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15 Free Social Media Marketing Tools for Small Businesses

Brian Sutter
Brian Sutter

Take social media to the next level for your small business

Want to do more on social media for your small business?

A lot of small businesses do. 

Our survey of 1,100 small businesses from earlier this year found that most small businesses have embraced social media, but that they still want more out of it.

Here are a few of the key stats from that study:

  • 45 percent of small businesses use social media to sell to potential customers
  • 38 percent of small businesses use social media to gain likes and fans
  • 34 percent of small businesses use social media to solicit and respond to customers

Does any of that fit with what you’re doing on social, too? Are you trying to get all that done with little to no budget?

If you are, you’re actually like many of the small businesses we surveyed 34 percent spend three percent or less of their revenue on marketing. One in 10 spends nothing.

Related Article: My Cheat Sheet: An SEO Manager's Go-To Digital Marketing Tools

Small business revenue invested in marketing graph.

Fortunately, with social media, a tiny budget is less of a problem than you’d think. Try out a few of these free social media tools to save time and get more results from your work.

To Assess How You’re Doing on Social Media Already

  • 1. Set up a basic listening station with Sprout Social. Sometimes we get so focused on publishing social media posts that we forget one of the best uses of social media: Listening to what people are saying about your company, and what they’re saying about topics related to your services.
  • 2. Stay on top of online reviews with FreeReviewMonitoring.comOnline reviews are hugely important to local businesses, but staying on top of all the review sites can be time-consuming. This tool solves that problem.
  • 3. Many small business owners haven’t kept up with Facebook’s endless evolutions. is an ideal way to run a quick check, see what can be improved, and get to it.
  • 4. See how your Facebook page and your competitors’ pages are performing with Fanpage KarmaWant to see analytics info on which posts and post types are doing best for your competitors? This free tool can show you their secrets.

Related Article: Entrepreneurs Love These 13 Tools for Conducting Market Research

To Manage Your Social Media Accounts

  • 5. Schedule up to 10 posts with Buffer’s free planPublishing posts one at a time is a major time-waster. Buffer can do that and far more. It’s arguably the most popular social media management tool.
  • 6. Also for scheduling and tracking social media accounts: Hootsuite. If Buffer isn’t the most popular social media tool, then it’s got to be HootSuite. And because it’s so widely used, you can easily find someone to manage your accounts for you. There’s also an education center if you want to do it yourself.
  • 7. Tailwind for Pinterest and Instagram. Getting good results on Pinterest? Loving Instagram? A lot of small businesses are. Tailwind can get you even more traffic and leads from your work.
  • 8. Manage your Twitter account with FollowerwonkThis is a power tool that can save you hours finding and following the right people.

Screenshot of Followerwonk

  • 9. Grow your Twitter and Instagram accounts with CrowdfireLike Instagram or Twitter? Want to do more with them? Crowdfire can help.

To Optimize Your Posts for More Engagement

  • 10. Make great images quickly with Canva. Images rule on social media, and Canva makes it easy to create them. It’s got pre-designed templates for every social media image format imaginable.
  • 11. Find great content to share with your followers Scoop.It. There are dozens of curation tools, but Scoop is free. Also check out DrumUp which works with Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
  • 12. Find out which hashtags are used most near you with TrendsMap. Use tools like TrendsMap or to find the best hashtags fast.

Screenshot of Trendsmap

Three Other Essential Tools

  • 13. To see who’s clicking your links on third-party sites, use Bit.lyGoogle Analytics lets you see who’s clicked links that point to your website. But what about all the other links you’ve got out on the web the ones that point to your social media accounts, or content that’s not on your site? to the rescue.
  • 14. To get more shares from your own content, use Digg DiggThis is a WordPress plugin you install on your site. Why? Because the easier it is to share your content, the more likely people are to do it.
  • 15. To find people who might need your services, try NeedTaggerThis free Twitter tool lets you find who’s been asking about the services you offer.

Back to You

Got any favorites I haven’t mentioned here? Please share. It’s the social thing to do. Leave a comment below and tell us what your favorite free social media tools are.

Image Credit: NanoStockk / Getty Images
Brian Sutter
Brian Sutter Member
Brian Sutter serves as Wasp Barcode Technologies’ director of marketing, where he sets the strategic direction and oversees the tactical execution of the company’s marketing programs. This diversified role encompasses all aspects of marketing for Wasp, including brand management, direct and channel marketing, online & digital marketing, public relations, and social media. Sutter joined Wasp in 2006, with a focus on web presence, product promotions, and brand awareness. During his tenure, Sutter has led Wasp through the launch of more than 20 new products, and he has been instrumental in securing various awards for the company, including the prestigious Inc. 500, Collin County 60, CRN 163 Emerging Tech Dynamos, CRN Channel Chief, ISTE Best in Show, and the Web Marketing Association. Sutter is also a Small Business Marketing and Technology thought leader and contributes to a variety of publications including the Huffington Post, Washington Post, Entrepreneur, and Fast Company.