Creating a basic Facebook Page is simple. It’s just a short process guided by Facebook itself. Once the page exists, things start to get a little more complex. What are the dimensions for all the images you can upload? How do you customize your tab apps? How can you figure out where you stand compared to your competition? This is where a host of useful tools comes in.
1. Power Editor
Facebook is a powerful platform, particularly when it comes to posts and ads. You can see a lot of information about individual posts and individual users, and you have a range of options for targeting and customization. Yet all of it pales in comparison to what you can access with Power Editor.
Power Editor is a plugin for the Google Chrome browser, created by Facebook. It opens up a convenient and easy to use system for many of Facebook’s features, and grants you access to many more, such as the ever-useful unpublished post. Unfortunately, if you don’t already use Chrome as a web browser, you’re going to want to switch for this plugin. It doesn’t work with IE, Opera, Firefox or Safari, at least not all the time.
Power Editor gives you access to advanced targeting options for your ads through partner categories. It allows you to take a shortcut and target audiences that look like your own. It allows you to customize where your ads will display, and how your money is spent. All of that is just scratching the surface of this indispensible tool. You can learn more about how to use it from Jon Loomer’s post on Social Media Examiner.
Hootsuite is an all-around social media platform that allows you to accumulate, curate and schedule posts, along with social listening and analytics. What can it do to help run your Facebook page?
- Post scheduling allows you to time your posts when the majority of your users are active, even if you’re not around to click the button on time yourself.
- Social listening scans your audience for trends and interests to help you learn what they want to see, so you can produce or curate that content.
- Analytics are invaluable, of course; showing you everything you want to know about your reach and engagement on the platform.
- Collaboration options allow you to set tasks for team members, streamline communication and generally keep your team aware and on target.
- Mobile access allows you to use all of the Hootsuite tools from a mobile device, so you’re never far away from managing your account.
Hootsuite is great for creating an ongoing schedule of content, both your own and the content you curate from other sources. After you get used to the tool, it may seem like you’re spending more time in the Hootsuite dashboard than you are on Facebook itself.
If you’ve ever tried to run a contest on Facebook, you know that it’s an insane amount of work if you’re not using tools to manage it. Just try to take ten thousand comments on a post and make sure none of them are duplicate entries or entries from fake accounts. That’s why most users turn to tools like Woobox to manage their contests.
Woobox is one of several contest apps that allows you to run contests with specific actions required for entry. That’s not all the app does, however; you can also run coupons, sweepstakes, instant win contests or contests on other sites. You can also set up Groupon-style group deals, tabs to other social profiles and quizzes.
Woobox isn’t free, but you should have anticipated that startling revelation. Pricing for the app depends on the number of fans you have, which benefits small businesses in that they end up paying less for the service. Think of it as an added incentive to avoid buying fake likes, as well.
If you’re running a small business with only a few hundred fans, you might not need all of these powerful tools. Power Editor is a bit overkill. Woobox is fairly expensive for what it does for a small business. Hootsuite has a wide range of capabilities, many of which you don’t need.
If all you need is basic image manipulation, a few custom tabs and basic post scheduling, you don’t need to invest in all of these other tools; just go with one like Pagemodo, that covers them all on a basic level. You can schedule posts, run contests and manage your page entirely within Pagemodo, and you don’t need to deal with collaborating between a handful of different tools.
Pagemodo also isn’t free, but they’re confident enough to offer a 30-day guarantee of satisfaction and a free trial. Take the time to read up on using Pagemodo before you dig in, so you don’t waste half of that time learning the tool, and you’ll be good to go.
5. Sprout Social
Sprout Social is a dedicated tool to manage your Facebook profile, as well as other social profiles, all in one spot. One of its most powerful features is accumulating all of your feeds into a single inbox, so you can see and respond to your engagement on a number of different sites – including Facebook – from one menu. The app also offers scheduling options like HootSuite.
Where Sprout Social really shines is in analytics. You have access to unlimited report generation and sharing, using granular options to control just how your data is viewed. Social listening, collaboration and mobile features all exist as well.
In fact, Sprout Social is really a competitor for Hootsuite in a number of different ways. If you don’t like many of Hootsuite’s features, but you can’t live without the convenience of some of them, check out Sprout Social to see if it’s right for you.
6. Rival IQ
When you read a post about tips for using social media effectively, often one of the first tips is knowing your audience. In order to know your audience, you need detailed analytics. Most analytics suites install code on your website to track detailed information, and that’s good. Rival IQ goes one step further and records as much public data as possible.
Why is this particularly useful? The answer is in the name. Rival IQ allows you to learn a surprising amount of information about your competitors. You track yourself, and your competitors, and compare how you’re growing to meet their challenges or how they’re gaining on your marketing.
It takes a little work to set up and get running properly, but once your landscape is plugged in, you’ll have access to plenty of data. All you have to do is figure out how to put it to use.