If there is one thing I know about people, it is that we all love free things-more specifically, free things that provide us with value. When it comes to content, some investments are necessary (good writers, solid proofreading, keyword research), but there are some awesome tools out there that you can access at no cost. So, I wanted to share a great, in-depth list of several free social media content tools to help you get the best campaign possible without having to take much out of your budget. These tools will help you with a number of things ranging from analytics to creating great infographics for your web page and social channels.
Let's take a look at 20 of these awesome tools.
1. Hootsuite. This is a social media management tool that the Express Writers social media team uses. It is incredibly helpful to post to many social media channels at once and makes it much easier to monitor comments, likes, favorites, and re-tweets. This is free for three channels (Facebook, Twitter, G+), but if you want more, you will need to pay for Hootsuite Pro, which also gives analytics. However, before paying for that, take a look at a few free analytics tools first! You should also consider following their blog or social sites because they give out free tools occasionally. Recently, they posted about some awesome social media templates you can use for scheduling and planning purposes.
2. Buffer. Buffer can also act like Hootsuite, allowing you to post to multiple channels from a central location. It differs in the fact that you are able to see your top tweet or post in badge form. This is an excellent way to see what posts people like the most, giving you helpful advice for similar posts in the future.
3. Google Analytics. This is something I strongly encourage people to use to track their website traffic and it is great for social media. It can track how many clicks your website gets from your social media posts, which can help you see which channel is the best one for you to post to. It can also help you figure out how to tweak your posts by seeing which ones drive more traffic and which don't.
4. ViralWoot. Have you ever lamented about how you can't schedule pins on Pinterest? ViralWoot is a great tool for this plus giving you the chance to promote pins, gain new followers, and, of course, give you some great analytics to help you tweak your marketing campaign. When you use the free version, you get analytics on new followers, re-pins, and likes. If you pay for it, you will also get the ability to receive alerts when someone pins from your website.
5. SocialBro. This is a great Twitter tool for those who have 5,000 or fewer contacts on the social channel. It helps you know when is the best time to post to your Twitter account specifically, as well as giving you excellent demographics to help tweak your tweets. Knowing when to post is vital because it can help you get more engagement and bring in more traffic for your website.
6. Social Mention. Social Mention is quite similar to Google Alerts and is really easy to use. It helps you monitor discussions around your website. It takes the strength of your site, the positive versus negative mentions, how likely people are to mention your brand, and how far your reach is. This is a great way to help you know exactly how well your social campaign is working and helps you learn new ways to improve your website.
7. Addictomatic. This is an excellent, easy-to-use tool that looks into your brand's reputation, as well as influence. One of the reasons this is great is because you need to make sure you are staying on top of your reputation management, and what better way to help than a free tool! Why is it called Addictomatic? Well, some users say that you have a high likelihood of getting addicted to the program because of how easy and helpful it is!
8. Facebook Insights. This comes with your Facebook page and is something you should be using to see your reach, influence, and engagement. It is a great way to see when your followers are more active on your page, giving you a better idea of when to update your site to get the most engagement and clicks to your website. You can also track how many likes each post receives, and as I said, you can track your influence. Another great element to Facebook Insights is that you can also keep track of your competition and see where they are succeeding and failing, giving you some useful information for your page. (Remember, your competition is a great resource for inspiration!)
9. Tweetdeck. This is a simple app that you can download for your browser. Tweetdeck is a pretty powerful tool from and for Twitter, and it allows you to schedule out your tweets, as well as customize alerts and searches (which can help you research keywords you want to use in tweets). If you want to track various hashtags, topics, events, or anything else, this tool makes it very easy! It is also easy to organize things such as lists and searches into easy-to-read columns, making it easier for you to access any list, keyword, or feed.
10. Easel.ly. I love infographics, and I am sure you at least enjoy them! They are incredibly handy and give a lot of great information in bite-sized, picture pieces. There also happens to be a great, free tool for infographics called Easel.ly. With this program, you can create your own infographics without having to seek out graphic artists to help and spend more money than you have in your budget for media content. You can choose a template or create one from scratch, which is very useful!
