Most small businesses owners are hit with the same problem: a lack of time and resources. Since many small businesses don’t have the same kind of resources as big corporations, social media managers of small businesses wear more hats and take on more roles.
In the best-case scenario they realize they’ve taken on too much and start making use of the tools specially designed to help them automate their routine. Otherwise, it won’t be long before the inevitable burnout.
In this article, I am going to take you through ten amazing tools that, when combined, can automate a great deal of your social media marketing workflow and help you develop a Swiss-Army-knife approach to your social media marketing.
The best part? They’re enterprise-grade tools at small business prices, and they can start helping your business today.
BuzzSumo – from 79$
BuzzSumo is an excellent resource for content discovery and competitor research.
If you’re running out of ideas for relevant and engaging social media posts – head to BuzzSumo’s Content Analyzer. It will help you discover the most shared content across all the major social networks for the time period you’re interested in, and see its total engagement by social network:
With this feature, you’ll never run out of ideas for relevant and engaging content that your audience will love seeing shared on your social networks.
Speaking of competitor research and how to uncover your competitors’ social media strategies, BuzzSumo are great at this too — just switch to the Analytics tab of the same tool.
I always check the ‘Most Engaged Domains by Network’ graph for the topic I’m interested in. This chart reflects the domains that publish highly shared content on your topic. Use it to find leaders in your industry and explore the tactics they use to stay at the top. In this chart, you can sometimes find unknown domains that beat giants with their engagement, like the one below:
What on earth did chicksonright.com do to beat NY Times, Washington Post, Fox news and other top media sources? I will definitely investigate what exactly they did to reach this level of engagement.
If, instead of a topic, you enter your competitor’s domain in the search bar, the tool will identify your competitors’ most successful content types, discover networks where they’re gaining the most attention and compare your content performance against theirs.
You can enter several domains and compare their performance against each other in terms of engagement by network and by day, published content, content length and other parameters:
BuzzSumo is $99 per month (or $79 if you pay annually), but this price is well worth paying, considering the tool’s multi-functionality.
Meet Edgar – from $49
MeetEdgar is a great solution for those who want to schedule repeated content to Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and upcycle the content they already have.
The tool will save your updates after posting them, which means that you can repurpose your old content without having to reinvent the wheel each time. This could mean either pulling a quote from your old blog post and sending it out as a text-only tip, or building an infographic around it.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with your top-performing content and “recycle” it wisely by either rescheduling it for another time or adapting it to the current month’s goals and strategy (for example, making an infographic or a quick animation out of your previous month’s post).
What I also like about it is that it allows you to categorize your content, which is great for social batching. Let’s say you want promotional updates to go out every Wednesday at 2pm and new videos to go live every Wednesday at 12pm — this can easily be done with MeetEdgar’s categories. That way, you will never end up sharing the same type of content back to back.
The tool comes with six predetermined categories, but you can always rename them to something that will match your strategy and brand. These categories will be the types of content you routinely share. Once your categories are all set, Edgar will go through them and post your content from each category.
Creating categories can be useful for both evergreen and seasonal content. I just name my category accordingly, like ‘winter posts’ or ‘Thanksgiving posts’ — something that will trigger my memory.
Overall, this is an excellent social automation solution, which will carefully control what you post, when you post, and where it goes. This will certainly provide a little bit more consistency for you and your followers. No more ‘tedious social media babysitting’, as their slogan says.
SEMrush Social Media Poster – from 99.95$
If you’re looking to automate your social posting and scheduling as best you can, try SEMrush’s Social Media Poster. It allows you to post to multiple social profiles from one tab, create a personalized posting schedule, boost your best-performing posts and automate your social routine with time-saving features.
As soon as you add your link to the posting window, the tool will pull pictures from the post and generate a post preview. Then, right in the posting wizard, you’ll be able to shorten your links and add UTM parameters to them to make them trackable with Google Analytics:
The tool has a built-in image editor for you to finetune your images before posting:
To schedule, you will have the options of adding your post to the queue, setting it to repeated posting (very useful for evergreen content), posting it immediately or saving it as a draft to edit and publish later.
You can view scheduled posts in a content calendar either as a timeline or as a monthly/weekly calendar. Once you have a bird’s-eye view of your activity, you can easily manage your posts using the drag and drop feature:
The tool currently supports auto-posting and scheduling to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest and scheduling only to Instagram Business (you get a reminder when your post is due). I’m just waiting for it to sort out that Instagram API so that I can post directly to Instagram, and then I’m fully sorted.
