Social Media Tools

Basic Photoshop Tools

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Creating images is a huge part of content creation. Whether they be photos or graphics, images help tell a story for brands using social media, PR, email marketing, blog posts, and more.

Photoshop is one of the most used photo-editing software that can be used for most image creation needs, but it can also be a very intimidating program unless you understand some of the basics. Read below to learn the basics of the Photoshop toolbar and its functions. These tools will help you to create your next masterpiece.

Move Tool

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The move tool simply lets you move objects in a given layer around the Photoshop canvas. To use it, click anywhere on the canvas and drag. As you drag, the Photoshop layer will move with your mouse.

Quick Selection Tool

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There are two ways to use the Quick Selection Tool. One is to simply click on different areas of the image just like you would with the Magic Wand. The most common way is to click and drag over the area you need to select as if you were painting with a brush. As you drag, Photoshop does its best to figure out the object that you're trying to select, often with precise results. To remove an area from a selection temporarily, select the "Subtract from selection" option in the Options Bar. You’ll need to remember to switch it back to the "Add to selection" mode when you're done or you’ll lose the tracing that was completed.

Crop Tool

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The crop tool is used to (you guessed it!) crop your pictures. You can specify the exact size and constrain the crop tool to those proportions, or you can just crop to any size.

Paintbrush and Pencil

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The paintbrush is a tool that mimics a paintbrush and the pencil is a tool that mimics a pencil, naturally. The paintbrush; however, can be set to many different kinds of brushes. You can paint with a standard paintbrush and airbrush styles, or even paint with leaves and other shapes as well.

Eraser Tool

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The erase tool is almost identical to the paintbrush, except it erases instead of paints.

Type Tool

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The type tool will allow you to type horizontally. Tools hidden beneath the horizontal type tool will let you type vertically and also create horizontal and vertical text masks.

Try these basic Photoshop tools to get started creating your marketing images.

4 Writing Resources for Bloggers

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Medium

Medium is a hub for writers. The platform was built to unite people sharing stories, viewpoints and original ideas all within a clean reading experience. You can customize your feed to showcase your favorite topics, writers, and publications. All the content that matters to you will be right at your fingertips on the Medium platform. Medium also serves as a content creation tool where users can publish their own stories. In addition, paid members receive access to exclusive content from their favorite publications such as Fast Company, The Guardian, New York Times, etc. 

Ghost

Ghost is a seamless authoring experience. With Ghost, you’ll be able to assign multiples roles for authors, editors and administrators within your own publishing platform. The program allows you to invite your whole team to collaborate, with dedicated public user profiles for everyone. You can also build almost any type of category, section, format or flow using tags as well as schedule posts in advance. Ghost is also customizable, allowing you to add a logo and create navigation menus. Ghost can power blogs, magazine and journalists from Zappos to Sky News.

Draft

Draft is a great resource for writers who make multiple edits and changes throughout the writing process. With Draft, you can edit documents and any changes that you make will automatically sync to the cloud or the platform that you imported the content from, such as Evernote, Google Docs, and iCloud Notes. Draft documents can easily be published to Wordpress, Tumblr, Ghost, Svbtle, Blogger, Twitter, LinkedIn, Basecamp and even Mailchimp.

Writefull

Writefull will help to make you a better writer by giving feedback and checking your text against databases of the correct language. The app or Chrome extension uses a large language database to search for the frequency of chunks of text from academic papers and reports, books and web pages. The screenshot above shows an example of when Writefull can help a writer choose the most appropriate phrase depending on the context of the particular sentence. Writefull can also define certain words or phrases from dictionary databases.

By adding these 4 resources to your writing repertoire, you’ll be able to produce higher quality content in less time and also reach readers who are interested in your writing.

How to Create a Snapchat Ad

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Have you ever watched a friend’s Snapchat story that is then immediately followed by an ad that actually looks as if you’re watching another individual’s Snapchat story?  Larger brands have already been using the Snapchat platform to advertise and now local businesses have the option as well (although, it is pricey!). Register your business for the Snapchat Ads Manager and follow these steps to create your first Snapchat ad:
 
1. Create an Audience

Like Facebook and Instagram, Snapchat now offers ways to target individuals based on device, demographics, and geography. When creating your audience, try to keep in mind that most people using Snapchat are teenagers and young adults, so if your audience falls outside of these parameters, it might be wise to consider advertising on a different social media platform.

