Over the past two weeks I've started working with two new clients, and creating and managing their social media (in this case, Facebook and Instagram) is a major part of my work for each of them. Naturally, I'm interested in creating high-quality, engaging content. I'm doing both the photography and copy for their accounts, and now that I've wrapped my head around how often I'm going to post for them, I have a lot of content to create!
I'm excited about this opportunity because it allows me to flex my creative muscles and get back to something I've always enjoyed experimenting with: photography. I'm not a DSLR shooter, so instead I work with the solid foundation of my iPhone (just upgraded to a 7 Plus and am looking forward to mastering the new photo capabilities) combined with good lighting and composition. And then I get to have fun with the editing and scheduling process.
There are so many apps on the market that help you create and tinker with your images before you post them to social media platforms, as well as services that help you schedule and automate your posting. Here's a combination of apps that I rely on (aside from the social media platforms themselves, of course) and ones I'm looking forward to getting to know better:
If you've been on Instagram or even Facebook lately, you'll be familiar with this app, even if you didn't know what it was called. This app from Instagram allows you to record short video that is then replayed forwards and backwards in a loop. As they describe it, the result is "quirky moving snapshots you'll love showing off). You can post Boomerang videos the same way you post a standard photo to Instagram, and you can also post them to your Instagram Stories and add additional overlays. Here's one I took a few weeks ago at a new coffeeshop in town, and this one's from last spring. As you can see from the comment on the latter one, not everyone's a fan of the Boomerang effect, but a well-done Boomerang can win over even the skeptics. The key is not to make your entire feed Boomerang videos, but to use them judiciously.
Another app from Instagram, Hyperlapse shoots time-lapse videos using stabilization technology that produces results similar to what you would have needed expensive equipment for in the past. This is one I'm looking forward to trying out more. If you've used Hyperlapse, are you a fan?
This has been the most empowering tool that I've adopted in a long time. Canva is a design tool that is super, ridiculously user-friendly for the non-graphic-designers of the world (raising my hand here!). With a plethora of ready-to-go templates for online and print use (you can also input custom dimensions), along with free or very inexpensive fonts, shapes, images, and pre-designed layouts, I have been using Canva weekly to create quick Instagram images, ads, and other social media assets, such as Facebook cover photos. I also use it to create print pieces at my day job. It's been a revelation. I feel so much better equipped to quickly, easily, and attractively design what I need, anytime I need it. Canva has free and paid versions, but so far I haven't felt the need for anything more than the free service, which has suited my needs just fine.
I use Buffer to schedule content for one of my clients, who posts to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. I'm perfectly happy scheduling Facebook posts directly in Facebook, but Buffer is a great help with it comes to scheduling content on the other two platforms. Buffer's one of the top social media scheduling and reporting services, alongside Hootsuite and a few others. They also share highly valuable information through their blog and social media accounts. Do you have a favorite scheduling platform I haven't mentioned?
When it comes to scheduling posts for Instagram, it's not quite as automated a process as with Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. So for my clients who use Instagram, I've begun testing Later, which allows you to upload your photos for Instagram, plan your visual calendar, write your caption, and then schedule your timing for each post. But instead of posting for you (because it's not allowed to), it sends you an alert when the time has come to post to Instagram. Then with a few clicks you can upload the photo and copy your caption to Instagram, and hit publish. So far it's worked well!
This is another Instagram feed planner, which works similarly to Later. Preview also shows you hashtag analytics to help you make smart hashtag choices, and has custom filters to help you create a streamlined feed. With Instagram analytics for your account and "spy" features to watch other accounts (some of these features require upgrading to the pro version), Preview is worth checking out. For now I'm happy to edit in Instagram (the trick is to turn your phone to airplane mode while you're editing, and then when you hit publish the edited photo or video will fail to post, but it will be saved to your phone's camera roll for later use), but with Preview's filters I can see how this app would be a great choice for those who are looking to create a particularly stylized feed and want more options than Instagram provides.
So that's what I've been using, testing out, and liking lately. I'm eager to continue trying out more social media content-focused apps, especially ones that create interesting video effects. What am I missing out on? Tell me what you're loving lately -- I'm so curious to know!
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