5 Free Content Tools to Enhance Your Social Media Marketing

social media toolsAre you looking for new ways to grab your fans’ attention?

When was the last time you changed the way you share news and updates?

When you present your content in new, engaging and interactive ways, it stands out in a constant stream of competing information.

In this article you’ll discover five free tools to help you avoid the same tired ways of sharing content.

#1: Make Your Images Interactive

ThingLink‘s fun, dynamic, visual format draws attention to your updates.

You can add text or multimedia overlays to any of your photos or images, but what makes this tool more interesting than others is that the results are interactive.

Viewers hover over icons to watch a video, listen to an audio file, link externally, complete a poll and more.

Home Depot uses ThingLink images to share room and home décor DIY suggestions and tutorials. For example, they overlaid this photo of a DIY Sawhorse Table with the prices of all the pieces you’d need to make it and links to a blog detailing the process. The links become visible when you hover over the image.


If you’re a B2B provider, consider enhancing an infographic with ThingLink to highlight your services or your client successes with links to case studies, live web examples and other assets to showcase the breadth of your work.

#2: Crowdsource Your Digital Story

The beauty of Storify is that you can pull in content from social feeds based on hashtags, keywords, URLs, user IDs and more—pretty much anything searchable.

You can drag and drop social media posts, YouTube videos, images from Instagram and more to build stories to embed on your site as a column, slideshow or grid.

While you can easily build a Storify using just your content, the tool is strongest when you integrate your content with your audience’s.

storify start page

Show off content as a story.

For example, try crowdsourcing ideas and opinions from your most loyal supporters with a Twitter chat linked to a hashtag. SELF magazine asked their Twitter followers how they planned to get active in the new year and used the hashtag #UpnOut.

The magazine shared the responses and conversations in this Storify, creating both a sense of community and a source of information for those planning to exercise as part of their New Year’s resolutions.

#3: Test Your Audience’s Knowledge

Everyone loves a good quiz. Whether to learn, reaffirm knowledge or as a distraction from the daily grind, virtual quizzes are on the rise.

Qzzr’s versatility means you can build anything from a “How much do you know about topic X?” quiz that results in a graded response (e.g., You got 7 out of 10 correct!) to a Buzzfeed-style “Which ice cream flavor are you?” that gives a fun random response (You’re sweet cookie dough ice cream!).

For added interaction and reach, Qzzr‘s clean image-oriented design includes social sharing icons so visitors can easily share their quiz results with their friends.

KISSmetrics, a web analytics B2B provider, offers this quiz on the “12 Techniques of Advanced Web Marketers” to test your knowledge of social media marketing.

kissmetrics quiz

Ask readers to test their knowledge.

Whether participants triumphed or failed miserably, the quiz is a fun, subtle way to reinforce KISSmetrics’ expertise as partners in web marketing or mentors for newbies.

#4: Tell Your Story With an Infographic

Infographics are in high demand because they’re an easy way to present data or help you persuade customers they absolutely need your product.

The best infographics share a lot of data in a digestible format, but creating one can be daunting. Piktochart simplifies the process by offering free and premium templates and graphics and icons you can drag and drop into your infographic.

Creating this kind of visual content is less painful when you can adjust text size, font and color to create a professional, visually appealing infographic.

The B2B company E-complish created this infographic on the state of mobile payments. Using hard data, their infographic clearly demonstrates the need for businesses to offer a mobile payment option.

e-complish imfographic

E-complish created a simple infographic to make a point.

B2B brands are using Piktochart more often than B2C businesses. If you’re a B2C business, you can use Piktochart to take advantage of the void and be among the first to showcase your products and how to use them.

#5: Turn Your Content Into Word Clouds

Use Tagxedo to create a word cloud from your web, social, blog or other content. Word clouds aren’t just a great way to present content in a new light, they offer new insights into that content with a quick visual analysis.

The low-hanging fruit here is blog posts, speech transcriptions, important news articles, etc. Just enter the URL, play with the font, color and shape, and you’re all set.

You can use word clouds to showcase both personal and business content. Depending on the relevance of the content to your audience, this 5-minute process makes a pretty strong statement.

tagxedo word cloud from social media examiner post

This word cloud is from a Social Media Examiner article. Looks like content is still king!

Want to get a little more creative? If you have a Facebook post that’s getting a lot of interaction, create a word cloud out of the comments and share it as a new update that links to the original post.

Tagxedo doesn’t recognize Facebook comments via the post’s URL though, so you’ll have to copy and paste the comments manually, but the result is worth the effort.

If that’s too much work, consumer surveys or blog post comments also work well.

