From sole trader to multinational, every company faces the same problem: how can you can increase the impact of your marketing and SEO work without increasing how much time, money or energy you put into that work? Fortunately, while the big brands might have to spend a few million on consultants, small and medium sized businesses can improve their results with a few apps and online tools. And best of all, many of them are free. Here are some of our favourites.
We’ve been fans of this owl-branded app for a decade now, and it’s got better every year. In its current incarnation, Hootsuite provides an excellent way to manage and schedule content across multiple social media networks and apps. It makes it easy to coordinate your schedule and – even better – you can automate parts of that work. For example, the tool can figure out when the best time is to post a new image or automatically scatter updates across a week or two so that your followers get a trickle of fresh content even when you’re away from your desk. Adding an analytical side that lets you learn more about what works and what doesn’t is icing on an already very jammy cake.
Makes email responses and running an e-newsletter easy and – at least sometimes – fun. Build your look using their templates, upload content for each new edition, and paste the code to collect new sign ups on your website. Voila! Your work is done, and if you really want to you can schedule a year’s worth of newsletters in one go and ignore the whole thing until 2019. We don’t recommend this approach, but it’s probably saved one or two stressed business owners from just deleting the whole list. As an added bonus, as Mailchimp can manage and automate email responses, such as sending a discount code to people who have filled a cart in your e-commerce store but not checked out. Regular reports will let you know how your mailing lists and tickler emails are doing so you can keep improving with minimal admin.
The name stands for ‘If this, then that’ and that’s what the service does: it connects your devices, apps and/or social media accounts and then acts according to rules you set. This makes it ideal for automating updates and for creating clever reactive content and can also make it easier to keep on top of multiple accounts and social media profiles. As an example, you can easily set IFTTT to translate an alert or notification on one service (such as a direct message on Twitter) into another, more easily accessible form (such as an email). IFTTT can also help you automate coverage, for example by automatically posting pictures to your Facebook page when you share them on Instagram and include a certain hashtag or posting your Facebook page updates to LinkedIn.
Find out what’s hot in your industry and what’s working for your competitors in terms of social media marketing and SEO using BuzzSumo. This service gathers data from around the web to give you a picture of what’s going on in your industry. You can create and monitor broad searches – such as ‘marketing’ or ‘plumbing’ as well as refining and narrowing your data input, perhaps by location (‘plumbing in Southampton’) or channel (#plumbing on Twitter). It also gives you data across multiple social networks and historical information up to 12 months old, so you can see what worked for your competitors last Christmas while planning this year’s campaign to beat them.
Get a second – or third or thirtieth – use out of your best content. Edgar is a tool that manages a queue of content and posts it at intervals. This is ideal if you have – or are building – a library of evergreen content which will attract users to your site, and want to share it on social media repeatedly without being annoying. An example of a good way to use this to build SEO would be to first post a video, product information article or how to on your site and set Edgar to share it. The same how-to articles – particularly seasonal ones – have relevance year after year and will find a new audience each time. Don’t let content get buried in your vaults – set Edgar to release it!
Where do you find all this great content to share, inspiration for your own work and people to follow anyway? PostPlanner gathers content from across the web and sorts, rates and ranks it based on engagement, relevance and performance. This makes it easy to find and share content which is of interest to your users, even if your industry or local area are fairly news-light. It can also automatically recycle popular posts and lets you schedule content ahead of time.
What works for you?
If you’ve read this far, you’ll notice that several of our favourite tools have features that overlap. As a professional SEO and marketing team, we manage accounts across multiple social media networks for our clients, so we use these tools in an intensive way and benefit from having everything from a scalpel to a chainsaw in our toolkit. However, we know that for many small and medium size businesses, simplicity is key. That’s why, if you’re really looking to save time and energy while creating an effective social media and marketing strategy we have one top recommendation – let us do it for you. Contact us today and find out how affordable it can be to hire an expert.