A detailed list of the top 50 FREE social media tools for insights, planning, content creation, publishing and analytics.
Building your Social Media Insights:
Who are we talking to?
- Followerwonk focuses on Twitter analytics and allows you to search bios, location, authority, and number of followers, helping you to connect with relevant influencers. It is possible to compare your stats with those of your competitors, allowing you measure your successes and find influencers you should be following.
- Buzzsumo combines content analytics with influencer identification. Discover the most popular content in your niche and discover who has shared it. Search for influencers via hashtags and keywords, and filter the results by type, such as blogger, journalist or company. Buzzsumo is not technically free but do offer a free 14-day trial.
- Kred is a good entry-level tool for those new to influencer marketing. It assigns a score to influencers, based on their mentions, retweets, replies and follows and their willingness to post others content. You can get one free year by sending a tweet.
- Klout, similar to Kred, Klout measures influence through engagement on Twitter, assigning a score of 1-100. Klout’s also lets you search for influencers on specific topics, although the search functionality can be a little limited. Klout is also a useful platform for pulling together interesting content.
- Onalytica searches the nouns in your content, compares it to 12 months of Tweets and suggests relevant influencers based on the correlation. The algorithm suggests 50 influencers, although you will want to double-check the results for relevancy.
- Similar Web helps you find audiences likely to be interested in your business. It provides data that can be used to help you understand, track and grow your digital footprint and build out more data driven marketing strategies across channels.
What do we want to say? Understanding key content areas.
- Google Suggest is a basic function of Google search. Basically, every time a new search is performed on Google it attempts to suggest the best matching search queries for the entered term. Suggested keywords appear under the search box. Generally, you will see 3 - 5 suggestions, sometimes however 10 suggestions are displayed. This simple process is great in informing content creation and suggesting topic areas or relevant search areas.
- GoogleTrends With Google Trends you can monitor the popularity of subjects, keywords and brands and compare them against competing products and services. You can determine which regions have shown more interest and find out how interest has increased overtime. It’s perfect for gaining of overview of your online performance or finding out what’s hot and what’s not.
- Google Keyword Planner is like a dashboard for building new Search Network campaigns or expanding existing ones. You can search for keyword and ad group ideas, get historical statistics, see how a list of keywords might perform and even create a new keyword list by multiplying several lists of keywords together. Key word insights help to inform and build relevancy in your content marketing and in your social content creation.
- Übersuggest helps you to quickly find new keywords not available in the Google Keyword Planner. The tool enables you to take your keyword research to the next level with tons of keyword ideas for SEO, PPC and your content marketing campaign.
- Twitter search is a simple free tool for finding out what people are saying in relation to a specific subject/topic/#. Simply enter your search term into Twitter search and read what people are saying and join the conversation. A more advanced search option is also available for free.
- Advanced Search can be used to find the latest news and world events faster. Find popular people, hashtags and photos for any topic that you can imagine.
- Twazzup allows you to search for a brand name, keywords or a hashtag to find real-time metrics and analytics. The tool shows top influencers, all recent relevant Tweets, top photos and top links. It’s basic, but free.
- Canva is a free graphics creator tool enabling you to build high impact graphics for all of your social media activity. On Canva you can create professional looking blog post graphics, headers, profile pictures, logos, business cards and more. You can also create mini infographics or group multiple graphics together within the tool.
- Piktochart is a fun free social media tool for also creating colourful infographics. The free version of the tool comes with limited features and the end result will also contain a Piktochart watermark, but despite its limitations it is easy to use and fairly impressive.
- Easel.ly is another free infographic making tool and like the name suggests it is easy. There are many customisable themes to choose from, which can be personalised with colour, images and reformatting. There are more features with a small paid subscription, but the free package is adequate.
- Infogr.am another tool in the infographic range is Infogr.am. The range of pre-made templates and themes enables you to create attention-grabbing infographics. You can add images, videos, charts and graphs to your infographic and data can be added by uploading it from an excel sheet. However, some features aren’t available until you sign up to one of their packages.
- Visme enables you to create presentations as well as infographics, reports, wireframes and other web content and helps you to translate your content and data into engaging visual content that can be shared or downloaded using their easy to use editor tools.
