Often, I’ve heard people say, “I hated the idea of a 09.00-17.00 job. Hence, I chose social media only to realise I’d be having a 24 x 7 job”. While it may seem as if any layman can do a social media job, it takes a tremendous amount of efforts. You have to be consistent but more importantly, you need to know what exactly should go up and when. Social media marketers want more ROI, which automatically translates to enhanced brand awareness in terms of followers/ likes/ subscribers/ shares/ reviews/ comments or basically anything that could keep the ball rolling. Not to forget, saving their time!
Scheduling is more than just a shortcut for work- When do you do it and how do you do it are important. The basic type of scheduling without the help of an external app necessarily would be Facebook scheduling. Now, while it does give you an option to either use Facebook’s inbuilt scheduling tool or get referred to some third party app through Facebook, the only thing that you would need to have is a business page- Doesn’t work on personal accounts.
Once you click on ‘create’, you’ll see the option of ‘publishing tools’. For some, it might open in a different window but that’s where you’ll be able to see the option of scheduling. Connect it to Instagram and voila, you’re set. Perhaps the most basic of the lot.
Next up is Later. Later is a resource where you can schedule up to 30 posts a month on social sets- Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter. However, you cannot create a carousel of multiple posts nor can you schedule a video or tag anyone. A bit problematic as it is designed bearing in mind Instagram marketing however a great tool for the early days of your venture. The paid plans let you have unlimited posts shareable across many users.
Buffer could be said to be an advanced version of Later, albeit paid. Schedule as many posts as you like across various platforms. Plus, you can also engage by replying to the comments and view analytics.
Both, Later and Buffer give you the option of automatic scheduling or having a push-notification reminder so that you can schedule it through the apps on your phone. This auto-publish is only available for business profiles whereas the push notifications are for both, businesses and individuals.
If you’re a business and are quite confident of your social media posts, HootSuite is highly recommended. An all-comprehensive cross-user scheduling system, it works like a content storehouse allowing you to schedule as and when you like. Advantages are the facts that it’s more professional as it is used by businesses of various domains, it allows you to incorporate the tactic of social media listening which has proved to be quite effective in garnering followers.
The next one is my personal favourite- Airtable. Recommended to me while I was freelancing, I fell in love with the simplicity that it had to offer. It’s a perfect amalgamation of content management and scheduling brought together. The free version pretty much covers everything you’d want to achieve. In simple terms, it works as an excel sheet.
I have a food page on Instagram and to maintain this as well as my personal feed, I use InstaSquare that lets me crop pictures, add a white/ black border so that I have a clean feed sparkling of minimalism. While I am not an influencer of the sorts, akin to any millennial, I’d like to keep a tab of who’s following me and who’s not. For that, I use an app called ‘Unfollowers’ though there’s plenty available on AppStore/ PlayStore.
While phones have got the feature of screen-recording, ever wondered what laptops and desktops do? I use Loom, which lets me screen record with a voiceover. The free version lets me record for up to 5mins and allows downloading the video, which is great. Plus, each time your video is viewed by someone with whom you have shared the link, you’ll be notified.
To get your followers rolling, you need to leverage the game of hashtag. Using Google analytics, delve into your insights and see which hashtags have worked the best for you. In case you’re in a fix, you can avail the help of apps such as the Hashtag generator.
We have spoken about scheduling but what are you going to schedule? Have a read here about content marketing:
But if you’re looking for some infographic content, these are your knights-in-shining-armour:
Gone are the days when you’d have to be a Picasso or get someone to create digital art for you on advanced software such as Photoshop or Illustrator. Hail Canva!
A basic plan lets you create videos and posts based on the wide range of templates that they have to offer. Be it an Instagram post or story, Facebook cover picture or profile picture, a presentation, flyer or cards, they’ve got you covered. There’s Canva Pro, yes, but if you really want to download a particular image/ element, I’d suggest paying for that particular one, which is as less as €1. You can save and download as JPG, PNG, PDF. Videos go as Mp4.
Since I mentioned presentations, in case you’d like to give Google sheets aa rest or find the Powerpoint from MS Office too mundane to your liking, Prezi is a good alternative. You can collaborate, devise, decide and play around with the features as and when you’d like.
Stencil is another tool. Akin to Canva, it lets you use a basic version that has loads to explore and choose from as well as a paid version like Canva Pro. While Canva could be said to be predominantly used, Stencil is gaining momentum across masses as the mobile app is faster compared to Canva. What’s more is the fact that Stencil offers extensions for Chrome, Safari and firefox. It’s also integrated with the auto-share social media feature so your work is done once the content is made.
You can also use Google images under the creative commons license. Say, if you’re searching for ‘Dublin food’. Enter that in Google and go to the images section. Click on Tools and select Creative Commons lIcenses meaning anyone can use these images without having to bother about copyright.
While iPhone covers basic editing features (#ShotonIphone) such as trimming videos and typing something so that it serves as copyrighted material, I generally reserve PicsArt while working on Android. I use PicsArt in case I need some basic editing in terms of filters or adjusting the colours. Or perhaps if I’m in a mood to experiment with grids and collages.
For videos, you can use the readymade templates on Canva and Stencil, though I’d say Canva has got ana upper-hand here as its quite flexible across its vivid elements, templates and designs. However, you can kick off that beloved project of yours using Offeo, InVideo or Vimeo that lets you soar through stuff like a pro.
For mainstream content- Let’s be honest. It’s not humanly possible to think out-of-the-box or be motivated enough to don on your hat of creativity 24 x 7 x 365. That’s where BuzzSumo comes into the picture. Enter a word or a term and it’ll show you basically everything that is trending. Also good for outreaching.
If you’re an eCommerce business and have set yourself up on Shopify or WordPress using one of those fancy plugins just recently, you are excited to show your wide array. At the same time, you’ve got some amazing content rolling alongside an exclusive product launch that needs undivided attention. While you can post a story saying ‘link in the bio’, you’re in a fix as to whether you should be posting the link to your website, the blog or the exclusive piece. For these purposes, it could be said that Linktree has proved to be a boon.
Take Linktree your own space that lets you unleash your creativity like on a portfolio. You can have the choicest of your works that you have to offer or the best of your products all lined up in this space. Basically, at the click of your fingers, your customers would be able to see the best of all the worlds. However, it can become tricky to know when the link is broken.
As an individual, I’ve always been inclined towards community development. Not saying this as a rule of thumb but in a couple of my such volunteering jobs, I came across the organisations that make use of Trello. The boards let you divide your workload accordingly and the cards help you assign the task in their order of urgency. It’s a great project management tool as you can subscribe to receiving reminders about who’s working on what board and when is the deadline. Similar alternatives are Asana and Slack which we shall cover in a later topic.
(This picture is from the Creative Common License. See, easy to use?)
Each one of these is freemium resources meaning you can avail of the free basic plans and upgrade if you require more elements. You can always switch to using the alternatives. I’d recommend signing up for a free trial before you make up your mind. However, if you don’t cancel the subscription on time, their auto-renew feature may result in deducting money so be careful as you wouldn’t want to drill a hole in your pocket.
PS: While it may seem that this article has been written bearing in mind the algorithms and marketing on Instagram only, it is not the case. Instagram is a very popular platform these days and perhaps the best way to garner attention. Again, this is not a paid promotion or affiliate post.