If you’re just starting out in the world of marketing, you may think that it is impossible to manage social media and complete all of the other tasks associated with running a business. When I first started managing the 8 social media accounts between our two sister companies, I found myself getting overwhelmed. Between setting up reminders to post content on different channels every few hours, and scouring the web for free stock photos, I knew that there “had to be a better way!” Trust me—there is! I spent hours researching tools that would keep me organized and help me work smarter and I thought I would share them with you today.
- Hootsuite: I owe most of my freed-up time to Hootsuite! It’s a great little platform that helps you manage and monitor all of your social media accounts in one spot. You can set up each of your accounts into multiple streams to monitor the conversations that are taking place around your brand or industry, and you can easily engage with others without every having to leave the stream! I use Hootsuite mainly for scheduling posts across all accounts; I set aside a few hours of my day every other week to schedule posts in advance. Hootsuite is a great tool for planning social media campaigns, as it also provides valuable feedback in the form of analytics. You can easily track the number of views, shares, comments, etc. Hootsuite is available for free or you can purchase a plan to add multiple accounts on various platforms to your stream. Best of all, it also has a mobile app so you can monitor your accounts on-the-go!
- Bitly: I really believe that Bitly and Hootsuite go hand-in-hand. Bitly allows you to shorten web URLs to make them easier to share across social platforms; shorter links look tidier, are more generic, and help you stay within the character limit on social media websites such as Twitter. You can also input a link and customize it to match your brand or its purpose: ex: bit.ly/planajobs is the link I created and use on social media when encouraging others to apply to Plan A. Bitly also provides you with real-time stats, such as number of views, clicks, and the respective geographical locations of each stat. Bitly is available for free, however, you can purchase a more advanced plan to suit your needs.
- Shutterstock: Prior to having a subscription to Shutterstock, I spent endless hours scouring the web searching for free, high-resolution images that were available for commercial use. If I was searching for something in particular, my search often came up short. With Shutterstock, you can purchase image packs for as low as $29 for two photos, or you can purchase more extensive packages to suit your needs. Usually, I will use any of the free stock websites listed here for web content, but if I am looking for something specific for print materials or large-scale pieces, I will purchase an image that I will then own the license to and can use virtually as many times as I would like. I also enjoy how Shutterstock keeps your download history on hand so you can re-download images as you see fit.
- Canva: I think I have raved about Canva multiple times in my posts, but it is a great tool that absolutely every one should use! You can quickly and easily create stunning, high-quality content with little-to-no graphic design experience required. Canva has hundreds of pre-made templates available to help you make whatever you desire— such as blog photos, cover photos, thank you cards, letterhead and even resumes! Canva also has thousands of stock photos that you can purchase for $1 each and use/manipulate for up to 24 hours! More advanced plans give you access to an increased number of stock photo downloads and allow you to save your logo, brand colours, brand fonts, etc. in a little toolbox for easy access. Try it out today!
Since using the combination of these tools on a daily basis, I have found myself working on more of the things I really enjoy, such as the creative side of marketing. Implementing new tools may take some getting used to, but they will help change your game! I encourage you to figure out what works well for you! Let me know! Good luck!