14 cost-effective social media tools for small businesses

Forty-nine percent of the world’s 7.7-billion population is on social media. That’s almost half of all the people in the world. And it will only be a matter of time before that half turns to a quarter, and a quarter turns to a whole.

If you’re not riding this social media wave now, then you might miss out on its extensive benefits in the next decade. With this big market size in mind, it goes right without saying that all businesses should have a presence on any social media platform.

The problem is that social media is not free. Although it’s almost entirely free to set up an account, it is not free to maintain it. It requires an insane amount of resources to keep the engagement high enough to convert to sales. Something that small businesses are not in a position to consider.

If you’re a part of the 400-million small and medium enterprises (SMEs), then it’s understandable that joining social media poses some challenges. To help you circumvent these challenges, you can seek the help of some free and inexpensive online social media tools. These tools can help you ease out and cheap out the social media process — just a little bit.

Yes. It would still require talented people to use these tools, like social media managers, content creators, and media buyers. But these tools might help your team efficiently perform tasks, speed up the process, and save up money and time.

Try our list of cost-effective social media tools right here:

1. BrandCrowd

Good branding is key to having a successful social media following. Your choice of logos, colors, and typography plays a major role in projecting a consistent visual identity. And to dress up your profile with suitable visual materials, you can resort to BrandCrowd as a DIY logo destination.

Let’s say you just launched your small soap business, and you want to gain attention. Since it’s difficult to create a website, much less an ecommerce, upon your launch, the easiest and most cost-effective way you can achieve this is through social media pages.

For your social media content to be effective at gathering engagements, your pages must be optimized. There needs to be a logo, a banner, and a call to action. Then on to your posts where you incorporate stories, captions, images, sounds, videos, etc.

BrandCrowd’s social tools are ripe for the job. On its platform, you can create FB banner images, Instagram posts, Twitter posts, Instagram stories, ads, and more. Then you can download the final product for a minimal price.

2. Google Trends

Google trends is a website by Google that can help you understand the popularity of some Google search queries.

It works by letting users type in a topic. Then, Google Trends will generate vital data such as the interest over a specific time period, interest by country, or by city. And it also provides related topics and searches queries.

This is especially useful for marketers who wish to know more about what people are talking about. For example, if you sell candles in your local country. Google trends can tell you which cities are mostly talking about candles. This way, you can target your ads on that location.

Google Trends is useful for content marketers too. Google Trend will tell you when a topic is a rising trend. As a result, you can prepare some content to answer some questions from Google queries. Then your content will be the first reference on the web should the topic become full-blown.

3. Unsplash

Since you can’t just grab any images you see online (copyright is a thing), you can go to a website that offers free, high-quality photos. And look no further because there’s one destination for this purpose: Unsplash.

Its database hosts thousands of photos that are ok to be used on whatever platform. Plus, their content is very easy to download, unlike other stock-photo websites where you have to input credit cards and social accounts.

Whether you join Unsplash or not, you can download photos for free. You just have to search for the ideal image and browse through hundreds of options. Then using the button at the top of the image that says “Download free,” you can take home your royalty-free photo.

4. Adobe Spark

Adobe Spark is your go-to creativity tool for marketing materials. It can be a bit tricky to learn, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be creating stunning visual materials in no time.

Now, this software is not for free. But it has a trial version that lets you explore the potential of the service before actually spending a dime.

The platform can help you actualize your visual goals. In it, you can create almost anything. You can make newsletters, newspapers, flyers, business cards, posters, digital posts, videos, etc.

Lastly, compared with other professional Adobe tools like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Indesign, Spark is much easier to learn; therefore, it’s amateur-friendly.

5. BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo is a cloud-based platform that lets you do many things. First, it allows you to search for the best content out there, perhaps for inspiration or ideas of your own. Then you navigate to their content creators and partner up with these influencers.

If you type in a particular topic on their search bar, it generates several pieces of content that you might find interesting. It also shows vital information about that content, such as their engagement rates, links, and overall performance. You can read and view this content directly from its websites.

Another way BuzzSumo can help you leverage your online presence is by analyzing your performance. If you post something on your social media channels, BuzzSumo can track how many people like, share, and comment on them. Plus, you will also know your competitors and see how they create their content differently and how it performs.

6. Buffer Publish

Buffer Publish is a social media management platform. It allows you to publish content from a single dashboard, and it also lets you see how that content performs.

The free version helps you manage up to three social media accounts, while the paid version offers unlimited social media access.

Here’s how it works: Buffer informs you when is the best time to post and how frequently you should post. Then you can either schedule your post or publish it right away.

After publishing, you can engage with your target audience by answering questions or replying to comments. Most importantly, Buffer provides you with detailed information about the performance of your posts. You can see how many people liked or shared your post over a specific time period.

