The world of social media keeps fracturing. While just a few years ago, a social media professional only had to worry about Facebook, now he/she has to worry about Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and more. Each social media website offers its own types of advertising and tools for monitoring your ad campaigns.
Fortunately, there are now also a lot of tools out there for keeping up all your social media ducks in a row.
Best Free Tools for Monitoring Your Social Media Campaigns
Hootsuite is the best tool on the market for managing multiple direct social media campaigns. It is not integrated with newer ad bidding options in the social media world, but it takes care of the basics. One free Hootsuite account allows you to run up to five different content “streams.” Each stream can automatically post content to a social media profile. You can even auto-schedule streams to post content over time according to a set calendar. This allows you to quickly distribute general content among all you social media platforms, while still keeping precision control over each. As your social media arsenal grows, you can pay to upgrade to Hootsuite Pro and manage six or more streams.
Hootsuite offers best-in-class analytics to see how your content is doing. It is much easier to compare and refine your social media campaigns when you can see the impact of each laid out in front of you.
Hootsuite was the first Twitter tool to offer promoted ad tweets on Twitter. It continues to gain advertising tools for other platforms, but it’s still not enough.
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Facebook Advertising Tools
Unfortunately, there is no free one-size-fits-all platform for Facebook marketing. Fortunately, Facebook itself offers some of the most powerful marketing and market research tools in history, for free.
Facebook offers the world’s most powerful demographic research tool as a small side tool in their advertising process. When you start going through the steps to place a Facebook ad, you will come across a menu that asks you to select a demographic. You can make this demographic as broad or as narrow as you want, and it will instantly compute how many Facebook users fit it. Because most of the people with internet access are also on Facebook, this page provides immediate, reliable demographic research. In minutes you can find out the key locations or professions of your target demographic, and apply this knowledge to your social media marketing as a whole.
In general, there is little that costly third party tools can do that Facebook’s own apps and ad-tracking software can’t. Companies like Wildfire, that do pay-per-promotion ad packages, are really just middlemen between your ad person and the Facebook apps.
Google Analytics aren’t just for Google ads. They can also track your social media visibility. All you have to do is to initiate a social media campaign and link it with the Google Analytics. After that you can check the stat and performance of your social media campaign.
How Sociable is a handy tool that tracks keywords or brands across a variety of social media platforms. Most of their analytics are behind a paywall, but their basic free service is still very useful.
New tools for marketers are cropping up almost by the day. There is a lot of support out there for free to help small businesses get their social media marketing off the ground.