It's a good idea to start with a plan that has goals and an organizing framework to keep you on track. If you start down a path on the social Web and hate what you're doing, you can change things around. Just as you change networking and conversational approaches in person, you can do so on the social Web. The only differences are that on the social Web, you're talking through your keyboard, and your potential audience is much, much larger.
Because social is so critical to building strong brands, it’s important for your team to maximize how they use it (and what tools they use) to make that job easier. There are plenty of free social media tools out there to help your team save time and money. To stay current on those options, check out the updated list below of eight free tools that can simplify your team’s social media marketing:
Buffer is also one of the best apps for managing your social media presence and scheduling your posts. The app also comes with analytics tools which enable you to track your audience’s activity and figure out when it is the best time for you to post in the future. We especially love its Chrome extension, which integrates itself seamlessly and never gets in the way, yet it is always there when you need. It is a simpler and more effective way of managing your social media, and you are never more than a few clicks away from setting up anything you want.

What’s cool? One feature SocialOomph has–even on the free level–that sets it apart is its ability to allow you to manage your Twitter followers and your direct messages box from within the app. The tool also allows you to save and reuse social posts, for when you want to use posts as part of a campaign or get an extra boost out of your top performing content. They also recently added the ability to schedule pins to your Pinterest boards in advance.


Buffer is wonderfully simple and effective at its primary purpose; scheduling posts to go out to multiple social accounts. This is great for saving you time and to allow you to post when your audience is online. However the anaylitics that come with the free version are very basic so are not brilliant for optimising your posts. I would thus recommend using other tools to gather data on the success of your posts if you don’t want to pay for Buffer’s “Awesome plan”.
BuzzSumo is a content and influencer identification tool for social media. It offers content performance insights, influencer identification, content alerts, and competitor analysis insights. This tool is great for A/B testing content to see what type of content performs best, who’s sharing and engaging with the content, and what’s working for other organizations.
Make a comprehensive list of the tools you need (e.g., social media monitoring, email marketing and CRM), services you’ll outsource (e.g., graphic design or video production) and any advertising you’ll purchase. Next to each, include the annual projected cost so you can have a high-level view of what you’re investing in and how it affects your marketing budget.
Buffer is an intuitive, streamlined social media management platform trusted by brands, businesses, agencies, and individuals to help drive meaningful engagement and results on social media. We have a suite of products for publishing, engagement, analytics, and team collaboration (Publish, Reply, and Analyze). Our products are carefully considered and highly refined in order to help social media marketers and teams work more efficiently and effectively. Buffer is a team of real people, aligned in common values. Being a Buffer customer should feel like you have a whole team of people cheering for you. We want to see you succeed on social!
Social Vantage is a social media management company. We provide affordable social media management services for all businesses. If you are looking for an automated solution for your business’ social media, Social Vantage is the perfect solution for you. Our social media marketing firm will create and manage all of your business’ social media posting, channel growth and customer interaction.
YouTube is the number one place for creating and sharing video content, and it can also be an incredibly powerful social media marketing tool. Many businesses try to create video content with the aim of having their video “go viral,” but in reality those chances are pretty slim. Instead, focus on creating useful, instructive “how-to” videos. These how-to videos also have the added benefit of ranking on the video search results of Google, so don't under-estimate the power of video content!

