There are hundreds of free tools that you can use to market your business online, but the trick can be figuring out where to start and which tools to use first. When it comes to leveraging the power of the social web to build your brand and business, at the very least you need a Facebook profile and page, Twitter profile, and LinkedIn profile and company page. But moving beyond the basics, here are ten free tools that can help you take the next step in implementing your social media and content marketing plans.
Creating and Promoting Content
1) WordPress.org. The self-hosted version of the WordPress blogging application is not only free, it’s also the best choice going for small business websites and blogs. The application available at WordPress.org is flexible and powerful.
2) Facebook social plugins. Facebook offers a variety of free social plugins that you can add to your website and blog to cross-promote your social media and content across other online destinations to better integrate your marketing initiatives.
3) CamStudio Open Source screencasts. Here you can create screencast tutorials and presentations to add visual and auditory appeal to your online content. Great screencasts are also frequently shared with others, which increases your exposure to new audiences.
4) SlideShare presentations. You can upload your PowerPoint and PDF presentations to SlideShare and allow others to view, print, download, and share them, giving you exposure to a wider audience. SlideShare also integrates with Facebook and LinkedIn for broader exposure.
5) Eventbrite events. If you host online or offline events for free, then you can promote them on Eventbrite for free. If you want to charge for tickets, you can manage the entire process through Eventbrite with a paid account. Eventbrite also integrates with Facebook for more exposure.
6) MailChimp email marketing. Email marketing is an important part of a content marketing plan, and there are a number of sites that offer excellent free usage plans. MailChimp offers a free plan which enables you to send up to 12,000 emails per month to lists of up to 2,000 recipients.
Researching and Monitoring Results
7) Monitter for Twitter research. Keep track of real-time conversations happening on Twitter based on keywords of your choice using the free Monitter Twitter app.
8) bit.ly URL shortener. Monitor which of the links that you share and publish are getting the most clicks.
9) SurveyMonkey for market research. Many sites allow you to send free surveys. SurveyMonkey is one solid option, letting you send surveys of up to 10 questions to 100 people at a time for free.
10) Google Analytics for analysis and monitoring. If you have a business website or blog, you should be monitoring the performance of the pages and content on it. Google Analytics offers the most comprehensive free tool to do exactly that, and you can set it up in minutes.