What are the must-have, essential tools and apps for every social media manager and small business owner?
There are too many tools to keep track of. Hundreds of different scheduling tools, apps for content repurposing, video editing, photo collages, design and much more. It can quickly get overwhelming and confusing as to which ones are the best for you.
We asked our community what their go-to, must-have social media tools that make their life easier?
In this blog, we share their votes, emerging and top social media marketing tools, and tell you what we think of them and whether it’s worth considering them part of your social media kit!
First things first…
Collaboration & Data Backup
- Dropbox – Easily access your team’s work from your computer, mobile device, or any web browser. A new way to store, share, & track your work.
- Google Drive – Store, share, and access your files and folders from any mobile device, tablet, or computer—and your first 15GB of storage are free.
Community opinion: We would be completely lost without Google Drive (and all the rest of Google Tools). From shareable folders to easy to collaborate documents. Google Drive is easy to use and affordable tools for starting freelancer or more established businesses!
- Airtable – Airtable is a low-code platform for building collaborative apps. Customize your workflow, collaborate, and achieve ambitious outcomes.
Community opinion: for sharing content etc is great!
- Toggl – Take the stress out of time tracking, project planning, and hiring. Designed by and for teams that work from anywhere.
Community opinion: Toggl if you need to track time!
Then we will move into the endless (but crucial)…
Content & Management Tools
- ContentCal – ContentCal is a content marketing planning tool that puts everything in one place. So you can make creating, scheduling, and posting an easier ride for the entire team.
Community opinion: I manage multiple socials for multiple people and the functionality is perfect for it.
(We also use ContentCal at CSM and we love it! If you’d like to take your Social Media Content Planning and Scheduling game to the next level, you can get 20% off with our community discount code CSM20)
- Iconosquare – Iconosquare is a powerful analytics, management & scheduling platform for brands and agencies worldwide looking to up their presence on social media.
Community opinion: My favourite IG scheduler is Iconosquare – it will resize things for you in the app and their customer service is second to none!
- Later – Visually plan your social posts, publish automatically, and get tailored insights to help you reach more people.
Community opinion: I struggled to consistently use this tool even though I’ve paid for it and also found the hashtag generator is not worth it.
- Lately AI – Lately is the only social media management platform that creates content for you with the power of A.I.
Community opinion: Such a time saver!!! really like it, seems to incorporate the best bits of lots of different schedulers as well as the AI element which can create multiple posts from a URL you enter (ie a blog post). Also, they are and still working on the backend and very open to suggestions and wishlists.
- Tailwind – Tailwind is the complete Pinterest & Instagram marketing toolkit for bloggers, eCommerce and other businesses of all sizes. Schedule posts at the best times, create beautiful pins faster than ever, discover content, monitor conversations, amplify your reach, and measure results all with one tool.
- Feedalpha – Creative content tailored for your business, to save you time on Social Media and increase engagement online.
Community opinion: Well feedalpha is my no. one scheduling tool as it also provides you with content. Makes it easier when I work with so many industries and saves me so much time.
- Trello – Collaborate, manage projects, and reach new productivity peaks. From high rises to the home office, the way your team works is unique—accomplish it all with Trello.
Community opinion: Can’t imagine how lost I would be without Trello! I use it with all my clients – big and small. It’s my favourite to be creative, visualise content calendars from inception to ready for publishing.
- StoryChief – One tool to manage all your content marketing. Blogs, Social Media and employee advocacy. The most user-friendly all-in-one content distribution software for marketing teams, agencies and content professionals.
Community opinion: I’ve recently discovered StoryChief that I’ve started using with my clients. It’s a platform that allows you to publish content to all channels including social media posts, blogs on your websites, blogs on other well-known platforms, emails to subscribers etc. So not only does it allow you to schedule your social media posts, it actually has your whole content marketing strategy in one place so you can clearly see when things are due to be published to different places.
