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:
Aim to produce and share content that educates, informs, entertains, or inspires. Try to mix things up a little with a balance of the four types of content and keep overtly promotional posts to a minimum. Outdoor outfitter REI has a Force of Nature campaign that highlights women in the outdoors. The content relates to REI’s mission and aims to inspire, not directly sell.
Social tools are not all created equal. Some are quite expensive. The tools trying to cover everything mainly focus on organic vs. paid, so it is nearly impossible to have just one tool for organic and paid social. If you want an all-in-one service, Sprinklr seems to be the best management tool for all of your social channels. It helps you with posting, approval of content, and metrics reporting. - Gina Michnowicz, Union+Webster
Excellent List… I would like to add an info about the new analytical tool in the market, Social clout.com, which includes monitoring, listening, engagement workflow, social media analytics and social media lead generation. If possible, I would ask you and the users in need of the social media analytical tool to try out the te tool on www.socialclout.com , and give yor precious feedback. This tool would be great asset to the marketing teams of small business because of its features and competitive pricing.
Friends+Me is another prime player in the social media management tools family. While Friends+Me puts the highest emphasis on Google Plus features, many other social platforms are supported. Friends+Me appears to get rave reviews from users, and has a beautifully designed website with plans available based on the size of your business. And yes, there is a free plan!
Yes, I’ve mentioned Buffer in the past, and that’s because it really is a great, easy-to-use tool. Keeping up with sharing your content each day can be hard, and Buffer allows you to schedule multiple posts on different channels at once. This way, you can knock out a good amount of social distribution in one sitting, which is helpful for busy social media teams (and the thought leaders whose content is being shared).
As part of your social media management, your business should routinely check for comments or messages across your social platforms. Think carefully before replying as the response will often be public. Don’t have time to do this? Our specialists at LYFE Marketing monitor accounts every single day, and as a best practice they always reply to followers within 24 hours.
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.
I know, I know there are a lot of options here! Luckily, they all have free plans so you can experiment and find the platform that works best for your social strategy. At the end of the day you can’t go wrong moving onto a social media management tool – it will likely save you time, grow your social presence, and possibly even make you some money!
Use the data you gather via social listening to analyze how your customers and prospects feel and what they need from your business. Your goal should be to make sure you have confidence in the data you are looking at, so you’ll need a comprehensive and extendable social analytics effort to ensure you can keep up with the latest demands. Once you understand the data, you have the opportunity to share the findings broadly across the business. We call this “operationalizing the data.”
James is an Ecommerce consultant and owner of Digital Juggler, an E-commerce and Digital Marketing consultancy helping retailers develop, execute and evolve E-commerce strategies and optimise their digital channel. With a background as a Head of E-commerce and also agency side as Head of Client Development, he has experienced life on both sides of the fence. He has helped companies like A&N Media, Sweaty Betty and Smythson to manage RFP/ITT proposals. and been lead consultant on high profile projects for Econsultancy, Salmon and Greenwich Consulting. He is a guest blogger for Econsultancy, for whom he also writes best practice guides, regularly contributes to industry events and co-hosts #ecomchat, a weekly Twitter chat for e-commerce knowledge sharing. For e-commerce advice and support, connect with James on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Social networking websites are based on building virtual communities that allow consumers to express their needs, wants and values, online. Social media marketing then connects these consumers and audiences to businesses that share the same needs, wants, and values. Through social networking sites, companies can keep in touch with individual followers. This personal interaction can instill a feeling of loyalty into followers and potential customers. Also, by choosing whom to follow on these sites, products can reach a very narrow target audience. Social networking sites also include much information about what products and services prospective clients might be interested in. Through the use of new semantic analysis technologies, marketers can detect buying signals, such as content shared by people and questions posted online. An understanding of buying signals can help sales people target relevant prospects and marketers run micro-targeted campaigns.
Social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, MySpace etc. have all influenced the buzz of word of mouth marketing. In 1999, Misner said that word-of mouth marketing is, "the world's most effective, yet least understood marketing strategy" (Trusov, Bucklin, & Pauwels, 2009, p. 3). Through the influence of opinion leaders, the increased online "buzz" of "word-of-mouth" marketing that a product, service or companies are experiencing is due to the rise in use of social media and smartphones. Businesses and marketers have noticed that, "a persons behaviour is influenced by many small groups" (Kotler, Burton, Deans, Brown, & Armstrong, 2013, p. 189). These small groups rotate around social networking accounts that are run by influential people (opinion leaders or "thought leaders") who have followers of groups. The types of groups (followers) are called: reference groups (people who know each other either face-to-face or have an indirect influence on a persons attitude or behaviour); membership groups (a person has a direct influence on a person's attitude or behaviour); and aspirational groups (groups which an individual wishes to belong to).
The snapshot also includes insights into things such as: reach, exposure, tweet activity, tweet types, top contributors, top tweets, list of contributors, and tweet timelines. If your company uses Twitter daily or your company leaders are trying to identify potential influencers to work with, this is a great tool to ensure you’re getting the most out of your efforts. TweetReach also offers paid plans in addition to its free snapshot reports.
Managing your social media effectively allows you to get the most out of this powerful channel. Consistently creating and publishing valuable content can help you establish authentic connections with your target audience. While social media advertising helps you reach new audiences that are most likely to be interested in your products or services.
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.
Websites such as Delicious, Digg, Slashdot, Diigo, Stumbleupon, and Reddit are popular social bookmarking sites used in social media promotion. Each of these sites is dedicated to the collection, curation, and organization of links to other websites that users deem to be of good quality. This process is "crowdsourced", allowing amateur social media network members to sort and prioritize links by relevance and general category. Due to the large user bases of these websites, any link from one of them to another, the smaller website may in a flash crowd, a sudden surge of interest in the target website. In addition to user-generated promotion, these sites also offer advertisements within individual user communities and categories. Because ads can be placed in designated communities with a very specific target audience and demographic, they have far greater potential for traffic generation than ads selected simply through cookie and browser history. Additionally, some of these websites have also implemented measures to make ads more relevant to users by allowing users to vote on which ones will be shown on pages they frequent. The ability to redirect large volumes of web traffic and target specific, relevant audiences makes social bookmarking sites a valuable asset for social media marketers.