So you are using social media – fantastic! Welcome to the world of 24/7 promotion, digital marketing, SEO and endless opportunity. But also to the world of hundreds of different tools to manage posting, reporting and so on and so forth. But fear not, help is at hand as we guide you through the 5 Essential Free Social Media Tools that you need to use – to make your life easier, and your social profile fly.
One of the first things you learn about social media is that you need to post things in order to gain an audience and get any value. Doh!
But the second thing you learn is that scheduling those posts, and creating a regular cadence is just as, if not more, important. This is where Buffer comes in.
Buffer is a scheduling tool supreme – allowing you to co-ordinate all of your social posts across numerous networks into a single editorial calendar. Now this article does include “free” in the title, and it’s not overly apparent how to get Buffer for free – but here is the trick. Sign up for a free trial of any paid plan, and at the end of the plan simply downgrade to the free plan. Et voila!
Creating social posts is a mixture of art and science – and for most people the art side of things is the challenge, especially the visual art aspect. Words in a social post is ok – but a perfect balance of words and imagery is hard to beat.
Canva is a dream tool for those of us who don’t have graphic design built into our social marketing dna. It provides not only a vast array of visual assets, but an easy to use design tool with a myriad of templates for everything from postcards, to LinkedIn posts, to instagram images and facebook videos. Trust me – this tool is so simple even I can use it!
So, once your posts are all scheduled and flying out onto social media like clockwork, you’ll want to see some activity reports – right? Oh yes indeed!
And this is where Cyfe comes in. Cyfe is a custom dashboard tool that you can fill up with integrated metrics from dozens of marketing tools. Its social media section allows you to sync up all the major networks and pull overview reports for the accounts you manage and those you want to track. It offers 50 widgets for Facebook alone, for tracking reach, impressions, clicks, check-ins, and posts.
Of course, this level of functionality comes with a slight catch – but only a slight one. On the free Cyfe plan you only get to see five widgets across a fixed view of the trailing 30 days of data. Not perfect – but a great place to start exploring one of the most powerful SaaS reporting tools out there.
OK – not the most obvious tool in the social media management portfolio – but an immense bit of kit for optimising all things search engine optimization (SEO) related if you have a website. But even if you don’t need to explore how your content can affect search results, SemRush also happens to have a great social post scheduling tool and simple analytics capability. This is completely free functionality at the moment – and honestly, if you have a website and you’re not using Semrush already – what is going on?
And finally, the granddaddy of marketing tools, Hubspot. Hang on a minute I hear you say, the social media management capabilities of Hubspot are part of the marketing product – which is not free. Yep – you’re right.
These paid for tools are incredibly comprehensive, with full cross network scheduling and detailed reporting – but they are a paid for service.
However, my recommendation here is that if you are a business using social media, you should be using Hubspot as a forms engine, to collect contact details for your social media contacts wherever possible (of course complying to GDPR or CCPA rules wherever you happen to be based).
Hubspot has a free version that lets you create forms and manage contacts – and of course embed them into social media posts. Very, very useful if you’ve not got a website – and even more useful when properly integrated to your existing website.
As you can see, there are many free social media tools that can help you not just manage your social game, but up it considerably – all for free. We hope you’ve found this post useful – and please let us know if you make use of any of the tools we talked about here as a result of the blog.
Of course, if you need any further advice on marketing system selection or simply want someone to completely manage your social media on your behalf, just get in touch. We would be more than happy to help.