profile management!
- Keep the conversation going! You want to make sure you don’t miss any opportunities to chat with customers, and these tools will help you do that. Besides choosing where to publish your content, you can track and manage your conversations from one convenient location!
- My post did what? You can get rich and detailed analytics of your posts to determine if you are being effective and reaching the right people. Having the data means you are can paint a picture about what’s going on and lets you figure out how to post in the future!
There is great value to using tools to help your social media accounts. That’s why I’ve selected the following 7 tools for you guys to take a look at.
Not only because they are good, but because most have a free or trial option available. This is great if you want to play around and get a feel for the tools before committing!
- Manage all the major social media profiles from one location
- Columned display gives a great visual overview of account activity
- App Integration is available
- You are restricted to using the ow.ly url shortener
- Requesting multiple reports is costly
- Doesn’t integrate well with Facebook Analytics
Hootsuite is one of the more popular and well known tools for social media management. It acts as a dashboard for all your social media profiles allowing you to manage your streams all in one place.
Hootsuite has the benefit of working with a ton of social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, WordPress, Instagram and more) so it will cover almost every platform you need. There are also a bunch of other available integrations for Youtube, Tumblr, Salesforce and more.
Some features available are post scheduling, tracking, and the really cool column display which gives an overview of all the activity coming from one account.
The free version has fewer features (no access to any enhanced reports, limited number of profiles it will manage) but the Pro version has a 30 day trial available. That way you can give some advanced features a test drive. If it works for you the pro version ends up being only $9.99 a month, so you won’t break the bank on it.
Price: Free, Paid (Awesome Plan, Business)
- Use the url shortener of your choice
- Integrates seamlessly into your browser
- Easy to learn, simple to use
- Only works with 3 social media sites
- No social listening functions
- Lacks in-depth analytics
Buffer is a wonderful tool for scheduling posts and linking content you find on the internet. Set any articles and links you find to be added to the queue of what to post next.
It has app support, as well as browser extensions so you can capture content without having to leave the page you are on.
It even works with other tools like bit.ly which allow you to track the clicks on your links. Buffer only supports three of the social media sites (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) so you will have to keep that in mind when deciding what to use.
It is definitely one of the easier tools to use with a great interface and simple learning curve. The free version allows one profile for each of the social media sites, while the Awesome Plan allows up to 10 social media profiles for $10 a month.
If you are looking for something to get your feet wet with social media tools, Buffer is a great choice to get started.
Price: Free Trial, Paid (Deluxe, Premium, Team)
- Beautiful application interface
- Streaming inbox for social profile management
- Unlimited reporting
- Post scheduler not as advanced as other services
- Pricier compared to other alternatives
- Multiple users can be expensive
Sprout Social is another social media dashboard that works just as you expect it would. It allows you to manage many social media accounts from one location. You can search for content with Feedly integration, schedule posts ahead of time, and reply to your mentions and messages.
A great thing that Sprout Social does is having a single streaming inbox that shows you all the activity for your social profiles. Sprout Social also has awesome and beautiful analytics so that you can visualize all your data and check out how you are performing with each of your accounts.
There are free trials available, but to continue using the service you would need to buy the deluxe or premium packages, which start from $59 per month. It costs much more than the previous tools, but if your business thrives on being social it could be the right tool for you. Plus you get a free trial to give it a run through!
- Easy to use
- Recommendations to improve your page
- No in-depth analytics
- Sometimes cannot analyze larger pages
If you were looking to get some great and detailed feedback about your Facebook page, LikeAlyzer is the tool for you. The best part? It’s completely free!
LikeAlyzer will provide you with a review over your Facebook page including your post distribution, your post timing and average post length. LikeAlyzer also gives you suggestions to improve your interactions with fans so you can start to understand what’s working on your page. Did I mention it was free?
- Determine peak times to tweet
- Can sync with buffer
- Only accounts for 1000 followers
- Does not provide information for each individual day
With a Facebook tool to analyze your page, it would make sense to have one for your Twitter as well. That’s just what Tweriod is. It helps you keep track of your followers and when they are tweeting.
Then through some algorithm magic it tells you when the best time to reach your fans is. It’s completely free too! Can it get even better? Yes, yes it can.
Once you know your peak times you can sync up with Buffer to get all your posts coming in at just the right times! The only downside is that the free analysis only accounts for 1000 followers.
- Lots of filtering options to view keywords and topics
- Finding influencers is easy
- Exports CSV and Excel
- Only accounts for 5 social media sites
- No in-depth insights on shares
BuzzSumo is a free online tool that lets you see what the latest and greatest content is and who is sharing it. If you want to know what the most shared content for a certain keyword is, you can see that.
You can filter it down to influencers or types of post as well. There are just a ton of filters to mess around with so you can keep tabs on what is successful and how to emulate it. You can also export the data to CSV or Excel so you can mine it even further.
- Checks your text for problem areas
- Has a desktop version available
- Fast and simple to use
- Not useful for more complex posts
- Web version only takes small blocks of text
Producing content that is digestible and easy to read might be difficult for you. Hemingway has you covered in that department. It’s a cool (and free!) web application where you can enter your text and find out how difficult it is to read.
Problem areas get highlighted for easy revision. It’s just that simple. You can even download a desktop version if you are so inclined.
These are just 7 social media tools that small businesses can start playing around with. Whether you are struggling with coming up with great post ideas, or monitoring your brand and its competitors, there is a tool that can help you defeat the beast that lies in wait. (Ok, that was the last one!)
Of course, all these tools are either free or free to try for those who are hesitant about jumping into social media management. Did I miss a favourite tool of yours? Let me know about it in the comments!
If you need some help with your social media marketing, make sure to give us a call.