For the last 3 years, I’ve enjoyed bringing my excitement over all things marketing tech to you, readers of MLS. Changes are coming for 2019, and this will be my final Tech Tools and Hacks column. Befitting an end-of-the-run column, I’m giving you a recap of my go-to, can’t-work-without-them marketing tools, websites, and tips.
Favorite Marketing Tools and Sites
Biteable: This cloud-based video-animation and -creation tool has kept adding features, footage, and capabilities since I first purchased and reviewed it. I believe all libraries should use video in their marketing, and you don’t need complex or pricey live-action videos. Biteable’s templates make it easy to combine text, images, animations, and stock clips for social-media-ready videos. (www.biteable.com)
Canva: Why use pricey and complicated Adobe tools like Illustrator or Photoshop when you could be using Canva? Its templates, built-in stock images, and easy interface let you whip up graphics easily. Create correctly sized social media graphics, a new header for your Facebook Page, a better-looking flier, a thumbnail for YouTube videos, or other shareable, branded images with minimal fuss. It’s the affordable (even if you don’t qualify for the nonprofit rate) graphics tool for those of us who didn’t go to design school. (www.canva.com)
Coolors: Coolors offers a free way to create, save, share, and be inspired by awesome color palettes. Find complementary colors for your brand by using the fast and fun color schemes generator. (www.coolors.co)
Easel.ly: Canva is great, but Easel.ly is my recommendation for better-looking charts and graphs for annual reports or for gorgeous infographics for presentations or blog posts. (www.easel.ly)
Feedly: I use the free Feedly app multiple times per day to read the news and to curate content to share. It strips the ads and images out and gives full text for many (but not all) sources, which makes reading a bit more pleasant. You can use folders/categories to organize your chosen RSS feeds, bookmark items for later, or share directly to social media via integrated apps. (www.feedly.com)
Hashtagify: Before you use a hashtag or make up one for your Twitter or Instagram campaigns, check it on Hashtagify. Make sure the tag means what you think, is actively in use (or not, if it’s one you made up), and will help, not hurt, your social media efforts. (www.hashtagify.me) An alternative is RiteTag (www.ritetag.com).
John Haydon: I’ve followed John Haydon’s emails, webinars, and Facebook Live sessions for years. He’s an expert on social media marketing for nonprofits. (www.johnhaydon.com)
Social Media Lab: Agorapulse is a social media management and metrics tool for teams and larger organizations (paid plans start at $39/month). Its Social Media Lab puts money into running experiments to collect data on how social media marketing is actually working and to bust common social rumors and myths. (www.agorapulse.com/social-media-lab)
Trello: In my September/October 2018 column, I talked about my love and longtime usage of Trello for planning. I also use it as a content calendar to plan emails and blog posts and to sort out priorities for my to-do list (Now/Next/Someday/Never). (www.trello.com)
Typeform: This is still my preferred survey, feedback, and quiz-building tool due to its clean, minimalist look and user experience. (www.typeform.com)
Unsplash: This is my go-to site for non-generic, high-quality photos to use in presentations, marketing collateral, videos, blog posts, and social media. All photos are available for free, for any use, and with no attribution required under the Creative Commons CC0 license. (www.unsplash.com)
Zoom: I use Zoom daily and couldn’t work without it. I use it to enable meetings with my nonprofit board, conference teams, and library clients; to record my screen for tutorials; and to host my own lunch-and-learn series of webinars, MarketingToolTalk.com. It’s a reliable, easy-to-use, affordable web/video conferencing tool. (www.zoom.us)
My Most Important Tips for Success
Whether you’re creating promotional videos, designing collateral materials, or writing important copy, I’d like to remind you of these vital hacks and tips.
- When recording videos, use a microphone to improve quality (yes, even with your smartphones).
- When shooting videos, don’t put any light source behind your subject. That lighting will either wash out the scenery or make your subject look like he or she is in the witness protection program.
- Don’t use more than two or three fonts or typefaces per piece of marketing collateral or items will appear messy, be harder to read, and dilute your readers’ focus.
- White space is your friend when designing signs, fliers, blog posts, and any other textual marketing pieces.
- Have one, and only one, clear, compelling call to action in each marketing piece so the readers or viewers know exactly what you want them to do next.