Tell us, how are you feeling about social media lately? If you are just starting out on the platform you may be realizing how difficult it is to keep up with a consistent posting cadence, finding relevant hashtags or even designing content. Maybe you’ve been managing social media on your own for a while now and are realizing it’s time to invest or research some helpful tools. No matter where you are in your social media journey, the need for resources is so important. When searching for social media management tools, especially free ones, it’s easy to fall into the ‘information overload’ hole. So we wanted to round up six tools we use every single day to manage our social media calendar.
We know your time and money are valuable, so here are six FREE social media management tools that will give you back hours in your week.
Asana is easily one of our favorite social media management tools. We still can’t believe it’s free! We use Asana for so much more than just social media. We use it to manage client work, create to-do lists, a personal calendar tracker, brainstorms & ideation sessions and so much more. It’s just the two of us right now, but as we grow, we fully expect to upgrade and use this system as a true project management tool for our team.
Let us be honest for a second. The first time we heard about Asana, we thought “we don’t have time to learn a whole new system.” We get it! Your time is precious and even a free resource can rob you of that valuable time. But hear us out for a second. Asana is so easy to learn with their pre-built project templates that you’ll end up saving more time then you’ve invested. We promise, it’s more than worth it!
So how do we use Asana in regards to a social media management tool?
- Content Buckets: we use it to categorize our content buckets. Color coordinating our posts makes it easy to ensure we have a wide mix of content for our audience.
- Brainstorm: Any time we have a new post idea, we throw it in our board to continue to build off it.
- Schedule: We drag our ideas or new posts into specific columns for this week, next week and later this month to help us organize our posting strategy.
- Miscellaneous: We also use this tool to house creative elements like our Instagram highlights for quick access when we need to update something.
Here is a sneak peek at our board:
Content is king, right? Well having enough photography content can be difficult and expensive. We like to schedule at least two branding photography sessions a year to ensure we have a variety of content that matches our brand vision exactly. Shout out to the amazing Julie Greer Photography for making sure that happens!
So, how do we fill the void to ensure we have enough content to build our social media calendar each month? Unsplash is our free, secret social media management tool for all things photography. Unsplash makes it easy to search for the brand content you need and browse similar styles when you land on a group of photos that speak to you. You can even create collections and add photos for you to reference later when building your content calendar. Some of our favorite things to search for and add into our social media grids are:
- Various screens from mobile phones to desktop computers
- Beautiful office spaces
- Delicious beverages, especially coffee and wine ?
Ever wonder how some brands always have beautifully curated Instagram story posts featuring a collage of photos? There are a dozen apps out there, but our favorite free resource to date has been Unfold. Mainly due to their simple and easy to use templates. You can even create brand kits and upload your fonts, logos and colors to develop a quick moodboard.
This app is the perfect way to start engaging more on your Instagram stories and add fun and engaging content to those beautiful highlight boards!
4. Google Keep
It’s no secret that we are a Google business. Whether it be Google Drive, Gmail or Keep we are almost always working in a Google platform. These platforms make it so easy for the two of us to collaborate and create content together even when we can’t physically be together.
So you might be wondering how exactly we use Google Keep as a social media management tool? Good question! We use it in two ways. First, to write our captions and ensure those beautiful spaces stay between your paragraphs when posting on Instagram. And secondly, we use it to manage our hashtag appendix. We simply have a shared notes page where we categorize our hashtags in order to quickly pull the ones we need for that specific post.
Don’t have a Google phone? Don’t worry! You don’t have to use Google Keep, really any notes app will help you accomplish these two things. Plus, most allow you the opportunity to share a page and collaborate with others.
First, we have to confess that this platform isn’t entirely free. But you can get a free month of Tailwind to try it out first! That is ultimately how we got started and we are so thankful we did! Tailwind is a Pinterest and Instagram scheduler and analytics platform. We started with Pinterest and quickly realized how much time this platform could save us by simply planning out our pinning strategy in advance. Pinterest is a platform you can easily get sucked into for hours each and every day. It’s also a platform that requires your constant attention in order to drive consistent traffic to your content each month.
So, how do we use Tailwind as a social media management tool? For Pinterest & Instagram, once a week we pop into the platform to plan out our content. We schedule the content to post automatically throughout the week saving us tons of time each day. Just like you, we have to wear many hats. Because of that our time is limited and we often can’t be online during the best posting times. Thankfully, Tailwind does that for us and will even suggest the best times to post based on your analytics.
Tip: when using Tailwind for Instagram, make sure you set an alarm on your phone for when your post is going live. Don’t post and ghost! It’s important to ensure that you engage with your audience. Want more tips on how to use engagement to drive growth on Instagram? Check out our free Instagram guide to grow your following by 30% in just 30 days!
Creation is a huge part of building a social media strategy for any business. You may find yourself needing to create a designed graphic of an inspirational quote or simply overlay some text on an image to highlight your recent blog feature. For us, we are often in Photoshop to build and create these templates, but this platform is not free and does require some education.
This is where Canva comes in. We are constantly recommending this platform to our clients because of how easy it is to build beautiful, custom creative pieces for your business. You can use Canva to create Instagram story templates, branded images and graphics, Pinterest graphics, reviews and client testimonials and so much more.
These six social media management tools are how we stay on top of our content and posting strategy. We truly do use them all but they each serve a different purpose. If you are struggling to keep up or just feeling overwhelmed with the various social platforms, we highly recommend checking these out. Sometimes we all need a little help staying on track and organized and these tools help us do just that!
Still struggling with creating a social media strategy? Check out our 6 step guide on the blog.