20 Easy to Use, Free, and Reliable Tools for Social Media Management

One of the questions I get asked most is, “What tools do you use for social media?” and I often have to say something like, “it depends.” There are lots of social media tools out there each with it’s own purpose, strengths, and limitations.

I like to tell people I’m tool agnostic. It’s a term that was originally coined by Monique Elwell (at least that’s who I originally heard use it) and I love it because it accurately describes how I view Social Media tools. I’m not loyal or faithful to any one specific tool, per se. I choose tools that help me get the job done; those that are easy to use, free (or reasonably priced), and reliable.

Wrench

Here are a few of my favorites broken down by what I use them for:

Collaboration/Project Management

  • Google Docs/Drive – Google has an entire suite of free apps that make content creation and collaboration simple no matter where in the world you are working from. Changes are real-time and everything is stored in the cloud so you can access it from any device and share your work with anyone.

  • Trello – Trello is an awesomely engineered, free, and easy to use project management site. Use it to keep track of checklists, due dates, team members, upload attachments and more.

Finding & Curating Content

  • Reddit – Reddit is called “the front page of the internet” and it’s my new addiction. I’m checking my favorite subreddits from my smartphone whenever I have a few free minutes to myself. To explain it simply: content is submitted and voted up or down by users. The good stuff always floats to the top and the conversations are as informative as they are weird, silly and awesome. The best news always hits reddit first.

  • Scoop.it – Admittedly, my awesome colleagues Karen and Nik are bigger scoopers than I, but it’s still a place I go to find information on my favorite topics.

  • Feedly – Long live RSS! Sadly, Google Reader is no more. For years I’ve used Google Reader to track my favorite blogs. It saved me the pain/hassle of visiting 100+ websites daily by bringing their content to me automagically. With Google Reader saying goodbye, I’ve made the switch to Feedly which essentially does the same thing. Click here for an awesome list of social media marketing resources to fill up your Feedly.

Finding, Editing and Creating Images

I wrote an entire post about this. But, my top 5 faves are:

  • Instagram – No surprises here, right?

  • Google+ – Did you know you can edit images using Google+? Yep! Google provides some great filters, plus you can add text.

  • Stock Xchng – One of the best free photo sites out there.

  • Flickr  – Per Flickr, “Many Flickr users have chosen to offer their work under a Creative Commons license”, and you can browse or search through content by clicking Advanced Search > Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content.

  • Quozio – Have an excellent quote burning a hole in your pocket? Quozio will make it a pretty image – fast!

Daily Management

  • Hootsuite – An all-in-one dashboard to manage multiple social networks including: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ Pages, Foursquare, WordPress, and more.

  • Buffer – Add interesting blog posts, pictures, and even video to your Buffer Queue and it automatically shares them with your audience throughout the day.

  • Pages Manager (Android and iOS) – Keep tabs on your Facebook Pages even when you’re not near the computer.

Listening

I wrote an entire post about this too, but my top 5 faves are:

Measurement

If you’re not sure what or how to measure, start here.

  • Hootsuite – Build custom reports using over 40 social analytics “modules” or select from pre-made reporting templates.

  • Facebook Insights – Every page has Facebook Insights which provide metrics around content. You can export your metrics and use them to analyze user growth and demographics, consumption of content and more.

  • Sprout Social – Sprout Social helps you to create beautiful reports that get both a high or low level look at performance.

  • Bit.ly – A quick and easy way to track links (Count clicks, see how platforms are performing).

Automation

IFTTT – A service that triggers actions based on a simple formula: If THIS then THAT. For example, you can automate a post to your Facebook Page every time you share a picture on Instagram with a certain hashtag. I always warn people to use automation with extreme caution and to avoid it whenever possible.

Which tools do you use for social media management? Did I miss any good ones?

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