A vanity url is a memorable url that will redirect to the page where you actually want to send people.
They are easy (and inexpensive) to set-up, and can help your user easily find your brand's important content and sub-campaigns.
In this episode of Step Up Your Social, we delve into what they are, how to set them up, when you should use them and more.
We also cover Bit.ly links and talk about when those can and should be used in lieu of vanity urls.
If you aren't using both of these tools in your digital toolkit, you're making things harder than they need to be for your audience.
Tune in today and learn more.
Listen to the full episode here or wherever you stream podcasts. And scroll down for a full episode transcript.
FULL EPISODE TRANSCRIPT
The other day I was watching Hulu and I saw an ad pushing treatment for men suffering from a quote Bent Carrot.
If that sounds a bit phallic… well, yeah, that’s the idea.
I tend to tune out most — if not all — medical ads, but this one got my attention. I mean, they took a sensitive issue and made it, if not funny, at least memorable.
But what really got my attention was their url: bent carrot dot com.
I mean, that is just an epic url for a company in the business of mending, ummm, bent carrots.
Here’s the thing though - there's no website at that link. Bent carrot dot com is not a website - it’s a vanity url.
What’s a vanity url? Think vanity license plates, but for landing pages.
It’s a memorable url that will redirect to the page where you actually want to send people. It can serve a similar purpose as a QR code, but with one memorable exception from this past Super Bowl, most people aren’t gonna capture a QR code from a commercial. Just like having a great 1-800 number used to be the industry standard for anyone who wanted you to remember their phone number, vanity urls are a great way to help ensure people remember your website.
If you go to bent carrot dot com, it simply redirects you to peyronies dash disease dot xiaflex dot com slash patient. Think anyone’s gonna remember that url? Of course not. But bent carrot dot com - yeah that one will stick with you.
Even though you probably wish it wouldn’t.
I was once working with a client on her digital program. Throughout the course of the engagement, it came out that she had a second website. There are certainly times where that can make sense. But I asked a few questions and I got a bit queasy on her behalf. This client had paid for an entire website, developed copy, worked up graphics… all the work that went into a website — when all she really wanted was a landing page for a vanity url she had bought.
She wasn’t a musician - but to keep it simple let’s pretend she was. She already had her band's website. She had a new album out and she — smartly! — bought the url matching her album’s name. But to use it, she thought she needed to build a whole new website.
Why is this bad? For so many reasons! The first is that she invested a ton of time and money into a new site. But she also made her users’ journey more complicated. If I like a band, I want all info about the band, INCLUDING THEIR ALBUMS, on a single site. Not spread out over a bunch of sites. AND by doing what she did, she actually hurt her SEO (or search engine optimization). Because her two websites are now competing with each other on Google for the same keywords.
What should she have done instead? She should have simply built a landing page on her primary site and redirected her vanity url to it.
Want an example of that? Head to stepupyoursocial.com. I mention that url in every episode of this podcast. But here’s the thing - that website doesn’t actually exist! It’s just a landing page on my primary website.
It was easy to build (well, easier), it helps with my SEO, instead of hurting it, and it keeps my users’ journey clean and simple. After all, you can easily jump from my podcast page right to my blog. Or to my services or about page. You can learn all about who I am and what I do without ever leaving my site.
So was this hard to do? Was it expensive? Good news: it doesn’t cost anything (beyond the cost of the url) and it takes about 60 seconds to set up.
Go to wherever you buy your urls - I personally use NameCheap. But there are loads of alternatives, including Google Domains, domain.com, buydomains.com, GoDaddy. Lots of options. Once you own the url, simply go into the backend and redirect it to wherever you want it to go. I can’t give you step by step instructions because every platform is going to be a little bit different. But Google “redirect url [insert name of where you bought your domain]” and you’ll find step by step instructions just waiting for you. Follow those instructions and you should have this done in less time that it took watch that hilarious TikTok video you were just checking out.
The hosting companies say it can take up to 30 minutes or so to take effect. I find it typically works within minutes. But just wanted to flag it might not work immediately.
So that’s what vanity urls are. When should you use them? Anytime you want to have a memorable url for a sub-component of your brand that’s easy to remember.
