Once you start your social media marketing, social media management tools become crucial for your company's online presence and lead generation, whether you sell to consumers or businesses. Social media is a direct two-way channel to your current and future clients, and one for both them to reach you and you reach out to them. Before starting to open multiple social media accounts though, think of where your clients are most likely to spend their time online. As a startup on a budget, you have limited time to both create content for social media and manage it. Choose only the relevant channels and post there regularly. It looks really bad when a company posts once a month and it won't spark the engagement you are looking for.
Effective social media marketing is a combination of interesting relevant content and your commitment to post. Before starting to post, create a content plan and have enough posts in the pipeline (for the next 2-3 weeks for example).
Many startups are starting their social media marketing efforts when they need traction to their product and downloads. But that's wrong thinking. Creating traction and a community is something that needs to be done way before launching a product. You want the community around your product to exist when you launch.
>How do you do that? Through engaging and relevant material posted on social media (here's how you can do social media marketing, on a $0 budget). Building this can take several months, but there are great free social media management tools to help you post and manage your page. Here are the 10 I love the most:
Social Media Sharing Scheduler
Buffer pretty much took the social media world by storm. It is a trusted tool used by many companies, from small businesses to enterprises. We use it here at Marketing Ramen, and it provides you with a piece of mind that your scheduled posts would be posted just when you wanted them to be posted. With their free plan, you can connect up to 4 profiles (you can use it for your personal social media accounts too) and schedule 10 posts each time. You also get limited analytics for each post. With Buffer, you can schedule posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and - gasp - the dying network that is G+.
If you have more accounts and are looking to schedule only once a month and for a more advanced analytics, you can upgrade to their "Awesome Plan", which is just $10/month.
Their blog is also helpful and they post useful articles like what should be your posting frequency.
PR Opportunities from Twitter
Followed is a comprehensive all-around tool for managing your social media accounts. We love this tool. It allows you to easily share automatically curated, relevant content to your social media channels with scheduled postings, re-posting options for evergreen content, and the use of a custom CTA on all your social shares, among many other cool features.
On their site, they also have Instagram and Pinterest scheduling as "coming soon" so that's great.
They also have a couple of free tools, one allows you to search for viral and relevant content you can share with your followers, which is great for the times you don't have original content to share. Another tool is Action Banner Generator, which basically generates you a landing page of the web page you want, with a banner at the bottom.
Price: $10 for the first month, $99/month after
Scheduling and Re-using Social Media Posts
Edgar is a scheduling platform, but it has a unique feature - when you're adding posts to be scheduled, it organizes them by categories to be able to later repost them. This means that it can repurpose your content, making it easier for you to post more content.
Make sure though you have enough content and not bombard people on all social media fronts with the same 5 posts.
To sign up to Edgar, you have to request an invitation but you can expect to get it within a couple of hours.
Social Media Management Dashboard
Hootsuite is yet another tool for managing various social media channels. It helps you juggle multiple social media accounts across several networks and monitor what people are saying about your brand. It is one of the most popular platforms among self-respecting social media aficionados and community managers.
The most compelling reason to use Hootsuite is the fact that users can conserve their tab space by syncing their Twitter, Facebook, Google+ (pages, not personal profiles), LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, FourSquare and WordPress (blogs) in one convenient location and taking advantage of the schedule feature.
Another useful feature that will help you measure effectiveness of every social media channel is Hootsuite Analytics. It will help you track your posts, followers, social engagement, and Owl.ly Traffic (posts published from Hootsuite).
Price: The FREE version comes with 3 social media profiles, basic analytics reports and message
The $9.99 per month pro plan allows you to handle up to 50 social media profiles, receive enhanced analytics reports, and access premium apps.
Social Media Platform
Everypost is one of the most convenient apps to organize your visual content (Flickr, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterst, RSS feeds) schedule social media posts, and manage social media outlets (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Tumblr) right from your smartphone or tablet.
Everypost is available for both Android and iOS devices.
Price: The FREE version allows you to connect 1 social media channel and curate up to 3 feeds. If you are looking to connect up to 10 social media channels, try the Pro version ($9.99/month)
Social Media Management
Sprout Social is a viable, slightly pricier alternative to HootSuite. Just like Hootsuite it allows you to manage multiple social media networks from one dashboard, schedule posts ahead of time and analyze your social media engagement from numerous angles.
The thing that makes Sprout Social stand out is the clarity of its interface and its general simplicity. It has almost no learning curve, and is joy to use from the second you open an account to the minute you finish working for the day.
Sprout social supports all major social network, including: Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube. It also has Google Analytics integrated in its reports.
Price: $59 per user/month Deluxe plan give you a basic set of features for up to 5 user profiles.
Boosting Social Media Productivity
Social Oomph offers a plethora of advanced feature in addition to its basic features to automate and manage a variety of social media tasks across various outlets. It includes functions for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Plurk, Pinterest, and your blog.
More advanced features on SocialOomph will allow you to schedule Tweets, track keywords in the tweet stream, find targeted audience to follow, send DMs to new followers, and filter spammy Twitter profiles.
Some of the Facebook advanced features include juggling unlimited accounts, scheduling page wall updates, status updates, photo uploads, more. Similar features apply to LinkedIn, Pinterest and blog platforms.
Price: You can sign up for the FREE version with rather limited features try Twitter unlimited for $7/month or go with the PRO version for $18/month
Social Media Marketing and Management Tool
In addition to your regular run of the mill social media outlets (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr), Social Pilot supports VK (in Russian) and Xing. It allows you to connect up to 200 social profiles, brand pages, accounts, and groups.
With SocialPilot you will be able to easily create schedule social media posts on multiple platforms, categorize your social media accounts by the group, personalize your Facebook posts, and discover new content based on editors’ suggestions.
Additionally, SocialPilot comes with its own link shortening tool as well as the Mobile App and the browser extension.
Price: The FREE version allows up to 3 connected profiles, 10 posts per day, and 30 post in the scheduling queue
If you are looking for a more comprehensive plan, you can try their Basic ($4/month), Growth Hacker ($9/month), or Business ($14/month) plans. All pro plans come with a 14-day trial period.
Data Driven Social Media Management
If you are looking for more precise, data based scheduling tool to get the best results out of your social media campaigns, SocialFlow may be a great option for you. They designed an algorithm that analyzes consumers’ behavior and provides actionable info on the best times for publishing targeted content.
SocialFlow offers a set of tools to help you increase your audience engagement, optimize your ad campaigns and deliver the most impactful results.
Currently SocialFlow only supports LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. Google+, and Pinterest.
Price: SocialFlow does not advertise their pricing model. If you want to learn more about their pricing, you will need to contact them directly.
Monitoring and Analyzing Social Media
SocialClout is a great tool to go in deeper in terms of numbers and analytics of your social media. It is a social media analytics tool that is designed to track engagement and calculate your social media ROI. With Social Clout, you can see which of your platforms convert the best, at what times and where in the world. SocialClout offers you trends and actionable insights through detailed reports. This is a great tool, but it is recommended for entrepreneurs that have time or team to dig in a little deeper into their social media marketing efforts.