Best Social Media Tools: Let’s be honest, social media is a jungle. Forget the flood of apps, integrations and add-ons, just figuring out which network you should invest in is an impossible task.
What if you asked influential online marketers one question, “Which social media tool is your all-time favorite, on desert islands, impossible to live without?”
That’s exactly what I did.
“Instagram is my favorite social network because of the ease of creating social stories. From fun personal accounts – like Small Chalk and Adam Padilla – to corporate brands, it connects people more instantly and deeply than any other platform. I still haven’t forgiven them for introducing the algorithm. But I can’t give up on you, Insta.”
“I use social media almost as a pure response tool. And I don’t launch any new app, platform or social media tool until I’m 100% committed to them. My goal on Twitter is to keep in touch and express my appreciation for the people who support me. Once I built an audience on these platforms, my goals and execution changed.”
“Buffer. Three reasons. (1) You can install a browser widget that allows you to save any page or image you come across to Buffer to send immediately or later. (2) Its Content Inbox: I can type in the URL of my favorite blog and Buffer instantly creates a huge list of tweets from that blog. (3) The company is transparent. I don’t expect every company to publish data about how much they make and how much they pay people like Buffer does, but it’s a warm and fuzzy approach that helps disconnected people like me see the people behind the software company.
“With BuzzSumo, you can see what’s hot in your field on social media and what’s not. From there, you can get ideas on what blog posts you should write to attract traffic and leads. The best thing about BuzzSumo is that it shows who has shared content, so you can contact those influencers and ask them to share your content as well.”
“Native video is the most common type of post on Facebook, it attracts three times as many users as posts with links, and twice as many as posts with photos. I love using Animoto’s great templates, themes and stock music. Its marketing builder tool also makes it super-duper easy to add text overlays – vital for video with sound in the Facebook newsfeed, since 80% of video ads on Facebook are viewed with the sound off.”
6. Fresh web explorer from Moz
“Next to BuzzSumo – and this doesn’t sound biased – my favorite tool is Moz’s Keyword Explorer brand mention feature. It’s great for setting up mention alerts as well as finding content to share on social media with keyword notifications. The mention authority feature works directly with Moz’s page and domain authority metrics and helps weed out all the noise that typically occurs with generic monitoring tools.”
7. Map Tweeps
“The problem with a lot of marketing these days is that it’s not laser-focused and too broad. I use Tweeps Map because it gives me a visual representation of the geographic location of my subscribers. I can then target subscribers from certain regions and make sure the content is relevant and valuable to those subscribers.”
“Sumo is a hybrid tool that’s a bit like a Swiss Army knife. It has helped me thrive and survive in the digital wilderness by creating social sharing buttons – on the website, SMS, Flipboard and WhatsApp – and tracking social metrics in blog posts. I really like the Welcome Mat feature: a pop-up that captures emails. In less than 12 months, it has garnered over 40,000 email subscribers.”
“Tailwind has been a lifesaver over the years, allowing my team to work faster and more efficiently when posting to Pinterest. It’s a scheduling app on steroids that helps you not only choose when to post for maximum engagement, but also choose what can go viral thanks to pixel-matching technology and image recognition capabilities. You can easily measure the virality of a pin and repost that content to keep increasing the number of users on the platform.
Don’t sleep on Pinterest. Their introverted user base is passionate about consuming online content, and Tailwind can help you get it out to more potential customers faster.”
“I like to keep things simple and orderly: Less is more. A tool I use all the time is Elevate: LinkedIn’s employee advocacy tool. I use it to share, organize and measure all the content I post on my three main social accounts: LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. I post content from Elevate daily and track engagement.”
11. Twitter’s mode of promotion
“Now that the days of organic content distribution on social media for content marketing are long gone, the most valuable social media tools are the advertising features of the platforms themselves. Facebook (and Instagram), of course, but also Twitter, given its high-profile resurgence. We’re testing Twitter Promote Mode, which, for a recurring monthly fee, promises to provide consistently broader reach – just like the good old days.”
12. Facebook Audience Insights
“I’m big on audiences: figuring out what your target customers’ interests, behaviors, and demographics are. I use Facebook Audience Insights to do this because it tells you just about everything you want to know: job titles, education level, lifestyle, location, household information, buying behavior and more.
“By better understanding who your target audience is, you can more accurately create content that they’re likely to perceive.”
13. Sprout Social
“Every marketer has a different approach and needs for social media tools. Regardless of the unique features of the tools, we all have one common need: tracking the effectiveness of the content we share. Not only does Sprout Social measure performance metrics such as engagement and clicks, but most importantly, it offers UTM tracking.
“The simplicity of Sprout’s UTM tracker allows me to align my social efforts with the optimization and traffic attraction efforts measured by Google Analytics.”
