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Blah to Brilliant: 25 Free Resources That Will Make Your Social Media Pages Shine

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Turning ho-hum social media pages into effective marketing tools that help build your brand, spread your message and connect with your customers isn’t difficult, but it does take time, effort and know-how. We’ve pulled together 25 free resources you can use to develop five key areas of your social media marketing: style, voice, images, content and posting strategy. Put what you learn into practice, and watch your social media pages go from blah to brilliant.

Style

Determining your social media style is important and should be one of the first steps in creating your social media presence. Your style revolves around your brand identity, telling your audience who you are and what your brand represents. The look, feel and messaging should consistently represent your style on each social channel.

  1. Start with these tips as you consider building your social style and presence.
  2. Create a style guide to keep your messaging consistent across all platforms. This is no small feat, especially if you have more than one content creator onboard. Make it easier to manage with a clear style guide that everyone uses.

Voice

Your “voice” can be thought of as your brand’s persona boiled down to just one adjective. A brand persona is the collection of a business’ personality traits, attitudes, values and strengths –  human-like characteristics that are easy for customers to relate to and bond with. So, your brand’s voice could be professional, quirky, lively or scholarly, for example. Pick the best adjective that describes your business and build on that.

  1. If you need help defining your brand’s persona and finding your voice, check out this helpful template from Blue Steele that walks you through the process using a grid-based exercise.
  2. Design Shack gives more information, like typography and color, to consider as you build your persona and narrow down your brand’s voice.
  3. Tone is another aspect of your voice and can be adjusted depending on your audience and channel, as long as the messaging rings true for your brand persona and stays consistent. Buffer has a helpful article that explains social media voice and tone.
  4. Marketer Harriet Cummings wrote an extensive blog post on finding your brand’s tone of voice, with examples and advice on how to determine yours.

Images

The human brain processes images about 60,000 times faster than it does text, which is important to understand as you develop your social media channels. Those split seconds matter when it comes to attracting, and keeping, existing and potential customers’ attention.

Consider that Facebook posts with images get 2.3 times more engagement than plain-Jane text posts, and Buffer says its tweets with images were retweeted 150 percent more than text-only tweets. Here are resources to get you started:

  1. Profile pics are important, so choose your profile image wisely. If you need some help, here’s some advice.
  2. Check out BufferSocial’s overview of 14 tools to create engaging images for your posts. You’ll find links for creating photo collages, infographics and even how to make images from quotes.
  3. Timeline Slicer is a free, easy-to-use app to help you slice and dice images to fit in your Facebook Timeline.

Looking for the perfect image to go with your posts but don’t have much budget? Here are several sites that offer free (or very low cost) images, and a few free photo editors:

  1. FreeImages offers an exhaustive directory of open-source images.
  2. Picjumbo features totally free photos for commercial and personal works and is packed with high-resolution images.
  3. Stockvault offers 64,000 images, including logo templates, backgrounds and clipart.
  4. PicMonkey is an all-in-one editor for photos, designs and collages and allows you to choose your quality level, then customize your edits using a wide variety of filters and fonts. This tool offers many of its services for free.
  5. Canva is a web-based editor with a focus on graphic design with features such as pre-measured layouts made specifically for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

Content

Content is the meat of your social media and includes all messaging from 140-character Twitter posts to 2,000-word blog posts.

  1. Marketer Katie Hickey offers Tips for Writing More Shareable Content to help you write effective posts that your audience will connect with.
  2. Social Media Examiner gives practical suggestions on how to write content that will generate leads.
  3. Here’s an overview from Social Marketing Writing on how to draft the perfect social media post. Some takeaways: use keywords, use dynamic visuals and be helpful. Check out the post for more advice.
  4. Not sure what to write about? Try a content idea generator, and don’t forget to write an attention-grabbing headline.
  5. If you’re up for something fun that gets your audience involved, ask them to help you decide what to write about.
  6. Content curation is great way to enhance your content marketing. Check out Content Marketing Institute’s tips on curating like a pro.

Content Posting Strategy

Effective social media marketing is the successful merging of your brand’s style, voice, images and content, all pulled together with a clear posting strategy.

When determining your content strategy and schedule, make sure to define what type of content you plan to use (tips, promotions, engagement posts like polls and questions, press releases or general comments, etc.) and how often you plan to post each type.

Your posting frequency will depend on your social media goals, how your customers/audience use your social channels and the type of content you produce. Some factors to consider as you create your content schedule include your business’ seasonality, any press coverage you have or anticipate, your company’s promotions and planned events. Here are several resources and tools to help you develop and manage your posting strategy:

  1. Start with a thorough tutorial on creating a content strategy.
  2. Hootsuite strongly suggests using a social media content posting calendar to keep track of and to optimize your efforts.
  3. Buffer is an easy way to share your content to social media channels on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn. Buffer can schedule your posts in advance, and you can re-share older content by re-buffering from the app’s dashboard.
  4. Buzzstream provides services to help with link building, and you can find others who may want to share your content.
  5. Edgar is a useful tool for reposting content from your archives. It also helps with “evergreen” promotions by linking to your social channels and sharing old content at a regular drip.

Have you turned your social media pages from blah to brilliant? Tell us how in the comments below.

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Kabbage Team

The Kabbage Team is here to not only fund the small business loans you need, but to help you grow your business through free marketing tips, webinars, tools and more. Is there something you'd like us to cover or want to get your small business featured on our blog? Send us a note at content@kabbage.com.

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