How Can Your Business Benefit From Social Media Marketing?

Social media is no longer a marketing tool that is used solely by big global businesses. Smaller, local businesses and charities are now capitalising on the benefits that an effective social media strategy can offer. We understand that creating a social media presence or developing your social media strategy can be daunting, which is why we wanted to write this blog post! Here are some of our top tips to get you going…

 

Always have your brand identity in mind

 

Branding is one of the most important things when it comes to targeting your current and ideal audience. Different platforms attract different age groups, and this is something that you will need to bear in mind when creating content. Have a look at audience demographics for different platforms and think about what channels your current and target audience might be on. Align your tone of voice and brand design with your social media presence because having a strong brand persona will create a solid connection with your brand in your audience’s mind. This will form part of your social media audit and overall strategy.

 

Adapt your content delivery accordingly

 

Once you have identified what platform your audience is on, the next step is to adapt your content accordingly. Do your research and have a think about what content format your audience will be most likely to engage with. When appealing to Millennials and Generation Z, it might be best to deliver your content in short snackable chunks (such as stories) as this is what they tend to engage most with. When targeting an older audience on Facebook, it might be more beneficial to post content using the traditional newsfeed format.

 

Engage with your audience

 

Consumers have always valued good customer service and with social media changing the way in which customer service is delivered, it is more important than ever to share positive feedback with your community and reply to any concerns that your customers might have.

Positive feedback is great for creating original content on your channels. We often use Canva to overlay words on to an image that represents the message – as a way to make it look more visually appealing. Sharing feedback is a great way to the value of your business to potential customers, as well as creating original content for your channels.

It’s worth remembering that even the best businesses receive the occasional piece of negative feedback. The most important thing to remember is that negative feedback should be dealt with in a positive and constructive way. This will ensure that your customers remain happy and is a fantastic opportunity to build a good reputation for your brand.

 

Use social listening

 

When consumers talk about your brand, they won’t always tag your social channels, but don’t worry, you can still keep track of what your audience are saying about your business – this is what social listening is for.

Social listening isn’t just important for finding out what people are saying about your brand; you can also use it to see what your ideal client is talking about. By knowing the interests of your current and potential clients, you can create content that they are more likely to discover and engage with.

Social listening can also be used to stay one step ahead of your competitors. Take note of what they are doing and have a think about why it is – or isn’t – working. This will help when considering the next steps for your social media channels.

You can conduct social listening using various tools. Google Alerts are an easy and cost-effective way of keeping track of what people are saying about you and your competitors. TweetDeck allows you to monitor mentions of certain words that people are tweeting about, and Keyhole is a good website for tracking whether mentions of your brand are positive or negative across Twitter and Instagram.

 

Schedule your content

 

Time and resources are often a barrier to making social media work well, and scheduling tools can help you with this. There are various platforms that you can use to create your content ahead of time and decide when it will be posted.

We like to use Hootsuite and Later here at Naturally Social. They’re easy to use and it also allows you to track your profile analytics too.

Our advice when scheduling content is to keep track of what’s going out and when – if you are planning on holding an event which gets moved to a different date, make sure that you check your scheduled posts and amend the dates in those too. Try not to schedule too far in advance either!

Alternatively, you may benefit from in-sourcing a specialist social media team – and that’s where we add the biggest value for our clients; taking the pressure off, working as an extension to the team and understanding the business inside out so we can create social media content that really represents them and works towards achieving their business or organisational goals.

If you would like any of your social media questions answered, then get in touch.

Monthly Intern Blog: March

This month marks the half way point of my internship – it’s gone so quickly!

On the first of the month, I got to attend a local networking event while Natalie was at Facebook HQ, brushing up on the latest tactics and strategies to help our clients. This was the first networking event I had attended on my own, so it was nerve-wracking, but it was good to get an opportunity to meet some of the clients that I had previously only spoken to via email and social media.

We celebrated International Women’s Day by holding an evening networking event, which was designed to encourage conversation between women in business. Natalie also gave some free advice about how to use Instagram stories to optimise views and engagement, which everyone found useful.

