Setting up your new business, side hustle or passion project can be both exciting and daunting. To help eradicate some of the lost feelings you might be having around setting up your business we have created a list of our favourite small business tools you should be using.
Scheduling, scheduling and more scheduling ladies! We all know that social media doesn’t switch off and you can spend and waste A LOT of time aimlessly scrolling through. Planning and even scheduling your posts in advance can save you work hours that I’m sure you’d like to spend elsewhere. Hootsuite is the tool that we use to do this. You can have multiple social media accounts and channels on there including Instagram, Twitter and even LinkedIn. You can add different ‘streams’ allowing you to track different areas of the social platforms such as your mentions, retweets, scheduled posts etc.
You may think that scheduling sounds a little in genuine but it really doesn’t have to be. Once a week sit done and think about the topics/ messages that you want to get across to your audience and plan them out. If you know you have an event on one day, leave a gap for it and make a point of getting a pic to post or doing a story. It all comes down to doing business with purpose. You don’t want to think everyday ‘oh I need to do a post’ and then put up something that isn’t of quality.
Business Manager (& Ads Manager)
So while we’re still on the scheduling train of thought, the marketer in me is forcing me to tell you that if you are scheduling Facebook posts you MUST do it through Facebook. Why you ask? The Facebook algorithm preferences content generated within Facebook or ‘native content’.
Luckily for us, Facebook has it’s own tools to help business users and they are called Business Manager and Ads Manager. Using these will allow you to separate your business Facebook from your personal one and again means you don’t get lost in your own newsfeed while you’re on work time – we all know how easily that can happen.
Ads Manager is a little bit more confusing to get a grip on initially but is something you’ll need to learn about if you want to be advertising on Facebook and Instagram. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be creating beautiful ads in no time!
Side note: Business and Ads Manager are just on Desktop and the Facebook Pages app is what you can use on your phone.
Did you know that email marketing is 40 times more effective than Twitter and Facebook combined for acquiring new customers? That’s a statistic worth buying into!
Mailchimp is what you want to be using to create your email communication with this valuable database. You can create different lists of subscribers, segment them by several criteria and create attractive emails with your branding and images. Like most tools there is a free version which offers you the basics and then as your database gets larger you may need to upgrade it.
If you haven’t heard of Canva, have you been living under a rock?! Just joking, no judgment here but you definitely should be using it if you are a small business. While graphic designers are still necessary for larger design work, Canva can help you create branded graphics for yourself for free. It’s great for resizing images, placing wording or logos over images and even has a bunch of quality images for you to download.
We have recently started using Asana and I am impressed so far. It is a FREE task management system and allows you to create subtasks, projects and load different contacts too. This is great if you’d like to keep yourself accountable for the tasks you set yourself for the day and even better if you have a VA or other staff. Yes I am the ‘other staff’ for Behind the Brands and Gloss Marketing Communications and find it very helpful. I can access my tasks no matter where I’m working from that day and tick them off when they are complete. Each project so ‘client’ for us is colour coded too (yes that excites me 🙂 ) so I don’t get confused when I’m working through my calendar.
I will warn you though this app sends you A LOT of emails reminding you of your tasks, overdue and coming up in a week. I’m sure I can calm down the notifications but looking into that is currently low on my to do list haha.