Biz Tips: 20 of the Best Free Social Media Management Tools That Help Drive Engagement (2020 Edition)

Biz Tips: 20 of the Best Free Social Media Management Tools That Help Drive Engagement (2020 Edition)

Biz Tip:

20 of the Best Free Social Media Management Tools That Help Drive Engagement (2020 Edition)

Now more than ever, your social media presence matters.

People turn to social to learn more about your brand, what you do on a daily basis, and how your products and services stack up to your competitors.

Social media is a major element of any comprehensive inbound marketing strategy. And with so many different social channels to manage – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and more – it can be like juggling too many balls in the air.

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All of these platforms are important for effective social media marketing, but keeping track of your channels and regularly posting and engaging on them can take time. Like, a lot of time.

The best way to manage your engagement across multiple channels and platforms is through the use of social media management tools.

Social media management tools allow you to not only keep track of your posting and engagement with prospects; you can also develop social media post ideas and create thoughtful content, schedule your posts across multiple channels, monitor any mentions of your company, track and analyze performance, and much more.

The variety of social media management tools out there can be a bit overwhelming, for both the novice and the advanced user.

How do you choose the best management tool to meet your needs? How do you know what features to choose?

Luckily, some of the best tools don’t require you to give up your credit card. Yes, they’re absolutely free (with in-app purchases and upgrades, if you so choose).

6 Benefits of Using Free Social Media Management Tools

You may be wondering if using social media management tools is really worth it. After all you do have to download more tools and take the time to figure out how they work. So, why can’t you just use the social media apps to post manually every day?

Here are some of the awesome benefits of using social media management tools:

They Help You Keep Up With Social Engagement.

It is now easier than ever for customers to connect and engage with their favorite brands. They can ask questions, voice criticism, or praise the brands they interact with. Many individuals take full advantage of this direct channel to provide brands with feedback.

via GIPHY

When you respond to customer messages, it shows that you care about their experience. And the best way to show you care is to not only respond, but to respond as quickly as possible. Keeping up with all of your messages and mentions from various social platforms can be tough.

Using a social media management tool can centralize all of your messages to make it easy for you to sort through messages and reply in a timely manner.

They Allow You to Manage Multiple Social Pages at Once.

Social media pages are kind of like chips. It is hard to have just one for your marketing strategy. This means you likely rely on multiple social profiles and networks, which makes them much more difficult to manage.

Social media tools help you keep all of your necessary social media information and messaging in one spot. This saves you the time and effort needed to continuously log in and out of accounts multiple times a day.

They Help You Manage Customer Relationships.

Every customer you have is special and unique in some way, and it is important for you to treat them that way.

Social media tools can help you keep track of those that you have interacted with and what conversations you’ve had so you can personalize each experience with your customers.

They Help You Monitor Keywords.

Customers who complain or mention your brand may not tag your page directly. Many customers may mention your brand without the expectation that you will respond.

via GIPHY

Helpful social media tools provide you insight into what people are saying about your brand using keyword monitoring. If you were to try to do this on your own and search every possible hashtag and keyword, it would take you an eternity.

Fortunately, social tools deliver important data on trends and keywords in an instant.

They Allow You to Analyze Social Performance.

Planning your social media campaigns and strategies should involve looking at the past to improve in the future. You need relevant data from your social networks to conduct a thorough analysis to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

Social media analysis tools collect key metrics you can use to develop and continue optimizing an effective social media strategy.

They Help You Streamline Team Collaboration.

Working with one large social account or various small social accounts often requires a team to manage them. This can cause some problems if you manage each social media platform separately.

For instance, you may not know who replied to what or who posted what picture and when. This can cause things to slip through the cracks.

Using a tool allows you to streamline your work because you and your team members are able to work from a shared inbox that displays correspondence between your team and your customers on social media.

The Best Free Social Media Posting Tools

These free social media management posting tools will help you track and manage multiple social media profiles in a single interface by allowing you to schedule your posting for future release.

Here are the best free social media posting tools:

1. Hootsuite

hootsuite-social-posting

Like many of these tools, Hootsuite offers both free and premium plans. Their free plan is pretty robust and allows you to:

  • Manage three social profiles in one place.
  • Schedule up to 30 posts in advance.
  • Generate leads using social contests.
  • Easily integrate with 150+ free and paid apps.

The free plan also includes some basic analytics to help you track followers, various growth and content stats, and two RSS feed integrations. Not too shabby for a free tool.