We also got some exciting news in March – we have been nominated for two Wiltshire Business Awards! Natalie has been nominated for Best Business Person and Naturally Social is short-listed in the Best Micro-Business category. If you are interested in hearing more about the awards and our nominations, scroll down to see our last blog post.

This month I have started to apply what I’ve learnt over the past months to some different projects. I have been creating a social media strategy for one of our clients, which has been a good opportunity to use what I learnt on Natalie’s training courses. I have also started making mock-ups of Facebook ads for us and our clients. The kind of things that need to be considered when creating Facebook ads are who you want to target and how you can appeal to that audience, where the people you want to target might live and what their interests are.

As well as the work I have been doing in the office, I have also been sitting in on client meetings with Natalie. At the start of the month we visited the Wiltshire Air Ambulance air base, which was a fantastic opportunity to see first hand what it is they do and hear about what they hope to achieve in the coming months. I also had the chance to visit Gloucestershire Golf Union and hear about their plans for future events.

I will keep you updated on what we get up to in April – I’m sure it will be just as busy!

Social Media: Making a positive change

I talk a lot about the positivity of social media and in a time when most platforms are facing scrutiny for the content that is being shared there I wanted to put pen to paper (so to speak)…

 

Last year I had the opportunity to deliver a Ted-X inspired talk at Wiltshire Council in Trowbridge about Social Media for Social Good – because it’s a topic close to heart. I’ll go in to more details about what this truly means in another post but for now I want to talk about how we can all use social media in a more positive way and why we should each make small changes to the way we use our social media platforms.

 

Social Media is, for many, a massive part of our day to day lives and has the power to greatly affect our mental wellbeing for good or bad. This effect is very much two way and we must take responsibility for the content we choose to share – after all this has potential to affect how our followers and friends feel. With this in mind, always be mindful when re-sharing content from other sources of information. Is it from a factually reputable source? The phrase “Fake News” has been thrown around so much recently that it is almost a cliche, however, it’s still very much a problem. Contributing to the spreading of “Fake News” includes clicking or commenting on images, quotes and memes that are designed to shock. Also known as click bait. Use a website like www.snopes.com to confirm whether what you’ve seen is factually correct or check the web address of the source. Does it look or sound legit?!

 

Raise awareness of a charity close to your heart. It is a great thing that more and more people are aware of the world around them and want to change things for the better but the circulation of shocking content is not always the healthiest way to aid that change. Informing people of a charity that they may not know about is likely to have a more positive reaction and it gives your followers a clear idea of how they can help. If you want to raise awareness of what’s happening in the world – take part in constructive conversations. Don’t facilitate unhelpful or upsetting debate.

 

Another way of raising awareness across social media is to get involved with cause related hashtags. For example,  in recent history #MeToo has helped to demonstrate how prevalent sexual assault and harassment is, especially in the workplace, with high profile personalities sharing their own stories in order to change the behaviour of society for the better. Be mindful of these and if a cause connects with you then ask yourself how you can follow up once it has stopped trending…

 

For every piece of bad news there is, there is also wonderful news that often gets overlooked. People are doing fantastically selfless things every day and changing the world around them by taking positive steps to make a difference. Sites like www.goodnewsnetwork.org are a great source for good news and will brighten up your social media accounts and remind your followers that it’s not all doom and gloom. Go and download it today!

 

There are so many ways that social media can be used to spread positivity and help others. Here are three more simple ways that you can make a difference close to home with the power of social media.

 

  1. Post a positive review about a small local business that you have recently used.
  2. Spread the news about a local event that will bring the community together.
  3. Avoid airing your grievances with someone as this may lead to online bullying.

 

By making these small changes we can all contribute to a better experience online.

Social Media and Wellbeing- how to maintain a healthy relationship

With Social Media literally at our fingertips now, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it can impact our mood. Many of us are guilty of mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram at any given opportunity, immersing ourselves in our newsfeeds, rather than focusing on our what’s actually going on around us. Where we would once people watch while waiting for a train or carry a book around with us as a boredom buster, it seems that we now instinctively reach for our phones and press one of those colourful little apps.