You most probably wouldn’t want to pay $99 for a social media tool alone, but considering how many SEO, PPC, content marketing and competitor analysis tools you get within SEMrush for this price, it is well worth a try.
RiteTag – from $49
If you’re tired of guessing which hashtags you should use with your social media posts to maximize the reach – this iconic tool is an absolute must-have for you.
It gives you tag suggestions for images or text on any site or social network. All it takes is for you to upload your image or type in your text.
RiteTag uses color system that helps users indicate the strength of each keyword:
For example, green hashtags give you all the chances of getting seen right now, while using a red hashtag puts your posts at risk of disappearing in the crowd.
You’ll also get uncomplicated tag analytics whereby you can compare two or more tags against each other to see how they perform.
For $49 per year (which is $4 per month!), you can use RiteTag for up to 1,000 hashtag suggestion queries a month for both images and text. A price well worth paying if you’re active on social.
Brand24 – from $49
I put brand monitoring on my list of daily activities. There are so many stories out there about negative comments being ignored and leading to reputation disasters, so I may as well do it on a daily basis.
Brand24 is an amazing social listening tool that helps you stay on top of both good and bad posts about your and your competitors’ brands, products, and industry. With their easy-to-read dashboard you get to see every person who mentions your or your competitors’ brand on social media. You can then engage with that person right from the tool.
You can filter all the mentions by their source or social network, popularity, recency, location, influencer score and sentiment. For example, I was interested in finding out if there were any bad reviews about my favourite Greggs pasties, so I filtered all negative reviews about Greggs to find that their customers’ biggest disappointment is to do with seagulls rather than the quality of their food:
The tool also has some useful graphs to help you monitor the overall number of mentions and social media reach over a particular period of time. All this information can be easily exported to a PDF file or an easy-to-read infographic:
There is a whole science out there around handling complaints (and compliments!) on social. But first things first, you need to know how to find these mentions. Brand24 is a smart choice, given that more consumers are turning to social media to sound off and seek help.
Iconosquare – from $29
Iconosquare is a social media analytics tool for Instagram Business and Facebook Business pages. With their PRO plan, you can connect 3 social profiles and add up to 3 competitors to see how your performance measures against theirs.
With Iconosquare analytics, you can check anything from how your posts perform to how many followers you gained or lost in a given period, including at which point they came and went. This feature is great for understanding your short-term and long-term followership as well as for evaluating your campaign’s success: if, say, you notice a huge spike in your follower count, be sure to check what caused it and repeat it in the future.
In addition to your followership demographics, you also get a world view of where your followers are located:
Unlike other Instagram analytics services, Iconosquare also gives you insights into Instagram stories. Their Instagram Stories Analytics guide is really helpful for interpreting the results of Stories. With Iconosquare, you can even schedule your Stories and carousels for future posting and receive a notification when it’s time to post it (auto-posting is not available yet due to Instagram API restrictions).
With higher level plans, you can also get influencer analytics. The tool lets you compare influencers before reaching out to them based on their own follower and engagement metrics.
Iconosquare has a 14-day, no credit card required free trial, so you can play around with it before committing.
Audiense – from $10
Audiense is an indispensable tool for understanding and managing your Twitter audience.
If you want to get to know your Twitter community better, the tool provides comprehensive insights into your existing audience’s demographics: cities/countries, level of tweet activity, gender, languages, time zones, etc. Bio tags are a great way to discover the interests of your community and personalize your interaction with followers.
The community wall is an easy way to browse your community by different criteria, get to know your followers and tag them for further communication:
I use these filters to tailor my reach out strategy when contacting industry experts and influencers: I check who’s already following my accounts and whether they have mentioned my brand, and customize my reach out strategy accordingly.
Moreover, I can filter my followers by queries: let’s say I want to find Pinterest experts, so I enter ‘Pinterest’ as my search keyword, and the tool will show me all the people among my followers, my community or across the entire social network with a ‘Pinterest’ tag in their bio.
With Audiense, you can organize your followers by creating Twitter lists: these can be your own private or public lists or public lists created by others.
Content-wise, Audiense has tweet analytics, helping you analyze the content you share and how people interact with it. An easy bubble graph, followed by a day-by-day breakdown of posts and their key stats, will help you identify spikes in your Twitter engagement:
Overall, this tool does a fantastic job of giving your audience a ‘real’ face, thus encouraging you to make your communication a little more personal. Their Audiense Connect Starter plan costs $10 per month and is perfect for small business users.
