When it comes to social media marketing and management, there are more tools out there than we could shake a stick at. Some are great, while others are lame. Several are fantastic but way out of our budget, and then there are a few that we love that are absolutely free.
How can we make sense out of all these tools, while still keeping our budget under control? It isn’t easy, but in this post, I’ll show you 8 tools that we use at FastBlink for managing our own accounts as well as our client’s accounts.
I’ve broken the tools down into categories, with one tool per category. Let’s jump right in!
1. Hootsuite (Social Engagement)
Hootsuite is one of the biggest and most widely used social media management platforms and for good reason. It is simple, customizable, and very affordable. We recommend the Pro plan, which is currently $8.99 per month for two users. We’ve set up our dashboards so that we’re constantly monitoring our inbound content relating to our client’s brands and keywords. Hootsuite also helps us keep track of our social inboxes, messages, mentions, and more. It is a one stop shop for social engagement across Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn.
2. Buffer (Content Scheduling)
While Hootsuite offers post scheduling, it just isn’t as good as what Buffer offers. While some folks see this as redundant, we’d rather schedule all of our content exclusively through Buffer. Furthermore, Buffer allows us to integrate our custom Bitly URLs right into the system. While Hootsuite is continually improving their scheduling feature, for now, we’re sticking with the folks at Buffer who specialize in it.
3. SocialBro (Advanced Twitter Management)
Sometimes a client needs an extra push on Twitter. That’s where SocialBro comes in. Two of the features that we love are the direct message campaigns and the “best time to tweet” tool. These tools are pretty much self-explanatory and they add a ton of value to a social media campaign. SocialBro also integrates nicely with both Hootsuite and Buffer, which makes us happy campers.
4. Social Report (Social Media Analytics)
All this social engagement and posting requires excellent metrics to see how we’re doing. Our clients are happy when we’re able to provide them with data in a comprehensive yet understandable way. Social Report does just that and they’re much more affordable than some of the larger players in the social media analytics space. Also, their customer service is excellent.
5. Klout for Business (Social Influencers)
Klout for Business is a free tool that lets you see who your most influential fans and followers are. This is very helpful when you only have a limited amount of time to connect with people, yet you want to have the maximum impact. We’re just starting to use Klout, so it’s new for us, but we are very excited to see how it develops.
6. Woobox (Social Promotions)
What would a social campaign be without some social promotions? Woobox allows us to customize Facebook page tabs, create sweepstakes, contests, and much more. It adds a little extra oomph to a campaign and sometimes having a contest is needed in order to build awareness early on.
7. Bitly (Link Shortening)
Links need to have three key elements to work for us. They need to be unique, short, and trackable. Bitly gives us all of these features and more. It’s a very simple service and one that deserves a mention here. Check it out!
8. Google Alerts (Brand Monitoring)
Lastly, we need to constantly monitor our client’s brands as well as our own. Google Alerts does this for free. Simply put in your keywords, choose a delivery method and you’re good to go. Whenever something important pops up on Google’s radar, you’ll be notified about it. This is very important with consumer-facing brands who work hard to build their reputation.
That’s the list. Of course, there could be so many more services to add here, I’d have to write a textbook to cover them all. I wanted to include just the most essential services and only those that are affordable for a small business like ours.
If you feel like something is missing from the list, feel free to mention it in the comments below and also, let us know what you think!