With so many social media tools and other on-line resources available for businesses, finding the best can be difficult and time consuming! I have trialled (and will always continue to trial) various social media tools and on-line resources for my business and those of my clients. I have compiled details of the best Social Media tools for business and am sharing them with you here.
Below is a review of the best social media tools for business (IMHO) and other relevant resources that I have come across over time. You may wish to bookmark this page as I will continue to add to this as I discover more.
Disclosure: Please note that a few (not many) of the links below are affiliate links and I will earn a small commission if you purchase through those links (at no extra cost to you). I recommend that you do your own independent research before purchasing any product or service and only hand over your hard earned cash if you feel that what you are purchasing will assist you in achieving your overall business goals.
Your website is your home base and your social media platforms are your outposts, with content being King in the world of social media! Therefore, it is important that you focus a significant amount of your marketing efforts on developing and refining your website, including incorporating a blog that will position you and/or your business as the got-to-resource in your industry or niche. ProBlogger has a range of useful eBooks to assist you in developing your blog.
WordPress is one of the most feature rich and user friendly website publishing platforms available today, with great extendibility (through themes, widgets and plugins) and an excellent open source community, meaning there are many free and low-cost extensions available to meet the needs of your business. It is the platform of choice for most successful bloggers and can be used as both a blog and a website combined. A self-hosted wordpress.org blog enables you to gain all the benefits of WordPress, with your own domain.
2. Genesis Framework
I was fortunate to find out about the Genesis Framework for WordPress prior to when I first launched my website and blog. This greatly increases the capabilities of WordPress and has loads of child theme templates to choose from, as well as decent support resources so that even the non-techs can work out how to build an awesome looking website.
3. Epik Theme
I have used about 5 different Genesis Themes since launching my website – it may be more, I have stopped counting. However, I am pretty sure I have found the one that I will stick with for some time now. I chose the Epik theme because in my humble opinion, it was the best mobile responsive theme on offer. Whilst it is a Genesis theme, it was developed by and is supported by Appfinite.
4. Lead Pages
This is a tool that I am loving, but not using anywhere near enough as yet. Lead Pages allows you to easily create high-quality landing pages and squeeze pages to convert people to subscribers and/or buyers. It has loads of optimised landing page templates that integrate with other tools I use like WordPress, Infusionsoft, GoToWebinar and Facebook Tabs.
If you want to reduce the amount of SPAM comments that you get on your blog posts, then you must instal the Akismet plugin. Enough said.
6. Facebook Like Box
I think the Facebook Like Box is the best Facebook social plugin for attracting Page Likers from your website. As well as allowing people to Like your Page without even having to leave your website, it also incorporates the element of social proof by displaying both the number of people that Like your Page, as well as images of any of your friends that may Like your Page.
7. Pinterest Pin It Button For Images
The Pinterest Pin It Button For Images plugin makes it super easy for people (aka Pinners) to Pin images from your website to their Pinterest Pin Boards. By installing this plugin, a “Pin It” button appears whenever anyone hovers over any of the images that have this feature enabled, acting as a reminder in the form of a visual call-to-action that prompts people to share your content via a Pinterest Pin.
Flare is a simple yet eye-catching social sharing bar that gets you followed and lets your content get shared via posts, pages, and media types. I love how customisable this WordPress plugin is. I have mine displaying at the top, bottom and hovering at the side of all posts and customised the button colours to be consistent with my branding.
9. Google Plus Authorship
Google Plus Authorship enables your profile picture to appear in Google search results. It will assist you with social search, particularly if you have people in your Google+ circles that are likely to search for content that you have authored on your blog (or other blogs where you have used Google+ Authorship).
10. Click To Tweet
The Click To Tweet WordPress plugin allows you to easily create Tweetable content for your readers. You can use pullquotes and custom messages inside the body of your blog post to highlight your content for the reader and make it simple for them to share it on Twitter.
To check out how this works, just click on the image below:
[Tweet “Best social media tools for business via @impactiv8. #socialmedia #businesstoools”].