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2. Set Your Budget and Goals

Select your ad budget for the particular ad as well as the goal. This can either be “swipe-ups” or “installs”. As of now, the minimum budget for a Snapchat ad is $100 per day, which is much higher than daily ad minimums on other platforms. (Facebook and Instagram currently only require $1 per day per ad.) We’re hoping that Snapchat will lower the daily ad minimum once brands with larger budgets become more familiar with the platform. We saw this happen with Instagram and Twitter years ago.
 
3. Schedule

Select a duration for how long you want this specific ad to run. One week? One month? A year?
 
4. Select an ad type and upload your content

There are four types of ads: App Install, Long Form Video, Top Snap Only and Web View.

The App Install ad will send people directly to the Apple Store or Google Play to download the selected app. The Long Form Video ad is similar to a video trailer and these videos can be up to 10 minutes long. The Top Snap Only ad option is a 3-10 second video ad with no call to action.
 A Web View ad will send people to a website to purchase a product, make an appointment or read an article.  

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Ready to get started with Snapchat ads? Reach out to us to begin creating these type of ads for your brand!
 

The Best Times to Post on Social Media

The mountains are yearning.
The mountains are yearning.

It's a question we all ask ourselves. No matter if you're an expert, newbie, or just a casual user: When and where should I post on social media for the most engagement?

The best times to post vary by industry, social media channels, and your audience. There's no magic number but, knowing your target audience and how they use social media are key components for a successful campaign.

Recently, TrackMaven, a marketing analytics software provider analyzed 17.5 million social media posts by 17,737 brands to find the most popular times to deploy your content.

besttime
besttime

It's important for a business to develop a channel-specific strategy for delivering their content.The report also breaks down popular post times by day for various types of businesses on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest. From fashion to restaurants, these are the best times to reach the most engagement within a few industries.

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Screen Shot 2016-10-12 at 10.16.52 AM
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Screen Shot 2016-10-12 at 10.21.22 AM

You can view the rest of TrackMaven's cheat sheet here.

Notice that even within industries, the best times to post vary by social channel. For example, the best time to tweet for a restaurant is Friday at 1 p.m. EST but, on Instagram the best time to post is Wednesday at 4 p.m. EST.

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What We Learned At Social Media Marketing World 2016

nature walk
nature walk

I had the pleasure of representing Social Ape at Social Media Marketing World in San Diego last week and I must say that it was an incredible experience. Not only did I meet new people who have the same passion for social media and marketing that I do, but I learned so much from the dozen sessions and panels that I attended. I was also able to see several of the folks speak who have paved the way for social media marketers and continue to inspire me on a daily basis.

I returned to Charlotte with 14 pages of notes and the opportunity to listen to ALL of the sessions at the conference via audio recordings. But for those of you who weren’t able to attend, we’ve put together a list of takeaways from the event and included the tools and strategies that your business should be investing in over the next year. I hope the list is helpful!

-April

Snapchat

Strategy Tips:

  • Snapchat is the social media network to “un-brand” your brand. It is an opportunity to be real with your fans and followers. When people see brands having fun on Snapchat, they become more interested.
  • Use more colors and drawings when possible in snaps
  • Don’t let your followers consume ALL of the content. Keep your snaps as short as possible, giving them just enough time to view the content.
  • Create Snapchat stories that will last 24 hours. Create short snaps to “bump” your content back to the top of followers’ lists then after 24 hours, take a break to let the story disappear.
  • Give away freebies to make snap viewers feel important

Content Examples: 

  • Show your business behind-the-scenes using a combination of video, photos, drawings, interviews, etc.

Contest Examples:

  • Send a snap with a bit.ly URL and ask your followers to take a screen shot of it, then visit that specific page later to enter a contest
  • Create a digital maze then ask your followers to find their way through the maze and send a screen shot back with the solution. The first person to send the correct solution back will win the contest. (Mind blown!)
  • Create a scavenger hunt by snapping photos of where the hidden prizes are located. The first person to find the prize will win!
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IMG_2286

Live Video (Periscope, Facebook Live)

Strategy Tips:

  • Reveal what your followers are missing by going behind the curtain using live video
  • Inform followers of critical situations that need live updates or give insight to live events
  • Create a blog post to summarize the questions asked during the live video and embed the video in the post
  • Share "snackable" content to share and promote live video
  • When working with Influencers, choose influencers who understand your niche, not the influencers who have the most followers

Content Examples:

