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What does every product need to survive?
It’s not a trick question. The answer is sales. And for online businesses, that means traffic. Leads. Clicks, shares, mailing list sign-ups.
Without customers, the all-important lifeblood of every venture, no business can operate.
The issue is, the advent of social media has made grabbing customer attention both so much simpler, and so much more difficult at the same time. Everyone is interconnected, so actually reaching out to people is the easiest it has ever been throughout the entirety of history, but actually keeping that attention in an oversaturated environment can be pretty tricky.
Luckily for everybody, a few smart choices when it comes to social media marketing tools makes this job so much simpler. There are tools out there to integrate and automate anything you could think of into your workflow.
Here are the 11 social media marketing tools we’d recommend to any business owner.
The free analytics tools
Our number one choice for social media marketing tools is also one that we all have access to, right now, for free.
Google put out a free suite of analytics tools, available to everyone who has a website, with a huge range of features that you really should be paying attention to. Things like real-time visitor numbers, site usage metrics, visitor duration, location and much more.
If you’re using Twitter or Facebook in any business-related sense, you should also sign up for their analytics tools, too. They’ll help you understand exactly what’s working on your various social media accounts. There is also so much back end stuff that’s not immediately obvious but could spike your follower numbers and engagement.
It’s true that these tools are entry-level, and in some ways basic, but considering they’re absolutely free, easy to install and simple to use, there’s literally no reason not to use them.
Go and install them now, then come back. We’ll wait. Seriously. Once you’ve seen what the free tools have to offer, you won’t believe what something a little more in-depth can bring to your business.
Online, with so much vying for your customer’s attention, half of the battle is getting them to sign up to something. Once someone takes that first step, whether it be providing email details or opting into a marketing campaign, it becomes so much simpler to push them through your funnel and make sales.
That’s where OptinMonster comes in. This social media marketing tool has the specific stated purpose of helping you acquire customers and generate leads.
Whether you need lightboxes and pop-ups, or solid landing pages that push people to sign up, the interface is incredibly simple. The drag and drop building feature makes assembling an aesthetically pleasing and effective campaign really easy.
On top of that, there’s a solid set of tools, including metrics reporting tools, abandoned cart tools, tracking cookies and modules, countdown timers, etc.
Finally, there’s integrated support for Facebook messenger. It allows you to drop leads directly into Facebook chats, driving people directly to your sales pages and opt ins. Now that’s awesome.
Mailing lists are an old school but perennial part of every marketing plan, for good reason.
Mailchimp is a great starting option for several good reasons. First off, it costs nothing to get started. There’s a free option available out of the box.
Whilst it might have limited options, choosing the free option and upgrading to the starter plans barely costs anything. This gives you a huge amount of control over your marketing plans. As your list grows and you need more options, you can scale up the plans as necessary.
Don’t be put off by the word free either. We all know that a lot of software locks out essential features behind a paywall. Mailchimp doesn’t do that, which is why they’re trusted by so many people to send out over 4 billion emails monthly.
Once people have signed up, Mailchimp also takes care of the back end. There’s an inbuilt database feature for customer demographics, allowing you control over more heavily targetted campaigns. It’s also fully mobile-ready and compatible with every major browser out there.
Last but not least, Mailchimp’s customer service is exceptional. Whether you’ve run into an issue, or you’re a brand new user struggling to work out some of the functions, they’ll have you right quickly and efficiently.
Honestly, if you’ve got a mailing list of under 2000 people, (the maximum size of the free option) there’s no reason not to use Mailchimp. Only once you scale above this do you need to consider other options.
Once you’ve got your audience, you need to understand them. Audiense is an analysis tool that allows you to specify a wide variety of metrics, filtering audiences by these metrics and dividing them into personalized segments.
It will even give you new audience suggestions, based on existing audience metrics and what your audience is like. Then, when you’ve got your hands on Audiense’s Insight Report, you can make smart decisions about your marketing plan. Start by increasing the relevance of who you’re targeting, and what offers you’ve aimed at them.
The best part of Audiense is the fact that it goes deeper than the superficial markers. Deep analysis of social media lets it dive deep into your clients’ interests. This gives you insights into parts of your customer base that you might not even have known existed.
Armed with that information, targeting your next email blast or decided on the next product to push becomes easy. Knowledge is power, goes the old aphorism, and when it comes to marketing, that’s doubly true. So use it.
Video content is by far the most form of content online, and that reach is only growing. Reports suggest that by the end of 2020, over three-quarters of all content consumed online will be in video form.
Not to mention the fact that video content on Facebook gets over 50% more engagement than other types of content. Considering these figures, it very quickly becomes obvious that if you’re not utilizing the power of video with your social media marketing tools, you’re missing out on a huge amount of potential engagement; and potential revenue.
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or an absolute newbie at video production, Wave Video has everything you need to get started. Free to sign up and use the basic features, as you advance and require more advanced tools, there’s a variety of paid plans available.
For a start, you’ve got access to 300 million (not a typo) stock video and image library. This means you don’t even need to record your own content to get your messages across.
If you are using your own content, the built-in editing tools make it easy to resize and modify, and the selection of filters, stickers and other options add flair and flavor.
Whilst it’s not as powerful as a professional editing tool, the difference in price and ease of use are significant, and professional tools are overkill unless you’re making a Hollywood level movie anyway. For basic web content, Youtube videos and Instagram content, Wave is pure gold.
