Six Free Powerful Tools to Scale Your Businesses Social Media Efforts.

Free Social media tools for small business

As a small business owner you probably have a small budget and cannot afford to hire a digital marketing consultant or some of the more premium social media tools for your small business. As a small business owner you typically find yourself fulfilling many roles in the day to day operations of your small business and sometimes your social media strategies and content marketing campaign can take a backseat.

Fortunately, from starting and running a small online business I came across a wide variety of free social media tools perfect for small businesses. These tools will allow you to spend more time devoted towards the core aspects of your business that generate revenue and streamline the more tedious social media or various content marketing tasks.

hootsuite

Hoostuite is a wonderful tool for any bootstrapped time strained small business. This nifty tool will allow you to schedule out all your social media posts in advance on a variety of platforms. Recently Hootsuite integrated Instagram into the mix so no more manually posting in real time anymore. This tool also lets you add various feeds so you can stay up to date on all your social media events as well.

buzz sumo

Buzz Sumo is a great content generation tool. This website lets you type in your topic or keyword query into a search bar and returns some highly shared content within your niche or businesses industry. This is also a good tool for generating inbound links or finding social influencers who can drive more referral traffic to your businesses website. A good way to utilize this tool is to search for highly shared content and schedule posts through hoot suite for maybe a few weeks in advance. This will free up time for other activities such as possibly generating your own unique content or taking care of other activities related to your business.

Iconosquare

Iconosquare is a create Instagram tool. Formerly known as statigram this program allows you to get analytic data on your Instagram account. This tool gives you insight into who your top influencers are within your niche and gives additional insight into how many followers you are losing and notifies you of new followers. This tool also provides notification of interactions on your Instagram profile as well.  Iconosquare is a free to use social media tool which will allow you to manage your Instagram comments while promoting your Instagram community.

follow liker

While not technically a free tool follow liker is a very inexpensive paid social media tool which will allow you to easily scale your businesses social media efforts. This tool is compatible with Pinterest, Instagram, twitter and Tumblr. Follow liker will automate the process of following, unfollowing, share photos, and like photos all based on pre-determined criteria you can designate prior to running the software program. Again, while not technically a free tool this is a very powerful social media tool perfect for small businesses. This tool will quickly allow you to scale your social media community and keep them engaged better.

Klout

Klout is a free social media content management tool. This tool works similar to buzz sumo in the sense you add your twitter profile to the platform and can research content based on a set of keywords and your niche. In addition, klout will also allow you to schedule content directly from their software platform and specify a time and date to publish your content. Klout also calculates its own score it gives you based on your social media engagement. Their platform also provides new fresh trending content daily on their platform which gets rid of the need to spend a lot of time searching the internet looking for content to share.

Trends

Google trends may not technically be a social media tool but it’s a great resource to see what people are searching for and compare various keywords people are searching through Google. This is however a free tool to use and worth utilizing before writing a blog or publishing original content to see what sort of potential impact it may have once it is published.

As a previous small business owner I understand all too well how valuable time is and how important it is to utilize the proper tools to quickly scale your social media community. Social Media is a wonderful tool to effectively promote your brand cost effectively. If you have not already reference back to my previous post on how to craft a social media marketing strategy like a rockstar. Until next time!

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4 Social Media Best Practices to Give you an Edge.

Social Media Best Practices

 

Social Media is still a relatively new marketing tool and is often misunderstood and not used properly. Using social media for marketing is still new in the business landscape. Smaller and medium-sized businesses generally do not have the resources to allocate towards social media or cannot justify hiring someone even part time to do it. Even larger organizations do not properly understand how to leverage their social media platforms to yield their full potential and as a result, they come off kind of spammy and alienate their intended audience.

Social Media’s history dates back to 2004 but using social media for marketing was not conceived as a strategy at that time. By 2006, Twitter and Facebook were two new social media sites that became available to users. Eventually, web platforms such as Tumblr, Spotify, Instagram gradually became available to users as well and quickly gained traction.

Generally, small to medium sized businesses have a hard time grasping how to use social media for marketing and tend to stumble along the way. Here are some social media best practices that will give you an edge against your competition.

Hard sales

Social media is not the platform for companies to use hard sales tactics to generate revenue. It seems difficult for businesses to break this habit. We as consumers do not want to be sold to anymore. Social media is a great platform to promote your company and share relevant useful information but not the place for hard sales tactics. Social media for marketing is more useful as building and deepening relationships with that can be leveraged. A best practice for social media is to leverage the technology to nurture relationships and build connections with your audience.

