7 Essential Tools for Social Marketing on Autopilot: Coffee Shop Hacks

automating content marketing

You rock at brainstorming! Sit down with an open document and you fill a page with social marketing ideas.

But what is your next step? Your big question is, “where do I go from here?’

How do you move from a nascent idea to a polished social media post? How can you produce and publish consistent, high-quality content? What is the best method for regular and timely publishing of content?

You want your writing to be valuable. After all, people must like and share content to grow your business.

You need amazing images and graphics. You want your content to look sharp, but not require hours of time to produce. But you are not a graphics designer. And you don’t have the deep pockets to farm out the work.

Is there something you can do while standing in line at the Post Office? Or while waiting for client meetings in your favorite coffee shop? There must be some way to harvest that time.

What if you had a solid system with a reliable set of tools to produce masterful posts with minimal effort?

Begin by choosing one of your brainstorming gems. Your first step is to find just the right photo to represent your content.

1. Pics worth 1,000 words (without breaking the bank)

Every great piece of content begins with a compelling photo. Unsplash curates over 810,000 photos provided by more than 110,000 photographers. That should be more than enough for you.

Unlike many stock photo agencies, Unsplash photos are royalty-free. You don’t have to pay for them, or even acknowledge the source. Do be a good citizen, though, and credit the artist. You will promote their portfolio and help keep good photos coming.

Unsplash uses a search engine that segregates photos by categories. You can also search by keyword or topic. Take your time and experiment with word choices. The perfect photo awaits placement in your post.

So, you picked the perfect photo. Now what? You need a tool to make that photo highlight your content.

2. The next best thing to a pro designer

Canva’s drag and drop features allow you to create awesome designs. You can upload a personal photo. Choose one of your own or select one from your favorite online provider.

What can you do with Canva? Imagine that you have a great photo, but it needs some modification. Canva is your palette for creativity.

With Canva, photo editing is a cinch. Does your photo look like the Leaning Tower of Pisa? The photo straightener tool places it back on level ground.

Maybe there is clutter in the photo background. The image cropper lets you frame and crop like a master. Spotlight the most essential parts of your photo.

Your only limitation to showcasing your photos is your imagination. Add text, speech bubbles, enhance the photos or vary their transparency. Take advantage of Canva’s free templates, or create one of your own design. If you can imagine a concept, Canva can help bring it to life.

Canva’s basic platform is free. You have nothing to lose by giving it a look!

Your design is now ready for prime-time. What is the best way to place it on your preferred platforms?

It is easier than you think. Let’s look at a posting tool that works even when you sleep.

3. Flexible scheduling without the guesswork

Buffer standardizes and simplifies your social marketing. With this dynamic scheduling tool, your completed projects post on auto-pilot. You control the time and place.

Buffer Publish helps you plan and schedule social media posts. You can place items in the queue days, or even months in advance. It is a ‘fire and forget’ system that annihilates the competition. You will never forget to post or find yourself posting sporadically.

What is the ideal day of the week, or time of day for your platform? Did you know that posting on Linkedin from 11:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m. and 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. will get you the largest audience? Research the best times for other platforms to get optimum viewership.

Cross-platform flexibility allows content placement on up to 8 platforms. And you can post up to 100 times per month.

Buffer Reply displays reader comments and offers response mechanisms for all social conversations. You remain engaged and on top of every client interaction.

Is there a particular influencer or group you are following? Focus your valuable time on their conversations. Key in on chatter that means the most to you.

Buffer Analyze provides up-to-date snapshots or patterns of your social media’s performance. You can see which type of content performs best. If desired, you can share performance metrics and reports with clients. Let them see firsthand what a dynamic effect you are making.

Try it free and see if it is right for you.

Great graphics and photos are critical in gaining initial attention. But you also need to produce content worth reading. As a writer on the move, you need a flexible writing tool for your ongoing projects.

4. Replace multiple project files with one app

What if you could find one ‘notebook’ to manage your content on the go? Would you like a single resource to create, organize, and manage all your projects?

Evernote is a personal electronic binder. With it, you customize a system to generate and store information. It provides flexibility to add notes, save web pages, and append audio memos to your projects.

Efficient organization means that you never have to wonder what happened to a critical piece of data. You can recover content with the stroke of a key.

Evernote’s search engine is better than depending upon your memory. Use keywords to search handwriting, documents, and PDFs.

Collaborate with others via Evernote’s project management features. Take meeting notes, set reminders, and edit documents on the move.

If that weren’t enough, you can sync documents so that changes reflect on all your devices.

But what about those instances when clients or collaborators have different system needs? Put your head in the clouds!

5. The silver lining in the cloud

Do you value anywhere/anytime access to all documents and files?

If so, Dropbox is your ultimate destination for files and folders, large or small.

Dropbox keeps your projects safe and secure in cloud storage. If you find yourself without access to your computer or tablet, you can access your information from any device. Changes made to a document or file will synchronize to all other devices you use.

Regardless of document size or format, you can send files to anyone. Share materials even if they have no Dropbox account.

Working with a team, you can collaborate on any project, at any time. Don’t let time zones or distance prevent you from making a deadline.

Getting the writing done is hard enough, but you cannot rest until your content is perfect. You have no excuse for even simple grammar errors. You need a tool that simplifies the editing process.

6. An editor that works in the background (silently)

Red ink is a writer’s nightmare. Would you like everything you type to be accurate and without mistakes? If so, place Grammarly at the top of your toolbox.

Grammarly spots and identifies common punctuation mistakes, and also more complicated errors. Sometimes it does so to the point of extreme aggravation! But remember, any recommendations are only suggestions. Don’t let them get in the way of your personality and creativity.

You can also download Grammarly plug-ins for email and social media accounts. These will check and correct your grammar mistakes while you type. The program is better than having your English teacher looking over your shoulder — and less obnoxious about your mistakes.

With Grammarly you can make an editor’s job much easier, removing the red marks before she does.

Speaking of editors, yes, you can grab a program to mimic that.

7. The best advice from a dead author

If you are more than a year or two out of high school, you may need help with your grammar and sentence structure.

The Hemingway App identifies and color-codes potential problem areas. These include adverbs, passive voice, phrasing alternatives, and readability (complexity and difficulty).

Hemingway also tracks your document statistics. It provides you with a letter, word, and character count. The App estimates how long it will take to read your document, along with the number of sentences/paragraphs it contains.

The program will clean up your writing — making it more concise and powerful. But remember, any suggestions made are not mandatory. Not all adverbs are bad. Passive voice has a place.

So, where do you go from here?

You are in charge! This is your content. Make it reflect your unique character and business persona.

You now have a set of basic tools to generate content, make it sparkle visually, and schedule content delivery effortlessly across multiple social media platforms.

Are you enjoying that cuppa coffee? Charge it to your client as you work on their next project.

Start now! It is easier than you think.

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