I love finding new social media tools.  These days they seem to be popping up everywhere, and while tools are nothing without a strategy, having the right ones can simplify your social efforts.  Big time.

 

Social Monitoring & Publishing Tools

Sprout Social (Paid)

I upgraded to Sprout Social a few weeks ago and I have to say, I love it!  I actually recommend it over Hootsuite these days because of it’s crazy simple user interface & it’s collaboration abilities.  I could talk about Sprout for days but I definitely love the fact that they group all engagement into one smart inbox for your review.  Reports and metrics are usually pretty hard to interpret as well but Sprout makes it easy- peasy. (Sprout starts at $39.99/mo)

Stacker (Free)

Think Buffer on steroids!  Stacker has now become my go-to tool when it comes to Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn publishing.  Not only can I publish content, I can also monitor all my accounts from one smart & convenient inbox + download fantastic engagement reports.  My all-time favorite feature is their approval process (available with their paid account) because my interns get to set drafts I can later approve AND give them recommendations if I choose to reject a post. Magic!  Just the perfect tool for social media managers, businesses owners and even agencies.

Rignite (Paid)

My favorite feature from Rignite is their amazing content- campaign option.  Rignite not only lets you set your blog posts, sales promotions, it even allows you to place Facebook  & Twitter contests on auto-pilot (up to 6 months in advance).  It really does save SO much time to place re-occurring posts on a content calendar.  Definitely my go-to tool when it comes to running these types of campaigns.

Buffer (Free)

Buffer is a publishing tool that allows you to schedule posts on a queue (and most recently lets you custom-schedule as well) for Twitter, Facebook Pages, LinkedIn Profiles & Pages as well as Google + Pages.  It’s nifty and easy to use.  If you’re a personal brand or a small business, this is a fantastic publishing tool for you.  However, if you’re looking to manage a large quantity of accounts, I don’t necessarily recommend using Buffer.  Their software tends to get a bit glitchy when you schedule in bulk  and editing the posts after they are queued is a bit of a hassle.  (Buffer is free & the upgrade starts at $9.99/mo)

Viral Woot (Paid)

Did you know you can schedule your pins on Pinterest in advance?  Boom! I love this tool.  Viral Woot is the cheapest tool I’ve found for Pinterest scheduling.  Because Pinterest’s API is private, only a select number of applications have an ‘in’ with the company and are able to offer scheduling tools for the public.  Watch out thought, if you want to upload your own photos & graphics to Pinterest be sure to sign up for their premium plan.

 

Editorial Calendar & Content Curation

Trello (Free)

Trello is my  all-time favorite project management tool.  It keeps me and my team on track with our tasks, meetings and client calendars.  The cool thing is, Trello doubles as my top-knotch, super-techy editorial calendar.  The best part is that it’s free, there’s a business option that you can explore, but for the most part, the free version works like a gem!  Here’s why your business NEEDS one of these social media editorial calendar asap: Read this.

Co-Schedule (Paid)

This dope app syncs with WordPress websites to create an awesome editorial calendar.  Not only does it let you organize and set up drafts for blogs, its also a great social media publishing tool.  Get this, co-schedule lets you schedule content to Pinterest (yes, seriously), Google +, Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn.  I definitely rely on Co-Schedule to keep myself & my team’s content creation process organized.

Feedly (Free)

Having a hard time keeping up with your favorite blogs and news sources?  Google reader used to help with that but Feedly is an awesome alternative.  It hooks up nicely with Sprout & Buffer so you can curate awesome content to share with your audience.

Buzz Sumo (Free)

Buzz Sumo is my go-to tool for researching what is being shared on social.  It comes especially in-handy when I’m trying to figure out which headline to choose for my upcoming blog post OR whenever I’m trying to research good blog post topics.  Just type in a keyword in the search bar and a list of the most popular blog headlines being shared on social pop up.

 

Graphics Creation

Canva

If you know me, you definitely know that I’m head-over-heels in love with this graphic design tool.  Canva is simply amazing.  You can create anything from gorgeous business cards to Facebook cover photos in just a few minutes.  Canva comes with phenomenal templates that are fully customizable and allow you to drag and drop virtually anything.  You can find some of my Canva tutorials here & here (this stuff is too good to pass up, btw!).

iPhone

Whether you’re a Droid ninja or an Apple fanatic,  having your smart phone ready to capture photos & videos is especially useful these days.  From capturing HD video to creating gorgeous photos of your products; smart phones are giving DSLR cameras a run for their money.

