“A man is nothing without his tools.”
Your social media profiles may have great potential, but if you don’t use social media tools to your full advantage, you could easily slip off the grid among your competitors. A lot of people don’t even realize how many useful (and free!) social media tools are out there.
We’ve already been through the trial and error period, so we’ll cut to the chase here. Some social media tools stand out among the rest. When you’re trying to test out a social media tool, it should help you, not hurt you. It shouldn’t take more time to learn, and it shouldn’t turn into a meta-process. Although there are tons of great tools out there, some of them just aren’t necessary. Instead, we’ve compiled a list of tools that really do make your posting and scheduling life simpler.
Social Media Scheduling Tools
This is the hands-free scheduling tool that is often used for Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. Buffer is a great fit for marketing agencies or big companies with lots of content to be pushed out. It allows you to plan out your social calendar months in advance.
Who should use Buffer?People who benefit most from Buffer are those who have multiple accounts or a lot of content to be shared. Buffer is also best for people who like to schedule things out on their own. You’re able to set times easily and add all your posts in the queue, so if you’re hoping to do this manually, Buffer is a great option.
When should it be used?Buffer is a year-round social scheduling tool. It works best when used regularly because over time, you’ll establish a routine of scheduling posts. Pick one day out of the week to schedule out all of your posts, and then sit back and relax while Buffer handles the nitty-gritty.
Hootsuite and Buffer are fairly similar, so it’s really a personal preference. Hootsuite allows you to manage more platforms, as it also allows you to manage WordPress blogs and channels on YouTube.
Who should use Hootsuite?Digital marketers with a keen interest in learning the ins and outs of the industry will benefit from Hootsuite because of its courses and certification program.
When should it be used?Hootsuite allows you to schedule posts in advance, but the platform does a lot of the scheduling work for you. This could be a good or bad thing, depending on your preference!
Clean and simple, Sprout Social is an easy way for you to lay everything out and get a birds-eye view of your social calendar. Sprout is a results-driven platform that helps you get real value out of your social profiles.
Who should use Sprout? Sprout Social is best for people who really know what they’re doing. It’s helpful for marketing professionals and agencies that are serious about tracking their numbers and optimizing their profiles.
When should it be used?When you’re looking to optimize post times, gather insights, and visualize your social profiles on a calendar layout, Sprout is your best bet.
Later is another scheduling tool that has recently entered the running. It’s a really intuitive platform that doesn’t come with all the fancy bells and whistles that Hootsuite and Buffer have. On Later, you’re able to manage your Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest accounts.
Who should use Later?Later is typically a preferred platform for personal accounts because its capabilities aren’t as extensive as those of Hootsuite and Buffer.
When should it be used?When you’re focused on the visual component of your social media profiles (especially Instagram), Later is a good option for you. It’s optimal for Instagram use because of its highly visual scheduling calendar and dashboard.
Social Media Design Tools
Customizable, user-friendly, and bearing the drag-and-drop interface we all know and love, Canva is a go-to tool for social media managers. You don’t have to be a design stud to create beautiful designs on Canva -- and that’s why so many people love it!
Who should use Canva?Someone who is well-suited for Canva is a beginner or intermediate designer or a social media manager that doesn’t work directly with a design team. It’s best for people who aren’t formally trained in graphic design but still want to create captivating, appealing images for social media.
When should it be used?Canva has templates and sizes ready for you to use. If you want to make a Twitter banner or an Instagram post or a Facebook announcement, the dimensions are already there for you.
Some people love Adobe; others fear it. Adobe Spark is definitely a more expert version of Canva, so it can help you make amazing designs, but it requires some time to learn it. Within Adobe Spark are three different design apps: Spark Post, Spark Page, and Spark Video.
Who should use Adobe Spark?A good candidate for Adobe Spark is someone who knows design well. This is the type of app for a graphic designer or creative director at a marketing or advertising agency. If you’re up to the challenge, go for it! Just keep in mind that it does take more time to really nail down the software.
When should it be used?The best time to use Adobe Spark is when you have a gameplan for your site and/or social media profiles. It’s not something you want to use to quickly whip out a design but rather a strategic design plan for your social profiles.
Social Media Analytics Tools
Making a second appearance, Sprout Social is a powerful tool for data analytics on social media platforms. The reports are easy to read and understand, so you’re not just tracking numbers -- you’re really understanding how your social profiles are making an impact.
Who should use Sprout Social?Again, the typical Sprout user is someone who is versed in marketing and advertising and is using their social profiles to generate a lot of content.
When should it be used?Analytics can be tracked every week -- and it’s really helpful to keep up with them on a weekly basis. You can generate reports from templates or you can customize them.
TweetDeck is the divine data king for Twitter. It has a visual dashboard that allows you to manage multiple Twitter profiles at the same time.
Who should use TweetDeck?You don’t have to be a data nerd or a social media guru to use TweetDeck. It’s well-integrated with the Twitter platform, so it’s fairly straightforward for any user that wants more insights on their Twitter performance.
When should it be used?TweetDeck is only for, well… tweets! So it’s not a useful tool for someone who wants insights on a slew of different social platforms. It can be used daily or weekly to gain insights on various Twitter profiles.
