6 Free Social Media Tools for Getting Started in Social

Once you’ve taken the decision to put your brand or company on social media the next step is ensuring you use the correct tools to maximise your success. A quick search of the internet will give you a large amount of tools offering various services, some are free, some subscription based and some pay up front. If you’re unsure of what you need this list of free tools will give you a solid foundation to start from.

Perhaps the most important and often missed point of a social media presence is using the same handle or name across different sites. By doing this it will make it easier for your customers to find you across the myriad of social media sites. NameChk is your go to tool for checking name availability, as well as covering the main sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, it will check many you’ve never heard of.

A unique and memorable name could be the difference between initial success and failure for your social presence.

TweetDeck is the best free dashboard for monitoring and maintaining your Twitter presence, so good, in fact, that Twitter themselves bought it. With a raft of options including general feed management, multiple accounts, managed lists, custom timelines and popup notifications you will find that Tweetdeck will be open on your desktop a large amount of time. Tweetdeck should really be one of the first tools you explore.

Another social dashboard similar to TweetDeck except Hootsuite covers all the major social network sites, (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & Google+). Being able to manage your content across multiple sites is a great time saver though you should remember that content needs to be tailored to each network specifically. It isn’t a good idea to post the same thing across different channels.

Hootsuite’s strength is that it is a great listening tool and allows you to create numerous streams that can be used for keyword, location based and key influencers allowing you great insights into your existing or potential customer base. If you choose to subscribe to Hootsuite, you will then have access to the expansive App Directory and reports that will further assist your social presence.

Mention is a great tool even if you are not on social media. In setting up an account, Mention will scan the entire web for specific words or phrases related to your brand and present these all neatly in a clean stream with a preview pane to the side. Each mention can be assigned a sentiment value and reacted to with different options including quoting, replying, sharing and more. It makes managing and reacting to ‘mentions’ a doddle and will offer a unique insight into the coverage you are currently receiving.
Mention also offers extra features including tasks, statistics and reports if you wish to subscribe to the premium version.

SocialBro is one of the leading Community analysis tools for Twitter and can offer you amazing insights into your audience and even competitors. Since coming across SocialBro via a recommendation from ReturnOnDigital’s Laura Thomas (@_eltee) ,who has a very vocal love for SocialBro  it’s changed the way we go about our Twitter activity.

With a raft of features including Best Time to Tweet, Audience Insights like location, interests and more understanding the data will take a while but it will be time well invested in improving your social presence. As with many of the tools on this list you can subscribe to unlock even more advanced tools and reports but the free version offers a great deal for you to get started with.

Analytics Tools –

Obviously the key thing for your social strategy is to ensure it’s reaching your target audience and they are engaging with it. All of the major social sites have realised that users want to see what works with the content they produce and all of them now have a form of analytics data available that users can access.

The key to a good social strategy is constantly developing and improving it and using the in built analytics of sites you can focus on what content works best and when to publish it.

Each site has their analytics tools located in different places.

Twitter is the last to launch it’s analytics offering and offers a list of basic data which can be expanded when you click on the tweet. Still in the early days but worthwhile reviewing the expanded data to see how many times a tweet has been expanded, clicked on and retweeted or favourited. More about Twitter analytics can be found here.

Facebook analytics offer perhaps the most in depth reports, with page data including likes, reach and visits. These are complimented by more specific post data including Reach & Engagement and then they kindly offer you the Boost Post option, a reflection on their push to get brands to pay for content to be seen. Once again you can click on the post to discover more in depth data. More information about Facebook analytics can be found here.

LinkedIn is perhaps the least detailed when it comes to the platform analytics. They offer similar data to Facebook and Twitter but also gives you an insight as to the seniority level & industry of people viewing your page, this will allow you to tailor the content to the right level.

Utilising the tools above and the data they provide will give you a great platform to develop your social media presence and activity from. The advantage many small firms have is they can experiment with content types and strategy without major investment by doing this you can quickly see which content is appropriate for each platform, allowing you to build and develop relationships with your audience.


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