When you spend half your life creating social media content for clients, finding tools to help you is imperative. I want to lavish my customers with content they can be proud of, but as a small business I cannot afford to subscribe to expensive services. Running a business has to be cost effective for all involved. I offer ‘Responsive Social Media Marketing’, so whilst that might make my life harder, you will not find content automation tools in my armoury. I do not schedule my content weeks in advance, I make a judgement call every day. I use the ‘hit list’ from my clients that includes their marketing plan for the month or week, but I also have a strong pull to the news and their industry trends. So, no Hootsuite for me. But, I have a lot of free tools that I rely on, and I thought I would share some of them with you.
I love Flipboard. It enables me to not only see content specific to any topic I so desire, but I can create my own magazines (I have 4), which enables me to store content of interest for later. It also means I can create a following of like minded individuals, who also share or ‘flip’ what I have collected. Flipboard allows you to bring in content from any source, so my own blogs get flipped after publication and it is thrilling watching others flip them out to a wider audience. Magazines can garner a following, so I am building my own gang of followers in my industry, but I can also follow magazines in my clients industries, furnishing me relevant news and content on tap.
This is a funky little website that gives you a hand with hashtags. Those pesky little creatures can be the bane of the social media marketer, as tweet after tweet no one pays you any attention. Simply add the hashtag you are planning to use to the search box, and the software will return like minded tags and rank them in order of popularity. This means you can see easily whether you are targeting well (and your content needs work) or whether you are using a dud tag and need to reconsider.
Whilst this is a pretty buggy ‘Beta’ platform, I have learned to love Klout. Using the information in your profile Klout proffers suggestions for ‘reshareworthy’ content in your field. It scores you on your own performance as an expert and provides helpful suggestions for other influencers you might be wise to network with and follow. This is a content curation platform, so if you like what you see you can schedule it to post to your social media platforms. Currently it can only post to Facebook profiles not business pages, but you can cut and past – or just use it to add a layer to your Twitter plan. As with Flipboard is also gives you an opportunity to learn as you are presented with a myriad of industry relevant articles. Currently, with no knowledge of how it happened, I have become an expert in David Beckham and fish. As mentioned the Beta platform is bug ridden but hey it makes me smile every time I logon!
Canva is a great free graphics design tool. If, like me, you struggle to create a stickman, this is your lifeline. So easy to use, whether on the desktop or via the app, you can create amazing graphics in no time. There are thousands of great free images, icons, styling details and texts available, and you get to choose what your graphic is for, making sizing issues a thing of the past. Choose from every graphic for every platform. If you want to upgrade you get access to even more functionality, but to be honest it has given me everything I need at no cost.
Of course there are a mass of other free tools out there, and I will look at some more in another post – but in the meantime I really do recommend you check these out.
Anna Everett is a responsive social media marketing expert, author and self confessed Geek Girl.