11. CheckUsernames. This is great if you have a username in mind and need to make sure it is free across all channels. It is always a good idea to make sure your usernames are consistent, making it easier for people to find you and follow, but sometimes your chosen username might be taken on a few sites. Double check by using CheckUsernames! It will save you quite a lot of time, and help you know if you need to change your username to something different.
12. Bitly. Bitly is a link shortening program that has been around for quite some time now. It used to be a way to share a link without it being mega-long as the program can shorten it quickly and easily. However, Bitly has started using their program to help you track the analytics of a link. You will be able to see how many clicks a link received, where people clicked your links from (social media, other locations), and how many sites referred your link. Analytics are a great way to improve your social media strategy and what better way to use them than with free programs?
13. IFTTT. This might look and sound like some sort of sound effect, but it is really an acronym of "If This, Then That," which is a great, free social media tool. What this does is it allows you to make "recipes" of various social media strategies, helping you form some great ideas for a campaign. Think of this as the marketing version of the scientific method.
14. TweetReach. This tool helps you track your tweets and see an overall analytics report of how far your tweets are reaching, which can help you tweak them, making them more successful. Remember, look at the ones that are successful and try to use a similar method in the future to boost your engagement!
15. Conversation Score. This is great because it not only lets you track your Facebook page, but it also lets you track your competitor's, which as I've established, is great! This tool allows you to check Facebook pages and get create analytics overviews to help boost your next Facebook campaign. It is great for initial research, (cue competition research) and can help you learn just how well your Facebook marketing campaign went when it is complete.
16. Klout. This is another tool that helps you monitor your online reputation by researching what people are saying about your brand. It can be quite controversial as many people aren't the biggest fans of the social site because they feel it is hard to use and understand. However, there are several other users who find it incredibly helpful. You can use this tool to help you see what your audience is interested in, which can help you tweak your future posts to meet the needs and interests. Check it out for yourself and see what you think. If it doesn't work for you, then simply try another reputation management tool. It is apparent that not everyone is a major fan of this particular tool.
17. HowSociable. This is a great tool that helps you see which social sites give you the most interaction and which ones need more work in order to work for you. However, there are limitations to the free account. You can use it for 12 social sites including things like Tumblr and WordPress. However, you will have to sign up for pro if you want to monitor 24 additional sites including Facebook, Twitter, and so on. This can be great if you want to monitor your blog and see how well it is working, and if you like the free version, then you might just consider jumping up to pro.
18. IceRocket. This is yet another brand watching tool that can help monitor your blogs in over 20 different languages. IceRocket gives you graphs to help you learn more about your blog presence, allowing you to monitor things during certain times selected by you. This can help you see if you are getting enough interaction during various times throughout the day to find the best posting times for your site. It can also help monitor activity on your blogs, as well as give you some great topic ideas to help you write trendy and relevant content that will be interesting to your readership.
19. Twazzup. If you are just starting out with social media and social media monitoring tools, Twazzup is a great program for you. It helps you track various keywords, showing you the top tweets, which tweets are re-tweeted more, as well as the top 10 keywords that can help you reach a wider audience outside of your general search term. This is a great place to start with monitoring social media and a great way to know just what you need to do to reach more people.
20. Reachli. This particular tool used to be known as Pinerli because it is very well known for its ability to help monitor Pinterest activity and engagement. However, it is now a tool that not only tracks analytics for Pinterest pins, but also helps track information about any video or picture content. This will help you see which form of content is best received by your audience, as well as what themes and topics they find interesting.
In Closing, Take a Look at These Excellent Tools!
As you create your social media strategies, take some time to look at these various free tools to find ones that fit your needs. You can always sign up for the pro versions if you find you like the program and want more, but free is always the way to go when you need expert campaigns at little to no cost. Are you going to try any of these tools? Which ones stand out to you the most? I'd love to hear!