7. Snapseed

It’s a photo-editing app developed by Google. Most businesses will have to ramp up their photo quality, and Snapseed is ready for the job.

Snapseed lets you edit your raster photos. You can brighten up the image, crop distasteful sides, and change alignment using its beginner-friendly tools.

It has some advanced editing features, too, such as allowing you to erase a specific object. Then you can also expand the image and change your height.

Snapseed is the best free app for those who wish to market their products online but without a photographer budget. Using two materials, a white cloth as a background and your mobile phone, you can transform the image into studio-like portraits.

Snapseed lets you smoother the white background making it appear professionally shot. Then it also has an HDR button that can instantly transform the image by deepening the contrast and changing the brightness.

8. EClincher

EClincher is a social media management platform. Like Buffer, it lets you manage your social media pages and profiles in one dashboard.

EClincher will help you boost your social traffic and increase engagement. You can also recycle best-performing evergreen content and repurpose it across different channels using their software.

Eclincher eases the process of posting on your social media accounts. What you have to do is just set the time and date for the post then you can forget about it. If you wish to post content in bulk, EClincher lets you do that too.

The analytics is like no other. It generates reports on the competitors, hashtag performance, cross channels, clicks, and reach analysis.

9. CapCut

Video editors are non-negotiable tools for social media users. Videos comprise a portion of the internet and social media content. So you have to make sure that videos are part of your content creation process.

CapCut is a free app with basic editing capabilities. You can cut, crop, merge, add sounds, subtitles, and change colors and formats.

Then you can download the product right on your device or upload it on major platforms like Facebook, TikTok, Youtube, etc.

10. Powtoon

While Capcut lets you edit pre-made videos or files, Powtoon lets you completely create a video from scratch. But not just any videos, animated videos in particular.

Powtoon works by letting you choose some vector images and their actions. For example, a blonde girl typing on a computer or a black-haired guy walking down the street. There are so many characters, and actions to choose from that will perfectly convey your video message.

Then you can also dub their voices by recording yours and incorporating it in the video. In no time, you’ll have a video designed to market your products and services through animation.

11. Animoto

If you need to create animated videos to market your brand online, Animoto is your go-to platform. It has gorgeous video templates that you can customize by adding your own words, changing the color palette, putting different pictures and including music, etc.

While you can create your own videos, save time by browsing their stock library, where they host incredible designs for photo and video clips.

For a social media page to be successful, you need to leverage the alluring power of animated videos. Not to mention, they’re appealing to younger audiences.

12. Venggage

One of the highest performing content out there is not made up of articles but of images. Visual communication rakes in much more engagement because they’re highly visually engaging. People love the information that is presented in a beautiful cohesive manner.

This is where Venngage can be a helpful tool in case you want to level up your SEO rankings, website conversions, and social media engagements. With its hundreds of templates, you can easily customize one and create completely unique and branded visual content. These designs are perfect for infographics, newsletters, charts, reports, proposals, and more.

13. Word Swag

Word Swag is a free and premium mobile application for word-based graphic designs. If you want a quick way to design quotations and captions — short words and sentences with stunning backgrounds, then Word Swag can be a game-changing partner tool.

You just type in the words you want to say, then Word Swag will automatically apply an appropriate background and font style. It’s like a graphic design cheat tool for small and average business owners — especially those that can’t afford an in-house designer. You can explore their templates and pick a typeface or image for consistent branding.

14. Quu

Let’s say you consistently produce high-quality content. It’s not a problem for you. But what you find challenging is promoting those helpful content. Leave that task to Quu. Quu is designed as a content promotion tool to help you share to relevant sites your high-quality content, ultimately garnering more attention, clicks, and conversions.

As long as you create really valuable content, Quu is there to help you disseminate your information. However, Quu is very picky when it comes to what content they can share. So make sure you take time creating articles, videos, photos, captions, etc so you have higher chances of getting approved by Quu.

Final Thoughts

In this world where everyone has their social media accounts, businesses should always consider social media as part of their marketing strategy. Because why not? Setting up your social media business page is not only free. It’s also easy and fast, unlike websites where you have to buy the domain, the hosting, and CMS.

Facebook pages, for instance, just ask for your name, logo, and banner image. Then you’re good to go. You don’t have to pay anything or even subscribe to any payment plans before you can start your social media presence. What you need is a visually engaging, thought-provoking, amusing, informative post so that your brand identity can generate enough positive interests.

With millions of brands on social media nowadays, it takes a little bit more effort to partake in your share of the market. To help you create unique, attention-grabbing posts, follow our list above — or even share your best partners and tools we missed in the comments below.

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