Social media is transforming the way brands market themselves online. Actually, it’s safe to say that social media has already changed things in a big way.
New platforms have emerged that continue to transform the way we communicate. These changes affect both how brands promote their message, and how their fans respond.
With these new platforms comes a handful of new tools to help social media marketers engage with audiences in creative ways, and to keep track of their efforts. To keep pace with the latest social media trends, it’s time to review and update that tool set, recognizing which tools we should keep, which we should discard and which new tools we can add to supercharge our social media efforts.
Here’s my shortlist of the top social media tools that every marketer should be using in 2016.
With its clean interface and simple analytics features, Buffer just barely edges out Hootsuite as my favorite social media scheduling tool. You can share content across multiple accounts and networks, all from one central dashboard.
A Chrome extension makes it even easier to share on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and even LinkedIn simultaneously. Buffer has some epic social media guides and case studies on its blog, which is a great place to start if you’re new to social media marketing.
2. Social Clout
It’s all well and good to share content and get likes. In fact, it can be quite addicting. But to really understand which posts get the most engagement, we need to look past vanity metrics and focus on the metrics that matter.
Enter Social Clout, a social media analytics tool designed specifically to track engagement and calculate social media ROI. Social Clout shows you which demographics have the best engagement and which platforms convert the best, and at what times.
Put your content ideation on autopilot, with Feedly. To set it up, just add the RSS feeds of your favorite blogs and writers and Feedly will create a daily “magazine” with all its content, organized by topic.
Moreover, Feedly is a great way to know what niche influencers are talking about, to join the conversation and to stay up to date with the latest industry trends. Staying up to date with the latest current events helps guide your own content strategy and social media posting schedule.
What’s great about the app is that it integrates with scheduling tools like Buffer and Hootsuite, so you can share and schedule posts from directly within the dashboard. In my own work, Feedly saves me hours of time and energy combing through social media posts to find good content.
Here’s a thing most people don’t know about me: I’m terrible at graphic design. (Blog design is another story.)
This is especially true when it comes to choosing and editing photos for my blogs. Luckily, there’s a tool that’s built specifically for non-designers: Canva.
Canva is my favorite tool for creating stunning images for social media posts. Creating images is so easy even a bean-counting marketer could do it. Using Canva’s multiple templates, fonts and colors, all you need to do is drag image elements around and drop them into place.
Canva is free to use, but don’t let that fool you. Despite its affordability, major sites like Buzzfeed use Canva to create images for their posts (which, last I checked, drive nearly half a billion visits each month).
Social media campaigns have countless moving pieces, all of which need to work together if the campaigns are to be successful. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or an established social media manager, there’s never enough time in the day to manage it all while still you're looking for customers.
Socedo is a B2B demand generation tool that does most of the grunt work, so you don’t have to. It works by automating lead generation, and finding and acquiring targeted leads through different social media channels. That way, you can focus on increasing ROI (sales and revenue) without getting bogged down in minutiae and repetitive tasks.
Using a combination of keywords and demographic criteria, Socedo finds and engages prospects across major social networks. Whereas most demand-gen platforms focus on email, Socedo is one of the few that handles outbound prospecting via social.
Ever notice how influencers like Tim Ferriss, Gary Vaynerchuk and Richard Branson repeatedly share their old content?
While that practice may appear redundant or irksome, the fact is that old posts have high engagement when shared. It’s just plain smart.
First, social media accounts gain and lose followers with time. Re-sharing content is an excellent way to showcase your top stuff to new followers. Second, even the most loyal fans won’t be online all the time. Regular sharing is a way to engage with audiences at different times throughout the day
That said, it’s not always easy to know the best social media schedule for new and old content. Edgar knows, and shares your content at the times when it’s most likely to engage your audience. The tool categorizes all of your content by topic and target demographic, determining which posts get the highest engagement with which followers.
Edgar doesn’t stop there. After posting an update, the tool recycles the post back to the bottom of your queue, so it will post again later once the rest of your content has been shared. The result is an endless supply of social media posts that shares and reshares itself continuously, without you having to lift a finger.
In 2016, social media marketers can choose from thousands of tools to help streamline their social media campaigns. However, it’s important not to get bogged down with decision anxiety, giving in to the feeling that you need to learn everything all at once.
These six social media tools handle the 80/20 of social media marketing, adding sizzle and power for everyone from the bootstrapped freelancer to the full-scale social media agency. Are you ready to try them?
This article has been edited from the original, appeared first on Entrepreneur by Neil Patel