Getting started with social media can be overwhelming when you really need to focus on launching or maintaining a business. Saying that a small business owner needs to manage their own social networks is a fallacy. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is hire a professional so you can focus on the rest. Are you ready to hire a social media professional for your small business? Click here for a consultation. However, if you feel like you want to embark on this journey, we have gathered a list of Social Media Apps that will most definitely help you rock your small business like a pro.
In order for you to better navigate through this post, we have created a key for clear understanding of where we stand with these.
👍🏼 = currently using and loving it. | ✅ = tried it but not currently using. | 📌 = interested in trying out.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something.
Social Media Apps That Will Rock Your Small Business
At first, we heard about Gain when we were still working full-time managing a digital marketing team for a group of higher education institutions. The community managers swore by it. A day without Gain app; meant they just could.not.function. I mean it; I never understood why… until several months ago. Being the type-A personality, organization freaks that we are, we had a custom (and pretty bad-ass) Excel editorial calendar file to work on our social media content. It had everything from: color-coded dropdown boxes for tracking purposes, content, copy, status, client feedback, our feedback, etc. However, file versioning was becoming an issue.
While looking for a tool that could help us automate this process, we stumbled upon Gain again and immediately scheduled a call. Eric, the sales guy was unbelievable. He explained every feature and happily answered all our questions. After the call, there wasn’t much to think about; we immediately purchased a couple of licenses for us and our clients and in the blink of an eye, we got started. Let me tell you, this app is a game-changer. From having a calendar view, to adding labels, creating Facebook and/or Twitter posts, sending them to approval, scheduling. It doesn’t get any better than this. Our clients love the ability to track calendar approvals from their computer or smartphone with just one click. Well, we’d love to see a Linkedin integration, but don’t let this stop you from making the best decision of your life.
Surprisingly, some exciting news arrived to our inbox just 6 days before publishing this article. At the time we scheduled this post, Gain app did not offer integration with Linkedin. However, on Tuesday May 30th, the announcement was made! What does this mean? In addition to creating and scheduling content on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, you can now schedule posts for LinkedIn using GAIN. Can i hear an Amen? Now, seriously; make the best decision of your life and take your business to the next level. Click here and like us, get started using Gain app now.
Visit the Gain App website | Cost: $20/user
At some point we’ve all used Hootsuite; am I right? Clearly we remember Hootsuite as one of the first social media apps we ever used. Our favorite feature about Hootsuite is being able to, at a glance, view several Twitter streams. For example, from the Pink Studios Twitter account main dashboard (which you should go follow right now if you aren’t already), we are able to see: Sent Tweets, Home Feed, Mentions and Pending Tweets.
While Hootsuite lets you connect and manage your social media accounts across more than 35 global networks, according to their website; we mostly use it to manage our Twitter account. Hootsuite offers a free plan and several other pricing options according to your needs.
Visit the Hootsuite website | Cost: Free with upgrade options
We were first introduced to Tailwind by María Elena from ambinity (go check it out) and we could not believe the amazing things that could be done with this app. Tailwind lets you schedule Pinterest pins and Instagram posts ahead of time and pushes them live at optimal times based on your audience. After the posts have been pushed live you’ll be able to see performance stats. In addition, you are able to create Tribes which basically is a group board where you invite peers and share content yo maximize your reach.
Are you using Tailwind? What’s your experience with it?
Visit Tailwind website | Cost: Free trial for 100 pins and plans starts at $9.99/mo.
BoardBooster, basically works very similar to Tailwind, allowing you to: schedule pins, clean up boards, group board contribution, test pins, and analyze data to optimize your strategy. Whether you decide to go to the Tailwind route or the BoardBooster; they both offer amazing features that will help you streamline your social media processes for your small business.
Visit BoardBooster website | Cost: Free trial for 100 pins and plans starts at $5.00/mo.
