If you’re a small business owner or solopreneur that has a limited amount of time per day to focus on marketing activities, you’ll be happy to know that there are marketing tools created specifically for online retailers. Tools that make engaging with your audience as effortless as possible. In this post, we’re going to look at nine free and inexpensive social media marketing tools ecommerce store owners can use to help with social media marketing management.
*Note that there are literally hundreds of great social media tools available today. The ones here are just suggestions – be sure to research your options if you are looking for additional features or capabilities.
Social Media Tools to Create & Curate Social Content
The first thing you will need for any successful social media marketing campaign or activity is content. The content you publish to your Facebook, Instagram, and other social pages will help your fans get to know your business. If you’re not sure where to start looking for great sources of social media content, start with the following social media tools.
Canva helps non-designers create visual marketing content easily with drag and drop functions. As a store owner, you can use Canva for social media posts, infographics, social banners, thumbnails and more.
You can customize the colors, images and text on templates as needed in Canva to match your business branding and complete your social media posts. You can choose from an extensive selection of free images and icons but even the paid options are also affordable at only $1 a piece.
Once finished, you can export your designs into a PNG image format so you can share your image on your social media pages and profiles. In addition to social media graphics, Canva has templates for the most-popular types of marketing collateral (brochures, business cards, infographics, presentations, resumes, worksheets, etc.). If you’re struggling to design content for your social media and marketing, be sure to try out a free Canva account.
Do you keep up with the latest trends and topics in your industry? Do you want to share some of that news with your audience? If so, use Feedly. Feedly lets you organize all of your favorite blog and online publication subscriptions in one place.
You can utilize Feedly in a number of ways. For social media purposes, you can use it to curate content from other relevant websites and share that content with your audiences on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other top networks. Feedly also works with third-party social media scheduling tools like Buffer and social media management tools like HootSuite, both of which we will talk about later in the post.
If you like the idea of curating content for your social media audiences, but you don’t know what sites to start with, Alltop will give you the latest five posts from blogs that cover everything from Androids to viral videos. Find the blogs and online publications whose articles will make more people want to shop for the things you sell, such as sharing articles about fashion advice when your store sells clothes.
As a store owner, you’ll find this social media tool helpful on days where you don’t have the time to share your own content but want to keep your social media feeds populated. Some online retailers have successfully and profitably curated content.
Another option for finding content to share on social media is Post Planner. Post Planner allows you to find the most trending content – photos and articles – about a certain topic. You can search for content by keyword search or by browsing the industry page.
Once you find something you want to share, you can share it instantly to your Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest audiences. You can also schedule it to post at a later time and date.
Post Planner plans start at $3 per month (billed annually) for 3 profiles, 30 posts per day, and 300 schedule posts. For the ecommerce store owner looking to mostly curate content on social media, Post Planner should be a great fit.
Social Media Tools to Manage Social Activity
Next on the list of social media tools is management tools. These are tools that allow you to schedule your social media posts for a future date and time and keep up with your audience engagement. These tools are for ecommerce store owners who want to manage one or more of their social media accounts outside of the social network itself. These social media marketing tools help you save more time.
Buffer is a marketing automation tool that allows you to create a unique schedule for sharing posts to your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+. Online retailers will love how easy it is to be consistent with social media tools like this one by allowing you to schedule posts in advance.
From there, you simply add posts to your Buffer. Buffer will queue the posts for the next open time slot in the schedule you created. You can also go back in to edit, move, or delete posts from each social account queue. This tool allows you to add all your social media posts in advance so that you don’t have to ‘remember’ to schedule posts or so that you can have posts sent out at exact times without you manually doing it. This tool is great to use to schedule posts after work hours.
Buffer offers a free plan for three social accounts and ten scheduled posts per day. Paid plans start at $15 a month and allow you to connect to eight social accounts and 100 scheduled posts per day. Buffer also integrates with tools like Feedly (mentioned earlier for content curation).
HootSuite is a social media management tool that allows you to do more than schedule posts to your social accounts. HootSuite allows you to monitor other aspects of your social media accounts, such as managing audience comments, monitor keyword mentions, and much more for the following networks.
The HootSuite dashboard organizes your social media into tabs and columns. Each tab can hold up to ten columns. Tabs can be used to organize your social media by account or by activity, such as monitoring your competitor’s social media activity or responding to post comments.
HootSuite offers a free plan for three social accounts and twenty scheduled posts per day. Paid plans start at $29 per month for use with ten social accounts and 100 scheduled posts per day.
Social Media Tools to Report Analytics
Social media analytics tools can help you learn more about how your social media efforts are paying off in terms of growing your audience, increasing engagement, and seeing how social engagements translate into revenue.
There’s no better place to start monitoring your social media analytics than with the built in analytics offered by Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and other social networks. To get access to these analytics, you will have to use the business features provided by each network such as Facebook Pages or business accounts on Instagram and Pinterest.
Facebook Insights provide the most in-depth analytics of any social network. It reports your Page’s reach, audience growth, content, social media engagement, and actions completed on your page.
Be sure to note what types of actions and engagement each social network measures in their analytics, such as number of likes on a post or number of people talking about your Page. These may be the signals each social network use to determine what makes a post popular or what makes a particular account a better search result than another.
Chances are, you already have a free Google Analytics account set up for your ecommerce store. Within your Google Analytics reports under the Acquisition, you will find a few reports that focus on social media.
These reports provide insight into what traffic to your store from social networks does on your website. Above, you can see the Social Overview report, which will give you a quick summary of your how much traffic your store has received from social networks and how many conversions (sales) came of those social media referrals. Additional social reports will show you more social networks referring traffic to your store, what pages they landed upon on first, and how long they take to convert into sales.
If you haven’t set up conversion tracking in Google Analytics, be sure to refer to this guide to setting up Goals and Funnels if you want to track your store’s sales outside of Shopify’s reports. Once setup, you will be able to learn more about your customer’s website activities – where they came from, what pages they viewed, what products they looked at, and so forth.
Social Report is a third-party analytics tool that allows you to aggregate your social media analytics in one dashboard. For ecommerce store owners, this makes it simpler to not only see how your business is doing on one social network, but also to see how your business is doing across the board with audience growth, engagement, and activity from multiple networks.
Social Report is the priciest tool on this list at $49 per month. But in addition to social reports, you can also get analytics from your website, store, and additional networks in one place and by email.
It’s the perfect social media tool to use if you want to stay informed about your business’s online visibility and engagement. It will also save you vast amounts of time, since you won’t have to login to each source of analytics separately on a daily basis.
Bonus: Shopify & Social
Want to integrate social into your Shopify site? Be sure to look at the Social Media category of the Shopify App Store. These apps will allow you to add social sharing buttons, social logins, and other social media integrations to help your store’s visitors share your products and engage with your business!
Want to Learn More?
- The Best Time to Post on Social Media [INFOGRAPHIC]
- How to Create a Killer Social Media Marketing Plan
- 15 Ways to Increase Social Media Engagement Quickly
Which social media tools do you use the most? Comment down below!