Nowadays, most businesses know they need to be creating brilliant content and pushing it out across a range of social media channels. However, businesses come unstuck when trying to manage all of their profiles - it’s nearly impossible to manage all of them manually.
The good news is that there are many tools out there that can automate some of the processes and help to make life a little easier. In this blog, we will round up some of the best free social media management tools that will allow you to spend more time creating great content and less time posting it.
What are social media management tools?
For those who have not come across a social media management tool before, it is software designed to allow you to publish to, monitor and manage one or more of your social media profiles from a single platform. This not only streamlines your workload by sharing and scheduling content to your various social profiles from one place, but it can also make it easier for you to respond to current or future customers who interact with your content.
If you have multiple people in your business who are responsible for sharing content, it allows for greater visibility on what content has been posted/what is scheduled to go out.
Some social media management tools have the option for you to manage most, if not all, of the major social networks from your account. The biggest benefit is the time such a platform can save - rather than manually posting content, you have the ability to schedule content on all your social channels at the beginning of each week or month.
What are the best free options for your business?
Thankfully, you don't need to spend money in order to reap the rewards of these social media management tools. Whilst a lot have paid options and subscriptions, these free versions below will make your life much easier when it comes to posting your content!
One of the most established social media management platforms, Buffer is a solid choice and has a streamlined and easy to use interface which makes managing your social media profiles a breeze. The free version allows you to have 1 account user and you can connect up to 3 social media profiles. You can have up to 10 posts scheduled at any one time (per social channel), so it is likely scheduling your content weekly would be the best process to follow.
As you would expect, you can connect the main big social media platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest. In terms of the features accessible on the free plan, you can directly schedule posts, create a posting schedule as well as be able to access the 'Tailored Posts' composer. This allows you to customise your post for each social network that you're sharing to.
Their Pro version starts from $15 per month, which would allow you to connect more profiles and schedule more than 10 posts at a time.
Similar to Buffer, Hootsuite is another of the big hitters in the world of social media management tools. Their free version will allow you to manage up to 3 social media profiles, whilst giving you the opportunity to schedule up to 30 messages at any one time. Again, you are able to connect all of the big social media platforms to Hootsuite, and whilst the free version is a little basic, it will still allow you to schedule your posts in advance, and keep track of your content in one calendar.
Their Professional package starts at £39 per month, but for that, you will be able to connect up to 10 social accounts, schedule unlimited posts, and also be able to access messages in one inbox.
Whilst the first 2 platforms in our list were created for all social media channels, Later was originally designed specifically for scheduling and managing content for Instagram accounts.
As you would expect from a platform with a strong focus on Instagram, it is a great tool for managing a lot of visual content. You can schedule Instagram posts for a week in just no time at all with visual calendars and a drag-and-drop system. Another great feature is the ability to preview your Instagram posts.
Since their launch, they have continued to add new features and you can now schedule Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest content from the platforms free version too.
The paid plans start from $12.50 a month and this will allow you to schedule more posts as well as give you access to additional features such as "best time to post" suggestions.
Zoho Social is another great option to consider if you are looking for a simple scheduling solution to post to your social media channels. Their free plan will allow you to sign up with one team member and you can connect up to 7 channels. You can also install the zShare browser extension, which will allow you to curate and post content while you browse the internet.
If you did need to upgrade and access more of their features, for only £8 per month, you would be able to access a whole host of features, including zurl link shortener, an activity log, user tagging and summary reports.
Our final recommendation is TweetDeck, a free online platform that can help you manage your Twitter content and publishing. By linking your Twitter account you are able to see streams of information, which includes tweets, notifications, messages and scheduled posts at the same time in a simple dashboard.
One of TweetDeck's biggest benefits is if you have multiple Twitter accounts for your business, you will be able to manage them from one place, which will save you time and give you a connected view of what is being published across your business.
Spend your time on creating great content, not scheduling it!
We know that for many small businesses, finding the time to manage your social media presence and whilst still producing high-quality content for your audience is a challenging task. However, these tools should free up time to allow you to focus on other things that will help you grow your business.
However, if you are looking for some further help and guidance on your social media marketing and feel you could benefit from having a chat, we would love to hear from you.