Fast-forward five years or so, and it's clear that social is now primarily a paid medium. Brands are spending more time and effort creating social-media content with declining return on investment. Unless, of course, they're willing to funnel cash to the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram....
Now that the rules (and the tools) of engagement have changed, so should your digital marketing strategy. If you want to make the most of every piece of content you create, you'll need to set aside a paid social budget--and do a serious audit of your go-to social apps.
While Hootsuite still has its place, the four tools featured here are among the best in a new generation of digital marketing resources that will help you design, manage, track, and analyze your brand's social media and online presence. Use them--and, potentially, a nominal paid social-marketing budget--to make social one of your brand's best sources of traffic and customer engagement.
Discovering how to position content so that your audience will want to share it is a vital element of a digital marketing strategy. CrowdTangle helps with this process by letting you see exactly what topics are trending, in real time, across social platforms. It also provides data on the best time to post about different topics and what keywords are performing the best around major events, brand mentions, or influencers.
CrowdTangle can show you where your social traffic comes from, and it allows you to track as many social accounts as you want--including those of competitors. The tool makes all of this information easy to digest, too, by sending customized alerts and digests based on e-mail preferences.
CrowdTangle--which is still in private beta--has editorial clients that include Mic, Upworthy, Buzzfeed, Vox, The Huffington Post, CNN, NBC, USA Today, ESPN, MTV, National Geographic, and Fast Company, and brand clients that include L'Oréal Paris and Steve Madden.
Raven is like an outside auditor that will help you identify the strengths and weaknesses of your online marketing initiatives--including social media.
Rather than combing through analytics for each of your social-media feeds by hand (and trying to make sense of the data), Raven automates the process of tracking and reporting data across channels and creates customized, mobile-friendly reports. You can use what you learn to get smarter about what, how, and when you post on your social channels.
As a bonus, Raven can also analyze the overall SEO (search engine optimization) health of your brand's website. Its Site Auditor tool gathers data about SEO key performance indicators, and creates a report that integrates more than 20 different data sources--including Google Analytics. This feature identifies if there are any areas of your company's website that need an SEO makeover, and the specific issues that need to be fixed.
Social-media posts are becoming increasingly visual, but that doesn't mean you need to hire an in-house designer to manage your Instagram account. Australian-based design app Canva provides the tools to create visually engaging social-media posts, presentations, banner ads, posters, and more using the app's layouts and access to millions of stock photos.
The app is easy to use, even for those who struggle with Photoshop. This cloud-based system allows users to search stock photos and add filters, text, and shapes. Though this site is a relative newcomer--it launched in beta in August 2013--Canva's instant popularity helped it hit 10 million users just this month.
Sure, you can see how many times your tweet has been favorited or retweeted from your own account, but how many people see it after that?
TweetReach gives you real time analytics on the total number of impressions your tweet receives after it has been retweeted, including how many users contributed to retweeting. The tool generates detailed reports not just about individual tweets, but also search terms, keywords, and hashtags.
A basic version of TweetReach is free and allows you to track tweets for a short period of time. TweetReach Pro offers more enhanced features and tweet maximums, plus tools to help you determine which hashtags will get your content in front of a new audience, find target-right influencers, track trends in engagement spikes, and export data for performance reports.
Do you have any favorite content marketing tools in your arsenal? Let us know in the comments below.