Social media can drain a lot of time from your business if it is not done strategically, efficiently and effectively. In our work with small to medium sized businesses and the not-for-profit sector, we constantly hear that there isn’t enough time to manage social media and not enough budget to pay for good quality content to be created. Here are some simple social media tools you can start using today in your business.
Blab is a new platform that is currently in Beta testing. It allows for live conversations and audience interaction. Get in early and build a following in your niche and you should see some great success. Think about who you might interview or collaborators that might join a conversation, host a live Q&A about your business or use it to do a live demo of your products. There are endless opportunities and this is the time to be creative. We may write a whole blog on Blab and unpack some of the features! Blab is free to use.
Buffer is available as a desktop tool and an app. Buffer acts as a catch all for your content and posts that content (across Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+) at predetermined times. Each profile can have a different schedule. This is a great tool that enables you to have a regular presence with content that is not time oriented. You can also schedule posts, view simple analytics and get suggestions for content that may be relevant based on your following. Buffer has both a free and paid version depending on your needs.
This amazing new platform allows you to post content to Instagram from your desktop as well as schedule posts. There is no reminder or alert that means you still have to manually do the post – just plain old scheduling, giving you plenty of freedom and the ability to plan campaigns and content for your Instagram profile. This platform has a free trial and is then approximately $10 per month.
Canva is a cloud based platform that turns you into a semi-professional graphic designer. This is the best free platform we have discovered, for creating great artwork for social media and beyond. There are many templates for online and offline content. Each template has the perfect dimensions for the platform being used. The free version allows you to upload your own images, use many of the free graphics, fonts and templates and create print ready versions as well. The Canva for Work option (at approx $10 per month) allows you to upload your style guide as defaults (colours, logos and fonts) and the feature we love the most is the ability to resize the same artwork so it is optimised for each platform Did you know that Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter all have different image sizes?
WeVideo is an easy to use cloud based tool to edit and create great videos! It has simple drag and drop functionality, you can blend photos and video, add music and text and much much more. The app is easy to use too! There is a small starter package that is free and then it scales up the more video you want to create. Please note that the free version puts a watermark on your video.
There are two free image libraries we like to use: FreePik and FreeImages. Here you will find hundreds of thousands of free images to choose from. These sites are owned by larger (paid) image libraries and they exist to lure you in to purchasing their images. If you only look in the free section, then you won’t be seduced into buying the super professional, glossy looking stock images. There are plenty of free images (like the one in this blog) that are very professional in quality. Make sure you read the license conditions for each image. Some require attribution, but many are for personal or commercial use, without restrictions – except that you cannot on-sell them. It may take a little extra time, but finding a free image and uploading it into Canva, is the perfect way to make free visual content to support your social media strategy.
This clever tool, with a free and paid version, allows you to create professional infographics. There are thousands of icons to choose from and you can also upload your own images. These are great for social media posts and blogs, but can also be used for your website or even printed materials. Infographics are a great way to build credibility for your business or organisation.
Statista is a statistics portal with stats from over 18,000 sources. You can pretty much find statistics on anything. Why not look up stats related to your business or organisation and create professional looking infographics in Canva or PiktoChart. Why trawl the internet and spend time verifying statistics, when the work has been done for you! Like most great tools, there is a free version for basic use and a paid version if you want more sophisticated features.
And lastly, why put all this effort into your social media just to have it hacked or hijacked by an old employee or agency. No-one ever thinks it will happen to them, but I have seen it time and time again. If a staff member leaves suddenly or is disgruntled with the organisation, you want to make sure that you have control over your most public voice. LastPass allows you to have one master password and allocate access to staff. It is easy to add or remove staff and they never know your pass words. It is charged on a per user basis. Well worth it for staff and external agencies that may want access to some of your software or accounts.
If you need help setting up your social media strategy and implementing all these tools, we can help. Check out our upcoming training both via webinar and in person. If you can’t make a training session or workshop, we also provide individual coaching via webinar!