Updated: Dec 24, 2021
For scheduling, creating, promoting, but also recording !
6 months into my freelancing adventure as a social media manager I am drawing a picture of all the tools I have used so far, the ones I liked and the ones I ran away from. Social Media Managers are multitasking creatures and wear many hats: the services I offer often include the creation of content and everything related to the positioning and promotion of the brand. Because I am just at the beginning of my career in this field, I am not investing large sums into tools and softwares, but what they say is 100% true:
"You're only as good (and as reliable) as your tools"
Regardless of that tool being a hammer, a tripod, or a content scheduling app.
So, let's start from ALL those websites, softwares and things I use everyday in my business.
When it comes to social media management, from planning, creating and scheduling posts, to analyzing and optimizing campaigns performances, there’s plenty of legwork involved. As a freelance who work remotely I also need reliable tools for clients communication and organisation. Ultimately, tools can make your life easier, save you time and give you a practical hand. Here's a selection of my essentials: Canva: Canva is a graphic design platform for all levels, I use it to create social media graphics, presentations, posters, documents and all visual content you can possibly imagine. It's versatile, incredibly intuitive and easy to use. The app includes templates for users, is free to use but offers paid subscriptions. I've been a pro user for a while and it's by far the most useful tool I have paid for. Its background removing button is a life saver and saved me hours of photoshop pain. Final Cut Pro: Whatever video or reel I produce, either for me or for my clients, gets edited on this editing software. t's a robust, well-designed software with all the features you need. Hollywood movies have been edited on Final Cut Pro, but I find it incredibly easy and intuitive to use. Being familiar with iMovie I wanted to stick around a similar setting, of course there are cheaper, if not free options around. When I installed the software I also invested in this mini Final Cut Pro course on Udemy that turned out to be extremely helpful for many things.
Adobe Photoshop: Since I discovered Canva, Photoshop feels a bit stiff, but of course a tool like Canva has its limits, so I jump on photoshop from time to time.
Hootsuite: Probably the biggest social media management tool, is used by over 15 million people, because it's an all-in-one platform for all social networks that allows you to bulk schedule content, measure ROI, run ads and respond to all DMs in one place. I've been using this platform for a while now but lately I have been unhappy with it for a number of reasons: my accounts keep disconnecting, the app doesn't perform very well and most importantly: it's very pricey compared to its competitors. At the moment, I am considering Lately or Buffer.
Hashtag Stack: Helps you find the best and more relevant-niche hashtags to grow your account.
Google Trends: A nice tool for when you're out of ideas for your content, Google Trends analyzes the popularity of top search queries in Google Search across various regions and languages, so you can identify hot topics in your nice in real time. Trello: Trello is a collaboration tool that organizes your projects into boards. Because it’s a really visual tool, I use it to give my clients an overview of the posts that are scheduled, feed preview, captions, hashtags etc. It’s very user friendly, with a responsive design, and super flexible. Clients can leave notes under the “lists” or posts and request changes, write comments, and it’s all in real-time. I had some clients that despite not being very tech savvy found trello easy to use and familiar from the beginning.
Malchimp: An email marketing automation platform, you can manage your mailing lists and create email marketing campaigns and automations to send to customers. I feel like there could be better options out there for email marketing but I've always used this one, it's free, intuitive, and I'm reluctant to change it just yet.
I haven't mentions the holy grails of social media management like Creator Studio (a free and more basic Hootsuite) and Facebook Business Suite & Manager where you can manage multiple pages and ad accounts, add or remove employees and agencies to your account, grant different permission level, access data, run ads and manage billing. I work remotely and don't compromise about it, it's important however to have a clear communication method and process in place for both clients and collaborators, from onboarding to day to day stuff. At the beginning I did not mind clients contacting me via Whatsapp, but as my biz grew I realise it wasn't sustainable nor healthy for me to be alert and on the phone all the time. For most things I use Google workspace. I like Slack, a business communication platform, but not all clients are happy to try it, so 98% of the times it's an email. In my client welcome kit document I state my preferred way of communication and office hours.
Things I use!
Of course, a phone with a good camera and a reliable laptop are #1 and #2 things to have, #3 a large external hard drive as a back up. One of my top selling services is teaching my clients how to make reels, and making reels for my clients. One of the best investments I made (it was actually a spot-on present from my boyfriend) was the Dji phone gimbal. It’s a portable 3-axis gimbal designed for smartphones, foldable and super lightweight, it makes videos effortlessly smooth and cinematic, amazing for dynamic low-angle shooting. It has some incredible features like setting the focus on a subject and following it.
I have 2 tripods, a classic Manfrotto that weights like 7kg and is a pain to carry around but ideal for heavy duty tasks, although I mostly use this with my camera and it rarely leaves my home. A second tripod, quite light, easy and portable. I also have a gorillapod that turned out to be quite helpful in various situations: like having to secure the phone on a tree branch.
I am surely forgetting something, but here is pretty much what I've successfully used in my first 6 months of freelancing without investing capitals. I really hope this article was helpful, let me know in the comments of any website, software or tool that you found incredibly useful in your career.