Social Media Tools Used in Marketing

As a marketing major, one of the most important tools to succeed in my career field is the proper utilization of social media. According to a writer for Harvard University, “To create successful social media content, creativity is still as important as ever. It’s also still vital to update the content frequently. But the rules of the game have changed—and they will continue to as consumers and social media platforms evolve and adapt. To effectively reach audiences and customers, marketers need to be much more intentional about the content they post.

There must be a clear benefit that motivates them to follow, share, and engage. The “king” of social media is content that both aligns with business objectives and provides value to customers and prospects.” (Ames, 2017) Social media is a medium for delivering my marketing message to many people at little to no cost. While a tool in and of itself, it has many accompanying tools that allow you to better serve your purpose.

There are so many businesses using social media to disseminate their message that the channels may become cluttered with lackluster posts that bore consumers. To avoid this, businesses are getting more and more creative in how they present their ads. To stand out in the crowd, they utilize tools like post-scheduling apps, targeted ads, graphic design templates, social listening, and filter presets. In this paper, I will outline the many tools for increasing your social media presence, defining your brand, capturing more customers, targeting the right consumers, and, ultimately, assisting in creating the best social media marketing experience available.

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One example of a supplementary social media application or tool is an app called Buffer. I use this app to plan out and schedule my posts for my business’s Instagram page and track my analytics. This app is usually used by marketing teams to schedule content for social media posts and has an excellent customer service system, making it easy to use no matter your level of technological experience. (Kamps, 2016) Planning social media posts is imperative in reaching the correct market for your product or business. Scheduling a post to be delivered at a certain time allows you to capture the correct audience. For example, if Zaxby’s wanted to try to capture the crowd of chicken-lovers who would stop by Chick-Fil-A after church were it open on Sundays, might want to create an ad aimed specifically at this group and send it out through their desired medium between 10:30 and 1:00 on a Sunday. Using applications like Buffer would allow Zaxby’s to plan this post out months and send it out whenever they please, and as frequently as they please. There have been many studies done on peak times to post online. According to data acquired from Sprout Social, “The best time to post on Instagram is Wednesday at 3 p.m., Thursday at 5 a.m., 11 a.m., and 3 to 4 p.m. and Friday at 5 a.m. Thursday is the best day to post on Instagram. The safest times to post to Instagram are Tuesday through Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday is the least engaging day for Instagram.” (York, 2018) This can vary from business to business and with the ever-changing Instagram algorithm, it is becoming harder and harder to decide when the best time to post to capture the most views and likes. That is why apps like Buffer are becoming a necessity to any social media marketer.

Another social media tool that has been incredibly useful to me has been Facebook’s Targeted Ads. You can create your ad for your business page and choose who you want the ad to target. This is done by Facebook’s immense database of personal information gathered from the users’ in-app purchases, likes, and history. There are many layers and possibilities when using a targeted ad. You can target users based on life events: Facebook keeps track of life events like a death in the family, a recent engagement, or a birthday and advertisers can use this data to create specific ads that target users whose life events might coincide with a product they are selling. For example, a jewelry store might send an ad for a ring to a couple celebrating their anniversary. You can also expand your audience to one similar to your own, in hopes of finding new potential customers. You can also layer your targeting options to gradually make your audience more and more specific, drilling down to your exact clientele. (Kim, 2018) You can target a broad audience, or increase efficiency by narrowing your market by demographic. Audiences can be targeted by factors like age, gender, geographic area, and even what they might be interested in. Facebook stores tons of data on its users- more than you may even realize. While this may feel like an invasion of privacy, It is an extremely useful tool for advertisers, and those using Facebook’s Targeted Ads.

