Businesses in this day and age need to understand digital marketing. The ones that do can grow to be wildly successful, and the ones that do not have a significantly higher chance of failing. This is a lesson that is applicable to all businesses, not just small ones with online stores. Businesses like Wendy’s spend a lot of time and money on Twitter. Many professional sports teams like the Tampa Bay Rays and the Detroit Lions have interns that scroll through TikTok and comment for them. As you can see, all businesses can benefit from social media marketing.
Even if it is unintentional popularity, all businesses should capitalize on it when they can. For example, Ocean Spray received a huge boost in sales when a user on Tik Tok posted a video while he was drinking cranberry juice. They capitalized on it by giving him a truck for the millions in sales that were generated for them. In my opinion, Ocean Spray got a really good deal out of it. Can you imagine what could happen if one of your videos went viral? You could wake up one day with a huge sales surge where your next problem is how do I serve all my new customers? Ocean Spray had to hire workers to pick over 1,000,000,000 cranberries. Yes, that is one billion. Want this to be you? Keep reading.
Social Media Management Tools
Before we can discuss the tools, we need to understand what causes social media posts to go viral. Views are actually a byproduct, not what causes a video to go viral. If you want to run a successful social media campaign, the more important metrics are comments, likes, shares, and time watched. These show the social media algorithms how people feel about what you have posted. The higher percentage of people that interact with your posts in these ways, the more people that the social media algorithms will show your post to. The more of those people that interact with your posts in those ways, then even more people will be able to see your posts. This is the key to going viral. The reason celebrities go viral all the time is an active following, good content, and people that search for their posts usually interact with them. This is also why people that buy fake views and fake followers almost never go viral.
You can emulate the tactics that celebrities use even without their popularity, and you can definitely grow your following. By posting regularly, you increase your odds of getting interactions, and each post will hopefully garner you some followers. Once your following grows, if your content is high quality, it will continue to grow at faster and faster rates. Posting regularly can take up a lot of time and be hard to do. Luckily, there are tools that will do it for you. Some are paid and some are free social media management tools, but they can save you time and make you money in the long run- which is exactly why they are essential for growing businesses. Here are our top five paid and free social media management sites and tools.
TweetDeck is our first way to manage social media platforms free because of how clean its interface is. It is super easy for the non-tech savvy among us to use and is completely free. No free-trial, but actually 100% free. It is very feature-rich considering what you pay for. It does not come with advanced analytics, but Twitter has that natively, so the combination of those two tools can be used to your advantage. It does track engagement, though, which is really useful. Instead of seeing mentions, direct messages, etc., all jumbled up in one place, TweetDeck separates each for you into respective columns so that you can manage them separately in a way that honestly just makes more sense.
You can set your messages up to be sent on whatever schedules you choose, which can help you post at the best times of the day and ensure that you are consistently putting out content. TweetDeck also supports multiple accounts, so if you run multiple businesses, have different accounts for geographic locations, or have any other reason to post from multiple accounts, TweetDeck has you covered. Unfortunately, it only supports Twitter, so if you have an active FaceBook, YouTube, or Tik Tok following, you may want to use another tool. Another plus is that, with TweetDeck, you do not have to download any extra software; TweetDeck works directly from your browser with an easy to use web-app. Here is what it will look like:
(Image Credit: Social Media Examiner)
TweetDeck may or may not be the solution for you, but it is great for anyone with a large Twitter presence or trying to gain a large Twitter presence. We like it because it is easy to use, feature-rich, and is definitely one of the best social media managers free of charge. For a more in-depth user guide for TweetDeck, we recommend taking a look at this TweetDeck user guide, but it is honestly intuitive enough that most social media users will not even need to take a glance at any additional materials.
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Buffer is next up on our list because they offer a 3 in 1 product (Buffer Publishing, Buffer Reply, and Buffer Analyze). These three are free social media planning tools that, if used properly in conjunction with another, will blow away your competition online. It is important to note that the free plan is limited, so depending on your needs, you may have to pay for it, but they do have a reasonable pricing scheme for the pro plans. Unlike TweetDeck, Buffer supports multiple social media networks, including Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and even LinkedIn, so we prefer it when we have to manage multiple social media accounts at the same time.
However, much like TweetDeck, Buffer offers a clean interface and easy integration with your social media accounts. Buffer will also even suggest some content for you to post based on your past shares on your connected accounts or RSS feeds that you can add to the dashboard, which can be a huge time saver. Much like TweetDeck, Buffer will also allow you to schedule posts if you would like. Finally, Buffer will give you detailed analytics across all of your social media platforms so that you can see areas where you could use some improvement and target them specifically. The image below shows Buffer’s scheduling tool:
(Image Credit: Buffer)
Overall, Buffer is a good candidate for meeting your social media needs. It is certainly one of the most feature-rich free social media management sites, but the features are only good if you use them, so make sure that you understand all of the information it gives you. Otherwise, you may miss out on going viral! For a more detailed guide about Buffer, we recommend reading this guide.
Socialoomph has been in the game since 2008, back when social media was not at all nearly as popular as it is today. This experience has allowed them to fine-tune their dashboard and add a few features that other of the best social media managers simply do not have. For example, Socialoomph has integrations available for a blog so that you can manage even more of your company at one time. Like Buffer, they allow you to use RSS feeds for content inspiration.
