person on laptop with images of social media icons floating
Social media can seem daunting and time consuming for many small business owners. Fortunately, there are several tools available that help simplify each process. — Getty Images/marchmeena29

From witty corporate social media accounts like Wendy’s to mom-and-pop shops posting customer polls on Instagram, social media provides businesses with the opportunity to directly engage with customers. This direct avenue has made social media a go-to platform for brand building and product marketing.

Countless tools have emerged to help small businesses navigate the world of social media and better manage their accounts. Here are some of the most common types of social media marketing tools and what they can do for your business. We’ve also provided examples of popular vendors for each type of tool.

Social media scheduling

Part of running social media accounts means creating and sharing posts throughout the week. With the right analytics data, you can understand what types of posts your audience likes and when they’re most active on each platform. Knowing this helps you provide your customers with the right content at the right time.

Rather than posting individual pieces of content on the spot, you can use a social media scheduling tool. These programs allow you to create batches of content and schedule them out in advance.

  • Hootsuite: This platform integrates with Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn. In addition to covering all your bases from a social network standpoint, there are additional features like social monitoring and engagement analytics. Hootsuite plans start at $29 per month.
  • Buffer: Buffer is similar to Hootsuite in that it provides the same social network integrations. It also offers analytics, social monitoring and post scheduling features. Buffer is a great service for small businesses, and it’s a bit less expensive compared to other companies in the industry — you can get started for just $15 per month.

As a small business owner, you likely don’t have time to constantly be checking in with social media to see how customers are interacting with your company.

Video creation tools

Visual content is essential in marketing, and statistics show that consumers are more likely to engage with video content on social media. As a small business owner, it can be difficult to get started with making your own video content. Fortunately, there are several tools that can help you quickly and easily create high-quality videos to share on social media.

  • Animoto: Whether you’re making promo videos, social media videos or company explainers, Animoto is a versatile tool for just about any business video need. It also has a drag-and-drop interface, making it an easy tool to use. Animoto’s plans start as low as $5 per month, although businesses may be better off choosing a more robust tier.
  • Vyond: Formerly known as GoAnimate, this platform allows business owners to create animated videos for their business. Sometimes a simple animated video is all you need to tell your business’s story while keeping your audience engaged. You can also create training videos for your staff. Although it’s a bit pricier than other competitors, Vyond has two different annual plans that might be ideal for your business.

Social monitoring tools

As a small business owner, you likely don’t have time to constantly be checking in with social media to see how customers are interacting with your company. There are several social monitoring tools that will allow you to see what kinds of conversations everyday users are having, both about your business and your larger industry.

  • Buzzsumo: This tool allows you to find out when people are posting about your company on social media. It has extensive analytics features and even offers a content planning tool. Buzzsumo plans start at $79 per month.
  • HashAtit: HashAtIt is a quick (and free) way to check in on mentions and hashtags related to your business. It’s one of the few tools on this list that provides immediate, transparent results, as it can generate countless ideas for leveraging relevant hashtags.

While the right tools can help you run your social media accounts, it’s important to have a comprehensive social media marketing strategy first. Check out our guide to social media marketing to get some ideas on crafting a strategy that works for your business.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

Published June 05, 2019