Consolidate  

Another mistake companies make is trying to be on too many social media platforms. It is wonderful to be on a variety of social sites but it would be beneficial to be on a few sites. It is more important to put out strong compelling content rather than trying to be on 5 different platforms and do a mediocre job. Pick one or two platforms in an effort to use social media for marketing rather than trying to be everything to everyone.

Talk less   

It is important for businesses both small and large to realize sometimes it is important to listen more and talk less. One of the main goals of utilizing social media for marketing is to promote a business or service. It is just as important to minimize yourself promotion, at times as well. Just remember the more helpful you are to others the more likely they will be to seek you out for additional information later on. Start asking your customers what they think of your business, why they follow you, what products do they own and you may find out how you can improve your business. A social media best practice is to actively listen to your audience and look for trends among them to leverage for content creation.

You do not need a big budget to appear big  

Sure, companies like Nike, Apple and Coco Cola have a large marketing budget but smaller companies can still leverage social media for marketing to achieve their goals. There is no need to try and keep up with what the big brand are doing. Coupons and giveaways are a great tool to generate engagement and buzz around your brand. Consider developing a promotion and giving away one of your company’s products as a way to drive brand awareness.

In order to do any sort of social media for marketing, there are some important first steps that need to be done for your campaign to be worthwhile.

First, clarify the purpose in starting a social media campaign. It is crucial for an organization or company to understand what they hope to achieve by implementing a social media strategy. I recommend having a brainstorming session with everyone who will be involved. It is also important that everyone is on the same page when the social media campaign does kick off. As a team, it is important to decide whether the campaign will drive brand awareness, generate sales leads or even be used as an inbound marketing strategy.

Next, once everyone who will be involved has decided on the purpose of using social media for marketing the next step is to clarify goals and objectives for the campaign. Like any other marketing strategy, it is important to set clear goals and objectives that can be flexible throughout the campaign. It is important to be flexible and be able to innovate to differentiate yourself from your competition. Some examples of solid goals would be:

  • Drive innovation
  • Create interesting, relevant and shareable content
  • Measure ROI

As a company using social media for marketing, it is important to have achievable, measurable and specific. 

The next step once the goals and objectives of your organization’s social media strategy are addressed it is time to decide which social media platforms to be a part of. Before this step can be done, it is critical to have some sort of understanding of your target audience and what platforms they use if any at all. This could be a great opportunity to utilize your email marketing campaign to ask some questions. Your team can ask what social media platforms your existing customers use. How often they use them and which kind of content they find most engaging. If you ask these important questions, it can save you a lot of headache and time in the beginning. After this step is out of the way as a team pick one or two platforms to utilize at first. If you only have one or two people involved in the social media campaign for your business, it may be necessary to stick to just one channel.

Finally, the last step is to decide on a social media schedule and adhere to it. Mapping out a social media schedule for marketing will allow you to

  • Create consistency with your audience. This is going to allow your audience to know when to expect new content while maximizing your engagement.
  • A social media schedule is also going to allow time to plan for time sensitive content well ahead in the future. This will give you time to develop content for the holidays and other important events.

As an added bonus, there are a variety of free social media tools available to help you scale your efforts. Be sure to do your own research and integrate them into your social media plan.

Keep a balance between promotions and useful engaging content on your social schedule. I hope this is enough to get anyone started on the path to use social media for marketing. In the next post, I will be doing a deeper dive into some of these strategies in my next blog so stay tuned.

Update: Graphic Design work

Disclaimer: I did not go to school to be a Graphic designer nor do I have any formal training or education. I am passionate about design and have been studying it for some time now.

Here is a recent flyer I did for an organization at UNC Greensboro.

American Indian week flyer

Recent flyer I did to promote an event for my clothing line.

free shirt giveaway

lake scene

Design work update!!

So I have been working and improving a lot of my design work and here is an update of some of it.

 

Jordan Lowry Business card set2

 

Custom Business card
Custom Business card

 

Custom caption
Custom caption

 

RHS dalia llama meme

The perfect fit banner

benjamin franklin meme

Content Marketing

Most recently I have noticed a huge shift in the way some companies have began to market their services and ideas. Content marketing is now king. No longer is traditional advertising an effective means to market their products or services. We are constantly bombarded with commercials and marketing messages all the time.

Fortunately there are some companies who understand this and have differentiated themselves from the competition. Two companies who really stand out when I think about content marketing are Copyblogger.com & Marketo.com . They offer free e-books and How to- books that their specific target market may find useful. While reading the book they carefully insert ways their company can assist in accomplishing these tasks. Towards the end of their books and articles they always have a call to action as well.

I decided to modify this approach and offer free logo and graphic designs to companies. I make connections and generate “leads” and take the chance to offer digital marketing services or further design services. Thank you so much copyblogger.com

 

marketo logo

copyblogger