A young man taking pictures of his finished vases with a smartphone in a pottery studio.
Social media can seem daunting and time-consuming for many small business owners. Fortunately, there are several tools that help simplify several aspects of the process. — Getty Images/LumiNola

Countless tools have emerged to help small businesses navigate the world of social media and better manage their accounts. From automated scheduling to content creation, these social media marketing tools can help sellers engage with customers. Here are some of the most common types of social media marketing tools — and how they can help you improve your outreach on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and other popular channels.

Social media scheduling

Posting regularly and consistently is a social media best practice, but it can be time-consuming to create and share posts throughout the week. Social media scheduling tools automate this task for you. These tools use analytics to find the ideal time to share content depending on your audience. They also allow you to create a queue of content and schedule posts to be shared without your involvement.

There are a few tools you can try to automate your social media posts, including:

  • Hootsuite: This platform integrates with Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. In addition to covering all your bases from a social network standpoint, there are additional features, like social monitoring and engagement analytics. Hootsuite plans start at $99 per month.
  • Buffer: Buffer is similar to Hootsuite in that it provides the same social network integrations. It also offers analytics, social monitoring, and post-scheduling features. Buffer is a great service for small businesses, and it’s less expensive compared to other companies in the industry. You can try the platform for free, or get more channels for just $6 per month.
  • Sprout Social: With tons of features and capabilities, Sprout Social is the most expensive platform on this list — starting at $249 per month. However, in addition to social media scheduling, users get content suggestions, an asset library where users can share content to be posted, URL tracking, keyword suggestions, and more.

Few business owners have the time to be checking social media to see how customers respond to every new post.

Video creation tools

Visual content is essential in marketing, and statistics show that consumers are more likely to engage with video content on social media. As a small business owner, it can be difficult to get started with making your own video content.

Fortunately, there are several tools that can help you quickly and easily create high-quality videos to share on social media. Here are just a few options:

  • Animoto: Whether you’re making promo videos, social media videos, or company explainers, Animoto is a versatile tool for just about any business video need. It also has a drag-and-drop interface, making it an easy tool to use. Animoto has a free plan, as well as one for $8 per month — although businesses may be better off choosing a more robust tier.
  • Vyond: Formerly known as GoAnimate, this platform allows business owners to create animated videos for their businesses. Sometimes a simple animated video is all you need to tell your business’s story while keeping your audience engaged. You can also create training videos for your staff. Although it’s a bit pricier than other competitors, Vyond has three different annual plans that might be ideal for your business.
  • Adobe’s Creative Cloud Express: This tool, formerly known as Adobe Spark, offers the same powerful features as other Adobe products but without complicated controls and dashboards. It offers specific editing features for TikTok, Instagram Stories, and YouTube. Give it a spin with a free trial.

[Read more: Easy-to-Use Video Editing Software for Small Businesses]

Social monitoring tools

Few business owners have the time to be checking social media to see how customers respond to every new post. Fortunately, there are several social monitoring tools that give you insight into the conversations users are having, both about your business and in your larger industry.

Here are some monitoring tools that can offer audience insights, help you identify trends, and keep you informed about conversations relevant to your brand:

  • Buzzsumo: This tool allows you to find out when people are posting about your company on social media. It has extensive analytics features and even offers a content planning tool. Buzzsumo plans start at $95 per month.
  • HashAtit: HashAtIt is a quick (and free) way to check in on mentions and hashtags related to your business. It’s one of the few tools on this list that provides immediate, transparent results, as it can generate countless ideas for leveraging relevant hashtags.
  • Meltwater: Similar to Buzzsumo, Meltwater offers listening tools that can inform your sales, social media, marketing, and PR strategies. The company has a package specifically designed for SMBs, so you can take advantage of Meltwater’s powerful platform at an affordable price.

While the right tools can help you run your social media accounts, it’s important to have a comprehensive social media marketing strategy first. Check out our guide to social media marketing to get some ideas on crafting a strategy for your business.

This article was updated by Emily Heaslip.

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