 

Is this necessarily a bad thing? I don’t think so. It’s another form of evolution and as long as we are still communicating with each other and appreciating the world around us, does it really matter how this is done? Many of us are now inspired to take a snap of something that interests us and share it on Instagram for the world to appreciate and keeping in touch with loved ones all over the world is easier than it’s ever been, thanks to social media.

 

Maintaining a healthy relationship with social media is the key to ensuring that it doesn’t negatively affect our wellbeing so here are 5 ways that you can enjoy scrolling without allowing it impact your mental health.

 

Try not to collect friends – It’s very easy to accept every friend request that comes your way but having thousands of “friends” that you don’t actually know may cause your newsfeed to be clogged up with posts that aren’t of any real interest to you. By keeping your friends list to just your real life friends and family your newsfeed is going to have much more meaningful content, and surely you’d rather see pictures of your cousin’s new puppy than some stranger in America’s amazing weight loss using “miracle” pills that you are pretty sure aren’t even legal!! This goes for celebrities too! Think about who you follow on Instagram and Twitter and ask yourself ‘ does their content leave you feeling positive?’ if it doesn’t it may be time to unfollow!

 

Be mindful of what you are posting – Some social media sites are great tools for documenting your day; such as Twitter and stories but be mindful about what you do share…. Do people really need to know about your anger or hatred for someone? Or that your neighbours are screaming at each other in the street? Probably not. It may feel quite cathartic at the time but think carefully about how that would make others feel or how people will perceive you. By making it a habit to only post meaningful content you are contributing to a more positive online environment, so consider sharing heartwarming, funny or thought provoking posts instead. If in doubt, everyone loves a cat video!

 

Take what you read with a pinch of salt – Comparing your life with what you are seeing on social media is a sure fire way to bring yourself down so it’s important to remember that there will always be people that exaggerate how great (or bad) their life really is. We’ve all got friends that seem to post incredible holiday pictures on a monthly basis, leaving everyone else wondering how they can afford it or if they actually have a day job. On the flip side, there are those that over-share their dirty laundry, keeping it just vague enough that someone will leave a comment pressing for more information. Endless holiday pics are definitely better than the latter, in my opinion, but keep in mind that this person is being selective about what parts of their life they want their social media friends to see. It doesn’t mean they are doing better in life, are more successful or necessarily better off in any way, it just means you are seeing the parts of their life that they are happy to share – and that’s ok.

 

Try to log off at least once a day – Make a habit of putting the phone away and closing your laptop at least once or twice a day to enjoy a bit of time away from the temptation of social media. Take an hour to read a book, get some fresh air or spend time with a loved one and, most importantly, be completely focused on that activity. When you are with a person give them the courtesy of not constantly checking your notifications and, better still, switch those notifications off if you know they are going to be distracting.

 

Having a healthy relationship with social media doesn’t necessarily mean having to close down your accounts or delete the apps from your phone but when you are scrolling through your newsfeeds ask yourself if you are enjoying what you are seeing. If the answer is “not really” then put the phone away and do something else and remember to keep things in perspective.

A Successful Safer Internet Day

Social media is a subject which seems to divide a lot of opinion. Some people think it’s brilliant because they have used it to expand their business, some believe it’s a waste of time or only for the ‘shallow Instagram generation’ and others are intimidated by it and the potential dangers it could pose to their children. After all, there are an overwhelming amount of social media websites popping up now, which makes it difficult to keep up with all the privacy settings, child-friendly versions and parental controls available.

 

Education, at school and at home, is one of the most important things when it comes to online safety. This is why we teamed up with Kathryn Price, owner and founder of KSPTechCare, to deliver an assembly on Safer Internet Day about things that children should be aware of when going online.

 

At the start of the assembly, we asked the children how many of them own a mobile phone and the majority of the room raised their hands. After we found out how many young people own a mobile, we informed them about how to use “the little computers in their pockets” safely. Kathryn and I explained why passcodes on phones should only be known by them and their parents/guardians and made it clear that “if you send a nasty message to somebody that’s the same as bullying face to face”.

