Startups: Get Ahead On Social Media With These 3 Free Tools

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Phone and pad

Launching a startup is like writing a never ending to do list. Just when you seemed to have crossed one thing off you are already adding another ten. For small teams adding social media marketing into the mix can often be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

Very quickly it becomes apparent that keeping up to date with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Youtube, Snapchat and anywhere else you are present is a job in and of itself.

That’s why it is critically important to keep your social media strategy manageable. The biggest helping hand you can give yourself in this instance is to focus on two or three platforms at most. This ensures you can do each social channel “right” and give it (and your audience) the energy and attention it deserves.

The second best thing you can do, is learn to leverage the tools you have at your disposal to make the process streamlined and manageable. Across all of the projects I have run, and for a number of the startups I consult to, I default to three key tools. Tools that I wouldn’t be able to manage my social presence without.

 

Buffer
Buffer

At the top of the list is Buffer. If you haven’t heard of buffer chances are you haven’t been very active on social media for the past few years. This company is literally everywhere! And it’s easy to understand why. They offer a simple tool that allows you to “buffer” social media posts that are drip feed out to your followers during the day.

Compared to tools of the past where you had to independently set the day and time you wanted each post to go out, Buffer lets you create a one time schedule. From then on you just add a new post to Buffer and the tool takes care of the rest.

With Buffer you can post to Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest and Google+. You can also set reminders to Instagram.

Buffer is free for 1 profile and up to 10 scheduled posts, but for just $10 you can unlock 10 profiles and up to 100 schedule posts in your queue at any one time.

Canva
Canva

Canva

Canva is an Australian based startup that makes design simple for everyone. With a decrease in organic reach across major social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, making your posts stand out visually is more important than ever before.

In the past creating great visual content for your blog or social media posts could be an expensive or time consuming process. With Canva you can literally create something that looks great in minutes.

Not only does this make design affordable, but it ensures that you don’t spend precious hours of your day doing it. Between Buffer and Canva I can have most of the posts I need for the day created and scheduled within half an hour.

In addition to creating great social media content Canva is ideal for blog images, infographics, presentations and literally any other occasion where you need something designed on the fly and to a high standard.

Canva is free to use. If you want to unlock additional features and collaborate with team mates prices started at $12.95 USD per month per user.

Hootsuite
Hootsuite

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is another social media management tool. Yes, there is some overlap with Buffer as Hootsuite also has a scheduling tool, but that’s not where its real value lies in my opinion. Where it really shines is in its ability to easily surface posts and content that you can engage with.

As any social media marketer worth their salt will tell you social media isn’t a one way street. You can’t just shout your message from the rooftop and expect to see great results. The real power of social media lies in your ability to engage with your users and create a sense of community.

This is why I use and recommend Hootsuite solely for its ability to surface content to engage with and respond to. This works particularly well with Twitter where it can be overwhelming to constantly check your feed and the stream of comments coming in. Instead you can follow accounts or a particular hashtag right within Hootsuite. A quick skim a few times throughout the day allows you to easily identify discussions worth joining. Now instead of being one of those accounts that just posts at random, you can join the conversation and a better understanding of your brand and what you offer.

Hootsuite is available for free for up to three social profiles and limited analytics. Alternatively, you can pay just $9.90 USD per month for enhanced analytics and up to fifty profiles.