When you’re driving an Account-Based Marketing program, social media marketing is no cakewalk, consuming significant time to plan, execute, measure and repeat. Given this, savvy B2B social media and account-based marketers are leveraging tools that save them time on repetitive tasks, help them manage campaigns more efficiently, as well as ideate, measure and strategize more effectively.
Though social media budgets are expanding (social media spending in the United States is expected to grow to more than $17 billion in 2019) and paid tools make up a part of this investment, marketers are looking beyond popular social media statistics and are leveraging purpose-designed free tools that help them get the job done at no cost. Here is a look at 15 amazing social media tools that you can start using today.
1. Facebook Insights
Facebook is often overlooked by B2B sales and marketing teams, but when you think of the fact that 79% of Americans are on Facebook it can be a powerful tool in reaching your ideal buyers—especially when you’re driving an Account-Based Marketing program. Considering that you can create a “lookalike” list to market and advertise directly to based on your EXISTING customer list, the entire platform is a benefit to today’s marketer.
Facebook Insights is great, because data is everything in marketing and the platform offers valuable insights into page interaction and Facebook ads, helping you understand which of your posts are performing well and the most opportune times where audience engagement is at its highest. See how your posts rank by type (text, photo, link, video) and detailed statistics such as clicks, reach, likes, comments and shares for each published post. It is a powerful tool that, besides views, posts and reach, provides analytics on events, videos, people and Messenger. You can export the analytics data from your Facebook Page into an Excel or CSV file for further analysis in your Account-Based Marketing initiative.
Not everyone is as lucky as I am to have a team of talented designers who support our digital marketing team with amazing visuals. Yet, we all want to put our best foot forward. That’s where Canva comes in.
Canva is an excellent free tool for creating social media graphics, editing images and enhancing them to create the desired visual impact and communicate your message attractively. It is very useful if you will be leveraging any sort of visuals in your Account-Based Marketing program. You can add icons, elements and shapes as needed to a visual you have created. Canva is also useful for creating infographics and you can also refine your Facebook cover photo at the time of your next update with the tool’s ‘Facebook cover photo’ layout option.
3. Google Alerts
In Account-Based Marketing, the target audience is low—but the payoff (and possible loss) is high. It’s critical that you have every piece of data available to you, including what competitors are doing, when your target is in the news, and when major industry changes occur that can impact your prospects.
Additionally, great content is the fuel that drives engagement on social, yet continuously coming up with new content that is relevant to your ideal target customer can be a challenge. Google Alerts can address this problem by helping you discover the latest news, blogs, webpages and scientific articles matching customer-related search terms. It is especially helpful if you want to stay on top of industry trends or on days when you’re suffering from writer’s block. Google Alerts can really help inspire ideas with little effort from your side.
Google Alerts is also a handy tool for brand and competitive analysis and monitoring; set up alerts for your company name or product and your competitors’ to discover what customers, media websites or industry folk are saying about you. Set up an email filter to organize all your alerts in one place.
Continuing on the theme of locating great content to curate for your ABM program, Feedly is a great tool to organize, read and share your content conveniently in a single place across the various online publications you follow. The news aggregator is popular among social marketers and voracious readers who consume a lot of content. With Feedly, you can find top-notch third-party content and schedule or share it quickly without having to log in and out of multiple websites. If you’re exploring a content curation, library and social media scheduler rolled into one, put Feedly on your list.
Mentionmapp is a Twitter data visualization tool that can point you to useful, interesting information. You can investigate your Twitter profile by seeing who mentions and retweets you the most, and see the connections between interactions, all via a map. This function is particularly useful for brand reputation management.
Another option is to find relevant people to follow or track on Twitter. For instance, you can use a hashtag like #highdensitywifi to find accounts that use this tag frequently in their tweets, and determine the role they can play in your ABM program.
Klout started life as a tool to measure and score your social media influence and in its current avatar does a bunch of different things. It shows you your top-performing tweets for the past three months, which is helpful in determining topics that resonate well with your audience. Klout also provides a list of influencers who have engaged with your content, the best times to tweet and the percentage of people who may be interested in a particular topic. You can also schedule content for posting on Twitter directly from Klout.
When you get your ABM program up and running, you’ll start to find that your ideal clients “live” on different social media platforms. Hootsuite is great if you’re a marketing (or sales) department of one, managing two or three social accounts, and interested in basic metrics like audience growth and how relevant your content is to your intended audience.
Hootsuite is one of the most popular social media management tools currently available. It is most useful in its paid version for professionals, enabling you to manage up to ten social accounts, schedule in bulk and get in-depth, real-time analytics across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn, WordPress and YouTube. If you opt for the free version, you can link the app to three social accounts, schedule content and get basic analytics.
A powerful ABM program includes graphics and data, and we find that infographics are a truly compelling way to share your knowledge with your prospects.
