Small businesses can’t deny it anymore – if your business is not on social media then you are missing out on important connections with existing and potential customers. Every time a client comes through the door for a free consult, they raise the same questions about social media, chief among them, “what tools can we use for our digital marketing and social-media management?” Here are some easy-to-use and free/affordable digital marketing tools you can use for your small business.
Canva is one of the best tools out there for creating graphics for your small business. It is free to use and if you need to buy their stockphoto and premium graphics, it’s only US$1 a pop. Use Canva for things like Facebook headers, digital advertising graphics, leaflets, presentations, social media posts and more. There are plenty of templates to choose from and you don’t need to know a lot about design as it’s all drag and drop.
Facebook Business Manager
If you are going to run a Facebook advertising campaign, then you need Facebook Business Manager. It is a free platform that you can use to organise all your advertising campaigns on the social-media platform. This is where you set how much money you are going to use for which campaigns and for how long. You can create several target audiences and save them for future use. It also provides analytics on your digital-marketing efforts. The tool allows you to get someone else to manage your advertising campaigns without giving them access to your personal Facebook account or your password and credit card details.
Electronic direct mail is still one of the most effective ways to keep in touch with your customers, and Mailchimp is one of the most popular tools for doing this. It’s free to use and easy to navigate. The templates are already created for you and all you need to do is drag and drop your logo and pictures. Use Mailchimp for newsletters, discount codes, coupons and the like. The tool now includes a “landing page” feature that you can customise so it is consistent with your own small business’s branding.
As a small business, you want to plan your content strategy ahead of time and schedule your posts so you don’t have to be online all of the time. But Instagram doesn’t let you schedule posts that get automatically published on your account. Apps such as Preview, Hootsuite, Buffer and Later allow you to pre-prepare your Instagram posts with all your chosen captions and grouped hashtags, but you still need to do the final posting yourself as these apps can only send a reminder of your chosen posting time and you still need to publish the post yourself. To date only been paid services such Onlypult can automatically publish the post you scheduled without needing your help. If your brand is heavy on Instagram, it’s worth paying the monthly fee for it.
Video is king of engagement, and short and professional-looking videos make your small business stand out on social media. Animoto is Canva for videos, featuring a drag and drop system, heaps of templates (square ones, too), a library of free background music and the videos only take minutes to create. Unfortunately, it’s not free, but if you make a lot of short clips, this is the easiest one to use.
Figure out what you will need most and don’t worry about the rest, because you also don’t need to be on every social-media platform. Besides, you always have the choice of hiring an agency that caters to small businesses to help you with your digital marketing and social-media management.
Kristyn Levis, Creative Director, 3C Digital