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A question I’m faced with almost every time I pitch for new social media work goes something like this:

”Our budget is $xxx per month, how many posts a day/week could you do for that?”

It never made sense to me that some freelancers or agencies provide social media management quotes for clients based on number of posts per week, rather than hours spent on the project per week… especially when creating social content can be the most time-consuming part of a campaign.

For example, one post could be a 1000 word blog post, another could simply be a link to a section of the client’s website.They’re both equal to a single post, but there is a huge gulf in the time it takes to put each of them together.

The reason I invariably guide clients down the hours per week path is to make it clear that rather than churning out a quota of social media posts each week, focusing on creating quality content that their followers will enjoy is far more likely to produce stronger results in the long-term.

I’m definitely in the less is more camp when it comes to social media management.

For many agencies and freelancers, the time spent crafting that content can still prove prohibitive. This is particularly true if you’re not also proficient with the likes of Photoshop, InDesign, and Lightworks.

To solve this, I’m sharing three online tools that I regularly use to create things like graphics, videos, and quizzes that engage and convert my clients’ audiences. These help me speed up my content creation process, and I know they’ll do the same for you too.

These tools shouldn’t be used as a substitute for professionals when a client comes calling. However, if used intelligently, they can improve your content creation process in several ways.

Here are my top three suggestions.

Canva

I’ll start with perhaps the most popular online graphic design tool out there: Canva. If you haven’t heard of it, then sign up and try the tool using the tutorial prompts. You’ll quickly see why it’s so popular.

I’m a big fan of Canva. Even though I’m fairly capable on Photoshop, I often find myself using Canva instead due to its simplicity in creating and sharing graphics.

The basic plan is free. But, if you upgrade to their professional plan for $12 a month, then you’re able to create separate teams within a single Canva account, add brand-specific fonts and colours to ensure consistency across your designs, and gain access to a huge library of free graphics to include within your creations.

Using Canva is ideal for producing what I would term secondary graphics: accompanying images for blog posts, social cover photos… things like that. They’re not strictly necessary in every case, but can add a layer of professionalism and authenticity to your posts.

Why You Need Canva

Naturally, if a client tasks you with producing a brand spanking new brochure for them, then I wouldn’t advise using Canva. That would be selling them a little short!

However, the trick is to recognize which areas of content creation can be streamlined and simplified without compromising on quality.
Canva makes it extremely simple for all team members to be involved in the design process without endless emails, CCs, and forwards.

Bonus tip: You’ll find the option to create a team in the left-hand menu of your dashboard along with the option to customize your brand logo, colours, and font.

At the end of the day, you have to find the right balance between the time it takes to produce a piece of content and the rewards that will be gained from it.

If you spend all day putting together a lovely infographic that nobody ever looks at, it’s not exactly an efficient use of anybody’s time.

I think it’s more logical to first use a simpler creation process to discover the type of content that resonates with your audience, and only then should you think about allocating more resources towards making extra snazzy videos and presentations.

Wideo

I recently discovered Wideo. It’s a great little tool which allows video-making amateurs (such as myself) to make professional-looking videos for a fraction of the normal cost.

Wideo comes loaded with hundreds of ready-made templates which, with some careful manipulation, can be used as the basis for your own video. Alternatively, you can start from scratch if you’re feeling adventurous, but it can become quite time-consuming for somebody not totally familiar with the platform.

You first need to identify how this tool could provide value for your business. For example, social media is very timely. Trends and news topics come and go within days; sometimes less. Yesterday’s news is today’s history. If you need to create something timely to share online then – given the time constraints – it’s not always feasible to go through the whole process with a designer.

Why You Need Wideo

Wideo is great for creating on-demand video content. You can use their templates for Facebook and Instagram stories which, as you marketing buffs know, will expire after 24 hours – making a speedy content creation process an absolute must.

Brands have had huge amounts of success with Instagram Stories, with some agencies stating that the format can lead to 2 or 3 times more engagement than regular posts. So the rewards are definitely there for companies who pay attention to this relatively new feature of social media.

Qzzr

I first started using Qzzr a few years ago for a client of mine, and since then it has continued to add extremely cool new features that in my opinion makes it the leading quiz-making software out there.

With Qzzr, you’re able to create customizable, visually-appealing, multilingual quizzes that you can bring alive with embedded GIFs and videos. It’s actually so simple to use that there’s not much point in explaining it on this blog post! it’s better to take advantage of their 14-day free trial and try it out for yourself.

Although it can be used as just a nice little tool for making nice little quizzes, Qzzr also boasts about their lead generating capabilities.

I’m not totally on board with quizzes being created for the sole purpose of generating leads. The Cambridge Analytica scandal showed us how some quizzes were actually being used to mine and harvest user data on an enormous scale, and online users should quite rightly be wary of any online quiz that wants your details in return.

It’s important to strike a balance between people enjoying your content and wanting to engage with it, and seeing through it as a cynical attempt to get their email address.

Why You Need Qzzr

I enjoy using Qzzr because it’s a great way for followers to have a little bit of fun and engage with your brand. It helps build up audience trust in your brand so that they might be more minded to purchase your client’s product or service later on down the line.

Speeding Up Your Content Creation Process

As I touched upon in the main body of this post, if you’re tasked by a client to put together a graphic design project (a flyer, brochure or new logo for example) then tools such as these shouldn’t be used to cut corners and cut out the professionals.

They should be used on occasions such as these:

  1. When time constraints mean it’s not feasible to go through your usual design process: proposals, drafts, reviews, edits etc. This is particularly relevant to social media managers, where timely content is king.
  2. When there’s simply no need to spend so much time creating images, videos or quizzes. Think accompanying images for blog posts, graphics to go with your quiz or daily Facebook/Instagram/Snapchat stories.
  3. When you don’t have the necessary experience with Photoshop/Lightworks/InDesign, but still need to create something to be shared online.

My best advice for the next step is to start identifying the areas where these tools can improve your content creation process.

That may be speeding up quality assurance by using Canva instead of email threads, it may be calling on Wideo to quickly create an Instagram story rather than your in-house video maker, or it may be using Qzzr to put together a quiz based on today’s news stories that won’t be relevant in a week’s time.

If you understand that, you’ll be well on your way to improving the day-to-day processes of your business.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR, Nick Harland

Nick is a freelance social media marketer who has worked with the likes of Ricoh and Hearst to achieve their aims on social media. Nick has worked in the field for around 4 years now and is currently based in sunny Barcelona. Feel free to check out Nick’s website for more info on what he’s done, or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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