  • Southwest Airlines answered questions on Periscope during a storm where there were lots of delays and cancellations. They confronted a difficult situation head-on to provide transparency for customers.
  • Southwest Airlines also live-streamed the unveiling of a new plane to give customers a sneak peek

Social Media Customer Service

Strategy Tips:

  • Embrace complaints! Answer them every time and in every channel.
  • Only reply twice to complaints. Do not let the user publicly shame you. First, apologize publicly (for the “spectators”) and ask the user to send you their contact information. Take the conversation offline. If the user refuses even after this attempt, walk away. It will only make the situation worse if you continue to engage.
  • Treat online and offline customers the same. You wouldn’t ignore someone calling your business to complain, so why would you ignore someone complaining via social media?
  • Do not ignore review sites, including Yelp

Facebook Ads for Online Businesses

Strategy Tips:

  • Make list-building a priority. Which “bucket” will each person end up? Create Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced buckets and place appropriate users in those buckets based on their behavior.
  • Create an awesome piece of content that will draw people in and make them click through. It is MUCH cheaper to do this than asking users to buy right away. Once you do this, you can create other actions. Selling to warm leads is more successful than selling to cold leads.
  • When using images in Facebook Ads, photos of the person selling the product work better with people who already know that person. For people who are not familiar with this person, clean graphic images work the best.
  • Use pixels (conversion codes) to create a funnel. If people have already opted in on your website, create a different path for them compared to someone who have not opted in.

Questions to Ask:

  • What is my trigger for these people? What can I give to them that will provide value?
  • What is the end goal? How do I get there?
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IMG_2241

LinkedIn

Strategy Tips:

  • Edit your LinkedIn profile to people you want to attract today and even tomorrow. By adding more keywords that suit your needs now, you’ll be able to attract those type of people.
  • Create your profile to solve problems for the people looking for you on LinkedIn. What problem do you solve? How can you help future clients or employers?
  • Include personal tidbits in your profile to appear more personable.
  • Give endorsements to 10+ people per day to encourage them to do the same. Genuinely give recommendations to your peers and ask for them in return.
  • Tip: Turn off profile updates when you edit your profile! You don’t want to “spam” your connections when you overhaul your profile.
  • According to LinkedIn, one update on LinkedIn per day will result in reaching 60% of your connections. Post interesting ideas and insights at least once a day.

Want to receive information like this in your inbox every week? Sign up for the Social Ape Weekly, a weekly newsletter chock full of social media tips, best practices and productivity tools to help you become a better marketer!

5 Ways to Gain Instagram Followers

5 ways to gain instagram followers (1)
5 ways to gain instagram followers (1)

Social media is widespread and we all know how much we love gaining followers and getting likes on that photo we just posted. But how do we attract the massive community of real 'Instagrammers' that can actually help your business or brand grow?

Here are a few tips to help grow your audience and following by utilizing Instagram as a promotional tool for your brand.

1. Have A Specific Appeal If you're not already a major player in the business world, it may be difficult to gain that first initial following. Well known brands don't need that 'niche' because they are already a recognized icon, which in turn automatically sets a trend of followers. Consumers value visuals and Instagram is a great way to market your brand. Users browsing Instagram in their leisure time want to see unique accounts that are clean and visually enticing. Although 'likes' may not always bring them back to your page, it's still good to know that your post was alluring enough for any type of engagement.

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Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 12.15.18 PM

2. Comment and Engage With Other Users Expose your name and handle with a simple comment on other IG user pages. This strategy can create increased engagement on your page, and show people that you actually care about theirs.

3. Use The Right Hashtags Hashtags are an important factor in gaining Instagram views, but doesn't guarantee users to come back to your page. Try to avoid overused hashtags when posting your photo unless you want to challenge the millions of others using it for exposure. Instead create unique, fun hashtags that stick with users and may even influence them to use as well.

4. Tag a Friend A fun, quick way to create exposure is to post a photo and ask your followers to tag a friend. This is an instant attention grabber and also a tool to increase your followers. Post an enjoyable photo that you think friends can relate to like this page did.

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Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 8.23.20 AM

5. Be a Good Shot A well taken photo may speak a thousand words, but a bad shot may keep users away from your page. Be sure to take your time when taking photos, even if it's with your mobile device. Edit your shots to fit the Instagram size parameters(1080px) for the smoothest outcome. Use filters and the other editing tools to be creative in your theme. 

