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Social Media   measuring impact loudspeakerWhen starting a business from scratch or planning to take your online business to the next level, there are many tools that can assist you to maximise your presence and become digital ready. This article aims to show you some great tools that I use everyday as the owner of Buccaneer Grooming and as a digital marketer when working with clients.

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#1 - Google AdWord Keyword Planner

Google provides businesses with many fantastic tools, many of which I have included in this list. The one that I use the most (nearly 3 times a day) is the Google AdWord Keyword Planner. This fantastic tool allows you to conduct keyword research to identify how many people Google each month for relevant keywords to your business. I used this tool to determine the demand that existed in Buccaneer Groomings industry. When I started to see beards take off and I was using other brands beard oil, I thought there could be potential in developing my own beard oil. This is when I did my research and saw that there was 1,000 people in Australia each month that searched for beard oil. This confirmed to me that my passion could be a viable business. Since starting, there is now over 3,600 people per month that search for beard oil.

#2 - Canva

Canva is an online design tool created by Australian entrepreneur Melanie Perkins. Since its launch, Melanie and her team have expanded Canva heavily on the back of investment. It is not only a great tool, its also a fantastic Australian entrepreneurial story. Cana allows you to design presentations, social media graphics, posters, Facebook ad images and more. It is a great alternative to Adobe Creative Suite and allows the everyday business owner the chance to design without needing the skills. Cana also have a design school making it easy for beginners. I use this tool to create blog images, Facebook ads and more.

#3 - Schedugram

Social media is not the be all and end all for every business. For my business, its critical. I identified that my target market are regular users of Instagram and this is the main social media channel I use to engage my audience. The hard thing is regularly creating and posting content that stays on brand. To avoid haphazard posts for the sake of posting, I plan out my Instagram content 2 weeks in advance and use Schedugram to schedule my content. This means that I dont have to worry about posting content, it automatically happens. I just need to ensure I regularly check the app to answer any questions on my posts.

#4 - Instagress

Staying on the Instagram bandwagon, Instagress is a great tool that acts as a bot and automatically likes or comments on photos posted by certain people or with certain hashtags. I use this tool to automatically like any photos posted with the hashtag #beards. This is a pain free way of keeping in the minds of your target market on my preferred social media channel. I will point out that social media engagement should be organic and this tool takes that away. It is certainly effective though and I encourage all businesses using Instagram to give Instagress a go.

#5 - Adroll

For those businesses who operate in a long sales cycle or those that want to remain top of mind, retargeting is a must. Retargeting is where you can follow website visitors around when their online and continue to display ads to them. Below is a good overview of how it works:

Only 2% of website visitors convert on the first visit. Retargeting allows you to try and win back the other 98% of website visitors. Retargeting isnt new. Its been around and in regular use for years. Adroll is simply a platform that makes it easy. It also has great reach across Google and Facebook.

#6 - Yotpo

If you run an ecommerce store, youre going to want to know about Yotpo. Online reviews are critical to enforce your credibility. Yotpo makes this process easy by automating emails to people who purchase asking them to review your products. If youve got a great product and great service, youll really benefit from using Yotpo.

#7 - Gleam

Until Gleam, running social media promotions were costly and time consuming as you needed to find a web developer to create a custom app for entries. Now, Gleam makes it super easy and customisable. In fact, you could have a promotion up and running in minutes using this great tool. I regularly use this tool for giveaways and it has doubled my email database each time, created great engagement across my social channels and drove brand awareness amongst my target market - all very cost effectively.

#8 - Vision6

As you build your email database, you need to collect emails and consider an email marketing platform. Email marketing is a great way to drive constant engagement and remain top of mind. Its also a great way to promote content that you create out to your database. Vision6 is an Australian email marketing platform that makes email easy. You can easily create email templates, databases, segmentation, split test subject lines and more.

#9 - Google Analytics

I feel like this goes without saying, but every website should have Google Analytics installed. This great tool will tell you how many people visit your website, how long they spend on your website, where they came from and more. If setup correctly, you can even see how many enquiries or sales your website received.

#10 - Google URL Builder

If youre doing lots of marketing to drive traffic to your website, youll want to be able to track everything appropriately. Googles URL builder allows you to append a tracking code on the end of a URL you are using to promote.

For example, if youre doing email marketing, youll want to see how many people click on a link within the email. In tool number 8 above, for my email promoting an article on beard history, I will use the Google URL builder to create the following URL:

http://www.buccaneergrooming.com/blogs/blog/19167019-beard-history-from-apes-to-kings?utm_source=EDM&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=beard%20history

This will allow me to track in Google Analytics exactly how many people clicked this link and therefore how effective my email marketing is.

#11 - Google My Business

Google My Business connects you directly with your customers when they look for you on search, maps or Google+.

#12 - Outbrain

Outbrain is a content amplification platform allowing you to promote your content across publisher sites all around the world. With Outbrain, links to your content appear across the webs largest publishers. If youre creating content, you should be promoting it. Outbrain makes this easy.

#13 - Hubspot

For more advanced marketers, Hubspot is worth a look. Hubspot is an online marketing and sales automation tool that combines many digital marketing tactics into one tool. Their blog is one of the best blogs getting around and is also well worth a look.

I hope that this guide helps you and your business to succeed online. I strongly suggest checking out these tools and familiarising yourself to see how they can impact your business. Good luck!

Rhys Furner is the Chief Beard Officer at Buccaneer Grooming. Buccaneer Grooming make premium beard and moustache grooming products for the recklessly adventurous.