If you expect to create infographics and charts often and share these visualizations with your prospects on social media, and (again) don’t have a creative team to make them for you, Infogram is a good tool to consider alongside Canva. Thanks to Infogram Charts’ compatibility with Excel, you can create charts easily using your Excel data. The tool offers over 35 interactive charts, 2 maps, and some additional basic features.
Part of developing a robust Account-Based Marketing program is to make sure that you have expert-level knowledge of what’s going on in your prospects’ industries. As your browsing through content to curate and research, you’ll need a way to keep track of all this information, and browser bookmarking can only get you so far.
Pocket won Webby’s Best Productivity App going back in 2014 and is today used by more than 15 million people seeking a better alternative to save articles and videos than the basic bookmarking function provided by browsers. Pocket is an app as well as a browser add-on that saves the content you want to read later in one location, allows you to group articles using tags and makes it easy to locate them. It also integrates with over 500 apps, including Evernote. By enabling you to bookmark and organize content as and when you’re conducting an organic search or scrolling through your social media feeds, Pocket simplifies content curation and serves as a neat content library.
One area that’s key to building trust in ABM is showing off your company’s culture. Gaining insight into who your company is and what your collective values are can go a long way in developing the initial relationship. Instagram can help communicate your company’s culture, show off existing customer work and help you deliver your story in an interactive and visual way that can further your efforts.
PicFlow makes it easy to create 15-second video slideshows for Instagram. All you have to do is select your photos, the accompanying music and set the timing for each photo. For under $3, you can create longer videos and add more transition between photos. PicFlow is available as an iOS and Android app.
Twitonomy is the popular Twitter analytics tools that you’ve never heard of! You can use it for social listening, analyze your competitors’ Twitter handles, see your most popular Tweets, get insights on the people you follow as well as your followers, download any user’s retweeted and favorited tweets, download your following and follower lists to Excel, track clicks on the links in your tweets, perform search analytics on keywords, URLs and hashtags, and track your follower growth over time. You can also visualize the global reach of your tweets and get a much better sense of your overall Twitter activity in a simple, efficient way.
There are so many ways that this can be used to help move your ABM program along. From competitive analysis to customer identification, the utility is invaluable to digging into publicly available data.
Quora has 100 million monthly active users worldwide, making it a fertile ground to connect with prospects and influencers AND to build authority in your industry.
By earning upvotes, you can build your authority and reputation over time, or at least pique the interest of your target audience. Click on ‘# views’ to see how many readers are finding your answers through your profile, tagged topics or on their browsing journey. On your personal views page, you can see who all have seen your answers, and get a better sense of the avenues that can help your brand gain more exposure online and identify users who might become prospects.
The social media management tool allows you to schedule your posts on six social networks; stores your assets for reuse—which is a great feature if you’re conducting an ABM campaign with limited premium content that you need to repost again and again; provides an advanced analytics dashboard for a deep data dive; offers access to thousands of stock images for purchase within the app; and provides email support.
With the focus on creating visual content for ABM programs, Mavsocial is great because it has tight integration with a number of stock image websites.
Just like with Instagram, we hear things like “Pinterest isn’t really right for us because we don’t sell products. We’re B2B.” If your competitors are thinking just like you—then you have a huge, untapped opportunity here. Whether you’re sharing infographics or blog posts, industry information or offline events (like snaps from those trade shows you go to), there are all manner of brand-building activities you can use Pinterest for. And if that’s not enough, Pinterest can help your Google rankings—it’s believed that among the social signals looked at by Google, social shares—like those in Pinterest—are factored into your ranking.
Tailwind is a Pinterest scheduling and analytics tool that is free to use for the first 100 pins and then requires you to sign up for a paid plan. You can upload pins from your device, share them from a webpage, from your Instagram account or even after creating your image on Canva, which integrates with Tailwind.
The tool offers a ‘suggested pins’ feature that highlights pins relevant to those you’ve just added, and also avoids duplication by alerting you if you’ve posted the same pin previously. Tailwind Tribes is another useful feature that allows you to create your own tribe and invite others or join tribes, with a view to earning more repins and traffic. As far as analytics is concerned, you can find out the best times to pin, your best-performing pins and boards, and track your follower growth.
I personally love MailChimp, since it has some amazing tools to automate email, and get clients who are dipping their toe in Account-Based Marketing and don’t want to invest in an expensive Marketing Automation platform.
One area where many ABM-based marketing initiatives fall down is in email communication, and by using a tool like MailChimp, you can automate your workflows and nurture and ABM lead without fear that you’ll miss an opportunity. And with the ability to add 2,000 subscribers and send 12,000 emails a month, their free plan is perfect for many small B2B marketing teams.
Hopefully these 15 free social media tools will help you develop and execute your marketing strategy and campaigns. Do you have any other free social tools you’d like to share with our readers?