It starts out so innocently.
You’re a business owner. And like all successful business owners, you’re an innovator. You’re a risk-taker. You’ll try anything once.
And then one fine day, you find yourself inspired to try something new.
“I should start promoting my business on social media,” you think to yourself.
“All the entrepreneurs are doing it.”
“How hard can it be?”
So you start up a Facebook profile. Then you get on Twitter. Then you revamp your LinkedIn account that’s been gathering dust. Then you launch a YouTube channel. And then you get on Instagram.
Soon, you’re writing blogs, shooting videos, and creating images on a weekly (or perhaps daily) basis.
And then it hits you.
“This is a lot of work.”
Managing various social media platforms and also coming up with original content on a consistent basis can be exhausting.
It can become a job on its own.
Maybe you should get some help.
Whether you decide to hire someone to help you with your social media presence, or decide to do it all on your own, it is in your best interests as a business owner to try out some tools that will take your content to the next level.
Scroll down, and you will find a select list of social media tools that make my life easier.
Some of these social media tools are free, some start you off with free trial versions, and some charge a fee.
Everyone has their own personal preferences, and at the end of the day, you have to choose what works best for you.
This isn’t the definitive list of all social media tools. Rather, these are applications and software that I have personally used for years (or at least extended periods of time) while running ongoing social media campaigns for many businesses, and I feel comfortable recommending them to my followers.
At the same time, I am always trying out new things and on the lookout for new social media tools to take my business and clients to the next level, so if you’d like to add anything to this list, be sure to mention it in the comments below!
HootSuite allows you to oversee several social media profiles from one convenient dashboard. This is a big deal to you as a business owner for several reasons.
First and foremost, you can manage several, if not all, of your social media platforms, including: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.
You can also schedule your posts in advance, which means you can set time aside and plan out all your posts for the week (or month). As a busy entrepreneur, I’m sure you can see what a time-saving device this is.
One of the often overlooked features of HootSuite is its bulk scheduler function, which allows you to upload a spreadsheet of posts you can save and reuse, saving you even more time in the long-run. This feature is only available if you have a paid account.
You can also use HootSuite to track mentions of your brand. Your brand is literally the reputation of your business, so it is beneficial to you as a business owner to know what other people are saying about your product or service on social media.
Finally, if you have a paid account, you can use HootSuite to analyze your social media traffic.
While HootSuite does offer integration with Instagram, the collaboration between the two is somewhat lacking.
For one, while you can schedule your Instagram posts using HootSuite, you are still required to manually “push” your posts through when the scheduled time arrives.
While this is still a time-saver, it’s not really convenient for a business owner who just wants to get through their day without interruptions. While it might not seem like a big deal at first, if you are posting to Instagram several times a day (or to several accounts) it gets really annoying, really fast.
Grum allows you to schedule your Instagram posts in advance, and posts without a manual push.
And as ANOTHER added extra super bonus, while Instagram requires you to post from your phone, both Grum and HootSuite enable you to post from the comfort of your laptop or desktop computer.
How can you tell if your social media promotions are working?
That is, how can you tell if anyone is actually clicking on the links you’re posting on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc?
Easy – you track your clicks.
If you create different bitlinks (real word) for each of your social media platforms, you can then track which platforms are working for you and which are not.
It allows you to design slick-looking email newsletters and manage your growing database of email addresses so you can compose and schedule bulk mail-outs with little hassle.
I know what you’re thinking – what does email marketing have to do with social media?
Because you see, social media platforms become un-cool just as suddenly as they catch on.
A guaranteed way to make sure you stay ahead of changing trends in social media is getting your followers to subscribe to an email list.
You will always have control over your email list, and it will always work for you, no matter what happens out there.
Another option for email marketing is MailChimp, which has a free option if you’re starting out.
Few things will make your business look more amateur or sloppy on social media than having images and photos that are not properly sized and formatted.
Graphic design can be a daunting task if you are not proficient with Photoshop or some other image editing software.
Thankfully, there’s Canva.
Canva is a very easy-to-use design program that can help you create professional-looking images for your social media presence, even if you have no graphic design skills whatsoever.
You can sign up for Canva for free, and it comes with tons of templates designed for various social media platforms. You don’t have to worry about keeping up-to-date with the changing image requirements and specifications for every social media platform, because Canva will do that for you.
As a bonus, Canva even provides a library of stock photos. Many are available for free, and some are available for purchase at a very reasonable price.
Free stock photo sites
Speaking of free photos…
As you’ve probably already figured out, looks are everything when it comes to social media.
Using attractive photos will draw more people to your social media posts.
If you can’t afford professional photography, you can always turn to stock photography at a reasonable price.
You can also turn to my list of free stock photo sites that will help you find tons of visual material that you can use to enhance your social media posts. Just remember to double-check the conditions for usage when you use someone else’s work.
Adobe Photoshop Elements and Adobe Premiere Elements
If you want to take your photos and videos to the next level, you’ll need decent editing software.
Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements are less extravagant (and way less expensive) than professional Photoshop and Premiere suites, but they are more than adequate for giving your social media videos and photos a polished edge, provided you take the time to learn these programs properly.
There are lots of editing software you can use (some of them are free), but I find them limited (probably because of my background a professional video editor).
I find that Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements offer just the right amount of bells and whistles without becoming too cumbersome.
They are not as simple to use as most consumer-level editors, but there are tons of tutorials available for free on YouTube.
Rev.com is an online video transcribing service.
You just upload an audio or video file (or provide a link) and Rev.com will send you a typed out transcription, often within 12 hours.
Transcriptions can help with taking your social media content to the next level.
You might use a transcription if you want to provide a description or written material to accompany a video or podcast you’ve created.
Or, you might find using a transcription to be a quick and easy way to adapt a video or audio recording into a written blog or post.
Regardless, transcribing is a tedious process, and Rev.com provides this service swiftly, effectively, and for a competitive price.
How did I do? Got anything to add to this list of social media tools? Tell me in a comment below!