14. Kicksta (formerly Kickstagram)
“With the new Instagram algorithm change, consistently posting at the right time has become even more important. Kicksta makes it easy to upload, process photos, schedule and add hashtags to the first comment from the desktop. For hashtags, I use 80% fixed and 20% individual. This gives my team more time to focus on real-time engagement, which is life or death on social media.”
“Historically, marketers have been hesitant to move to short video platforms, even though social media as an industry is constantly moving in that direction (see Snapchat, Instagram Stories, Fleets, Reels, Shorts, etc.) Before TikTok there was Vine, Dubsmash, Musical.ly, Triller, etc. Currently, forecasts predict that TikTok will reach 1.2 billion monthly active users (MAU) in 2021, putting it on par with Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, YouTube and WeChat. TikTok will be followed by another platform focused on short-term video.
“Whether it’s running influencer campaigns with TikTok celebrities, using TikTok for businesses to run paid ads or creating an organic branded audience, it will make sense for marketers to have a presence on this platform in 2021 and beyond. It’s not just for members of Generation Z who like to dance; the rest of us are just better at hiding our (over)use. In addition, the short-form video content you create for TikTok can always be shared on *cough notes* almost all other major social media platforms.”
“My favorite tool is Venngage. As someone who really enjoys experimenting with the potential of visual content and visual communication, having access to an infographic creation tool that is so easy to use accelerates my visual output. Whether you’re creating graphics for social media, SlideShare or presentations, Venngage is very versatile and intuitive.”
“I like using If This Then That (IFTTT) to enable the Twitter feature to publish images that were originally published to Instagram. You can set specific criteria with hashtags or set it to automatically publish to Twitter by default. IFTTT also offers an almost limitless number of social and cross-platform “recipes.””
18. Rival IQ
“Rival IQ is a terrific tool for comparing social media engagement metrics and the most effective content to competitors. Insightful and easy to use, it includes automated custom reporting. One click and BAM – you have a PDF or PowerPoint with all the information you need to make better social media decisions. We use it daily.”
“Instagram has always been Pura Vida’s dominant channel. We are the No. 1 jewelry brand with the most users, and that has to do with our influencers, micro-influencers, aesthetics and – above all – our amazing community.”
“But if I had to pick one tool, it would be Yotpo. We have over 319,000 five-star reviews, and that kind of social proof drives conversions like nothing else. However, it’s Yotpo’s social integrations – things like the ease of finding, finding, publishing, sharing and presenting user-generated content – and doing it all on a native level that makes it so indispensable.”
“Twitter remains my primary social media platform. But Twitter alone is unmanageable. So I use Followerwonk to understand who my audience is when they are most likely to interact, and to find followers who overlap with similar social profiles and influencers. Its analysis feature – which integrates with Buffer – tells you exactly when to post the most important updates to get attention.”
“This tool will attract more traffic in less time than all your other tools combined. It’s similar to Buffer, but it never runs out of traffic. Posts scheduled in CoSchedule can stay in rotation. Once you’ve checked your best content based on historical data, set up CoSchedule to share it on your chosen network(s) at least a few times a day. You’ve just saved at least six to eight hours per month.”
“Have you ever wished you had a graphic designer 24/7 to turn your social media ideas into great graphics? Then you’ll love WordSwag. It’s a mobile app that turns your ideas, quotes and content into eye-catching graphics that can be shared on Facebook, Instagram and wherever. In less than five minutes, you’ll have high-quality, visually appealing graphics that will make your followers think you have a graphic designer on call.”
“Quuu is a content promotion platform. I use the promotion side to distribute everything. Every article is vetted by a real person before it is approved because the goal is to promote only the highest quality content. Once an article gets the green light, Quuu adds it to its huge distribution network, which is great because I can see the number of views and clicks for each article.”
“Most B2B companies on social media are missing a huge opportunity. Employees, customers and clients won’t post positive comments if they don’t like you. Also, you have to be proactive and make it easy to share information. Oktopost’s “Reinforce” and “Collaborate” features are designed to do just that: both internally and externally. But love has to be the foundation.”
“By connecting Ahrefs to the Google Search Console and doing a simple setup, I can monitor my own site as well as those of my competitors to get ideas for new keywords that I can use for blogging, YouTube videos and social media posts.
I especially like the Search Suggestions feature in the Keyword Explorer section because it makes it easy to find keywords and browse the data I need. Ahrefs gives each keyword a difficulty score, shows local and global search volume, and expected clicks.
While we tend to think of SEO as a Google+ game, I also use this method for LinkedIn, my favorite social media platform. By collecting keywords in the Rank Tracker section of Ahrefs, I can track which keywords have the most volume and include those words in my LinkedIn posts, using web search popularity as a clue about what might be popular on LinkedIn, or at least popular relative to other relevant keywords I’m targeting.”
