Last month, I wrote about How to Leverage Social Media In 2018: A Video Marketing Guide for Brands and the feedback was extremely positive. The biggest request I received was for more social media tools to help companies really take advantage of the medium.

And it's no wonder. Just three years ago, digital advertising revenue surpassed television ad revenue for the first time in history. In 2018, digital advertising will continue to be the primary way brands of all sizes communicate with prospects and customers.

Among digital channels, social media platforms continue to hit new records related to users on the platform and revenue generated. Facebook has amassed well over 2 billion users, and Instagram could reach 1 billion users in 2018.

Brands are turning to social media platforms to reach target audiences through paid and organic means. Here is a list of 10 tools, both popular and obscure, that social media marketers should try in the new year.

1. SocialDrift

SocialDrift is the best tool to grow your Instagram followers. Using machine-learning algorithms, SocialDrift sends automated likes, comments or follows that target a specific demographic. This outreach motivates Instagram users to check out your own account, which improves brand awareness and drives followers.

Major influencers and companies like McDonald's are already using SocialDrift to build engaged audiences on Instagram.

2. Buffer

Rappid fire tweeting can get overwhelming for your audience. That's why over 4 million customers rely on Buffer to manage multiple social media accounts from one place. With Buffer, you can schedule social media posts, monitor conversations and analyze channel performance.

Best of all, Buffer offers a variety of plans designed to fit the needs of any brand, from small businesses to large enterprise organizations.

3. Owlmetrics

If you're interested in surfacing helpful insights that can be used to grow an Instagram presence, you'll want to check out Owlmetrics. The all-in-one Instagram analytics platform offers users access to rich analytics that can dramatically improve performance.

Information about follower engagement and growth is accessible via a user-friendly dashboard. The platform helps marketers by, among other things, providing data about the optimal time to post to reach your target audience. Owlmetrics also offers features that make it easy to understand what kind of content performs best.

4. Sprout Social

A good choice for those in need of an enterprise-level social media solution, Sprout Social is used by Dropbox, Soulcycle and Vice. The platform integrates with most of the major social media networks, and empowers users to access analytics, schedule content and provide social media support, all from one place.

5. AdEspresso

Facebook offers advertisers a variety of targeting options. One option is known as custom audiences. A custom audience is created when a marketer uploads a list of emails to Facebook. Facebook then matches the emails to those used by people on the platform.

This is a particularly powerful type of ad because it allows marketers to create highly personalized journeys that coordinate with things like an email drip campaign. But custom audiences usually require a marketer to manually upload a list of emails to Facebook. Thanks to AdEspresso, marketers can integrate Facebook with a marketing-automation platform to ensure that an up-to-date list of contacts is being served ads.

6. Sprinklr

Trusted by Microsoft and SAP, Sprinklr offers a suite of tools designed for a variety of modern teams. From support to marketing to business analytics, Sprinklr's social media cloud is designed to help enterprise organizations get the most out of social media platforms.

7. Salesforce Social Studio

Salesforce Social Studio is an alternative all-in-one social media management solution for enterprise businesses. Social Studio helps teams across your organization use social media in a way that protects your brand. Post permissions, smart routing options and detailed analytics provide large organizations with the resources they need to safely enter the world of social media marketing.

8. Adobe Spark Post

Presentation is half the battle on social media platforms. And on visual platforms like Instagram, it is more than half the battle. Adobe Spark Post is designed to provide marketers of all types with the tools they need to produce high-quality social media images.

The service allows marketers to easily retouch, annotate and enliven visual content to ensure that the audience engages with posts in a meaningful way.

9. Funnel.io

There are few tools that bring together digital advertising information quite like Funnel.io. This tool aggregates advertising information in one clean and simple dashboard, making it easier for marketers to compare social media advertising performance across channels.

Furthermore, thanks to integration with tools like Google Analytics, marketers can better understand whether social media ads actually generated ROI. 

10. Splice

A video-editing tool built by GoPro with social media in mind, Splice is a great solution for those who want to edit social media video content on the go. With Splice, iOS users can trim and crop footage, apply filters, add animations and customize video audio in one user-friendly app.

Help Your Business Be More Social in 2018

In the new year, marketers will have the opportunity to reach millions of potential customers by embracing the power of software platforms like the ones listed here. By combining a compelling brand narrative with insightful analytics, stunning visuals and timely monitoring, brands of all sizes have a chance to compete for audience awareness and loyalty.

Hungry for more? Here's how you can measure the ROI of your social media campaigns and why you should optimize for video in your social media content marketing efforts.