Stop. Before reading this article, take a breath and answer these questions:
As a freelancer, what is your goal with social media?
- Do you want to get more prospects for your services?
- Do you simply do it because you think you must?
- Do you want to grow a digital business?
- Do you want to build your personal brand?
- Do you want to help people understand a certain topic?
- Do you want to get more followers?
- Do you want to get a new job?
Social media is a powerful tool to help you build a personal brand online. Especially as a freelancer, you want to position yourself as an expert in a certain niche to stand out and to get more prospects for your services. Before you can start building your freelancer brand online, you must know who you are and what it is that you want to stand for.
The fundamental recipe to stand out on social media as an expert is simple: investigate your desired audience and develop the right content to position yourself. Identify white spaces or niche topics that other experts do not cover yet. Produce the best possible content and provide real value. While this sounds easy, it gets tricky once you start to work on your social presence. Social media marketing is a lot about understanding the mechanics of each platform. You have to keep up with all the changes to keep growing an effective audience.
There are many social networks out there. Sometimes it can get messy to manage all of them if you want to do it right. While understanding your audience is key to developing a strong freelancer brand online, there are some tools that allow you to maximize the impact of every single hour of work you put into social marketing. Here is a collection of six tools which may help you to save time and to become more effective in your efforts.
Here Are 6 Tools to Dominate Social Media as a Freelancer
Hashtagify is the perfect tool if you want to research hashtags. It helps by providing insights into hashtag performance and most important influencers for each hashtag. Furthermore, Hashtagify shows related hashtags.
When you begin to develop your personal brand as a freelancer, you have to identify the right keywords first. It is all about investigating your audience and understanding who you are targeting. In this phase, you will spend quite some time analyzing hashtags and keywords on various social networks. Twitter and Instagram are especially known for the use of hashtags. The idea behind hashtags is to understand the current conversation about those topics. This will help you to understand the current market and to position your freelancer brand effectively.
This is the moment when Hashtagify comes into play. With this tool, you can get the full picture of what is going on for certain keywords on those platforms. Simply enter your search and get the insights. Hashtagify provides you with a detailed overview of how many posts are being posted into certain hashtags. It will also show you if a hashtag is currently trending or if the traffic volume is declining.
Another very insightful section at Hashtagify shows you top influencers in a certain keyword. This overview shows you who else is currently contributing a lot to this topic. Those accounts can be potential partners or competitors for you. No matter what they will be for you, they are a great resource for research. Have a look at their content output and investigate their performance. This might be a great source of inspiration for your content strategy.
One of the most helpful features of Hashtagify is the list of related hashtags. With those, you can take your research further. Usually, you will have some keywords in mind on which you want to position yourself as an expert. With the related hashtag feature, you can enrich them with other trending keywords. Investigate the performance of all those words and select a set of 10-15 keywords that you want to use regularly. Those hashtags will define how you position your brand as a freelancer. Out of those you can select 2-3 as your priority hashtags. Those you will typically use in almost all your posts.
- Get the full picture with comprehensive keyword insights for Twitter and Instagram
- Identify hashtag opportunities and strengthen your positioning
Hootsuite is a great social media dashboard. It is the right tool if you want to build your own dashboard of multiple streams across different social networks. It helps to monitor conversations and topics, and you can follow hashtags.
Hootsuite is one of the most famous social media dashboards. The core feature of Hootsuite—which is called ‘Streams’—allows the user to create flexible dashboards. In a first step, you connect your social networks. Hootsuite supports Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Linkedin, WordPress, Instagram, and YouTube. Once connected, you can add the various streams from every social network and build a custom dashboard.
The dashboards in Hootsuite will allow you to see filtered streams of messages. You can respond directly to incoming messages in the same view.
Hootsuite also offers pre-scheduling with extensive features such as accessing targeting options, link shortening, auto-queueing, and more. There is a marketplace for apps which will add new features to your Hootsuite dashboard.
Nevertheless, for personal use, the best-in-class feature of Hootsuite is the ability to build those dashboards to listen to conversations. You can easily enter hashtags that you want to position yourself in and follow them. Doing that, you can monitor what’s going on. You will develop an understanding of the conversation and the other people active in your niche.
A great way to use this feature is to build combinations of hashtags that you follow on Twitter. As you may realize that your favorite hashtags are full of spam, this helps to narrow down the tweets you are looking at. You can even exclude retweets from the stream to make it cleaner.
Here is an example of a Twitter word combination that you can follow on a Hootsuite dashboard: ‘blog marketing exclude:retweets’
- Well-arranged, flexible dashboards to follow online conversations
- A single tool to listen to conversations and to publish content
Buffer is right for you if you want to share your posts across multiple social networks with minimum effort. Especially if you want to integrate Linkedin into your posting strategy, Buffer is perfect for you.
Buffer is a great tool to manage the postings on your profiles across several social networks. In contrast to most social media dashboards out there, Buffer simplifies prescheduling of posts by allowing you to store upcoming posts in a simple queue. You can control the publishing schedule by simply choosing posting times per day.
Buffer can connect to your profiles on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram. On Facebook, Linkedin, and Google+, you can connect your personal profile and company pages as well. On Facebook, there is the additional option to connect groups.
While other social media tools provide you with more features like the possibility to respond to incoming comments, Buffer can be called best-in-class when it comes to structuring your output across multiple accounts. With its unique way of structuring your posts in a queue and easy drag and drop features, you can model your profiles’ streams in the easiest possible way.
