I’ve ran across a number of articles lately on how you should spend your social media marketing budgets. Speaking from a small to medium-sized business standpoint, I disagree with nearly all of them. Spending money on monthly subscriptions when there are plenty of free options out there seems like money wasted when you can be using all of that for customer acquisition and outreach. Here, I am going to show you how I would spend $100 on Social Media Marketing.
$0: FREE Images
There is no need to get a subscription to a stock photo site when there are so many sites out there where you can get high quality, FREE fair use images. Here are a few that I use regularly:
1. Creative Commons Image Search
This is probably my most used site for searching for fair use images. Here, you can choose a number of different sites to scour for FREE fair use images. (I use the Flickr and Google Images search the most.)
Described as “delicious free stock photos for personal & commercial use,” The graphic designer that owns the site regularly uploads new photos and welcomes the use of them on social media, book covers, advertising, websites, etc. Also, he is so helpful that he has a “request” feature on his site where if you can’t find something you want, he will go out and take a picture for you and send it directly to your email. Very kind of him.
This is another site that I use pretty regularly. The description on the website states “Search millions of Creative Commons photos and add them to your blog posts easily.” There are a ton of great images to use on this site. All for FREE!
This site claims to have every stock photo that is FREE online, but I’ve found photos on some of the others that I haven’t ran across on here. Some of the searches can be overwhelming and provide less-than-relevant photos, but worth the shot. One of the coolest things about this site is the “advanced search” feature, which allows you to narrow down specific photo shapes, sources, sizes, and even search exact phrases. Worth a bookmark.
If none of these work for you and you want to venture out into the wide world of FREE photos, Canva compiled a list of 74 Best Sites to Find FreeImages
$0: FREE Image Editing Tools
If you don’t need the full scope of photo editing through Photoshop ($20/month), then there are a number of free online editing tools that you can use for FREE. Here are a few that I use:
You probably know this one, but it is worth mentioning. It’s an extremely easy program to use that almost walks you through step-by-step on creating social media images. I’ve used it a number of times for Facebook contests and words-over-text images.
“Make Twitter ready images in seconds” is their tagline. I use this site exclusively for my blog header images because I share on Twitter quite a bit. It’s very easy to use and even has a number of free images you can choose from if you don’t have one already. The only downfall is that there are only 9 different fonts to choose from.
Personally, I love this tool. It’s almost like editing Instagram photos on your desktop except with some extra features like graphics, frames, overlays, text, etc. It’s worth a look if you are wanting to make some quick photo effects.
Touted as “Photoshopping in your browser”, this tool is the closest thing I have come to Photoshop online. It even feels like it once you get started. This is my go-to for any in-depth editing that I have to do. You won’t regret taking a look at this one.
$0: FREE Social Scheduling Tools
There aren’t many of these out there that are completely FREE. The ones I ran across when searching all seemed to be FREE trials for a certain amount of days, but these are the two that I ran across that allow you to connect a variety of social networks and schedule posts out for as long as you want for FREE. If you know of any others, please tweet me @jacksonsalzman and tell me and I will update this blog post.
One of the main social media scheduling tools out there right now. The FREE version is very in-depth and unlike Buffer, allows you to schedule as many posts as you want at one time. This is an amazing feature if you have recently written a blog post and want to schedule it out over the month.
Along with the unlimited scheduling with the FREE version, there are streams that you can utilize (see image above) in order to make the best of your time when interacting/searching for new content. There are a number of other great features about Hootsuite, but it is unfortunate that they don’t allow you to create any useful reports (gotta upgrade to do those). I would suggest you use Hootsuite even if it is just for scheduling as many posts as you want.
I love minimalism, so Buffer appeals to me right away. The biggest problem I have with the FREE version of this scheduling tool is that it only allows you to schedule 10 posts per account at a time. If you want to schedule out a ton of posts, use Hootsuite.
$0: FREE Twitter Analytics
1. Twitter Analytics
Twitter has its very own analytics tool that measures impressions, engagements, and engagement rates of each individual tweet. Not only that, but you can dive into your audience insights and see what industry your followers are involved in, their income, gender, wireless carrier, and net worth. You can use this information to tailor your future tweets in order to reach your audience a bit more.
This is a very cool dashboard where you can take a look at your overall stats. The FREE version lets you see best days and times to post as well as your top tweets (RT and favs), most engaged users, mentions, followers, followings, and lists. It it a pretty decent breakdown on what your activity looks like as a whole on your account.
This site is more for checking on your audience. It allows you to see accounts that have unfollowed you, which accounts are inactive for a certain time period, track mentions, and see who doesn’t mutually follow you back as well as some other following/unfollowing stats. Worth a look if you are a stickler about reciprocating followings.
A nearly all-in-one platform for all things Twitter. The free plan comes with analytics, best time to tweet, follow/unfollow tools, and community insights.
5. Simply Measured
Simply Measured offers a few FREE reports, but this specific one is to help you learn about your followers (from interest to influence) and to measure your key customer service metrics. The report itself shows how you compare to your followers/followings, breaks down the top keywords your audience uses, klout scores, audience distribution, and most influential followers. It’s a nice little report for your bosses if you need something pretty to print off.
6. Social Rank
I’m a big fan of this tool because it lets you see who your most engaged followers are and allows you to break them down by keywords, number of followers, most recently tweeted, etc. Knowing these things creates a nice funnel for you to go in and reward your followers with a few retweets or even add them to a list so you can always remember them.
