Top 10 social media tools for small- and medium-size businesses

By Dave McGurgan | @dmcgurgan

Emerging Media - Twitter Bird

Photo courtesy of mkhmarketing(CC Attribution)

There are many, many choices when it comes to selecting the best social media tools for your business. Pricing on these tools varies widely, from those offering free or freemium versions, to some with hefty price tags.

If you’re just diving into social media and assembling your toolkit, or if you’re doing an audit of your current tool lineup, here are 10 great tools that come in less than $100.00.

One of the best: Sprout Social

Sprout Social logo

Sprout Social is one of Four Dog Creative’s favorite social media tools.

Our pick for one of the most comprehensive social media tools is definitely Sprout Social. For $99 per month, you get three primary values: a full monitoring and publishing dashboard, a pretty thorough analytics package to produce beautiful reports, and excellent social customer service and engagement functionality. They regularly push out new features to the platform, which is why Sprout Social is an awesome choice for small- and medium-sized businesses looking to better manage and grow their social presences.

Best bet for link-shortening and analytics: Bit.ly

Bitly logo

Know how your social media links are performing.

Bit.ly is a great link shortener can be used for social media, mobile, branding, metrics and content marketing. Bit.ly is a data-driven tool and savvy marketers can use it to be more efficient by tracking leads and sales, determining best times to tweet and gathering audience intelligence.

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Visual content creation made easy: Canva

Canva logo

The web and mobile are going visual.

The web and social media is becoming increasingly visual. Canva helps social media managers address this trend with a tool that allows users to create pre-sized assets for social networks and the web. Canva aims to be the go-to tool for all sorts of different visual content, but one of its sweet spots is social. If you can drag and drop, you can use Canva. What Canva can’t help you do is become a better graphic designer overnight, though they do have plenty of tutorials for those willing to invest the time to improve their visual content output. This is one of the social media tools every social media manager should be aware of.

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The next wave of visual content creation? Relay

Relay logo

Visual content creation is made easier with Relay.

Another great tool for creating visual marketing content is Relay. In a way, Relay has beat Canva at its own game, by providing predefined templates that are very contemporary and perhaps superior to Canva’s offerings, as well as providing users with many styles that are to-the-point and effective.

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Get more mileage out of your social media updates: Edgar

Edgar logo

Get the most out of your social media content.

This is another one of our favorite social media tools. Content curation for social media accounts requires a lot of time, research and effort. And oftentimes, curated content is only used once and the quest for new content never ends. The folks at Edgar realize the one-and-done model isn’t effective; you should get more mileage out of your curated content. Edgar allows users to build a deep library of content that gets perpetually reused and automatically parsed out at scheduled times.

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A content curator’s best friend: Feedly

Feedly logo

Feedly makes ingesting a lot of content easier.

Content curation requires ingesting a lot of content and then determining which content is suitable to repurpose for their target audience. Skilled curators can seriously increase their organization’s influence and position themselves as subject matter experts. But of course, no one has time to read hundreds of articles a day. Feedly helps aggregate feeds from your go-to sites and deliver them in a format where you can easily process and parse content. It integrates with many other solutions, including Sprout Social. This is one of several social media tools that we cannot go without at Four Dog Creative.

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Know what they’re saying about your brand: Mention

 

Mention logo

Mention helps you monitor real-time discussions.

This is a really powerful media monitoring tool that allows you to get real-time updates about your brand, your competitors, industries, keywords, etc. Mention is especially good for finding conversations to participate in and it also helps build engagement across social networks.

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Hubspot alternative at a great price point: Spokal

 

Spokal logo

Spokal: Big marketing for small businesses.

There’s little dispute that HubSpot is the leader when it comes to inbound marketing. But, their pricing can be pretty steep, especially for smaller businesses. Spokal offers many of the functionalities an inbound marketer would need to get started with inbound, at a fraction of the cost of HubSpot. Spokal’s bundle of services includes SEO, keyword suggestions and research and lead nurturing, to name a few.

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Not for use with clickbait: Click to Tweet

 

Clicktotweet logo

Pre-populate Twitter posts to promote your content.

This easy-to-use tool is a very simple solution to promote and advertise your blog, website and business on Twitter. Clicktotweet allows you to create tweet-about-this links you can drop into your content. The end result is a non-intrusive call-to-action that can help drive traffic to landing pages, build awareness for your brand and get more eyeballs to your website.

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Read it later, watch it later: Pocket

 

Pocket

Save your content to consume later with Pocket.

This tool helps solve the problem of being able to conveniently capture and organize content to read/watch later, including articles, blogs and video. Pocket integrates with more than 1,500 apps, so it’s easy to add things to it, no matter what tools you’re using. Plus, it syncs well across devices for access on-the-go.