A strong, effective social media strategy is essential to a successful business. But what’s the best way to get started?
Social media marketing tools can help you build the right foundation for your marketing efforts by providing insight into your customers, helping you create content that resonates with them, and giving you data to measure the impact of your strategies.
This guide will walk you through some of the most popular social media marketing tools on the market today so you can find the one that’s right for your business.
Social Media Marketing Tools With Examples
Creating content for social media is an essential part of the game. Visual content gets three times more engagement on Twitter than plain ol’ text, so good visual content can help you take it to the next level.
With Biteable, you can easily create engaging, entertaining, and informative short videos to share on social media.
With a host of free video templates, footage, music, and animated scenes, Biteable is a godsend for anyone who wants to create studio-quality quickly without needing expensive resources like film or sound recording equipment.
Biteable was created to be super easy to use and one of the cheapest tools of its type on the market. Most features are available even with free accounts (it’s pretty cheap to upgrade to Premium anyway) so why not add a bit more excitement and spark to your social media content by creating some short, super-shareable videos?
Buffer started off as a scheduling tool for Twitter. Today, it supports all the major social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google + (for the one person who still uses it.) Let’s take a look.
You can do some pretty neat things with Buffer:
- Use the chrome extension to add articles and content from the web to your Buffer queue or share content on the go.
- Automatically shortens links you share. If you’re Bitly user, you can connect your accounts.
- Upload custom photos and videos (or use ones pulled from the article you shared).
- Access complex analytics to track your content’s performance.
- Create a posting schedule so your content gets spread out throughout the day.
- Reply to posts from inside Buffer.
- Add team members.
A social media dashboard like Buffer helps you fill your social media feed with relevant and exciting content without spending half your life logged in to Facebook and Twitter.
Research is a crucial part of marketing. If you want to do well and leave your competitors in the dust, you need to understand what they’re doing and if what you’re doing is working or not.
Buzzsumo is a research tool which tells you how your content is doing and who’s spreading the word.
Sometimes when you sit down to create content, you’re on fire. Other times it’s like pulling teeth and you’re just grateful to have met a deadline. It’s impossible to guarantee success, but a tool like Buzzsumo can help you increase the odds.
One of the most powerful research tools on the market, the functionality includes:
- Find content that’s most shared on social media channels – you can enter your own or someone else’s domain and see what’s been shared socially.
- Find influencers related to particular topics.
- Get alerts based on keywords, brand name, links, author name, or domain.
- Track competitors and do an analysis based on their content.
- Use it to research keywords and trending topics your audience is interested in. You can use it to find interesting new posts to share or to search for content ideas based on what’s performing well.
- And, if you’ve got some cash to splash, Buzzsumo Pro is a powerhouse for competitor research.
Social media promotion is vital to success in the online world, but the act of scheduling posts may not be the reason you bounce of bed every morning. Even if you use a tool to help you speed up the process of blasting all your channels at once, you still need to manually input the text and images for each post. Rinse and repeat to re-promote the posts.
Missinglettr helps you automate the process of creating social content by scraping your blog post content and creating a year’s worth of social content for you: nine individual posts dripped out to your social channels over a year.
This means you can focus on writing long-form blog posts while someone else takes care of the creative side of social promotion and the scheduling of posts, so there’ll be one less thing on your to-do list.
With templates for content creation, scheduling, and facilitating client approvals, plus a custom URL shortener to export campaign assets so they can be used in other marketing initiatives, Missinglettr has some great features that’ll lighten your load. You even get a weekly report so you’re on top of your marketing performance.
So you need a content manager but you’re already a one-person-band responsible for evergreen content creation, tech support, and design? Meet MeetEdgar.
A social media management tool that handles both re-sharing your content and optimising your social traffic, MeetEdgar is your handy automated content manager.
Working with your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn profiles through a web plugin, you can keep your social channels populated with posts and check in from wherever you are using your mobile.
MeetEdgar allows you to schedule content re-sharing and monitor traffic while boosting engagement and optimizing the ROI of your digital assets.
By putting your evergreen content out there on the regular, you can increase your traffic and boost engagement. With an automated auto-refill queue, you won’t run out of regular posts. It also features a category-based scheduling tool allowing you to mix different content types so your audience never gets bored.
MeetEdgar also features a URL shortener with in-app click tracking which means you can follow your clicks.
In the chaotic world of social media, Hootsuite handles multiple social media accounts, bringing them under one login into a single dashboard, and you can sign up free of charge.
One of the most popular social media management tools around, Hootsuite allows for collaboration across team members and an approval process. Alongside the major benefit of seeing all your comments and mentions in one place, you can also assign tasks, plot a social media calendar, and schedule updates.
Through Hootsuite Podium you can check out free online social media courses to develop better social media management skills and learn the fundamentals of social media marketing.
Beyond that, for the more experienced digital marketer, its tools integrate with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and YouTube, giving you an in-depth breakdown of your analytics and allowing you to interact with prospective customers.
You can even integrate other community-based platforms including Reddit, Tumblr, and Storify, which helps gather even more feedback and customer data.