That might be bent carrot dot com. Or stepupyoursocial.com. Or the name of your band’s album. Or a program or campaign your organization is running. Or a video series you have created. Anything you want to be abl e to easily send people to without all those slashes and dashes after your primary url.
The cost of a non-premium url is going to be about $10 a year give or take. (A premium url - like social media master dot com for example - could run tens of thousands of dollars.)
While I’m personally partial to vanity urls, I also want to share a totally free workaround for you.
Bitly is a free link shortening tool.
You can take any url and drop it into bitly and it will give you a short url that will redirect to your landing page of choice. This could be a page on your site. Or an article you think is important. Or a YouTube video you love.
I use a bunch of vanity urls for my brand. But I also regularly use bitly links.
Want my free Facebook live checklist? Head to bit.ly/facebooklivechecklist and download it today. Want to find a blog post I wrote, rounding up stock photo sites that focus on diversity? Head to bit.ly/diverse-photos
And I’m not the only one.
Want to watch Madonna’s Frozen Remix video on YouTube? Head to bit.ly/frozenremixvideo.
Want to do a paid internship, spending your time diving off the West coast of Vancouver Island? Head to bit.ly/DiveIntern.
I think you get the idea.
Not every product needs a vanity url. For everything else, bitly links can be great substitutes.
But big important caveat: don’t just create a bitly link. Customize it. Meaning switch it from the random letters and numbers they’ll assign you with something easy to remember, like FacebookLiveChecklist or FrozenRemixVideo.
Doing so is free, quick and easy. If you’re not customizing your bitly links, you might as well be sending them to peyronies dash disease dot xiaflex dot com slash patient.
And no one wants that.
So get out there and set up your redirects.
And if this episode was helpful to you, do me a favor and send a few folks to stepupyoursocial.com. They’ll be redirected to a landing page on my site - it’ll be exactly what they were looking for!
On any given week, I can create, edit, manage and/or directly post north of a hundred pieces of content to social media. These posts get shared on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google My Business… all that fun stuff!
Some of the posts are for my own channels - many are for my clients.
I’ve experimented with a lot of third party scheduling tools. And I mean a lot!
But for the cost and the power, I’ve yet to find one that comes even close to Publer.io.
In this post, I'm going to give you 10 reasons why I use Publer to schedule and manage social media content for both myself and for my clients.
1) You can customize social media posts by channel
Over the years, I’ve used a bunch of the better known social media scheduling tools. Whether free or pricey, almost all of them lacked this one key feature and it caused me endless headaches. (I’ll mention here that Agorapulse DOES have this feature but their price point is significantly higher than Publer, as well as Buffer, Hootsuite, etc.)
This feature has been kind of a game changer for me to be honest. In fact, it’s such a big one, you can just skip the rest of my list and go ahead and sign up today at publer.io if you're so inclined.
So let’s say I wanted to do a post thanking WisDems (that’s shorthand for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin) for hosting an event.
I can create a single post in Publer, and then edit it as needed by channel.
Which matters SO MUCH if you want to be able to tag WisDems (or anyone else!) in your post.
In Buffer and Hootsuite, you have three options.
Not tagging someone on social media is like talking to them on the phone without first dialing their number. They might hear you, but probably not! You’re missing an opportunity to build on your relationship online and potentially get in front of their audience.
Tagging people with broken links… well that’s worse than not tagging them at all!
Publer solves this problem completely. Create your post once and then click the little street sign icon in the bottom left corner.
Now you can edit your post by channel.
And for what it’s worth - you have plenty of channels to choose from. Publer lets you post on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google My Business, YouTube, and WordPress. And apparently they have more channels on the way.
Often, editing by channel is as simple as making sure all tags are correct.
But you can also use this feature to specify which graphics you want to use on which platform. Or to share unique utm links per channel, if you’re looking to track links in Google Analytics or elsewhere.
Sometimes, a post that works great for Facebook will be just a bit too long for Twitter. Time to put on the old editing cap and whittle that post down.
OR if your post is far too long for whittling down, you can hop over to reason number 2 why I so love Publer, and create yourself a tweet thread!
