The power of social media has extended well beyond networking with family and friends, becoming a staple for information, communication, entertainment, and many other important aspects of our everyday lives. The number of users has grown from around 970 million in 2010 to a whopping 3 billion in 2017. Businesses have jumped on the trend, which is why the average user is seeing more and more marketing promotions and ads in their feed.
Whether you’re a business owner looking for ways to gain more customers, or an individual seeking a stronger digital presence, social media is your platform to gain customers and followers interested in what you offer.
In this article, you’ll find tools for your social media marketing and overall management - and the best part is, you don’t have to spend a single penny to use them.
SumAll for social automation and analytics
SumAll works as an automation and analytics tool for your social media pages. You can connect over a dozen social media accounts and monitor activity in each platform, with comparison of your follower count to those of other users on the service.
With Email Digests, you’ll receive a daily or weekly report of all the metrics for your social media accounts. If you have a Facebook page, you’ll get the data on audience, engagement, and reach, based on metrics including fan count, unlikes, reactions, impressions, and views. The service can gather data from Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, Clover, Square, Stripe, and Shopify, while eBay, PayPal and Google AdWords are upcoming additions.
As for automations, you can create weekly thank you and performance tweets so that followers feel appreciated and informed, and daily product posts to advertise your store’s offers directly to your social media pages. These efforts can help boost engagement and increase overall follower activity, and in the case of online stores, help push sales and ultimately drive profit.
Google Alerts for news
While not as popular as other services from its mothership, Google Alerts is an extremely useful tool for staying up to date with the latest trends in the community, and for keeping track of who’s talking about you or your business.
You can create alerts to see websites and blogs containing the exact words you’ve searched on. For the latest news and discussions, you can also opt to monitor new content with those keywords and receive notifications via email. With Google Alerts, you can stay updated with what most of the population is interested in at that moment, keep up with the latest news on a specific industry, and create or share relevant posts and discussions that will encourage follower participation.
Social Mention for monitoring your online presence
Another search tool which specifically looks into online mentions and activities, Social Mention monitors over 80 social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Digg, and Google. It gives an analysis of the keyword’s strength, sentiment, passion, and reach.
Strength is calculated by phrase mentions within the last 24 hours over the total possible mentions, which is then used to give its discussion percentage in social media. Sentiment is the ratio of positive to negative mentions; passion is the measure of the possibility of users mentioning the keyword repeatedly, and reach is the number of unique authors mentioning the phrase over the total number of mentions. With this data, you can have a pretty good idea about the extent of your name or brand’s presence in social media.
Social Mention also tracks the average time per mention, last tracked mention, number of unique authors, and retweets. You will also see the how many people have a positive, neutral, or a negative sentiment towards the topic, and top related keywords and sources. When you know where you’re getting the most mentions and which ones need more push, you can make the necessary and appropriate actions for each respective platform.
TweetDeck for Twitter monitoring and scheduling
A must for Twitter management, TweetDeck gives you one quick view of your feed, notifications, messages, and followed users’ activity.
You can add other columns into the dashboard, like lists, collections, likes, mentions, followers, trending topics, and scheduled content. You can also add multiple accounts and monitor these without needing to log in and out each time. Column filters allow a selective display of tweets depending on content, users, or alerts. The Content filter lets you filter a column by retweets, a specific keyword, or photo content. The User filter lets you sort by a certain author and their mentions. Lastly, the Alert filter enables sounds and pop-ups for the respective column chosen.
One highly useful feature of TweetDeck is advanced scheduling. You can compose your tweets in one go and schedule their posting to a later date and time. You can add a Scheduled column into the dashboard to see which tweets are queued next, with their exact posting schedule. You can also edit and delete the scheduled tweets from the column.
There is also a TweetDeck for teams, where multiple people can share one Twitter account without sharing passwords. This way, your teammates can add relevant content into your lists and collections, and inquiries and issues tweeted by customers can be assigned to the team member best placed to handle the concern.
IFTTT for automation rules
IFTTT is an automation app where you can set a trigger for a certain action to be carried out - hence the name: If This, Then That.
You create an applet (formerly called a recipe) to define the exact trigger, and the subsequent action once the criteria is fulfilled. For example, you can set Instagram posts to be automatically cross-posted to your Facebook page when a certain hashtag is included. What’s even more impressive is that the applets other users have created are open for anyone to use. You can search for applets related to a specific social media platform, or you can browse recommended applets based on the account that you connected.
