You don't have a lot of extra time in your day; that's why these social media tools for business are here to make your life easier.
You've heard it over and over; your business needs a Facebook page, you should be on Twitter, you have got to get your products on Pinterest. That's all fine, but clearly, the people telling you this don't run a small business! Your hands are full of hiring, taking care of inventories, ordering supplies, meeting customers, and just about anything else you can manage.
But the fact is, advertising is changing, and the days of throwing an ad in your local paper aren't what they used to be. There's certainly a place for that, but most of your customers are looking for you online. Well, here's the secret to getting your business out into the world: social media tools. For business owners, they can be the dream that gets your story out there without spending a lot of money or time to reach your customers.
You can't just pick any social media tool that you come across, though. Just like physical tools, social media tools have differing purposes and give you different outcomes. Some of these work great if you have a WordPress blog. Others let you schedule social media updates in batches, and some are for designing graphic art.
But no tool is any better than the user, and there are some rules that you just can't skip when it comes to your social media presence.
3 Rules for Social Media Posts
1. Check your spelling and grammar
We all send out the Tweet with a misspelled word here and there. We've all noticed the typo in an Instagram post that got a lot of engagement. It happens sometimes, and it's okay. Try not to let it happen often, though. Constant misspellings and poor grammar diminish the professional image a business account needs. Grammarly is a great tool for keeping your writing on track.
2. Don't argue
There isn't much worse than watching a business get in an online fight with a customer. Just don't do it. Address problems, respond to criticism, and move on.
3. Be careful with humor
Humor doesn't always come across on social media the way it is intended. You can be funny and tell jokes, but think carefully about your audience and the impression you want people to have of your business.
10 Easy Social Media Tools for Business Owners and Managers
CoSchedule is a WordPress plugin that allows you to schedule social media updates for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google +, and Pinterest. The calendar function makes it easy to move posts, and the "best time" feature will automatically post your updates at the best time of day. CoSchedule also has built-in analytics so it's easy to tell which of your updates get the most engagement.
Free up to 3 profiles
Hootsuite is one of the original social media tools for business owners trying to plan their updates. It posts to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and many more. The interface is user-friendly, and built-in analytics give you a real-time look at engagement statistics.
Free - $99/month
Buffer is a browser extension and is also available as a mobile app. Like CoSchedule and Hootsuite, Buffer is a one-stop social media scheduling tool. The price range on Buffer depends on your needs. The free plan gives you one profile on Twitter, Facebook, Google +, and LinkedIn. For $10 per month, you can have a total of 10 profiles, including Pinterest. The $99 per month plan includes analytics, as well as 25 total profiles.
While all three of these tools perform the same functions, more or less, they all have slightly different interfaces and strengths. The best way to decide what will work best for you is to try them.
* A note on Instagram: Instagram is one of the most popular and powerful social media tools for business marketing. The platform does not, however, allow third-party posting. So you can create and schedule an Instagram post on Buffer or Hootsuite, but you still have to manually post the update.
Social Media Platforms
Instagram may not allow third-party posting, but it does have its own set of business tools. Your business profile can include a contact button and map, so it's easy for your customers to get in touch.
Facebook live videos are the talk of the Internet. Live videos give your audience the opportunity to get a behind the scenes look at your business, and the videos stay up on your newsfeed so people can go back to them later. Live videos are especially good for publishing live events like music or talks, as well as live Q & A sessions if you have an engaged audience.
As a marketing tool, Snapchat has a lot of pros and cons. However, if you cater to a younger audience, it could be a useful business tool. Snapchat stories are only visible for 24 hours, so this could be ideal for a flash sale, but be careful of spending too much time on a platform that has a limited lifespan.
Graphic Design Tools
Pablo is a Buffer product, but you don't need an account to use it. Add text to one of over 600,000 stock images or upload your own. Pablo will automatically size your image for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram and includes nine basic image filters.
Canva is a powerful image creation tool. With automatic sizing for social media, posters, presentations, website headers, and marketing material, Canva makes it easy to make just about anything. Use one of thousands of stock images or create your own and add text, graphics, colors, logos, and just about anything else you could need. Canva is the DIY tool for people without a graphic design background.
9. Landscape by Sprout Social
Don't want to create your own image, but still need to resize something? Landscape lets you upload an image and resize it to the parameters of the most common social media sites. You can also custom-size an image for your blog or website. This is the perfect tool for making your social media feed look professional without spending much time or effort on designing a new image.
Watching Your Reputation
10. Social Mention
Part of running a business is reputation management. Social Mention scours the web to find out what people are saying about your business. From social media to blogs to websites, it's easy to find out what the word on the street is.
Of course, the best way to protect your business is to make sure you have the right business insurance. Your Pekin Insurance agent can help you determine the best coverage for your needs, whether you're a service provider, contractor, or retailer. Get in touch today and make sure you're covered.