Social tools for business

Social Tools for Business

I'm at the cottage and I am thinking about all the online tools out there and how valuable they can be for businesses. Now, more than ever before, business owners can communicate with their clients and potential clients quickly and effectively.

If you are a business owner who continues to struggle with how to make social media work for you then I encourage you to read through five of my favourite blog posts that offer up valuable social media tips on some of my favourite social channels:

1)   Should you be on Instagram?

If you are a business owner who doesn’t understand the value of posting pictures on a regular basis, then read this post to find out if you’re missing out on a tool that could be helping you reach an audience you didn’t even know existed! If you are a visual business, you should most probably be on Instagram. Click here to learn more.

2) The Value of Recommendations and Endorsements

LinkedIn is a professional social channel and is the best place to showcase your accreditations, skills and accomplishments. It is also a place to connect and network with new professional connections and prove that you are worth working with. It is for this reason that you should learn and use the recommendation and endorsement features on LinkedIn. These features allow people to see what you are all about and have to offer without having to connect with you first. To learn more about the value of LinkedIn, click here.

3)   Why should my small business use Facebook?

Believe it or not there are still small businesses who are not on Facebook – or they are on as a personal profile or group and do not have a business page.  There are advantages to being on Facebook as a business and this post goes back to the basics – for those who still need convincing. To read the full post, click here.

4)   The Twitter Rules of Thirds

If you are new to Twitter, or you have an account, but instead of using it for business use it for news updates instead, this blog post will help you understand what you should really be using this conversational social channel for. Twitter is not as time consuming as you may think! Used correctly for about ten minutes a day can help grow your audience substantially. Click here to learn more about Twitter.

5)   Periscope – What is it and why should I care?

This is a new social app and it is taking the world by storm!  Periscope allows you to live stream from your cell phone and it’s free to broadcast and view. There is a lot of potential in this simple app, and I have seen business owners use it to share tips, product reveals and more!  It’s a quick and easy tool that can be used to connect with your audience in real time – from anywhere in the world. Click here to read more on Periscope.

So, as I connect with you miles from my office I hope you find these highlighted posts helpful as you continue to explore the endless possibilities social media brings for small businesses. 

Tools to create appealing images

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the components of a blog post. One of the 7 critical pieces is a featured image. A good graphic serves a few purposes:

  • Your blog post graphic can help compel readers to click through from social networks when there's a thumbnail preview showing. 
  • The featured image can double as a shareable image when you promote your post on various networks.
  • It breaks up the page and assists with readability.
  • When the graphic lends support to your post and adds visual appeal, you help readers connect with your message and purpose.

Beyond featured graphics on your blog posts, images are used all over the place, because humans are visual. We like imagery. It helps us relate to and process information.

With all this pressure to have images at the ready, some businesses are searching for tools they can use to create graphics on the fly without having to hire someone. Today, I'm going to tell you about two tools I use all the time that I really love.

Canva hasn't been around for very long - maybe 6 months or a year. I can't remember how I found out about it, but I'm so glad I did. If you ever used Picnik (the image editor that Google bought and shut down), Canva is better. It started out as a browser-based tool and they've just recently released an iPad app, so you can make images on the go quickly and easily. Here are some of the images I've created using Canva:

Each of these shareable images was created with a stock photo, which I purchased from Canva for $1. Three eye-catching, meaningful images and they cost me $3 and a little bit of time. There are many, many free backgrounds, shapes, symbols and images that you can use as well. 

I use Canva exclusively for web graphics so far, but you can also create documents for printing as well. Canva even provides pre-sized templates for all the current optimal sizes for graphics on social networks, such as Facebook, Google+ and Twitter cover images, as well as timeline graphics. 

The image I sent to Lara and our amazing VA, Tracy Noble. :)

There are some functions (like using any font I want) that keep me using Adobe design tools more than these tools, but that tends to be for graphics that I want clearly branded. Fortunately, Canva gives you lots of options for changing colours to complement your branding and they have some very nice fonts to use as well.


I stumbled upon Wordswag a few weeks ago by complete accident. It's only available on iOS, but for $2.99 you get forever free access to a really cool tool. I've talked to quite a few people since I found Wordswag and almost all of them bought it right away and love it as well - so you won't be disappointed! I've honestly never had so much fun designing quick images.

Just to give you an idea, I decided to see how many different versions of the same image I could create in about 5 minutes time I didn't really race through, but I still managed to get 8 done! 

The variety is pretty impressive and since you can use your own photos and images, there's no need to feel like your text graphics look like everyone else's. Here's a video intro to Wordswag so you can see how it works:

The really wonderful thing about both of these apps is that you can make images right on your phone or iPad and then upload them to any social network, including Instagram. 

Bonus Tool - OUTSOURCE!

Lara and I are big believers in outsourcing work that isn't our genius. (That's one reason why we have that fabulous VA I mentioned earlier - we'd be lost without Tracy.) 

I'm very excited to announce today that Wellman Wilson is now officially offering design services. We recognize that creating images can be stressful and time-consuming if that's not what you enjoy or feel is a strength. We can help save you time and stress - allowing you to do more of the things that are your genius work!

Do you have a favourite tool for creating images? Tell us in the comments! (Especially if you have suggestions for Android users.)

Why Instagram is good for your business

Instagram is a free photo sharing app for android and iOS devices that turns everyone into a photographer. Since it’s inception in 2010, this photo sharing platform has grown by leaps and bounds and now boasts over 90 million users who are posting about 40 million photos a day, generating nearly 8,500 “likes” per second.

Instagram allows users to take a photo, apply photo filters and captions and share it through a variety of social networking services including Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and on Instagram itself. Instagram is sort of like Twitter, except instead of connecting with others using 140 characters or less, you’re connecting through the sharing of photos.


Add Some Personality To Your Business

If you’re wondering why we’re talking about Instagram, thinking that it’s just some fad for the young, you should know that it’s also an effective tool to add to your business’ social media strategy.  If you’ve already established a business presence on other social networks, you can leverage Instagram’s potential by sharing what’s going on in your office across multiple networks. It can help highlight your products and services but it can also help humanize your business by allowing you to share pictures of what’s happening in your office. In addition to sharing images of your new products and services, you can post pictures of your staff parties, office mascots, crazy hat day, employee of the month, whatever.  It’s also a way for you to take your customers with you to trade shows or promotional events so your audience can get a feel for your brand by learning about the events or causes you attend, support or sponsor.

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

By adding captions to your photos before you upload them, you can increase the potential for customer engagement - by asking questions, including calls to action or posting tips online. Whether you have a brick and mortar or online business, you can increase interactions with your audience by beginning the conversation through images and captions. You can even use hashtags to help you organize your photos and to help your Instagram connections to find photos on topics that interest them (like your products).


Take a look at 5 Awesome Examples of Instagram marketing from real brands.

Reward Your Audience

Everyone loves to win and Instagram is the perfect platform to hold contests to promote your business. Asking your customers to share pictures of themselves using or promoting your products in order to win free stuff is a great way to go. Instagram can be an effective and fun way to get Instagram users and other lovers of social media talking about who you are and what you do.

Some say that taking your business online can dehumanize the customer experience. When you’re looking to build trust in what you offer, this can be a bad thing. Instagram lets you put a face, literally, on your business efforts in ways that can be targeted to help build confidence in you and your brand. And that’s always good for business.

Are you using Instagram yet? If you have any questions on how Instagram could help enhance your social media strategy, we’d be happy to help.