How to create amazing graphics for free
Even if you’re not a graphic designer, having some basic design skills is useful for any marketer. If you’re new to this, it might not be worthwhile paying for Photoshop and all of the training that’s needed with it so we’ve created a list of ways you can make top quality graphics without having to splash the cash.
Canva is a graphic-design tool website which 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. It already has all the correct sized templates for most social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & LinkedIn etc. Custom sizes are available too so 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 free layouts available! This is extremely helpful for time-sensitive projects too. Rather than create the design from scratch it enables users to choose a layout so that they only have to amend the text, colours, or images.
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 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. Creating a plan, finding the correct images, writing the text, and then posting across multiple social networks 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 that you’ve at least heard of it. Hootsuite allows you to manage so many different networks including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, WordPress and many more.
It can be particularly helpful for larger businesses (or larger social media accounts) as it allows you to add team members to accounts and delegate separate tasks to team members. This is essential for companies with a social media team to avoid confusion between what has and hasn’t been dealt with.
Hootsuite also sends basic analytics reports in a weekly email – extremely handy for smaller companies where just one or two people are managing the social media! Although the free analytics aren’t the best available, they do provide some useful insights: for example, the number of clicks per day, geographical information on the people who are clicking through, top referrers and the most popular links. The report only shows insights for the posts that were uploaded through Hootsuite so don’t forget that the data from posts that are published through other sites won’t 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.
Unfortunately, Hootsuite only accommodates three social media accounts and one 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 easy to use and navigate, making it perfect for those just starting up.
Buffer allows you to group your accounts so that you can put certain social media accounts together and quickly schedule content to all of the relevant profiles. You’re only able to post to one Twitter account at any give time (really useful for marketing companies with multiple accounts). If you have three accounts (let’s say, customer service, sales and updates) then you can easily separate these. No accidental posting with Buffer!
Like with Hootsuite, you can also add team members and delegate tasks. Buffer allows up to 3 team members with their free account, or more with premium.
Sadly, Buffer 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 customise your posts for each network before scheduling them. This is great 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.
How to keep up with reviews and comments about your business online for free
Running a business in the modern world can be tricky as any negative comments can 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. It 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. 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 is one of our long-time favourites. Almost every image you come across on this site has 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. Pixabay is a go-to website for all of 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 be worthwhile paying for some images that are less likely to have been used elsewhere.
The images on Pixabay cover multiple categories. A few include: Travel, Religion, Beauty and Music.
Unsplash collects thousands of images from independent photographers and puts them all in one library where you can 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. If, like me, you don’t always get the time to search 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 the likes of Pixabay. 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 constantly update their library with around 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 with Instagram at the moment. 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 a business profile. 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 if any accounts have recently followed or unfollowed you. This is especially useful for newly set-up accounts because (any Instagrammer will know) that many accounts are cheeky and follow and unfollow you While 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 the hard work 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. This 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 not to 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 of Google is that not only does it provide you with in-depth analytics but it allows you to customise your reports and choose the information that’s most important to you and your business.
The platform can easily integrate with other tools which 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 gives you actionable insights.
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 their 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).
Lastly, 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.