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4 free tools for social media managers


Are you missing out on the latest social media tools? Kirsty Marrins presents 4 free tools (Followerwonk, Canva, Buffer and Google Drive) that charity social media managers can use to help build and foster a community of supporters.


There is no question anymore around the importance of your organisation being on social media; however it’s not enough to just have a presence, you need to be building and fostering a community. And social media can be very powerful: 54% of users surveyed by Twitter reported that they had taken action after seeing a brand mentioned in Tweets (including visiting their website, searching for the brand, or retweeting content).

Think of how you could harness that for your charity. In the last two years there has been a 2.5x increase in customer service conversations on Twitter – and this is becoming a growing area for charities too.

As social media managers, there are four key things you need to do in order to be successful on social media:

1. understand and analyse your audience;

2. create relevant and engaging content for your audience;

3. manage your social media effectively; and

4. report on your efforts and learn from your findings

Here are four free tools to help you:


1. Followerwonk


Followerwonk is a great tool to help you grow your followers and enrich your community by finding relevant people and organisations to follow and engage with. You can find influencers or relevant people to follow using their ‘search bio/profile’ function. Just enter in keywords (for example ‘mental health’) and then filter by location. It then brings up all the accounts that have those keywords in their Twitter bio or profile.

You can also then sort the accounts by ‘social authority’, which is an algorithm Followerwonk uses to determine how influential that person or organisation is. This is based on how many people they follow, how many people follow them, etc.

You can also use Followerwonk to analyse when your audience is most active, which is hugely valuable for knowing when to post your content. Just enter your Twitter handle, then click on the next tab and use the dropdown to choose ‘analzye their followers’. A report will then be generated showing you the locations of your followers, as well as their most active hours.

Another useful feature in your report is a bio word cloud of your followers. This is a visual representation of the most used words in your Twitter followers' biographies. For example, I've been able to determine that most of my followers have the words 'digital', 'fundraising', 'charity', 'marketing' etc in their Twitter bio. This helps me understand more about who my followers are and what their interests are, and helps me to tailor my content accordingly.


2. Canva


I’m sure you’ve sussed by now that the content that gets the most engagement on your channels is content with rich media, such as videos or photos. In fact, content with images gets 94% more views than content without images.

But what if you don’t have a big library of great photos, or your design skills are limited? Canva is a free design tool that comes with thousands of photos and graphics that are either free or $1 each. You can also upload your own images and then add a filter or text over them to create rather professional looking designs.

Canva has also launched Canva for Work,which is a paid version with a lot more functionality – such as creating folders and sharing them with teams. The best news is that they offer free accounts for charities – here’s how to apply.


3. Buffer


When you analyse your audience on social, it will soon become clear that they will mostly be online outside of your office hours. If your social media team is not large enough to have evening and weekend shift rotas, then chances are you will need to rely on scheduling tweets and posts. Buffer is a free (and paid) social media management tool that allows you to do just that.

Buffer also has its own image tool called Pablo, which is similar to Canva and has its own inbuilt analytics. Their free version allows only one social platform, but they offer 50% off all their price plans to non-profits.

If you’re a small charity, just use the free version to schedule tweets, as you can schedule Facebook posts directly on Facebook.


4. Google Drive


Every social media manager should have a content calendar so that they can ensure that they’ve not missed anything important, and that they are balancing their content in terms of the 90/10 rule where only 10% are asks.

Create a simple content calendar using Sheets in Google Drive, which you can share with colleagues in different teams so that they can edit and add important events/campaigns/policy news, etc to the calendar. Social media is everyone’s responsibility, and having a shared content calendar gives teams ownership of their own content as well as ensuring that you’re giving a voice to all the areas of work of your organisation.

If you’ve found any of these tools useful or you have others to share, leave a comment or tweet me at @LondonKirsty.


Kirsty Marrins is a freelance digital communications specialist and accredited trainer. Kirsty has worked at many charities including Dementia UK, Aspire and Cancer Research UK. She is also trustee of the Small Charities Coalition and a CharityComms mentor.

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