Services and apps can schedule, enhance, analyze posts, and help drive sales. Furthermore, many of the platforms to assist in marketing your invention are easy to use, and free.
Setting up your social network profiles is one thing; creating high-quality content that resonates with your audience can be quite another. If you’ve found yourself stuck in a rut with your social media content, certain tools can help improve your social media marketing efforts.
Tools for Enhancing Posts
This is an easy-to-use graphics tool with preset options for just about every need. These include social media posts for various networks, social media profile headers, Facebook Ads and more.
Whether you use the pre-set templates to design an attractive graphic or build your own from scratch, this web-based tool is great for creating images to include in your social media posts. As a general rule, posts with images perform better across all social networks. Free and paid versions of Canva are available at canva.com.
A photo-editing app, VSCO can take your Instagram posts to the next level. Instagram provides the ability to market consumer products and inventions via a layout and overall functionality that make it easy to share your products front and center, building awareness and driving sales.
VSCO helps you develop an aesthetic that jibes with your brand by allowing you to apply pre-set filters over your photos, edit videos and much more. By using the same one or two filters for every photo you post on Instagram, you can develop a look that your followers will instantly recognize and create a beautiful, on-brand Instagram profile. VSCO offers both free and paid versions.
Tools for Scheduling Posts
If you just want to schedule posts on Twitter and Facebook, using the platforms’ native tools is a great, easy option.
On Facebook, simply write your post as you normally would. But instead of clicking “Publish,” click on the drop-down menu to the right and choose “Schedule.”
On Twitter, visit tweetdeck.com to schedule your tweets. As an added bonus, Tweetdeck makes it easy to set up custom dashboards to monitor tweets, notifications, hashtags and more.
Hootsuite and Buffer
These are two similar, commonly used tools for scheduling social posts on some of the most popular platforms.
Hootsuite allows you to schedule posts, monitor topics, curate content, analyze your efforts and much more. It integrates with more than 35 social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Instagram, and offers a variety of paid and free plans according to your needs.
Buffer also gives you the capabilities to manage your social media using scheduling and analytics. Its other features include an image creator and a browser extension. Buffer works with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram.
Note: Although many platforms claim to offer Instagram scheduling capabilities, this is not entirely accurate. Instagram’s API does not allow for scheduling posts for personal profiles; most of these platforms simply send a push notification to an app on your phone at the scheduled time, prompting you to publish the post on Instagram. Scheduling is available for business profiles through some platforms, including Hootsuite.
Tools for Driving Sales
If you want a cost-effective way to drive traffic to your website or ecommerce store, or to raise awareness about your invention, Facebook Ads is probably your best bet. This platform offers a variety of ad types and placements, giving you flexibility in how you display your content.
Facebook Ads allows you to target your audience, test messaging and much more, all for a low cost. To get the most out of your Facebook Ads, we recommend working with someone highly experienced in pay-per-click (PPC), specifically Facebook Ads, rather than trying to manage them yourself and potentially waste money. However, the platform is simple to learn, so you can certainly do them yourself if you don’t have the budget for a specialist.
Link My Photos
One challenge with Instagram is that you can’t include links in photo captions, only in your profile. If you are promoting and selling many different inventions or products, you can link to your homepage in your profile, but this will make it difficult for your followers to find exactly what they are looking for. This is where Link My Photos can help.
Link My Photos connects to your Instagram account and allows you to add links to each photo you post. Just post a link within your Instagram profile to your Link My Photos page. Users can click that link, click on the photo they are interested in, then find a link to that invention, product or webpage.
Tools for Analyzing Posts
Native Platform Analytics: Nearly all social media platforms have built-in analytics functionality. If you are looking for basic information about which posts perform best, when your followers are online, how people are interacting with your posts and whether your basic metrics are increasing, these are great tools.
- To view your analytics in Facebook’s Business Manager, click “Insights” at the top of your profile page. You’ll find a range of insights and analytics along the left side that you can explore further.
- To view your Twitter account’s analytics, visit analytics.twitter.com.
- To view your Instagram analytics, visit your profile in the app and click the graph in the upper right hand corner. Note that this is only available for business profiles.
- To view your LinkedIn analytics, visit your business page and click the analytics dropdown in the top left of the page to choose whether you want to see metrics for visitors, updates or followers.
Paid Analytics Platforms
If you want a more in-depth look at your social media profiles or your competitors’, many paid analytics platforms offer just that. With so many options at a wide range of prices, there is truly something for everyone. Most platforms offer a demo or a free trial, giving you a chance to ensure it’s the right choice for your invention or business.
If you are interested in learning more about the many paid options for social media analytics and reporting, start by considering which features interest you the most, then use your favorite search engine to find platforms that offer those metrics.
This article originally appeared in the April 2018 print edition of Inventors Digest.