As a small business owner and entrepreneur, you’ve probably heard a million times that in order to attract customers in the modern age, you need to be active on social media. But when you’re Chief of Everything, who has time to keep track of Twitter mentions?
With 350 million users on Facebook, 750 tweets being sent every second, and two new users joining LinkedIn every second, the social sphere is buzzing. Not being involved could mean missed opportunities for new customers. Having a strong social presence can also mean increased brand awareness and stronger SEO rankings.
Social media management doesn’t have to be a daunting task. There are plenty of tools – most of them free! – that can help you manage your social media presence without eating up too much time. We highlight some of our favorites here:
Whether you have a small marketing team or you’re handling it all yourself, HootSuite is a great tool that allows you to manage your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, MySpace, PingFM and WordPress accounts. The best part? The basic version is absolutely free! If you need a little more insight, paid plans – starting at $5.99 per month – allow you to add on Google Analytics and other analysis tools.
HootSuite’s user-friendly layout focuses on streams, constantly updating feeds of information, which are customizable by account, network or keyword. This makes it easy to keep an eye on all of your social channels in one place. The tool also makes it easy to connect with users, providing followers’ bios, Klout scores and links to their social profiles in just one click.
If you’re an SMB, you know the importance of tracking the ROI on your marketing campaigns. You don’t want to waste time on campaigns that don’t work, and you should be optimizing the ones that do. But when you’re dealing with something subjective like social media, how do you decide if your campaigns are working? CrowdBooster is a great tool that focuses on gathering data from your social profiles to determine exactly that.
It can provide analytics on impressions, total reach and engagement with your posts, allowing you to better target future campaigns. CrowdBooster will also send you alerts on Twitter users who may be a match for your brand and content. The tool also analyzes your posts and gives suggestions to improve your strategy based on when people are most likely to view your latest content.
The lowest plan of CrowdBooster starts at $9 per month and allows you to track up to 50,000 followers.
When small businesses begin to build their social presence, they are prone to forgetting that broadcasting their own message is only half the battle. Sharing others’ content in order to engage your audience is also a crucial component, and Feedly is a great tool that essentially serves as a feed reader.
When you have several websites to keep up with, it can become cumbersome to visit each of them to stay updated on their content. Feedly aggregates all of the RSS feeds from these websites into one easy-to-manage tool that can be accessed via desktop or mobile. You can push content to your social media profiles instantly or save an article to share later. This makes the process of keeping up with and sharing relevant industry content much more streamlined and easy to manage.
Feedly plans begin at $5 per month, although you can save some cash with a $45 yearly subscription.
With the help of these social media management tools, creating an online presence for your small business doesn’t have to be overwhelming. With affordable and even free options, it doesn’t have to eat up your marketing budget either. As more customers turn to online research before visiting a business or making an online purchase, social media is a great avenue to connect with your target audience and build relationships. With 92 percent of businesses using social networks for marketing purposes by the end of 2014, you can’t afford to be left behind.
What are your favorite social media tools to use when building an online community for your business?