Having a crystal clear plan is the prerequisite to making social media work for you. You need to know what you’re doing, where you’re headed, and what you plan to achieve with your social media. In short, you need a social media marketing strategy that gives you a bird’s eye view of everything. And at the same time lets you grasp and work with the details when needed.
As individuals, we have a higher tendency to follow accounts of “real people” vs. businesses even if we don’t personally know the person. I have tried my hardest to show on social media that WordStream is a real place with a real person with a real personality behind it! To get some ideas, Gizmodo and Contently have companies that manage their social accounts with flair and sass and everything people love…about real people. My personal favorites are Chipotle, Seamless, and Nutella. This says nothing about my real-life favorite things, I swear.    
After you complete a listening campaign, put the information you gather into a report. Make sure your social listening report is actionable. For instance, if you discover a sentiment issue, the next step would be to focus on social media PR. It’s easy to get caught up with social media reports so maintain a healthy balance between actual listening and reporting. Always prioritize actual listening and acting on insights.
Small businesses also use social networking sites as a promotional technique. Businesses can follow individuals social networking site uses in the local area and advertise specials and deals. These can be exclusive and in the form of "get a free drink with a copy of this tweet". This type of message encourages other locals to follow the business on the sites in order to obtain the promotional deal. In the process, the business is getting seen and promoting itself (brand visibility).
Buffer Reply turns your Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram engagement, comments, and questions into threaded conversations, all neatly organized in one inbox for your team to tackle, together. Our refined brand monitoring filters let you bypass the chatter of social media, so your team can focus on the conversations that matter most to your brand. Reply puts critical customer service data at your fingertips with robust reports, so you can make the best decisions for your team.
LinkedIn, a professional business-related networking site, allows companies to create professional profiles for themselves as well as their business to network and meet others.[48] Through the use of widgets, members can promote their various social networking activities, such as Twitter stream or blog entries of their product pages, onto their LinkedIn profile page.[49] LinkedIn provides its members the opportunity to generate sales leads and business partners.[50] Members can use "Company Pages" similar to Facebook pages to create an area that will allow business owners to promote their products or services and be able to interact with their customers.[51] Due to spread of spam mail sent to job seeker, leading companies prefer to use LinkedIn for employee's recruitment instead using different a job portal. Additionally, companies have voiced a preference for the amount of information that can be gleaned from a LinkedIn profile, versus a limited email.[52]
Zoho Social manage multiple social networks, schedule unlimited posts, monitor keywords, and collaborate with your team all from a single dashboard. It let to publish your content when your audience is more likely to see it. The prediction engine helps you decide the best time to schedule your content. Instant notifications let you respond and engage your audience even while you're on the move. Zoho Social understand who your audience is and how they engage with your business on social media, choose from ready-made reports or create your own, based on the numbers that matter for you. Collaborate on ideas…
Social Analytics is a really handy and easy to use chrome extension which gives you social share stats on any page, to see how popular that page is on social media. This helps you get a good idea for what content on your site or your influencers/competitors site is getting shared on social media. Which can then be used to help you plan and optimise your future content to do better on social media.
If you’re looking for a platform to create your social media content calendar, there are a plethora of great options available. Both Buffer and Hootsuite are free to sign up, and allow you to schedule social media posts in advance, based on the platform of your choice. This means that you won’t have to worry about posting anything manually at a specific time.

Facebook Insights functions like Twitter Analytics, providing stats around your page likes, post reach, engagement. It also allows you to compare your competitors’ performance by adding their company pages to “Pages to Watch.” Therefore, if one of your competitors is doing particularly well on Facebook, you can go to its page and learn how the brand is using the social network.
Publishing & RSS – eClincher has a robust system for publishing content. One of the most favorite feature is the Auto Post with Queues which allows users to automatically publish hundreds of posts for the next X number of months, with just a few clicks. eClincher offers the ability to recycle content as well as publish it once and remove it from the queue. There is also the RSS integration which allows users to automatically publish every single blog post (their own or their favorite industry blogs) onto their social media profiles. eClincher also offers a great scheduling tool with visual calendar, auto link shortening, free images, and animated gifs, and video publishing support.
TweetDeck: A free app that is designed to let Twitter users to manage limitless accounts from a single interface, TweetDeck is ideal for organizations that require functionalities such as tracking, organizing and engagement on the social media platform. It can be used by virtually anyone, starting from individuals all the way to large organizations. The software is capable of managing Twitter accounts as well, while keeping track of hundreds of Twitter lists, searches and hashtags. TwitterDeck offers customizable dashboards that enable users to both send and receive tweets and monitor Twitter profiles. This robust tool can be deployed as a Web, Chrome or desktop application.
Today, people create profiles on every social media channel available with the aim of reaching as many people as possible. Unfortunately, with that mindset, you will not reach your chosen target audience. As a result, it is key you look at your buyer personas when choosing your social media channels. For example, you won't necessarily need a LinkedIn profile if you are launching a gothic clothing brand; the same as you won't need to be on Pinterest to promote your surveillance services.
Marketers target influential people on social media who are recognised as being opinion leaders and opinion-formers to send messages to their target audiences and amplify the impact of their message. A social media post by an opinion leader can have a much greater impact (via the forwarding of the post or "liking" of the post) than a social media post by a regular user. Marketers have come to the understanding that "consumers are more prone to believe in other individuals" who they trust (Sepp, Liljander, & Gummerus, 2011). OL's and OF's can also send their own messages about products and services they choose (Fill, Hughes, & De Francesco, 2013, p. 216). The reason the opinion leader or formers have such a strong following base is because their opinion is valued or trusted (Clement, Proppe, & Rott, 2007). They can review products and services for their followings, which can be positive or negative towards the brand. OL's and OF's are people who have a social status and because of their personality, beliefs, values etc. have the potential to influence other people (Kotler, Burton, Deans, Brown, & Armstrong, 2013, p. 189). They usually have a large number of followers otherwise known as their reference, membership or aspirational group (Kotler, Burton, Deans, Brown, & Armstrong, 2013, p. 189. By having an OL or OF support a brands product by posting a photo, video or written recommendation on a blog, the following may be influenced and because they trust the OL/OF a high chance of the brand selling more products or creating a following base. Having an OL/OF helps spread word of mouth talk amongst reference groups and/or memberships groups e.g. family, friends, work-friends etc. (Kotler, Burton, Deans, Brown, & Armstrong, 2013, p. 189).[86][87][88][89][89][89] The adjusted communication model shows the use of using opinion leaders and opinion formers. The sender/source gives the message to many, many OL's/OF's who pass the message on along with their personal opinion, the receiver (followers/groups) form their own opinion and send their personal message to their group (friends, family etc.) (Dahlen, Lange, & Smith, 2010, p. 39).[90]
By this point, there should no longer be a question about what is social media management so the next time a colleague asks you “What is social media management?” you’ll be able to answer their question and refer them to an informational blog. Now that you know what is involved with effective social media management and why it’s important to your business, it’s time for you to make an educated decision about your own social media management. Will you use your in-house resources? Or partner with a social media management company that will enable you to focus on your core business?

