10 Free Tools That Automate, Grow, and Analyze Your Social Media Accounts
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For small businesses and "solopreneurs," dealing with social media can be a balancing act. Since these types of businesses usually don't have a social media department at their disposal, they end up diving into Facebook, or Twitter themselves. But this becomes a problem when companies focus too much on social media, and neglect other important business tasks. Or in some cases, business owners try to do everything themselves by handling social media, marketing, and management all at the same time, that they end up with half-baked results across the board.
If you can relate to the above-mentioned situations, don't fret. The key to not being overwhelmed with social media lies in automation. There are tons of tools that you can use to take care of various social media tasks, such as following people and posting updates. You don't have to click on thousands of "Follow" buttons on Twitter, and you don't have to stop what you're doing in the middle of the day, just to post an interesting article—there are programs out there that can do these things for you. All you have to do is use these tools for a few of minutes every day, and then you can go back to your other business responsibilities.
Check out these free web apps that can effectively keep you on top of your social media responsibilities. All of them have decent to awesome features that are free of charge, although some may have additional fees to unlock other functions. Of course, you don't have to use all of them. Just pick a few tools here and there to use in your social media campaigns.
For Gaining Followers
1. Tweepi – Simply put, Tweepi is a tool that allows you to manage your Twitter followers and the accounts that you follow. It has a free version that allows users to follow and unfollow 20 accounts at a time, saving you a lot of time and effort. Need to keep your Twitter account lean? You can sort accounts by their name, follower count, and time since their last tweet which makes it easier to see which ones are inactive. Tweepi also lets you follow the right people by allowing you to mass-follow lists and accounts that are following key individuals. For those willing to shell out a few bucks, Tweepi has premium packages that let users follow or unfollow up to 200 accounts at a time. Its premium version also has a "Follow via Tweet search" feature that allows users to specifically follow accounts based on what they're tweeting. For instance, you can search for people who tweeted the hashtag "#business" in Los Angeles, and then follow them using Tweepi.
2. Followerwonk – It should go without saying that in order for your Twitter efforts to be effective, you have to follow the right people. Followerwonk allows you to do just that by letting you search user bios. For example, if you're targeting people that own a business, you can enter "business owner" into the site, and Followerwonk will display all the accounts with bios containing that exact phrase. It also has advanced features that can let you analyze Twitter accounts to determine which ones are the most influential and which accounts are dormant.
3. Mentionmapp – Curious about who's tweeting what? Mentionmapp is a great web app that creates a map out of your Twitter network. It lets you see the accounts that your followers are talking to, and the topics that they're discussing the most. Want to see the people that your favorite customer is following? Mentionmapp can show them to you. Not only is it a great tool that lets you discover relevant individuals to follow, it also gives you a glimpse of the most talked about subjects in your Twitter network.
For Scheduling and Automation
4. Buffer –When you sign up, you'll get a "buffer" containing fixed timeslots for your posts. (You can manually set these timeslots, but the app can also determine the optimum times for your tweets.) Now, Buffer may seem like your average scheduling tool, but what makes it stand out is that it offers a lot of features that allow users to be flexible when scheduling tweets. It has a browser plugin that enables you to schedule posts from any webpage. For instance, if you come across a cool infographic, you can simply hit the Buffer button on your browser and it'll automatically send that page to your buffer. Additionally, installing the browser plugin puts the Buffer button inside Twitter.com, allowing you to spread out your retweets within the day. Always on the go? Download their mobile app and send posts to your buffer with the use of your smartphone. Buffer also offers analytics that lets you see the number of times a post has been clicked and shared.
5. mediafeedia – Looking a tool that's purely for Facebook? This may be just the one you need. mediafeedia allows you to schedule your posts in advance, so you can continue with your day without worrying about your brand's Facebook presence. This tool also supports multiple pages so you can handle all your brands under one account. Willing to pay? mediafeedia has a PRO version that allows users to conduct offers and promos on Facebook.
6. TwAitter – Similar to other tools we mentioned, Twaitter also schedules tweets in advance. In addition to this, you can register your blog or business RSS feed with the site to have your posts automatically sent to Twitter. You can also set up recurring tweets or translate text on they fly using Twaitter's clean web interface.
7. Ping.fm – Need to manage accounts beyond Facebook and Twitter? Ping.fm has a "mega list" of supported social networks. Simultaneously update over THIRTY social media accounts from the web, your smartphone, or even through instant messaging and email. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and Flickr are just some of the social networks that Ping.fm supports. To get the full list click here.
For Tracking and Analysis
8. Conversocial – Aside from allowing you to schedule tweets and Facebook posts in advance, Conversocial lets you flag or delete posts based on keywords. No more sifting through tons of items just to find that spammy post on your feed, Conversocial can do it for you. This tool can also process messages and conversations quickly using bulk actions and keyboard shortcuts. Moreover, you can keep track of the full conversation history for each of your fans and followers allowing you to deliver more personalized and effective assistance to your customers or clients. On top of that, Conversocial provides analytics to help you track your social media campaigns. It even allows you to mark the sentiments of your customers, enabling you to effectively gauge the success of your messaging and customer service.
9. SocialOomph – Need to track keywords on Twitter? SocialOomph will send you an alert every time someone tweets about your specified keywords. This tool also lets you save drafts and frequently used text snippets and URLs so that you can easily reuse them in your scheduled tweets. For additional fees, you can avail of SocialOomph's auto-follow and Auto-DM features.
10. Facebook Insights – Too obvious? Maybe, but you'd be surprised with how many people ignore the social network's very own analytics page. Facebook Insights zooms in on the people who've liked your page, and gives you a lot of demographic info. Where do they live? How old are they? These are just some of the questions that get answered when you use Insights. Not only will this data help you get to know your brand's fans, but you can use it to determine the types of posts that you need to publish. Facebook Insights also shows you where your likes are coming from (i.e. on your page, from external websites, via apps, etc). Additionally, this tool tallies and graphs the likes and interactions on your page, making it easy for you track the progress of your social media campaigns.