There are many other free resources that you can use in this area too such as Venngage for infographics and Phoster for creating digital posters, promotional graphics and other visual graphical content that can again be shared across your social platforms and downloaded for use on your own sites and digital communications.
- Powtoon puts the power of animated video presentations in your hands with the ease of using PowerPoint. It is a great tool for all of your content marketing needs. Powtoon gives you the ability to create brand ads, product videos or simple company updates using easy design and animation tools. Videos can be created and shared socially or within any of your digital platforms.
Great content is not just about making things looks pretty or visual delivery, great content relies on relevancy and substance. There are a number of free tools, which alongside some of the insight tools listed above, can ensure that your content is on point for your audiences.
- CoSchedule is a headline analyser, which can help you to ensure that your content headlines are as effective as they can be and that they have the best chance of peaking interest and generating views/engagement. CoSchedule has built a free tool to analyse your headline, looking at emotion, length, balance, structure and sentiment.
Content curator tools are also useful for generating content around identified themes and topics on your own sites or within your social media platforms. There are a number of great tools in this space.
- Feedly compiles news feeds from a variety of sources, allowing the user to customise and share with others. Great for inspiration and keeping up to date with industry news.
- Storify allows you to curate content from social media feeds. You can drag and drop Tweets, videos, and photos to create a story you can then embed on your own site. You can either create a story using your own content or use Storify to curate user-generated content.
- Scoopit is a content curator that searches the latest blogs, news releases, posts, social media sites and more for your keywords and presents content in a comprehensive list. You can then post the content to your ScoopIt profile which will also publish the ‘scoop’ across other social networking sites.
- Spruce enables you to create shareworthy photos overlaid with text. Tweets with images get 150% more engagement than those without. Type your text, choose from thousands of public photos or upload your own, and then post directly to Twitter or Facebook.
- Click To Tweet provides a link so readers can easily tweet a quote direct from your content, encouraging higher engagement. Simple to use and provides tracking and analytics.
- Digg Digg is a plugin by Buffer (see below), which adds sharing buttons with counts onto your page. Networks covered include Twitter, Buffer, Facebook Share, Facebook Like, Digg, LinkedIn and Google+.
Publishing (Reach) and Management
Nothing looks worse in a social post and wastes your character limit more than a scruffy long URL. There are a lot of free tools for shortening URL’s that are easier to share, tweet or email to friends.
- Goo.gl is Googles URL shortener. It enables you to shorten your URL so it is ready to be shared everywhere and provides you with analytics to help you understand where your clicks are coming from.
- TinyURL.com can be added to your toolbar to provide an easy ‘at a click’ shortening function
- Ow.ly enables you to shorten URLs, share files and track visits. Ow.ly also pairs with Hootsuite for deeper analytics
- Bitly.com has similar functionality to goo.gl and enables you to track individual link performance, gather audience intelligence and measure campaign effectiveness in one location.
- Facebook Insights is a pretty powerful tool for those wanting to track their user interactions within their own Facebook page. Facebook Insights is accessible by all administrators on your account and can help you track the number of active users through to better understand your page performance including things like the best time of day to post, the best day of the week to post and what type of content is most popular. Insights are accessible through your Facebook dashboard under insights.
- Buffer is a helpful way to drive traffic, increase fan engagement and save time on social media. It allows you to create a posting schedule for your Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest and Google+ pages all in one place.
- IceRocket enables you to view a complete list of where you or your brand has been mentioned. You can split the list into mentions found in Blogs or Twitter. There aren’t as many features as Social Mention but it’s great for seeing which bloggers are mentioning you so you can build on those relationships.
- SocialMention is a social media search tool that pulls together user generated content from across the web, allowing you to analyse results from a single stream of information. Not only can you track and measure what people are saying about you, your company or product but, you can also search by topics in real time.
- Google Alerts can be set up to track mentions, shares, blogs and other internet activity and is a great way of getting real-time updates about your influence and impact across the web. Alerts for brand names and keywords can be set up and you can also set the frequency of email alerts.
