4 easy and free resources to improve your social media strategy
11 OCT 20170
So you've seen the light and want to harness the power of social media to help grow your business and expand your reach. That's great! Like many small and mid-sized businesses though, you're probably working with a limited budget and a small staff. How do you get a social media strategy off the ground when you don't have a ton of resources at your disposal?
Well, you need to be crafty!
The good news is that even if you don't have a full-time marketing person, graphic specialists, or a swollen budget to spend on expertly crafted posts,you can still make an impact on social media. You just need to be able to take what you have and make the most out of it.
We've collected four of the best free resources you can use right now to polish up your social accounts and make punch above your weight for the money and effort put in!
Do you have any experience with Photoshop? It's amazing, you can do just about anything with Photoshop provided you have a high-end PC, a graphic design background, and copious amounts of time to train, experiment, and learn its many foibles and eccentricities.
Canva is NOT Photoshop. Canva is how even those of us without an artistic bone in our bodies and not a single second to spare on learning some esoteric graphic design program can produce beautiful, professional, and eye-catching posts for social media.
Canva works by using a template system that is very simple and intuitive. You'll find per-designed packages for posts on different social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter that will take the guesswork out of formatting and design. Assemble your images from a huge library of pre-selected backgrounds, pictures, graphics, and icons, add your own text, and print it. Looks great and it couldn't be simpler.
The default sign-up and usage of Canva is free. There is a deep well of designs and images you can access without paying a dime, but if you want more specialized images, or see something that you just really like, you may need to pay a small fee. Not to worry though, we're talking about a $1-$3 dollar range here. Compare that to the hours of headache and frustration you'd spend trying to muddle your way through a similar Photoshop image, or the invoice of a graphic designer, and you'll realize what a bargain that truly is.
Part of what makes a social media strategy difficult to follow is just how time sensitive and demanding it is. We're all used to working under deadlines and expectations, but the constant distracting pull, and seemingly low priority, of social media posts make them particularly easy to forget, ignore, or put off. But, inconsistent posting and sloppy upkeep are what kills a social media effort.
That's why you need structure. Buffer is a tool that allows you to schedule your social media posts in advance, saving you time and keeping you honest. Buffer let's you pick a platform, compose posts in advance, upload images, and schedule them to post automatically at pre-determined times. The initial sign-up and usage is free, but some of the expanded features and bells and whistles cost a monthly fee. Feel free to give it a try and see how you like it and if you really need any of those extra features before committing to a cost.
Content is king, right? One of the best parts of social media is that you can steer followers towards your articles and news posts to keep them engaged and demonstrate authority and voice in your field. But, even with organization, scheduling, and ongoing effort, it's unreasonable to think that a small or mid-sized business will be able to produce enough content to rival the output of large, spend-happy businesses. That's why you need to be able to quickly re-post and source other interesting pieces of content.
Feedly is an aggregate app that will help you collect and sort through different media sites for posts relevant to your business and interesting to your audience. Yes, making your OWN content will always be the best option, but padding out your social feeds with cool articles and news pieces plucked from leading voices in your field is a good way to keep your audience engaged while also demonstrating that you're up-to-date in your field.
Always remember good attribution etiquette when using other articles on your social media. Comment or expand on the material, but always link to the source and be sure to give credit where credit is due.
Want to get the post bang for your post? Then you need to think strategically and seek out the hottest keywords and topics to make sure your post stands the best chance of being shared and commented on. That means you need a way of knowing what is popular and relevant out there on a day-to-day basis.
Buzzsumo is an online keyword and traffic analyzer that identifies how often particular terms get searched for and shared across popular search engines and social media platforms. This is useful for directing your content creation efforts and social posts to make sure you're hitting on what is most relevant and vital to your intended audience.
Buzzsumo is another service that offers generous free utility while keeping some of the more advanced options behind a paywall. For most small to mid-sized businesses conducting a serious, but not massive, social media marketing strategy, the free options should be enough but you can always consider upgrading if you find it useful enough.