5 Free Tools for Social Media Marketing

By Laurie Wood

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Whether you're a start-up business or corporate enterprise there will always be budget limitations. If you don't have an internal marketing team, it means possibly relying on some shady marketing service offering you the world for just pennies, which could lead to some cheap looking imagery. Fortunately, there are some pretty neat, online tools out there which can help you develop top-notch marketing materials, which just so happen to be free! 

BROWSER EXTENSIONS
Never underestimate these small but mighty icons. Browser extensions are small software programs designed to make your browsing experience more personal and efficient. There are a plethora to choose from and are so easy to set up! Simply Google Browser name Extensions and locate the homepage as per below.

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Other browsers may use the term Add-ons instead. Once you're in, you can browse via categories, features and star ratings or just search using keywords. When you've chosen an extension you'd like to add, just click Add to Chrome (or whichever browser you're using) and you're done! You will now see a small icon on the top right of your browser

iconsYou can add as many as you like! 
I recommend Colorzilla which lets you locate any colour pixel on your webpage and copies the code - Incredibly useful for matching your brand's colours. Grammarly helps you enhance your writing skills by highlighting any grammar and spelling mistakes in writing documents. Finally, EmojiKeyboard - you thought emoji's were limited to mobile users, only? Pfft, not anymore! Download this extension and you can copy/paste emojis using a desktop into any social media status and writing document. 

CANVA
Does the word Photoshop terrify you? As the saying goes, it's easy to use once you know how, but, if you haven't the time, patience, or maybe just looking for something simpler to navigate, then Canva is the tool for you. Canva is this amazing design-graphic tool which uses a drag & drop format. It offers an array of free images, illustrations and templates perfect for social media posts, business cards, posters or practically anything!

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PIXLR EDITOR
Pixlr Editor is for those who are looking for editing tools more advanced than Canva, it's what I would consider a clunky but acceptable version of Photoshop. As per the screenshot below, it's a very similar layout and offers almost the same features as Photoshop, though it is not as streamlined, meaning editing tasks may take longer than required. I certainly would not choose Pixlr Editor over Photoshop, however, if your business does not have the budget for Photoshop, then this tool is a good alternative.

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BIT.LY
Bit.ly is a custom URL shortener which provides basic but valuable analytics. Bit.ly can take your long URL and shorten it into something more manageable and recognisable. For example, if I wanted to share with someone a direct link to Google's search of Bit.ly, I could send them this:

https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1GCEB_enGB831GB831&ei=uMTaXMP_CYW6ae6kuvgG&q=bit.ly&oq=bit.ly&gs_l=psyab.3..35i39j0i131j0i20i263j0j0i20i263j0l5.45311.46140..46261...0.0..0.66.348.6......0....1..gws-wiz.......0i71j0i67.jeFO4n3o_u0

Or I could use Bit.ly and shorten to this www.bit.ly/bitly_google.

But, how will this help your business's marketing efforts? Out of both of the links above, which one looks more legitimate? Shortening unnecessarily long URLs will give the impression to users that it is safer to use as it doesn't look as spammy, hopefully leading to a higher conversion rate. 

bitly

FEEDLY
Finally, we have Feedly. Feedly is a news aggregator tool, collecting articles, news and blogs and compiling them in one place for you to pick and choose whichever is best for your content marketing. You can search using keywords for the type of news you're interested in and create Feeds which lets you combine your favourite news feeds in one place. Hats off to Feedly as it's definitely a fantastic time and content management tool.

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Want to know more about social media for business? Follow me @LaurieWoodUk for weekly updates. 

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