21 social media tools you should be using
Social media is constantly evolving - it’s not enough to just be active on the major social networks anymore. You need to almost use scientific precision to time your posts, speak to the right audience and develop social media campaigns that actually get the job done. And if you're in the market for some free marketing tools that can help you with some of these activities, then you've come to the right place!
But unless you want to have zero hours of sleep, this isn’t possible without the help of some social media tools that will crunch the numbers, keep an eye on your social channels and break down your post’s performance for you. We did some research at Talkwalker (so you don’t have to!); and here’s our list of 21 tools which can help make your life considerably easier.
Social media listening tools
Want to keep an eye on your brand and find out exactly what people are saying about it? Us too. We also believe everyone should be able to easily do this without any budget, so we developed a set of free social media tools to help you do just that. Talkwalker Alerts is the one that you should check out if you’re specifically looking to get alerted when your keyword/brand is mentioned online. It’s free - like Google Alerts - but better. We deliver alerts to your inbox from all over the internet - including blogs, news sites, social networks like Twitter and discussion forums like Reddit. It’s really easy to set up an alert, and receive updates in real time. Here’s a quick look at how:
Social Mention is a tool which helps you easily keep track of your brand online. It’s quite a basic tool - yet functional. All you have to do is enter your search term in the search box and hit enter. And you’ll see all the results from the internet. What we find particularly useful is the “trends” feature which tells you what topics are currently trending on the internet. They used to have an “alerts” feature too but it’s currently unavailable.
IFTTT is much more than a social listening tool. It’s actually a versatile set of tools that allows you to do everything from turning on the porch light for your pizza delivery guy to tracking your brand online. Basically, IFTTT helps you create an RSS feed which can be integrated into pretty much all commonly used apps such as Slack, Gmail, etc. You can therefore get notified every time your brand is mentioned online and then react accordingly - also with the same app (hence the name)! For example, you can set-up the app so that you receive an email each time you’ve been mentioned in a tweet. Yup, this is definitely right up there with the best of the best social media tools!
Social media scheduling tools
Tired of always being “on” all the time and posting relevant social content for every time zone? Buffer is the perfect solution for you. All you have to do is make sure you have all your posts lined up well in advance and queue up your posts in Buffer. It works by putting your posts out on social media as per the pre-scheduled times. And if you’re wondering - yes it covers all major social networks - Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+, and Pinterest.
This is also one of those social media tools which also provides decent analytics and metrics for each of the social networks. Here’s a peek at the Buffer UI so you can see how it works.
Hootsuite is an all-in-one tool that lets you both pre-schedule your social media posts as well as analyze your performance on each of the various social networks. This is in fact, the tool that we use at Talkwalker HQ because we find the functionality and the UI extremely easy to navigate. The best part about Hootsuite? It offers a free plan that allows you to manage up to 3 different social media accounts - so if you’re just getting started, then Hootsuite is definitely the tool for you. Additionally, there are a bunch of apps that Hootsuite is compatible with that you can use in conjunction with the tool. For instance - we have our very own Talkwalker Alerts app for Hootsuite as well. Want to know how to use Hootsuite? Check out this tutorial from Hootsuite.
Socialbakers is an excellent - if steeply priced - platform that lets you schedule posts in advance, keep track of your social media accounts, manage your influencers, analyze how well your posts are doing and analyze the ROI of your paid social efforts as well. What’s more, it makes collaboration easy for several team members. If it is too steeply priced for you at the start, there’s a BUNCH of free social media tools that Socialbakers offers that could come in very handy for analyzing your performance on various social networks.
What can beat a free tool that helps you stay on top of your Twitter game AND pre-schedule tweets? It’s also really easy to use. If you have a Twitter account all you need to do in order to use the tool is sign in with your existing account. You can add columns as shown in the image below to monitor your brand or accounts or a column to add posts you’d like to schedule. You can also tweet directly from TweetDeck.
Pretty neat eh?