11. Yoast WordPress SEO
Whilst WordPress comes with SEO capability built into the platform, I prefer the Yoast WordPress SEO plugin as it provides guidance around focus keywords and provides a SEO page analysis based on the focus keywords you have chosen.
12. Pretty Link Lite
The Pretty Link Lite plugin enables me to shrink, track and share any URL on the Internet using my domain name. This is a great way to create shortened links for popular post or pages within your website, without losing any of the SEO benefits that come with creating a URL that contains your keywords. It is also a great way to create more relevant and memorable links for any pages, posts or affiliate links I wish to share from websites external to my company.
13. PopUp Domination
PopUp Domination is the ultimate plugin to grow your subscriber list. It creates a pop-up light box on your website, where you create an offer encouraging people to opt-in to your subscriber list. There are plenty of templates to choose from and you can customise display settings, like how long until the pop-up appears, whether or not it is only shown to first-time users and what pages/posts it will appear on. You can even have multiple pop-up campaigns running at once.
14. Google Analytics
To measure the success of your social media efforts, particularly in regards to measuring conversions (your most important metric), Google Analytics is a must for your website, regardless of whether or not you are using WordPress.
There are plenty good website hosting agencies to choose from. I use Hostgator to host all of the websites that I manage.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Infusionsoft is the one system my business would be unable to thrive without. I use Infusionsoft to simplify my sales activities from start to finish. It does everything from lead generation and qualification, through to e-mail campaigns, auto-responders, personalised communications and store-front with shopping cart for on-line payments. It enables automated workflow tasks with smart campaign triggers and excellent reporting so you can see what works and what doesn’t.
For more details, check out this Infusionsoft CRM software review.
CustomerHub integrates with Infusionsoft to provide a robust membership portal for all my on-line training programs. It allows me to house all my content (multimedia content including video, audio and PDF downloads) in a secure site, with the ability to automate permissions and deliver content via a time-based or self-based model. It’s integration with Infusionsoft makes for seamless integration with Infusionsoft forms or carts to register new members.
18. WishList Member
WishList Member is a comprehensive membership plugin for WordPress websites. It allows you to create multiple membership levels, protect desired content and much more. Whilst I prefer to use CustomerHub as part of Infusionsoft, WishList Member is my second choice and what I use for a lot of my clients.
I use Infusionsoft for email marketing, but if you don’t have Infusionsoft, then there are several email marketing programs that enable you to send professional email marketing campaigns to subscribers. Here are a few of the more popular ones:
Mailchimp helps you design email newsletters, share them on social networks, integrate with services you already use, and track your results. It’s like your own personal publishing platform. Mailchimp is a great entry level option, with loads of pre-designed templates to choose from and the ability to send emails to up to 2,000 subscribers for free. The free account does come with some limitations, but you can unlock more features for as little as $10 per month for up to 500 subscribers.
Aweber provides similar features to mailchimp, but it also allows you to create auto-responders and double opt-ins, which are very important for effective email marketing campaigns and features not available via the Mailchimp free account. Aweber has a $1 trial for a month, with the minimum monthly fee being $19 for up to 500 subscribers once the trial has expired.
Shopify is an easy to use online store builder, with fully customizable store design, secure shopping cart provided and Ecommerce hosting included. Whilst I use Infusionsoft for my on-line store and haven’t used Shopify myself, plenty of my clients have and vouch for it as an excellent platform to sell their products.
Content is King and sharing other people’s content is a great way to provide value to your social media community, without having to create it yourself. Feedly is my app of choice to read through the RSS Feed of all the websites, blogs and news that I wish to follow. I use this on my desktop, iPad or (mainly) mobile, depending upon what works best to me at the time.
I used to use Flipboard prior to discovering Feedly, but Feedly has much better social sharing options for Facebook Business Pages, so I use this mostly for personal rather than business use now.
Social Media Management Tools
Hootsuite is my number one tool for scheduling posts as it enables me to update several social media platforms at once. I use it for my LinkedIn Company Page, LinkedIn Profile, Twitter, Google+ Company Page, Google+ Profile and Facebook Page (infrequently, as I prefer to post to Facebook from within Facebook). I also use it for social media listening, using #Hashtags.