Wrapping Up

Social media moves quickly and your content flow has to keep up. The demands of a market that’s evolving by the minute heighten expectations for fresh, quality content on a nearly impossible scale.

Take advantage of these free tools to satisfy your audience’s appetite when you share content on social media.

What do you think? Have you used any of these tools? Do you have any to add to the list? Tell us about your experience in the comment box below!

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About the Author, Kiera Stein

Kiera Stein is the Social Strategist Manager at the international humanitarian nonprofit, CARE. She shares social media and web marketing tips and strategies weekly on her blog, Dog-eared Social. Other posts by »




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  • http://www.markevans.ca/ Mark Evans

    Nice post – I’ll have to check out ThinkLink. Another tool to consider is Pressly (pressly.com), which makes it easy for brands to create destinations featuring their own, curated and social content. Having a centralized hub for content they want to share is a more effective than using a “shotgun” approach to sharing content on different social networks.

  • http://bippermedia.com/ Bipper Media

    Great post Kiera – with ThinkLink, can you share the image on Facebook and still maintain the photo overlay elements?

  • http://richardmclaughlin.biz/ McLaughlin

    interactive images are really cool

  • http://junaidwebmaster.wordpress.com Junaid Jaffery

    I always get new innovative ideas from social media examiner.. thanks

  • http://www.kamilagornia.com Kamila Gornia

    Fantastic and very helpful post as per usual. I’m looking into ThingLink, I think it might be really good for some of my e-commerce marketing clients, I had no idea this even existed. I’ve seen this in action before I think but yeah. Great resource! Thank you.

  • http://www.kamilagornia.com Kamila Gornia

    Thank you for sharing the link to pressly, I’m checking it out.

  • http://dallasgreenvilleavenue.com Frida McKenzie

    I love all of the information you provide. I think Houzz uses this and when they started using it I thought, “well that just makes sense”…Thanks for the info.

  • Marlene Lebel

    I was unable to get Tagxedo to work on my MacBook Pro :(

  • Justuno.com

    Nice tips…

  • http://kierastein.com Kiera Stein

    Thank you Mark! And thanks for sharing Pressly.

  • http://kierastein.com Kiera Stein

    Yes! When you hit the “share” button on a ThingLink image and post to Facebook, it will show up with a play button – when you hit that on the published post it expands to include the dynamic features.

  • http://kierastein.com Kiera Stein

    Oh no! I have a MacBook Air, and it works fine for me. How did you load your content?

  • http://kierastein.com Kiera Stein

    Thanks Junaid! Glad you enjoyed the read.

  • http://kierastein.com Kiera Stein

    Thank you Kamila! Hope your clients enjoy your ThingLink ideas.

  • http://kierastein.com Kiera Stein

    Thank you Frida! Houzz seems like it would be the perfect client for ThingLink.

  • http://kierastein.com Kiera Stein

    Thanks!

  • http://kierastein.com Kiera Stein

    Thank you! Lots of possibilities with ThingLink

  • Marlene Lebel

    I was unable to get Tagxedo to work on my MacBook Pro :(

  • http://www.7eyetechnologies.com Kristina Roy

    Thanks Kiera to share nice tools. All tools are good but ThingLink is matching with my current requirement.

  • http://www.zolv.com Katrina Cliffe

    I was unable to get Tagxedo to work. I have windows 8 IE10. It asked to me install silverlight which I did but still nothing?

  • Marlene Lebel

    using a URL

  • Marlene Lebel

    It’s working now, yay!

  • http://kierastein.com Kiera Stein

    I have trouble on IE in general. Try downloading Firefox and using it on there – I’ve found Firefox to be the best browser for supporting most social media tools.

  • http://kierastein.com Kiera Stein

    Great! Thanks for reading and enjoy ThingLink

  • http://kierastein.com Kiera Stein

    Oh good!

  • http://www.zolv.com Katrina Cliffe

    Actually I’m using chrome – not IE! So used to using IE but am now a Chrome user. Will try Firefox though!

  • Lynette Holroyd

    I too tried to get Tagxedo and nothing. I tried three times using FireFox on my Mac.

  • http://www.zolv.com Katrina Cliffe

    I’m able to get it working to pull information through from my website but not from my twitter feed – which is where we have the most content and where I would like to obtain from.

  • Jenga

    Nice Post!

  • http://kierastein.com Kiera Stein

    I’ve found Chrome to be touch and go with tools. I’ve had the most consistent success with Firefox. Hopefully that will work for you!

  • http://kierastein.com Kiera Stein

    I’m sorry to hear that!

  • http://kierastein.com Kiera Stein

    Have you considered downloading your tweets and then uploading into Tagxedo?

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