As we all know, social media marketing can be time-consuming! Especially if you are running a small business and have limited resources or you do not have the budget to hire a social media marketing agency.
However, fret not, as there are plenty of free third-party social media monitoring tools that can make your life a lot easier. These social media tools can help you to not only save time but also assist you to monitor & track the effectiveness of your marketing campaign.
Also, while you can manually post, monitor and manage your activities from the individual platforms itself, it is not a time-efficient method. All social media platforms have built-in notification areas such as @ connect on Twitter or the World/globe icon on the top bar of Facebook. You can also have various social networking platforms send push notifications to your phone and tablet apps.
But, 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.
Thus, below I have listed a few tips and some free social media monitoring tools to get you started. Most of these free social media analytics and management tools have phone and tablet apps too, so you can get access to them at any time and from anywhere.
A] Best Free Social Media Management Tools
- A good starting board is using Hootsuite. It is one of the most popular social media tracking/monitoring and managing tools. It lets you connect most of your social media accounts; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. It lets you view Twitter lists in columns, allows you to schedule posts in advance and get reports on who clicked on your links, mentioned you (your brand) or shared your content.
- Sprout Social is another social media management tool that you can use. It allows you to manage all your business social profiles from a single application. It allows you to schedule and publish posts. It also allows you to measure and analyse the performance of your social activities offering insightful data that can help you improve your social media marketing strategy.
- Another very popularsocial media tool is Buffer, which lets you connect Twitter, Facebook (profile and page), LinkedIn (profile, page and groups), Pinterest, and Instagram. You can set a scheduling time for your posts. You get analytics on comments, likes, clicks, shares, favourites, and so on. The best part, Buffer sends you an email to remind you to top up when your scheduled posts have run out. Don’t you love automation!
- Tweriod is a nifty social media 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 know the best time, you can use this to set up the scheduling time for posts in Buffer. These times, however, are not set in stone, so you may need to do a bit of trial and testing to get it right.
- Facebook is one of those social media platforms 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 on Facebook using their in-built tool. Facebook also has in-depth analytics reports under Insights, so you can export these to excel.
- You can log in and go to 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 also has its own built-in analytics for business pages.
I have not found any totally 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.
B] How to Schedule Social Posts on Hootsuite?
Step 1: Create an account on HootSuite. Go here to sign up.
Step 2: Once you log in, you’ll see a button ‘Add Social Network’ in the top right corner. Click on it and you’ll see a list of social networks.
Step 3: Click on the social network you want to schedule the post for. For e.g, when you click on ‘Twitter’, you see the option ‘Connect with Twitter.’ Add your account credentials.
Step 4: Once done, click on the ‘New Post’ button in the top left corner. Here, you can add your text/caption, add hashtags, location, and upload photo/video. You can also see the preview of the same before clicking on ‘Schedule for later’ and selecting a time and date. Finally, click on ‘Schedule’ and that’s it!
C] How to Add Your Blogs and Other Content to Pinterest?
Step 1: Add Pinit button to your browser toolbar Here is the Chrome extension
Step 2: Visit the blog or web page with the image you want to add to Pinterest and click on the Pinit button in your browser toolbar.
Step 3: Choose the image you want to pin, followed by the board you want to add the pin to. Add in the description or links and click PIN IT.
#These Free Social Media Tools Don’t Serve My Needs, What Now?
There are plenty of social media monitoring software/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 a premium/business option. The difference is usually that paid options have:
- More Connected Profiles
- More Space to Buffer or Schedule
- Bigger Audience
- Better Reporting, Tracking and Analytics
- Benchmarking, Team Management, and so on
If the free social media monitoring 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, then which ones do you find useful?
Any questions or tips, please let me know in the comments section below – login via Twitter or Facebook!