“Social media is too time-consuming.”
“I need to create posts more easily.”
“My posts are so inconsistent.”
These are all complaints I’ve heard from clients who come to me for help with their social media. And I get it. Creating consistent, branded content can feel so overwhelming. What’s more, it can feel like it’s forcing you to take too much time away from the other aspects of your business.
But social media remains essential to so many small businesses’ marketing strategies because it drives brand awareness, direct sales, and consumer engagement.
As important as it is, I’m also a firm believer that it doesn’t have to be difficult, expensive, or time-consuming.
Here are just a few of the social media tools I typically recommend to clients looking to streamline their social media content creation. I hope you love them as much as I do!
Canva. Graphic design can be daunting, but you don’t need to be a master in Adobe Creative Suite to create beautiful graphics for your brand. Canva has thousands of customizable templates for everything, from social media posts for nearly every platform to business cards and presentations. Canva is a social media tool that allows users to easily customize colors, fonts, and graphics to fit their brand and in the last year has added the ability to add animated stickers, create video presentations, and send your creations directly to print. It’s a one-stop design shop and a tool I regularly recommend to clients who don’t have the budget for professional design.
Tips for Using Canva
- Have a firm grasp on your brand’s colors, fonts, and overall feel. Canva is a popular tool — so many of the graphics I’m seeing on Instagram are definitely created in the platform!–so you want to create graphics that look like they’re designed just for you to ensure your brand stands out in people’s feeds.
- Spring for the Pro! Canva Pro starts at $9.95 per month and offers tools to help you customize your designs further. It offers access to thousands of professional stock images, unlimited storage, team functionalities, and the ability to create a brand kit, which allows you to set default fonts and colors for your brand.
- I typically prefer to create custom graphics for my clients, but Canva is a fantastic place to look for inspiration and the latest design trends.
Animoto. I’m not a videographer by ANY means and Adobe’s Premiere Pro absolutely mystifies me, so I typically outsource video projects for my clients. But when a client said they needed social media videos created on a budget, I started researching video creation tools. Animoto was my favorite by far and I now regularly use it for all my clients. It has a great selection of templates, royalty-free music, and effects that allows you to create professional-looking videos. I like that you can create videos whether you have actual video footage or simply a selection of photos you want to highlight.
You can get a free month of Animoto here.
Tips for Using Animoto
- The one thing I don’t love about Animoto is its selection of royalty-free stock footage. If you are looking for footage to use on its own or with your photos, I would suggest using a free stock footage site like Pexels. If you have budget and/or are looking for a very specific type of video, iStock or Adobe Stock (video costs typically start around $70) are great places to look, too.
- Video content is highest-performing on social media, so it’s important to incorporate it into your content plan as often as you can. You want to keep the look and feel of your videos relatively consistent and on-brand — Animoto is a social media tool that makes it easy to apply the same templates and transitions to your videos.
Here’s an example of a list template from Animoto that I’ve customized and used for clients.
PLANN. I started using PLANN earlier this year and love how functional, intuitive, and — okay, I’ll say it — pretty it is. PLANN is an Instagram planning tool (both on desktop and an app) that helps you map out your Instagram feed. It has a great selection of free stock photos, sends you posting reminders, offers in-depth post analytics, and allows you to finetune your strategy with its Hashtag Set feature. The app also offers a team collaboration feature and allows you to manage replies from desktop.
It also began integrating with Facebook – a feature I haven’t tried yet – but it’s always helpful to have all your content in one place! Another thing I love about this company is that they send you content calendar ideas each month and their blog is rich with information about how to increase your following and engagement.
For a $10 PLANN credit, click here.
Tips for Using PLANN
- Deep-dive into your Results. I find myself checking my analytics (called Results on the platform) at least once a week. It has live updates of how much traffic my Instagram is driving to my website, what posts and stories are performing the best, and even what color palette receives the highest engagement rate on my feed.
- Create thoughtful hashtags. Its Hashtag Set feature is one of my favorites — it allows you to search popular hashtags and save sets that you can copy and paste. You want to use hashtags that aren’t overused (PLANN will tell you!) and relate to the content you’re posting. Remember, quantity is not necessarily better than quality when it comes to hashtags.
Want more marketing tips and insights into the latest social media tools? Check out my five favorite marketing podcasts on the blog.
Tell me: What do you find to be the most daunting aspect of using social media for your business? Drop it below, and I’ll offer some recommendations in a future post!