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Top 5 Free Tools to Improve Your Social Media Game

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Social media marketing is a must-have, must-do if you want to promote your business or talent in today's competitive market.

It's no surprise then that individuals and brands alike constantly look for new ways to secure people's attention. The more creative you are, the better.

But while the creativity is all from you, the free five tools below will help you be more efficient and consistent with your social media game.

 

1. Hootsuite

It'd be nice to constantly be present on social media and be able to update your accounts around the clock. But it's not so easy to make time or to juggle different accounts at once. 

Enter Hootsuite. It's a free social media management tool that lets you manage your social media accounts and schedule your updates in advance. You can even post one message simultaneously across several platforms. Be a social media maven with half the time and energy.

In the above GIF, I'm scheduling a promotion of one of the articles by writing the message and including a photo. The message will be posted simultaneously on Twitter and Facebook, so I don't have to go to each individual platform and repeat myself. Very efficient!

Other notable features:

  • AutoScheduling (Just queue up as many messages as you like and Hootsuite will post them up at the best times)
  • Multiple streams of your social media accounts in the dashboard for easier monitoring
  • Analytics for the breakdown of your social media performance
 

2. Canva

Not everybody has the time or money to learn complicated design softwares. But everybody needs good-looking graphics!

That's why Canva should be your new bestfriend. It's a free design tool that makes designing as easy as drag-and-drop. You can design everything from Facebook covers to posters to wedding invitations or enter your own dimensions.

Unsure about where to start? No problem. Canva has plenty of modern and professional-looking pre-made templates that you can customize for your own needs. 

Here I'm customizing one of the quote templates by changing the colour and font. I then saved the design in PNG to post it on Instagram (or anywhere, really). Now that you can create your own graphics, your brand (and you) will instantly look so much more trustworthy and reliable.

Other notable features:

  • Extensive library of design elements - fonts, icons, shapes and more
  • Various dimensions optimized for social media platforms
  • Ability to save in multiple file formats
 

3. Latergramme

If you take photos using a camera or design graphics using your computer, it can be a hassle to transfer photos into your phone just to update Instagram.

Say hello to Latergramme! It's a free Instagram management tool that lets you manage your content right from your computer. OK, it's not a pure scheduling tool because you still need your phone, but all the heavy lifting is done! 

Here I uploaded a photo, typed the caption and scheduled it to be posted at 10 p.m. today. When 10 p.m. comes, I'll get a notification from the Latergramme app on my phone and will just need to tap on the 'Confirm & post now' option to post. 

Other notable features:

  • 'Search & repost' function that makes reposting tagged photos a breeze
  • Bulk message uploader
  • A media library where you can upload all the photos you're going to be using later
 

4. Grammarly

Do you sometimes have a Tweet or Facebook update that's about to be posted but you have that nagging feeling that your sentences aren't quite right? Do you check with a friend or just hit post (and regret later)?

Regret no more. Grammarly is a free online editor that checks for more than just typos. It considers your style, punctuation, contextual spellings and a host of other factors to let you write with confidence.

I wrote "Facebooq is awesomeee" and the typos were then highlighted in red. The best part is the suggestion cards that appear in the right-hand corner, which you can choose to accept or ignore. Makes the whole process much more educational!

Other notable features:

  • Ability to upload Word documents right into the editor
  • Ability to save and store your writings in the editor itself (like Google Drive)
  • Chrome extension that checks as you write anywhere on Chrome
 

5. LICEcap

There are times where I need something that has more oomph than a normal graphic or photo, but is less hassle than a video. A GIF is perfect for these occasions because it's eye-catching and usually just a few seconds long.

It may have a less than savoury name, but LICEcap has been my best discovery so far. All the GIFs you saw in the above points are made using this free software. It works much like a screen capture tool (or the Sniping Tool on Windows), except that you can record activities on your screen.

I made this mini GIF presentation by inserting the photos on Microsoft Powerpoint, running the LICEcap software and going through the slides. You can do the same for a quick presentation on your products, explaining how to use your website and more. It's insanely useful.

Other notable feature:

  • Ability to adjust the recording size (small part or the whole screen)
 

Who doesn't want to be more efficient? When you're more purposeful with your time, your social media game will be much more cohesive and streamlined. The result is a professional-looking account that people won't think twice to follow. 

Which one of the tools is your favourite?

