Syed Balkhi is the founder of WPBeginner, the largest free WordPress resource site.
We’ve all come across great stories of how businesses and individuals achieve massive success on social media. Some of it seems to happen overnight, but social media marketing is as challenging as it is rewarding.
Hit the jackpot when it comes to making viral content and you’ll see a slew of new followers, more engagement, and a buying frenzy that transforms your business in what seems like a flash of an eye.
Content that gets attention on social media is deceptively simple. The truth is that part of social media marketing success is luck and the rest is the relentless creation of high-quality content on a daily basis.
Social media is one place where both quality and quantity count. Getting high engagement and then maintaining it is a task of its own. This is why businesses must have a toolbox of useful techniques and tools to be successful.
So, that’s what we’ll cover in this post! Let’s get started and check out the tools you’ll need in 2021 to make your business generate a buzz on social media.
When I say ‘social media management tool’, I refer to a broad term that encompasses some or all of the features mentioned in this section.
It’s more useful to frame the tools you need in terms of the tasks they carry out. You’ll need some or all of these features and tools based on your business’s requirements. By being aware of the tasks social media tools can carry out for you, you’ll know what to pick and which platforms to work with that give you the best results.
A social media management tool typically lets you publish content to multiple platforms at the same time.
Instead of going to Facebook, then LinkedIn, and then Twitter to post your content, you can publish to all of them at once and save time.
Image source: Hootsuite
Some issues to watch out for are that social media management platforms seldom connect to every platform there is; some platforms offer features for specific platforms and not for others.
For example, Publer lets you schedule a comment to your post on LinkedIn as soon as your post is published. This is great if your audience is on LinkedIn but is pretty useless if you have no interest in LinkedIn at all.
A good way to stay on top of your social media content is to prepare your content in advance and then schedule it for the future.
A social media management tool will let you draft messages and images and save them to a calendar. You can set a time and date for your content to get published and then focus on other tasks.
In this way, you always have content available for your users and you’ll have more time to respond to comments and otherwise engage with your audience.
Social media listening and monitoring tools
It isn’t enough to publish content. You also have to engage with people. And this means listening to what people are saying. Social media management tools also have features where you can track what users are saying by using keywords and brand mentions to create feeds.
When you create feeds that automatically populate with Tweets, comments, and posts by users using a specific keyword, it becomes easier to track what the crowd thinks.
Advanced tools also have sentiment analysis abilities that are great for businesses that want to monitor an enormous amount of user-generated content.
There are a plethora of tools dedicated to creating text and visual content. They aren’t necessarily dedicated to social media alone but often have templates that make it easy to create social media posts. Here are the types of content creation tools you should use.
Graphics editor tools
These tools are typically advanced graphic design tools used by professional designers. They include industry-recognized brands like Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and more.
These are the best tools available for making high-quality images and graphics. You should use them if your needs call for it. But note that they are expensive and require expertise to use them well.
Online graphic design platform
The previously mentioned graphic design tools are software that you need to download to use. They have complex features that you need expertise in to create high-quality content.
However, if you don’t have the time or the tech skills needed to work with them and if your business needs are simple, then you should use online design platforms.
Platforms like Canva are made to be user-friendly. They have premade templates, help you create font combinations, and have a library of elements for you to use.
I strongly recommend a user-friendly online tool for your graphic design needs. Or to work with a free design tool like Affinity as an alternative for expensive designing software.
Visual storytelling tools
Today, you need to do more than share text content and post images to social media. You need to create ‘Stories’.
Stories are short video formats although they can combine images, videos, and elements like gifs, polls, emojis, and text.
A visual storytelling tool can make it easy for you to create Stories. When you create more short video content or Story formats, you’ll see better engagement from your audience.
Successful social media marketing is not about throwing content at your social media walls to see what sticks (although I don’t dismiss it as a helpful experimental approach from time to time).
It’s a good business practice to track data to see how your business performs. And to do that you need to use analytics tools to help. Here are a couple of analytics and data tracking tools you should work with to get better results.
In-built analytics on social media
All social media platforms give you a peek at how your content is doing. You can get data about impressions, likes, comments left, views, and more.
You’ll know about the impact your content has had over time and whether your audience is growing.
Facebook Analytics, Twitter Analytics, Instagram Insights, and LinkedIn’s Page Analytics are some examples of native analytics you can use for free.
If you haven’t tracked your data before, then using the free built-in analytics available to you on each platform is a good starting point. When you get a clear understanding of who your audience and what kind of content is working, you can make better decisions to grow your social media presence.
One minor disadvantage of using the built-in analytics of each social media platform is that it requires extra effort to log in and generate reports from each place.
But third-party platforms like Hootsuite, MonsterInsights, and others can help you get data from multiple sources in one place.
You can compare performance across different platforms and get a clearer picture of how your content works in different places.
There are a number of tools available to optimize your social media marketing and each one has unique features. It’s difficult to find any one platforms that will help you do all things on all platforms.
Social media platforms themselves have unique features and their own set of audiences. Pinterest, a visual platform, is considerably different from LinkedIn - one that’s all about professional networks. And what works on YouTube won’t necessarily work on Twitter.
So when it comes to picking social media tools, you need to consider your business and your audience and then choose the right social media management tool for you.
In this post, you’ll find helpful ideas to find and pick tools that you can use. Many platforms offer free trials and it’s a good idea to use them and see if they fit you.
At the very least, you need tools that schedule and publish content for you and give you insights. With just these features, you become more effective and will get positive results from your marketing efforts.
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