- Social media marketing requires interesting content plus knowledge about your user base. Social media tools can help provide the data and capabilities you need to accomplish these goals.
- Social media tools range from all-in-one scheduling and monitoring solutions to specialized tools for hashtags, graphic design, and more.
- Carefully consider your social media goals and budget when thinking about what tools to use.
Paid social media might be on the rise (Hootsuite found that 79% of global marketing professionals surveyed bought paid social ads in 2021), but organic social media is still a crucial part of any digital marketing strategy.
Technically, all you need for organic social media marketing is an internet connection, a few social media profiles, and some creativity. That – plus the fact that social media is free to use – is what makes social media marketing so powerful for brands.
But successful social media marketing isn’t the same as simply blasting Facebook and Instagram with your brand name and logo. Creating engaging social posts that reflect who you are and get your base hyped requires not just creativity, but also information and resources. That’s where social media marketing tools come in.
What do social media marketing tools do?
There are tons of social media tools out there designed for all the different facets of social media marketing, some that might even surprise you. Just think about everything that goes into creating one social post:
What are you sharing and why? Is it original content or a great third-party article you think your readers would love? Sharing whatever’s on your mind can work sometimes, but believe it or not, the customer base for your new app might not need a photo of your homemade breakfast every morning. (Unless it’s a cooking app…)
Tapping into the interests and passions of your audience requires knowledge about your base.
Images and videos
Unless you’re strictly using Twitter, the visual component is one of the most essential parts of a good social media post.
Images and videos are the bright, colorful backbone of the social feed, so a good social post should include a high-quality, relevant photo, image, or infographic that enriches the user experience. Where are you going to get that visual content? Will you be creating it in-house or using stock imagery?
Yes, there is an art to #using #hashtags #properly. But did you know there’s also a science to it?
Hashtags highlight posts that are about a particular topic so that users can see the post who otherwise might not. This makes hashtags a powerful way to get your social content in front of new eyes. But since hashtags act as helpful labels for posts, you can see how easily a post can appear spammy if the hashtags don’t feel relevant or organic.
Fair enough. But how do you know your users are even looking at the hashtags you’re using? If the people seeing your posts aren’t the kinds of people likely to engage with your service or product, you’ve wasted your effort. Once again, it helps to have access to information about what your audience is into.
With all that in mind, you can use social media marketing tools for:
- Conducting audience research – That means looking at data, searching trending topics, etc.
- Scheduling and automating posts – Remember that some tools specialize in certain channels, so make sure you know what channel(s) you’ll be primarily using.
- Monitoring views and engagement – As with any digital marketing endeavor, analytics capabilities are crucial for measuring your social media marketing ROI.
- Creating and optimizing posts – This includes creating visual content, shortening links, etc.
Many heavyweight tools perform a combination of the above functions (such as automating and monitoring), while others are more specialized.
At RMG, we’ve tried it all and have collected some favorites along the way. Keep reading to check out a list of some of the social tools we swear by, from enterprise-level all-in-one tools to free and freemium options you can combine to create a customized social suite.
Our favorite social media marketing tools
Our social media team could probably live without Later, but they wouldn’t want to. This all-in-one social media marketing tool lets you schedule, publish, and monitor content on all major social platforms, but it really shines on Instagram. It’s a freemium tool, meaning you can sign up for free but unlock premium features for a price. Our team loves the Feed Planner and Analytics tools in particular.
Buffer also prides itself on offering a full stack of social tools, but like with Later, users especially love it for Instagram. You can use Buffer to schedule posts in advance, monitor reception, and more depending on your subscription level, so those considering it should think about the needs of their particular enterprise level.
3. Zoho Social
Zoho Social offers an intuitive interface for scheduling, automating, and monitoring posts for multiple platforms and brands. Their monitoring dashboards give an especially cool look into reviews, page mentions, and overall brand health, and you can watch a live stream of your reader engagement.
Buzzsumo’s monitoring capabilities are great not just for social media, but also for backlinks, giving this tool an extra SEO edge. Another great feature is the Trending feed, which lets you use built-in and custom filters to drill into particular topics to find the articles everyone is sharing at a given moment. This is great for content curation, a.k.a. sharing articles you think your readers will love.
This hashtag tool provides hashtag recommendations for your posts, so you can make sure they’re not only relevant to your post but also interesting to your base. One of our favorite features is the ability to upload an image or photo and receive recommended hashtags. You can give it a whirl by signing up for a free trial.
Lots of digital marketers swear by Photoshop and Adobe Spark, and we’re not here to throw shade. But one of our not-so-secret weapons is Canva. This powerful design tool gives you access to templates, images, and tons more to create original graphics for your social feeds, and its free option includes all the features you need.
Every social marketer needs a good link shortener in their arsenal. Shorter links are easier to share on social media because they don’t take up as many characters. Bit.ly lets you create short, secure, unique links and monitor performance.
Replug also lets you customize links, particularly adding custom messaging to outbound links. In addition, you can use Replug to collect remarketing data on users following those outbound links.
Choosing the right tools for you
While all-in-one social media marketing tools offer powerful solutions to most of your social media challenges, some teams and businesses still use a combination of tools or at least supplement their main management software with more specialized tools. When looking into your own options, try to answer the following questions:
- What are your social media goals? I.e., what do you need the tool to actually do – schedule posts, monitor performance, a little of everything, or something else entirely?
- What social platforms/channels will you be using and what kinds of content will you share?
- What’s your budget?
Depending on the size or goals of your business, an expensive all-in-one-tool may have bells and whistles you’ll never actually use. On the flipside, navigating a homebrewed combination of freemium tools can become unsustainable. At the end of the day, it all depends on your particular social media needs.
At RMG, we provide in-house level attention along with agency-level access to the best social media management tools. And as social media nerds, we’re always happy to talk shop with a potential partner. To learn more about how we can help with your social campaigns, reach out to us today!