Updated: September 29, 2022
Social media marketing is a diverse discipline that requires all of your talents. Coordinating campaigns, scheduling posts, creating content — this all takes time, effort, and skill. And when you’re running an online business, putting in an effective social strategy can be challenging.
So if you can cut corners here and there, why not? Luckily there are plenty of free or affordable tools available that can make your social media marketing much easier. Here are six of the hottest tools that you need in your e-commerce collection.
Abandoned carts cost brands a staggering $2-4 trillion per year, and, consequently, abandoned cart emails are a mainstay of every business’ marketing strategy.
But with the rise of social shops such as the Facebook Store and the increase in mobile-first shopping, it’s no longer viable to simply send an abandoned cart email. With Recart, businesses can go after their customers with a fresh and effective approach.
Recart doesn’t just send a chaser email to any dithering customers. It uses Facebook Messenger to maximize conversions for your e-commerce store.
With so many consumers using social media to research and buy products and services, sending abandoned cart chasers through social platforms means brands can go after customers directly.
68% of the population uses social media on a daily basis. Reaching out to your customers on platforms where they are regularly active enhances your customer service and streamlines the buyer’s journey. Go beyond email and push abandoned cart recovery messages alongside those from your customers’ own friends.
And you can take it further by using Messenger bots for other functions too. Dozens of brands use social bots to fulfill orders, promote special offers, share content, and more. Spotify, for example, uses Messenger bots to help users create playlists and find new music.
Spotify already integrates with Facebook to let users follow friends. Letting them create playlists through Messenger is a natural augmentation that makes customers’ lives that bit easier.
The cornerstone of any effective social media strategy is regular posts with interesting, engaging content. Every brand worth their salt knows that a comprehensive editorial calendar is part of this. But just as important as this is your social automation.
Hootsuite tends to dominate lists of top automation marketing tools, but with Buffer, businesses get all that Hootsuite offers and more.
In a nutshell, Buffer lets you schedule your social posts in advance. It also provides customer engagement functionality to let businesses interact with followers seamlessly across a variety of platforms. On top of all that, Buffer provides comprehensive social analytics to help you better position your social strategy.
But what really sets it apart from its competitors is its intuitive interface and smooth user experience. Crisp graphics, clean, minimalist hues, and a user-friendly layout make using Buffer a pleasant affair and a social media marketing tool that everyone can benefit from.
Scheduling your social posts months in advances saves you time and hassle. But Buffer goes beyond simple automation by providing comprehensive analytical functions too. Enhance your social strategy by quantifying it, tweaking your campaigns based on hard data to get the most from your marketing.
Whilst regularly sharing content is important for your social strategy, so too is sharing content that your followers will want to engage with. Social listening helps you identify what your target customers are talking about and sharing online, which in turn lets you angle your social strategy to deliver content that they want to see.
Simply enter a keyword or phrase, and BuzzSumo will return the highest performing related content, complete with social share and engagement statistics.
By researching your industry niche and identifying what is performing well, you can ensure your editorial calendar and social strategy is always delivering popular content.
Don’t go in blind with your social strategy. Create an editorial calendar of content that’s based on what your customers want to see. And be fluid — audience interests change over time, so go back and reappraise your strategy to ensure it’s always relevant.
For many of us, graphic design is an arcane art. Creating slick visuals and pleasing patterns for social content feels like something other people do, not us.
But Canva makes attractive design easily attainable. Its interface is straightforward and highly intuitive, and users of any level can quickly start creating stylish graphics, header images, thumbnails, logos, and more.
Canva’s range of features includes photo editing, text overlays, graph creation, and more. With such wide functionality, it’s no wonder that it’s the graphic design app of choice for hundreds of successful e-commerce entrepreneurs. One need only look at the many great businesses for sale online to find examples of the kind of quality product imagery that can be easily crafted with Canva.
And just because it’s free doesn’t mean you can’t create high-quality graphic design. The tool was used to great effect by Conversational, a virtual receptionist company based in the US. The feature images created with the tool for Converastional’s blog and social content are stunning:
Since using Canva, Conversational reported an increase of 1100% in social engagement, not to mention higher website traffic. It shows the power of visual content for marketing, and the value of Canva for brands as well.
Canva is a great tool for e-commerce businesses that want to make a visual impact, but lack the tools or know-how to do so. Whatever skill level you are, Canva makes it easy to create professional-level images and graphics.
Canva is a great tool for brands on a budget, but becoming a Canva pro takes time and effort. For a quick graphic design fix, use Canva’s built-in templates and make small edits to personalize them. Use your own photography to quickly customize them to your brand.
Sharing URLs on social media can get messy. Overly long or uninspiring web addresses can really upset the visual neatness of a social post. And let’s say you’re launching a new social campaign, directing shoppers to a series of seasonal landing pages. Simply sharing the URL doesn’t let you monitor the click-through rate efficacy of each one.
Unless you Bitly it.
Simply enter your desired URL, and Bitly will shorten it to a neat, social-friendly length. And Bitly for Enterprise even lets you create customizable shortened links to share. The New York Times, for example, uses nyti.ms when sharing their articles on social:
This is a handy feature that enhances your branding down to a granular level. It conveys a unique and professional brand that owns its marketing.
Users can also collect data from each link too. A business could create a dedicated promotional campaign for Facebook and another for Twitter.
They could then track how many clicks each Bitly link received, letting them accurately determine how their campaigns are performing across each social platform. It’s this kind of granular data gathering that makes Bitly such a vital tool for entrepreneurs.
Bitly is perfect as a free tool for shortening URLs. But it really comes into its own with its click-tracking function. Quantifying your campaigns helps you strengthen them, and if you can afford Bitly’s paid plan that includes data tracking, it’s an investment well worth making.
Have you ever wanted to send a targeted marketing email out to your customers if it’s going to rain tomorrow? Or do you have dreams of creating a Christmas marketing campaign that delivers a discount code to customers when Santa passes over their house?
If This Then That makes all that possible — and more.
The task automation tool to end all task automation tools, IFTTT is free-to-use and staggeringly versatile. It integrates with more than 300 other apps, including Facebook, Evernote, Slack, Philips Hue, and even Amazon Alexa.
No matter how complex or specific the task you required, IFTTT can achieve it. And with a library of recipes (automation processes) that grows every day, you can find inspiration easily.
One strong IFTTT recipe is its Twitter mentions process, which creates a record on a Google Docs spreadsheet everytime you’re mentioned on Twitter. This is especially handy at conferences if you’re speaking or running a stand. After the event, you can scope out the impact you made and identify possible connections straight from the spreadsheet.
Most standard social marketing tools offer sufficient out-of-the-box processes but don’t feel limited by them. IFTTT provides fantastic customization options, so the sky’s the limit. The seasonal Santa idea mentioned above is one example. Head to IFTTT forums to find out how others have used the tool for their own marketing and find some inspiration for your own.
Your social media strategy is a vital part of your business, but a demanding one. Make it easier on yourself and use the tools above to streamline your processes so you can work smarter.
About Patrick Foster
Patrick Foster is a writer and e-commerce expert from Ecommerce Tips — a well-regarded blog that offers practical marketing advice, so companies’ online stores receive the exposure they deserve.