This is a guest post by our friend Mike Marani.

It seems like everywhere you turn there are new social media platforms popping up, and even more fancy new apps or websites to help you maximize your social media marketing skills. Though choice is good, sometimes too much choice can be paralyzing. If you happen to be new to utilizing social media as a part of your digital marketing strategy, then you probably have no idea where to start.

To help, I’ve compiled the top 5 resources that can help you, no matter what skill level you’re at, not only successfully manage, but absolutely kill it with your social media accounts. So let’s get down to business:

1. Canva

Summary: Canva is an extremely user-friendly web-based design platform. This tool enables you to quickly create and design beautiful graphics. The site provides thousands of stock images (free and at a cost) that can be used within a design. Common dimension layouts are provided (Facebook covers, blog graphic, poster, Instagram posts, and more) or if you’re looking for something more specific you can use custom dimensions. After you’ve created an image, you can download it to your computer to use however you see fit.

Social Media Strategy: Canva is great because it can be used for a variety of social media platforms. Bloggers can create a title image and use that same image to catch more attention when sharing a link. Be sure to check out those preset graphic layouts that will have you ready to share immediately!

Bottom Line: If you’re overwhelmed and can only pick one, pick Canva. It offers value across multiple platforms within and beyond social media. The drawback would be that it can become time consuming if you’re overly particular. It is not hard to find yourself adjusting the placement of your text for excessive amounts of time. To take full advantage of canvas without allowing it to slow you down, I recommend you give yourself a time limit to complete a design.

2. Hootsuite

Summary: Though this is definitely an oversimplification, Hootsuite is a web-based social media management tool that enables users to create a hub of their own chosen social media platforms with the ability to schedule posts, create analytics reports, and easily keep an eye on competitors.

Social Media Strategy: If you like to batch your tasks for efficiency, or you don’t regularly monitor your social account feeds, then Hootsuite is perfect for you. The key use I would recommend is the scheduling option. You can create all of your posts for the next month and schedule them all in one sitting.

Bottom Line: If you regularly use your current platforms and/or only have one or two that you use then this may not be for you. Alternatively, if you have a ton of content to share and multiple places to share it, then Hootsuite will save you a ton of time and ensure that your audience stays engaged.

3. Feedly

Summary: Feedly is a powerful tool that creates a customized news feed that allows you to select your sources of information. Blogs, social media platforms, and YouTube videos are just some of the content options. The interface allows users to easily read articles from a variety of sources with a scroll or a click (or quick swipes of the thumb if you’re mobile)

Social Media Strategy: Feedly seamlessly integrates with all major social media platforms, which means if you find an article that can help your audience, you can put it in front of them with just a click (or two) of a button. Depending on the sources you select, it also can help you easily learn what is new in the world of social media.

Bottom Line: If you find yourself sharing content that you’ve created, this tool can help you engage viewers more without bombarding them with all of your own work. Even more importantly, sharing another author’s content is a great way to network. Reciprocity is important in the digital world (we’re talking about backlinks here) and usually you can form mutually-beneficial relationships just by reaching out and asking.

4. WordSwag

Summary: A mobile app (currently $3.99 USD in the App Store), WordSwag allows you to very quickly (most importantly, automatically) add text to your images, creating absolutely beautiful graphics. If a significant amount of your work is done from your iPhone or iPad, then this app is the perfect companion to Canva for you.

Social Media Strategy: Once you have your final image, similar to Feedly, you can easily post these images to your platforms. Within the app, after you create the image, you select your social media account and are able to add an accompanied message.

Bottom Line: This is practically a mobile version of Canva. In exchange you lose some design options but gain automatic designing and easier access to posting directly to your chosen social media platform. Since it is a paid app, I personally think there should be more stock image options or they should consider the Canva model where an account is free but some images are a nominal fee.

5. Stackables

Summary: This is a mobile photo app that enables users to add filters and other effects to images. The app can easily access photos directly from your phone, which then allows you to filter and adjust them as you see fit.

Social Media Strategy: If you understand the importance of great aesthetics, then you will understand the value of Stackables. Though it may not be necessary if you’re primary social media choice is Instagram, it can certainly help your images stand out on Facebook and Twitter.

Bottom Line: This is a great tool that can make an amateur look like a professional. That said, you can once again find yourself spending way too much time contemplating over the “eternal bliss” layer or the “honey” layer. So be aware of your time, and just pick one. If you’re new to digital marketing, consider trying just one of these tools at a time. It’s easy to go overboard and get overwhelmed, so take it slow and learn how to do one thing well before you move on to the next.

Well, we hope these apps will help take your social media game to the next level! Be sure to comment below with any other essential apps you think we should have included. Also, share your social media accounts below so we can watch you at work 🙂

Dustin Ranem

Dustin Ranem

Design, Strategy

Dustin is from Minnesota, but you’d never know if. He has mastered the art of removing don’tcha knows from his everyday speech. He lives in front of his fireplace, with his wife and 4 kids.

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