 

After we had finished giving the presentation, we were pleased to hear lots of questions from the children. Some of these included:

 

  • “What happens when a stranger picks up your phone and takes it?”
  • “What does the emergency button on your phone do?”
  • “Could you tell people where your address is? I don’t think you should but I’m not sure”
  • “Can people hack into your phone?”
  • “Can you fight hackers on your phone?”

 

The main thing that we took away from these questions, is that different children have different levels of understanding about technology, which is why education is so important. Teaching children about online safety is most effective when teachers and parents work together. Therefore, we sponsored the ‘Caught in the Web’ booklet, which was given to children at the end of the assembly. The book contains a story about internet safety and online safety quizzes and activities for children to complete with their parents, reinforcing the messages we communicated in the assembly.

 

We had a great afternoon teaching children about online safety. If you would like to continue the conversation with your child, then have a look at our blog post on internet safety for parents and businesses. We have also been sharing useful articles and teaching resources on our Twitter and Facebook channels, with videos on privacy settings, which are helpful for anyone wanting to keep their private information from becoming public knowledge.

Internet Safety Tips for Parents and Businesses

It’s Safer Internet Day on 5th February 2019 and this year we’ve pulled together some top internet safety tips for both parents and businesses.

5 Top Tips for businesses to stay safe online

Change your passwords

Make sure you change your passwords regularly and be aware of who has access. If employees leave – and it’s likely they managed the social media from their phones be sure to revoke their access – which can be managed in the security settings of each app.

Log out

This one might seem obvious, but it’s a mistake that a lot of people make, both on their personal and business accounts. It’s easier to leave all your sites open on web browsers but this leaves you open to hackers. Always log out of accounts once you’ve finished using them.

Try not to use public wifi

When using public wifi networks you are left vulnerable to a cyber attack. Surprisingly, using 4G on your mobile is actually more secure than connecting to public wifi. If you are self-employed and often work in public spaces, then click here to find out how to protect yourself from hackers while connecting to public wifi networks.

Familiarise yourself with security settings

Security settings are there for a reason and they’re really helpful! Regularly review them and familiarise yourself with the variety of options available on each platform.

Employee training

Take responsibility for training your staff on how to use social media safely (both personally and professionally). Have a policy in place about the use of social media for both work and non work related purposes. If you would like guidance and support for both training and policy writing please get in touch.

Top 5 Internet Safety Tips for Parents:

Discuss internet safety

The most important thing about protecting children online is to understand how much they already know about systems in place to prevent cyber attacks and online bullying. You can then identify what areas of internet safety you need to talk to them about. The Safer Internet Day website has some helpful resources on how to initiate a conversation with your child about online safety and fun quizzes for 8-13 year olds to test their internet knowledge.

Set up parental controls

Parental controls are an important part of keeping your child safe online. They block websites that you believe to be inappropriate for your child and you can also use them to limit the amount of time that your children spend on the internet.

Use child-safe versions of search engines and popular websites

There are several search engines that are designed specifically for children. These search engines allow them the freedom to use the internet for educational purposes, without the risk of seeing web pages that aren’t appropriate for their age group. Popular social media website YouTube has a child-friendly version, which is a useful function, but isn’t perfect, so it is best to monitor what your child is looking at online, even when the child-friendly versions of websites are being used.

Be share aware

Encourage your children to ask for permission when they are sharing photos of friends and family online. Make sure that they know what kind of information they should and shouldn’t be sharing on social media platforms. This avoids any personal details ending up on the internet. Encourage them to only accept Facebook friend requests from people they know and set public accounts like Twitter and Instagram to private. For information on how to do this, keep an eye out for an upcoming video on the Naturally Social Twitter page.

Cyberbullying

Make children aware of what cyberbullying looks like and how to block and report anyone online who is posting hurtful or upsetting content. Encourage them to report any cyberbullying they see, even if it is not aimed at them and reassure them that reporting someone to social networking websites is anonymous.

 

We hope that our online safety tips have been useful and are a start to helping you, your children and your business stay safe online. If we can be of help further then don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Top Ten Free Social Media Resources

Do you want to improve your business’ social media presence without having to use expensive tools? We get it. That’s why we’ve created this post on our ‘Top Ten Free Social Media Resources’. Happy posting!

