Your Guide to the Best Digital and Social Media Marketing Tools
From its infancy about 15 years ago to the present, social media marketing has grown and changed significantly. It used to be that you had to make, post, and engage with every social media post by hand, and that nothing was available to help you. Fortunately, this has changed quite a bit. In this guide, I will talk about the various types of tools that are available, and point you to some of the best.
General Marketing Tools
No matter what kind of marketing you do, chances are you’ll need quality tools. Here are some discussions about multipurpose tools which are highly adaptable.
Especially if you work in sales, one of the best tools out there is LinkedIn Sales Navigator. This tool allows you to find more sales leads faster. Leadpages is another great tool, because it allows you to customize landing pages to help generate sales leads. It’ll even help you with branding. Agorapulse is my favorite comprehensive social media manager. Loom is a free tool for video creation. Boomerang lets me take control of the email avalanche by reminding me to respond to people when necessary. Lastly, Monday.com is an excellent tool for those of us with a remote team.
If you need to communicate by video, 8x8 is an excellent conferencing service. Upwork allows me to find talented freelancers who help me get things done. Writer Access is similar to Upwork, but only works with writers and editors. For communications, Slack can’t be beat. I discuss several project managers: Asana, Trello and ProofHub. RescueTime helps me keep track of how I’m spending my hours. Agorapulse and CoSchedule help me know what to publish, and when. Also, don’t forget file sharing services.
Email Marketing Tools
Many of us remember a time when digital marketing was mostly for email. Then again, a whole lot more of it was just plain spam. Now that there’s been regulation in this area, it’s more important than ever to make our email contacts count. Here are some tools to help.
In this post, I talk about 15 different email marketing tools, and why you might want to use each of them. My personal favorite, though, is Active Campaign. They feature an iPhone app that lets me put potential customer information into the system, without having to log onto my computer. As someone who travels the world (when it isn’t locked down), this is invaluable. However, I also talk about many other tools that might be better for other people.
General Social Media Tools
Nowadays, social media is everywhere. In fact, to say that it’s become an important part of many of our lives is quite the understatement. As a result of this ubiquity, social media marketing is one of the fastest-growing areas of advertising spend. For that reason, we must be intelligent about how much money we spend, and where we spend it. Tools are, of course, a huge help.
Increasingly, great graphics are key to social media marketing success. Therefore, I thought it was time to give you a list of my favorite tools. Canva allows businesses to do graphic design with their brand features consistent, in a snap. Over is similar but works on a smartphone. Pikto Chart is awesome for infographics. Skitch is a simple tool that lets you mark up pictures and other files on your phone. QuotesCover is dedicated to putting quotes into fancy writing. PicMonkey is a graphic designer based on pictures you take with your camera, and finally, Pixir is a full-fledged editing tool like Photoshop.
On social media, competition among marketers is greater than ever. Since your social media presence is often a first impression, I give several tips on making the best posts. Central to my suggestions is the importance of making sure your posts show up in searches, and ensuring that posts are optimized for each social network.
As marketers, one of the most important things we can do is find out what people are saying about our brand through social listening. And, one of the easiest ways to do this through social media is with a listening tool. Although some social media managers include this functionality, others aren’t so good at it. Here, I give a list of 15 quality tools that you can deploy. Some are only for listening, while others are comprehensive social media managers.
This one’s a treatment of well-rounded social media management tools. By this, I mean the ones that will do a bunch of different things. For each one, I tell you about how much it costs, as well as its core features.
Of course, as most people know, my favorite is AgoraPulse. It’s strength is that you can do just about anything social-media related with this tool. Automate your posting, watch your analytics, and interact with other users all in one place.
Buffer and CoSchedule are also excellent all-round social media tools. They allow you to monitor a wide variety of social media accounts without working too hard. You also can buy basic service or add extra functionalities. That means these tools are cost-effective.
For teams, e-clincher has some excellent integrations that can make life easier. HootSuite is similar in this regard, with the addition of Slack functionality. They’re also one of the oldest names in this business. MeetEdgar will curate content for you, which helps make up for not having a lot of content.
IconoSquare and Later were originally Instagram tools, but now they work with multiple platforms. Similarly, Tailwind started with Instagram and has expanded to Pinterest. Post Planner and Promo Republic help you promote your stuff, but without your profile look like a giant advertisement.
Both Zoho Social and Social Pilot are simpler apps with big features. They’ll help you schedule and monitor, without weighing you down with stuff you don’t need. Finally, Sprout Social is an enterprise-grade all-in-one social media solution.
