How to create amazing graphics for free
Even if you’re not a graphic designer, having some basic design skills can be really useful for any marketer, but it might not be worthwhile paying for Photoshop and all of the training that’s needed with it.
Canva is a graphic-design tool website which was founded back in 2012. The tools can be used for both web and print media design and graphics. Unlike photoshop and other similar tools, it doesn’t cost a bomb and it doesn’t require any previous experience of graphic design thanks to the simple drag-and-drop format.
Canva is the perfect tool for those who are struggling to create engaging graphics to complement their social media content because it already has all the correct sized templates for most social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & LinkedIn etc. However, it is not restricted to these templates, custom sizes are available too; all there is to do is decide on your image size (in pixels, cm or mm).
For those who aren’t very artistic, Canva has so many layouts available, for free! This is extremely helpful for time sensitive projects too, rather than create the design from scratch it enables users to choose a layout so they only have to amend the text, colours, or images (if needed).
Since the founding date in 2012, Canva has grown massively and has been used by hundreds of non-designers as well as professionals who take advantage of the access to over a million photographs, graphics, and fonts.
How to save time on social media management for free
If you’re in charge of social media you’ll know just how much time it consumes. From creating a plan, finding the correct images, writing the text, and then posting across multiple social networks. The whole ordeal can take your focus away from other aspects of work. This is why Social Media Management Systems/Tools have become so popular. By enabling you to post across multiple social media platforms at once they can save a huge amount of time and money.
Hootsuite is one of the most well-known tools available, chances are, even if you haven’t used this tool, you’ve at least heard of it. Hootsuite allows you to manage so many different networks including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Wordpress and many more. Not only can you schedule posts but it also allows you to monitor these pages; viewing streams and replying instantly.
Hootsuite can be particularly helpful for larger businesses (or larger social media accounts) as it allows you to add team members to accounts then delegate separate tasks to individual team members. This is essential for companies with a social media team to avoid confusions between what has and hasn’t been dealt with.
Hootsuite also sends basic analytics reports weekly by email; extremely handy for smaller companies where just 1 or 2 people are managing the social media. Although the free analytics aren’t the best available, they do provide some useful insights, such as the number of clicks per day, geographical information on the people who are clicking through, top referrers and the most popular links. However, the report will only show insights to any posts that were uploaded through Hootsuite. Any data from posts that are published through other sites such as Buffer or Twitter itself will not show up.
Another cool feature about Hootsuite is the royalty-free image library (sourced from Pixabay or similar) so you can automatically add royalty free images straight to your posts.
One of the downsides to Hootsuite is that it will only allow 3 social media accounts and 1 user until you upgrade. For additional users and social accounts, you’re looking at some pretty high prices compared to some of the alternatives.
Buffer is a much-loved alternative to Hootsuite. This Social Media Management Tool is really easy to use and navigate, making it perfect for those just starting up, or those who are new to using management tools to schedule content. It allows you to manage numerous social networking accounts such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram & Pinterest.
Buffer allows you to group your accounts so that you can put certain social media accounts into one group and quickly schedule content to all of the relevant profiles. The groups can be edited and customised as you wish so that you have full control, however, you will only be able to post to one Twitter account at any given time. This feature is really useful for marketing companies or for larger companies which might have separate accounts for different reasons e.g. the public sector. If you have 3 accounts and 1 is customer service, 1 is sales and 1 is updates then you can easily segregate these accounts to stay consistent with your target audience.
Like with Hootsuite, you can also add team members to your account and delegate certain accounts or tasks to that user. Buffer allows up to 3 team members with their free account, or more if you’re willing to go premium.
One of the downsides to Buffer is that it doesn’t automatically give you access to royalty free images; however, you can easily get around this by searching for yourself on any of the free platforms listed below. Buffer also has some features that Hootsuite doesn’t, for example, it will let you customize your posts for each network before scheduling them. This makes things much quicker and easier if the text is slightly too long for Twitter or you want to use a different image on different networks. It also suggests hashtags and accounts when you start typing them whereas Hootsuite won’t pick this up.
How to keep up with reviews and comments about your business online for free
Running a business in the modern world can sometimes get tricky because any negative comments can quickly spread like wildfire. This is why it’s so vital that we keep up with any reviews or comments made on the internet, especially if they’re negative because this allows you to resolve the issue, hopefully without any effect to the business reputation.
Google Alerts is a highly useful tool which gives you notifications whenever Google has indexed a page that mentions a specific keyword or phrase, specified by you. This enables you to keep an eye on your brand or your products whenever they’re mentioned on the web. Therefore, if people are asking questions about one of your products in a forum, not only can you be aware of it but you can answer their question too. Great review on another site? Showcase it. Negative comments on the internet? Deal with them appropriately.
Without Google Alerts, this could never be possible. No company has enough employees or enough time to constantly be searching for comments on the internet, nor could you know where to look to begin with! Thankfully, Google is aware of this and have made the whole process much easier, quicker, and cheaper for businesses to deal with.