26. Facebook Messenger
“Social media is getting more personal, and customers are really talking to companies. I’m not talking about high-level comments or conversations. I’m talking about customers ready to make a transaction. That’s why I love Facebook Messenger. Facebook has done a great job of giving business owners the ability to communicate directly with their customers, and with the advent of bots, Messenger will have a big impact in the coming years.”
27. Shield – LinkedIn Analytics
“There’s a new social media tool that I’m in love with. It helps me and my executive team see our organic growth on LinkedIn in terms of engagement, reach and followers. Shield helps you see a side-by-side comparison of which posts gave you the best metrics you’re interested in.
But it’s not just about that.
Couple that with targeting the dream clients we’d like to work with by sending custom connection requests to bring them into our LinkedIn sphere of influence (several people from KlientBoost will send connection requests over time) so we can see the impressions of the people we really care about seeing our content.
Over time, it feels like we’ve created a ‘LinkedIn mob,’ and I’m not sure if I should share that strategy with you guys.”
“I really like the Brand24 dashboard, which allows me to see every person who mentions my brand on social media. Then I can go and respond to each one individually. It allows my brand to be aware of all the good, bad and amazing customers who are sharing reviews. You can even follow competitors and tap into potential customers who need your help.”
“AgoraPulse is a comprehensive social media dashboard similar to Hootsuite, but it offers some unique features. What I like most about it is the auto-posting feature with queues. In fact, it’s a great feature for companies that have a lot of perpetually relevant content and want to share it periodically on a wide variety of social networks. You can select posts from your queue as often or as little as you want, and stop posting on a certain date, which is ideal if you’re promoting an event.”
“Marketers often overlook one important aspect of social – native advertising. As a pay-per-click and data specialist, I love Qwaya because it allows me to operate and optimize Facebook the same way AdWords does: robust campaign structuring, split-testing and a suite of automation tools. If your CTR is dropping or your CPC is spiking… pause it. Sounds simple, but when you’re managing large accounts and budgets, it’s a godsend.”
“The key to any successful social media strategy is content that tells a story. However, a story is not always created in one sitting. It adds up to a collection of photos, animated GIFs, infographics, a line from a song, a statement from my grandmother, everyday pain points, scribbled design thoughts on a whiteboard, industry facts, etc. Evernote gives me the ability to organize my stories, which makes my social media strategy more successful.”
“ClickToTweet gives your readers an immediate and easy way to share your content by creating one-click boxes with preloaded tweets, hashtags and mentions. Blog integration requires no technical skills, and they even have a ClickToTweet generator that you can use to add links to emails and PDFs. More opportunities to share means more shares. It’s simple. I used it in this post and got 20% more tweets than average.”
“At the risk of following Joe Pulizzi, I will say that Twitter is my favorite tool. However, I use it a little differently than most, creating niche accounts to share and hone my evolving passions while building community and influence – @TravelEsquire, @FinancialSM, @HealthcareSMM, @SocialMediaLaw1, @ChinaDigitalBiz, etc. I then compile Twitter lists to track key opinion leaders and competitors.”
“Canva is a very user-friendly browser-based design tool that allows non-designers like me to create impressive images. Visual content has become so important for social media posts to help tell the story of your post and content. I’ve noticed that my visual content gets 23% more clicks than non-visual content. I like that I can optimize the size for whatever social platform I need to use the design for.”
35. Instagram Story DMs
“I love that I can communicate directly with my audience through Instagram Story DMs, which makes a difference. With Ask Me a Question, I can not only see where my audience is struggling in their online business, but I can offer personalized solutions in real time to help them. In the past, I felt a little disconnected from my community on various social media channels, but this has brought a new level of interaction that feels real and ultimately helps my business grow.”
“Sendible has most of the features you find in other social media management tools: scheduling, automatic sharing via RSS feed, analytics, team management and keyword monitoring. What makes it stand out is the number of networks it connects to: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram (via email reminder), Tumblr, Medium, Instapaper, Pocket, Flickr, Delicious, Slack and more.”
“Bit.ly is a must-have tool for your social media stack. This platform doesn’t just shorten links. You can use it to track links, measure the effectiveness of your campaigns, and learn which channels bring in the most traffic. I use Bit.ly to track the daily activity of all my marketing and development efforts, as well as most of my clients, so I can attribute and track my efforts.”
“I am on a mission to amplify the messages of numerous clients around the world through social media. After we reached a tipping point as an agency, my team couldn’t handle everything the old, familiar way. I tried various tools before I found PromoRepublic, but none of them provided an all-in-one package – a social media calendar and editable content templates for clients to increase their social media visibility and a “white label” platform to grow the agency’s business.
The white-label platform, in particular, has helped us reach more clients than we expected in a shorter period of time. Another benefit worth mentioning is their collaborative program (also a ‘white label’) for resale, which has helped me improve my ROI.”
