These are some of the best free social media management tools to use if you are a bootstrapped startup or budding entrepreneur.
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The Best Free Social Media Management Tools
Free social media management tools range in terms of their features. Most are designed to give you a flavour of how they work and then entice you to upgrade.
Despite this, these tools are ideal if you are just getting off the ground and need to prove your concept before investing in the upgrades.
Some tools allow you to schedule posts to social media platforms at no cost. I’ve researched the top free social media management tools to help you save time and get the best results.
Best Free Social Media Scheduling Tools
Buffer is one of my favourite free social media management tools.
Buffer provides a browser extension for Safari, Chrome, and Firefox that allows you to easily share content from any page your browsing.
It also suggests the text and images that could go with the link (which you can change). An option is available for making an immediate post or for initially allowing Buffer to schedule it.
The free plan offers you a host of features that are extremely useful for any startup.
The free plan gives you access to scheduling for 3 social media accounts, up to 10 posts per day for 1 user.
You can also create and schedule content using their image creator and GIF/video uploader, and shorten and track links.
Friends+Me is one of the more popular free social media management tools available.
They have a range of plans which range from free catering to startups, through to large businesses.
The free plan allows you to have two queues (which is a destination to publish posts e.g. Twitter). For each queue, you can then schedule up to five posts.
Additionally, Friends+Me offers link shortening, browser extensions, an integration with Zapier, as well as standard support.
The free plan allows you to connect to the main social platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr.
Tweetdeck is focused on Twitter. But it does offer you an amazing set of features.
If Twitter is the focus of your social media strategy, then TweetDeck is one of the best social management tools for you!
TweetDeck will allow you to custom timelines to schedule posts, listen out for mentions and reply to people.
SocialOomph offers a good range of features for free.
Overall the platform has some unique features such as the ability to clean up your Twitter direct message inbox.
As with most of the other free social media management tools, the free features are limited and mostly lean towards Twitter management.
On the free plan, you are able to schedule tweets, track keywords, shorten URL’s, and manage up to five Twitter accounts.
The free plan gives you an opportunity to try out SocialOomph and see if you want to invest in the other features as you grow.
Free Social Media Analytics Tools
SumAll is one of those rare free social media management tools that offers lots of features for free.
Use SumAll to get insights into your followers and engagements across your social media channels: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
What’s more, you can also set up a daily or weekly digest email to receive instant analytics on likes, followers, mentions, replies, retweets, and more right to your inbox.
You can even automate posts that share milestones, top products, or company performance – just set it up, and SumAll will do all the hard work for you.
#7. Google Analytics
You need to be able to analyze your results and answer important questions, like:
- How much traffic to your website comes from social channels?
- What pages do visitors spend time on and engage with?
- How much time do visitors from social sites spend on your website?
Google Analytics is absolutely free and a must-have tool to see track how well your social media efforts are translating into new leads and traffic.
Bonus Free Social Media Tools
#8. Canva – Free Social Media Management Tool For Images
If you want to create amazing, custom graphics to post on social media, Canva gives you a lot of tools to choose from.
Canva makes it easy to create graphics that are visually powerful.
As a design platform, you can use Canva for creating documents, flyers, marketing material, and more.
Stencil is a simple drag-and-drop tool that allows you to make astonishing good social graphics. The kind of images that stand out on social feeds.
They have over two million royalty-free images to use as backgrounds and add fun text to provide context and value to your readers. Alternatively, you can add your own images.
Use their pre-made templates and customize it to fit your brand. Once you’re done, all you have to do is download it!
Managing Social Media On A Budget
Spare time is a luxury and wasting time is not an option.
The problem that many businesses face is that they can’t afford much.
However, there is often also a problem that instead of changing budgets they simply see social media as a DIY marketing opportunity.
So what is the answer?
Take time to plan and consider how social media fits your brand, how your customers are using it and what value you can deliver.
It will be time well spent and will in the long term pay off.
Here are some tips on how to approach social media on a budget. This is the first and probably the most important commitment.
Plan Before Using Free Social Media Management Tools
1. Understand the keywords for your industry/market or product
Keywords will help you narrow down how you do some research and make it relevant to your business.
- Focus on the ones most appropriate for your business
- Draw up a list of some large and small competitors (that really do affect your business
- Draw up a list of some large and small customers or prospective customers
2. Understand how your market is using social media
Find out what topics are trending in your industry. Draft a list of your main competition in the market and their social media accounts that they are actively using.
Take a look at your competition. Make a note of their posts and notice which ones get the largest amount of shares and comments.
3. Review the people in your industry
Look for the key influencers in your industry/market and see if they are using social media. Influencer marketing is a key strategy for boosting your presence on social media.
- Linkedin – see what they are posting and what groups they are active in.
- Often people have on their personal profile posts from their Twitter feed or a link to their Twitter account. Again review posts and levels of activity
One other and the old-fashioned way is simply to talk to your customers and ask them how they are using it or plan to use it. Ask a variety to get a broad overview.
A quick and easy way to research case studies and materials relevant to your market is to search:
- Industry reports.
- Set up Google Alerts
- Find and listen to hashtags relevant to your industry/market
5. Make a decision
By now you should have a good idea or have a scorecard to help you make your decisions. So what are the decisions for an SMB? Many reports now point to social media paying off but with a low budget, it takes time to build relationships and your community.
- Is it right for your business – based on your information you should be able to make an informed decision
- If it is right what are the main channels to focus on
- What are the main topics and types of content being used
- What are my customers looking for / what interests them / how can I add value
6. Can you develop a competitive edge
This is probably a bit harder but worth considering. Is there a way of harnessing either your knowledge, skills and content to create a competitive point of difference?
Sit down and write out your ideas on how you develop a point of difference.
This really is key. Think of this like you would an investor, you have limited time and want to see a high rate of return. Rather than spread yourself too thin focus on just a few channels.
By all means, integrate others, register them to your company, but decide which channels are going to be best for you. If it is
- Linkedin – optimise your own profile and company page.
- Facebook – use a professionally developed landing page and also think of how you can use Facebook apps or tabs for further lead generation opportunities.
- Twitter – get a customized background, pin a Tweet to the top with a clear call to action – note videos perform best.
- YouTube – customize your channel. Optimise your SEO on YouTube. Use captions for a clear call to action.
8. Setup your sources of information
If you want to stay topical and focus on the setting up your listening post so that it is easy to keep up to speed with key industry/market sources. These sources can provide you with good information on Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin.
9. Use the Right Tools to Work With
The free social media management tools will help you get off the ground. However, for more features particularly for lead generation then visit the social media tools in the startup section of my site.
10. Be Human and Engage with Your Audience
Add your own personality to your business and ensure that those reasons that you started the business and were passionate about it shine through. Connect and respond with people it is great for your business and develops the conversation.
11. Dominate Locally
The chances are that most of your business will be local. If that is true, it makes sense to use social media to interact with local customers. There are lots of ways that you can use social media to do this.
- Use tools to find out locally who is active on Twitter.
- Identify local influencers and connect with them.
- Use ads on Facebook to pinpoint your local audience.
- Run competitions but blend in the real world of presenting them to people and getting a picture taken.
12. Measure and Review
Measure your time/input and returns. Set some realistic Key Measures and track how you get your leads/referrals.
Use the free social media management tools to kickstart your social marketing but then migrate to better tools.