6 Essential Free Social Media Management Tools

6 Essential Free Social Media Management Tools

Use these tools to plan, manage and optimise your social media marketing – which do you use?

Social Media is no longer the wild west of marketing that it used it be, but it is still a dynamic and fast growing platform for engaging with customers, enhancing/maintaining your brand or even selling if done correctly.

Just ‘doing social’ is no longer good enough. Doing it in a half-hearted or un-planned fashion could well do more damage to your brand than not doing it at all. In order to make the most of it you need to plan, manage and optimise it. This all takes time, but there is an excellent set of free social media management tools out there to save you time and get better results from social media marketing.

#1. Hootsuite

This platform is among the best developed of the free social media tools out there. It gives you a dashboard to allow you to overview the activity on your tweets, Facebook posts and whatever other social channels you have connected. It also allows you to schedule posts to all the social channels you have connected, so you can reach your audience exactly when the largest number of them are online.

Hootsuite

You can connect your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ accounts, to save you time when posting content to your different social media feeds. However in my opinion although Hootsuite is better for keeping tabs on all your social accounts and monitoring mentions etc., it is slightly more fiddly and less user friendly than buffer is at doing the task of scheduling posts to multiple accounts.

#2. Buffer

Buffer is wonderfully simple and effective at its primary purpose; scheduling posts to go out to multiple social accounts. This is great for saving you time and to allow you to post when your audience is online. However the anaylitics that come with the free version are very basic so are not brilliant for optimising your posts. I would thus recommend using other tools to gather data on the success of your posts if you don’t want to pay for Buffer’s “Awesome plan”.

My buffer tip is to download the free buffer chrome extension, which means at the click of a button you can be buffering whatever page you are on and writing your own custom message.

Buffer

Buffer auto-generates a text post with the link of the page you are on when you use this, but you can easily edit this to say whatever you think best, and add an image. Because of a change to Facebook’s rules on 3rd party app posting, buffer no-longer auto-generates the text when sharing to Facebook, you have to add this yourself. I actually think this is an advantage, as it is good to be able to customise text in Facebook posts, as it allows you to use more characters than Twitter and means you could use a less business-like tone than you might on LinkedIn.

#3. Followerwonk

Followerwonk (part of Moz) gives you some really useful analytics options for researching the effectiveness of your Tweets and the performance of your Twitter account as a whole. You can analyse your followers or the users you follow to ascertain where in the world they are and when they are most active on Twitter, as well as other information. This can really help you improve your effectives on Twitter, as it will mean you can use the information on when your followers are active to determine when you should be tweeting. In addition if you discover you have a large number of followers in a certain country it could help with planning your next marketing campaign or even store location. To save you even more time, followerwonk integrates with buffer, so you can get it to automatically update buffer’s set posting times to be when your followers are most online.

Followerwonk

Followerwonk

#4. Twitter analytics

Twitter analytics was made available to all members some time ago now. It is a simple but useful tool to assess how you are doing on Twitter, and unlike the previous tools I have mentioned all the functionality is available for free, rather than it being a ‘Freemium’ service. It gives you a decent pallet of stats, such as profile visits, mentions, followers and tweet impressions. And you can see how these are changing month to month. It also shows you your top performing tweets for each month, which is great for assessing what goes down well with your audience.

Tweet Analyitics

#5. Facebook Insights

Facebook insights provides a similar functionality to Twitter analytics, this gives you stats on your pages post reach, engagement and likes. This helps you measure your progress and find out what is working well. You can also add your competitor’s pages to your ‘Pages to Watch’ list, so you can discover their engagement stats as well. This means if you see a competitor performing particularly well it might be worth seeing how they are using Facebook. Equally if a big player in your industry is doing rather badly (it happens more than you might think), then it might be worth seeing what there doing wrong so as not to fall foul of it as well.

#6. Social Analytics

Social Analytics is a really handy and easy to use chrome extension which gives you social share stats on any page, to see how popular that page is on social media. This helps you get a good idea for what content on your site or your influencers/competitors site is getting shared on social media. Which can then be used to help you plan and optimise your future content to do better on social media.

Social Analyitics

Hope you find these tools useful, I’d love to hear what social media tools you have found useful – are we missing any of your regular tools?.

– Source: SmartInsights.

July 14, 2015 / by / in , , , , , , ,

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