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Managing several social accounts can be very time consuming, and let’s face it, you’ve got better things to do than spending 3 hours reading through your Twitter stream! Luckily there are many free & paid social media management tools out there that can help streamline your social activities, and make you more efficient when it comes to multi-management. That means less time tweeting and facebooking and more time building your business, networking, or even playing golf (no judgement here!).

I am often asked which five tools I find the most useful, and my response is usually “I can only pick 5?” So here are my Top 5 Social Tools + a few honourable mentions…

Hootsuite

Hootsuite // HootSuite is a Social Media Dashboard; it allows you to manage multiple social networks from one central website. The free version limits how many social accounts you can manage (up to 5), but is a great option for small businesses and entrepreneurs. The free version also allows you to shorten and track links, but statistics are limited to only 30 days (which is why I recommend bitly).

Bitly

Bitly // Bitly is an easy to use URL shorter. It allows you to effectively share and track your links. It tracks clicks, geographic location, and referrers; all important in understanding what your audience is looking for, where they are, and how they are finding you. What’s great about this tool is that it is free. The iPhone app makes shortening links on the fly easy, and if you are looking for something a bit more custom you can even create a vanity domain.

Wordpress

WordPress // Your website should be viewed as your central hub. All social media networks should be well integrated into your website for seamless sharing and engagement. A platform like WordPress allows you to integrate your website and blog, and has an easy to use Content Management System. To get the most of WordPress, I like to use the self-hosted option – it gives you much more flexibility in terms of designs as well as the plugins you can use. While WordPress itself is free, if you go the self-hosted route you will have to pay for hosting – but it’s well worth the investment!

AddThis

AddThis.com // Addthis.com is a sharing applet that can be installed on any website and blog. Signing up for a free account allows you to track what pages on your website are being shared, how many times, and on what social platforms. The new “Smart Layers” function allow you to entice visitors to stay longer by displaying “related posts” in the bottom corner of your website. A surprisingly powerful tool!

Analytics

Google Analytics // Google Analytics is a free web analytics solution that gives you insights into website traffic and marketing effectiveness. It tracks how many people visit your site, how many pages they looked at, how long they spent on your site, how they found it (keywords), who is linking to you, where in the world are your visitors coming from, plus hundreds more metrics. No website should be without this free tool!

Honourable Mentions

MailChimp // MailChimp is an email delivery platform which allows you to create eye-catching email campaigns, manage your email lists automatically, and dive deep into your delivery analytics. Very easy to use, you can create campaigns with everything from an RSS feed from your blog, to your most recent posts Pinterest pins. Best of all the basic level account is free.

Feedly // Once Google Reader fell by the wayside, a new face showed up in town – Feedly. Feedly is an RSS feed reader which allows you to follow all of your favourite business and personal blogs all in one place. It is also easy to add RSS based Google Alerts to track company & product mentions (making “listening” easier!). Both free and paid options are available.

Canva // Let’s face it, some of us just don’t have what it takes to be professional graphic designers, but that should stop us from sharing beautiful images on social media! Canva is a great online visual editor which allows you to create stunning and simple graphics for your Facebook page, blog or email newsletter.

Iconosquare // Although Instagram is super-popular right now there is one thing it lacks – built in analytics. Fortunately for us Instagram addicts Iconosquare has a brilliant analytics dashboard. You can find simple statistics like number of comments and likes, however where this measurement tool excels is analytic data on best times of day to post, media lifespan, filter impact and community relationships. Well worth a look!

Now go look into these amazing tools and get your social strategy streamlined, tracked, and running efficiently!

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