They also have more social media sites that you can integrate with other than the bigger social media, such as Tumblr. With all of these extra features, though, it may be complicated. Socialoomph has a user guide if you need it, but it may still take the extra time up front to get past the learning curve. Once you do, though, you have a set of super powerful tools at your disposal. Much like Buffer, Socialoomph has a somewhat limited free plan and paid tiers so that you can manage what you need at reasonable prices or no cost, depending on your needs. For example:
You will be interested
(Image Credit: AppSumo Blog)
As far as features go, both Buffer and Socialoomph have similar sets and free versions. If you have it narrowed down between the two, just compare their slight differences to determine which one is right for you, because both are good choices that can bring more traffic to your social media pages if used properly.
Later tailors mainly to Instagram posts. While it does allow integration with Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, Instagram is its main focus. Depending on your business, Instagram may be your main focus too. Instagram marketing is especially good for small businesses like little bakeries, bridal shops, and florists (or really anything where presentation is important in the final product, and you can post about it). Later has an extremely generous free plan that allows you to post on each service about once per day, and the paid plans are really cheap, with them starting at only $9/month. We love the amount that Later lets you post for free.
Unlike Buffer, Later only allows you to have one account per service, but that is fine for most people. The heart of Later focuses on the image that you post more than the caption as that is what will grab your reader’s attention. Hence, it makes sense that they focus on having a media library where you choose your image first and then write your caption later, leading you to focus on good content. The core of Later is scheduled posting, so there is little extra information offered. While it may be lacking on the analytics side,
Later specializing in Instagram, so if you want to manage that individually, it can be a good way to manage social media platforms free, especially with the number of posts it gives you in a month. If you are okay with multiple services, you can use Later for Instagram and TweetDeck for Twitter. Later is especially good for small businesses and the non-technical because they have simple to use tools and make it extremely easy to add the bits of content that are necessary to take your business to the next level. The image below shows an example of LAter’s scheduling tool:
(Image Credit: Later)
We hope that you found this article useful.
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Sendible is one of our favorite free social media management tools, but it comes free at a catch. There is a limited-time free trial available for anyone who signs up today. Their paid plans are more expensive than some of their competitors, but Sendible offers a lot, so it is good for businesses that have their own marketing budget. Sendible has also been around since 2008, which is why they have more features than almost any of their competing services.
Like Buffer and Socialoomph, Sendible can help you with finding content and includes support for RSS feeds. But, what makes it really unique is that Sendible has a chrome extension that you can use while surfing the web to add content to your social media sites with just a few clicks. Sendible also has tools like automatic FaceBook moderation, which can help you keep only the best things on your pages and remove any spam that you may receive. Unlike Later, though, Sendible does not have any form of in house graphic editor, but you can integrate it with Canva, a service that makes graphics editing fairly easy, and upload your content through that avenue or edit your graphics on your computer before uploading it to Sendible.
Sendible by far has some of the best features of any tool on this list, which is why it makes our top 5 free social media planning tools. Unfortunately, though, the tools are free for only a limited trial. If you are just starting out, Sendible may not be for you if it does not fit into your advertising budget, but if your company can afford it, you are practically guaranteed to get out the bang for your buck. While you still need to do some work, Sendible will save you so much time and stress with its easy content tools and scheduling features. The analytics you can get from Sendible rivals any of their competitors, and they support many of the most popular social media services, so it is the one-stop shop for your social media needs. Sendible made their own solid user guide if you need any help navigating their interface and set of features. Take a look at Sendible in the image below:
(Image Credit: Sendible)
The most important thing when it comes to your social media marketing is that you start doing it because the more that you do it, the more likely you are to go viral and make more sales. This means posting your content frequently is key, but you may not have the time to fit it into every day. Therefore, using tools like TweetDeck, Buffer, Socialoomph, Later, and Sendible can save you time and make you money. Each tool has its own pros and cons, but any of them can be helpful. You just have to determine what is right for you.
If you still have not decided which tool(s) you want to choose, here is what they are best for.
- TweetDeck is great at managing your Twitter account.
- Buffer is a great simple, all-around solution.
- Socialoomph rivals Buffer but is missing a couple of posting features; however, Socialoomph supports more sites like Tumblr, which may be important to you.
- Later excels at Instagram and also includes the most posts in a month for free, so it is perfect for businesses on a budget.
- Sendible is the best tool on the market by far, but they only have a limited free trial, so it is better to use Sendible in the long term if you have the budget for it.
There is no harm in combining several of the free tools to get all of the features that you want, but you just have to make sure that you can manage multiple sites to manage multiple accounts.
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A social media management tool allows you to automate, analyze, control and better understand your social media accounts. They allow you to post the same updates on all your social accounts, schedule future posts and help you find the best content along with the best posting times.
Buffer is an alternative to Hootsuite and it’s a free version that allows you to manage three social accounts, schedule up to ten posts at a time, and works for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus, and Instagram. As they are an Instagram partner, they can post directly.
Buffer is less expensive for businesses, however, Hootsuite gives you more benefits at each plan level. Hootsuite limits you to 30 scheduled posts total, while Buffer allows 10 scheduled posts per social media account. Each service also offers a reasonably priced Pro version—$15 per month for Buffer and $29 per month for Hootsuite.
How much you pay for marketing is only worth it if you have a strategy in place. Using the analytics each platform provides will offer major insights into your social media audience, interaction and demographics. Using it correctly is where the value comes in.
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