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IMG_3166

I hope these tips can help your already blooming Instagram following reach the next level. Don't forget that your engagement in other user's pages, even a simple comment, can greatly help expose your own Instagram page. Be wise in your hashtag use to be as unique as possible. Have fun with your posts but diligent with the quality. #'TilNextTime

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Content Creation For Your Brand

Creating
Creating

Content creation can be a frustrating and time consuming task, whether it's for marketing a business, brand, or a personal venture. But for a social media presence, content is still king. Companies are prioritizing the quality of the content being advertised as opposed to the quantity of the content distributed.

No matter the industry or marketing strategy, relevant, interesting, and engaging content is key to reaching the most unique viewership. Be prepared to do research on trending social media news through other news sites and blogs to stay up-to-date with the ever-changing social media world. Use these ideas to create content that ties in with your unique audience and strategy.

For the less experienced content creators, or those that need steering in the right direction, there are many tools and tips to help ease the stress that comes with generating content for your business or brand. Utilize these tools and be on your way to constructing your content more quickly and efficiently.

1. Explore Trending Social Media Topics

Many notable online news sites now have 'Social Media/Technology' sections within their website, where viewers can find relevant and noteworthy social media news around the world. It's important that you know your audience and what interests them. Your content should always cater to your market. Websites like Mashable, a leading global media company, informs, inspires and entertains the digital generation and make it easier for content creators to find ideas on topics that may interest and engage their audience. If you're looking for a specific topic fast, Twitter is another great tool for finding trending social media news. Twitter gives you the ability to prioritize searches using hashtags, so that users can engage in the conversations that are most popular.

Mashable
Mashable

2. Content Creation

When you've found that perfect topic to expand on for your audience, their are many content creation tools to help aid you with the task and help you stay organized.

  • Canva - Makes designs simple for everyone. Easily create designs for your brand using over a million images (many which are free) catered to your liking. Add texts, graphics and photos to express what you're all about.
  • Unsplash - Search through their vast photo feed on their website to create beautiful designs for FREE! All you have to do is subscribe to Unsplash and from there, enjoy 10 copy-write free photos every 10 days.
  • WordSwag- Inspire your audience with perfect images to add your favorite quotes. Construct custom text layouts with a click of a button!

Remember that visuals (images, videos, memes) remain a vital part of any published content. According to MGD Advertising, articles containing relevant images have 94% more total views than articles without images, on average.

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its-all-about-images-infographic_cutoff

3. Market Your Content

As you prepare to publish the goods, organizing when and where you market the content can be a factor in who sees it. These tools will help you coordinate where your content gets posted and in turn, create more viewership.

  • Hootsuite- Lets you manage your social networks from one platform. Publishing and monitoring content never looked so easy. It also has the ability to engage with your audience across all platforms on different streams to build relationships and brand awareness.
  • Sprout Social - Another platform to publish and monitor content but contrary to Hootsuite, Sprout Social uses one stream for engagement with users as it collaborates data collected into one simple program.
AN EXCLUSIVE GUIDE TO
AN EXCLUSIVE GUIDE TO

We hope these tips and tools are a helpful start to your content creation journey. Just remember, whether it's a business you work for or a self-branding campaign, the content should reflect everything you and your audience is about. Also, you can never have enough visuals, because if you're like me, ain't nobody got time to read all that!

Want to receive information like this in your inbox every week? Sign up for the Social Ape Weekly, a weekly newsletter chock full of social media tips, best practices and productivity tools to help you become a better marketer!

How to Upgrade Your Twitter Bio

Blog Graphic 10_21
Blog Graphic 10_21

For many, self promotion is tough, especially on social media. Although it may be uncomfortable to talk about yourself, it's important to have a compelling Twitter Bio to attract followers as well as tell other Twitter users who you are. In this blog post, we'll go through a 4-step process to help you achieve an intriguing Twitter Bio.

  1. Make a list of a few fun facts about yourself that you'd like to share with Twitter users. This could include hobbies, your workplace, accomplishments, etc. Keep in mind the 160-character limit that Twitter has put on the bio section. With that said, star a handful of the items that you want to include in your bio.
  2. Look to see if some of your traits or skills have a hashtag or handle. For example, if you love swimming, you could include the hashtag #swimming in our bio. Then, your twitter bio will be attached to that hashtag when anyone searches for #swimming on Twitter. You could also tag your company in your Bio to direct users to that account as well.
  3. Not all bios need to be in paragraph form, you can always do them in bullet-point form and separate them with a comma or some type of symbol you like.

