Perhaps one of the biggest hurdles in running a small business is that there just never seems to be enough hours in the day. We’re constantly juggling the need to service our customers, stay ahead of our competitors, somehow manage to pay the bills and have a life at the same time.
As you know I work mostly with small businesses and I’ve discovered over the years, that no two projects are alike. Most of my clients usually have specific goals that require a custom solution but they need to maintain a certain level of quality and service at a price they can afford.
My clients are always asking me, ‘Sylvia – how do you keep up with all of this stuff?’ and I tell them – I don’t. It’s impossible to keep up with everything, if I tried to do that I would never finish a project. I would be doing nothing but testing out new apps and plugins all day!
You see I run a business too and just like you at some point I have to set boundaries and focus on what gives me the most bang for my buck, but I know it’s a little different for you.
Here’s the thing – with so much to choose from, I know it can be confusing to decide what will work best for your business. This can be the most challenging when it comes to maintaining your social media campaigns. So I’ve decided to give you a quick “run down” of my top 10 social media tools for small business.
Now there are certain tools that I think are better suited for businesses with just 1 or 2 employees and others that are more robust and work better with teams. But the real distinctions comes with whether or not you want to generate and distribute your own content for your social media channels or pay someone else to do it.
If you aren’t sure, my advice would be to start slow and increase your budget as you get more comfortable with the services you’re using.
Oh and by the way, I am not an affiliate for any of these companies. The opinions expressed here in the post are my own and I am not being compensated in any way. OK – so let’s get started.
I’ve personally used this service and while they offer plans for teams, I think this is a great option for 1 or 2 people. It’s quite robust and they allow you to automate your social media content to almost anyone and everyone. They also have great training resources including free webinars and certification programs. Plans (see pricing) start at $29 – $129/month for 1 – 3 users.
#2 Meet Edgar and #3 Buffer
Meet Edgar and Buffer are almost the same, but Buffer edges out Edgar with the number of social media platforms that they cover. Edgar covers only 4 (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn) but it keeps a library of your content and schedules it for you automatically! Buffer allows you to set different schedules for different platforms and makes suggestions, but in the end you’re still managing the schedule.
OK now this app is a little different and good for those of you who are looking to stretch your social media muscles. BuzzSumo doesn’t help you schedule your content but it does help you find out who are the BEST influencers in your space to help promote your content. You also can do a little “spying” on your competition and source some real data to find out who really knows their stuff.
BuzzSumo doesn’t come cheap, it starts at $99 a month, but can be a good investment. It can be a great analytics tool – if you’re starting to devote some serious time and money to your social media and content marketing efforts.
#5 Sprout Social & #6 CoSchedule
Both Sprout Social and CoSchedule are both good choices for teams. They offer well designed and thought out dashboards, scheduling and analytic features. Both integrate well with WordPress or can stand alone. CoSchedule is a little easier on the wallet and a better choice if you’ve got a WordPress site. They have plans starting at $19 – 39/month while Sprout Social starts at $99/month.
Now I will warn you that Sprout Social also has a CRM system which may be a bit over the top for a small business. You may want to start with the free trial first before you make any financial commitment. You can view a demo of CoSchedule on their site.
So we’ve just covered most of the tools I would recommend if you wanted to keep your social media generation and distribution “in-house”. However, if you’re really bogged down in the day-to-day operations of your business, you may want to consider hiring someone to do this for you.
There’s a new crop of content marketing services out there and they’re becoming more and more affordable every year.
The greatest advantage of these services is that you don’t have to worry about hiring someone to do the work. Let’s be real, employees are expensive and then you would only have 1 or 2 people in charge of everything. With a service like this you get the benefit of crowdsourcing – the old “two heads are better than one” scenario.
If one person quits at one of these agencies, there are probably 3 or 4 other people right there to take their place, whereas if your marketing manager quits you have to drop what you’re doing and begin the long search process to replace that person all over again. So you see services like these, can be a real time saver for you in the long run.
#7 Main Street Hub
I stumbled upon this service while working with a client who needed to update a website. This is a great service because not only do they offer social media services they also offer reputation management for review sites like Yelp and Trip Advisor. You’re basically assigned a team of managers & designers who specialize in your niche.
If you want to take it a step further, they’ll even create email campaigns to help you generate repeat business from existing customers. Now their services are a bit of an investment, you have to ask for a quote but they will most likely start in the $300 – 400/month range. You can see how they work here: www.mainstreethub.com/how-it-works
#8 Likeable Local
If you’re looking for someone to focus more on traffic and social media. Likeable Local may be more your speed. They’re packages are $299 and $599 a month with a option for a custom-quote as well. They focus a bit more on Facebook ads here and their “Pro” plan gives you access to your own social media coach twice a month. You can check out all of their feature or request a demo here: www.likeablelocal.com/pricing .
#9 Growth Geeks
Now for those of you who just don’t have the budget or just don’t feel comfortable making any heavy financial commitments you may want to give Growth Geeks a try. This company is not that different from UpWork except they focus almost exclusively on digital marketing. Their prices are also a lot more affordable.
Again, you have the benefit of having access to more than just a handful of people, but you also have to be more involved and keep track of who is working on what project on your own. They also have reviews from past clients for their most popular gigs.
You basically pick and choose which services you want for how long. You can start with something as simple as having someone work on your Instagram account for as little as $69 a month and add a social media manager for another $150 a month.
To see what type of “gigs” they offer just scroll down to the bottom of their “How It Works” page. You can get all the details here: www.growthgeeks.com/#how-it-works
#10 Facebook Ads Manager
This goes almost without saying, but if you’re in need of some serious traffic, Facebook right now is the best way to go. The coolest part is that YOU get to set the budget. You can start for as little as $10 a day and it’s worth the trouble. Learn more on their Facebook Business page.
OK so that’s it! Don’t let this list overwhelm you and don’t feel like you have to “stick it out” with any of these if they don’t work for you.
The point is to find something that is going to make your life easier – not create a new headache for you. The only bad choice here would be not to do anything at all and miss the opportunity that these platforms have to expanding your reach and bringing in new business for you.
So now it’s your turn.
Question: How do you currently manage your social media and what do you wrestle with the most? The actual content or the maintenance? Share your questions and comments below.
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This post was updated May 16, 2020.