I seem to be writing a LOT about social media lately … changes in the major platforms, the new and upcoming platforms on the rise, why social media should be an important part of your marketing strategy, etc. I guess one of the reasons is because, for those of us whose target market and ideal clients are online, social media is where and how they find us and we find them, so social media platforms and social media tools are important. Having, or not having, a good social media strategy plan in place can be the difference between the life or death of your business.
A good, consistent plan and strategy will increase your online visibility, which will allow your readers and followers to gain broader insight into your business, your brand, what you do and who you really are; which in turn, will help you build the “know, like and trust factor that is so important if you want to turn your audience into prospects and your prospects into clients. Sound simple? Well it is an it isn’t. There are lots of moving parts to putting together and executing a consistent plan and strategy. However, there are also a LOT of great social media tools available we can use to simplify and automate our social media processes so we can stay on track without becoming overwhelmed to the point that we burn out and give up.
CoSchedule: CoSchedule is my new, all-time favorite scheduling program that can be used as a standalone product; BUT, when integrated with your WordPress account, installs a plugin that will allow you to schedule all of your social media posts without ever leaving your blog post. While not free, the Solo Standard subscription will integrate with up to 5 different social media profiles for as low as $15 per month. The Solo Marketing subscription integrates up to 10 social media profiles at $30 per month (plus includes scheduling templates). And then there is the Solo Automation subscription at $60 per month, which integrates up to 25 social media profiles AND social automation and auto-pilot publishing! I’m a bit partial to the Solo Marketing subscription. CoSchedule saves me a ton of time and gets my “stuff”out there in front of more eyes quickly and easily!
Hootsuite: While Hootsuite is an awesome scheduling tool for all of your social media platforms, if you post on Instagram, Hootsuite is even awesomer (is that even a word???) because it is currently one of the only social media tools that lets you schedule posts to Instagram. While Instagram will not allow any 3rd party app to post directly to its platform, Hootsuite’s mobile app sends the user a notification when an image is schedule to post. The user “approves” the post in Hootsuite, and is then sent directly to Instagram when they click on the “Instagram” button to complete the process by choosing from the different graphic filters available (or not), choosing whether or not to share on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or Flicker and then hitting the share button. It still takes a minute or two of manual effort to share your posts, but saves a ton of time in the long run. What’s really great is you can look at your calendar of scheduled posts on your Hootsuite mobile app to see what’s coming up and what has already been posted.
Canva: Oh my gosh, where would I be without Canva! Canva makes it super easy to create awesome graphics in this very visual social media world we live in. Whatever you need … blog post title images, social media cover photos, motivational graphic quotes, you name it. You can use the graphic and elements available on the Canva website (a ton of free ones and also some very inexpensive paid ones) or upload photos you’ve taken yourself or downloaded from photo sites like BigStockPhoto or MorgueFile. I love it so much … well you can read about it here!
Friends+Me: This little gem allows you to share any graphic post or picture from your Google+ Profile or Page to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Tumblr. All I have to do is add the hashtag #F to my post and voila … it sends it right to my Facebook Business page.
Pin it Button: For those of you who use Pinterest, Chrome has a Pin it Button extension that allows you to pin just about any graphic or image you can find (with the exception of Facebook). One very nice feature is when you pin one of your own images using the Pin it Button on Google+, it shows the source as your Google+ account, which helps promote your Google+ profile. You can find this little beauty in Chrome’s settings under extensions.
WordPress Editorial Calendar: One of the key components in a good social media strategy is your blog. Posting the fresh new content your readers want to see on a consistent basis is a wonderful source for micro-content you can then share across all of your other social media platforms. Using an editorial calendar plugin like this one lets you see all of your upcoming blog posts on their anticipated publication date; plus it give you the option to edit, delete and make changes to the schedule by dragging and dropping.
Social Warfare: Another great WordPress plugin. Social Warfare is a wonderful social media sharing plugin for a variety of reasons. First of all, it has great sharing buttons that are fast, attractive, and show how many shares each post has received. You have the option to add your social media title and description AND the chosen graphic you want to appear when shared. There is also a built-in Click-to-Tweet function in the plugin that makes it super easy to include specific content your readers can tweet by clicking the button. Again, not free, but it’s a very affordable plugin for as low as $24 per year.
While all of the time-saving apps and programs I’ve shared with you may not completely eliminate overwork and overwhelm from your business, they will certainly make it easier for you in the social media realm.
Also published on Medium.