Today, it's virtually impossible to run a small business without being on social media.
According to Small Business Trends, 44% of local businesses "depend on social media" to drive brand awareness and revenue. Fortunately, that effort pays off. 90% of marketers report social media marketing has increased exposure for their company, and 75% say it's boosted their traffic.
No matter how you cut it, though, social media is a huge time investment. While there are hundreds of social media tools designed to decrease the burden, it's tough to figure out which are quality and which aren't.
Here's your complete breakdown of the best social media tools for small businesses.
The 5 Best Social Media Tools for Small Businesses
Regardless of whether you've just started on social media, or you're looking for ways to decrease the time investment of busy social profiles, these five tools can help.
IFTTT stands for "if this, then that" and it's one of the most powerful tools for small business social automation. The tool allows small business owners to create functions that help various apps and programs work together.
For example, if you publish a WordPress blog, you can implement a rule that allows you to automatically tweet an update everytime you post a new blog.
A dream-come-true for time-strapped small business owners, IFTTT is a great way to limit your hands-on social time and get great results regardless.
Social media beginner? No problem. This tool also creates pre-made "recipes" to help you get your foot in the door with social and learn which platforms you should and shouldn't be using.
What's it cost? IFTTT is a free service, which makes it ideal for small business owners with minimal marketing budgets.
If you use Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, you're probably familiar with the difficulty of coming up with the best hashtags for a post. Lots of marketers(myself included, at one time) mine these hashtags manually, paste them into a separate document and add them manually to each post they create.
Needless to say, this approach is time-consuming and will drive you crazy over time.
This is where RiteTag comes in.
A convenient platform that provides instant hashtag analysis and suggestions, RiteTag plugs directly into Twitter or Facebook to make your social media life easier.
Every time you make a post, RiteTag will analyze hashtags to show you which ones it recommends, which ones you shouldn't use, and which ones are trending. Automate the platform by connecting it to a content curation tool or RSS feed.
What's it cost? RiteTag is free and plugs right into your Twitter or Facebook account, or as a Google Chrome extension.
No graphic design degree?
Today, you don't have to be a media whiz to create beautiful graphics – just head to Canva. A dedicated visual platform, Canva is your one-stop-shop for all things visual content.
Equipped with hundreds of pre-made templates designed for social media, ebooks, and blogs, Canva provides a simple way to access top-quality graphic design functions. Use it to create blog headers, Instagram graphics, and ebook covers in a hurry.
What's it cost? Canva has both a free and a paid version. The free version is more than ample enough for a small business just getting started. The paid version, known as Canva for Work, is $12.95 per month and offers upgrades like unlimited folders, resizing, custom fonts, and custom color palettes. There's also a plan called Canva Enterprise, designed for teams with more than 50 members, which will launch soon.
Buffer is an all-time favorite social media management toolfor small business owners. Designed to make posting to your various social profiles as easy as pushing a few buttons, Buffer is a social sharing dashboard that consolidates your Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter profiles all into one convenient place.
Use it to post to all of your platforms at once, schedule posts in advance, and view your social analytics so you can determine which channels are performing and which are lagging. It'll simplify your life in a hurry.
What's it cost? Buffer offers two categories of plans: individuals and teams & agencies. The individual plan offers a free and paid version (the paid plan is $10/month for up to ten social accounts). The teams & agencies plan offers three paid versions, ranging from $99-$399 a month.
5. Likeable Local
If you're running a brick-and-mortar company, Likeable Local is a must-have tool. A social media automation tool with small businesses in mind, Likeable Local helps generate leads. It's also ideal for building referrals, boosting your reach, measuring growth, and saving time on all of it.
While other tools offer similar features (Buffer for automation, for example), Likeable Local is the only one that acts as a true one-stop shop.
What's it cost? Because it's more functional than many of the other tools on this list, Likeable Local is more expensive. Base-level "Expert plans" start at $299/month, while pro plans cost $599/month. If you're a little concerned about making that investment, you can schedule a demo in advance, to find out whether the tool is ideal for you or not.
Social Media Tools for Small Businesses: Make Your Life Easier Today
It's not uncommon for small business owners to spend 10 or more weekly hours building, distributing, and measuring social content. The good news is that, today, there are tools to make it easier. Designed to take the stress out of your company's social media activities, these tools will = streamline, automate, measure, and improve your social media efforts.