One of the common ways that marketers use this tool is by adding team members names to Google Alerts. This will allow businesses to stay on top of their reputation, and that of the director or staff members. Another way to use this tool is by adding your competitors! It’s obvious that you want to know what people are saying about your company, and your products or service, but what are they saying about the others? What are your competitors doing that you aren’t?
All of this can be discovered using this simple, free tool.
How to find quality graphics royalty-free
Anyone in a marketing role will tell you straight away that finding images can be a huge struggle which can easily take away a lot of your work time.
Pixabay has always been a long-time favourite for me. Almost every image you come across on this site will have amazing picture quality which is one of the main struggles when finding images to use. With well over 1,000,000 free stock images there’s not much that you can’t find a picture of. If you’re just getting started in the marketing world then Pixabay is definitely a go-to website for all your content needs as it’s really easy to use. Always working on the move? Download their app to have easy access to images, any time, any place. For those a little more advanced in their marketing, it may even be worthwhile paying for some images now and then for better quality photo’s that are less likely to have been used elsewhere.
Generally, the images on Pixabay cover categories such as: Travel, Vacation, Religion, Beauty, Fashion, Music, Animals, Business, Finance, Food/Drink, Nature, Landscapes, Science, Technology, Transportation, Traffic, Places, Monuments, Industry, Craft, Education, Backgrounds, Textures, Sports, People, Health, Medical, Computer, Communication, Architecture, Buildings.
Unsplash collects thousands of images from independent photographers and puts them all in one library where you can easily download and use them for free. It’s easy to navigate and search for the image you need and even puts them into categories to help you find similar images. Their site is regularly updated with new content, and if, like me, you don’t always get the time to search too specifically you can sign up to their newsletter and receive 10 images to your inbox every 10 days.
Another great website for finding royalty-free images is Pexels. Surprisingly, not as many people seem to be aware of Pexels as much as they might be with Pixabay, but it’s easily one of the best quality free stock photo libraries we’ve come across. Unlike some of the alternatives available, Pexels has a well-tagged gallery which makes it really easy to find the exact image you need. One of the other benefits to Pexels is that they’re constantly updating their library with approximately 3,000 new images a week!
How to get a more detailed report from Instagram for free
It can feel like you’re fighting a losing battle sometimes with Instagram at the moment because even if you schedule your content, you can’t yet post it automatically (you still have to manually send the post and can only use the app properly on a mobile device). Luckily, there are some apps out there that make the other aspect a little bit easier.
If you’re using Instagram for your business then you should already be set up as business profile. However, if you aren’t, you can still get some useful statistics which may be able to help you with your reach and engagement. Although followers+ doesn’t provide much information on your actual analytics (without getting premium) it does let you see of any accounts that have recently followed or unfollowed you, as well as which users you’re not following back or aren’t following you back. This is especially useful for newly set-up accounts because any Instagrammer will know that many accounts will follow you, then unfollow the next day which means whilst their following is rising, your follower to following ratio lowers which can make it increasingly difficult to grow your brand.
How to check the results for free
It’s no use putting all of your time and effort into the hard work that you do if you never get to witness the benefits or see the results. By receiving valuable insights, you can see what works best and what doesn’t which can really help shape the success strategy of your business.
It’s no secret that Google is the biggest search engine with approximately 3.5 billion searches per day! With statistics like that, we’d be silly to not take a look at their analytics, especially when they’re free. It can be easy to focus on getting content out there, whether that be on your website, blog or social media, and not end up looking at the statistics. Thankfully, Google understands this and have even found ways to process the data for you by putting it into Google Docs, Sites or Spreadsheets. All that is required is a quick and easy setup and you’re done, this includes going to your Google Analytics account and copying a simple piece of code on your website. If you’re struggling with this, we can help.
Another benefit to Google is, not only does it provide you with in-depth analytics but it allows you to customize your reports and chose the information that’s most important to you, and your business, depending on your current goals.
One of the major benefits is how easily the platform can integrate with other tools. This is particularly useful when it comes to your AdWords and Google Search Console. Linking your Google Analytics with Google Adwords will allow you to combine the two in a way that you get actionable insights that will lead to the success of your AdWords Campaigns.
The main reason that many marketers use Google Analytics is so that they can see the process that potential clients go through when navigating around the website. Google Analytics allows you to see what people are searching, which pages they’re visiting & how long they’re staying there for. This not only helps you to improve your content and page copy based around what people are looking for but it can also help you notice what your site may be lacking, or where it may be difficult to navigate based on your bounce rate (where people are leaving your site without converting).
Last, but certainly not least, Google Analytics provides you with valuable insights such as the demographics of your audience. Not only will it tell you the age, gender & location of your audience but it also allows you to see what device they’re using and their interests.
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How To Use PPC Within Your Inbound Marketing Strategy
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Unmissable Social Media Trends for 2018 to Boost your Business
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PPC Myths Busted
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