For the longest time, we’ve been dying to try out MeetEdgar but things are always crazy at the office and we certainly have not had the time. Either way, we wanted to include MeetEdgar on our Social Media Apps That Will Rock Your Small Business article because we are dying to try it out and believe it could be a great tool for small business owners trying to get the most out of their social media.
Visit MeetEdgar website | Cost: $79.00/mo or $588/yr.
Now we’d love to hear about your favorites.
Do you use any of these? Which ones do you love and/or hate? Any new ones to recommend? Leave them on the comments section below.
Blog post article? Check. Facebook post? Check. Schedule Tweets? Check. Pinterest pin? Check. Instagram post? Check.
But, how much attention do you actually pay to your Instagram grid? Do you have a defined strategy?
Let’s deep-dive into this. If you are actually scratching your head with this term, let me tell you that you are not alone. A great amount of people have no idea what this means, although they interact with it several times per week.
Your Instagram grid accounts for the first 6 photos that appear on your Instagram profile. Fascinating, huh?
How often do you post on Instagram? Have you determined the type of content that goes into your Instagram account? Would you like to increase your following by double in a few months? – Well, I can’t really guarantee that; however i can assure you that a well-thought out Instagram grid could be beneficial.
Quick test: Without looking at your Instagram account, can you point out what’s currently on your grid? Type it now in the comments section below and come back here to continue reading… 😉
All done? Alright.
So, you ask: “Why are you talking so much about the Instagram grid and why should I care?” Look at your Instagram grid as your business card, credentials presentation or your own outdoor billboard. It is people’s first impression about you and you need to make it spectacular!
With 500 million monthly active users and counting, Instagram users have proven their love and loyalty for this platform and they don’t seem to be going anywhere. With more and more users joining this platform per day, the competition gets tougher and tougher.
So let’s talk about how to improve your Instagram grid.
- Relax: being on top of all of your social media plus taking care of your business can be stressful at times; hire a professional if you are feeling like it is taking away from the real important things towards your success.
- Plan: social media is all about being spontaneous, however if you plan ahead your posts and content, you’ll have enough time to put together your graphics and make sure they are on point.
- Pick: pick a filter or color scheme and stick to it. There are various applications that you can use and will ease this process.
- Inspiration: with over 500 millions monthly users, we’re sure you can find inspiration on some other accounts. hey, we’re not telling you to go copy them, but finding inspiration sources is always a great start!
We’ve put together a quick list of some of our current favorite grids.
1. Lauren Conrad | 2. Grey Likes | 3. Moët Chandon | 4. Passion Planner | 5. Starbucks | 6. Nomadic Newlyweds | 7. Bash_Studio | 8. Teaspressa | 9. Chachamatcha
Digging the Instagram data? Want to know more about its growth and potential? Here’s some additional data that is always helpful to have around:
Know other Instagram accounts that are a great inspiration source? Feel free to comment below and we’ll check it out and include it.
Ever since Facebook launched Facebook Live for everyone back in April 2016, most people have been tempted to use it. Some, have jumped the bandwagon and are creating amazing content for their followers; but there are still some users who do not dare to try this super engaging platform. “Going live” on Facebook feels special because you are going live with the people you care about.
Why use Facebook Live?
As of a couple years ago, regular Facebook updates are not enough. People are consuming videos more and more and so the game rules have changed. Facebook Live allows Pages (or profiles) to create broadcasts from a computer with a webcam or a smartphone. The reach possibilities for your page and brand are endless.
If you have not yet tried Facebook Live videos or you are looking for ways to improve your broadcasts, look no further. I got you. We have put together a list of helpful tips to help you make the most kick-ass Facebook Live videos for your followers:
- Promote, promote, promote: If you want people to watch your broadcast you need to make sure that they know you’ll be broadcasting. (duh! Captain Obvious.) I know that sometimes you go live for sudden reasons; but, as long as you can, make sure to include your Facebook Live broadcast on your content calendar so know in advance when you will be doing this and you can notify your followers and promote across all social networks.