There are thousands of applets in the tool, but you can also use Google to find those that are most suitable for social media marketing. The possibilities are endless with IFTTT, so don’t be afraid to experiment with triggers and actions to make your life a little easier.
Services with paid options
The following tools and services offer free basic accounts, which usually have a user limit or feature restrictions, but can work just as well for social media management and marketing depending on the scale of your usage.
Hootsuite for social scheduling and monitoring
Hootsuite is a social media management tool which aims to be the ultimate dashboard for multiple networks. The free account lets you manage 3 social media profiles, monitor follower growth and identify effective content, schedule up to 30 messages in advance, generate and follow leads with contests, and integrate over 150 apps into the dashboard.
This is perfect for brands starting out and individuals who are only beginning to build their online presence, and can pave the way to grow followers at a steady rate. Should you need to upgrade, they have a variety of plans from single to multiple users, with a 20 to 50 social media profile allowance.
Cyfe business dashboard
For online businesses, Cyfe combines sales and social media management in one place. They have several widgets with different purposes - advertising, monitoring, email, sales and finance, social media, web analytics, and more.
Some of the widgets you can add to your dashboard include: Facebook Ads and Pages, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, and LinkedIn for social media; FreshBooks, PayPal, QuickBooks, SalesForce and Shopify under sales and finance; and Google Alerts and Trends for monitoring.
You’ll get the full picture of what’s happening in your business based on these sources, and you can use the data to plan campaigns and promotions to push customer count and transactions. You can also share the numbers with your clients and partners to give them a better view of your company’s current standing.
The Premium plan bumps the features to an unlimited number of dashboards, with data exports, dashboard sharing, custom logo upload, access to historical data, and much more, for $19 per user per month.
Feedly for news
Similar to Google Alerts, Feedly lets you in on the latest trends by creating a personal feed consisting of sources you’re interested in. Feeds are organized by topic, but you’re free to view them all together in one list.
Once you search for a topic, URL, or hashtag, you’ll be given different online sources containing related content, and you can follow these sources so their latest articles will show up in your feed, similar to Twitter. If you encounter an important article that you’d like to revisit some other time, you can add it to your board for easy access later on.
The free version lets you scale up to 3 feeds and boards, with 100 source results. If you want more, you can subscribe to their paid package which costs $84 (although they have seasonal discounts that slash 30-50% off the total price). Feedly Pro gives unlimited feeds, boards, and sources, article highlights and notes, Hootsuite, Buffer, IFTTT and Zapier integration, feed and board sharing, and much more.
Easel.ly for infographics
It’s a proven fact that your brain processes visuals far quicker than text, and people recall information better when it’s presented visually. Infographics have proven to be a particularly effective way of delivering information in an interesting way, doing away with walls of texts and using images to appeal to the reader’s eyes.
Easel.ly is a handy tool which enables you to create infographics within a few minutes.
They have dozens of pre-designed templates that you can customize for your content. The editor carries a variety of illustrations, so you can add visual aids relevant to the topic. While the tool is free to use, you can opt to pay for a Pro account if you want more templates and additional elements like charts. That said, the free version offers the essentials to create beautiful, content-rich infographics, and their templates cover a wide-range of subject matter.
Canva for visuals
Canva is another tool which enables you to create stunning visuals to appeal to your users, with the use of stylish backgrounds for posters, flyers, presentations, and even cover photos and thumbnails - basically all your marketing materials. With more than 50,000 templates available, you’re sure to find one related to your specific niche. There are also a variety of elements in the editor that you can add to your creation, such as grids, frames, shapes, lines, illustrations, icons, and charts.
Their images are designed with high quality and style, with minimal editing needed. In fact, you only need to edit the text in most templates, and you can post immediately to your social media pages - perfect for last-minute announcements or unscheduled posts. If you prefer to use your own images, you can upload them into the editor.
They also have great design education resources, offering a variety of online courses ranging from brand building, Twitter engagement, Facebook design, through to creativity skills - free for anyone to access.
The paid version unlocks all 100,000 Canva templates, lets you organize your folders and uploads and share them with your team, and save your customized templates, brand colors, logos, and fonts for $12.95 a month per member; but honestly, the free version is more than enough to create eye-catching posts.
So there you have it - a collection of social media tools which can make management and marketing a little bit easier. Used well, these tools can boost your social media presence and help give you the exposure - and follower count - you’ve been aiming for. With no cost involved, why not go ahead and give them a try?