Are you looking for no nonsense social media tools to enhance your digital marketing potential?
Would you like to become more productive to free up time for other business activities?
You’re not alone. The rise of assistive technology in social marketing has boomed since social media itself became a mainstream channel for marketers.
When businesses started to understand that effectively participating in social media is extremely valuable, a tidal wave of new social tools were introduced, each with its own distinguishable features. Industry professionals who undertook marketing on multiple platforms soon needed something to help make their activities both quicker and simpler.
Step in social media marketing tools.
There are several reasons why you should start thinking about adopting social media marketing tools. The most common reasons cited by users include:
- To increase effectiveness
- To increase efficiency
- To increase productivity
- For better responsiveness
- For continuity
- For collaboration
- To increase scope and scale
- For simpler execution
It’s obvious that the pros are using various tools to get the most out of social media marketing. So why aren’t you?
If, like most of the world, you are a regular user of social media, then chances are you’d have come across various social tools before. And if you have realized the true potential of social media marketing, then you’ll be eager to learn how to improve your efforts.
In simple terms, improvements equal more success. And depending on your business or service, success could mean bigger profits.
But if you are like a lot of social media users and business owners who don’t want to spend a ton of money testing various social media tools or software, then the list of free tools in this article is highly beneficial to you.
There isn’t a free tool available yet that will assist in all aspects of social media marketing, so a suitable menu for you to combine different types of specialized tools will definitely enable you to improve each area of your social media campaign.
Let’s explore what areas of social media can be significantly improved using assistive technology:
Social media brings together huge communities of people into single online spaces and places in order to share content and facilitate discussion.
So people talk. And they talk a lot. Conversations happen in social media and whether you like it or not, you can’t control them. It’s the perfect place to generate third party endorsements, the most powerful referencing mechanism known.
Listening to what is being said will enable you to structure your content into opportunities and threats; being knowledgeable of a potential opportunity and being well-placed to act upon it, while identifying negative conversations, realizing what caused them and how they can be alleviated or minified.
The key word in social media is social. Interaction and participation is how social media is delivered and where value is realised. It creates a movement of conversations, endorsements and/or potential new customers meeting your products or content for the first time.
With so many users (Facebook now has over 1 billion users) and conversations, it is easy to lose track of what has been said and if a question was left unanswered. Its strength comes from its immediacy and timeliness.
Social media doesn’t stop. It’s 24/7. And the global community expects the same coverage from businesses. Boundaries become invisible and irrelevant, it’s about solutions to needs no matter where, when, or how.
Essentially, businesses invest in social media to create a return. This is loosely what executives would consider “marketing” and with it, comes an expectation that quantifiable value will be created of one sort or, ideally, in multiple areas.
In order to deliver social media marketing campaigns successfully, each contributing activity needs to be planned, created, executed, managed, optimized and reported upon, in order to demonstrate this quantifiable value to decision makers.
Analytics and Reporting
Everything in marketing that consumes investment should be measured. Otherwise, how will you know if it was a good investment?
Understanding the data, finding correlations and defining the next steps based on the findings, is all part and parcel of social media marketing. Investors or businesses owners also like to be kept up-to-date with what is happening. The creation of meaning from a variety of measures through interpretation is vital. It’s an art form but it needs to produce a positive story for further investment to be forthcoming.
If you take the AIDA acronym in marketing to highlight the list of common events that happen when someone engages with your business, then it’s clear that without people taking actions on your social marketing efforts, there will be no value created.
Creating positive influences on perception, attitudes and behaviours, by executing balanced and varied campaigns, should be undertaken meticulously.
Nowadays, social media management without the assistance of specialist tools is like a builder turning up to work without their toolbox. They will be armed with all the knowledge they need, but the work that would get done won’t be pretty.
Imagine the builder trying to turn a screw using their teeth. It might work, but it would be painful to keep repeating and definitely not fit for purpose in the long-term. The time for gifted amateurs has long gone in social media marketing.
Now, imagine if your social media consultants forgot to bring their toolbox to work every day. It would be highly unproductive and inefficient for them and for you.
There are quite literally thousands of social media tools that are worthy of investigation.
