During my time as a digital marketer, I have discovered some pretty awesome resources. I’m excited to share these small business marketing resources here with you!
Here are my favorite (free or nearly free) tools to help you along the way.
Social Media Management
Using a social media management dashboard is going to save your sanity in the long run. You can use it to preschedule posts, monitor keywords, and brand mentions and engage with followers. But, try not to let the use of a dashboard get you complacent because social media does require organic engagement, in other words, you can’t pre-schedule everything out, then be done with it. Simply use it as a tool.
Here are a few options
Hootsuite is what I use for my business, as well as for my clients. I find it easy to manage all the accounts. There are a ton of integration options, my favorite are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+, you can also stream LinkedIn and Google+ groups. Preschedule out your own posts, or use the suggested post feature. It’s a great, great tool!
SproutSocial is dashboard I have followed for a while now, though it is more costly than Hootsuite. Sprout enables social communication for business through three main functions: publishing, engagement, and analytics. It has a nice analytics feature, but you cannot post to LinkedIn or Google+ groups.
Loomly is a simple social media calendar tool that helps teams and individuals streamline their content publishing workflow with post ideas, optimization tips and a lot more.
- How to Manage Social Media (and Still Enjoy Summer!)
- How to Effectively Manage Social Media Marketing For Small Business
Creating quality imagery will be one of the most important aspects of your social media content strategy. Even if you do not have a graphic designer on staff, you can still use these online resources to create great images. Here are some of my favorites.
No fake stock looking photos here. I love the free images available on Unsplash. Most of them do not have a business focus, so you’ll have to think outside the box here.
Here is another high-quality image site. There are also vectors and art illustrations here.
Free high-quality images with an easy-to-use layout
- New Social Media Sites Small Business Owners Can’t Ignore
- Awesome Digital Marketing Resources for Small Business Owners – Part One
- Email Marketing Must-Haves for Your Inbound Marketing Strategy
Now that you’ve amassed some awesome images, it’s time to turn them into something amazing for your brand. PicMonkey has what you need! I love the blemish fix feature and variety of filters. You can also access your own fonts, which is fantastic!
If you want great design ideas, Canva is the place to go! They have pre-created graphics for any number of design project needs from Instagram posts, to Facebook Timeline Cover images. Simply choose a design, change it out to reflect your brand and voila! your image is created in a flash. There is a reason, social media Guy Kawasaki is their ambassador… it rocks!
Awesome stickers, layouts, and fonts. And, it’s super easy to use.
Logojoy is like working with a real designer but costs far less and the results from the intelligent AI are absolutely stunning. The Premium package includes all the files you would get from a designer, including brand guidelines, social banners, and much more.
Social Media Tools
Twitter can be overwhelming … but, it doesn’t have to be. There are thousands of tools out there to help you keep Twitter in check. Here are a few that I recommend.
I have been using ManageFlitter for years and love it. The platform provides a set of tools that allows Twitter users to effectively curate, prune and grow their Twitter account. In short, you can very easily “unfollow” accounts in order to keep everything in check with follower ratios. Plus, you really don’t want Fake followers.
Facebook likely has the most intensive choices to help make it easier to run your small business; from custom tabs, to analytics, to advertising and everything in between. The great thing about Facebook is that they have a ton of native features to help you along the way.
Here are a few Facebook features you may not have heard of, plus external apps you can try out, too.
Facebook’s Native Tools:
Conversion Tracking – Setting up Conversion Tracking helps you track the effectiveness of your ads based on the specific action you want them to complete, like buying a product.
Custom Audiences – If you already have curated lists of audiences that you are using, you can upload them to your brand’s Facebook account to make sharing super easy. Your information is encrypted so that no one can access it, even Facebook.
Interests – Facebook is full of great content that you don’t need to miss. Treat the social site like an RSS alternative and get content from various groups tailored to your own interests.
Page Insights – Page Insights is essentially Facebook’s version of Google Analytics. Track your page’s traffic to better understand how audiences are engaging with your page. I love the feature that shows you peak engagement times.
Custom Tabs & Apps – External:
Custom tabs are not as pronounced as they once were, however, there can still be value in using this space. Here is a list of external custom apps to help you build your custom tabs. Some of them offer different features, so be sure to check them all out to determine which one(s) will be right for the needs of your business. I personally have enjoyed Pagemodo (their suggested post feature is pretty sweet).
Find a more comprehensive list, check out: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/15-types-of-facebook-apps
- How to Optimize Your Facebook Fan Page with the New Timeline
- Five Tips for a Successful Facebook Business Page
- Facebook Advertising Tips
- Six Fun Content Ideas for Your Facebook Page
Instagram while originally limited functionality, however, there has been consistently releasing of tools that can help make small business marketing there a little bit easier. Here are my picks.
The Layout app was created by Instagram that lets you easily create multiple photos in a single image.
Hyperlapse is another app developed by Instagram. With it you can create eye-catching short videos.
Latergram makes it easy to upload and schedule your Instagram posts from your computer or mobile phone. You can also search and regram other Instagram posts and manage multiple Instagram. After you schedule your posts, it will ping you on your mobile devise with your pre-scheduled post ready to go, you’ll simply need to open your IG app and post it. (Instagram does not allow you to completely preschedule and post).
Grum.co is my go-to for Instagram planning and scheduling. Whereas the other schedule options rely on sending your post to your phone so you can post natively, Grum is able to bypass that.
- Instagram Tricks for Small Business Owners
- Rocking Instagram for Your Small Business
- Instagram for Business? Absolutely!
Here are my top picks for apps that will help with Pinterest marketing.
I love this tool! It’s a cost-effective way to schedule out pins. Plus, it includes features that offer the best times to post, how often and suggest “reposts”.
- Using Pinterest for Holiday Marketing
- Quick Tips for Boosting Your Business With Pinterest
- 13 Steps to Getting Your Business Started on Pinterest
Keeping track of what is being said about your brand, and topics related to your industry, can help you stay on top of potential customer service issues, and also help you find potential sales. These resources will help.
Receive an alert each time Google adds a search result featuring your keywords. Set up alerts for your brand name, variations of your brand name and your main keywords.
Use the powerful native search functionality in Twitter to find mentions of your brand.
Warble is a Twitter-specific monitoring platform that helps you track mentions, keywords, phrases, and hashtags by sending daily emails.
Understand what is being said about your branded keywords, with some additional analytics put on top.