Five Simple Tools to Up Your Social Media Game

If you follow more than three bloggers on Instagram, you’ve probably heard someone say, “So many of you have asked about {insert product, clothing item, restaurant, beauty routine, kid name, dog name, crockpot name, eyelashes, shoe laces}.” Yeah that doesn’t happen very much to me. And to be totally honest, I’m not really sure what number constitutes “so many” but I digress. Other than the occasional question about sunglasses or restaurant, my DMs are mostly conversations about reality TV and what Reese is up to these days.

But there is one thing I get asked about CONSTANTLY and that’s how to manage social media. Between the blog and work, I’ve had a lot of experience in this area and been able to watch how things have changed and evolved. The idea that managing social media is simple has dissipated a little but since it truly is something anyone can do, people believe that anyone can do it well. Anyone can run but not everyone can run a marathon (lord knows I can’t). It’s something that takes practice, attention to detail (my biggest hurdle when trying to balance a million things) and a clear point of view.

Those are things that can’t necessarily be taught or given but there are a lot of tools out there that make it easier to manage. So I thought I’d share some of my favorite apps and tools of the trade for anyone who manages a small business account or is trying to up their game.

Five Simple Tools to Up Your Social Media Game

1.  Co-Schedule: If you manage more than one social media account, have a blog, an email newsletter or use a variety of services (i.e. – Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram), I can’t say enough great stuff about Co-Schedule. You can view all of your posts, emails, blog posts in one calendar as well as make notes, assign tasks and most importantly for small businesses, run reports.

I love the ability to make notes and reminders. We add all the pertinent social media holidays to our clients’ calendars as well as my own so that we can plan and schedule content out in advance. For the blog, if someone emails me about an event – it’s super easy to schedule a social media post on a variety of platforms for a couple weeks out and then forget about it.

For bloggers, you can easily find and repurpose older evergreen content since it connects with wordpress to pull in your content. So basically if you want to share a post from last Christmas, you can search it and it pulls in the link and all the images, making re-sharing content incredibly easy.

It’s pretty user-friendly and they have a wealth of tutorial videos to help you figure it out if you’re a novice. It’s a paid service but it’s pretty inexpensive for what it provides.

2. PlanolyIf you are particular about your Instagram feed and the way your grid looks cohesively, Planoly is a great tool.

I use it for clients that I am going for a very specific look and feel but unfortunately, it’s just for Instagram. That being said, it will post automatically for you now so that is a HUGE benefit if you’re trying to “set it and forget it.” (Co-schedule will automatically post everything except Instagram, for those posts you get a push notification).

Planoly is similar to Co-schedule in that it uses a calendar view for you to see all in one place your posts. It also pulls in comments so you can view them all in one place. It’s free to start but there are paid options based on the amount of accounts you use it for. Just like Co-schedule there is a mobile app and a desktop interface so you can use it both for planning at work and on the fly. It’s a great way to load in “on the fly” content to save and use when it fits in cohesively with your grid.

You can also save Instagram stories with Planoly which is HUGE and extremely helpful. Really great if you’re a blogger who does lots of sale posts. You can get everything together in advance and then schedule it for when the sale goes live.

3. Lightroom: You don’t need to have an advanced photo or graphic design degree to use Lightroom, especially on your phone. I’ve been a long-time fan of VSCO (which is still love) but recently have been using Lightroom more to edit my photos.

I purchased a few filters, which I alter and continue to tweak, for my photos. I like a bright, somewhat cool look but have been playing with the look lately and Lightroom has been incredibly helpful for that. To be totally upfront, it takes a little bit to get the hang of but once you figure out what you need to adjust to get the right look and feel, you’ll be able to edit images quickly.

Just like in VSCO, you can copy image settings and paste them on other images so that you can get a consistent style across all your images. There are a ton of preset options out there so I suggest searching through Pinterest to see what style you like and then going from there. I would also advise that a filter you think looks great on one person’s feed may not work for your images. I’ve had this happen a couple times. It takes a little trial and error to find something that fits. Don’t get discouraged if the first one you try isn’t right.

This is another tool that has a desktop and mobile application making it simple to go from behind the desk to on the go without losing any functionality.

Talbots Braided Tweed Jacket c/o | Cassidy Fringe Mules 
AG Farrah High Rise Skinny Jeans 
Loft Tortoise Sunglasses | Lily Jade Rosie Bag 
Fossil Minimalist Watch c/o

4. Pinterest – Okay this probably sounds really weird but honestly, Pinterest is a tool I use every single day to get inspiration, pull ideas for new graphics and build boards to help create a basis for a consistent style for my social media feeds.

Pinterest is a great source of information beyond just recipes, interior design and workouts. If you’re looking to redesign your logo, type in a few keywords (like logo design + retro + hotel) and you’ll start to get tons of images to get your imagination working. When I am brainstorming for photoshoots, both for the blog and for clients, I’ll spend time going through Pinterest for ideas on good angles, styling ideas and story telling thought starters. I find that it is extremely useful in seeing what angles and cropping styles work best to catch your eye. I’ll often be with Tabitha (my go-to photographer) and try to explain what I’m looking for before realizing my words are not as clear as an image. I’ll go to one of my Pinterest boards (Cocktail Styling is my current fave) and show her an image so she can see what I am imagining in my head.

If you’re in a creative rut, get on there – type in a couple keywords and you’ll be on your way to being inspired. You can see what works and what doesn’t really easily as well.

I’m in NO WAY advocating copying anyone but I find it to be like flipping through a magazine. You see what works, what you like and then can bring your own perspective to it. It’s also very beneficial if you’re working with a client and can’t seem to get on the same page visually through verbal or written communication. I often share boards with clients so we can save images and sync up visually.

5. Canva – Photoshop can be intimidating for even the most technologically savvy. And until you’re confident with it, it can be extremely time consuming. That’s where Canva fills the gap.

It’s also a HUGE value for any small business or company looking to do simple but attractive design pieces. I don’t love the mobile app but the desktop version allows you to very easily create flyers, social media graphics, postcards, mailers, email newsletters, presentations and more. There are thousands of templates to choose from and customize with your own colors, fonts and images.

For anyone using social media, it’s an ideal place to create simple Instagram story templates, Pinterest graphics to promote blog posts, collages and more. You know when you see someone share a quote on their feed and the fonts are all custom and it looks really polished? Canva can do that.

You can also share folders with clients (so if you’re managing a few different projects, you can just share their folder) giving them the ability to easily make edits or print/download pieces on their own.

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Hoping these tips help you to either get started or take your postings to the next level. If you’re a blogger, I wrote a post a little while back with 8 Tips on How to Make Blogging Easier and More Effective, so you can always check it out too. I’m still using almost every single one of those tools and services as well.

Also, I’d love to know if you like these types of posts. I want to share info you all are interested in hearing about so if you’re into this, or have any specific questions you’d like to see blog posts on, let me know in the comments or send me a DM on Instagram! 

2 Comments

  1. Reply

    Laura

    September 14, 2018

    Genuinely great tips, danielle. I love reading content like this from seasoned bloggers and social media gurus.

    • Reply

      Danielle

      September 14, 2018

      Thanks so much Laura! I am glad it was helpful! Trying to be better about giving more thoughtful content so it makes me really happy you liked it.

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