We love using this tool to schedule out our social posts because of the way it’s organized – a visual calendar dashboard shows you what you’ll be posting and when. Now that’s organization.

Hootsuite Upgrade Options

  • Professional: $29/month
  • Team: $129/month
  • Business: $599/month
  • Enterprise: Custom plan; contact for pricing
  • Read more about pricing options here.

2. Buffer

buffer-post-scheduling

Like Hootsuite, Buffer has been in the social media management space for a long time.

Buffer is a respectable platform. It allows you to manage multiple social media profiles easily and includes many of the same features as Hootsuite.

This platforms organizes your scheduled posts in a queue list format so you can easily scroll and monitor the posts that will go out on your various social platforms. Neat and simple.

It also allows you to schedule content while browsing the web with Chrome extensions. Where Buffer shines is its ability to monitor user activity and then suggest the perfect time to post based on your followers’ activity. Pretty cool!

With a basic free Buffer account, you can link three social accounts, 10 scheduled posts at a time, and can have one user.

Buffer Upgrade Options

3. Later

later-post-scheduling

Later is a free, easy-to-use platform for starter businesses looking to schedule photos and videos on their social media. (You cannot schedule text-only posts with Later.)

Later works with Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, and has a 30-post limit each month for each platform (50-post limit for Twitter). You can add one social profile per platform.

To schedule a post, all you have to do is upload your media, and drag the photo or video you want to schedule onto the calendar. Put your caption in the comments section and pick your time to post!

For marketers on the go, Later even has a free app you can download for Android or iOS. A big plus with this app is its Instagram preview feature.

When scheduling your Instagram posts, you can actually preview what they will look like on your existing feed. You can drag and reorder your scheduled posts how you please to ensure your aesthetic is just the way you want!

Later Upgrade Options

  • For Individuals
    • Plus: $9/month OR $7.50/month billed yearly
  • For Businesses
    • Premium: $19/month OR $16/month billed yearly
    • Starter: $29/month OR $24/month billed yearly
    • Brand: $49/month OR $41/month billed yearly
  • Read more about pricing options here.

4. Friends+Me

friends-me

Friends+Me is a great platform that mainly focuses on Google+ features. Despite the discontinuation of Google+, this tool is still really valuable. It also supports many other social platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr.

They have a free plan that allows you to schedule five posts at a time, and they even offer you standard support services. You can also integrate with Pinterest and Instagram, but you are required to upgrade the service to do so.

Friends+Me Upgrade Options

  • For Individuals
    • $9/month
  • For Businesses
    • Small: $29/month
    • Medium: $59/month
    • Large: $259/month
  • Read more about pricing options here.

5. Zoho Social

zoho-social

Zoho Social allows you the flexibility to schedule your posts when your audience is most likely to be engaged and active. They also provide you with an intuitive content calendar that helps you map out all of your posts for maximum organization.

Additionally, you can use it to monitor your mentions in real time so you can respond quickly. Zoho Social has a free version that offers you limited scheduling and monitoring.

Zoho Social Upgrade Options

  • For Individuals and Businesses
    • Standard: $10/month billed annually
    • Professional: $25/month billed annually
  • For Agencies
    • Agency: $200/month billed annually
    • Agency Plus: $300/month billed annually
  • For more information about pricing, check out the detailed pricing list here.

The Best Free Social Media Editing Tools

Didn’t get the right amount of light or the proper angle? Here are some free social media editing tools to help you post the perfect pictures and videos every time:

6. VSCO (Phone App)

Pretty much every millennial has VSCO downloaded on their phone. (I admit, I do too.)

But VSCO is actually an amazing photo editing tool your business can utilize to create bold, captivating visuals for your social media channels.

With this phone app, editing is a breeze. Use any of the many free presets, or take your own path and create custom color and filter edits to suit your aesthetic.

VSCO saves all the photos you edit into a “studio” for you, so you’ll never lose track of any images you want to post.

Happen to like one of the edits you made on a post? Click on the edited image, press the ··· button on the bottom right, click “copy edits.” Then, click on your unedited image you want to replicate the edits on, press the ··· button and click “paste edits.”

Voila! Don’t worry if it doesn’t look perfect right away – you can easily pop back in to the image and adjust edits as necessary.

VSCO Upgrade Options

7. PhotoScape X (Desktop App)

photoscapex-homepage

As an all-in-one photo editing software, PhotoScape X can do a lot.