Canva – from $12.95
A million odes have been sung to Canva, and for a reason: it’s an easy, straightforward tool for presentations and social media graphics, which, as Canva claims, only takes 23 seconds to get your head around.
If you’re after a simple drag-and-drop editor, stick to the free version. You’ll get access to over 8,000 free templates, two folders to organize your designs and the ability to upload your own images.
For those looking for more advanced features, Canva for Work is available at only $12.95 per month. In addition to sharing capabilities and branding, you’ll get unlimited folders for your design, access to 400,000 free images as well as the ability to set color palettes for your brand. You will also be able to resize your social posts to fit all your social media venues.
I use Canva for Work, which provides me with team functionalities, for example, a team cloud-based storage that allows all team members to collaborate on projects. The Enterprise plan is custom-priced since it will depend on the company’s designing needs.
Snagit from TechSmith – from $49.95
Snagit is a screen capturing tool, basic and indispensable at the same time. It allows you to capture and edit screenshots and record videos of your screen and your webcam.
Snagit is perfect for social media managers who want to resize and finetune their images before posting by adding annotations, emojis, stamps, blur, etc, and especially for those who create educational content for sharing. With its Step tool, you can document steps and workflows in your tutorials and webinars. It can also recognize the text in your screenshots allowing you to change the words, font, colors, and size of the text in your screenshots.
What I like about Snagit’s video capturing is that you can turn on your webcam whenever you don’t have relevant screen content or want to emphasize something in your video. It also allows you to cut out mistakes or unnecessary parts of your video.
If you’re working towards building and growing an active community for your brand, Snagit will help you to capture and share moments with your followers. It can also be used to create GIFs and memes.
You can sign up for a free 15-day trial of the full version of the tool and see the benefits of Snagit yourself. All in all, a very useful tool for the price!
Adobe Premiere Pro – from $31
Since hiring a designer for a single video would cost at least a few hundred, this tool is a significant bargain that you don’t want to miss.
To install this software, you first have to download Adobe’s Creative Cloud, and then install Adobe Premiere Pro. You can always sign up for a free 30-day trial, which is long enough for you to make an informed decision.
There are three separate areas for editing, sequencing, and previewing, which I find very convenient, since I don’t have to switch between different wizards:
The tool’s functionality is very extensive, so you can make your editing session as complicated or as simple as you like, depending on your preferences and needs. To customize the tool, you can create your own shortcut keys for the commands you use most often, which can be very helpful if you’re creating video content on a consistent basis.
I use Adobe Premiere mainly to edit short clips and create video sequences. I like how I can add pretty much everything to the videos that I create, for example, audio, music, subtitles, and transitions.
The great thing about sequencing is that you can choose to drag in only the audio or video portion of your clip to the sequence if you don’t want both. I add transitions to fade clips together, and create beautiful titles for my video (you get hundreds of fonts to choose from):
Besides, the tool has a variety of color correction features and effects if this is something you’re looking for.
It might take you a little while to get the hang of how the tool works. But once you cracked the code, it’s pretty straightforward! I personally found this YouTube video very useful.
As part of Adobe’s Creative Cloud package, you get to test other tools like Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, etc., which is also a nice bonus.
You can purchase Adobe Premiere Pro’s annual plan for $239.88 or get a monthly subscription at $31.49. If you’re interested in other tools within the package, you can purchase the whole suite for less than $100.
With so many tools out there that can help your business grow its social media presence, picking the right ones may take some time. Whether you already have your own arsenal of social media tools that you’re looking to improve, or you’re just starting out on social, I hope this article will help you choose what’s best for your business at this moment in time.
Here’s a brief overview of what workflows we have covered in this article:
- Search for engaging content and conduct competitor research with BuzzSumo.
- Repurpose your old content with MeetEdgar.
- Automate your social posting and scheduling with Social Media Poster.
- Find trending hashtags with RiteTag.
- Monitor your and your competitors’ online mentions with Brand24.
- Gain insights into your Instagram and Facebook performance with Iconosquare.
- Analyze and segment your social audience with Audiense.
- Create your social media graphics with Canva.
- Create and edit screenshots and screencast videos with Snagit.
- Edit videos with Adobe Premiere Pro.
While these tools won’t replace you as a social media professional, they’ll significantly simplify your routine and speed up your progress. And who would say “no” to faster, easier, and more effective work day?
Which tools do you use to grow your social media presence? Let us know in the comments below!
Post from Maria Raybould