Editor’s note: This post was originally published in May 2016 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Taking care of your social media presence is just as crucial as creating brilliant content for your audience. Not only do you share valuable information with them, but you can also engage with them, receive valuable feedback and ideas for topics, connect with other people in your industry, and reach out to influencers, among other things.
However, since there are so many popular social networks you need to be a part of – plus new ones are continually being added to the mix – it’s nearly impossible to manage all of those accounts manually. Fortunately, there are plenty of free social media management and scheduling tools you can use to make your job and your life much easier. Let’s take a look at the 5 most effective.
Instagram is one of the most popular social networks, with over 1 billion users active on the platform each month. Later started as an app dedicated to Instagram as a scheduling tool, but since its inception, they’ve added support for other social networks and are continuously adding new features. The app has a strong focus on visual content. Whether you want to schedule in-feed image or video posts, stories, or carousel posts — Later supports all of these options. Later has a free plan available that you can use forever, but you get features such as analytics, saved captions, scheduled stories, and more for paid plans. Their paid plans start at $9/month.
Those who rely on Twitter to get their message across will find much to like about TweetDeck. TweetDeck is a free application that enables you to manage multiple (unlimited) Twitter accounts from a unified interface. You can create your own customizable social media dashboard that allows you to send and receive tweets and manage and monitor your Twitter profiles. You can use TweetDeck as a web app, Chrome app, or desktop app. TweetDeck can be set to post scheduled tweets, build Tweet lists, and more. And the extra special part is that it’s always free.
Social media is increasingly becoming more and more visual. Canva is an excellent tool for anyone managing social media accounts to use. You can create designer-level marketing assets using any of the thousands of ready-made designs they have available to you. Now, you can even connect your social channels and publish or schedule directly from Canva. They have a free version available, which gives you decent access to great pre-made templates. The pro plan gives you access to all of the templates for only $12.95/month.
Hootsuite is one of the most established and popular apps for social media scheduling and marketing. You can use it to schedule posts, receive in-depth reports, and collaborate with your team members, thanks to built-in teamwork features. It enables you to view multiple streams at once and monitor what your customers are saying. There is a free limited plan available for 3 social profiles and up to 30 scheduled messages.
Buffer is also one of the best apps for managing your social media presence and scheduling your posts. The app also comes with analytics tools that enable you to track your audience’s activity and figure out when it is the best time to post in the future. We especially love its Chrome extension, which integrates itself seamlessly and never gets in the way, yet it is always there when you need it. It is a more straightforward and more effective way of managing your social media, and you are never more than a few clicks away from setting up anything you want. Buffer supports over 7 different platforms – you can add up to 4 on the free plan.
ContentCal is the ultimate tool for bringing your team together. You can share ideas with, create approval workflows, build your content plan and then publish that content to multiple platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google My Business, YouTube, and Medium). ContentCal’s analytics will help you understand your content performance and the latest ‘Respond’ features act as a shared inbox for monitoring and responding to mentions, messages, and comments across social media.
One of the star features is the fact that ContentCal integrates with over 2000 other applications so that you can create the perfect social media workflow by connecting ContentCal to tools you currently use (think of things like Slack or Trello) and also distribute content to channels beyond social media, like emails and blog posts. The best content is created together. Involve your team (and clients) into the content creation process, share ideas, gain feedback and watch your content performance soar!
While managing your social media presence and getting your content to reach a wider audience is a challenging task, there are some things you can do to make it easier on yourself. That includes relying on apps to help you handle the jobs which don’t require you to use your creative capacities, and that includes scheduling. We hope you will find these apps helpful. Good luck!
Kenneth Waldman is a Professional Writer and also a Blog Editor at Essay Mama. The areas of his interest include the latest education trends and technologies, digital marketing, social media. You can get in touch with him on Twitter.
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