- Best-in-class, simple, and convenient social media prescheduling
- Connectivity to other services (g., Zapier)
Later is the right tool for you if you have a strong focus towards Instagram. As soon as you start to work with Later’s image archive, you will not want to miss the simple way to schedule your images anymore.
If your focus is on Instagram, Later may be worth a look for you. Instagram is the best social network when it comes to sharing images. Later is a social media management tool which initially targeted only Instagram users. It was formerly called Latergramme.
What makes particularly Later special is the outstanding drag and drop calendar view. On the left side, you will see images from your library. On the right side, there is the calendar. You can simply drag and drop an image from the left side to the calendar to schedule a new post. To make it even easier Later offers to auto-schedule posts according to a pre-set schedule.
Besides Instagram, Later supports Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest as social networks to post to.
Another great feature of Later is the ability to store captions. This will allow you to create sets of hashtags that you want to use for multiple posts. With this feature, you do not have to type those hashtags again and again but can easily add them with one click.
It is important to mention that prescheduling on Instagram works differently from almost every other platform. As Instagram does not allow fully automated posting, you cannot simply preschedule a post and it will go up later. Once it is time to get the post out, Later will send you a notification to your smartphone. Clicking this notification will easily bring you to the Instagram app with the image already opened. Also, the caption text will already be stored in the clipboard, and you only have to paste it.
While this mechanism takes more effort than fully automated posting, it is the best you can get for Instagram. Also, the prescheduling features of Buffer and Hootsuite rely on the same principle. There are other services out there that offer fully automated posting to Instagram. Be careful with those as they are always using some tricky mechanisms to bypass Instagram’s rules.
- Outstanding image archive feature to simplify post pre-scheduling
- Instagram-first approach with smart features (g., saved captions)
Zapier is the best tool you can use to automate tasks in your online marketing. By connecting to all your social networks and digital tools, you can speed up repetitive tasks. Zapier gives you superpowers and allows you to manage multiple accounts easily.
Marketing automation is a big topic for larger marketing teams and agencies. With Zapier you can automate your personal online presence in a super easy way. You can check the Zapier app directory to have a look at the more than 750 apps and networks which are supported.
The most important supported apps for your personal online presence will be all the social networks (like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Linkedin, Pinterest), Google Drive with all its apps, Gmail, Trello, Evernote, and almost every todo app. Zapier even allows connecting with apps like Paypal and Google Analytics to automate your online business. You can also connect it to the previously mentioned Buffer and Hootsuite.
The basic concept of Zapier is to have a triggering app which starts an automation, and one or multiple triggered actions. During the flow of an action, you can manipulate incoming data, process it through other apps, and deliver it to your desired endpoint.
Very simple applications for Zapier could be to automatically share images you post on Instagram to Twitter. In contrast to direct sharing via Instagram’s app, this allows you to natively upload images to Twitter and to avoid the link to your Instagram profile in every single tweet.
Here are some ideas of what you can do with Zapier in your personal online presence:
- Synchronize your todo app with your time tracking app
- Automatically add new contacts to your CRM to your phone’s address book
- Add new entries to your Buffer when you upload new images to a Google Drive folder
- Send a Slack message when you receive a comment on your blog
- Curate content from RSS feeds and add entries to a Google spreadsheet
- Automatically add images to your Pinterest pages once you post them on Instagram
- Share new blog posts from your WordPress blog on your social media profiles
- Connectivity to almost all social networks and major digital tools
- Flexible multi-step automation to create highly customized workflows
Canva is the easiest way to create remarkable images for your social media and blog posts. The simple web app provides templates that will make your designs look great.
When you start to position yourself as a freelancer, you will begin to create your own blog posts and share stuff on social media. If you are a designer, you are lucky and can skip this section. If not, this may help you a lot.
On social media, there is a lot of noise. In the meantime, most people understand that image posts get more visibility and engagement on social networks than pure text posts. Also on your personal freelancer blog, you want to have compelling images to accompany your texts. Photoshop is a great tool to create those images. The only downside to this is that you will need to acquire excellent design skills to get proper results from it.
If you want to speed things up, there is an alternative: Canva. This easy web app provides you with templates and simple design features. Canva is like Photoshop on rails. Just open the app and start to design. In minutes, you will have a result which looks compelling.
In Canva, you can store, download, and share your created images. There are many free templates and bricks to choose from. If you want to advance your images more, you can even buy some more sophisticated designs from the built-in store.
- Create compelling images even if you have no design skills
- Fast and straightforward app without distractions
Before you go…
This list of tools will help you to build an efficient setup to manage your social media presence as a freelancer. While successful marketing always takes some effort, you can minimize the time you have to spend to make a significant impact. These tools aim to power up your content creation by providing valuable input to your conception phase. They assist in the creation of outstanding images and help you to distribute your posts across multiple networks with ease. Especially when it comes to automation, you can leverage every single click you take and multiply its return.
Of course, all those tools will not help you if you do not formalize a proper strategy. So think twice before you start using them. Not all those tools will be helpful in your particular case. Evaluate each tool and see if it can contribute real value to your marketing. In the end, it is not about using tools but about connecting with your audience. A tool will never be able to add superpowers to your marketing that you did not own by yourself. So focus on creating valuable content at first. Have something to say and be an expert in your niche. If you are great in helping people, you will also be successful in your social marketing efforts. Those tools will help you to reduce the hours you are spending for it each week.
What tools are you using in your social marketing as a freelancer? Are you working with one of the tools mentioned above?