Social Media Toolkit

If you’re interested in a DIY social media solution, you’re not alone. Many small businesses opt for a cheap social media to save time and money. Business owners don’t want to sift through applications, resumes and interviews to find the perfect Social Media Manager. And most, if not all, small business owners would rather do it themselves instead of adding another employee to the payroll or a business expense to the line item budget.

Even though social media management is my bread and butter, I understand wanting a DIY solution. I always choose the free versions of my tools and only upgrade when needed. I won’t want added business expenses that I can avoid. If you’re like me, and I’m guessing you are, here’s a way to keep your overhead low and higher profit margins while doing social media yourself.

Free Stock Photos

Death to Stock Photo
a small collection of free stock photos emailed to you monthly.

Unsplash
A site full of free stock photos for you to look up and use anytime.

Pexel
a site for free stock photos that searches several other stock photo sites (including Unsplash). If you’re looking for a specific photo, this site is a great place to look.

Social Media Management Tools

Buffer
This is a great social media management tool with a free version. You can connect a Facebook page, profile and group, a LinkedIn company page, profile or group, a Twitter profile, a Google+ business page and Pinterest accounts (with paid versions). You can also connect your Instagram account, but you’ll have to push the post through manually via the app.

Hootsuite
One of my favorite social media management tools that I use every day. Right now you can use it for free if you connect 3 or less social media accounts. You can connect Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Foursquare, LinkedIn and now YouTube. You can also connect Instagram, but like Buffer, you’ll have to push the post through manually via the app.

Edgar
This tool isn’t free, but a lot people love it. It currently works with Facebook profiles, pages and groups, Twitter profiles, LinkedIn profiles and pages. What’s special about Edgar is that it saves status updates and other content you upload and then automatically schedules it for you (or you can schedule content yourself). It’s a pretty nifty tool for $49/month.

Tailwind
This handy tool is best known for scheduling pins on Pinterest. You can do multi-board pinning, bulk uploading, drag-and-drop calendar functionality and more. It’s super easy. You can monitor your Pinterest accounts, schedule pins, optimize content and get analytics.

Twitter
The native version of Twitter is pretty good on its own. You can post live tweets, respond to mentions/messages and other tweets, keep track of your followers, follow others and more. The only disadvantage is that you can’t schedule tweets natively. The new Twitter dashboard is pretty nice though, because it gives you access to some top-level analytics.

Facebook
The native version of Facebook is actually pretty awesome. You have access to insights and specific analytic. The best part? You can also schedule posts natively!

Instagram
The native version of Instagram is pretty decent. Right now, it’s pretty bare boned. You can post images, like other photos, comment and comment back. You can’t schedule natively, which sucks. If you integrate Instagram with a scheduler like Hootsuite or Buffer, you still can’t schedule posts. With a scheduler, you’ll have to download the respective app and allow push notifications so you can push the post through manually when the time comes. Which sucks even more. But since Facebook acquired Instagram, you can expect to see more features in the future.

LinkedIn
The native version of LinkedIn is really bland. There’s not a lot of robust features like Facebook and it has limited functionality when it comes to posting as a brand. The analytics aren’t bad, there actually pretty insightful, especially if you’re trying to find out if a certain demographic is digesting your content. The UI could definitely use a facelift.

So the good news is that you have options when it comes to managing your social media. It’ll take some time to get the hang of different platforms, their features and functionality, but you’ll soon get the hang of it. Remember to post quality content that your audience wants to see and helpful information for current and potential clients.