Whether you’re a solo marketer, startup or multinational enterprise, you’ll find it’s nearly an insurmountable feat to manage your social media without the help of some third-party tools.
Related: Top 20 Social-Media Tools to Add to Your Arsenal in 2016
It’s these tools that make it possible for you to reach marketing goals, track results and engage more efficiently across a multitude of platforms. And, more and more, they’re a necessary step, given that 52 percent of online adults now use two or more social media sites, and the average social media user maintains five accounts.
The good news is, when you’re getting started, is that there are plenty of mobile apps and web-based tools to choose from; they range from specialized to multipurpose.
Below, I’ve compiled a list of my top five most recommended social tools for managing your marketing campaigns and making scaling your online marketing efforts that much easier.
Hootsuite is considered to be a leader when it comes to managing social media. The platform offers everything you need to monitor social chatter and manage content publishing and multiple accounts. It also offers detailed reporting and collaboration features.
Each of your accounts can be displayed side by side in multiple streams for quick monitoring. This is especially helpful when big trending topics and conversations are taking place across all of your social channels. That listening ability is a big part of social engagement, and Hootsuite makes it easy.
“I use social media as an idea generator, trend mapper, and strategic compass for all of our online business ventures,” says Paul Barron, founder of Digital CoCo.
Hootsuite is available in a free plan as well as via multiple paid-plan options, and can be used on a desktop web environment or via mobile app.
2. Flickr with Creative Commons search
This is a go-to source for great stock photos for any kind of social promotional purposes, content marketing, branding and more. It’s ideal for blogs and presentations. With its advanced search feature, you can browse photos that have been made specifically available under Flickr with Creative Commons licensing, which allows you to use photos with attribution.
Visuals are an important part of social and content marketing. When people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10 percent of it, according to data collected and analyzed by John Medina in his book Brain Rules. But if a relevant image is paired with the same information, that retention rate jumps to 65 percent — even three days later.
For slightly higher-grade photos, I recommend purchasing images from Shutterstock.
Related: 18 Effective Social-Media Tools That Will Save You Time
Bit.ly is the dominant URL shortener, and in my opinion it’s the best choice for the function it offers as well as its value-added benefits. Bit.ly’s tracking and analytics are on point, though I recommend utilizing a shortener whenever possible. The “+” feature is a nice perk, as well: By adding the “+” to the end of any bit.ly URL, you can see how many times it has been clicked on and who clicked on it.
It’s a great way to check in on trending topics, find influencers and even keep an eye on your competitors if they’re using the service, as well.
Because creating unique bit.ly links is so easy, the tool is also a great way to do A/B testing, on real-time social networks like Twitter.
Video is a big part of social engagement; that’s why sites like Facebook have upgraded their services to incorporate native video-uploading as well as live streaming. Twitter has done the same thing since its acquisition of Vine back in 2012, and Periscope in 2015. Video provides a means to engage your audience with fun, entertaining content — content that drives social shares.
“The play button is the most compelling call to action on the web,” — says Michael Litt, co-founder of Vidyard.
TubeMogul takes the demand of manual upload and simplifies it so you can upload a single video clip directly to dozens of video sites. In addition to faster upload, it gives you comparative statistics on the number of views and the length of each view, site by site. It’s a fantastic tool for moving beyond individual video upload into strategic video optimization as part of a broad social media strategy.
Related: 6 New Social Media Marketing Tools the Experts Use. You Should, Too.
Notifier scans your content for the names of influencers in your posts and gives you one-click access to generate @mentions on social media. It’s a simple and effective way to notify influencers (and their audience) that you’ve mentioned them within your content.