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Building your personal brand is hard. I know that. I’ve tried it myself. I’m still trying.
Aside from the time-saving aspect of personal brand photography, what other resources are out there to help busy entrepreneurs stay on top of their workload and schedule their social media?
I’ve put together a handful of productivity and scheduling apps and websites that I have found the most useful for growing my personal brand.
Disclaimer: the word “schedule” appears quite often in this blog post. Sorry.
Buffer is a social media batch scheduler that allows you three social account profiles on their free version with ten posts a month to each one.
Upgrading to one of their paid plans from about £13 a month gives you more profiles, more posts and more team members for larger businesses.
You can insert text, images, links, emojis and videos into a post, then simply select however many social accounts you want to post to.
Buffer is very simple to use, although sometimes you may have to make an amendment to a link, image or text before you can schedule the post.
It shows your posts as a queue list. You can either set it to show you only the posts you have scheduled, or also include a number of open time slots should you wish to fill them. However I find the Queue of posts not as easy to get an overall view of the month’s posts as you get with the monthly calendar view in Later (see below).
Basically a free, scaled down web version of Indesign, but without the steep learning curve. Canva can be used to create your social media images, overlay quotes and text, create templates, flyers, price lists and more.
Canva helpfully shows a variety of social media templates at the right size for Instagram, Facebook banners, Twitter images and Pinterest posts.
All you need to do is upload some of your photographs, click and drag them into place, drop in some text and away you go!
It also gives some free lines, shapes, photos and frames that you can use. More complex designs are available to purchase if you need to include them in your design.
Or, you can upgrade to Canva for Work at around £11 a month and get more advanced features such as uploading your brand font and colours, resize your designs to a different template and more support. However I have been using the free version for a while now and it has been more than sufficient.
Canva is fun to use! Set aside some time to get together some photographs, design some social media posts and churn out a few of them in one sitting. You’ll be surprised how many you will end up with after only an hour of playing around.
You probably know by now that I’m a huge fan of Evernote! I use it daily for everything: a bullet journal, recipe folder, travel documentation, business templates and more.
Use it to plan your month, week or year with a journal. Keep track of your blog post ideas and tick them off when they are published.
I also use it to type up long posts for Instagram. This is much easier to do on a computer or laptop keyboard and when the text is copied across into Instagram or Later (see below), it keeps the formatting correct! Asterisks, emojis and everything!
Install it on your desktop, mobile and tablet and your files will sync over wi-fi, so you can work on something on one device and edit it later on another. You can also save your notebooks offline, which is very useful if you use it to type up notes in a meeting where you don’t have internet access.
If you struggle to stay focused on your work because you are constantly getting alerts from your email or notifications from social media, try Freedom.
Freedom is a website blocker that stops you from browsing time-wasting websites or shopping online.
Choose from a preselected list of sites, or make your own with the ones you know you find hard to resist.
You can either set it to run for a certain amount of time like 15 minutes, an hour or two while you are busy, or with the Premium version set up a complete timed ban on certain websites apart from, say, half an hour twice a week to check on your social media.
Don’t worry about not being present on social media all the time. You have Buffer and / or Later to organise all your upcoming posts, so you don’t need as much time to have a check on any activity on your pages or feed.
People are beginning to realise that even entrepreneurs need time away from social media to relax at home with their family, they won’t begrudge you if you don’t reply within two minutes of their comment. That’s why personal brand photography exists, to get you away from social media!
However I would recommend setting up a post or messenger reply stating the times you check social media and emails so anyone who enquires knows when to expect a response.
Later is similar to Buffer in that you can schedule posts from up to three social media accounts in the free service, but it is tailored more towards Instagram. It also has a more generous 30 posts per month for Instagram and Facebook, and 50 for Twitter.
Not only does it send your posts automatically, there is a companion mobile app (which you have to install for the desktop web app to work) that lets you preview how your feed will look with all your scheduled images.
You can also batch other social media accounts through Later, but they must include an image or video. For photographers and videographers, this is a great way to motivate you into into including your media instead of just using text.
There is also an analytics menu where you can see how your profile and posts are performing.
Unlike Buffer, where you can insert any text across all your social accounts at once into one box, with Later it’s a copy and paste job. However it is probably just as quick given that Buffer posts sometimes need a tweak or two before they are ready to be scheduled.
I’ve only recently discovered Later, but it has quickly became my favourite batch auto-poster. It has become so satisfying to see the calendar month laid out in the web app with Instagram content prepared for almost every day, whereas before I was barely managing to post once a week.
This website monitors your blog and whenever you publish a new post, it will create a drip “campaign” containing text snippets, quotes and images from your post. You can review it, make any adjustments, then set it off to post to your social media accounts throughout the next year.
At first it can seem a bit fiddly and Facebook requires manual text entry to each post before it can be saved. Twitter and LinkedIn are thankfully more straightforward.
It works best with posts that have a handful of images in them so you can use them all and change things up. If you only have one or two images you will end up with mostly text and quote bubbles which can get a bit repetitive.
Also, because of the time between each post (0, 3, 7, 14, 30, 90, 180, 270, 365 days), sometimes you will have a few posts going out together if you set up a handful of campaigns in one go; but as the year goes on the time between the posts gets longer, so you can end up with a month or so before a new post appears.
If you were publishing blogs once or twice weekly and creating a new campaign with them all every week, you may have a more consistent spread across the year.
However, even with my sporadic blogging it is good to know that Missinglettr is still sending out the occasional post to my social media without me having to worry about it.
There you have it! Some useful resources to help you plan your social media, organise your work and remove online distractions. What other apps or resources do you enjoy using to help you grow your brand or stay focused on your business?