Many small businesses have a presence on social media or use their personal account for business. But most don’t have time for developing a full strategy and making sure if their message is reaching customers and clients.

There are dozens (if not hundreds) of social media apps that help you manage your pages. We've selected just a handful that we use!

Even if an app is cool, you’ll never use it if you don’t have a clear purpose for why you’re downloading it in the first place. Here are the apps organized by what you’re trying to accomplish:

You want: To schedule posts in advance

Hootsuite

If you stop what you’re working on every hour to send out a tweet, it can really cut into your focus and productivity. Instead, schedule out posts for the day (or the week!) and let it do it’s own thing. But remember to check your twitter feed at least once a day to engage with your audience. If they're engaging or responding to your posts, you should be there to respond back!

Hootsuite is one of the simplest social media scheduling and tracking apps. Just write out your tweet or Facebook/LinkedIn/Google+ share and select a time to send.

Hootsuite also tracks the success of your efforts by gathering stats about retweets, shares, likes, etc. and putting them into spreadsheets. This is a great way to learn the “formula” for your best posts in order to do better on future posts.

Cost: Free for limited services, $8.99/month for multiple users and pages

You want: To hear when someone mentions your business or any topic you’re interested in on social media

TweetDeck

This app, now part of Twitter, allows you to track multiple search terms across Twitter so that you can see whenever someone mentions your business name (without @mentioning you) or a search term you want to follow (like “freelance writer” so you can catch all the times someone says “Anyone know a freelance writer I should use?”).

You can also schedule posts through TweetDeck, like Hootsuite, but you obviously TweetDeck only allows you to schedule tweets and not other social media posts.

Cost: Free

Facebook Pages

It’s much more difficult to search and track terms on Facebook. It will only appear in the “Notifications” section of your Facebook Page if they tag your business. Yes, it makes everyone’s life difficult.

Cost: Free

You want: A quick way to compare yourself to the competition

Wildfire

Try checking out Wildfire’s Track Your Competitors app -- it’s a simple way to see a side-by-side comparison of how you’re doing. https://monitor.wildfireapp.com/?=undefined

Cost: Free

You want: To track how many people click links you share

Bit.ly

It’s easy to see how many people retweet your posts, but chances are that even more people are actually visiting what you link to in that post. Bit.ly (or Ow.ly) how to measure that. Bit.ly is a link shortener that also measures how many clicks each link receives.

Cost: Free

You want: To know if your social media profiles are bringing people back to your website

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is one of my most vital business tools -- and one of its hundreds of uses is that it allows you to track how much traffic came to your website from social media. (We talk extensively about the value of Google Analytics here.)

Unlike a traditional app, you will need to put a bit of code on your actual website in order for this to work.

Once you do, view the “Acquisition” section and then click “All traffic” to see how many people (“Pageviews”) your website is getting from Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Cost: Free

What social media apps do you use, freelancers?

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