Download the app for Mac or Windows 10 to access a full editor right on your desktop. Its editing platform is easy to use and you can see your edits appear in real-time directly on your image. Plus, you can even create animated GIFs – who doesn’t love GIFs?

Create cut-outs, collages, merge photos, clone and remove elements from images – the possibilities with this tool are endless. And it’s totally free!

Photoscape X Upgrade Options

  • Pro: $39.99

8. Adobe Photoshop Express (Phone App)

Adobe is known for having some of the best of the best when it comes to marketing software. One of these top-notch softwares everyone wishes they had is Photoshop.

But, what if I told you that you can get Photoshop for free? No, this isn’t a dream – just head to the app store on your phone and type “Adobe Photoshop Express.”

This basic version of Photoshop still has plenty of tools to help you edit and create beautiful images for your social media channels. Use preset filters or create custom edits – cropping, lightness, color, sharpen, blur, and more – to bring your images to perfection.

Looking to spice things up? Easily add textual elements or stickers to your images for a pop of fun.

Adobe Photoshop Express Upgrade Options

  • No in-app upgrade options, but you can license Adobe Photoshop
  • Learn more about Adobe Photoshop pricing options here.

9. Typito

Video is one of the fastest growing online marketing tools in use today. Typito is an easy to use, free app that can help you deliver high quality visuals in no time.

It’s a drag-and-drop interface that lets you make videos using images, videos, and stunning typography.

Typito even gives you format options based on each social platform (LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) to ensure you always have the right aspect ratio for the channel you’re posting to. Plus, it recommends what each format is best for (e.g., feed, cover video, story, etc.)

Typito Upgrade Options

  • Starter: $29/month OR $25/month billed annually
  • Professional: $66/month OR $55/month billed annually
  • Premium: $149/month OR $125/month billed annually
  • Enterprise: Contact Typito for a custom plan
  • Read more about pricing options here.

The Best Free Social Media Monitoring Tools

Your social media marketing isn’t complete the second you hit post. You must engage with your followers and see what they are saying about you. With the free tools below, monitoring your social media accounts has never been easier.

10. TweetDeck

tweetdeck-homepage

Twitter is a great platform for engagement. It’s easy to use, allows you to connect with any user on the planet directly, and you can start a conversation with your very first tweet!

That being said, Twitter is a very noisy platform. Spending a few minutes checking your feed can easily turn into hours!

If you are an active Twitter user, take a look at TweetDeck. This management tool allows you to remove some of the noise, making the time you spend researching and engaging on the platform much more efficient.

TweetDeck also allows you to create a customized interface where you can monitor specific users, hashtags, your own channel list, or search terms. If you’re a serious Twitter user, you’ll love TweetDeck.

TweetDeck Upgrade Options

  • None: this platform is free for everyone.

11. Followerwonk

If you’re looking for a deep dive into your Twitter presence compared to your competitors, you need Followerwonk.

The basic, free version of Followerwork allows you to sign up with a Twitter account. View your social authority rankings, search bios, and compare your social graph to your competitors and industry leaders.

You can see who your competitors are following, who is following your competitors, how many followers they have, and even their most active hours on Twitter.

With their search bios tool, you can search for related keywords to help your business discover potential customers, employees, or just thought leaders. It’s definitely a free tool worth trying.

Followerwonk Upgrade Options

  • Target: $29/month OR $23/month billed annually
  • Multitask: $79/month OR $63/month billed annually

12. Google Alerts

google-alerts

The all-powerful Google: It can even help you monitor your brand presence on the internet! Set up Google Alerts to see where people are mentioning your business.

Add alerts for specific terms related to your brand and industry – when you set them up, you will receive email updates on all the newest mentions.

Google Alerts Upgrade Options

  • None: this platform is free for everyone.

13. Social Mention

social-mention

This popular free tool helps you keep track of all mentions of your brand across several platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, blogs, news stories, and other online media outlets. The data collected from Social Mention is categorized by these four things:

  • Strength – how often your brand is mentioned.
  • Sentiment – positive or negative.
  • Passion – is the content likely to be shared?
  • Reach – how many people the mention reaches.

Social Mention Upgrade Options:

  • None: this platform is free for everyone.

The Best Free Social Media Analytics Tools

Make sure your social media campaigns are performing well. Take a look at these analytics tools so you can make sure you’re driving engagement and growth for your business.