Some tools may be chosen on personal preference, while others because they fulfil a specific task that a user carries out frequently. But either way, choice is the key to making the whole process more efficient and effective.
To help you decide which tools are most suited to your needs, here is our list of the top 5 recommended tools that you should use to improve your social media marketing campaigns, in the first instance.
And in case you were wondering, yes, they are all completely free to use, without limitation. And that means no free trials or promotional periods!
At first glance, this social listening tool might be thought of as quite light on features. But don’t be fooled!
Social Mention is extremely powerful at listening to the social landscape. If you type in your article title or web domain, then the built-in search engine will scan the social web for mentions of your content. There are various preferences and settings to refine your searches, which can be used as parameters to discover specific results.
Listening to the social environment is an often under-valued practice. How would you know what to say or how to respond unless you know what your customers are talking about?
Do you know who shared your last blog post? And on what platforms? Do you know what different audiences said once it was shared in different spaces?
As you can imagine, a lot of information can be gathered quickly using Social Mention. And this information can be used in future social media marketing efforts to your advantage.
Put it this way; without knowing what was said about your content, how do you know if it had a positive impact?
Hootsuite was one of the first social media management tools available to business owners and is now one of the most popular out there. It has matured and developed over time and is now widely utilized in the industry. This means is a stable and reliable platform.
The free plan will enable you to manage pretty much everything you will need if you are a small business or self-employed.
It operates on a single interface, where you can integrate up to 5 of your social media profiles. It possesses many of the core features you would expect to see in such a popular tool. The scheduling tool is especially valuable for creating and sending content across your profiles while you are not online.
Another really beneficial feature is the Lists function. It provides the ability to create multiple targeted lists to communicate with specific audiences – useful for situations where you have messages that you want to send to only small segments of your audience.
Postific is a brand new social media management tool to hit the market. Being only a few months old, Postific is still in its infancy and so is still a little rough around the edges.
However, this means that the platform is completely free and is being continuously developed. You can expect a lot more tailored functionality in the coming weeks and months.
It contains a good starter set of well-rounded features and functionality to assist in your social media marketing. If you are just starting out in social marketing, this tool will particularly suit your needs.
You’re able to integrate unlimited profiles and all your Facebook and LinkedIn groups into the one interface – something that other platforms are usually light on.
The LinkedIn auto posting feature is especially useful if you use numerous LinkedIn Groups in your social marketing campaigns.
Topsy is a search engine for social posts and socially shared content. You can use this real-time search aggregator to find published content, and then be able to sort by either relevance or date to establish how influential the content has been.
It is one of the few tools to have access to Twitter’s entire data stream, which means it contains all the data since Twitter launched in 2006.
The analytics section is useful to compare searches on different keywords. You can type in your business name or social handle versus your competitors, to find out who is being searched for more across a time period.
Topsy is often used for brand reputation. Monitoring your business name in different social spaces can provide up-to-date information on what people are saying about you. This provides you instant access to the conversation, where you can offer your insight or alleviate any concerns during ongoing conversations.
It is especially useful for identifying influencers during a given period and analyzing how their content was shared among their audiences.
CircleCount helps you understand your Google+ activity and provides extensive statistics on your performance and influence.
It allows you to view the highest ranking profiles, pages and communities, while identifying the posts that have been reshared and +1 the most.
CircleCount is especially beneficial to see your own personal data and in understanding a wealth of insight about how you participate and interact on Google+.
You can add your own handle (using the URL of your Google+ profile or your custom URL) and CircleCount will track the circles you are included in. It will then provide you with detailed information about your profile and followers, the performance of your posts and your engagement and interaction.
Over to you
Here are 5 free tools that you can start using today to optimize your social media marketing campaigns.
Whether your social marketing objectives are based on brand awareness, reputation management, sales and lead generation or customer service, using these different tools can improve your overall marketing performance.
It’s important to remember that you need to do your research first and discover for yourself which tools are best suited to you and your campaigns. Each will require differing skills and interpretation and this needs to be tuned to what you have available to interrogate them.
What social media tools do you currently use to assist your digital marketing campaigns? Why do you use these particular tools?