As we all know social media marketing can be time consuming! Especially if you are running a small business and you have limited resources or you do not have the budget to afford the “bells and whistles” social media dashboards.
However there are plenty of free 3rd party tools out there which can make your life a lot easier, help you save time and also monitor and track how effective your marketing is.
Yes you can go in manually to each one and post and monitor and manage from there but this can end up taking up hours of your time. All the social media platforms have built in notification areas such as @ connect on Twitter or the World icon on the top bar in Facebook. You can also have the various social networking send push notifications to your phone and tablet apps. However going in manually and constantly checking for notifications, or getting beeps and flashes every time you get an update or connection or comment and so on, can be distracting and not good use of your time.
Limited on time and budget?
Below I have listed a few tips and some free social media tools to get you started. Most of these tools have phone and table apps too so you can get access to them at any time and from anywhere.
- A good starting board can be using a tool like Hootsuite. This lets you connect most of your social media accounts, view twitter lists in columns for easier viewing, schedule posts in advance and also get reports on who clicked on your links, mentions you or shares your content.
- The great thing about NutshellMail is that you can get an email sent to your inbox a time chosen by you. It allows you to connect Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and a few others and you can customise the emails to choose what is sent to you, for example: new followers, mentions, tweets from certain people.
- Another very popular tool is Buffer which lets you connect Twitter, Facebook (profile and page), LinkedIn (profile, page and groups) and Google Plus (page only). You can set a scheduling time and then you just top up the posts as you go along. You also get analytics on comments, likes, clicks, shares, favourites and so on. And the cool thing about Buffer is that you get an email to remind you to top up when your scheduled posts have run out! Don’t you love automation!
- Tweriod is a nifty tool that gives you an idea of when your Twitter followers are online so you can then choose the best time to post your tweets to maximise reach. Once you have these you can then use this as a basis to set up the scheduling times in Buffer – it is not set in stone so you may need to do a bit of trial and testing.
- Facebook is one of those that does not like you to post using 3rd party tools and tend to give you lower reach when you do. However you can schedule posts within Facebook using the icon that looks like a clock. Facebook also has in-depth analytics reports under Insights so you can export these to excel.
- You can go into Pinterest settings to choose what email notifications you get from them as these can get rather overwhelming. You can also try Pin Alerts to alert you when someone posts something from your website.
- Pinterest has its own built-in analytics for business pages. I have not found any free 3rd party tools as yet (what happens is most start free then start to charge) but there are some fairly low cost options out there so just let me know if that is something of interest.
How to add content from the web to Buffer
- Add bufferit app to your browser bar (or you should get a notification saying add extension once you log in)
- Visit the blog or web page you want to add to Buffer
- Click on the Bufferit app in your browser toolbar
- Choose the social networks you want to share it to
- Choose the image thumbnail of the posts and change the text if you want
- Click on the buffer button or share now button
How to add your blogs and other content to Pinterest
- Add pinit button to your browser toolbar
- Visit the blog or web page with the image you want to add to Pinterest
- Click on the Pin It app in your browser toolbar
- Choose the image you want to pin
- Select the board you want to add the pin to
- Add in the description or links
- click PIN IT
View our slideshare presentation below with visual images and screenshots explaining the points we have listed above
These free social media tools don’t serve my needs, what now?
There are plenty of social tools out there ranging from free to low monthly costs to very expensive. It all depends on how convenient you want to make your life and what sort of analytics you need. Most providers offer a free or low cost option, a standard option and then an “all singing and dancing” option. The difference is usually that paid options have:
- more connected profiles
- more space to buffer or schedule
- bigger audience
- better tracking and analytics
- better reporting
- team management
- and so on
If the free tools I have mentioned are not adequate and you are looking for other free or paid options, or you are wondering which is best for you, then please leave your comments below. Are you using any tools and if you are which ones do you find useful?
Any questions or tips, please let me know in the comments section below – just login via Google, Twitter or Facebook!