To get ahead on social media in today’s day in age, your ads and posts must be aesthetically pleasing, professional, informative, and condensed. For some companies with enough excess capital, they can hire an in-house or freelance graphic artist to create such content. Luckily, there are applications out there that can make creating professional-quality graphics attainable for someone with little to no experience in graphic design, and little to no budget. I use Canva, an app that comes with pre-designed templates that are easy to manipulate and customize. These templates are an invaluable asset for those who want to create a consistent feel throughout all of their social media, which is increasingly important in today’s competitive market. To begin, you choose what type of graphic you will be creating: Facebook post, Instagram story, poster, business card, and many more. You can even design a simple logo using this application. I know many student groups here at UNA use this application. Canva prides itself on being easy to customize and making it your own without the burden of creating something from scratch or having to learn how to use software like Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop. While it cannot create excessively elaborate graphics, it gives small businesses the freedom to make ads, posts, and stories that are eye-catching while on a budget without any prior experience. It is cloud-based, so it is easy to pick up where you left off. It is also collaborative, so you can easily share your work and receive input from your team (Allton and Allton, 2018). Canva, among other free graphic design applications, is becoming necessary to keep up in the competitive social media world.

The most recent buzzword in social media marketing is “social listening”. Social listening is the process of monitoring online conversations to gather relevant information to help businesses better market to their customers. A few examples of these are Mention, IFTTT, Hootsuite, and Keyhole. (Patel, 2017) If we are discussing social listening, we may also need to acknowledge a concept that has recently gained lots of attention. Many online users have noticed that they receive ads for items they recently purchased, searched the web for, or even talked about. I am no stranger to this phenomenon: just the other day I was shopping in Ulta with my mother, who tested a perfume. I asked her what the name of it was, to which she responded “Black Opium. It smells wonderful. I think I might buy it.” Strange enough, a few hours later as I scrolled down my Instagram feed, an ad for Black Opium perfume popped up. Many videos have surfaced online of people who do not own any pets repeatedly speaking into their phones about how they need to purchase cat litter. In a matter of hours, an ad for cat litter will surface on their Facebook. While some find this to be an invasion of privacy, we agree to the use of our phone’s microphone while using apps like Facebook and Instagram. You can opt-out at any time, or decide that maybe social media and social listening just are not for you. Social listening, though some may find it disturbing, can be extremely useful for businesses. It uses keywords and phrases to link potential customers to ads that might lead to a purchase. Marketers use social listening for “community management, such as identifying customer pain points and providing direct consumer response to questions, complaints, and comments. It is also used to surface feedback that could help to differentiate their brand, product, or service.” (White, 2018) No matter your feelings on social listening, it can be an extremely useful tool for marketing teams to gather useful information.

A social media trend that has even caught on for Instagram users’ pages is the trend of creating a “personal brand” for yourself or your company by making cohesive and strategic posts online. Many bloggers, YouTubers, and online personalities have discovered the lucrative business of becoming an “Influencer”. An influencer is someone who uses tactics to gain influence, followers, and authority by working with popular people to promote themselves and other brands or services. (DeMers, 2018) Influencers gain their status by creating a powerful platform that captures the attention of other users. Businesses may utilize these users to assist in “influencing” their followers to purchase their products custom-designed and try their services. Many influencers who pride themselves on the aesthetic of their Instagram have a “theme”: they edit all of their pictures using a single filter. Recently, things have evolved and users went from using one of the filters that Instagram provides, to using apps like VSCO and ColorStory to supplement, but most recently there has been a trend of using custom-designed presets “Influencers run all their photos through a specific preset to cultivate an aesthetic and make their feed look cohesive. Influencers have relied on Lightroom for years, but it wasn’t until June of this year that Adobe finally introduced the ability to create and share presets entirely on mobile, and a preset boom was born… To use a preset, customers buy it from an online store, a download link is sent to their email, and they open the file, copy it into Lightroom, and voilà.” (Lorenz, 2018) Prices can range from as little as two dollars to as much as two hundred dollars. These presets are not necessary for every business to use, but can assist in creating a cohesive flow for their Instagram feed. As for Influencers, they could also be considered a useful tool for businesses to utilize, however, are not necessary for the success of a company.

There are dozens of more examples of social media tools, but these are some of the most useful and relevant to Social Media Marketing. In today’s world, everything is mobile. To reach mobile users, businesses target potential customers through social media and use supplemental tools to make their social media presence more appealing.


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  7. Lorenz, T. (2018, November 14). Custom Photo Filters Are the New Instagram Gold Mine. Retrieved from
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  9. York, A. (2018, June 11). Best Times to Post on Social Media: 2018 Industry Research. Retrieved from

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Social Media Tools Used in Marketing. (2022, Apr 26). Retrieved from

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