$0: FREE Facebook Insights
1. Facebook Insights
Honestly, the only analytics you really need from Facebook are on Facebook itself. There is a wealth of information that is provided to you so that you can monitor every individual post if you want as well as see page likes, post reach, engagement, visits, demographics (people reached, engaged, and even check-ins), and where your page likes happened. Facebook Insights is the go-to to monitor everything on your business page.
$0: FREE Google+ Insights
1. Google+ Insights
The same with Facebook Insights, Google+ Insights is all you need for analytics. It breaks down a number of key metrics, including visibility, engagement, and audience. Check out a recent blog post of mine on the full breakdown of the Google+ Insights here.
$0: FREE Pinterest Analytics
1. Pinterest Analytics
The same runs true for Pinterest Analytics as it does for FB and G+. The built in Pinterest Analytics are great. It allows you to see the breakdown of impressions, repins, clicks, and likes so you can hone in on the types of posts your audience is interested in. Not only that, but it provides those same stats for your overall account in order for you to better tailor your message to reach the people you really want to reach.
$0: FREE Twitter/Instagram Monitoring
The FREE version of Keyhole allows you to monitor hashtags and keywords. The result of a search is the screenshot above. Below what you see on the page is a breakdown of the more influential users using that keyword as well as the most recent accounts using it. Having that feature available to you allows you to go in and follow through to Twitter/Instagram and interact with the user and/or the post itself. Very cool.
TweetReach gives you a snapshot of a keyword (hashtag or phrase), but also provides the top tweets for the provided keyword, contributors, and a list of the most recent tweets with that keyword in them. It’s a handy tool for quickly checking out which keyword you might want to use for an upcoming blog post or if you need to find a few more tweets in your industry.
- You can group people together with circles…and then filter feeds by them.
- You can manage comments by replying or deleting them.
- You can see a full breakdown on any post.
- You can comment, like, search, follow, repost, and share on other sites.
- You can see who interacts with your content the most.
- You can see a breakdown of your media’s important stats like LOVE RATE, TALK RATE, and SPREAD RATE.
- You can see rolling month totals on things like average likes per media or average comments per media.
- You can see the growth of your followers as well as who you gained or lost (monthly).
- You can see when (date and time) your media gets the most interaction.
- You can see which filter is best performing for your media.
If you want to measure the success of your images month-to-month on Instagram, this is the tool to use.
Simply put, this application allows you to enter a hashtag and discover related hashtags that you might want to use in place of the one you searched. This could help you find new audiences and influencers and conversations.
I’m a fan of Mention because it not only sends you daily summaries of your mentions around the web, but you can use their web client and go in and monitor your mentions and when you choose a specific mention, it opens the website in the space to the right in the same browser so you never have to worry about tabbing over and opening up all these new windows.
Simply put, socialmention provides a quick glimpse of how people are talking about your brand online. Just enter the keyword and socialmention will show you strength, sentiment, passion, and reach of what you have searched for.
$0: FREE Content Aggregation
I use Topsy a lot for content aggregation because it displays recent and relevant tweets based on keyword search. You can narrow down the search to links, photos, videos or specific date range. It’s a great resource to find relevant tweets rather quickly.
It’s hard to beat this RSS reader. It’s simple to use and once you have enough sites added to your various feeds, you won’t need to go anywhere else for information. I use this daily and have come to rely on it for up-to-date content and breaking social media articles. No matter what your industry, there will be content for you to read.
This site updates every 15 minutes and shows all of the most “viral” content out there at any given time. You can use this site to bolster your followers by spreading content that is being talked about by a very diverse audience no doubt.
This site lets you search for relevant content to whatever keyword you wish to search for. You can filter the search by date, content type, country, and language. Along with that, when you click on the “Trending” button at the top, it brings up a ton of trending topics from around the web in which you can filter by hours or categories. It’s a very useful news aggrigator site that only shows the top trending news. You can use this to share with your audience and possibly reach brand new ones.
The biggest reason I added this one to the list is because it doesn’t just search for hashtags in Twitter and Instagram, it searched Google+, Vine, Facebook, and Tumblr! I use this tool pretty regularly because it allows me to get into the mind of the audience and see if there are any trends happening in the moment. Oh, and if you want to filter out any of the aforementioned social platforms, you can. Enjoy that one.
$100: Facebook Advertising
The reason that I say you should use your full $100 on Facebook advertising is for a number of reasons, but what it comes down to is ROI.
As a business, you want the most bang for your buck and this platform is the cheapest way to reach your current customers and new customers. I’ve been able to reach tens of thousands of potential customers for very cheap.
Take this Facebook boosted post for example:
I have only spent $16.28 so far on this boosted post and reached 10k people, with 785 taking an action (liking the post, clicking through to the website, sharing the post, comments, etc) of $.02 per click. You simply cannot create that kind of traction for that cheap anywhere else.
As you can see, the ad itself created over 27k impressions and 697 clicks to the website to purchase the product. Not everyone purchased the product, but that’s okay because we put a tracking pixel in the website itself that tracks visitors and with that, we can retarget Facebook ads to reach them again. It’s an amazing tool that you need to have in your arsenal to make the most out of your ad dollars.
Along with conversions, once you have an email list of your website visitors, you can create a custom audience on FB and deliver ads straight to them.
Interest targeting is another way you can find a relevant audience on Facebook. This allows you to target similar businesses or interests that you think your audience is interested in and serve ads to them to entice them to get your service/like you page so you can target them again with great offers through boosting posts.
Until then… It’s your turn!
Go forth and use these FREE apps and website to track your monitoring, create amazing graphics, and engage with your audience on a whole new level. If you need any help with your Facebook campaigns to get the most out of your $100, tweet me @jacksonsalzman and I will be happy to help.