Mention is an extremely comprehensive social listening tool. Monitor mentions of your brand, your products, or your competitors in real time.
Staying on top of the conversation is easy: you can respond to social media comments and mentions from inside the platform, and you can use Mention to find relevant influencers for influencer marketing campaigns and analyze your competitors.
Sumo has a whole suite of useful traffic and social media tools that can help improve your marketing strategy. The most relevant for social media is the social shares feature, which makes it easy for visitors to your site to share your content to social media, and it keeps track of the number of shares.
IFTTT: If this, then that. This tool lets you set up rules that make running your social media marketing empire much easier.
Create rules that trigger specific actions when something happens. For example, you can create a rule that means every time you get a Google notification for a specific alert, it gets added into a Google doc so you can check it all at the end of the day.
These rules can eliminate some of the manual back-and-forth, and help you streamline your process in a way that emphasises and enhances individual productivity.
Zapier is another tool that encourages automation and does share some similarities with IFTTT. One writer summarized the key differences rather well. IFTTT is easier to learn and great for light automation, while Zapier is a great tool for businesses that want to take their automation to new heights. A lot of marketers use both for different tasks. As an extra bonus, Zapier plays nicely with most of the tools on this list.
If you’re looking for some neat automation ideas, to get you started the Zapier team have a list of suggestions about how you can use Zapier to better manage your social media accounts.
Social media advertising is complex and can feel like you’re taking a shot in the dark. That’s where AdEspresso, the master of the A/B test, comes in.
A tool that allows real-time analysis of Facebook, Instagram, and Google ads, AdEspresso takes the guesswork out of how your ads are resonating with your audiences in accordance with your campaign name and targeting details.
You can create and manage ads for all three platforms in one place and then see what’s working (and what’s not) while your campaign is live. You systematically test different images, headlines, ad copy, and so on, until you find the perfect combination.
Ad creation and optimisation is quick and easy, with a customizable dashboard which allows you to view the most important metrics in a single place. You’ll end up with always-on campaigns that will monitor your Facebook Pages and immediately promote new posts, and use smart filters to define what’s going to be promoted and for how long.
And rather than manually syncing your Lead Ads into your CRM or email marketing, you can keep your leads, contacts, and audiences synched with your Facebook Ad Account.
If you want to take the guesswork out of a complicated system and streamline your efforts, give AdEspresso a go this year.
Bitly is the Rick Moranis of the URL world – honey, I shrunk the URL. Bitly is a link shortener, taking lengthy URLs and shrinking them into much smaller ones.
Often, the original links can be impossible to remember and tricky to share, while short URLs look better and are easier to remember.
How many leads did you drive? How many sales did you convert? Traffic? Every marketer wants to hit the mark and to be able to prove it. You want to make sure you’re using the right campaign tracking tools to capture the list of critical metrics.
Who clicked on what, when, and where – Bitly will tell you. More than just a pretty face, Bitly is a powerful online marketing tool used to track clicks, view site referrals, and pinpoint geographical locations with the most clicks. In fact, it’s proven so handy that Google has built it into their Google Campaign URL Builder to shorten links and track campaign performance.
Rebrandly is the most advanced link shortener for creating branded links and custom short URLs. Behind every piece of valuable information you share online, there’s a link. Every one of those links is an asset to your company. With Rebrandly you are able to put your brand on your links.
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of using Rebrandly:
- Branded links can drive a 39% higher click-through rate.
- Enhanced brand awareness and visibility.
- Increased link trust.
This is how the insights of your branded link will look like within Rebrandly and some examples of things you can do with the tool.
Some of the more interesting features that Rebrandly offer marketers include:
- UTM builder
- Editable destination URL
- QR codes
- Traffic routing
- Link retargeting
- 50+ app integrations
14. Sprout Social
As you’d expect in the ever-changing digital landscape, 2018 saw a lot of change and growth, with a huge shift from traditional content to video, and that’s only going to get bigger this year.
Thankfully, the days of scheduling a social media campaign across each platform are over. All-in-one social media management tool Sprout Social provides engagement, publishing, analytics, and team collaboration tools.
You can improve engagement by making it easier to start, join, and monitor social conversations. You can improve client relationships with speedy response times and you‘ll stick to your social marketing plans by using a range of optimisation tools.
You can connect and engage with customers and fans quickly and easily, staying on top of trends and keeping an eye on competitors. You can track internal data, including reply time, the total number of replies, and sentiment.
And if you want to grow your knowledge, Sprout offers additional resources and support through conferences and webinars.
The point of creating content is for people to see it! AddThis is widely known for their social share buttons and makes it easy for your readers to share your content to their favorite social media channels. The best part? It’s free.
You can connect to 200+ global social networks, including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, WhatsApp, WeChat, Kakao, and more. The tools are completely customizable so you can select the type and match the colors to your branding.
The Smart Sorting feature also automatically displaying readers’ most recent and frequently used social media channels first. This can boost sharing up to 20%!
best social media tools
Pricing: Plans start at $79/month
BuzzSumo is a tool that lets you find the most shared content and trending influencers. You can use it to analyze which content performs best for any topic and all you need to do to get started is to search for a topic or a domain.