“As social media algorithms have changed in 2018 and platforms have consistently penalized users for automation, we have greatly reduced our use of social media automation tools.
However, one tool we continue to use to create social video content on the go is InShot. It’s super fast and easy to edit creative video in formats of varying sizes.”
“While Semrush is better known for its SEO and PPC competitor research, it recently added a social media toolkit to its platform. This toolkit is a handy one-stop tool for managing and tracking all of your social media profiles. In addition to the usual scheduling, editing and tracking of posts, Semrush also allows you to find out what types of content and topics are getting the most engagement in the industry and with your competitors. You can even create campaigns and boost Facebook and Instagram ads directly in the Semrush interface. It’s a great option for those looking for a tool that goes beyond post scheduling and wants more detailed information about your competitors and the industry that will drive topic selection and posting frequency.”
“Pocket helps me sort through everything I read on social media. I can find interesting material, save it to Pocket, go back to work, and then read it all later. It also has some handy integrations, allowing me to share posts directly to Twitter and Facebook or send them directly to Buffer. And it has its own recommendation area, which may be one of the few remaining unknown areas for building followers and authority, not to mention gathering content for curation.”
42. Post Planner
“Sophisticated marketers know that engagement is the most important (and hardest) metric, and that’s where Post Planner comes in. It was created for engagement and gives you access to the most viral posts on Facebook and Twitter (regardless of your niche). It also provides a huge list of status ideas. My favorite feature is the “Recycle” button, which allows you to upload evergreen content to be posted once a week or once a month… or whatever.”
“What I like about Clubhouse, which is technically a platform but can also be considered a ‘tool,’ is that I use it for casual, impromptu ‘campfire conversations.’ There’s no need to make a huge plan, you can create a room with the right people and the right theme, send out a few invitations, and the room can grow pretty quickly. But what I like most is the content. People seem willing to “say” more than on Twitter or LinkedIn. They speak more curtly, and you can really hear their passion through the prosody – the energy grabs you. And the best part is that you don’t have to be a “panelist” when the room starts. Anyone, no matter how many “subscribers” they have, can raise their hand to be a panelist, ask a question or give an answer, which can open doors for people who are just starting out.”
“LinkedIn is great for prospecting. Before conducting a cold outreach, I look at the person’s profile and make as many inquiries about them as possible. Simple touches like listing common contacts, job titles and past projects they’ve shared go a long way toward increasing the chances of getting a response. Customize your messages and address them based on the information you gather. Above all, be individual, not robotic.”
“I’ll be perfectly honest, our team doesn’t do much on social media… However, given that my goal with social media is just to stay active – and get the most out of my investment, Buffer is my best tool for scheduling updates. It’s easy to use, saves time, and covers all my social media bases.”
“In social media, relationships matter. Repost is a simple but effective tool that takes the hassle out of interacting with others by sharing content and giving credit. The app empowers brands to tell their story through user-generated content, creating a positive emotional experience, building consumer loyalty and retention.”
Ubersuggest is a tool I love to use for content, analytics and SEO. One of my favorite features is the Keyword Ideas tab. Once you enter a specific keyword, you immediately access data such as total search volume, pages that rank for that keyword, estimated number of page hits, and PPC numbers, all for free. It’s very useful for doing analysis before you start optimizing.
48. Twitter polls
“I’ve found a lot of value lately in conducting Twitter polls as a way of pre-testing knowledge to guide new data-driven content ideas. In a recent benchmarking study we did on Data Storytelling, one of the key findings was that 42% of marketers tend to present market research data in a visual content format. But knowing what type of market research to conduct is difficult in and of itself. With Twitter surveys, you can get an idea of what direction to take by asking simple questions of your audience. Those questions that tend to perform best organically can be an indicator of what might also work well through promoted channels. In addition, the data you gather from these mini surveys can make great social charts or social infographics for engaging your target market!”
“My favorite social media tool is not a tool. It’s a form of social media: blogging. Your blog is your own media that you support with quality content. With the right approach, you can optimize your blog for social media, search, influencers and your business. Two tools stand out in this area. My favorite blogging plugin is Yoast for SEO. And I love Feedburner because it sends out posts via email when they are published. As I’ve said before, “Hands down, email is the king of social media.”
“You are your own best tool. Focus on your writing craft and work hard all the time. Short form, long form and everything in between. Twitter and all other social media outlets give you access on their own, but it’s the writing that generates interest and keeps them hooked.
Great writing by itself makes the rest of your work infinitely easier.” Identify your patterns and break them. Seriously, this is a big problem that holds everyone back.
“Be unique. Earn your article. Make it something to be proud of. If they can’t tell it’s YOU, no byline, go back, focus on your craft.