If you're an online business owner, or if you do online marketing for clients, managing social media accounts should be part of your daily life. But doing everything manually can take a lot of time, and is quite inefficient. Good news! There's a lot of social media management tools, services, and software out there. And some of them are even free.
Here's some of the best free social media management tools available today:
Hootsuite is one of the market leaders in social media management. They started out as being the leading platform for Twitter account management, and evolved into being a great service for other social profiles as well.
Other than Twitter, Hootsuite also allows you to manage Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Foursquare, WordPress, and Mixi.
Some of the really useful functionality that Hootsuite offers includes 3rd party apps, mobile apps, and task management (so you can use it within a "team" to assign social media tasks to different team members).
Hootsuite offers a free account, that has many limitations, as well as numerous paid options.
One common complain about Hootsuite is that its too complicated and the learning curve is too steep.
DoSocial - tooting our own horn, of course ;) - is a newcomer on the scene, but has big things planned for this arena. One of our main puposes is to make social media management as simple as possible. We don't try to overcomplicated things. We want anybody to be able to use their tool, not just social media experts.
With DoSocial, you can currently manage you Facebook and Twitter accounts, with Google+ coming soon. We are 100% free at the moment.
You can hook up RSS feeds to automatically post to your social channels, and view basic stats such as # of followers.
Klout is a fairly unique service that allows you to track your social media influence / authority (or 'clout'). It uses metrics such as # of Twitter followers and Facebook friends. Some people think the measurement algorithm is inaccurate, but many others find it useful for tracking the impact of social media marketing campaigns, as well as the growth of a particular brand.
Buffer makes it easy to schedule your posts to your different social media profiles. They allow you to queue up content from a variety of sources, then schedule it to post socially at various times throughout the day. This way your followers are getting regular updates.
You can also view analytics related to the engagement of your posts in the Bufferap.
IFTTT (If This Then That)
IFTTT is a popular service that allows you to connect different web services, such as Facebook, email, Evernote, Delicious, and WordPress and create "recipes" to automate the transfer of content between them.
An example is: you can setup a Tweet to be created every time you make a LinkedIn post.
HowSociable gives you scores for different social media sites, which allows you to track your campaign performance.
With their free account, you can monitor up to 12 social sites, such as WordPress or Tumblr. But if you want access to any of the premium ones, like Pinteres or Facebook, you need to sign up for a pro (paid) account.
Hopefully this helps give you some ideas about some of the best free social media management tools out there.