Influencer Marketing Tools
Since I’ve spent so much time studying influencer marketing, I can tell you that it is one of the hottest tools out there today. Unfortunately, because it involves so many unpredictable variables and personalities, this marketing discipline needs careful management. Luckily, enough other people see the value of it that they have developed some tools to help us make the most of our influencer marketing dollar.
Influencer marketing is a huge topic, so it’s no wonder that I have 64 tools that you can try out. I do note that this list doesn’t include a social media manager, however. Categories of tools discussed are social listening apps, blogger outreach utilities, influencer discovery services, marketplace management tools, agencies, and a handful of more eclectic tools. No matter what you need, there’s a good chance you’ll find something actionable.
Content Marketing Tools
Holly Chessman gives us a nice list of great content marketing tools. Best of all, they’re free. In categories, these tools include: writing aids, graphic design tools, “enhancement” or repurposing assistants, and social sharing aids. Finally, she gives us a list of other resources where we can find still more tools and tricks.
Being a content marketer can be hard work, not least because it requires so much creativity. So, I have a list of essential tools for you to try. Idea generation is important, as it forms the backbone of everything you do. Luckily, software developers have come up with plenty of fixes. For written content, there’s a plethora of writing aids available, along with some graphic design tools. Since everything you produce needs to be distributed, a wide variety of options have been developed, and I talk about some of the best.
Irina Webber gives us some of her best content marketing tools. MindNode helps develop and organize ideas. Playbuzz helps with content creation, while Canva makes it visual. If you need to collaborate, try MyBlogU, and Agorapulse for overall management. SERanking will help monitor search engines, while Finteza increases conversions.
Blogging is arguably one of the oldest forms of content marketing. Once upon a time, blogs were for nerdy people who liked to put their thoughts out there for all to see. Now however, they’re a valuable way to build a personal or corporate brand. So, how do we accomplish this? With tools, of course!
Dave Schneider gives us a look into the world of competitive blog analysis. In short, this is a technique to see what your competitors are doing, and build insight into how they think. You want to know what works for them, so that if it’s relevant you can try it to. Then, Schneider gives us a quick look into how to carry out this type of research. Finally, he suggests some tools to help us.
In this post, I give a variety of tools to help you be a successful blogger, and they are broken into categories. First, research tools help you decide what to write about, and how to write it. Next, writing tools help with the mechanics of writing so that you’ll make a good impression. Then, I show you how graphic design tools help bloggers too. Social media promotion is key to driving traffic and revenue. Blog promotion and email marketing also help increase readership. Lastly, analytics tools help you see what works, and what doesn’t.
For any given social network, tools can help make your marketing all the more effective. In the case of Facebook, whose ads platform also manages your Instagram ads, you might need more tools to manage your Facebook marketing than you might think!
Even with the rise of influencer marketing, sometimes it is advantageous to buy traditional ads. However, even though ads don’t talk back, you still need tools to help you be successful. Here are some tools that can help you.
Ad management tools
Ad management tools help you coordinate your work with other people. They can also be used to ensure that your company’s financial information is protected. Some of the better ones also give you analytics that are built in. Examples include: Facebook Ads Manager (native), Qwaya, AdEspresso, Hootsuite Ads, Adstage, Wordstream Social Ads, AdHawk, and Pagemodo.
Needless to say, it sometimes takes more than one try to make a sale. To that end, I’ve included some retargeting tools. These are AdRoll and Perfect Audience.
So you don’t have to do everything by hand, here are some automation tools to try. Connectio, RevealBot, and Smartly.io are all options. Keep in mind that some of them have minimum spends, so you will want to ensure that fits into your budget.
Behind every quality advertisement is some great design work. Here, I recommend Canva for its graphic design excellence. Also, check out Unsplash when you’re ready to turn photography into something special. You can even use their clip art with a commercial license.
Instagram is one of the most popular tools for influencer marketing. Given its encouragement of visual content, this probably isn’t surprising. Here are some posts on how to impress on this network.
These days, Instagram is one of the biggest players in the social media marketing game. This is especially true when you’re talking about influencer marketing. Fortunately, there are plenty of tools to help you navigate the jungle.
First on my list is the comprehensive tools. These are great because you get a lot of functionality in one place. Tools covered include: Tailwind, AgoraPulse, Sendible, Later, Sked Social, and Plann.