2) You Can Create Tweet Threads In Publer
Sometimes you can say everything you need to say in just a few words. For everything else, there’s tweet threads!
Twitter limits posts to 280 characters. If that’s not enough space to get your message across, you can thread your tweets together to create a longer piece of content.
This was actually a user generated concept — users looking to go beyond characters limits (at the time a paltry 140!) started simply replying to their own tweets. Sometimes once, sometimes dozens of times. They literally started “threading” their tweets. As Twitter so loves to do, they took tools the users were already hacking together and implemented them into the platform.
But there was a problem. Until recently, Twitter’s API didn’t allow 3rd party tools to create threaded tweets. Mindbogglingly, this included Tweetdeck, which is owned by Twitter and STILL doesn't have the functionality! That’s right, if you want to schedule tweets in a platform owned by Twitter, you have long had the option to do so through Tweetdeck. But even today, you can only create single tweets - not tweet threads.
The same is true of pretty much every other third-party tool I’ve tested. Until I found Publer.
Publer let you schedule responses to posts on any channel, even with an optional built-in delay. And for Twitter, they let you schedule as many responses as you want - aka - tweet threads!
Start by typing your first tweet.
Then click those talk bubbles underneath.
Toggle on the option to "add follow up comments."
Note: if you've created content for more than one channel (ie: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn AND Twitter) you can easily select which account(s) you want to add follow-up comments too.
Once you've selected Twitter, you can add as many additional tweets as you want:
Just keep hitting that "add another comment" button until you've said your piece in full!
It’s worth mentioning that when I first started using Publer, you were limited to a single follow-up on Twitter, just like with every other platform. Often two tweets is plenty for a thread.
But Twitter opened up their API and Publer eventually added the option to thread as many posts as you want to a thread. As someone who does a lot of work in politics, this was another game changer!
But even if you don’t work in politics, it’s worth knowing that tweet threads can often get higher engagement than a standalone tweet.
One other note - until recently, you couldn’t add media (pictures or videos) to follow up tweets in a thread. That changed recently as well.
Bringing us to reason number 3 to use Publer as your third-party social media scheduling tool:
3) They regularly update the platform
Not much to say here other than that it’s nice to work with a tool that’s regularly getting new functionality added to it.
Users can even request new tools.
I’ve requested a few - I don’t think any of them have been added. But that’s okay. So long as they don’t remove reasons one or two, I’ll stick with Publer indefinitely!
4) You can reuse media from your Media library
I try not to re-use images too often on social media. But sometimes, it just makes sense.
If you’re promoting an event - you aren’t going to create a brand new graphic every time you post about it.
We’ve all waded through a labyrinth of Google Drive folders to find that one image we need. It’s especially complicated when you are working with a team (or teams!) who use different file naming conventions... or worse yet - no naming conventions at all!
Publer’s media library simplifies this. Once you’ve uploaded media to any post, that media will automatically get stored in your media library.
You can then head to the library whenever you’re looking for an image and share it right from there.
You can also pre-add content to your library, including photos, videos, and GIFs. In addition to this, you can also label your media for easy organization and even upload media directly to your library from Canva and other online graphic design tools.
5) Publer has a free built-in link in bio tool
Instagram famously only lets you have a single link anywhere on the platform. You get one link in your bio, and that’s it. You can’t add links to posts (you can, but they won’t be clickable) and until recently you had to have 10k+ followers to share links in Stories. That changed recently, but a Story Link sticker still isn’t enough for most brands.
Enter the Link In Bio tool.
With a link in bio, you can create a landing page that shows all of your Instagram posts with links, and folks can click through to an associated link from the matching post.
It’s far from perfect, but for many content creators, it’s better than the alternative - no links at all!
There are loads of free and paid link in bio tools out there. But Publer has one built right into its platform.
It’s easy to set up, simple to use and it's free.
To create yours, click your settings menu in the top right corner and then select Link In Bio.
You can then customize your page, including adding primary links - like website, your store page, your social channels, your ActBlue account if you're a candidate... anything important and evergreen.
You can even add custom images for those evergreen links to keep things looking nice and on brand.