Big Stock

While I’m a strong believer that you should aim to create your own stock images, sometimes we don’t have the time or resources to do so.  Check out Big Stock for inexpensive stock images for your blog or website.

Death To The Stock Photo (Paid & Free)

I love these peeps.  They offer a wide array of awesome stock images that are updated on a monthly basis.  You can access the entire library for $4.99 per month.  It’s beautiful!

Unsplash (Free)

Unsplash is also a great source of free, stock images.  Photographers upload a set of new images every month that are free for the public to use.  Check ’em out too.

qSnap (Free)

Oh man, this thing is awesome.   Qnap lets you capture your screen and add text, shapes and even share them across browsers.

 

Analytics

Facebook Insights (Free)

There’s so much data you can pull from your Facebook Insights that can be helpful for understanding your target demographic, their interests, likes and overall behavior.  Use this data to test out your marketing ideas and gather insights on your clients and customers.

Twitter Analytics (Free)

Twitter also provides some great stats, for free.  Start using them!

Google Analytics (Free)

Ok, so if at this point you’re not serious about your website data, it’s time to get started!  Their social section offers some awesome data on the amount of traffic your social networks are sending over to your website and whether or not those visitors are converting into leads.  You CAN see if social media is making you actual money.  Start measuring this data ASAP.

SocialBro (Free & Paid)

I love social bro.  It’s inexpensive and gives me a great deal of insights in terms of the ideal times I should be posting on Twitter and also detailed information about followers, including important details about influencers.  Definitely a tool I wouldn’t want to live without.

Bitly (Free)

Bitly not only provides me with pretty links for ugly URL’s, it also lets me track the amount of clicks I get from social to different pages and posts.  This is especially awesome for tracking traffic to giveaway landing pages or sales pages.

 

Research

Twitter Search (Free)

Twitter search is my favorite tool for finding potential leads and connecting with future prospects.  I also love to use it for market research and figuring out what my target audience is talking about,  what their challenges and pain points are and how I can help.  Set up a strategic stream of keywords with Hootsuite, Twilert or SproutSocial so you can also track what customers are saying about your products, programs or services.

Google Alerts (Free)

Google Alerts keep me up to date with the latest mentions of online topics I’m interested in, my competitors and also any mentions of my company.

Google Trends (Free)

I love Google trends for content research.  It’s a phenomenal tool that allows me to view interests that are trending in real time.  Next time your write a blog post or try to figure out which product to design, check out Google trends for some cool ideas.

 

Facebook Apps + Lead Generation Tools

Lead Pages (Paid)

I use lead pages all the time to provide free giveaways and sales pages on my website & grow my email list.  It’s one of those indispensable tools I could never, ever give up.  Setting up a uber-professional landing page is as easy as dragging & dropping items on web page without ANY coding knowledge.  Plus, their stylish templates provide a ton of data.

ShortStack (Free & Paid)

Ever wanted to run a contest, giveaway or set up a video landing page on Facebook? Shortstack is my tool of choice when it comes to lead- gen.

 

WordPress Plugins

Flare (Free)

I’ve tried a ton of social media plugins in the past but my all-time favorite is definitely Flare.  It’s condensed, reliable and really stylish.

Pin It Button (Free)

Have you tried the JQuery Pin It Button?  I love this darn thing because it encourages visitors pin graphics on my website without being intrusive. Check it out.

Click-To-Tweet (Free)

This is literally my favorite way to promote my stuff on Twitter (and my client’s love it btw).  Click to tweet lets you pre-craft a tweet that you can then place in any page of your website to encourage visitors to share your content in one easy step.  This way visitors don’t have to spend time coming up with an actual status update, it’s there ready for them to use and they can even choose to tweak it as they like.

 

Video

Screencast-o-matic (Free & Paid)

I shoot every single one of my video tutorials on Screencast-o-matic and their premium account is only $15 per year.  I wouldn’t trade this little gadget for any fancy-shmanzy screen recorder out there.

YouTube (Free)

YouTube is a no-brainer when it comes to sharing video with my pals.  There are a ton of other great options but for my public videos, I always choose YouTube.

Google Drive (Free)

With over 30 gigs of free storage space, Google Drive is essential to accessing my files from multiple devices and keeping my team in the loop.

So there you have it.  My top social media & content creation tools.  While there are a gazillion other tools out there; try a few of these out and stick to the ones that make your life simpler.

Now it’s your turn.  What other tools should I add below?  Add your insight in the comments below!

 

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