Time is one thing you constantly find yourself running out of when you’re a small business owner. Finding time to be present on various social media platforms as well as trying to stay consistent and posting often will have you wondering what time is left in the day for anything else. But you do it because you want to build up your follower base and you also know that the biggest advantage in posting to social media platforms is in driving traffic back to your website and showing that you are a trusted expert or that your product is quality.
There are hundreds of apps out there that you can consider to help you in freeing up some of your time as well as growing your social media accounts. I’m not going to list 100, but here are 12 that I recommend. I have tried all of these social media marketing tools and continue to use some of them in my every day schedule. If you have any questions about any of them, feel free to shoot me an email.
CREATING YOUR CONTENT
Canva is probably one of my favorite social media tools. It is budget friendly (they offer a free and paid version) and allows even the most non-tech savvy individual to transform their social media account into something visually appealing. They even offer premade templates so that even if you aren’t a great designer, you can at least pretend to be one. The free version has no watermarks, which is a plus, and still allows you access thousands of templates.
2. Spark Post
Spark Post (formerly known as Adobe Spark) is another visual content creator that allows you to create high-quality graphics, stories and animated video. For those who are use to Adobe products like Photoshop or Illustrator for design, you’ll love spark for its fresh designs.
Ripl is another app that enables its users to create custom animations (and with music!) which can be shared with Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. The free version is limited and adds a Ripl watermark to your posts, but the paid version would definitely have people wondering where you got your image editing skills.
SCHEDULING YOUR CONTENT
Buffer is an awesome app that allows you to schedule posts to Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Google Plus, Instagram and Pinterest profiles and pages simultaneously. They even have the auto post option for Instagram which has been a game changer. Whenever you add a post to Buffer you choose which network(s) you want to post it to and it is then added to each network’s queue. The free version allows you to post to 3 social accounts, whereas the other plans allow 8+ accounts.
With a free Planoly account, you can post up to 30 Instagram photos a month, review a month’s worth of analytics and respond to comments on your last five posts. Planoly’s unique grid feature lets you drag and drop your pictures to easily style and brand your Instagram feed. You will need a paid account to post videos, but on a free account you can schedule single photo posts to be auto-published.
Later works like Planoly and allows you to schedule and auto-publish your Instagram. It also works with Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest accounts allowing you to schedule up to 30 posts per month with the free plan. You’ll need a paid account to schedule video though. The paid accounts also offer hashtag suggestions as well as suggestions of the best time to post.
Tailwind is an automated scheduling and analytics app for Pinterest and Instagram. Their smart schedule functionality recommends the optimal times to post, which is tailored to your Instagram account. This allows for your posts to be shared when your audience is the most likely to interact with your content.
Ok so we all know that MailChimp is an email marketing and newsletter service used by tons of business owners. With their easy integration, you can also send you newsletters to your Facebook and Twitter. So now your Facebook and Twitter followers can know about your newsletter and possibly sign up for your mailing list. MailChimp also has detailed analytics, so you can track when your recipients open the email or click-through to your website.
Bit.ly is a URL shortener. This means that it takes a ridiculously long web address such as
https://www.thestartuppro.com/why-is-this-web-address-so-freaking-long-who-even-remembers-an-address-this-long and turns it into something much shorter like https://bit.ly/Xyut123
Bit.ly is widely used and the analytics offered by the tool are pretty great and surprisingly free. Bit.ly even allows you make your customize your shortened URL so that you can make that long url above into https://bit.ly/startuppropost
HootSuite is a comprehensive social media management tool that allows users to schedule and post updates to Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Google Plus, and Instagram profiles/pages. It even has WordPress integration and others from one place – the HootSuite dashboard. If you manage a lot of social media accounts, HootSuite will allow you to streamline all of those profiles into one simple system ultimately saving you a lot of time.
Crowdfire is a web and mobile app that helps in managing your followers. Using Crowdfire, you can see who recently followed or unfollowed you, who is following you and you’re not following back and so much more!
11. Google Analytics
Chances are that you already have a Google Analytics account if you have a website or a blog. If you don’t have a Google analytics account or even a website – why the heck not?? Google Analytics is one of the most important social media marketing tools. This tool is also free. Not only will it tell you how many visitors you’ve had on your website, but also tell you what social media platforms visitors are from, what part of the world visitors are from and so much more!
Follower Wonk is relatively new to me. It helps you find, analyze and optimize your social-media progress. You can get deeper information about your followers, where they are located, and when they tweet plus the ability to optimize your own tweets.
So those are my 12 social media marketing tools that you should take a look at. No, you don’t need to use ALL of them at once, but I have found that some of them become every day staples (Canva, Buffer, Planoly, Google Analytics, Bit.ly) Not every business owner will like the same ones so test them out until you find the ones that really meet your needs. And always remember, if you need any help with content creation or deciding which tools may be best for your business, feel free to set up a free 15 minute consultation and let’s determine what steps we need to take to improve your business.