5 social media tools every small business should be using

In 2017, having a social media presence is as vital as having a website, and failing to do so can put you at a disadvantage to your competitors. However, we have heard many small business owners say that they simply don’t have time to keep up with their social media, or that it is too complicated and hard to understand.

That needn’t be the case anymore – there are so many time-saving tools out there that can help you tackle your social media and keep things ticking over. Perhaps that’s the problem – there is simply so much to choose from that business owners simply switch off.

We’ve narrowed down five essential social media tools that all small businesses should take advantage of. We’ll discuss what they are, why you need them, and how to use them. It couldn’t be simpler.

How to use Buffer for social media scheduling

1. A content scheduler

Why you need it: In order to maintain a successful social media presence, it’s important to post on a regular basis. (We recommend five posts a week for Facebook and LinkedIn, four daily posts for Twitter and daily posts for Instagram.) Posting manually isn’t efficient, and as a business owner we’re sure you’re looking to minimise the amount of time you spend on social media. A scheduler allows you to pick when you want your posts to go out and schedule them ahead of time.

Our pick: There are plenty of schedulers out there, but our pick of the crop is Buffer. Buffer’s key USP is scheduling, and it comes complete with a handy month by month calendar, allowing you to see your content schedule in full.

Buffer works with Facebook, Twitter LinkedIn, Google+ and Instagram, allowing you to post to all your social accounts quickly and easily.

Pro tip: Make sure you install the handy Buffer extension. This will allow you to schedule posts while browsing, without having to copy links or open a new tab. So easy!

Feedly is a content research tool

2. A content research tool

Why you need it: When it comes to what type of content to post, you can’t simply post about your own business. Posting a variety of relevant content will help you appeal to your audience, and to do this you will need to spend some time researching. Research takes time, but luckily there are tools to help save those valuable minutes (hours).

Our pick: Streamline your content research by using Feedly. Feedly is a reader app that you can use to organise your favourite sites into one location, which you can then browse through and easily share content from. You can set up different collections for different topics, allowing you to find the perfect content to suit your brand. Using just one site to gather your content is perhaps the biggest time-saver of them all.

Pro tip: Take some time organising your Feedly to make your content research even quicker. You can also add YouTube channels and playlists to your feed, helping you find video content in an instant.

Canva is a tool for simple image design

3. An image editor

Why you need it: Did you know that photos receive on average 53% more likes on Facebook and generate 84% more link clicks than the average post? It’s crucial to mix up your content rather than simply posting links, and creating your own imagery is an easy way to boost your engagement.

Our pick: If you don’t know how to use Photoshop, don’t worry. Canva is a super easy way for beginners to create stunning imagery. Whether you use pre-defined templates and dimensions or make your own, you can create anything from Facebook posts and cover photos through to more elaborate posts such as infographics. We’re sure you’ll be hooked!

Pro tip: Check out the Canva Design School for daily design articles, interactive tutorials and handy tips to help inspire you.

4. A social listening tool

Why you need it: To run a successful social media campaign, you need to know what other people are saying about your business, as well as focusing on what you post yourself. Social listening allows you to monitor who’s talking about you, or the industry you work in. By practicing social listening, it allows you to join conversations, build relationships and manage your online reputation effectively.

Our pick: Mention allows you to monitor in real-time any mention of your brand (or any brand, keyword or topic) across millions of sources in 42 languages. Once you set up your alert, you’ll receive a notification the instant someone talks about you or your brand, allowing you to get in touch with that user. We’re sure you’ll soon be hooked.

Pro tip: Choose a selection of keywords that relate to your interest and follow these. It could lead to potential business opportunities, or even simply allow you to demonstrate your expert knowledge to someone and help build their trust.

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Facebook Pixel for small business advertising

5. The Facebook Pixel

Why you need it: If you’re advertising on Facebook, you need to be using the Facebook Pixel. The Pixel is a snippet of code that’s unique to your ad account then needs to be placed on each page of your website. Installing the Pixel allows you to build custom audiences from your website for retargeting, optimise ads for conversions, track conversions and attribute them back to your ads, and a whole lot of other clever stuff. Basically, you need a Pixel to make the most of your Facebook advertising.

Our pick: There’s only one. Take a read of Facebook’s guide on the Pixel, which includes how to install it correctly. Once you have the pixel correctly installed you’ll be able to take advantage of all the awesome features it comes with. Take a look at our introduction to the Pixel to help understand things a little better.

Pro tip: It’s a little bit fiddly to set up the Pixel, so you might need your web team to take charge of this for you. They’ll know what to do!

Of course, you could reap the benefits of all the above features by taking out a social media management package for your business with Digital Media Team. Speak to a team member today by calling 0800 808 9980, or emailing hello@digitalmediateam.co.uk