Like we mentioned in the Wave Video recommendation, video content is only growing in scope and reach. There was one important thing we didn’t mention.
A huge amount of video content, especially shorter Facebook videos, are watched without sound. (If you’ve ever wondered why every single Facebook video has captions, now you know.)
Whether it’s because people are watching in public, at work, or simply that the autoplay feature isn’t kicking in the sound, if you need to catch people’s attention, your video needs captions if you’re going to get the maximum amount of impact.
That’s where Rev comes in. Rev is a transcription service that’s incredibly good value, with accurate and high-quality results.
They’re exceptional at converting your videos into accompanying text files, and can convert directly into SRT files which can be added to your videos, giving you closed captions with almost zero work on your end.
If you’re a new user, we recommend you make use of their $10 first-timers coupon deal, which you can find here. Past that, it’s $1 a minute, which is really reasonable, considering what you’re getting.
Social media is the future and scales growth online like nothing else. Everyone’s chasing engagement, and the best way to do that is to have a steady stream of content, published at regular times.
But manually releasing a stream of content is hard going, if not impossible once you hit a certain size.
Which is why people are relying more and more on social media scheduling tools. Batching the week’s worth of content in as little as an hour, then sitting back and letting the tool do all the hard work.
Tailwind is a tool for Pinterest and Instagram, the two premier image-based social media sites. They’re both useful for different things, though we’re not going to go into that here. Instead, you should focus on the fact that Tailwind is possibly the easiest social media scheduling program out there.
The interface is so easy your cat could do it, with a simple drag and drop the schema. You can upload bulk images, schedule days and weeks into the future, preview everything before it goes live, and publishes on Insta without needing notifications.
Tailwind also helps you with your actual content. There’s a smart hashtag feature that gives you active recommendations, a recommended posting schedule tool that gives you estimated best times for maximum reach, and a suite of smart analytics so you know exactly how your campaigns are landing.
There’s a reason Tailwind is an Instagram Partner. Once you realize just how powerful it is, plans start from $9.99 a month, but with the free trial, you literally lose nothing giving it a try. There’s a reason it’s our number one tool of choice. In fact, Tailwind was a key part in how we reached nearly 700,000 page views, for absolutely free! You can read about how right here.
Another content scheduling tool like Tailwind, Buffer is a more complete social media management tool. Whereas Tailwind focuses heavily on Pinterest and Instagram, Buffer integrates almost every social media site out there.
With functionality for all the sites, and the option to schedule posts individually, add posts you find online at the click of a button, plus all the other expected features like batched postings and phone support (through the integrated app,) it’s basically a one stop shop for general purpose social media management.
The deeper you go into Buffer, the more you find this generalist approach. There’s a lot to love, and it’s an awesome tool, but our recommendation is to use specialist tools for specific content, and use Buffer for everything else.
Still, if your marketing plan is wide in breadth and requires the use of a wide variety of content, Buffer is one of the best social media marketing tools out there for you.
Another social media management system, Agora Pulse differs from Tailwind and Buffer because of it’s integrated promotion and contest features.
Whilst it comes with the standard suite of scheduling tools, that’s not why we’re here. It’s still a good option for that, especially if you’ve decided not to go with the other tools we’ve recommended, but we’d primarily use it to boost engagement and fire out high impact Facebook content.
Agora Pulse also has a solid comparison tool, which analyses your content and your closest competition. It also gives you up to date markers on who has more impact, and what you can do to improve.
Like most recommendations here, there’s a free trial option. If Facebook is a prime part of your social media marketing tools, it’s well worth giving it 30 days and seeing how you benefit.
The best offer in the world is pointless without traffic aimed at it. Some resort to paid traffic, but organic traffic from quality content, or a combination of the two, is always better.
The term viral is thrown out a lot these days, for subjects it really shouldn’t be. However, viral content is exactly what Growthcommander is designed for.
First off, it helps you curate viral content, so you can see what’s hot and what’s dying off, with the click of a single button. Once you know what your customers want, the content creation suite and scheduling tools make creating and launching viral content easier than it’s ever been.
Finally, the built-in SEO tools tell you exactly what keywords to aim for, and the precise steps you need to follow in order to hit that vital first page on Google.
Whether you’re a blogger looking to extend their reach, own an e-commerce store or affiliate marketing empire, or you’re a marketing firm looking for extra clout, Growthcommander offers the tools you need.
Once you’ve got everything else up and running, you should take a look at IFTTT.
It stands for If This, Then That. Put simply, it allows you to integrate all of your social media feeds into one place, and add formulas that automatically perform actions when you do something else.
As an example, you could have it send posts to Twitter and Facebook every time a new Instagram post goes live.
IFTTT can take a little bit of setup to get working correctly, but once it’s live, you’ll be saving so much time it’s untrue. Plus, the basic package is another free tool, so you can give it a try and see if it actually saves you time in your workflow. If not, all you’ve lost is an hour. Otherwise, you can upgrade to the paid program and add another ticked box to your social media marketing tool kit.
If you liked this article, please check out more of our content below:
- How to Use Social Media to Boost SEO
- How To Make Money Without a Job in the Wonderful Age of the Internet
- 10 Entrepreneurship Books to Help You Start and Grow an Epic Business