Then, whenever you're creating an Instagram post through Publer, you can simply add a link, as needed, to the bottom of the post.
Once done, you can mention in the post that people can learn more (or shop, or donate, etc.) through the Link In Bio.
When someone clicks the link in bio, they'll see that post, as well as all others you've added links to, and can then click directly through to the url.
Not as easy as Twitter or Facebook, but that's how Instagram rolls. So nice to have an easy - and free! - workaround.
I'll also refer you back to reason number one that I use Publer as my third party social media scheduling tool of choice - not only is this great feature built right into the platform, you don't even have to create a standalone Instagram post. You can crosspost the same content to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, wherever, and then customize by channel and drop that link into the bio.
Voila. You are good to go!
6) You can share specific channels with your team
If you're a one-person social media team, this next feature probably won't matter to you. But if you are working with clients, or managing a team of people who help with content creation, this next feature is key!
You can add team members to your account, with limited access levels.
You can even pick and choose which accounts to share access to, so you're not turning over the keys to the whole kingdom, just to the doors that make sense for any given client or team member.
To add someone to your account, click the dropdown menu next to your avatar (top right of the page) and select "Manage Teams."
From here you can add team members (clients, band members, people from your team...) and provide them access.
They can then create content you approve, do final edits, give green lights before you post - whatever works for you and your social media team!
7) They have a built-in RSS feed for easy content curation
Publer has an easy to use RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed, to help making content curation a breeze. RSS feeds are a great way of pursuing the internet without having to bookmark and track dozens, or even hundreds, of links.
Head to their “Content” tab and you can search for articles by keyword and category, and filter by date, language, country and even domain.
You can even save your searches to make future curation even easier. This is great for businesses who consistently speak on a few core topics or nonprofits or political campaigns who are passionate about specific issues.
Once you’ve found an article that looks interesting, click share and it will pop you right into your creator tab to let you choose which account(s) you want to post it to, write your copy and post or schedule.
8) They have a Chrome Plugin and it’s actually kinda great
Add the Publer Chrome plugin to your browser, and then anytime you are surfing the net and see something interesting, you can easily share it without ever leaving your tab.
Pretty convenient for a social media manager on the go, no?!
9) They have built-in analytics
I’m a firm believer in the power of analytics for social media. Your audience is talking to you through your analytics - it’s your job to listen!
Publer has built in analytics for your accounts.
Honestly, I don’t use their analytics much. I prefer to go directly to the platforms for more granular looks at how things are doing.
That said, they are convenient, free and right there.
They also send regular emails letting you know which of your posts are your top performers. That one is pretty nice to have, if for no other reason than it’s a good reminder that you should be digging deeper into the backend of your accounts.
10) They have good customer service
I never wear rose colored glasses when it comes to any digital platform.
I’ve had some significant technical issues with Publer over the years.
I was posting content to one Twitter account that regularly had tweets end mid-sentence even though I was 1000% sure I had everything set up perfectly (I mean the first time I was quite sure, but by the 5th time, I was quadruple checking and it was still happening).
Google has tech issues. Amazon has tech issues. Facebook is pretty much just one massive tech issue these days. These things happen. To use the internet is to accept that.
But... every time I’ve had issues with Publer, I’ve reached out and found real people ready and eager to solve my issues. I definitely can’t say that for every platform I work with!
So to recap - here are 10 reasons I use Publer for social media scheduling and management
A few features I’d love to see Publer add
So yeah, clearly I’m a fan of Publer. But it’s obviously not perfect.
A few updates I’d love to see:
Ready To Start Scheduling?
So that’s 10 reasons I use Publer as my go-to third-party social media scheduling tool.
If you have any reasons you like Publer, let me know! Or if there are any features it’s missing, or a reason why you love one of the many, many alternatives on the market, let me know that as well.
I’ll also mention that I don’t do affiliate marketing for any products or services, but do have an affiliate link for this one specific tool. I only have an affiliate link because I’m such a fan of the platform that I found I was constantly recommending it anyway. Just wanted to be fully upfront about that.