I mainly use Buffer in conjunction with Feedly to post to Twitter and LinkedIn. I love that you can pre-determine the best times to post and then just queue the posts you wish to share when you read them, spreading the content you share across the day rather than all at once.
Tagboard is the best visual display of #Hashtags that I have ever come across and great for use at events. Here’s an example of how I incorporated Tagboard into my 40th birthday party celebrations.
27. Google Alerts
Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your queries. You enter a search query you wish to monitor such as your business name, the name of a competitor or keywords from within your industry or niche. You can receive your alerts via email either daily, weekly or as it happens.
Mention is a media monitoring tool that allows you to create social media alerts on your name, your business, your competitors and/or your industry/niche. You can even import your current Google Alerts!
Once you have set up the keywords or phrases for your alerts, you can then choose to be informed whenever they are mentioned on social networks, news sites, forums, blogs or anywhere else on the web. As with Google Alerts, you can receive your alerts via your choice of either a daily or weekly email digest, as well as in real-time via push notifications within the mobile app, allowing you to react quickly and efficiently to those mentions most important to your business. You can even connect your social accounts for Facebook and Twitter to your alerts so that you can react without even having to leaving the application.
Canva allows you to create unique images for use on social media, blog posts, presentations, posters, invitations, etc. I am pretty impressed with its ease of use and how much you can customise the templates to create truly unique images.
It’s free to use, with the option to purchase stock images within the app if required. This is perfect for anyone who doesn’t have image editing skills or image editing software, but knows how to drag and drop. I would even recommend this to seasoned professionals as a quick and simple image creation tool.
The PicMonkey free online photo editing tool allows you to edit images by adding filters, frames, text and effects. There is a paid upgrade feature which unlocks additional features, including additional effects, fonts, overlays and textures, as well as the benefit of being ad-free.
Photoshop is the ultimate image creation and editing software and I am fortunate to have been able to learn just enough about Photoshop over the years to get by. However, this tool is only appropriate if you are ready to jump in and spend some time learning before you start creating masterpieces.
33. Flickr Creative Commons
If you do an advanced search on Flickr for images that have Creative Commons, then you can obtain royalty free images for use on your website or social media. However before you go nuts lifting every image you like, make sure you take a look at what rights each artist has given, as there may still be some restrictions on use for these images.
There are plenty of places where you can purchase stock images. I use iStock photos when I can’t find a royalty free image elsewhere that is appropriate for use and have been happy with their range.
In the past, I have always used Camtasia to do all of my video editing for my on-line training programs, however I understand that Camstasia is better for PC and Screenflow for Mac.
As a Mac girl, I am about to make the switched to Screenflow to give that a try as many of my industry peers swear by it!
I use YouTube as a housing point to share all of my public video content. From YouTube I can then share it across my social media platforms of choice as appropriate, as well as embed the videos within my website.
38. Amazon S3 Services
I use Amazon S3 Services to host my larger video files that are too big for YouTube or that I don’t wish to be seen publicly on YouTube. You can use Amazon S3 Services to store and retrieve any type of data, but I just use it for video at present.
39. Easy Video Player
I use Easy Video Player to upload my videos to Amazon S3 Services and to apply skins to my videos to make them more visually appealing and increase their functionality (e.g. download and social sharing capabilities) when they are embedded within my blog.
Prezi allows you to create visually engaging presentations like nothing I have ever seen before. Since I started using Prezi for my presentations, I have never gone back to PowerPoint and don’t think I ever will! Your presentations are stored in the cloud for access whenever and wherever you need to give a presentation and you can also download them for when you are off-line. There are loads of other cool features, like the ability to collaborate on prezi’s and the ability to edit and present your prezi’s from a mobile device via the app.
