7 Social Media Tools Every Business Needs

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Getting the most out of all the social media platforms can be exhausting for a business owner, especially if you have multiple accounts that demand your attention.  Considering how important it is to have an online presence, here’s a few tools that’ll make engaging your audience easier.

  1. Hootsuite 

If you’re looking for a way to schedule and publish updates across multiple social networking platforms, Hootsuite (www.hootsuite.com) is the app for you.  Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, WordPress, Foursquare—Hootsuite handles them all.  The scheduling capabilities can be invaluable for time-crunched entrepreneurs, looking to minimize jumping from task to task.  The built-in analytics are invaluable for tracking what your audience is responding to and what trending topics they might be interested in.  Hootsuite is a powerful tool, but best of all, it is free for up to five social profiles.  For more, there’s a $10.99 per month plan for unlimited social profiles, RSS feeds, and much more.

2. Bitly

If your business is integrated with Twitter, then Bitly (bitly.com/) is a must.  What does it do?  Bitly simply creates a shortened version of your URL so that you can save space on the 140-character limit of Twitter.  But don’t just stop there—if you’ve got some ugly-looking or way-too-long URL, Bitly can make them easier on the eyes for your other social media platform.  Concision should be the goal; Bitly makes it better.

3. Google URL Builder

One of the challenges of marketing your business is to find out how others found out about your business so that you can capitalize on your ROI and measure the impact of your ad campaigns.  Luckily for us, there’s UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) tracking codes.  Now, don’t be off put by the jargon; simply put, UTM’s are extra characters at the end of a link that is connected to an analytics program (ex. Google Analytics).  Google offers its free URL Builder (support.google.com/analytics/answer/1033867?hl=en), which can help narrow down where your traffic came from and what advertising campaigns they are associated with.

4. Rival IQ

It’s always good practice to be aware of what your competition is up to?  Using Rival IQ (www.rivaliq.com/), you can monitor your competitors—or any brands, for that matter—across social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, and even SEO.  Rival IQ has many applicable features, including a “Day of the Week” chart, where you can see when  content from your industry is most likely to be viewed and maybe go viral.

5. Compfight

Finding creative commons images can be a great way to keep overheads low for your business, but where do you start?  Compfight (www.compfight.com/) is a great resource, working as a search engine through Flickr’s vast photo archives to give you content that your search for.  Each photo is accompanied by attribution credit, so be sure to include that information to stay on the legal side of things.

6. Rapportive

If you’re ever wondering about someone’s online social media presence if you’ve only got their email, try using Rapportive (rapportive.com) for a bigger picture of their online footprint.  This is a great service for following up with potential connections and clients based on the usually sparse information found on business cards

7. Mention

If you’re looking to see how your brand is taking off in the marketplace, allow Mention (www.mention.com) to help monitor your brand’s presence across the web. It includes mentions of your brand or keywords you want to monitor on social networks, forums, blogs and much more. Mention also includes social features that allow you to respond to mentions of your brand and share your industry news that you find.

These tools may have a small price attached, but if time is money then you’ll be saving huge amounts of money over the long term!

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