Scheduling

  • TweetDeck (and other in-website tools) are a brilliant platform for any business whose sole platform is Twitter. You won’t need to spend money on websites like Hootsuite for scheduling content across multiple channels as you have everything you need for your main social channel. With TweetDeck, you can schedule tweets and check your reach and engagements alongside Twitter Analytics, which are linked within TweetDeck.
  • ColorStory is an app which you can use to edit your Instagram photos and schedule content. It is very easy to use and, as it’s an app, can be done on the go, allowing you to make best use of those little pockets of time in your day.

News and social listening

  • Social Media Examiner is a good website if you’re not sure where to start with social media. They have free reports on how social channels are being used, articles on how to get the best out of social media for your business and a podcast for learning on the go.
  • Google alerts are an easy way of keeping up to date with news in your industry. You can easily set an alert for a key word or phrase and get notified when content appears on Google with this phrase in it.

Photos

  • With Canva you can edit photos to add a quote over them, which is great if you want to post a testimonial or inspirational quote. You can adjust the size of your image to fit a Twitter header or a Facebook post with an image attached. You can also create a flyer, blog banner, or a presentation.
  • Pixabay have copyright free pictures that you can use in your marketing and social media.

Blog and email marketing

  • MailChimp can be used to gather your email subscribers and market to them with flyers and newsletters. MailChimp makes the mail merge a lot easier, allowing you to create lists of contacts and personalise them to a specific receiver- just be careful about GDPR and always get permission to use someone’s email address.
  • WordPress is a blogging platform and a great website builder that is easy to use. Blogging is a good way of keeping your current and potential clients up to date with any news and updates without bombarding them with emails and content. Your blog can also be shared across your other platforms, either in your ‘bio’ or in a post. Updating content on your website is key for SEO too.

Videos

  • iMovie- if you have an iPhone, then this one is for you. You can combine photos and videos to create unique content for your channels, which is great if you have a video shy team! Photos can be put together in a slide show and are categorised as a video, which the Facebook algorithms value more than pictures.
  • Splice is an app that adds music to videos, which is a fun way to make your Instagram posts more engaging. You could even combine your iMovie photo slideshow with music from Splice.

Social Media for Business: timeless tips

As another global social media week comes to a close and as many of us start getting ready for the last quarter of the year, this is the time of year when typically we refocus our energy and work to drive forward plans and ideas. With that in mind, I’ve pulled together some timeless tips that will help you succeed when using social media for your business.

A key point to remember is that it doesn’t matter what platform you use or how many for that matter,  the rules of engagement apply across the spectrum and they apply to you no matter how big your company is or how long you’ve been online for.

  1. Manage your time effectively. Being active on social media can take up a lot of your time, especially when you factor in the ‘social’ of social media that reminds us we need to engage with our audience, not simply broadcast to them. SO, in order to ensure you don’t get overwhelmed, and to help manage your time effectively, focus on doing one thing well. Short or long term it’s much better to have a content rich, value led, profile on one channel then having a presence on 3, 4 or 5 different ones and hardly updating them or choosing to auto post from one to another in order to manage them.
  2. Know your audience. Following on from point one: find out where (the majority of) your audience hang out online and then set yourself up there. There’s a number of ways you can do this: survey your customers to find out where they want to communicate with you, look at the latest industry reports such as this one from Ofcom, and even research your competitors to find out where they’re getting the most success.
  3. Fall in love with the problem. Another way to determine where to focus your social media efforts is to fall in love with the problem you’re trying to solve. Each channel has it’s own unique functionalities that will better serve one objective to another and I’m a strong believer in the ability to onboard your audience to any channel, as long as you have a compelling reason for them to join you there. As an example, when I was working in local government one  ‘problem’ we had to solve was how to support families moving from Germany to Wiltshire  ahead of them arriving. We needed to give them information on housing, schools and jobs as well as help to put them at ease by answering any questions they may have. Doing this online was a cost effective way to deliver this and would allow us to do so in a personable and direct manner. So, I proposed using Google Hangouts (a function of Google+). At the time, Google+ was the only place I was aware of where you could hold private group video chats for free so it was best placed as our channel of choice for that audience! The other way was to (solely) create web pages of information and email the link to people…from a user perspective I know what I’d have valued more.
  4. Use video. No matter your channel of choice, video is becoming the focal point of content creation. Most social media sites give you the ability to create video ‘in app’ now too, which makes it accessible to everyone, no matter what your budget and experience. LinkedIn recently joined the party, Snapchat now allows you to continuously record up to a minute of video clips and Facebook has prioritised native video over links to third party sites for quite a while. Live streaming is also a format to consider, and I speak about this a lot as it’s a trend that will continue into 2018. Instagram added live streaming to their stories function at the end of last year and around the same time Twitter updated it’s app to allow users to Go Live within the app too (as opposed to using it’s streaming site ‘Periscope’ separately.) Facebook rolled out live streaming to pages from the desktop version of their site this year too.
  5. Quality over Quantity. Always. Some platforms lend themselves to multiple posts a day and others not so much, but please don’t be convinced that you need to be churning out content just so you can be in people’s newsfeed. Me? I always focus on posting when I have something interesting to say or can share something that is engaging and of value to my audience. What happens when you don’t follow the Q/Q model? Your audience becomes made up of passive followers, stopping briefly at your post, scrolling past and in the end, as a result, they stop seeing your content. This is because many channels use a code that determines who sees what you post and that’s largely based on who engages with you regularly.