Facebook has a neat feature where it notifies users when interesting Facebook Lives are on, but you can also encourage your followers to go to your Facebook Business Page and click on the Liked button, a drop-down will pop up and they’ll be able to turn on the notifications for your page – that will include: posts and live videos.
- Practice & Test: There are multiple things that should be practiced and tested before going Live on Facebook.
- make sure that your internet connection is optimal – Facebook Live videos are recommended on wifi and/or 4G connections. You can test your speed with apps such as SpeedTest. Anything above 3Mbps is great!
- test your lighting – a place that is too dark will discourage followers
- minimize background noise and keep an ear out for echo – you want to deliver a crisp sound
- do a test run for yourself – you can do this by selecting Only Me on the start screen.
- Timing – pick the right time for your Facebook Live while considering time difference across your states/countries. Facebook Insights is another great tool to consider when deciding.
- Write a kickass description: a kickass Facebook Live video needs a kickass description. Remember that videos on Facebook autoplay on mute, therefore users will immediately read the description to decide whether they want to join the party or not. Make sure that your description is concise and attractive.
- Outline or script: in my opinion, Facebook Live videos are not meant to be uptight, however, having a set list of topics you want to cover on your video will make the process so much smoother.
- Engage – begin the video by welcoming those who have joined, briefing the audience on the topics or purpose of the video and encouraging the audience to interact throughout the broadcast by commenting and asking questions.
- Be considerate – even if there are 2, 100 or 1,600 viewers, they all deserve the same respect.
- begin the video as planned – incorporating suggestions from tip #6 as desired. Do not wait 3 minutes to begin on your agenda because there are not enough people on.
- if you only had 3 viewers when you started the broadcast 5 minutes ago and now 2 more have joined, do not go back and repeat everything you already covered – the other 5 deserve your respect for being early; do not lose their interest.
- if you do not want to waste interest of those who arrived late to the party, periodically go over the topics covered and encourage them to watch the recording once it’s completed so they don’t miss out.
- Analyze Results: once your broadcast has come to an end, you will be able to take a look at the metrics provided. From your metrics, you will be able gauge your performance and continue to polish your Facebook Live strategy.
- Reply to Comments: once your broadcast has finalized, make sure to reply to all those comments that were left on your video – engaging is key!
- Don’t let it die, re-purpose: Facebook Live videos are evergreen – they will stay on your Page forever. Use them on your content strategy by referring to them through blog posts, other Facebook Live videos, re-sharing them on different social networks, and so on. The opportunities are endless.
Now, get your strategy together and turn on those cameras!
Still having doubts on how to get started or perfection your strategy? Relax, send us a quick note and we’ll work together to create some kickass content.
These days, the word “branding” gets thrown around a lot. Everyone knows what it is: Branding is what makes Apple “Apple” instead of “shiny gadget producer,” “Starbucks” instead of “premium coffee seller” and “Nike” instead of “sturdy running shoes.” That being the case, how do you make it work for you?
To be specific, how do you make customers say “Oh yeah!” instead of just “Oh…” when they hear about your company? How do you create a brand that’s memorable, sustainable and true to your company’s values in an age where branding is harder than ever? How do you build something so powerful from the ground up when you’re still new to business?
Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to those questions. The best branding strategies depend on a ton of factors: Who your target customers are, what those customers think about you, how comfortable you are with your company’s current image, etc.
Better grasp the answers to those questions when you follow the tips below.
- Write Your Brand Mantra: Keep in mind that your brand mantra is different from your mission statement. For example, Nike’s mission statement is “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete,” while its mantra is “Authentic Athletic Performance.” You can think of a company mantra as a three- to five-word answer to these questions:
- Why does your company exist?
- What makes it different from similar companies?
- How can you make that mantra — and, by extension, your company — memorable?
In Nike’s case, their mission statement answers the first question. However, by adding the word “authentic” to their mantra, they also managed to differentiate from their competitors, which simply offer “athletic performance.” Also, the alliterative “As” make the mantra easy to remember, and a clever allusion to batteries (“AA”) as a source of energy.
