Social media marketing refers to the process of creating unique content and engaging with an audience through various social networks in an effort to provide return in the form of metrics such as website traffic or brand awareness. In this day and age, social media has become essential for building relationships with your audience. However, with so many social platforms popping up, it can be overwhelming to manage each company page individually. Here are five free social media tools to help manage your accounts and measure performance effectively.
TweetDeck and HootSuite are two of the most widely-known social media management tools on the web. TweetDeck, which is owned by Twitter, is useful for monitor and manage multiple Twitter accounts simultaneously using customizable columns. It allows you to focus on what is most important to such as certain hashtags, users, trends or lists. While TweetDeck does not include integrated analytics, you can use Twitter Analytics to find data on clicks, mentions, favorites and audience demographics.
HootSuite can help to manage campaigns across several social platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and WordPress. It also uses a multi-column format similar to the TweetDeck interface. In contrast to TweetDeck, Hootsuite tracks engagement and aggregates all your data in an easy-to-read report that can be emailed to you daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. Additionally, Hootsuite offers paid plans that enable more advanced features.
Both of these services schedule posts for you and automatically shortens all URLs using shortening services. TweetDeck is available for Chrome and can be downloaded to PC and Mac desktops, while HootSuite is available through the web.
Buffer is an app that helps manage Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts simultaneously. It is an easy way to schedule your content across social media in a highly automated fashion. After setting up a customized schedule, you simply insert post content, which is then automatically published at the specified time. Additionally, Buffer offers analytics for each post, and the data can easily be exported for easy reporting.
If This Then That (IFTTT) is a useful tool that manages your social networks, RSS feeds and other web applications using simple conditional statements called “recipes”. You can create and share these recipes by using the simple formula, “if this, then that”. For example, “if I add a new photo to Facebook, then save those photos to Dropbox” or “if there is a new RSS feed item, then post a tweet to Twitter”. IFTTT takes out the need to think about every little thing you need to do and automates repetitive processes.
Bitly shortens URLs, which is especially useful when dealing with character limits on social networks. While bitlys are automatically generated as a random sequence of letters and numbers, Bitly offers the ability to customize the link. Also, it offers the ability to use a custom URL. Analytics provided by Buffer allow you to see the performance of each URL, as well as other metrics.
Social Mention is a social media search engine that aggregates all user generated content (blogs, comments, videos, posts, etc.) across the web and is updated in real-time. You can use this site to easily track and measure exactly what people are saying about your company or any topic that is being talked about across over 100 social media networks.
When analyzing the data, it takes into account 4 key factors:
Strength – the likelihood the topic is being discussed in social media
Sentiment – the ratio of mentions that are positive to those that are negative
Passion – the likelihood that individuals that are talking about the topic are doing it repeatedly.
Reach – the range of influence
Social Mention is a useful tool to keep track of the latest news in your industry as well as monitor your relevancy to your target audience.
What other free social media tools do you find to be essential for your social media marketing success? Comment below to let us know if we should add anything to this list.