Through BuzzSumo you’re able all gather a better understanding of your impact on social media and develop smarter content strategies by seeing which of your own pages were engaged with the most. BuzzSumo will break the results down by Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Reddit shares.
This provides the added benefit of being able to see which articles are performing well across the web without having to constantly monitor multiple social channels.
Similar tools: Ahrefs, Meltwater, Mention
2. Google Trends
Google Trends is a completely free tool that Google created to help anyone search for trending topics online.
Brands use it to monitor notable things that are happening in the world. Many professionals use this as a way to discover and share information related to what’s most popular right now.
You can also use Google Trends to monitor keywords to see if they are trending and how their current volume compares to previous months and years. You can then use this information to inform your content and social media marketing strategy.
Similar tools: Ubersuggest, Ahrefs, WordStream
3. Buffer Publish
Pricing: Free (paid plans start at $15/month)
Buffer is a suite of brand building tools designed to make it easy for businesses and marketing teams to schedule social media posts, analyze performance, and manage all their accounts in one place.
For example, Buffer Publish allows you to set up a schedule for your social media profiles, and after you add content to your Buffer queue, it will publish at the times you’ve designated.
In addition to our web application, we also have both Android and iOS apps as well as a fantastic Chrome Extension that’s great for Buffering while you’re browsing the web or on the go.
Similar tools: Hootsuite, Falcon.io, Sprout Social
Pricing: Free (Canva for Work starts at $12.95/month)
Another fantastic tool that absolutely every brand or business online should know about is Canva.
Many times social media managers and marketers need to be able to create beautiful images without a designer. It’s what makes up part of a great social media strategy.
Canva is the tool so many marketers rely on for making great-looking social media images quickly. You can use the ready-made templates, icons, and illustrations to make your images look professional without having to do much of the actual design work.
Canva has an easy to use drag-and-drop interface plus a massive library of over two million graphic elements.
Similar tools: Crello, Buffer Stories Creator, Bannersnack
One of our favorite tools in the design, photography, and video space is Unsplash. Unsplash is a massive library of free professional photos you can use — free!
Unsplash photos are really popular with many social media marketers because they can help give your content a professional, polished look.
And there are so many Unsplash collections to explore. We recommend finding a couple of creators whose photos you really enjoy and following them so you can always find their latest work.
Similar tools: Pexels, Storyblocks, Videvo
Pricing: Plans start at $5/month
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Animoto is one of our go-to social media tools for quickly creating stunning marketing videos.
Their video maker turns your photos and video clips into professional content in just a few minutes. They describe it as “fast and shockingly simple,” – and we would agree with that.
There are so many benefits to being able to quickly create engaging marketing videos. Video is a content format that we know a lot of people struggle with, but Animoto helps to bridge that gap.
We’ve used it to create quick recaps of recent blog posts for social media, videos promoting a big announcement, and videos around product launches.
Using Animoto, there are plenty of opportunities for you to add value to your audiences’ lives.
Similar tools: PowToon, Adobe Spark, Crello
Pricing: Free (paid plans start at $5.41/month)
Our next tool is Feedly. Feedly is great for so many things. Maybe you work with influencers and want to follow their blogs, or you need to keep up on industry news, or any other reasons that you might visit several websites. Instead, you can add all those RSS feeds to Feedly and see them there. A huge time saver.
Feedly is also great for content ideation. You can add several of the blogs, writers, and publishers whose content you like to one feed and see them in one glimpse.
It even has a Buffer Publish integration so you can schedule your content to go out right from the Feedly dashboard.
We also want to give Flipboard a quick shoutout here, too. While it’s not an RSS aggregator like Feedly, you can follow topics on Flipboard and it curates the world’s news stories to help you stay informed.
We’ve used Feedly to follow specific influencers and industry news, and Flipboard to keep up to date with bigger stories.
Similar tools: Flipboard, Quora, Pocket
8. Buffer Reply
Pricing: Plans start at $50/month
This next tool is one of our very own at Buffer: Reply. I think we’ve mentioned it a few times on the show but we’ve never gone too deep.
Buffer Reply makes social media engagement easy for marketing and support teams who need to respond to social conversations. It’s all in one inbox.
What’s great is that through Reply you can see social conversations across social networks:
- On Twitter, you can see public tweets that @ mention your handle, direct messages, and any searches you have set up for keywords or hashtags.
- On Facebook, you can see comments on your Facebook Page posts and ads, visitor posts, private messages, and reviews.
- And for Instagram business profiles, you can see comments on your posts and ads as well.
It’s a single inbox where you can see all of these conversations happening. It’s a huge time saver. In our case, our customer support team and social media manager, Bonnie, spend a lot of time in Reply every day, and we know that when someone reaches out, they would be getting an answer from us.
Similar tools: Hootsuite, Mention, Sprout Social
9. Native Analytics
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention native analytics for each social platform, which is completely free.
(If you prefer something more advanced, we would love for you to try Buffer Analyze, our social media analytics and reporting tool!)
Let’s quickly go over the top three, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.