We hope this post will help you take your Twitter bio to the next level. Be sure to share with use your bio upgrading experience by tagging us at @socialapemktg.

Below are examples of Twitter bios from the Social Ape team:

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Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 12.07.50 PM
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Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 5.00.21 PM

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The Ultimate Guide To Social Media Tools

DON'T QUIT
DON'T QUIT


Whether you handle the social media accounts for one business or juggling multiple accounts for multiple businesses, there are so many tools out there that can help you get the job done efficiently and effectively! We have decided to dive into several tools that we at Social Ape use daily to make the most of our time and work. Hootsuite: Hootsuite should be your go-to tool for Twitter. It allows you to do everything you can do on Twitter, like tweet, retweet, direct message, view the Twitter feed, etc. But it takes Twitter a step further by allowing you to control multiple accounts at once and schedule your tweets in advance. This is a complete life-saver!

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sproutsocial
sproutsocial
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sproutsocial2

Sprout Social: Sprout Social is an extremely user-friendly social media dashboard with a clean and intuitive interface. At Social Ape, we use Sprout Social to monitor keywords for our clients' businesses, find social media users who would be interested in our clients' brands, and promptly handle customer service issues. We also use Sprout Social to schedule out content and create stunning analytics reports.

evernote
evernote

Evernote: This tool organizes all your social media materials in one place at the ease and convenience of your laptop or smart phone. Your notes, reminders, blog content ideas, photos, documents and more will be stored for you to access whenever you need. You can also share content with clients or employees, which is great for brainstorming ideas or keeping social media log-in passwords where social media managers can access them.

Buffer: Is an amazing social media management tool, especially for handling large or multiple accounts (although you do have to upgrade for multiple accounts on one social network). You can schedule posts for Twitter, Facebook, Google +, LinkedIn in advance, get detailed analytics, and share content easily with a Buffer extension. You can also download the extension and share photos, text, web pages at the click of the Buffer button.

picmonkey
picmonkey

PicMonkey:PicMonkey is a free picture-editing website. It's easy to use and has quality options for editing pictures, making memes, etc.

canva
canva

Canva: I brag on Canva a lot, but it's not without merit. This website is hands down the best program to make images for any marketing material you could ever need. It comes with pre-made customized image sizes for Facebook posts, Facebook Ads, Twitter posts, email headers, Instagram posts, invitations, fliers, etc. to make it easy to use proper image sizes for social media posts. It has millions of icons, backgrounds and graphics for free or awesome stock photos and illustrations you can purchase for $1. This website may as well be photoshop for people who don't have the time or knowledge to deal with layers.

acticonosquare
acticonosquare
iconosquare
iconosquare

Iconosquare: Iconosquare is analytics tool you need for Instagram. All you have to do is log-in with an Instagram account and it lets you view posts, comments, messages, etc. Click Statistics at the top of the page and in 5-10 minutes you will receive an email with a report based on your Instagram activity and suggestions for optimizing it. It has other cool features like contests in your area, help for your own contests, help promoting your Instagram, etc. 

repostapp
repostapp

Repost App: The Repost App is a great app to have for sharing other Instagram accounts' Instagrams. Whether you are a restaurant wanting to share a customers' picture of your food or simply love a quote that you want to share, it's the easiest way to attribute where the photo came from, engage, and share Instagram pictures.

likealyzer
likealyzer

LikeAlyzer: LikeAlyzer will help you keep your Facebook on track with simple suggestions to make the most of your account. It gives insights into how many posts per day you should have, the optimal time to post, length of your posts, whether you should share more links or videos, and more! I actually don't use this tool daily, but I plug in my multiple Facebook accounts every month-ish to see how I'm doing and what I could be doing better. It's a free tool, all you have to do is paste the Facebook page's URL and it gives you insights in 5 minutes or less. 

bit.ly
bit.ly

Bit.ly: Bit.ly is a tool that takes links to a whole new level. Paste a long link into bit.ly and it will shorten the link, allow you to rename a bit.ly link like so, from "bit.ly/1JzTJT1" to "bit.ly/BPAOpenMicNight", and give you stats on your links to see how many times it's been clicked on. There's no reason not to shorten and store your links in an organized fashion, while also keeping tabs on your link stats. Bit.ly makes it easy.

Are there other social media tools that you can't live without? Let us know, we love learning about new ways to optimize social media!

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