That’s all for now! Let me know your thoughts of if you have any questions….thank you to everyone who watched my LinkedIn videos this week too! If you missed them then head over to my profile for a peak. Hopefully we’re connected!

Have a great weekend..

people sat facing a window networking

The art of networking.

I’ve recently joined a monthly networking group as part of a strategy to grow my business. One of the great things this group offers is regular training opportunities – workshops of a couple of hours in length on a range of topics. Specifically, the founder runs a workshop on networking which I went along to earlier in the summer.

It was a great workshop full of helpful pointers and tips about how to get the most of my membership and meetings and what it means to network successfully. So much of the content resonated with me and in fact, inspired me to write this blog post.

A large part of my business entails me not only working one on one with individuals who are looking to use social media in their business, but I also deliver presentations. Mainly around the benefits of social media, but also about etiquette and positioning yourself online.

One of the most common questions or concerns that holds people back from even getting started on social media is ‘what do I do when I’m there?’ ‘What do I say?’ ‘How do I behave?’

I always like to share this little pearl as a starting point – ‘communicating online is no different to communicating offline.’ I also like to highlight that it’s the platforms we use that are called ‘social media’ and the act of using them is referred to as ‘social networking’. So, put your best self forward, be polite, be generous, be present. Show up. Sound familiar? (Hopefully yes!)

For the non digital natives out there (Baby Boomers, Generation X), communicating online doesn’t come naturally. And for the millennials amongst us who get the social side it’s still sometimes difficult to see how our Facebook account or Instagram feed can be used to generate business.

There were so many commonalities between the content covered in Philippa’s networking workshop and what I often cover in my mentoring programme and presentations that I wanted to share. I hope that for those struggling with the how’s of what’s of communicating online these three comparisons will give you the confidence to go forth, adopt the right behaviours and invest the time in doing social well.

  1. “Business networking is not a numbers game. Being connected to lots of people will not necessarily make you more successful.”

People think more followers, more connections and more page likes is a success measure by default and if they don’t have those numbers it’s not working for them or that someone is better than they are. Social media is not a numbers game either. It’s about how you build that community and subsequently how you nurture it. Speak to 2 people as if you were talking to 2000 and you’ll be just fine…

2. “Having made a great first impression we need to ensure we engage in conversation”

As you begin to gain (more) followers, page likes and connections don’t forget to get to know them and help them to get to know you. Don’t go silent or simply send automated tweets. You would never walk in to a room full of people, shout about your latest offer or business venture and then walk out again (or at least I hope you don’t!)

3. “People buy people”

One of the benefits to networking face to face is the ability to see a group of people regularly, get to know about them and their business and as a result build a trust between you that hopefully leads to referrals on both sides when the need arises. This can also be done online. Yep!