There’s a whole world of social media tools waiting to be used. Some are for beginners and some are for experts, but there’s something out there for everyone. The next time you’re scrolling on one of your profiles, you might consider looking into one of these tools to make the job easier and more fun. Good luck and happy posting!
On the laundry list of marketing jargon, SEO is an under-utilized but over-used term. How many times do you see “SEO” on a site that doesn’t seem to be performing at its best? Probably a lot. While it’s always a good idea to bring an expert into the matters, there’s an aspect of SEO that you can do on your own.
So when you’re not talking to an expert agency or SEO guru who can do the whole nine yards for you, we’ve got a step-by-step tutorial that will give you the freedom to check your SEO on your own and work towards a better strategy for your site. Use this for your blog, your individual pages, and your homepage to make sure your on-site SEO is in a good spot!
What is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimization. A lot of times you’ll hear people say things like, “I optimize SEO,” or “We’ll handle your SEO optimization.” That’s a key indicator that those people actually won’t help out with your SEO, because those statements don’t make sense. SEO, by default, means your site is being optimized, so there’s no need for the extra “optimization” tacked onto the title.
In a nutshell, SEO means optimizing your content to best reach your target audience by using on-site and off-site tactics to get that great content in front of search engines. Search engines are the creepy crawlers of the web. They’re crawling through countless pages every second to index and record all of the information that is out there. There are billions of pieces of content on the web, so these crawlers (aka bots) play a huge role in helping Google answer your searches.
Think about it this way. When you search for a question like, “What is SEO?”, Google will pull up a results page. That’s called the Search Engine Results Page, otherwise known as SERP. That page isn’t based off a random collection of sites and information. It’s carefully curated from all of the crawling that the bots do. These bots are here to help. The way in which they crawl allows Google to answer your questions with more precision and accuracy, in the fastest way possible.
Instead of “SEO optimization,” what you should be looking for is SEO performance or SEO strategy. There’s a strategy behind the SEO, and that’s what you need in order to make sure that search engines are ranking your content.
Don’t get caught up in the nitty gritty details of SEO. It’s not a competition, and you shouldn’t be trying to trick the search engines. Remember, they’re on your team! Instead, you need to come up with a game plan that includes your target audience, what types of messages you want to get across, and what you want to be known for.
Once you figure that out, look at your site through a new lens. Think about who you’re trying to reach. Are you reaching them? Consider what you’re trying to say. Are you saying it?
This may seem like a simple step, but it’s often overlooked. A lot of people are reaching the wrong target audience or throwing too many messages into the picture. You have an area of expertise, and that’s what sets the stage for the foundation of your SEO. Everything SEO-related should be connected to that niche.
Decide who your target audience is. Write it down and make a commitment to it. Having a ton of followers doesn’t matter if you have the wrong followers. In the long run, the reason why you go after an audience is to convert them into your customers—whether that be clients, buyers, subscribers, etc.
Knowing your target audience means you must know what you want them to be looking for. You set up a target audience based on the services you could provide to them. For example, if you run a digital marketing agency that works predominantly with B2C clients, you’re looking for clients who want to market their business, grow their business, and advertise to potential customers. These are the types of things they’ll be typing into the search bar when they’re looking for a marketing agency. It’s your job to tap into those potential search queries by putting yourself in the mind of your client. Think about what words or phrases they might search for, and Voila! Those are your keywords.
Let’s do a quick exercise. Say you own a restaurant that serves customizable bowls and build-your-own tacos. Your client is likely someone who likes to customize their food options. What kinds of words might they be searching in order to find their ideal restaurant?
Answer: Customizable restaurants, build-your-own meals, customizable meals, restaurants with build-your-own options.
Those are just a few suggestions. Using keywords allows you to piece together your own puzzle to paint a picture of what your company offers.
Now that you know what your main message is and who it’s intended for, the next step is to audit each of your pages for SEO purposes. Write down the keywords you’re using for URL names, page titles, and headlines. It helps to have a birds-eye view. When bots crawl your site, these are some of the main things they’re looking for.
For example, if you have a page all about what your company does but the title just says “Our company,” bots won’t rank you for your services. Instead, you may want the page to be titled “Our services” or “What we do.”
As you look through each of your pages, keep your game plan and overall strategy in mind. Remember: SEO isn’t about vanity metrics. It’s about driving the right people to your page so that you can accomplish your business goals while helping the right kind of consumer.
There are some golden rules to on-site SEO that you should know. There’s a difference between tricking the bots and knowing what they’re looking for. At the end of the day, Google wants every searcher to have the best experience possible, so the bots take user experience into consideration when evaluating pages. Here are a few rules that will keep your page in good condition:
Congratulations! You made it through 4 big rules of on-site SEO. It will take some time to fully integrate this practice into your day-to-day website upkeep, so don’t be too hard on yourself if it feels endless. SEO is an ever-evolving practice—it’s never a one-and-done deal. Google is constantly changing the metrics for search results pages. So if you’re really committed to your SEO performance, you’ll want to stay in the loop with all things related to Google, search engines, and the great big Internet out there.