Social media management tools
Managing customer complaints is a huge part of managing social media in today’s day and age. Even with a ton of social media tools, the best of teams often miss out on complaints made on social media. Reply offers extensive automation rules and reporting to ensure that no two members reply to the same complaint. You also have the ability to tag specific complaints, replies and even add your signature to your responses. The coolest feature according to us? The ability to move tweets to direct messages without actually following each other! Here’s a look at the tool as per Buffer’s own blog:
Zapier takes social media management to the next level by connecting several different web apps together. It therefore helps you automate and manage your workload in several ways. Want an example of how you can take advantage of the tool? You can auto-populate a spreadsheet on Google Docs everytime someone mentions your brand name on Twitter or automatically post on Facebook from an RSS feed or library. Zapier claims there are over 300 ways to use their tools and increase your efficiency. And here’s how you can use Zapier:
Social media analytics tools
Does a 360 degree solution that addresses all your social media tracking needs sound too good to be true? It most definitely isn’t! Talkwalker Analytics is a one stop shop for all your social media needs (yes, we’re biased but check out what our customers are saying about our tool!). Our social media tool brings together all the data from the internet into a single platform so you can go deep into the analysis of your social media performance. It’s available in 187 languages and covers all major social media networks.
The best part about the tool is that it helps you protect your brand by not just providing you with real-time data but by sending alerts to your inbox when there is an abnormally high number of mentions about your brand online. It also helps you measure your social prowess and ROI with the help of highly visual reports - you can choose from our pre-defined reports and IQ apps or make custom reports. Lastly, you can promote your brand in the most effective ways possible by choosing the most relevant topics to write content on using our trend and hashtag features.
So, what are you waiting for?
Instagram is the social network of choice for influencers and B2C companies today. And Owlmetrics provides in-depth insights on how you can grow your follower base on Instagram and improve the performance of your posts on the platform. The biggest plus for this tool is its easy-to-use UI and dashboard. You can also understand the kind of content that does well on Instagram. Moreover, the reports are easy on the eye.
For social media, it’s all about timing and the folks at SocialFlow clearly understand it. SocialFlow is among the social media tools that help you constantly optimize the timing of your content to make sure you reach a targeted audience and make the maximum impact possible. The way it works is via detailed algorithms that analyze the buzz on social media and helps you understand the approximate time at which a topic gains momentum. So you can be sure to see a lot of traction on your messaging since it will be that much more relevant. Want to learn more about SocialFlow? Here’s a look at their social strategy on customer service!
Social media search tools
If you’re looking for a quick overview of what’s being said about your brand on the internet for free then you should check out Talkwalker’s very own Free Social Search. It’s a real-time search engine that brings you results from all around the internet as well as all major social networks. You have unlimited searches and unlimited data including - the latest trends and hashtags, social mentions, sentiment analysis, and even demographic data as well as individual results.
Most social media tools allow you to track @mentions, keywords and hashtags online on various social networks. But few allow you to measure how much a web address has been shared and how many times it’s been linked to on bookmarking sites. It’s often frustrating as a marketer to not be able to trace the number of shares that your website directly gets - as opposed to your content. SharedCount takes this problem and provides a solid solution to it.
If you’re looking for a solution that monitors 100+ million sources for mentions of your brand, hashtag or keyword, then Mediatoolkit could be the solution for you. The best part about Mediatoolkit is that it offers an iOS as well as an Android app which helps you keep an eye on your brand or keyword when on the go, along with a Slack integration and email alerts. The only thing that could be changed is their signup process which does not let you sign up without entering your phone number.
Social media reporting tools
Reporting is always complicated - no matter how much we try to simplify it. But the folks at Funnel.io developed a one-stop shop for all your reporting needs as well as comprehensive dashboards to make it look visually appealing. There are very few social media tools that have as many connected apps as sources of information as Funnel. It has over 374 connected apps making it an extremely comprehensive source of information. The best feature about this tool is that it helps you understand how your ads are working via Google Analytics. So tracing your ROI was definitely never easier. Here’s a quick look at how you can do this:
As the name suggests this tool provides extensive reporting functionality. Although the tool also has the functionalities of social listening, automation and monitoring - their reporting functionalities easily take the cake. Social report is connected to all major social platforms and also gives you the opportunity to thoroughly understand your paid ad performance and automate basic comments on social media.
Looking to analyze your Facebook pages and groups? Then Sociograph is the tool that can help you make sense of your Facebook presence. The layout of the reporting functionality is what really makes this a special tool - all posts are lined up in chronological order and the statistics about these posts are in an easy-to-understand format. Posts can also be sorted as per engagement, popularity and other metrics. Here’s a look at the interface.
When it comes to social media intelligence, Nuvi is definitely right up there on top. It is a tool that makes conversations on the internet more actionable with real-time insights. In fact, their data visualizations have been rated very highly on several platforms - including their patented BubbleStream technology. Here’s a look at the platform.