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4 Easy Steps to Promote Your Product Using Cross Promotion

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Every brand on Instagram or other social media has their own audience. A group of people who follow them, are interested in what they offer and are likely to buy from them. Your brand has its own audience, too.

How can you increase this audience? How can you get more people who are interested in your products and will possibly buy them?

The answer is by cross-promoting with another brand. 

 

Cross-promotion with another brand

Cross-promotion is one of the most natural methods of marketing a product. You basically promote another brand's product in your platforms, while that brand does the same for your product in their platforms. 

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You and your brand-partner create a mutually-beneficial marketing campaign that will help you:

  1. Reach each other's market. Their audience will get to know your brand and product, and vice versa. Both sides get to increase their audience. 
  2. Introduce some variety into your feed. You can post photos that aren't just about your products.
  3. Show how your product is used/can be used. You get to demonstrate just how great your product fits into the customers' lives.
  4. Build good relationships with other brands. Who knows, maybe you can collaborate again on an exciting project in the future?

The best way to cross-promote is by exchanging the actual products. Brand A gets Brand B's product and vice versa. This makes the cross-promotion more engaging and natural, instead of just reposting a photo. 

And because you get something in return, it's friendlier to your budget. Think of it like a business barter!

Now let's look at the 4 easy steps you can take to cross-promote your product.

 

Step 1: Brainstorm on other products and services that are related to your product.

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The first step is to find a product (or service) to be cross-promoted with yours. Brainstorm as many as you can and make sure that they go well together. This means that:

  1. The product is not competing with yours. That's just trouble, pal.
  2. The product is not indirectly competing with yours. Cakes and cookies may go well together, but those cookies might steal the spotlight. 
  3. The product's uses complement yours. If they can be photographed together, all the better!

It's better to get something that complements your product rather than something completely random, because it won't make the cross-promotion seem 'forced' or 'unnatural'. For this example, Brand A is going with ceramic plates. 

 

Step 2: Identify the brand that you'd like to cross-promote with.

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The next step is to find a brand that you'd like to partner with. Let's say that there are quite a few brands selling ceramic plates. Which one should Brand A choose?

Brand A should choose to partner with a brand that has similar branding or values. This common ground will make the partnership look 'right' and help Brand A attract customers that will be more likely to enjoy its cakes. 

Before you settle on a brand-partner, ask these questions:

  1. How does the brand describe itself? Do some of the words match how I describe my brand?
  2. Would I be happy to be associated with that brand?
  3. Does the brand have the type of customers that I want to attract?
 

Step 3: Contact the brand with your cross-promotion idea.

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The third step is to reach out to the brand with your cross-promotion idea. It's always advisable to email them first to gauge their interest.

In the email, you should mention that you're interested in cross-promoting with them by exchanging products. Other things you can include are:

  1. Why cross-promoting is a great idea. (Hey, you can link them to this article!)
  2. Why you chose their brand to partner with.
  3. Their exact product that you're interested in.
  4. Your product that will complement theirs. (Attach a nice photo!)
  5. Your contact information and social media profiles.

Tip: If you want to make sure that they don't overlook your email, drop a quick comment at one of their social media profiles saying you've emailed them. 

 

Step 4: Set clear expectations for both sides.

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Once they've agreed to your idea and the exchange has been carried out, set expectations that will make the cross-promotion a win-win situation. Both sides must come out happy!

By being crystal-clear about what you expect, you prevent miscommunication and ensure the cross-promotion gets carried out perfectly. Some of the details you'll want to be clear about are: 

  1. The social media platforms involved. Instagram, Twitter and/or Facebook?
  2. The frequency of promotion. How many posts in the span of 1 month?
  3. The features to be highlighted. What to mention in the captions? Any specific words?
  4. The social media profiles to be used. Give all the usernames so that there'll be no mix-ups.

Tip: If you're extra-cautious, set expectations before exchanging the products.

 

Now that the preliminaries have been taken care of, cross-promote away! Be creative and generous with how you promote the other product. After all, they're doing the same for you too. If the cross-promotion works well, it can open doors to further collaborations down the road. Maybe you and the other brand can work together to create a totally unique and beautiful product. My favourite collaboration of Malaysian brands so far is Nelissa Hilman x A Soap Affair, where they teamed up to create the Feet For A Queen soap

Which brand would you like to work with?

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