- Addictomatic is another tool allowing you to measure reach and influence by displaying all of the places that you have been mentioned. It trawls through Google, Bing, Twitter, WordPress, YouTube, and Flickr to find the most recent posts, blogs, images and videos based on the keywords entered. It even organises results into headed sections making it easy to navigate.
- BuzzBundle covers a broad range of social networks. You can publish posts, comments or replies across channels without leaving the dashboard. It allows you to set up multiple personas so that different departments can post. The free account gives you a sample of mentions and a fuller report can be acquired through a paid Pro account.
- Tweetdeck is a free and flexible tool that is great for personal and business use. It allows you manage your twitter account in depth and monitor custom timelines, lists and searches, and team accounts. You can set up notifications to ensure you respond in real time to comments or questions. Tweetdeck can be easily integrated with Buffer for more detailed management.
- Over-graph allows you to post to multiple Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Instagram accounts from one easy interface. You can reply to audience comments from within the dashboard and review your engagement analytics.
- Social Clout pulls together relevant conversations and metrics from social media, blogs and forums. It also monitors your brand’s reach across Facebook and Twitter in real-time, providing insightful reports with metrics that can help you understand your social performance and help you to make informed decisions. Social Clout helps you analyse your competition to gauge how are performing in relation to them in the social space too.
Social Media Analytics Tools
- Hootsuite is a pretty heavyweight tool when compared to some on this list, it offers simple social listening (with weekly analytics reports) as well as publishing and engagement features. It covers Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, WordPress, Foursquare and Google+. There is a free 30-day trial, and the most basic package is free.
- Google Analytics. This is the godfather of free analytics packages. Google Analytics is the most widely used analytics package by far and is perfect for small and medium sized businesses to understand their digital performance. It tracks and reports, in great detail, website traffic helping you to understand and better your SEO and marketing content performance. With GA you can learn more about your website users and also the top referring links to your site whether that be from your social media activity or other promotional campaigns.
- Google Alerts is another tool in the Google armoury and is again free. It is a versatile tool that allows you to discover which social sites are driving traffic and conversions, among other things. With Google Alerts, you are notified every time your brand or keywords are mentioned on forums, news sites and blogs.
- Tweetreach provides detailed Twitter analytics. The platform provides measurement on the reach of Twitter accounts, brands, campaigns, events and hashtags on Twitter, helping you to better understand and improve your social media strategies. You can see how your Tweets performed and also why so you can quickly figure out what's working, what isn't, how you can improve to generate more engagement and get more followers. Tweetreach can give you an indication of the best time to tweet based on past performance and identify your top hashtags and URLs to learn what content your audience responds to and who amplifies your content with detailed contributor analytics.
- Fanpage Karma covers analytics, monitoring and engagement for Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Instagram and Pinterest. A lot of metrics are offered, including engagement data to help you find the optimal times and types of media to post. You can check one page for free but if you want more, then you have to pay.
- HowSociable allows to you to add your social media accounts, or that of your competitors, to receive a score for each platform based on that week’s usage. The at-a-glance data shows which networks are performing well and which need further development. The free version shows metrics for 12 social sites but again, if you want more then you have to pay, although it is only $3 a month.
- Cyfe has a free sign up enabling you to create a dashboard that can track a wide range of networks. A wide choice of widgets allows you to monitor networks, accounts and pages. Functionality is limited on the free version.
- Quintly has a free plan that allows analytics for up to 3 Facebook pages, giving you a breakdown of follower and engagement statistics. A simple interface allows you to customise dashboards with your choice of widgets, allowing tracking of a variety of metrics.
- Keyhole allows you to search for keywords, hashtags or URLs to see a range of data and metrics. Keyhole displays top sites and posters, demographic breakdowns, location and keywords. The free version shows a sample of results and like many of these tools there are various paid plans available.
- Sprout Social, OK so it is not technically free and I have left off other tools in this list that offer trials but are paid services but Sprout is the exception. The tool offers a 30-day free trial on any of their packages. Sprout is a solid social media management platform that provides you with an all in one social inbox for all your social media activity. It enables you to monitor your profiles, keywords and locations as well as publish, schedule and draft your social content. Sprout has a powerful analytics dashboard that can provide you with network, profile and post level reporting.