Small business owners often don’t have a lot of time. Juggling managing a business, accounts, delivering your kickass service and finding new clients is tough. And adding social media on top of that – it can feel a little bit overwhelming.
But there are a few tools which you can use to switch your social media from arghhhh to ahhh-mazing.
These tools might save you time, or they might help you make your brand look a million bucks. Either way, if you’re wanting to level up your social, these tools will help you head in the right direction.
Here are my go-to tools…
A social scheduler
There are a lot of tools available to schedule social media content in advance: big names are Hootsuite, Buffer, Meet Edgar and Recurpost are just a few. And, of course, Facebook has scheduling for pages and groups built in.
Using a social media scheduler like Hootsuite means that you can create content in advance and schedule it over the course of the week. If you’ve got a busy month ahead, a social scheduling tool means you don’t need to stress about creating new content live, and you can focus on diving into deep work. Ahh-mazing!
If you’ve got a pro account, Hootsuite also has a bulk upload feature which makes it even easier to upload hundreds of posts in advance. You could even reuse your best-performing content historically for periods you know you won’t be around much, like in the summer holidays.
However, if you have a lot of evergreen content, you might find a social schedule like Recurpost, Buffer or Meet Edgar are more useful for you that a regular scheduler. These schedulers endlessly recycle your evergreen content over a series of months, so you don’t need to worry about posting content each week. (Except on Twitter, where unique content is preferred!).
A grammar checker
If grammar isn’t your strong point, Grammarly is a great tool which acts as a second set of eyes over your writing.
Picking up grammatical errors, Grammarly is useful for noticing typos you may have missed with ordinary spellcheck. If you grab the Chrome plugin, it works everywhere that you can type, including email and your social media posts. Love it!
I’ve also heard good things about Hemmingway App, which does something similar, too. Either way – a second set of eyes over your work never hurt!
A link shortener
Bit.ly is a great tool for shortening your URLs to make them look decorative for social media. It also has in-built analytics so that you can see the success of each specific link in driving traffic. Often, these links are built into social scheduling tools like Buffer, too, which makes it even more convenient.
While bit.ly does have the option to customise your links so that you put a specific phrase instead of random letters, sometimes having a custom URL for your website looks a lot more schmick.
If you use WordPress, the plugin Pretty Link is a great way to create a customised short URL based off your domain name.
Turn this URL: rachelbeaney.com/how-to-create-instagram-ads-like-a-boss/
Into this: rachelbeaney.com/instacourse
It’s a bit neater than the default bit.ly links, where the URL would look like this: http://bit.ly/2qA77oq
Not so memorable, right?!
This is also super handy for putting in Instagram posts or podcasts – while the URLs aren’t hyperlinked, if they are short and catchy, they are much easier for people to remember to type into their web browser.
A graphic design tool
I’ve posted a few times about the awesomeness of Canva. Canva (affiliate link) is a tool which makes beautiful graphic design a simple drop-and-drag process. It can design everything from Instagram posts, Facebook covers, to flyers and powerpoints.
If you level up to a paid account (affiliate link), your business colour palette and fonts can be saved as a default, you can share team resources and you can in one click change the size of the posts for other platforms.
I seriously don’t know how I did anything before Canva was invented.
If you’re wanting to dive into the world of video, there are plenty of tools you can use to make this really easy, too!
A hashtag suggester
Wanted to find the right hashtag for Instagram? There are plenty of tools you keep in mind if you’re wanting to find the right hashtag. If you’re just looking for ideas and you know one or two hashtags, Display Purposes is great for this.
Remember to make sure you regularly rotate your hashtags with each post so you reach new audiences!
A content calendar
A content calendar is a brilliant tool, to not only help you plan things in the future and avoid the last-minute scramble of “oh – is it Valentine’s Day this weekend?!” but it means you can see what you’ve posted in the past. For months where you’re short on time, use some of your previous posts as inspiration!
Even better, if you pencil in the key dates for the whole year into your content calendar in advance, you’ll never be surprised by a date coming up. Star Wars Day and April Fools’ Day are sneaky ones that are easy to miss! Here’s the key dates calendar for 2021 I made for Australian social media managers looking to plan ahead for the year. Get in on it.
An online drive
Having an online drive like Google Drive or Dropbox is essential for so many reasons. They are a great place to save assets like image libraries, which you, or your team, can access at any time.
However, one of the most helpful uses of an online drive is to be able to share content between your computer and your phone. One great example is if you’re wanting to share something on Instagram Stories, which requires the content to be uploaded from a mobile device. Create that gorgeous content for Instagram Stories in Canva (affiliate link), pop it in your online drive, then open it on your phone and upload to Insta. Done.
Which are your can’t-live-without-em social media tools? Share them in the comments!
Originally written April 2016, updated Dec 2020
Want to work with Rachel?Rachel Beaney is a writer and social media content specialist, helping businesses connect with their audiences.
She’s worked with local, national and global companies, in addition to not-for-profits and government bodies. She loves helping businesses tell their stories with creative and data-driven solutions.
She is based in Sydney, Australia.
Want to work together? Rachel would love to hear from you. Get in touch today.