Slideshare is a great way to expose your expertise, products and/or services to a wider audience by uploading presentations, documents, PDFs, videos and webinars. Individuals and businesses upload documents to SlideShare to share ideas, conduct research, connect with others, and generate leads for their businesses. Anyone can view presentations & documents on topics that interest them, download them and reuse or remix for their own work. SlideShare content spreads virally through blogs and social networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
Facebook Marketing Tools
Shortstack is a great Facebook app development tool for anyone who wants to create Facebook apps, such a competitions or other lead generation opportunities. They have a great “forever free option” that has most of the functions that a small business would require. Should you wish to unlock any of the additional features, then you can easily upgrade to a paid account down the track without having to learn a new system.
43. Power Editor
Facebook ain’t what it used to be these days in regards to the ability to grow your Facebook audience organically or the organic viral reach of the content that you share on your Facebook Page. Therefore if you are going to take your Facebook marketing seriously, then you are going to have to invest in some level of Facebook Advertising. The easiest option is “Boost Post”, which I don’t recommend. Next their is the standard Ads Manager dashboard, which is a great starting point. However, the quicker you can progress to the Power Editor and using all it’s capabilities, the sooner you will start seeing better results for your investment.
44. Facebook Page Insights
Facebook Page Insights is the Google Analytics of Facebook Pages. It is a hugely under-utilised resource by most businesses. If you are a Facebook Page administrator, you should be checking out your Facebook Page insights at least once a week.
General Business Tools
45. Google Business Services
I use Google Business Services to integrate and manage all of Impactiv8’s Google products, such as Gmail, Calendars and Google Drive within the team.
Trello is a collaboration tool that organizes your projects into boards. In one glance, Trello tells you what’s being worked on, who’s working on what, and where something is in a process. You can use Trello to plan a holiday, organize a marketing campaign, or track the launch of a new product. I use Trello with some of the people I collaborate with, as well as with some of my clients and am finding it brilliant for workflow management.
Trello synchs seeminglessly between desktop and mobile (iPhone/iPad, Android and Windows 8) and is really intuitive, so it takes no time to learn. It has a free forever plan that includes all of the features most small businesses would ever want. However, if you want even more from Trello, you can upgrade to the Business Class plan, which gives businesses advanced features like Google Apps integration, bulk export, a read-only observer role and extra administrative control.
Prior to using Trello, I used to use Things to manage everything that I juggle. Still a great program, but am finding Trello has more features.
File Storage & Sharing
Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring all your photos, docs, and videos anywhere. This means that any file you save to your Dropbox will automatically save to all your computers, phones and even the dropbox website. Dropbox enables you to cccess your files securely anywhere – it works even when offline! I use it to share individual files and/or folders with my team and/or clients, allowing us to work together on the same documents remotely.
49. Google Drive
Google Drive lets you store up to 15GB of your stuff for free, access them from anywhere, and collaborate with others. My team uses this as part of Google Business Services.
Screen Sharing & Webinar tools
50. GoToMeeting & GoToWebinar
I use GoToMeeting to conduct all my social media coaching sessions on-line and GoToWebinar when I am presenting on-line to a larger audience. Both of these programs require a decent investment, but their integration with other tools, such as Infusionsoft, make them the best option for streamlining my business.
I love that you can change the presenter and also take over control of their computer (with their permission) using GoToMeeting. This really assists me when working remotely with clients and has cut down the need for face-to-face meetings significantly. The time saving benefit alone has made it worth the investment for me.
I usually use Skype when I want to make a quick voice or video call with a client and can’t be bothered setting up a GoToMeeting appointment. You can screen share as you do with GoToMeeting, but you can’t take over control of the other person’s computer, which is what I love most about GoToMeeting.
52. Meeting Burner
I signed up to use Meeting Burner but haven’t used it as yet. I know a few other people that love it, but I must admit that I prefer the features and interface of GoToMeeting & GoToWebinar better.
More Social Media Tools For Business
This is not an exhaustive list of all of the social media tools and resources I have used in my business, just my pick of the best ones.
Have I left anything out? What do you believe to be the best social media tools for business that you use? Please share any gems in the comments below.