Small business marketing isn’t easy – but creating content and a brilliant strategy for your brand gets way  easier with these free social media tools.

Just to make things easier, I’ve grouped the tools into two categories below: content creation tools and content strategy tools. It’s not an endlessly scrolling list of every tool and solution available on the internet – these are simply my favourites, they work, they’re free (!), and they never let me down.

THE BEST (FREE!) CONTENT CREATION TOOLS I USE EVERY DAY

Stock Photos: Unsplash

This site has incredibly high quality, fresh and relevant photos available for absolutely free. Seriously – you don’t even have to log in to get high-res images. I love that the images are much more authentic and, ahem, “aesthetic” than other stock sites like Shutterstock.

unsplash.com has free stock photos for social media marketers

Image Editing: Canva

Okay, so you’ve saved a bunch of Unsplash photos worthy of a travel influencer’s Instagram account. Now what? Turning those raw images into persuasive content, of course. Editing those images, remixing them, adding a bit of text, your logo, and making sure the final product is going to fit perfectly on your intended platforms: that’s where Canva comes in. The perfect balance of quick templates and customisable design, Canva’s free in-browser design software is a social media manager’s best friend.

Canva is the best image editing software for social media marketers

Stock Video: Pexels Video

Video marketing is gaining momentum every day online, so what happens when you don’t have the next Spielberg on your payroll (or at least in your family WhatsApp group?) That’s where stock video comes in. Pexels does stock photos as well, but their free video library can’t be beat.

Pexels Video provides free and high quality stock video for social media marketers

Video Editing: Adobe Spark

Stock video is even harder than imagery to simply to plonk straight onto your platforms. Videos need to tell a story, so how do you put it all together? Adobe Spark takes the Canva approach of template-first, customise-later, and translates it into video! To use the in-browser software and save your video is free, but it will come with a watermark at the end, which buying the full licence will remove – or you could trim off the watermark with any other video editing software – not that I’d ever do something like that. I’m just saying, theoretically, you could 🙂

Adobe Spark is a free video editing tool for social media marketers

Copywriting Formulas: CopyHackers

Once you’ve got your visuals down, great copy will close the deal with your audience. But figuring out what to say, and how to say it, is an art and science all by itself. Luckily, the smarties at CopyHackers have collected every copywriting formula under the sun. Don’t be overwhelmed, take your time and browse through all these formulas over a few sessions. The first section is about long-form copy, but the formulas most useful for social are the “headliners” further down, as seen below. Use these like Marketing Mad-Libs to formulate persuasive post copy.

CopyHackers gives free copywriting formulas for social media managers.

Hashtag Planning Tool: DisplayPurposes

This beautifully simple tool generates the best Instagram hashtags for your post. Give it one or two prompts, and it’ll give you a custom list of hashtags, some popular and some niche. This ensures your post reaches the widest audience possible, and it’s so much easier than manually researching and typing all those tags!  (Just remember to proofread the hashtags to make sure they make sense and are relevant to your post, you don’t want to look spammy.)

DisplayPurposes is a free hashtag planning tool for social media marketers

Now we’re covered for the day to day challenges of creating great social media content. What if you want to take things up a notch, and get strategic with your social media marketing?

THE TOP (FREE!) SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY TOOLS I USE ALL THE TIME

Industry Research: Google Trends

Google Trends is a free and very nifty tool for exploring what the world’s been searching, both on Google and on its properties like YouTube. Pop in the keywords your target market is using to find your brand, and you’ll get a wealth of historical data. Explore the trends of your industry, when people’s searches spike and dip, which regions are most eager for your offering, as well as related queries. Use this to map out your prospect’s behaviour and test which keywords will make your content easy to discover.

Google Trends can help social media marketers research their industry's search habits

Industry Research Reports: Nielsen, Think With Google, and IbisWorld

When you’re digging deep into a new strategy, there’s no such thing as too much research. But paying for reports is nobody’s favourite thing. That’s why I keep a very close eye on my top three free report publishers.

  1. Nielsen publishes free reports all the time about different industries.
  2. Think With Google creates more “snackable” content, but it’s full of insights, especially their buyer reports on the Consumer Barometer tool.
  3. IbisWorld publishes reports about every major global industry you can think of. It takes a pricey membership to access the full reports, but the free samples are usually more than enough to gain marketing insights. It may be trickier to find what you need, but well worth the search.

Think With Google publishes strategic insights for social media marketers

Paid Media Skills: Facebook Blueprint Ads Training &Twitter Flight School

No social media strategy is complete without a solid grasp of paid media. In a matter of hours, you can train yourself up with the two biggest online resources – straight from the social platforms themselves.

  1. Facebook Blueprint has a huge array of free online courses for Facebook marketers (as well as Instagram marketers!), but the Facebook Ads For Beginners learning path is the best if you want to dive straight into running your own Facebook ads.
  2. Twitter Flight School is an easy to follow set of online courses for anyone looking to use Twitter for marketing, buy ads, and sponsor their tweets.

Facebook Blueprint gives social media marketers free Facebook and Instagram ads training

DISCLAIMER: These are my favourite social media tools today, but I reserve the right to find even better ones! I’m always testing new tools, discovering new resources, and bookmarking new finds. Keep up with all the new resources I gather every week by subscribing to the Critical Social newsletter.

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