If this post was helpful to you and you do wind up signing up, please use this link when you do so - publer.io/jlemonsk
Thanks for reading. Happy scheduling!
There are hundreds of millions of pieces of content created for the internet every day Want to break through the noise? The best writing won't stop someone's thumbs from scrolling through their feed. You have to first nab them with an eye-catching pic. Then you might have a shot to keep their attention long enough to read about your new offer, hear your fundraising pitch, or learn more about whatever you're talking about.
My general go to stock image site for finding high quality, free* photos online is Unsplash. Unsplash refers to itself as "the internet's source of freely-usable images. Powered by creators everywhere." It's a website full of beautiful, interesting and dynamic photos from all over the world. Type in whatever you need in the search bar and get ready to scroll through countless wonderful photos, brilliantly capturing your subject matter.
But representation matters — especially to kids. Early impressions leave an indelible mark that shape what children imagine is possible. Think a picture is worth a thousand words? It’s probably closer to a a few million!
High-quality, representative stock photography is absolutely crucial for any business, whether you’re writing a blog post, creating a graphic or promoting an event.
I use Unsplash all the time. But sometimes I need photos more geared specifically towards diversity, intersectionality or multiculturalism. While scrolling Unsplash will typically get me where I need to be, there are other options out there that focus specifically on representing the under-represented through high-quality stock photography.
Here is a compilation of 10 free (or affordable) stock photo sites that go further than tossing a BIPOC cherry-on-top of a scoop of vanilla. You might even say these collections are pretty much the whole damn sundae.
*Quick caveat: I'm not a lawyer and I'm certainly not your lawyer. While many of these sites offer free stock photos for you to use, I'm not telling you what you can and can't do with them. If you're worried about what's okay or not, talk to a lawyer, read the fine print, or... you know... head to Google and read up.
This Flickr photo stream features hundreds of images of women of color working in tech. Everything is free under a Creative Commons license, so you won’t have to pay a cent.(That said, as is the case throughout this round-up, the above caveat applies.)
2. CreateHER Stock
This authentic stock site is a finely-curated “for-us-by-us” set of lifestyle+business content featuring Black women. A subscription runs ~$10/month, but given that the pics are behind a paywall, you’ll have access to exclusive content (unlike some big box stock photos you see on every 3rd ad in your timeline).
Pexels is a well-known free stock site, granted, but it's included here to point out their solid suggestions engine. Try searching for “Black people” in Pexels and not only do you get accurate results, but Pexels will suggest related tags, making it easy to hone in on exactly who you’re looking for.
Search “coffee” on your standard stock site. While the latte might be brown, the hands holding it rarely are. Nappy refers to itself as providing "Beautiful, high-res photos of black and brown people. For free." I can't really sum it up better than that.
Picnoi is a hand-picked collection teeming with great shots of hip, young Black & Brown folks. You can also browse their co-op's collection directly in Unsplash.
6. Body Liberation Stock
Intersectionality can be particularly difficult to find represented on stock photo sites. Body Liberation Stock is an impressive stash of shots depicting body-positivity in folks from all walks of life.
7. The Gender Spectrum Collection
From Vice, these photos are intended to articulate the complexity of people not necessarily defined by their gender. You’ll find a solid variety of non-binary and trans people at work, school, and off the clock.
8. Disabled And Here
This is a wonderful reclamation for disabled BIPOC. In a unique—and incredibly vulnerable feature—this collection features interviews with each model, engendering a true intimacy rarely felt in stock photos.
Intended for editorial use, TONL feels like an enlightened version of Adobe Stock. If you’re looking for exceptionally high-quality and exclusive imagery, you can pay as you go (~$2/pic). The content curation will save you hours of scrolling those big name free sites.
10. Salam Stock
A lot of stock sites can really miss the mark when trying to depict modern Muslim life. Salam Stock remedies that with a hefty collection that includes free and paid plans.
Those are a few diversity-first stock photo sites I've found helpful over the years. Do you have any to add to the list? I'd love to hear about them. Share them in the comments or slide on over to my DMs.
I'd love to see how you put these new resources to use. Tag me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook when you post your awesome, new, diverse content.