Share pictures of you in your business and working with clients. Don’t be afraid to share updates that help to give a sense of who you are outside of work: hobbies, family life, favourite tv shows. Be aware also of how you ‘talk’ online. Your personality can shine through in the way you write your updates. Don’t forget to listen, reply to and acknowledge comments and conversations in your network either – something that naturally you would do when networking face to face.

“Networking is an opportunity to not only learn, seek help and meet new people but a place to support others, build relationships and your reputation.”

There’s plenty of other elements that make up good [social] networking. If you want to have a chat about it, then I’d love to hear from you. Get in touch via my website or you can tweet me @nlysocial

5 tried and tested tools for managing your social media

With so many apps, websites and recommendations out there for managing your social media these days, I’ve been meaning to blog about the top tools I use in my business. As with everything, it’s all about what works for you and with so many of these being free, it means you can have a play and if you don’t like it, try something else. Even still, start with one and as you grow or your needs change, move up and on to something else.

I’ve been working with social media as a comms, PR and marketing tool since 2011. Below are the top tools that I use and have found useful over the years:

  1. Hootsuite –  If there’s one tool you’ve heard of, it’ll likely be Hootsuite. But what’s it good for? Hootsuite let’s you plug all your social channels into one place for ease of monitoring and posting. You can post the same content across multiple channels at the same time and you can programme content for the days ahead. It’s also got a nifty tool called ‘auto schedule’ which basically saves you the guess work and research about what time of day to post and will send them out at the optional time for your specific audience. The basic version of Hootsuite is free and it comes in both desktop and app versions so you can manage it on the go. Not only that but you can access analytics and set up multiple search streams for social listening. This allows you to easily pick up mentions of your brand as well as industry relevant terms. You may even have your own hashtag, want to track who’s using it? Done! Hootsuite is truly at it’s best when used as a collaborative tool though. When there’s more than one person with access, more than one person monitoring and more than one person responding. There are great tools within the platform for making sure all tweets, questions and messages are picked up and responded to and you can also see who is posting what, and when. If you’ve got a junior member of staff you can even give them specific levels of access that allows them to draft content but not post it. Great for their induction period.
  2. Canva – Having good quality graphic design and imagery across your social media is made possible thanks to Canva! A fantastic platform great for sourcing free images, designs and templates all of which have the preset specified sizes for social media channels (the cover image, the tweet, the Instagram post). You can upload your own images and your own brand colours to use too! Many, many, small businesses use this tool daily it’s that simple to understand and play with. One piece of advice – you can easily lose a lot of time scrolling through the designs and images! Don’t get lost in the possibilities!
  3. Repost app – On twitter we retweet, on Facebook and LinkedIn we share, on Instagram you #regram. To do this manually you would need to take a screen shot and go through the process of adding a picture to your account. Be sure to seek permission and to include their Instagram handle when sharing it with your audience. It’s also nice to explain why you’ve regrammed it. If that becomes a little too time consuming for you then that’s where the repost app comes in. It’s a really quick and easy way for you to share other Instagrammer’s photos with your audience. The repost app credits the owner automatically and includes the original text that was posted with it.
  4. Wordswag – We should all have seen the memo by now that visuals are super important for all of your social media posts. Yep, all of them. However, if you feel you don’t have a hugely visual business, or struggle with what to share, perhaps you have lots of inspiring words, advice or testimonials? Word swag is worth looking up. It’s a free app so you can create your content on the go, seamlessly and very quickly. Chose your background, type in your inspiration, pick a style and away you go. It’s ready for you in your camera roll waiting to be shared with your followers on whatever platform you choose.
  5. hashtagify.me – hashtags! A bone of contention and confusion amongst many many businesses and individuals I work with. What do I use? Why should I use them? How many do I use? As a quick heads up – two in a tweet is plenty and when posting on Instagram, it’s recommended not going much above 5. When it comes to finding out which ones to start using or testing then Hashtagify is your tool. Simply type your keyword in the search box and it will display, in a cool mind map, the hashtags which are being used the most alongside that word. Now you can pick which ones most resonate with you and what you’re posting about, or use the results to drop a few.

Do you have any other tools you can recommend? Comment below and let me know. I’d love to hear what you think…