With all the tools for creating content online, it can become a bit overwhelming (to say the least!). Whether you’re just starting out or trying to revamp your content processes, having the right tools on hand is absolutely essential. I recently did some polling in one of my favorite online networking circles to discover what other online business owners are using.
Some of the tools I had heard of before, but others were brand new to me. What I found is that, clearly, everyone has a reason or method for using the tools they use for social posts. And asking around definitely has some benefits! I’ll be checking out some of the tools that are new to me.
We know how important it is to schedule out our content in advance, so we can get on with running our business instead of staying a slave to our content. These are just a few of the many scheduling tools available to business owners today.
- CoSchedule: This is my go-to scheduler for my blog posts. As a WordPress plug-in, it makes sharing my blog posts SO easy. And the fact that CoSchedule recently added Pinterest to its social platforms it posts to means that my blog is always posted to my Pinterest account. Finally!
- Buffer: Another go-to for me, I use Buffer to schedule nearly all my curated content—for myself and my clients. Buffer is also great for scheduling out your own original content apart from your blog. It will post at what it finds to be “best times,” or you can schedule a specific time for certain (or all!) posts.
- Edgar: Dubbed “The social media queue that fills itself,” Edgar allows you to reuse content so your social feeds are never empty. Just make sure that you have plenty of content to share so your audience doesn’t see the same posts over and over.
- Tailwind: Pin and repin from your computer at the optimal time for the most audience engagement and traffic, then track your pins using Tailwind’s analytics.
- Sprout Social: While I haven’t used this resource yet, it was fairly popular in my research. From targeted posts to collaboration tools to optimal post times, Sprout Social looks like a great go-to for the growing business that wants more control in their social scheduling.
- Planoly (formerly Planogr.am): Creating beautiful Instagram feeds can be difficult, but Planoly allows you to plan out posts as a solopreneur or team. The only downside? It’s only available on iOS as of this writing.
- Bit.ly: While this service is free to use for shortening urls, it generates revenue from its data gathering. It makes link sharing easy and customizable, then lets you know how many people clicked on your link—and even who shared it, if they’re also a Bit.ly user.
- Google Analytics: The most-used services for website traffic analytics, Google Analytics tracks the demographics of your website visitors, their geography, their behavior once they get to your site and so much more. It’s worth talking to your website developer about this powerful tool.
- Your scheduling platform: Whether you use one of the platforms listed above or something else, most platforms have fairly comprehensive analytics for your social profiles. And even within the social platform itself, you’ll find even more information about what types of social posts work and what you should skip next time.
Let’s back up a second. Before you can even think about scheduling your content, you need to plan and create it! Whether it’s coming up with new ideas or getting your posts written out and ready for your scheduler, these tools will help you create a plan of action so your content gets out of your head and onto your social platform of choice.
- Google Spreadsheets: I keep my blog ideas and outlines as well as all my social content in Google Spreadsheets. Since I started using these, my productivity has gone through the roof. Everything is in one place, so I can jot down ideas as I think of them. And everything is organized when I get ready to post. Each tab in my spreadsheet represents a different month; blog outlines and social pots are all visible without having to click between pages and tabs.
- Google Calendar: I live by my Google Calendar and have added additional calendars to help me keep tabs on my parenting time schedule and my planned workouts. But you can also use it to plan out when you’re going to post to your own social platforms as well as the Facebook groups you’re in. Just be sure to add a new calendar so you’re not blocking off time in your regular calendar if Google is your business calendar!
- Trello: A collaboration and project management tool, Trello also does wonders for social post planning. While I haven’t used it myself for this purpose, I know others who rave about it! Read this blog about how to set it up and, if you’re not sold, there’s a free training available. Both links are courtesy of my friends over on the Savvy Business Owners group.
- Clients & Other Business Owners: Gathering ideas is a challenge for any busy business owner. What can you post about that will be of the best value to your audience? Pay attention to what your clients are asking! Your audience should be the single most valuable tool to planning your social posts.
- Evernote/OneNote: Keep all your ideas in one place with a free tool like Evernote and OneNote. You can share notes with your team and keep running lists of your ideas. They’re saved in the app itself or online, so no fear of your list getting lost!
If you’re not connecting with others, no one will know to look for your content. While you can connect at in-person networking groups, online is where it’s at for many entrepreneurs today.
- LinkedIn: Make it a point to connect with your clients on LinkedIn, then stop in every day or two to see what they’re up to. Just like on Facebook, engaging with others is key. But be sure to share some of your own content, too. It’s good to share both on your profile and in groups where your ideal audience hangs out.
- FB groups: Getting involved in Facebook groups has proven to be a huge boon to my business. Find groups where your ideal audience is, then provide tons of value within those groups. Just be careful about promoting your products and services—some groups don’t allow this.
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Everyone wants visually-pleasing content that makes their audience stop and take notice. If you haven’t tried one of these image creation tools for your social posts, your audience is missing out (and so are you!).
- Canva: Canva is the PhotoShop for the non-artist, allowing you to create beautiful, branded images in no time at all. Even better, it’s free for the basic plan! If you want Canva to store your business’s fonts and colors, you can upgrade to the business plan.
- PhotoShop: Used primarily by graphic designers, PhotoShop allows you to truly customize your graphics. It does have a learning curve and requires you to know some industry jargon. Unless you plan to use it regularly, I recommend hiring out a designer rather than taking on the cost and frustration of this higher-end tool.
- Word Swag: Add text to photos right on your phone. This free app (on both iOS and Android) allows you to design simple images for social posts on the fly.
- InstaQuote: Looking for an easy way to create beautiful quotes to share on Instagram and other social platforms? InstaQuote is an app available on iOS.
Whew! Overwhelmed much yet? There are SO many tools for social posts out there, and the list seems to grow and change daily. Don’t pick up a tool and use it just because someone told you it works. Do your research, grab a free trial, and see what works for you! And let me know what your favorite tools are! I’d love to learn about others out there.