For example, Facebook’s latest algorithm update encourages marketers to create more engaging content if they want to stay relevant. Organic reach continues to drop. Clickbait techniques are no longer welcome. The demand for video and live streaming continues to grow. Increasingly, the best way to reach your audience is to post content that is genuinely engaging. These are the changes that marketers need to be aware of when revisiting their social strategy to ensure that they stay successful over the next year.
Twitter has experienced significant growth among the college population, as well as urban users making over $50,000/year – particularly white men over 65. Encouraging users to “click on a Tweet” is vital to ingraining your brand and telling your story on this platform. But what exactly does “clicking on a tweet” involve? Twitter measures clicks in a variety of ways, including:
Xsopo is an easy to use interface that enables easy use of social media. Xsopo facilitates automatic publishing and scheduling of posts on multiple social media platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, and many more. Xsopo makes use of the API’s of the social media websites that enables users type a message once and a quick review of how the user’s message will look like will be showcased to the user. Xsopo is also ideal for companies and enterprises as it enables them to schedule a message which will later be delivered with precision and accuracy. Xsopo features the…
We also try to look for content that will last, not just trend for a week and disappear. If you are able to produce content or develop insights that will stay relevant in the industry, these are gold! For us, social media content does really well on—surprise!—social media. This tweet was posted in mid-June and I’m still seeing it being retweeted even now.
If your team maximizes content by sharing it via multiple accounts, you’re probably familiar with the struggle of logging in and out of each account to launch posts. It takes time to sign in and out of different accounts to ensure as many possible audience members get the chance to engage with your content. Major headaches can surface when you’re bouncing around from sharing original posts, researching hashtags, tagging the right people, and replying to messages. With TweetDeck, your team can effectively manage multiple Twitter accounts with ease, all on one screen.
Additionally, social media management is cost-effective. Small businesses often have to do more with less when it comes to their marketing budget. Social media management allows you to experience significant results when it comes to lead generation and conversion. This eliminates high out of pocket costs that come along with traditional marketing tactics like billboards or TV ads.

Socialbakers is the first AI-powered social media marketing suite for brands and agencies of all sizes. We empower our clients with the largest dataset in the industry and advanced tools for easy and successful top of the funnel marketing: Audiences & Personas Get closer to your customers by having AI define your personas for you. Discover their interests, behaviors, and affinities to understand their world. Content Intelligence Create content that gets people talking by analyzing engagement across social. From content creation to execution - work smarter and faster. Social Media Management Use AI to optimize how you manage social media. Find the right influencers and work across teams in one place to measure, schedule, publish, and evaluate your results. Social Media Monitoring Organize millions of conversations on social media to spot trends and tap into topics that matter to your audiences. Community Management Retain audiences with a social media customer care platform that scales as you grow. Make team collaboration easier to deliver timely responses to your community. Wherever you are on your social media journey, we will help you understand your audience, create engaging content, grow your customer base, and measure the impact of social media on your business.
Social media is crucial to the success of any company's digital marketing strategy. Despite this, brands of all kinds and sizes are not using this tool to its full potential. Although the number of "follows", "likes" and "shares" is still important, the credibility of a brand is distinguished by far more than just this. Today, social media requires a unique set of skills whereby brands need to fully understand the needs of their audience. To help you out, I've put together 10 social media strategies you need to implement this year, whether you are a young entrepreneur or a well-established brand.
When you’re establishing goals for your social media marketing plan, we advise against selecting vanity metrics (likes / retweets) as your main metric for success. Whilst these are nice to see, and worthwhile to measure, they don’t directly affect your business’ growth. Instead, we recommend measure metrics that are likely to lead to sales, like leads generated, or conversion rate
Oktopost is the first solution to establish the ROI of social media, bridging the gap between social media and lead generation. Oktopost delivers the true business value of social media, generating new sales and integrating marketing and sales in today's social-centric marketplace. With Oktopost, companies can say for the first time: "This new customer came from this LinkedIn post!" or "This Tweet brought us $XXX in sales!" Oktopost enables users to track closed sales back to the originating social media interaction - whether this is a Tweet, LinkedIn post or Facebook update.