- Be True to Your Mantra: Your mantra should trickle down to every aspect of your business. For example, if you have a shipping company and your selling point is speed, it should reflect not only in how fast you deliver the goods, but also in the way you handle customer concerns, the way you change according to the needs of your industry, etc.
- Have a Logo: Your company may have a mantra, but it’s not going to be the one that’ll stick in your customers’ minds. Rather, it’s the logo — which you’ll need to have STAT.
Why? Because people remember images better than words. If your company’s posts pop up on your target customer’s feeds, your logo/profile picture is going to be the first thing they’ll notice. Similar to your mantra, your logo is a deceptively simple element that should be conceptualized very carefully.
1stWebDesigner has a great post on how to design logos in 2016, but to sum it up:
- Remember the K.I.S.S. principle (Keep It Simple, Silly). If you can shrink a logo to the size of your fingertip, and people can still recognize it as yours, that’s a good sign.
- Make it different. Even though your logo should be simple, that doesn’t mean it has to be bland. For example, Coca-Cola has a logo completely made up of letters, yet its unique typography makes it stand out. Try to make your company logo simple enough to remember, but different enough to be unforgettable.
- Make it versatile. No matter what color scheme you apply to your logo — black, white, black-and-white — it should still look good. This comes in handy when you have to use your logos for championship matches, trade shows and other public events where you’ll have to make do with differently colored backgrounds.
- Give it a story to tell. Remember the FedEx logo? If you look closely at the space between the “E” and “x,” you’ll see an arrow pointing to the right. The same goes for these 40 companies with hidden messages in their logos, which obviously work as far as their customers are concerned.
Luckily, you don’t have to get a logo perfect the first time. Many large corporations change their logos every few decades or so. What’s important is for it to reflect your company’s values and how those values have changed over the years — hopefully for the better.
- Build Your Social Media Presence: Since people spend a great portion of their time on social media, it’s a great place to attract as many eyeballs as possible. Also, setting up a profile on sites like Facebook is incredibly easy and inexpensive, making it an efficient, cost-effective way to get in touch with your target demographic.
The only thing you need to worry about is getting drowned out by the social media noise. To avoid that, do one or more of the following:
- Make your posts pop with beautiful, relevant images.
- Cross-post across your social media channels.
- Repurpose old yet evergreen posts. For example, if you had a “How to Prepare an Awesome Thanksgiving Dinner” last 2015, you can promote it again, and make a few tweaks to keep the post updated.
Keep in mind that social media is a two-way communication tool. Don’t be afraid to engage your customers by responding to comments, sharing their positive posts about your company and promoting posts from related, non-competitor companies. Always add value to any conversation, whether online or offline, and it’ll be easier to attract loyal, paying customers.
- Build Your Target Demographic
Before you try to be “all things to everyone,” think about what your ideal buyer is like. Is it a young, hip person who has loads of cash to spare? Or is it a senior citizen who prefers to keep all the dollar bills close to their chest, so to speak?
Focus on grabbing a large chunk of your target buyers’ population first. This way, even if expanding to other markets doesn’t work as well as you want it to, you can count on your core market to keep your profits healthy.
Over to You
These tips may be simple, but it’s important not to skip them. Execute them in the best way you can, and if you ever need help or guidance, remember that Pink Studios is always here to help you with community management, editorial calendars, promoted posts and so much more. Contact us now and let’s elevate your business’ success today!
Lexie Lu is a designer and blogger. She actively contributes to the design world and usually has a cup of coffee in close proximity. She writes weekly on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.
Hashtags are everywhere across social media, and with good reason: Researcher Dan Zarella found that tweets containing one or more hashtags were 55 percent more likely to receive retweets than those without hashtags. For business, this means wider exposure, more brand familiarity and a greater ROI. This holiday season, integrate hashtags into social content, holiday deals
and seasonal promotions to grow your brand and your bottom line.
