Ah, social media tools! The internet is awash with them. But which ones are good for small business?
It is true that there seems to be a bright new social media toy to play with every couple of weeks or so, and rather than roll our eyes and shake our heads in confusion, we can take this as a positive sign that social media marketing is working, and working well!
One of the main challenges faced by small business owners is having the time to actually work on their social media accounts, and also to stay relevant to our audience. We have more to juggle and handle than a larger firm with dedicated staff, so this is where tools and apps can help with our multi-tasking.
Listed below is a round up of seven of the most useful tools currently on the market that can help ease the pressures on the shoulders of the small business owner.
Automating some of your social media tasks can be a great time-saver, especially those boring but necessary tasks we all sigh about every day. IFTTT stands for If This Then That, and it is a useful tool to help you tie in apps to make them work together. It is a bit like a recipe generator, so for example each time you publish a post on Blogger, you can get automatic tweets sent out instead of actually having to send them yourself. You get unlimited ‘recipes’ to use, and they even have suggested recipes that are already well used by others in the same or similar niche to your own. IFTT has well over 280 services it can work across, so makes for a very useful tool for marketers.
This is a useful tool for building up your social media presence across different platforms. When you don’t have much time to spend working on your social media accounts, content curation can be a great way to keep your accounts active and ticking over sharing relevant information to your followers. Content curation is simply finding interesting and relatable posts from others that you share with your followers because they would find the content interesting too. It helps to build your profile because it makes you look like a very knowledgeable person in your niche, and works by mixing your content with posts from others in the same industry. It works on your keyword combinations, but you can also add feeds you like to draw content from. The tool even suggests a list of popular hashtags that you could use with your posts when you schedule them.
If you are a Twitter fan then this would be a good tool for you. It is a management toolkit that works across 14 main sites including Facebook and Twitter, but it can enhance your tweets nicely with a single click. While you a re composing your tweet you can click on the Right Tag button to add hashtags, images, emojis, GIFs and customised calls to action. It will recommend hashtags to use and also show you which ones are most popular, as well as ones that are not so well used. RiteTag has a Chrome extension, and you can link it with your favourite RSS feeds and curation services.
Content curation is a really valuable tool for the marketer who is pressed for time, so Feedly is a great tool to use when sourcing content from different sources. Basically it is an RSS reader that can not only gather together feeds from multiple sites according to your preferences, but you can also monitor mentions of your own business, products and services by plugging in Google Alerts.
All your feeds can be organized into collections to make them easily accessible in the future. Feedly works with a multitude of other apps too so you can save content for later and share it across your social media accounts.
Another Twitter-user favourite, Commun.it is already well used by big business, but that doesn’t mean it cannot work for small businesses also. This is a useful tool for alerting you to the most important updates without all the background noise coming from your news feed. If you want to know who to follow and who to unfollow, then this is the tool for you. Your users are sorted into three main groups: Influencers, Supporters and Engaged Members, enabling you to target your chosen audience more effectively. You also get free Twitter analytics so you can monitor your reach and engagement figures.
We all know that a picture can paint a thousand words, so using visuals in your social media posts can be a great way of engaging with your followers. Rather than spend hours on end creating your own visuals, you can use Canva instead. This tool is an easy way to quickly design attractive images to use alongside your social media posts. If you like to use quotes, custom icons, stickers, conversation bubbles etc. then you can have some fun with this! You can apply filters and effects to make your visual look stunning, and if you are really short of time, you can use one of the many fully customisable layouts that are on offer. A great tool for social media posts and blog posts alike!
Growing a list of followers on Twitter is important, but also keeping track of them can be something quite time consuming and troublesome. To help manage your reach and Twitter analytics ManageFlitter has some useful features such as PowerPost that shows you the best time of day to actually send out your Tweets to reach the most people. There is a really useful follow or unfollow option on there that allows you to either follow or unfollow large numbers of people according to a set criteria including influence.
At the end of the day, you can choose to use all the tools in the world to help grow your social media presence, but if you don’t use them properly or to their full capabilities, then your efforts will go to waste. By using a combination of these tools to link in and hook up with with your accounts, you can free up some precious time to spend on more important things in your business.