Full Episode Transcript, Along With Links to All Mentioned Free digital tools:
Facebook loves video and really wants you to share videos to the platform. When you do so, they reward you with views. But here’s a scary statistic: around 85% of Facebook video is watched… without sound. So what are you to do? Hone in on your acting skills? Stockpile posters and write out the accompanying text? I won’t tell you NOT to do either of those. But there’s a far simpler option available to you built right into Facebook.
Once you've added your video to Facebook, but before you've posted it, you’ll see a menu on the right side of your post. (This only works on your computer, not on mobile.) You’ll see an option to replace your thumbnail. You can either select another moment from the video or upload something you created. In other word, good news: you'll never again have to start off you video with an awkward open-mouth shot. Then below that, you’ll have the option to add subtitles and captions. Select that, pick your language, and Facebook will auto-create subtitles for your video. Assuming your video isn’t too long, it should only take a few moments for them to do so. Once they've been created, you can go through and edit them to make sure they are perfect. Then you can add them to your video and voila, instead of speaking to the 15% of your audience who DO listen with the sound on, now you can now speak to all 100% of them.
It’s worth mentioning this also works with live videos. But only after the fact. Once your video has been posted to your page, click the top right icon to edit it and you’ll get the same option to customize your thumbnail and to create subtitles.
So that’s one free digital tool you should DEFINITELY be using, but probably aren’t.
In this episode, I’m going to run through a bunch more. Let’s dig in.
Let me clarify that, per the title of the episode, every tool I am mentioning today is free. But it’s worth noting that many of them have premium versions you can pay for. But not one of these awesome digital tools requires a credit card to start using.
So let’s get into some more free tools you should be using.
In previous episodes of Step Up Your Social, we’ve covered Google Alerts, Facebook Pages to Watch (both in episode 10) and Twitter lists (in episode 2). Those are three killer, free listening tools. Let’s add one more to the list.
Feedly. Feedly is an RSS tool. (RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication.) Instead of having to jump all over the internet, looking at countless news sources and blogs, you can create a free Feedly account and then subscribe to as many publications as you want. You can bundle your publishers by category and then, whenever you are looking to catch up with the news — or importantly, wherever you know you need to share something on social but are not sure what — you can head to Feedly and see all the content that every publication or blog you follow has posted. You can even break down content by category, so you can just see what’s going on in the world of Facebook, or email marketing, or minor league baseball or whatever. Instead of searching the internet for relevant news, use Feedly to create a pipeline to bring all that relevant news directly to you.
Next up, let’s look at two powerful apps owned by Instagram.
There are no shortage of free photo and video apps or tools in the app store. But these two are owned by Instagram, so you know they must be good.
The first is called Layout, and it lets you take multiple pictures and lay them out as you want. You can easily drag and drop to switch pics or to change the size of one image or another. It's very easy to use.
The second is called Hyperlapse. I really love this one. It’s just a simple camera app, but it lets you create videos that can be sped up as desired. You have to take the video in the app for it to work, but once you’re done filming, you can speed up the video from 2x up to 12x speed. So let’s say you stick your phone in a tripod and film you and your team setting up for an event. You can take that footage, speed it up by a factor of 12 and suddenly your 15 minute set-up can be viewed in under a minute. Very powerful storytelling tool for the right situation! Quick caveat: for obvious reasons, it will record video without sound. If you want, you can add sound in after the fact. But the app will not capture any audio accompanying your video.
I don’t refer to many digital tools as magic, but this next one really kinda is. It’s called Remove.bg (as in remove background). And that’s exactly what it does. Caveat: it only works for people, not things.
You can use this tool on your computer or phone by visiting Remove.bg. Upload a photo and then tell it to remove background. It will take about 4 seconds and then, just like that, you'll have the person (or people) in your photo captured against a transparent background. In my experience, they aren’t 100% accurate. They’re only about… 97% or so. Not bad for a free tool and four seconds! You can then erase anything they missed or add back anything you want to keep.
Then you can export that file and upload it somewhere else to edit it, or just add a background to it right through their site. You can upload your own background files, or select from their photo library.
Anyone with any Photoshop experience can do this same thing. But not as quickly as remove.bg. And probably not for free!