- Grammarly for Chrome – Grammarly helps you fix grammar, spelling, and punctuation issues, and it can also help you revise sentences that are grammatically correct but wordy and unclear. … Once you add Grammarly to Chrome, you’ll start seeing writing suggestions as you type.
Community opinion: I love using it for my blogs and it helps me use a variety of vocabulary without leaving the page and pay attention to my grammar errors.
- Headline Studio by CoSchedule (Chrome extension) – Write better headlines that will boost your traffic.
Community opinion: Writing great headlines is hard, but getting them right is incredibly important for your blogs or emails. This Chrome extension helps you analyse and improve your headline for better-converting titles!
Now, let’s get you ready to create a fabulous visual identity with…
Design & Visuals
- Canva – Canva is a graphic design platform, used to create social media graphics, presentations, posters, documents and other visual content. The app includes templates for users to use.
Community opinion: At CSM, we use Canva and we can’t rave enough of how awesome this tool is at helping you look more professional for whatever purpose be it social media, presentations, branding…we just love it!
- Easil – Easil is the drag-and-drop design tool that empowers your whole team to create visual content so good, it looks like a pro designed it.
- Snapseed – Snapseed is a photo-editing application for iOS and Android that enables users to enhance photos and apply digital filters. It was created by Nik Software and is now owned by Google.
Community opinion: Take your photos to the next level with this super easy photo editing app. I can’t imagine creating content for social media from my phone without this app!
- Unfold – Unfold is a toolkit for storytellers. Create beautiful and engaging stories from minimal and elegant templates. Available now for iOS and Android.
- Adobe Creative Cloud Express – Transform your ideas into stunning visual stories. Create impactful social graphics, web pages, and short videos in minutes with Adobe!
Community opinion: A brilliant mobile app for creating quick eye-catching visuals, graphics collages on the go.
And for all your video needs, check out these tools…
Video Creation, Editing & Captioning
- iMovie – Turn your videos into movie magic. With iMovie for iOS and macOS, you can enjoy your videos like never before. It’s easy to browse your clips and create Hollywood-style trailers and stunning 4K-resolution movies. You can even start editing on iPhone or iPad, then finish on your Mac.
Community opinion: If you have a Mac, it’s easier as the built-in IMovie is good enough for the basics.
- Filmora – Wondershare Filmora is a simple video editor that empowers your stories, download the latest version X to transform precious moments into stunning videos.
- inShot – InShot – Powerful FREE HD Video Editor and Video Maker with all features, trim & cut video/movie, blur the background, add music, transition effects, text and emoji and filters!
Community opinion: I can create videos easily and resize them for different platforms. The free version is fantastic, it’s for iOS and Android and comes with a good range of audio, stickers and filters.
- Spark Camera – Spark Camera is the easiest way to make videos on your iPhone. You can capture, edit and share your videos with just a few taps.
Community opinion: A mobile app for Reels.
- Quicc – Repurpose video content like a global heavyweight, without needing a media empire behind you to do it.
Community opinion: I like it because it’s saving my time and allows me to do a keyword search to find what I need to snip from a video instead of watching the whole video. it’s easy to navigate and doesn’t require a lot of corrections.
(Another of our favourite tools! If you want to step up your video game and do more with your video content, you can get 50% off your Quicc membership with our discount code: LKSocialMedia)
- Subly – Need automatic subtitles and translation for your video content? Save time and money with automatic subtitles for your content. Register for free! Auto Subtitle Videos.
Community opinion: I like it. Simple and straightforward interface.
- Otter AI – Automated meeting notes with audio recording, transcribed text and highlight summary. Automated meeting notes with AI, Otter will type out your meeting notes in real-time.
Community opinion: Do you hate writing, but want to publish more content? Otter AI allows you to record your text and it transcribes it with astounding accuracy. You can use it to create blog posts from your Zoom training or walk and talk!
- Mojo Video – Create stunning animated Stories
Community opinion: For iOS – great for creating stories!