For example, Facebook’s latest algorithm update encourages marketers to create more engaging content if they want to stay relevant. Organic reach continues to drop. Clickbait techniques are no longer welcome. The demand for video and live streaming continues to grow. Increasingly, the best way to reach your audience is to post content that is genuinely engaging. These are the changes that marketers need to be aware of when revisiting their social strategy to ensure that they stay successful over the next year.
Small businesses also use social networking sites to develop their own market research on new products and services. By encouraging their customers to give feedback on new product ideas, businesses can gain valuable insights on whether a product may be accepted by their target market enough to merit full production, or not. In addition, customers will feel the company has engaged them in the process of co-creation—the process in which the business uses customer feedback to create or modify a product or service the filling a need of the target market. Such feedback can present in various forms, such as surveys, contests, polls, etc.
Please note: You don’t have to one of the most recognized fashion brands in the world (like Marc Jacobs is) to make this work for your brand. For example let’s say you run an athletic clothing store and offer free yoga classes at several of your store fronts – this would be a great actionable movement to brand and spread across their channels. Use the inspirational aspect of getting fit, New Year’s resolutions, healthy living, or whichever angle you believe your customers would gravitate towards. Test out a few hashtags, find the one that resonates best, and brand your movement by announcing it on your blog and social channels.
With the many tasks involved with running a successful business, social media can fall by the wayside. Before your business embarks on a social media campaign, it is a good practice to identify a person or multiple people who will be in charge of monitoring and posting content. It is important for the social media manager(s) to not only ensure content is posted on a regular basis, but also monitor and respond to all comments and feedback.  The assigned staff should be willing to monitor the company’s social pages 24/7, which can be easily accomplished through e-mail alerts and mobile apps.
PAT RESEARCH is a comprehensive B2B directory which provides Best Practices, Buying Guides, Reviews, Ratings, Comparison, Research, Commentary, and Analysis for Enterprise Software and Services. We provide Best Practices, PAT Index™ enabled product reviews and user review comparisons to help IT decision makers such as CEO’s, CIO’s, Directors, and Executives to identify technologies, software, service and strategies.
I was the Editor of Smart Insights between 2015-2017. I managed the blog and you will find blog articles on a range of subjects- Marketing Technology trends and latest tech developments are a regular focus, as well as exploring key marketing concepts. You can get in touch with me on Twitter and connect with me on LinkedIn. The new Editor is Carolanne Mangles.
Social Harvest is a lean, mean, and scalable data gobbling machine. Built with Go, extensible with virtually any other language via data streams and a RESTful API and supports both SQL and NoSQL databases. The customizable dashboard can accommodate the visualization of any data with widgets.Social Harvest is an open-source social media analytics and monitoring tool. It's goal is to help provide insight for social media for individuals and small businesses. It is not designed as an enterprise tool; however, there is nothing preventing the enterprise from finding value within it.One of the primary focuses of this tool is cost…
Every social media marketer knows the importance of social media in business. But do also realize the importance of promoting to content via social media the right way. When you’re designing your social media marketing strategy, see to it that you’re not promoting just any content on every network. Your content needs to contribute value towards building the brand and adhere to the audience for that social media platform.
Some of the measurables related to generating these 25 new customers would be conversion rate, traffic generated via the campaign, and click-through-rate. These metrics would be important to this specific campaign because they all relate to our goal (generating 25 new customers) and help us to forecast our performance, as well as measure against industry standards and competitors.
While managing your social media presence and getting your content to reach a wider audience is a challenging task, there are some things you can do to make it easier on yourself. That includes relying on apps to help you handle the jobs which don’t require you to use your creative capacities, and that includes scheduling. We hope you will find these apps helpful. Good luck!
Last but not least, the reason that is most likely to lead to ROI: increased inbound traffic. Without social media, your leads are limited to people who are familiar with your brand and people who find you by searching ranked keywords. By increasing your social media content frequency and expanding your social media channel presence, you are adding another path back to your site. And as a result, you’ll receive higher traffic, as well as more conversions.
The most complete solutions in this tier are Synthesio and Sysomos, our Editors' Choices for enterprises. They both give the most extensive deep-dive analytics using the most engaging data visualizations and reporting. Each listening metric Synthesio measures, be it mentions, engagement, sentiment, or influencer reach, has drill-down capabilities to generate a custom dashboard with post lists and graphs from any point in the UI. Crimson Hexagon offers a similarly robust experience, with the capacity for live social stream monitoring and the best interactive visualizations for keyword and hashtag data. Sysomos offers deep social listening power plus an added publishing and social marketing campaign management product called Sysomos Expeon. It's a significant added expense on top of the main Sysomos platform, but the ad campaign-specific ROI data and reporting it provides is unmatched.
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