Speaking of graphic design, there are a million free tools out there that will help you design better graphics, add logos to your pictures and do plenty of other basic graphic design work without having to invest years into learning Photoshop. But Canva was the originator of the field and they are still the go to for all my “graphic designs for dummies” needs.
They're free to use, but they do offer a premium version that adds perks like letting you store your brand’s colors and create more advanced file storage systems. You should also know that despite having an endless amount of pictures, icons and pre-made templates to pull from, a bunch are free but many are not. So be aware that you aren’t building something you love using a paid pic or icon, unless you are prepared to pull out your credit card. That said, most assets can be bought for just $1, so you don’t have to worry about breaking your budget.
Another great thing about Canva is that it's all web based. So you can login on your computer, start a design. Then head to your Canva app and keep working on the go.
It’s also worth noting that Canva.org offers free premium options for nonprofits.
And since we’re talking about stock photos, my go to stock photo source these days is Unsplash. You can search the site by keyword, find beautiful, high quality photos that you can then use for free. They request, but don’t require, giving credit to the photographer.
I will add that I’m not a lawyer and there are some fine print things that might affect you and your brand. If you have a lawyer, ask them to vet the language per your needs. If you don’t, head to Google and get lots of different takes on what you can and what you can’t do with “free” stock images.
I’m going to close my list with two quick writing assistance tools. The first is Grammarly, a free extension you can add to your browser (and your phone as well, though I’ve stuck with just using it on my computer). It’s essentially spellcheck for everything you do online. It won’t make you a better writer per se, but it will help ensure you don’t embarrass yourself with typos, missing commas or by using the wrong your.
The second one is called Hemingway App. This one may actually make you a better writer.
Copy and paste your text into Hemingway App and it will flag sentences that are hard to read, words that you can simplify, overuse of the passive voice and anything else keeping you from writing more like Ernest Hemingway.
So that’s my list. I’d love to hear any tools that you use that I didn’t include. Share them in the comments, hit me up on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn at Reverbal Communications or tweet at me using the hashtag #StepUpYourSocial.
As always, if this was helpful to you, I’d really appreciate a review wherever you stream podcasts. It will only take you a moment and will go a long way towards helping us reach a larger audience.
There are countless tools and sites out there to help optimize your social media presence. I want to share one that offers a great solution to a very common problem.
How often have you logged onto Twitter and seen people in your feed posting links to their Instagram pics? Probably pretty often. And how often have you actually clicked through to see those pictures? Probably a lot less often, right?
Fair enough. Who wants to click a link to see if the content is worth exploring?
Wouldn’t it be nice if, without any extra work, you could post your actual Instagram pictures (as opposed to links to those awesome pictures) directly to Twitter, just like you can post them directly to Facebook? You can! And it’s easy. Let me explain.
Why post to Instagram at all?
You could post your pictures directly to Twitter, skipping over Instagram outright. But Instagram has amazing filters and very engaged audiences. The goal isn’t to minimize networks—rather it’s to minimize the amount of work it takes you to positively engage with multiple networks.
Instagram is owned by Facebook, posting there directly is as easy as hitting share. But when you try to cross-post to Twitter, they only tweet out a link. They are seeking to drive your followers away from Twitter and to Instagram. Which might be good for them. But it’s not good for you.
It’s simple. Set up an account with “If This, Then That.” (www.IFTTT.com) Once you have an account, you can set up all kinds of cool tools (they call them recipes).
Clearly, there’s plenty you can do with this site. But to solve this particular problem: sign up, set up a recipe so that IF you post a picture to Instagram, THEN it will share it to Twitter. You can search around in their “Recommended Recipes” or just follow this link.
Give IFTTT access to both your Instagram and Twitter accounts and confirm the recipe. Then anytime you post a picture to Instagram, it will automatically tweet out the same picture to your Twitter network. With no additional work, you will reach twice as many networks! (3x if you are already sharing directly from Instagram to Facebook.)
Now instead of your feed looking like this:
It will look like this:
Which do you think are going to get higher engagement rates?
Let me know if you need help setting up your recipes. Happy sharing!