This toolkit contains the essentials of social media marketing, helping you leverage this important channel to reach your audience, build your brand, and find new customers.
Cover image via Eugenio Marongiu
Social media is a powerful tool for marketing. While other marketing channels can require more resources to perfect, social media can be your pathway to new audiences and a great way of connecting with customers that already exist. If you haven’t invested in social media as a part of your marketing strategy, this toolkit is exactly what you need to get started.
If you’re just getting started with social media, there’s one thing you’ll definitely need – images. Images are the best way to develop your brand and engage users. Get started with Shutterstock Bundles, professionally curated packs of 25 images available in wide variety of themes.
There are plenty of tools and best practices to help you with your social media marketing strategy, which we’ve rounded up in this toolkit. It gives you the basics of how to choose the right social media channels, how to manage your accounts, and how to maximize your social content with strong visuals.
Pick the Right Social Media Channels
Image via GaudiLab.
There are tons of social media channels, and new ones popping up every week. Each one has their own purpose and will benefit your business in different ways. It might seem daunting to set up a profile and presence on every single site; here’s a quick rundown of the most popular and useful channels to help you select which ones are right for your business. Or, get a more in-depth look at these social media channels.
The most popular site on this list, Facebook will allow businesses their most robust web presence aside from their own website. You can fill out your company profile, post updates and images, stream live video, interact with customers, and even take advantage of Facebook Messenger to have real-time conversations with your audience.
Twitter is all about conversation. It’s not only where users go for breaking news, but also for humor and entertainment. Think of it as an opportunity to demonstrate your brand voice as there are more opportunities to react to and get involved in the “larger conversation,” or whatever is going on on the internet that day.
Instagram is a visual wonderland. The platform is entirely based on images, so it’s essential to have a well-developed brand identity in order to find success. That means cohesive and consistent visuals that resonate with your audience. It can be hard for brands to hit their stride on this platform, so take advantage of hashtags, influencer opportunities, and paid ads to find your foothold.
Another visual platform, Pinterest has the unique benefit of getting potential customers directly to your site through “pinned” images. It’s an especially useful platform for retail businesses, as product images are the most likely to get pinned. Like Instagram, it requires a keen eye for visual branding to find traction on this channel.
LinkedIn is the top social site for professionals, meaning it’s a great place for B2B networking. Instead of creating entertaining content as you might on Twitter or Facebook, LinkedIn thrives on educational content. Think case studies, white papers, testimonials – these type of posts will lend your brand credibility and increase your reach on the site and in your industry.
Use a Social Media Management Tool
Image via Jacob Lund.
Once you’re running a few social media channels, it can become difficult to manage them all directly through that channel’s platform. Can’t remember if you uploaded a certain image on Facebook or Twitter? Want to post something similar across all channels? Save yourself some hassle and start using a social media manager.
These tools, which come in many paid and premium tiers, are not only great for getting organized, but also for analyzing your progress on different channels. Lots of these platforms have built in analytics that show you the effectiveness of your social media content. As you grow your social media strategy, analytics are key to making informed decisions about your brand direction.
These are just a few popular options for social media management tools. Each comes with tiered plans to fit every budget, but it’s worth doing your research to find the tool that’s right for your needs and your available funds.
- HootSuite – Probably the most widely used social media management tool, HootSuite has been adopted by businesses of all sizes. It lets you bulk schedule content across several channels, track your success, “listen” for different keywords, and run ads.
- Buffer – An intuitive and streamlined system, Buffer comes in a set of tiered plans. Schedule posts across accounts and add team members so that the whole team can collaborate on your business’s social strategy.
- Sprout – In addition to the regular content maintenance tools, Sprout also offers customer relationship management tools that give you a picture of your audience and help you engage in conversation with them. It’s also well-known for beautiful reports, so you can use data to adapt your social strategy.
Take Advantage of Visuals in Your Social Media Marketing
Image via nizc.
One thing every social media channel has in common is the positive effect of visuals. Including images on your posts will increase engagement and give your brand a boost. Focus on high-quality images that relate to your customers. Browse our affordable image packs in a variety of themes to find the right images for your brand.
Shutterstock Editor is a quick way to design your social media visuals. Here’s how to get started in the design application.
1. Use the Right Social Media Image Dimensions
Different social media platforms require specific dimensions when uploading or sharing images. Here’s a cheat sheet to social media image sizes:
- Facebook Image: 1200 x 1200 pixels
- Facebook Link: 1200 x 627 pixels
- Facebook Cover: 1702 x 630 pixels
- Twitter Post: 1024 x 512 pixels
- Twitter Header: 1500 x 500 pixels
- Instagram Post: 1080 x 1080 pixels
- Pinterest Post: 736 x 1128 pixels
- LinkedIn Post: 1200 x 627 pixels
Shutterstock Editor provides exact social media image sizes within the Preset Sizes (P) tool. Just upload your own image, or license an image from Shutterstock, then resize it for easy sharing.
To adjust your canvas size, head on over to the Preset Sizes (P) tool and choose from an array of social media presets. I selected the Facebook Image preset to crop this image from our Technology Bundle, which features high-quality images perfect for any modern business.
You can also scroll through preset sizes under the Canvas Size tab on the right side of the program. To customize your own dimensions, simply hit the lock icon and insert your values into the Width and Height boxes.
2. Develop a Visual Identity for Your Brand
You can add text, shapes, filters, or even upload your own logo in Editor to create a fully customized design without expensive editing programs. A few minor tweaks to images will help you brand the image and increase engagement. When users visit your Instagram feed or check your Facebook page, you want to present a cohesive brand identity by using the same color palette, typefaces, and overall visual identity. Your brand will appear more professional and credible – somewhere customers want to put their money.
Let’s add some text! Navigate to the Text (A) tool and select Add Headline for phrases or titles. This will bring up a large text box to the canvas. I typed in a short quote to fit around the woman in the image.
To change your font, scroll through the Font section to see what works best for your image. Apply color to your text with the Fill Color tool; select from presets, custom, or sample colors from your image with the eyedropper.
Hit the Text (A) tool once again and click Add Subheadline to add supplementary text to your headline. A text box will pop up but smaller in size; level-two text like event details, date and time, or an author serves best as a subheadline. Add color to the text by sampling a hue from the background to tie the typography and image together.
This toolkit helps you start, or recharge, your social media marketing strategy. Whether you’re developing one from scratch, or assessing the effectiveness of one already in place, it’s important to pay close attention to your brand’s presence on social media. As the most accessible channel for digital marketing, there’s no reason your business shouldn’t be using social media to talk to existing customers and reach new customers. Just remember to select the right networks for your business, monitor them closely, and harness the power of visuals to connect with audiences and stand out in a feed.
Want more social media know-how? Check out these articles.