Businesses of all sizes recognize the crucial role of social media marketing in growing a business.
But doing social media as a solo entrepreneur can be tricky. You’re already juggling so many tasks with limited time on your hands. It can be overwhelming to think about creating amazing content. And then managing your business’ many social media accounts.
Using the right social media tools can help you save time and publish more content for your audience. And when you’re a small business operating on a shoestring budget, you’ll need all the free tools that you can get.
Well, the good news is, there are a lot of free social media tools that you can use for creating and scheduling content. Some of these tools have paid versions with more features. But their free versions are enough to get small businesses started with social media.
Here are the 8 free social media tools to get you started with social media content creation and scheduling:
Social Media Tools for Content Creation and Curation
One of the biggest challenges of social media management is content creation and curation. Of course, you don’t want to post just your own stuff repeatedly. Searching for new content can be time-consuming and exhausting.
If you frequently run out of content ideas for your social media accounts, use these free tools to find a wide range of content that could be valuable for your audience.
1. Google Alerts
Get email notifications each time Google locates new results on your specific topic across news sites, blogs, and forums. Google Alerts informs you about new content, mentions of your business or your brand, or, if you want, your industry leaders and even your competitors.
2. Google Trends
Stay on top of what’s trending. With Google Trends, you can see what people are currently talking about on social media.
You can customize the results by choosing specific categories and countries.
Use the results to create relevant content. Or reference a popular topic or a specific story in the posts that you share to connect with your audience.
Feedly curates content to fill up your social media content calendar. You can create feeds by any topic or category and get content from news sites, blogs and forums.
You need images for your social media posts, right? Of course, not all of us are gifted with professional graphic design skills. This is where Canva comes in.
Canva has a whole library of images, photos, illustrations, frames, backgrounds, templates and other design elements. These can be combined and edited to create images for your social media posts.
Social Media Tools for Content Scheduling
Now that you’ve created content, it’s time to schedule your social media posts.
When scheduling your content, choosing the day and time to post is crucial. And it can be difficult when you’re managing many platforms, even for just one business.
These social media tools help you manage multiple social profiles in one place, schedule posts in advance, run promotions, and track analytics.
5. Content Calendar
A social media content calendar is a document in spreadsheet format used in scheduling your posts across social media platforms. It shows scheduled posts for the month, week, day, and even for specific times of the day.
You don’t want to publish the same post on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google Plus, and Pinterest all at the same time. So you need to space out the updates at different times to best reach your target audience.
A well-maintained content calendar helps keep all of your marketing efforts focused on the same goal. It allows you to organize and schedule your social media content into manageable chunks.
Creating a social media content calendar is the best way to ensure you don’t overwhelm your audience with any single type of content. Also, it provides you with a plan to make sure that your content gets distributed equally across all your social media accounts.
Buffer schedules your posts to different social media accounts. Add different content types like articles, photos, videos, infographics and other content to the queue. With Buffer, you can also get insights and analytics about your traffic.
Buffer queues your content via staggered posting times throughout the day. As an added bonus, you can also create your own social media images using its extension app, Pablo.
Hootsuite is one of the most popular SMM tools because of its powerful features, even with its free version.
Its simple dashboard allows you to manage unlimited social media profiles, schedule posts, schedule campaigns across various social platforms as well as track campaign results.
Also, you can use URL shorteners to add links to your posts.
Hootsuite presents your social media accounts in multiple streams. Plus, it has features for team collaboration that can improve business productivity.
Finally, there’s If This Then That (IFTTT). This cool tool helps you automate social media posting across channels. It interconnects your social media channels so that an action in one channel can trigger a reaction in another channel.
For example, hitting publish on a new WordPress blog post sends an automatic update about it, along with the post link, on Facebook and/or Twitter. A Twitter update can also be automatically posted to your Facebook page.
Managing your social feeds shouldn’t eat up much of your time. Take advantage of these free social media tools to help you be more productive in managing your social media accounts.