Maintaining a strong social media presence is essential for most kinds of business, making social media management tools indispensable. The big names like Buffer and Hootsuite deservedly catch a lot of the limelight but there are a lot of valuable apps lurking just below the surface.
In this article, we’ll look at three lesser-known social media tools that are invaluable to any small businesses looking to seize the power of social media. And they all have free versions, so you needn’t break the bank!
[Updated October 2018: Updated article with RecurPost’s and Crowdfire’s newer developments and replaced the now defunct Klout with SumAll]
Price: Free (with upgradeable paid options)
- Lots of freedom with free account
- Allows you to “set and forget” social posts (to an extent)
- Bulk import functions and Twitter variation feature allows for easy setup
- Responsive support team
- Doesn’t currently cover some of the more niche social media platforms like Pinterest or Tumblr
If you regularly share your own blog posts or curate content from elsewhere, you are probably well aware of the repetitive and time consuming work that goes into scheduling the same posts in advance every month or so. If this sounds familiar, you’ll probably love RecurPost.
You can build up content “libraries” for each social account (which are basically a reservoir of all of the content you want to share), and set posting schedules for each library. Once that’s done you can pretty much let it run on autopilot.
I know what some of you Twitter fans may be thinking – you can’t post duplicate tweets any more, so how does this work? Recurpost has a handy feature called “variations” that lets you enter alternate versions of the same tweet, and Recurpost can even create variations automatically for you! It’s pretty cool.
There is also a Recurpost smartphone app so you can add to your libraries directly from your device; the app also allows you to post to Instagram from your libraries.
RecurPost is essential if you have a lot of content that you post on a regular basis.
Price: Free (with upgradeable paid options)
- Good for budding content curators and those who seek mutual follows
- Compatible with all the usual social media suspects
- Quite stringent daily limits for free users, especially relating to Twitter follows and unfollows
- Recommendations for curation can be quite wide, so not always applicable
- Menu items aren’t intuitively named (in my opinion)
Crowdfire is a useful app for budding content curators. Once you’ve hooked up your social media accounts of choice, you can enter a few relevant topics and keywords under “My Topics”. The dashboard homepage will then suggest articles for you to share on any of your attached profiles – posting straight away, scheduling for the best time, or at a custom time. Unfortunately the suggested topics on my account aren’t always the kinds of things I’d like to share; I’d like to see the ability to use search operators (or something similar) to narrow down the suggested articles.
If mutual Twitter follows mean a lot to you – Crowdfire is really useful. Head over to the not-particularly-intuitively-named “Manage”, where you can check out which users are following you that you aren’t following back (called “Fans”) and vice versa (“Non-Followers”). You can easily follow or unfollow folks as you see fit through the platform, though there are rather draconian daily follow/unfollow limits for free users. Crowdfire also provides basic analytics functions too.
Price: Completely Free!
- Automates some of the more tedious parts of Twitter engagement
- Easy to use platform with varied support for a wide range of services
- Automated emails with performance data from a selection of platforms.
- Analytics dashboard only works with Facebook pages and Shopify stores.
- Automated Twitter engagement good but could do more.
SumAll is a social media tool that has seen many different iterations over the years, but its current version is all based around social media automation and analysis. Social-wise, you can hook up Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook Pages; and in terms of e-commerce analysis SumAll can draw information from Square Payments, Shopify, PayPal, Clover and Stripe accounts. It can also look at PPC performance data from Google Ads and Facebook Ads too.
SumAll’s abilities are wide ranging, but here are some of the more notable things it can do:
- Automatic liking of Twitter mentions and replies
- Randomly post one of your store’s products to social every day
- Receive a daily/weekly digest of sales, PPC, or social media metrics
- Receive a weekly email with sales metrics and forecasting
- Automatic sending of a “thank you” tweet to your most well-known followers
- Automatically posting positive social or sales metrics/milestones to social media
There are many more possibilities here, but these are just the ones that spring out at me. If you operate an e-commerce store I’d imagine SumAll could be mega-useful; but for professional services companies, its offering may not be quite as enticing. Its automated email digests are really handy (not least as a reminder to look at your social analytics!) but the only analytics you can access within the dashboard are Facebook Pages and Shopify, which is a bit of a shame.
Another drawback of SumAll is that the Twitter automation seems a bit weedy. Personally I’d like to see an option for automated “thank you for the retweet” or “thank you for the follow” tweets, but with Twitter’s recent crackdown on duplicate tweets, that could have put that kibosh on that idea somewhat.
But I don’t want to seem like I’m being a Debbie Downer on SumAll here. Whatever your line of work, I strongly suggest you give it a look.
Honorary Mention: Google Analytics
I know this isn’t technically a social tool but hear me out. If you post regular updates to social linking to your website, Google Analytics can give you valuable information about how many people clicked through and what they did while they were there.
Simply go to your Analytics dashboard, select “Acquisition” from the menu on the left, and then “Social>Overview”. These reports will show you how many visits came to you through social, which platform they came from, and what pages they landed on. It’s a great way to see how your social media efforts are translating into actual site activity.Go further online with these awesome lesser-known #socialmedia tools! Click To Tweet
Are there any social media tools out there that you think deserve more attention? Please share them down in the comments!