Jackpot! 50 (mostly) free social media tools for brands

Bookmark this one; it holds a wealth of resources.


A couple years ago, Jay Baer wrote a great blog post called “The 39 social media tools I’ll use today,” which serves an all-in-one toolkit for social media marketers.

Much has changed in the two years since that post was published. Here is a 2012 remix featuring a mix of (mostly free) tools you can use on a daily basis.

Listening/Research

The foundations for any social media marketing activity start with listening and in-depth research, ranging from influencer identification to campaign planning.

Listening tools:

Best in class: SocialMention.com. As far as free options go, this is as solid as it gets.

Alternatives: BoardReader.com (discussion board specific), Addictomatic.com (a general listening dashboard), and PeopleBrowsr.com (big data, big insights).

As for more specific listening tools, each of the major social media platforms can be analyzed using a combination of specific tools including:

FBsearch.us (Facebook)
Monitter.com (location-based Twitter search)
TagDef.com (Twitter hashtags)
YouTube/KeywordTooll (YouTube content optimization tool)

General research tools:

Domain/username checking: KnowEm.com, CheckUsernames.com, Claim.io (all solid options)

Alternative site research: SimilarSites.com (the most robust website alternative engine), SmilarSiteSearch.com, SitesLike.com

Blog/blogger identification: AllTop.com (online blog “magazine rack”), IceRocket.com (use the advanced blog search function for best effect), Google.com/Blogsearch (always improving).

Influencer research/identification: This is a much-debated topic thanks to the existence of Klout.com, PeerIndex.net, Kred.ly, and so on. While these tools are useful to a degree, the listening tools listed above (when used manually) are just as useful.

Another handy tool is Google’s AdPlanner, which can help determine which online destinations are most relevant to your product, brand, or service.

Content Creation/Curation

Publishing/blogging:

Best in class: WordPress.com. The world’s best publishing platform catering to the very big to the very small.

Alternatives: Tumblr.com, Posterous.com, and many more.

New kid on the block: CheckThis.com. Need a single page website in an instant? This is the tool for you.

Content discovery/curation:

There are literally millions of tools and process for discovering relevant content and arranging it online so it can be re-purposed / re-shared. Here are just a few:

Bo.lt
Trap.it
YourVersion.com
MyCube.com

If you are looking for specific forms of content, the following tools are useful too:

Images: Stock.xchng (the best place to find free images by keyword) and New.Pixable.com (A Pinterest-style image aggregator based on your networks and interests).
Video: en.fooooo.com (video search engine which aggregates results from all the major video platforms).

Engagement

Dashboards:

The question of the best engagement dashboards often sparks debate. The most widely used ones include TweetDeck.com, HootSuite.com, and SproutSocial.com, but there are a number of other alternatives.

For scheduling, there’s BufferApp.com, which is a simple way to “pace and space” your updates across multiple social networks.

Blog comments:

Two of the most popular blog comment management tools are Disqus.com and LiveFyre.com, but there are a host of others, including IntenseDebate.com.

Analysis/Insights

There is definitely no shortage of analytics tools out there, and the free ones pack some formidable power.

Website analytics:

Google Analytics is the king when it comes to free website insights.

StatMyWeb.com is a great all-in-one tools to get a feel for the performance of any website on the planet and SiteTrail.com/analysis/ can track site performance over time.

Social media analytics tools:

For Twitter, TweetReach.com is perfect for measuring the impact of a campaign or hashtag, while TwitterCounter.com is great for analyzing the growth and impact of Twitter accounts.

For Facebook, in addition to the Facebook Insights tools, SocialBakers.com can give you an idea of page performance outside the ones you manage.

For YouTube, the YouTube Comments Search tool is worth having in your toolkit to assess community sentiment.

If you want a social buzz aggregator, you’re not short on choices, with sites such as ZoomSphere.com, YourBuzz.com, and Unilyzer.com worth a look.

ViralHeat.com provides great insights, too, and has a nifty extension that provides sentiment on any social network page (as reliably as is technically possible).

While this suite of tools doesn’t take care of absolutely everything on your social media marketing plate, it is a decent starting point and something you can add to … and add to … and add to …

A version of this story first appeared on AdamVincenzini.com.

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