5 Social Media Tools for Small Businesses
By Taylor (TJ) O'Donnell
It’s easy to get lost in the world of Social Media.
We’ve all been there- trying to find a relevant tweet to RT, and suddenly you’re creepin’ it real on your aunt’s sister’s dog’s account. It happens.
However, it is possible to become more effective with your time and strategic in your social media strategy (and to limit those not-trying-to-be-creepy-but-is-still-creepy searches on social media). Luckily, there are hundreds of tools that can help small businesses achieve their social media goals. Here are a few of the tools that we use on a daily basis.
Hootsuite is a social media platform that is used to manage your social media accounts. We use Hootsuite multiple times a day. We have two Twitter accounts, as well as a LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook account, so being able to manage the accounts on one central website is convenient and saves us a lot of time (and moola). Hootsuite makes it easy for us to keep track of hashtags (such as #yll or #exploreyll) and what is going on in the community. It also prevents us scrolling through the never-ending newsfeeds. There are few features in Hootsuite that makes the experience especially dynamic and useful, including the ability to schedule your posts well in advance and receiving weekly analytic reports, which allows us to better understand our audiences. This knowledge enables us to better effectively post material that is relevant to our followers.
This is our team’s Hootsuite account. We like that you can adjust the feeds to fit your needs. For example, we add in “streams” of relevant hashtags.
Google Analytics is a pretty unreal tool that is used to help you better understand your website analytics. If you have a website, you should get Google Analytics! I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes Google Analytics can be a bit overwhelming- you have all of this information right at your fingertips, but how do you use this information to your advantage? To combat this information overload, on a monthly basis, a member of our team compiles the important data. This allows us to compare our analytics from month to month and gives us an idea as to what drives traffic to our websites. How does this relate to social media? Well, through Google Analytics, we can find out what channels are generating traffic to our website pages. This information can help us determine what encourages website visitors to our website (and even what might keep them there longer).
Canva allows you to create designs and graphics with ease. I can’t even tell you how much I love Canva- I’m a huge advocate for it and may even be (slightly) obsessed. As someone who is lacking graphic design skills, but still recognizes how important images are in social media, this is a perfect solution. It’s easy, quick, and you can get away with it without emptying your piggy bank.
Canva continues to add new features to make the experience and designs even better. For example, very recently they added some really cool features to their presentations, and before that, they introduced a program called “Canva For Work” which allows you to create team templates and incorporate your brand elements into the designs, as well as some other features. This upgrade does cost about $10.00 USD/month; however, I think it’s worth the money (at least for our squad). The nice thing about Canva is that the “regular” Canva version that doesn’t include the upgrade still works perfectly well. In fact, I use my personal Canva account quite regularly; particularly when I’m in school (one can only handle so many mundane PowerPoint Presentations).
This is Canva. It’s awesome that they have a wide variety of free designs that can be easily adjusted for your own needs.
You know when you see super long web addresses that take up a lot of unnecessary space on social media posts? There is a way to get around this. In fact, there are many different apps that allow you to shorten those URL addresses, so you can fit the link on that ever-too-short 140 character limit for a post on Twitter, or whatever social media channel it may be. Bitly is a great solution for this problem.
But okay, we’ll admit it: we're bad for using Bitly inconsistently. We tend to use Hootsuite’s built-in URL shortened feature, simply for convenience sake. However, using Bitly would be much more effective as you can track the URL clicks and gain a better understanding of your audience and what types of posts are working across multiple social media channels. We know it’s awesome, now we just need to use it consistently…
MailChimp is an email marketing newsletter tool that allows you to send emails to users with ease. We use MailChimp regularly and there is plenty of research demonstrating that email newsletters are still a very effective marketing tool. We tend to send out a minimum of 3 different newsletters a month, but usually it’s a few more. We don’t have to cough up any cash to use MailChimp (you only have to if you have more than 2,000 subscribers), and it’s very user friendly.
The ability to implement A/B testing with subject lines in addition to understanding the analytics behind each of the newsletter campaigns is very useful.
Well, there you have it, folks! Keep in mind that there are a ton of really cool social media tools out there, so feel free to do some research to find the tools that work well with you and your business!
Are there any social media tools that you think should be on this list, or that work well with your business? Let us know by tweeting us @LloydEconomy or sending us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!