Are you one of the 65 million1 people with a Facebook page for your business? The perfect counterpart to your business website, it’s clearly no secret that a strong social media presence is an essential part of your online marketing efforts. Unfortunately, for many small businesses, managing a social media page can feel like a daunting task. What do you post? When’s the best time to publish content? And worse of all, what if nobody “likes” you?
Well, put those worries to rest – because we have a not-so-secret for you. Social media marketers everywhere use a handful of resources that help with everything from page monitoring, to staying on top of the latest internet trends. And the best part? Most of them are totally free and easy to use. Read on to find out which social media tools seasoned community managers can’t live without!
You know what we love about social media? The fact that it’s like one big water cooler for everyone to share their thoughts on the most popular conversations of the day. In marketing terms, a subject that many people are talking about at the same time is called a “trending topic.” Trending topics can range from anything such as political banter, pop culture, to national holidays and even fun made-up internet holidays.
Finding trending hashtags on Twitter and Instagram is as easy as taking advantage of the tools already built-in within the platform. For example, on Twitter, you can clearly see trending topics (often shown as Hashtags) listed on the left side of your screen, and Instagram displays much of its trending content in the search page. But there are also a ton of external programs to help you find fresh new content to cover. Here are just some of our favorites:
An interactive map that shows you what topics are trending in any given location in real time.
See what people are looking up on the world’s most popular search engine in real time. If something is being searched on Google, odds are it’s reached the social-sphere too.
A favorite for finding design inspiration, this website serves fresh content about the latest in technology and design daily.
The self-proclaimed front page of the Internet, every social media manager knows that the best memes and online content are posted here before anywhere else.
Having a well-kept social media account doesn’t mean that you need to spend all day posting content. In fact, much of the content for your social media page can be set and scheduled ahead of time! Facebook, for example, has a built-in scheduler within your business page account. If you have a business profile on Twitter, you can schedule any tweet that includes an image, video or GIF in your Media Studio. Naturally, not every social media site is so savvy when it comes to scheduling.
For social media pages that don’t have a scheduling function, or if you’re looking to organize all of your content in one convenient spot, a tool called Buffer is a big help! Buffer is a social media scheduling app that can connect to all major social media platforms (like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and G+) to set and publish your content while you’re off doing other things. One of our favorite features on Buffer is that it analyzes your page audience and suggests the best time of day to post your content based on when your fans will likely see it.
As a small business owner, you have a number of ways to track your success. Whether it’s the amount of stock sold or the number of people that stepped through your store’s front door – every business has their own metrics. When it comes to your social media marketing, there’s no shortage of metrics that you can use to analyze your content’s performance.
Every major social platform has an integrated analytics tool. Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest are equipped with built-in insights right within the business account. In each case, you’ll find metrics on everything from the reach of your posts, to how many people viewed and engaged with your page. Of course, the Internet is filled with external programs that allow you to truly dig deep into your social media insights, here are just a few of our favorites:
Buzzsumo is a powerhouse tool that’s used to analyze the success of the content you share. One of our favorite features of this website is that it looks into key components of your publications, like headlines or source and suggests new content topics that your audience might be interested in.
Commun.it is an expert tool to help grow your Twitter page. One of our favorite things about this platform? It analyzes the quality of your Twitter followers to highlight your brand’s newest online evangelists.
The holy grail for looking into your website’s traffic, Google Analytics is most commonly used to analyze traffic from your websites and blog. While not a typical social analytics tool, using Google Analytics to assess the traffic to your website from social media sites is one of its most crucial functions. Don’t know a thing about the platform? Here’s a full guide for beginners on Google Analytics.
Social media is anything but static. A successful social media manager relishes in the back and forth on any content that they publish, however, replying to users can be a bit confusing and overwhelming on some platforms. Thankfully, there are a ton of social media monitoring tools to help simplify the process. Hootsuite (free and paid plans) and Sprout social (free for the first 30 days only) amalgamate any chatter directed at your social media pages into a much more manageable set-up. Take advantage of these sites to ensure that you don’t miss a beat when communicating with your audience online.
Most people know that social media channels come with their own rule book when it comes to posting images. With specific size requirements set in place, social media managers need to be sure that they post the correct image on each platform. There they go saving our social lives once again, these tools are totally devoted to creating beautiful images in the exact pixel-perfect size needed, depending on the channel. Here are some of our favorites:
This life-saving tool has pre-set templates for every social media platform. All you need to do is select the type of image you’re looking to post and customize the canvas with your own material.
Like Canva, this design asset for dummies gives social media managers the ability to create professional looking images without the Photoshop skills you thought you needed. With social sizes in mind, this platform will auto-resize any of your creations for the specific channel you’ll be posting on.
A recent survey2 suggests that this year, video content will make up 74% of all internet traffic. For those of us who skipped out on film school, Animoto is an easy tool to create video content with photo and images that we already have at our disposal. However, unlike many of the other platforms we mention above, Animoto comes with a small price tag after the free trial.
Of course, there are a ton of other social media tools out there depending on your needs. Did we miss your favorite? Tell us about it in the comments!
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