I was recently laid off from my position as an Area Social Media Manager for five local hotels. I wasn’t sure how social media was going to be handled but I knew somewhere in my gut that they’d just push it back on the hotels and thus the overworked staff to get it done. The smart properties would find someone at least willing to put in the time/energy or point to one of their ‘go-getter’ staff to fill in after no one ‘was doing it for them.’ I sent a couple of those people at one of my formerly-repped hotels a short list of resources I’d use if I were in their shoes and thought it may be helpful for me (and maybe others) to get it all down for future reference – so without further ado:
Where to start
What do you like on social media? What kind of content would get you to like the page? If you are ‘just checking a box’ so your boss doesn’t get mad about how many times you’ve posted this week – then don’t really worry about it. But if you actually care, put some thought into it. Start there. Follow some brands you like, doesn’t have to me in your industry but bonus points if they are. Follow your competitors and do a quick search for top social media accounts that are applicable to what you’re doing – imitate and do better.
Let’s talk quickly about things that eat a lot of time: You have an idea for a post but have 4 different platforms you want to post it on. Or maybe you want to monitor a few key terms or when someone geotags your business or even uses a hashtag you’ve been pushing for the past six months. You open the native app on your phone, then search for the thing you need, get distracted by something else and coming back to the task at hand 20 minutes later to see you’ve missed a post from three days ago. Let’s streamline things, shall we?
Everyone hates it, but uses it anyway: Facebook Native
Facebook API sucks (or apps haven’t figure out how to perfect the ‘preview’). Couple that with Facebooks infamous consistent “Thursday” feature dropping [bug squashing / testing] and you’ve got a terrible place to “just dump” content. Do yourself a favor – schedule posts natively in Facebook. It sucks, I 100% agree, but it’s honestly the only way to make sure the link you shared doesn’t fall into the hell dump of some horrible preview image or a handful of stupid glitchy garbage that can happen when not crafting natively. Posting to Facebook? Do it there.
For listening and scheduling: Hootsuite
Are there better, more effective listening tools? Yes. Are there better scheduling tools? Shit yeah. What about better analytics? Of course. But bang for your buck – Hootsuite is dead-simple and amazingly effective at all three for a very reasonable price. Things it does well: Twitter scheduling, search & monitoring, Instagram scheduling, search & monitoring. Things it sucks at: Their mobile app is painfully unreliable for IG notifications (check it often, more so after updates), geo-fencing (beta).
For easy-as-pie, set it and forget it scheduling: Buffer.
I’ve loved buffer for a very long time for a couple reasons: G+ & Pinterst integration, plus that sweet sweet “rebuffer.” Long story short: not everyone on twitter will see your post at the one time you posted it, so if you toss it back up tomorrow 5 hours later, or sometime next week – that is cool with Buffer. The program also elegantly handles calendars, automatically pulls, sets and rolls ‘best posting times.” Things it does well: Scheduling, handling “pretty much everything” you want to post on, bit.ly integration. Things it sucks at: Analytics/reporting are clunky if existent, & doesn’t “listen.”
Make pretty pictures:
Meet your new best friend: Canva. It’s a super-simple graphical magic-maker. Slap a bunch of crap together, use their templates for guidance, build out your supplemental images for social in minutes instead of hours/days. I STRONGLY suggest buying into the Pro version for the brand color, logo/image folders, premium graphics, premium templates, brand templates, and font branding addons. It’s astonishing how any small business ever handled digital media design before Canva.
Need a picture? Don’t just ‘google’ images and rip that stuff down to claim it as yours, do the right thing and collect free commercial-friendly stock from legit sources. I use AllTheFreeStock as my go-to. Their website makes sifting through many search sites pain-free, as not all search sites index the same free stock available out there. Two tips: 1) grab and keep EVERYTHING you don’t use and 2) always get it at a higher resolution than you intend to use it at.
Utilize a photo editor, free entry-level image editing software like VSCO and Snapseed are tops imo. Don’t just take one dark photo and slap an over-saturated Instagram filter on there and act like it doesn’t look like garbage. If you want to take your photography up a notch – see also: you’re literally doing everything anyway – use Lightroom.
Top photo tips:
- Take 5+ photos of what you want to share before being ‘done’.
- Move around – try shooting from another angle, move the things around a bit
- Experiment – if you don’t have photo brand standards to live by, try different things and see how they work.
- A shitty camera can always be made up with by solid photography, don’t hang your hat on a DSLR if your smartphone shots suck/need work.
- Food needs natural light.
- Avoid “low light” at all costs, no matter the subject