Marketing, and in particular digital marketing, has become a full time gig for a lot of people. I’m absolutely one of them, but I know that there are a lot of small businesses who still handle a lot of their own digital marketing. The only problem you run in to, is when where and with what. It seems that there is so little time in a day to be doing all this marketing, and keep up to date with the running of a business.
For me, the easiest way for me to stay up to date with all my clients platforms is to use my mobile when I’m going from A to B, when waiting for people to turn up to appointment and generally when I have a spare 5 minutes during the day. This means you need to be prepared and have a complete arsenal of tools at your disposal. There are so many great apps out there that really help streamline your marketing process, and these are some of mine. Note, I’m not going to be talking about basic things like the Facebook App or Instagram here, you know that you can get those already.
Absolutely top of my list is Hootsuite. Anyone who has come to any of my lectures will know that I absolutely wax lyrical about it- this platform allows you to schedule posts, read your feeds, browse hash tags and search for people in one location available on mobile, tablet and PC.
You can plug most of your social accounts into this great app, and post a status to all of them nice and easy. This means that instead of going through and logging into each platform individually, posting a status and then ignoring the platform again, you are streamlining your whole process. Sure, you might need to make some adjustments – for instance, I often turn a single Facebook post into 3 Tweets and schedule them to go out at various times during the day. But again, its all in one place, which massively cuts down on the time you spend on marketing.
I’m a big believer in the idea of “make hay while the sun shines”. When I first started writing this blog, I realised that if I sat down on a Tuesday afternoon after work to write a post, I was often left blank and uninspired. I then realised that I often got a whole host of good ideas for blog posts on a Monday morning on the way into work – and I was wasting these ideas by not being able to remember them on Tuesday.
Every iPhone comes with the Notes app pre-installed, and this is great for keeping lists of blog ideas. As you go on, it’s beneficial to even briefly outline the post you have in mind – so major headings or topics you want to cover off. This will help you when you come to writing your post later.
If you’re working on an iPad, another great app to have is Pages (which is NOT free). This is a really great way to write out serious blog posts on the go, or in free time slots. I personally catch a lot of trains, and find that’s a great place to write – its actually where this post as written! I’ve tried blogging on my phone, while I think it’s possible, it’s a lot easier to do when you can play with multiple fingers on a QWERTY keyboard.
A recent addition to my repertoire, and one I don’t know why I didn’t use for years. I’ve have a Dropbox account for a while now – I’ve used it to back up some files, get large files to my web development team and generally store photos. The best application I have seen for it in marketing is when you’re switching between devices. You’ve got some cool screencaps that you want to post on Instagram from your iPad? Dropbox it. You have a collection of client photos or project photos on your PC that you want to post while your on your mobile on your way somewhere? Dropbox it. You’ve got a blog post you wrote on your iPad and want to format it up and post it? You get the idea.
Dropbox does have a limit of what you can store, but its pretty hard to get there. It’s a really basic form of cloud computing, so you will need an Internet connection to get to your content.
Now I know what you’re thinking – I said I wasn’t going to talk about the basic platforms. Well I still stand by that – Pinterest has much broader uses than Pinning for your customers – which I’m going to talk about later. Keeping track of your inspirations is a really important thing. As a graphic designer, I’m constantly searching for new ways to present information, particularly mood boards and ideas that I want to bring forward to a client. Pinterest is great for storing that inspiration. If you have a client you are going to see, creating a Pinterest board of influences and idea you have about their project that’s specifically for them is a great way to show off your research in a professional way. You can also use Pinterest to read articles and learn about your industry – there’s a huge volume of infographics and articles in Pinterest that can inspire your commute to work.
Bit.ly falls under the category of things that are nice, but not as necessary. Bit.ly is a link shortener – so instead of having a link that is four lines long on your Facebook post or Twitter post, you use Bit.ly to shorten the characters in the link. It then allows you to track data about who has clicked on the link over time, and where they clicked on it from – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc. I’ve tried to use the mobile site and it’s useless. The App, however, is very easy to use. Just paste your link into the box, bitly will generate a new one for you and off you go.
Note: Hootsuite has its own link shortening process called Ow.ly. I still use Bit.ly because then all my links are consistent, and all the data for a particular link is stored in one place, and that helps me analyse what’s really going on with a company over time.
It’s really important that the marketing for your small business is done the smart way, not the hard way. Most small business owners are pressed for time as they try to be everything from CFO, CEO, Head of Production and Marketing Manager rolled into one. Use these simple tools to streamline some of your day, and give you better focus.
If you are finding you don’t have time to promote your business the best you think it could be, email me at any time and I’ll be more than happy to offer some possible solutions!
Have you used any of these tools yourself? I would love you to let me know about it! You can tweet me @emdesignsau or join my Facebook page to get all my updates!