12 free social media tools to make your life easier

With the myriad tools available to help you with social media, often it’s hard to know which ones to try. People ask me whether there’s “an app for that,” and I love when I can give them the right tool.

Here are 12 of the best free tools, each one of which I use in my own business.

1. Buffer

Buffer is a great little app to help you send tweets and posts at optimal times. After you create your account and link your networks (currently Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn), you can choose when Buffer will release posts to each network. When you’re plugging through your reading list you can simply “Buffer” those articles you want to share, and they will be posted on each network when they get to the top of the queue.

2. Eventbrite

Whether your event is free or paid, Eventbrite is a fabulous way to manage it. The app makes it easy to set up an event to accept PayPal and/or credit card payments. There is no “installation” or “set up” fee, making it perfect for the small business that doesn’t want a big credit card system on a monthly basis.

The tool contains lots of features for customization of the event pages, email marketing to confirmed attendees, Facebook integration, and even the ability to scan QR coded tickets with your smart phone at the door. It’s free to use if your event is free. For paid events, the fees are comparable to other online systems.

3. Tweriod

A simple app that tells you the optimal times to tweet from your account. Run a free Tweriod analysis once a month and use the data to plan your Buffer schedule.

4. Manage Flitter

An easy-to-use tool that helps you find Twitter accounts that are not following you back or are inactive. I’ve used this one to get my follower ratio under control by unfollowing inactive accounts, but it has a range of other features as well.

5. Screenr

This is the perfect way to create a quick screencast video for your blog or training sessions. With a five-minute limit, you can be sure you never run long and because it only captures what you do on-screen, you don’t need to worry about your hair.

6. ScribD

Long used as a way to share PDF files on websites and blogs, Scribd now has a fabulous Facebook app that enables you to make your PDFs available to your Facebook fans. Use this function to share your menu, free printables, checklists, or a newsletter on your Facebook business page.

7. WiseStamp

Available for many Internet email systems, WiseStamp creates a branded email signature. The free version allows for two signatures, personal and corporate. The best feature is the ability to link up nearly any social network, or even include your latest tweet or blog post title automatically.

8. Disqus

This is the best option I’ve found for getting rid of spammers on my blog since you have to create an account to comment.

9. Aviary

Aviary enables you to capture a picture of the screen, edit it, and add comments. It’s perfect for grabbing a screen shot of that comment or tweet you want to save for later use in a presentation, or blog post.

10. If This Then That (ifttt)

This is another automation tool, but it’s different than everything else you’ve tried. You can create “recipes” to auto-post your favorite authors to a host of social networks, add blog posts containing key words to your Buffer, or even get a text message about tomorrow’s weather (I use that one).

11. Twilert

It’s like Google Alerts for Twitter. Get an email digest each day for your keywords or mentions of your company/brand.

12. Mr. Unfollowr

A little known Twitter account that tells you who is unfollowing you on Twitter. Each weekly digest is split into “ex-friends” and “ex-followers.” Don’t use this if you’re going to take it personally each time someone unfollows you. It’s a great tool that I use just to ensure I’m not losing any real-life friends or business contacts.

Most of these tools have a paid upgrade available. If you find a program that works for you, sometimes it’s worth paying for the upgrade, like HootSuite and Prezi, two others I didn’t mention here. Whatever you’re looking for in social media, chances are there is something out there to help you do it, you just need to know what you’re looking for. And hey, there’s a great website that can help you find it. It’s also free, and it’s called Google.

Article by Anita Hovey, who is a social media consultant and trainer at her own company Twirp Communications.

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