Helpful tools

Social media marketing apps
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Managing social media and marketing can easily develop into a full-time job, but most small business owners balance maintaining an online presence and promoting what they do with other tasks. It can be difficult to manage, but there are tools to help.

When we asked small business owners about the social media and marketing technology tools they can't live without, here's what they had to say.

Canva

Canva
Canva is a design tool that you can use to design anything, but most business owners we interviewed mentioned using Canva to create polished graphics for social media and marketing purposes. It is popular because it's extremely user friendly.

When you first create a free account, Canva asks you what type of user you are (social media manager, journalist, business owner). From there, Canva guides you through the process of creating a social media post, presentation, poster, Facebook post, blog graphic and more.

A professional Canva for Work account is $9.95 per month. Alice Rossiter, the founder of Alice's Table, described Canva well when she said, "This simple and free graphics tool allows anyone on your team to become a graphic designer without Photoshop skills."

Later

Later
For keeping up with Instagram posts, more small business owners recommended Later than any other app. Later makes it easy to plan future Instagram posts, view them on a calendar and preview them so you see what your followers will see.

Later doesn't publish posts for you, but it alerts you when you have a post scheduled, so you can click the Post button, and it will instantly go live. This online program also offers users some analytics functionality, so small business owners can track trends and better target future posts. There is a free, individual plan available, but professional accounts cost between $9 and $49 per month, depending on the level.

Kirsten LaGreca owns and operates an online boutique called Rosa Gold; she was one of the many small business owners who recommended Later for social media management. She said, "For someone who has a love-hate relationship with social media because it's so time-consuming, [Later] makes it so much easier."

SEM Rush

SEM Rush
When it comes to managing SEO, paid traffic, social media feeds, content and PR, small business owners were nearly unanimous in their recommendation of SEMrush. This robust reporting program collects raw data and generates scheduled reports.

There are three basic levels of subscriptions, with the least expensive being $99.95 monthly, but business owners can contact the company and create a custom plan. The SEO pros we spoke with thought the price was well worth it.

Ryan Ferguson, the founder of TeachMePR, has made teaching people about marketing his life's work. He said, "SEMrush has got to be one of the most powerful and comprehensive SEO research tools on the market. I've used it to more easily identify low competition keywords, examine competitor backlink profiles and evaluate my website's organic search results. It has helped ignite my content marketing efforts in a short period of time."
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