Hashtag research tools
If you want to reach the right people, you’ll need to use the right hashtags. Fortunately, there are tools available that can help. I’ve included six: HishHash, Display Purposes, All-Hashtags, HashtagsForLikes, Smarthash, and Flick.
Finally, it’s critical that you keep track of analytics. This will allow you to adjust your strategy as necessary. There are four of these: Sotrender, Owlmetrics, Iconosquare, and Social Insider.
Although there are a lot more tools out there, these should help you get started. They’ll even let you scale your Instagram operations for quite a while.
Robert Katai tells us how to catch people’s attention on Instagram. First, use high-quality photo editing and banner creation software. Consider adding quotations, or even an infographic. Resize images so they’ll look their best on a particular social network. Don’t be afraid to use stock photos, or even use a slow shutter on your phone’s camera. Lastly, put text over images, when appropriate.
Although LinkedIn is a professional network with a lot of restrictions on marketing, it’s still possible to do. You’ll have to work around privacy constraints. Not only that, but the API is very restricted, and so is any bot use. So, I’ve listed some tools that can help you.
Even LinkedIn has to help
Even though it has privacy built in, the makers of LinkedIn do have a few tools to help with marketing. Sales Navigator is a Premium subscription that is intended for sales professionals. At its most basic, Sales Navigator lets you do more comprehensive searches for decision makers. It also comes with a limited number of InMails, which are used to contact people outside your network. Sales Navigator for Gmail is a LinkedIn-approved plugin that lets you see snapshots of someone’s LinkedIn account.
Knowing who you’re dealing with
Some tools help you extract information from profiles. These include both approved apps and unapproved data scrapers. Keep in mind that the latter is technically not allowed, even though they’re common.
OK, even on LinkedIn we tend not to have enough time to manage things manually. CRMs and automation tools let you both interact with your network and look for new people. All at the touch of a button.
Finally, I give some analytics tools that will help you. Some are specific to LinkedIn, while others plug into more general sources like Google Analytics. Either way, if you’re in sales or marketing these are highly valuable.
An oldie but goodie, Twitter is where movers and shakers hang out to debate each other and disseminate information. Not only that, but it’s an excellent place to spread your brand message or interface with customers.
In order to send a Tweet, it’s necessary to use some form of a Twitter client. So, I did a survey of the top influencers and their client of choice. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Twitter itself was used to send almost 60% of Tweets. You could say the original is always the most popular. I also talk about a variety of other clients that influencers use, from other Twitter-specific clients all the way to social media managers such as Agorapulse.
Tammy Kahn Fennell gives us a list of analytics tools, and teaches us how to use them. The first one is hashtags.org, and it helps you track hashtag performance over time. #TagBoard acts a lot like a social listening tool, only with hashtags. MarketMeSuite and its realtime lookup let you see what hashtags are doing at a moment in time. Twitonomy gives analytics on specified tags. Lastly, RiteTag will help you pick the best hashtag, whatever you’re developing.
While Pinterest isn't the most popular of social networks, it can surely be effective for marketing, especially if you're an ecommerce brand targeting a female demographic. Here's some tools that can help you along the way!
Pinterest is a social network that we marketers don’t use quite as much. After all, the membership is more niche and much smaller than sites like Instagram. However, there are still plenty of things to work with.
These tools help you schedule your Pins for the right time. They’ll also help you keep those boards fresh. Listed are Tailwind, Viral Tag, and Viral Woot. Each has a different set of advantages and features.
In order to post anything, it’s necessary to generate some awesome content. Pinterest is an almost exclusively visual platform, so I have included some design tools. These are Canva (my favorite), Stencil, Crello, PicMonkey, and Snappa. All of these have settings available that help you optimize the post for Pinterest.
If you’re the sort that likes to collaborate, you’ll love these gathering spots. Both Tailwind Tribes and PinGroupie are options to check out. In fact, I run a Tribe on Pinterest.
What’s the point of creating awesome content if nobody is going to find it? Using promotion tools, you can increase your chances. The ones I discuss are Pinterest Widget Builder, MiloTree, Woobox, and TastyPins. Finally, check out the Pinterest analytics functionalities to see how you’re doing.
My goal is to continue to publish blog posts about digital and social media marketing tools while also revising these published posts to give you the most up-to-date information possible. If there is an area where you are looking for a social media tool and you can't find one here, please contact me!
Grab My Free Social Media Tools Guide!
Help your business scale your Social Media ROI in this free guide: Social Media Tools Guide for Business Buyers Guide.