When to use hashtags
Seasonal events naturally lend themselves to hashtags because they create a spike in conversation around the topic, Twitter notes. From Thanksgiving (or this year’s Thanksgivukkah) to Christmas, the holidays are a time when people reconnect with friends and family, strategize about gifts, have holiday parties and meals, and increase their activity on social media. Likewise, cultural events, including sports playoffs and awards shows, increase the dialogue around current events and lend themselves to promotions. For holiday seasons and cultural events, stick with commonly used event hashtags, such as #Thanksgiving, #SuperBowl and #Christmas instead of making up your own variations. You’ll have more content views by doing so.
Try hashtags for promotions, including sweepstakes, discounts, free shipping offers, BOGO, giveaways, photo contests and action-driven contests. For these events, brand-specific or product-specific hashtags make sense to take advantage of buzz and grow your brand reach.
Companies like Macy’s have Black Friday headquarters pages on their websites, where consumers can browse discounted products, learn about upcoming promotions and get excited to shop. Consider adopting a similar strategy this holiday season. With all of these promotions and giveaways, make a master list of campaigns you’re running, and their hashtags. Advertise all of them on your website or in your social media accounts.
How to use hashtags
Consider the following strategies for using hashtags successfully:
Twitter unrolled a huge update recently, enabling users to schedule tweets up to one year in advance. This is a long-awaited feature that will be widely used by all types of users, with brands and business owners potentially benefitting the most. Any Twitter account can also schedule picture tweets using Twitter’s pic.twitter.com service. While social media management tools like HootSuite have enabled scheduled tweets for users in the past, this is the first time that users can schedule a picture tweet.
How do I schedule a tweet?
Twitter has made the process of scheduling tweets fairly simple. You can schedule a tweet in only six steps:
Go to ads.twitter.com and log in with your Twitter account.
Navigate to Creatives -> Tweets -> Compose Tweet.
On the next screen, Twitter will suggest a time for your tweet to be published, but you can modify this to any date and time you desire.
Write your tweet.
Click Schedule Tweet.
Scheduling your tweet is as simple as that.
Who benefits most from scheduled tweets?
Brands with active social media campaigns benefit the most from scheduled tweets. Ideally, brand marketing managers can input an entire week’s worth of tweets in the span of several minutes, making the manual process of precisely planned tweets a thing of the past. Marketing experts familiar with HootSuite may find scheduling tweets especially easier when it comes to photo tweets, as pictures hosted on pic.twitter.com appear automatically embedded in a tweet. This results in higher engagement levels, which is precisely what brands are seeking on Twitter. For example, a company that creates contractor software can now conveniently provide different selling points throughout the week, inputted all in one place.
Of course, you don’t have to manage a brand to benefit from scheduled posts. Any normal user can increase their prominence on Twitter as well. Witty tweets within a few minutes of one another may not receive much attention, as they appear clustered together on other users’ feed. Scheduling tweets allows all users to separate their witty 140-character banter throughout the day, likely resulting in more users viewing their tweets, since the content is spread out rather than jumbled together.
What’s the outlook of HootSuite after this update?
HootSuite has been acclaimed since forming in 2008. It currently has over seven million users. However, Twitter’s unveiling of scheduled tweets may be a detriment for HootSuite, as scheduling tweets was a feature that attracted many to HootSuite, since it was not possible to do directly through Twitter until now. While this may negatively impact HootSuite slightly, it is unlikely that the software will dwindle significantly in popularity.
HootSuite is also used by many social media experts who manage numerous pages throughout social media networks. As of now, Twitter does not allow the ability to manage multiple Twitter accounts simultaneously, which means HootSuite should remain a popular tool for now. While Twitter may seek to eradicate third-party management options like HootSuite in the future, Twitter does not have enough options or management functionality to knock them off the block just yet.
Are you excited about the new scheduling feature? How are you going to use it?
Adrienne Erin is a freelance writer who covers trends in social media and social marketing. She has written for Content Marketing Institute, MarketingProfs, and Search Engine People, and is always looking for new opportunities. To see more of her work, follow her on Twitter or check out her blog, Pongra.