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The Best Free Social Media Management Tools

In this post we’ll share our favorite social media planning tools, our favorite places to find inspiration for content, and more tools to help maximize your efforts online. All of the tools listed below are FREE. Some offer subscriptions for more features, but we are only sharing tools that still have value in their free versions.

News and Articles

We like to ease into the work day with a strong cup of coffee, a quick check for urgent emails, and then we dive into our favorite websites while we wait for the caffeine to hit. We use the below websites to stay up-to-date on marketing news and our clients’ industries. We believe in sharing outside material for about one-third of posts, so here is where we find some of our outside content.

  1. Social Media Today: They share the latest news, trends, and tips in social media. We recommend subscribing to their newsletter to make sure you catch the most important updates. 
  2. Social Media Examiner: Another great source for social media news! They release an annual social media report filled with so many helpful graphs. They also have a podcast that we listen to while working.
  3.  Moz: Moz is more geared for SEO, but they offer great tips for promoting your content, and increasing your search engine page results.
  4. Medium: Medium is a great publishing platform to find industry related news, and to syndicate your content. 
  5. Mix: We like to call this the Pinterest of interesting articles. You choose the topics your interested in viewing, and it creates a customized board of “pins” consisting of article snippets. We love using this a source to find articles to post on our clients’ pages, and to share our own content.
  6. Google Scholar: Nothing beats a scholarly peer-reviewed article.
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Why you need a social media policy

In this post we will explain what a social media policy is and why you need one. We will conclude the article with a social media policy template, and examples of social media policies.

Why Your Company Needs a Social Media Policy

At one of my jobs, a patron of ours was very active on Facebook, and friend requested vendor employees, company liaisons, and customers. Election season came, and everyone had a stance on their candidate choice. She made the bold decision to post “Anyone who is voting for [Presidential Candidate] can unfriend me, and never speak to me again”. Well, of course, her customers saw it, her bosses saw it, and she ended up losing her job. This declaration in front of the company’s audience hurt their reputation and relationships. If the company had a social media policy in place, this scenario could have been potentially avoided.

What is a Social Media Policy?

Common Marketing Abbreviations, Terms, and Acronyms

When you’re new to the world of marketing, it can be intimidating to come across so many abbreviations, terms, and acronyms. Today, we’re going to break down all of those, so you can better immerse yourself in digital marketing.

Split Testing and A/B Testing:

Split testing is when you experiment with different variables in a post/ad/email to see which version yields the best results. The best practice is to just change one variable between the different versions, for example: changing the photo or font used in an ad, using a different tone in a post, etc. A/B Testing is a type of split testing where two versions of a post/ad/email are created, so you can see which one performs best.

API: Application Programming Interface

An API is an endpoint for access to certain data/functionalities to an application. When I did sales for a tech company, I basically thought of it as the “wires” that connected one website’s information to another website e.g. Hootsuite displaying data from Facebook. APIs are always changing and if you use a social media management platform, it is important to keep up on these changes as it may affect what you can access from your social media platforms while using an automation tool

BR: Bounce Rate

Websites: A bounce is when a user visits your website and leaves before clicking any content.

Snapchat/Instagram Stories: A “bounce” is when someone skips through your ad/post, and does not view it in full.

Email: A bounce occurs when the intended recipient does not receive your email. There are two types of bounces, “hard bounces” and “soft bounces”. The type of bounce you receive determines the action you should take.

Soft vs Hard Bounces

Soft bounce: This does not mean that your recipient will necessarily never receive your emails. This may occur if their inbox is full, they have an out-of-office reply set up, or if your email’s size is too large. Try to keep your emails under 10MG. Keep track of the soft bounces, because if they occur repeatedly, the user may have abandoned their email address. I recommend removing them from your mailing list after four soft bounces.

Hard bounce: This occurs mainly when you’ve been given a false email or your email has been blocked. Remove these users from your mailing list immediately.

Understanding Facebook’s 3 Basic KPIs

Welcome back! We wanted to write a quick description of Facebook’s KPIs– Engagement, Reach, and Impressions. If you’re new to marketing KPI stands for Key Performance Indicator… these are the metrics you use to track your campaign’s success. Don’t worry! We have a blog post coming up soon breaking down marketing abbreviations. Personally, I’m not a fan of abbrevs in general(see what I did there? I cringed too.).

According to Facebook, here are their definitions of those metrics:

  • Engagement: Number of people who engaged with your post. This includes any click or story created, and looks at unique users.
  • Reach: Number of people who had any content from your post or about your post enter their screen. This also measures unique users.
  • Impressions: Number of times any content from your post or about your post entered a person’s screen. This is a total count of all views from all users. You should expect this number to be higher than the others.

If you’re new to social media, you may think likes and followers are the most important metric, but in the industry these are considered vanity likes. Yes, lots of likes can look impressive, but it does not necessarily mean that those likes are converting to leads or sales. For me, engagement is the most important metric (and in my opinion, the most difficult!), but the importance of them will vary based on your marketing goals.

What metrics are most important to you? How did you get over the engagement “hump”, or what methods are you trying? We’d love to hear from you!

ProfileSara Corbin is the owner of Good Karma Marketing. She loves being involved in the Raleigh community. She’s a proud owner of two pit-mix mutts, and enjoys cheese plates and everything lavender.

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