14. Awario

awario-analytics-screenshot

Awario provides you with the powerful analytics you need to track your growth. This social analytics tool helps you to sort your social mentions by sentiments.

It also allows you to view line charts and maps to help you see visual data and identify trends. Awario has a free trial, but there is no free plan.

Awario Upgrade Options

  • Starter: $29/month
  • Pro: $89/month
  • Enterprise: $299/month
  • For more information on pricing check here.

15. Google Analytics

google-analytics

How much traffic to your website comes from social channels? No matter what channels you employ for your social media marketing, without a way to measure your return on investment (ROI), all of your efforts mean nothing. You need to be able to analyze your results and answer important questions, like:

  • What pages do visitors spend time on and engage with?
  • How much time do visitors from social sites spend on your website?

Google Analytics can give you these answers and a whole lot more. Simply set up analytics on your website to monitor and analyze your traffic. It’s a total must have app to see how your social media efforts are bringing in new leads and traffic, and best of all, it’s free!

Google Analytics Upgrade Options

  • Google Analytics 360: Starts at $150,000 per year.
  • Contact Google for more details.

16. Your Built-In Analytics on Each Platform

Don’t forget that a lot of social media networks have built-in analytics that track your performance!

Twitter Analytics, Facebook Analytics, Instagram Insights, and LinkedIn Analytics are all valuable tools you can use to track your visitors, followers, and engagements.

And, since they’re already built in to each channel, there’s no excuse not to use them!

Upgrade Options

  • Contact your platform for more pricing information.

The Best Free Social Media Graphics Tools

Visuals are vital to your social media marketing content. With these awesome solutions, you’re able to create engaging graphics that resonate with your audience.

17. Canva

If you want to create amazing, custom graphics to post on social media, Canva gives you a lot of tools to choose from.

Canva makes it easy to create breathtaking graphics and designs – and, if you’d rather start from scratch and create your own, that works too!

Beyond social media, this design website offers tons of tools for creating documents, flyers, marketing material, and more. Regardless of what you’re doing on social media, you’ll probably want to check Canva out.

Canva Upgrade Options

  • Canva Pro: $12.95/month OR $9.95/month billed annually
  • Canva Enterprise: Contact Canva for more details
  • Learn more about pricing options here.

18. Stencil

stencil-graphic-maker

Like the other graphic creators, Stencil has a simple drag-and-drop tool that allows you to make any social graphic you want.

Search through over two million royalty-free images to use as backgrounds and add fun text to provide context and value to your readers.

Not in the mood to design your own? Choose from any of their pre-made templates and customize it to fit your brand. Once you’re done, all you have to do is download it!

Stencil Upgrade Options

  • Pro: $15/month OR $9/month when paid annually
  • Unlimited: $20/month OR $12/month when paid annually
  • Read more about pricing options here.

19. Piktochart

Infographics continue to be a valuable sharing tool to distribute knowledge to your audience. And, if you need a simple creator to make some kickass infographics, Piktochart is your best option.

Piktochart features tons of amazing templates you can fully customize to suit your brand, your information, and platform.

There are even presentation templates if you plan on creating informational slideshow, LinkedIn SlideShares, and more.

Piktochart Upgrade Options

  • PRO: $29/month OR $24.17/month billed annually ($290 a year)
  • PRO Team*: $92/month OR $76.67/month billed annually ($920 a year)
    • *The PRO Team price is calculated for four team members. Price depends on number of team members.
  • Read more about pricing options here.

20. Over

Over-social-design-app

Making stunning visuals for your social media accounts helps you to engage your audience. The Over app simplifies the process of creating branded visual content with gorgeous graphics and animations. You can make posts for your story, for social media ads, and for your profile.

Over is simple to use, and it allows you to collaborate with your team members on projects.

Over Upgrade Options

  • Pro: $69.99 per year
  • Read more about pricing options here.

Try Before You Buy

While social media can seem daunting, using these social media management tools can help you organize your efforts and keep them focused.

Note that a lot of these tools perform more functions than stated here, and the more robust and versatile they are, the more beneficial they can be for your business.

For example, Hootsuite, while an amazing scheduling software, can also be a great social mentioning tool!

As you become more proficient with their use, you’ll become a much better social marketer and will reap the benefits of this powerful online marketing medium.

These 20 tools come at no cost to you – no limited trial period, just free tools that can help you build a better brand on social media. But, if you ever want to commit to one of these tools and utilize them to their full potential, there’s always room to upgrade!

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