- Frame.io – Our cloud-based collaboration platform enables you to stay connected with all your teams—on videos, images, and more—from anywhere on the planet.
Community opinion: If you work with a team on Video editing for social, Frame.io is so good.
Talking about video, there are some great tools out there to help you create better live streams….
- Streamyard – Stream to all major social platforms simultaneously directly from your browser. The Easiest Way To Create Professional Live Streams.
Community opinion: I love Streamyard and being able to broadcast live into multiple Social Media Channels simultaneously, And being able to easily see live comments from each of the different platforms in the broadcasting studio.
- Whereby – Easy video meetings. With no app or installs required, and the same meeting link every time, Whereby gives you the freedom to work from anywhere.
Community opinion: Are you tired of Zoom? Do you want an easy to use tool for your video calls that don’t require downloads or updates? Try Whereby!
- Ecamm Live – Powerful Live Streaming Platform for Mac. The all-in-one live streaming production platform for Mac. Ecamm Live puts the power of Facebook Live, YouTube Live, Periscope, and Twitch video streaming at your fingertips.
Now that you’re set for content, time for…
- TubeBuddy – TubeBuddy is essentially a certified YouTube SEO tool and chrome extension that connects directly to your Youtube dashboard.
Community opinion: if you’re venturing into YouTube is a 100% must!
- Display Purposes – Find the best hashtags for your Instagram profile to get more followers, likes and reach or check all banned hashtags on Instagram and in your profile.
- Hashtag Shuffle – Have a lot of hashtags? Don’t know which to pick? Use this tool to randomize your own custom hashtags. Enter up to 300 hashtags, and the tool will pull 30 (or less, if you like) at random.
Community opinion: Paste in your usual Instagram hashtags and it shuffles them for you to vary them each time
- Answer The Public – Get instant, raw search insights, direct from the minds of your customers
Community opinion: I use answerthepublic.com to come up with content ideas – lets you know what questions people are searching
What’s next from building an online audience?…
- GroupLeads – Group leads helps you convert new Facebook group members into leads in your favourite email marketing software.
Community opinion: I love Group Leads because they allow us to collect more information about our members. It helps us to get to know them better, learn about their needs as well as about who they are. Plus it’s a neat system that allows us to grow our mailing list and provide people with more valuable information and resources about social media marketing in their inboxes.
- ConvertKit – We Simplify Email Marketing By Combining Powerful Automations W/ An Easy-To-Use Interface.
Community opinion: it’s cool. It can do so much for your email marketing journey with good visualisation of your performance.
(We use ConvertKit for all our email marketing needs and we love it. From simple campaigns – are you part of our #GetSmartSocial Club? – to event ticket purchase automation. It’s a simple to use, yet powerful tool, that’s approved by our go-to email marketing ninja Kenda Macdonald.
- Mailchimp – Mailchimp is the All-In-One integrated marketing platform for small businesses, to grow your business on your terms.
Community opinion: it works great for me as a novice in email marketing. Easy to build my templates and track the performance and affordable.
This list is in no way exhaustive of all the amazing tools that we have at our disposal to organise, collaborate, plan, create, schedule, publish and analyse our social media activities and content.
If you think that we’ve missed an absolutely brilliant tool that should be on this list, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
A huge thank you to all the amazing members from our Cambridge Social Media community who helped us put this list together: Tim Lewis, Jo Barber, Sarah-Jane Heath, Trey Mondo, Sybil Theresa, Jordan Domin, Michele Webber, Cathy Wassell, Kylie Baxter, Dan Holloway, Lisa Monks, Eve Koivula, Andrew Pickering, Laura Moore, Jacqui Patton, Ruth Armstrong, Kirsty Lawrence, Jessica Williams-Chadwick, Dion J Sully, Alanah Light, Helena Gilhooly, Liza Mayne Hooks, Sally Thomas, Chloe Mitchell, Louise Mc Donnell, Jacinta Dempsey, Louise Burgoyne
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