5 Best Free Tools to Help Manage Social Media

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Social media is a necessary evil for many companies. While it is important for connecting with customers and clients, it is also known to take up a lot of time in the business world. For large companies that can afford to hire an entire team devoted only to social media, it may not seem like such a problem.

But what about the small businesses who need to stick to a tight budget to stay afloat?

The use of automation tools for social media is a great way for smaller businesses and companies to get their posts out on time without needing to worry about who can log into a smartphone or computer to do so. For businesses on a budget, here are 5 of the best free tools to manage social media:

 

1. Hootsuite

Social Profiles on free plan: 3

Hootsuite may be the most popular social media management tool, which is why it comes in at the top of this list. Hootsuite allows you to schedule posts on a variety of social media platforms but also gives you reporting information and analytics.

The analytic information allows you to see how well your posts are doing and if they are connecting with customers, fans, and followers the way that you had hoped. Because the analytic information is included within the program, you don’t need to turn to another service to get this information.

Hootsuite provides a free plan which gives you a basic view at all of Hootsuite’s services. You can manage up to 3 social media profiles, which is just the right amount for a small business. Hootsuite also offers affordable paid plans so you don’t need to change providers once your company grows.

 

2. Buffer

Social Platforms on free account: 5

Buffer, like Hootsuite, allows you to schedule your posts for a later date so that you don’t need to worry about logging in during a busy day to Tweet or post to Facebook. However, unlike Hootsuite, Buffer determines the best time to post your content based on the activity of your fans and followers.

Buffer takes the guess-work out of posting times by taking over the control. You simply decide what day you would like the post to go out and allow Buffer to determine what time will get the best reaction.

The free version of Buffer allows you to have one social profile for 5 platforms, including the basic social networks like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and Instagram. You are able to upload ten posts for each platform and allow Buffer to send them out as the program sees fit. After those have been posted, you can go back in and add ten more.

 

3. TweetDeck

Social Profiles: Only for Twitter

TweetDeck is a Twitter-specific social media management tool that gives you an in-depth look at your Twitter account from just one screen. After logging in with your Twitter information, TweetDeck allows you to clearly see your Twitter feed, your notifications, your messages, and an activity feed that gives you a look at what your fans and followers are doing.

By looking at an overview of your entire Twitter presence at once, you get a better perspective of how your social strategy is working and if adjustments need to be made. It can save you and your team time by giving you all the information you need right in one place. No more switching back and forth between screens.

TweetDeck is free for all users of Twitter.

 

4. Mavsocial

Social Profiles on free plan: 50 (wow…)

Mavsocial takes free service to an entirely new level. This program works with Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Tumblr, YouTube and Instagram and allows you to manage up to 50 profiles across these 6 social networks. With Mavsocial, you are also given access to a full campaign planner and content calendar, and advanced analytics. Mavsocial will also save all your content in the event you want to repost.

Users of Mavsocial are typically small businesses on a budget that need to manage many different profiles. This can be great for social media management companies or consultants who have a number of client accounts they need to manage.

Like many other programs on this list, Mavsocial does have upgrade features to give you more access if you grow and need more space.

 

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5. SocialPilot

Social Media Profiles on free account: 3

SocialPilot’s main audience is businesses that have an online store. Because of this, it can work with your eCommerce site to send out more specific Facebook posts to your customers and clients. SocialPilot will pull images from your website and use them directly in your post, so you don’t need to worry about searching for images or resubmitted the ones you have on your page.

The free version of SocialPilot will give you the ability to connect 3 profiles across 8 different social networks. Because SocialPilot is geared towards retail stores, they include Pinterest in their list of connectable social platforms. You are able to schedule 10 posts per day on the three profiles, although this means you will need to login to the software each morning to schedule your content.

Options for upgrading on SocialPilot are also budget-friendly. You can upgrade to the next level of management features for less than $5 a month.

 

Wrapping up

The use of free tools to manage social media is something that all small businesses should take advantage of. This is something that won’t influence your budget, these tools can help you save time on your social media strategy and allow you to focus on new business endeavors. With a broad variety of features and services, there is sure to be a free tool out there that meets your social media needs.

If you need help with your social media but you don’t have the budget to hire an entire social media team, allow one of these five free tools to do the work for you. When you can get the content scheduled, posted, and out of the way, you don’t need to choose between your social media and other, equally important, marketing strategies.

 

 

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Author on SocialMediaToday.com and Business2Community.com; loves the laptop lifestyle and escaping the 9 to 5. Loves family, entrepreneurship, smartphones and fast cars in that order.

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