Are you a baller on a budget? What I mean is, do you have limited time + money to put into blogging and social media? Me too. You’ve seen all of the available automation and scheduling applications and maybe our head spins at all the options, or maybe you just don’t know where to put your money for fear of not looking like a pro out there. In this post, I’ll share with you how I run my blog and social media using a strategic combination of free and paid apps totaling just $50 per month.
Thinking strategically, it’s best to go with what works, tweaking as needed. Why re-create the wheel, right?
I thought about where I like to spend most of my social media time + how my content can be displayed and shared in a way that would bring traffic back to my blog. This is the foundation on which I make most of my purchasing decisions.
Then I looked at my bank account. By that, I mean how much am I making from my blog. At the the time, (February 2015) zilch, to be exact. I don’t mind investing in my blog, I have plans, you see *insert evil laugh here*. Let’s rock social media like pro’s shall we?
Squarespace Price $20/month. Moving over to Squarespace costs me a lot of the $50 pie, but for me, it’s worth it. I just don’t have the time to deal with “under the hood stuff”. I could have saved $4 and get billed annually, but I’m a month-to-month gal. I love the ease of use, ability to add scripts for certain social sharing apps and the customer service is excellent. Just because they treat me like I am an expert “under the hood stuff” blogger.
SumoMe Price $0/month. Notice when you hover over images you are prompted to share it to Pinterest, Facebook or Twitter? Or maybe you’ve noticed that if you highlight any text, you can also share to Twitter or Facebook? Hello scroll box for new subscribers and how are you social sharing buttons scrolling with you as you read? Yep, SumoMe does all of that for me with no money spent. That’s wassup.
Feedly Price $5/month. I curate and share content for myself and others and wanted all the bells and whistles that came with. My husband reads up on current events and politics in the morning, and I’m reading the latest in social media, marketing, advertising, blogging + design at night. Feeds with the upgraded plan refresh faster than unpaid, and I can easily share from my Feedly to other social media apps like Hootsuite, Buffer, IFTTT, Pinterest and Pocket.
Canva Price $0/month. I use my own images, or those you can find on Unsplash, MorgueFile, Wikipedia Public Domain Art, and even directly in Canva. I use this to create all of my branded images, with my style guide of fonts, colors, elements + image filters so I am literally making images for this blog in under 3 minutes. You can purchase premium elements at $1/element and I’ll do that very rarely. A dollar is a dollar.
Tailwind Price $15/month. Pinterest has always been a high referrer for me. Maybe it’s because I started this blog after being a secret Pinterest junkie for almost a year. A story for another time. Tailwind is a Pinterest scheduling tool with the most crazy analytics that when used with my social spreadsheet gets me to really dig deep and repin what works, and cut what isn’t working. I still use Pinterest without Tailwind because it will always be my favorite social platform, and there’s nothing like finding a gem in real time to pin!
Tailwind even spent a half hour on the phone with me (on the phone!) to ask me how I was liking their app, what I was struggling with and how I was using it <— see, right there, I knew that was the basis of their call. They get information from bloggers and tweak their product based on an aggregate compilation of data from users! But because I share everything, I told them about my crazy spreadsheet and Pinterest strategy from the Pinning Perfect class I just took that increased my referral traffic 10-15%! They actually said I was the most organized pinner they’d spoken to (little do they know.)
But because I shared, they enrolled me in a Beta test for a new feature + I got a tip that I’ll share with you. If you’re using Tailwind, you may have a hard time wrapping your head around how to ensure your current posts are shared to your boards and group boards upon publish. Manually schedule your blog posts pins on the day you need them, and then use the Tailwind extension to schedule anything else that you want to pin. This way when you use the “shuffle queue” feature, your scheduled content stays as you’ve scheduled it (kinda like Buffer and Hootsuite). Another sweet tip: You can make your pins inside the app because it’s integrated with Canva! Like a cherry on a sundae!
Hootsuite Price $0/month. We know that Hootsuite is my strong, burly, no funny business social media husband. He does all the heavy lifting as far as others content is concerned. Since I only get 100 posts for Buffer, my money is better spent sharing my own content there. I use Feedly as I am reading through pieces of content I think my Twitter audience would love and don’t have a limit as to how much I get to share. Combine that with the auto scheduling feature where it knows just the right time to share posts for maximum impact, and I’m golden.
Buffer Price $10/month. With the new scheduling feature I found, I am literally sharing my blog content within milliseconds according to my schedule (upon publish, 2 hours after, the next day, the next week and the next month). Not to mention, their suggested content is great. I know I can always scroll through there and find a good read. I also have a recipe set up with IFFFT to push all of my tweets into a Google spreadsheet. This means, I can extract those tweets that worked and push them back through (inspirational quotes, evergreen content, you get the drill).
Pocket Price $0/month. When I find a piece of content that I know I will use later for a guest post, or to send to a client, I save it to Pocket and tag it. It’s so easy to forget that last bit, but it’s very important. I have links in there that I refer to all the time to include relevant data, quotes and methods.
Co-Schedule Title Analyzer Price $0/month. Did you think that just because I wasn’t on WordPress, I wasn’t going to take advantage of all the freebies around their massively easy and integrated social sharing/blogging app?! Everyone is all cuckoo for cocoa puffs over the Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer, even Co-Scheduler mentions it on this app (page? I can’t tell). What I love about this is I can plug in a title and get instant feedback on why it works, how to make it better and what it looks like in a Google Search. Hook your readers with your title, the rest will follow.
True, I can spend loads of time coming up with the perfect A+ title and I do, but there’s just something about getting a good grade that piques the eternal student in me. Go ahead, test my title. A+, baby.
Iconosquare Price $0/month I am able to comment, like and follow new people on Instagram from this desktop application. The statistics tab is shares charts and graphs of my most liked images, top tags, and even compares them to the ones I use, best times to post based on engagement, and best image filters for my audience. Now that I share my blog posts to Instagram, this is a super win-win. My audience likes the Amaro filter, are crazy for me when I post on Thursdays between 5PM – 9PM and should work more on getting comments so that means better call to action captions on my part. Who knew?
Want more analytics? Simply Measured gives you serious scoop on your Google+ profile page, Facebook Fan Page, Instagram, Twitter, Vine and even social sharing back to your blog. Totally free, you just have to share a little blurb on your social media about them. Which is worth it (and I think that’s how they know it’s really you asking for all of this top secret information). These reports are not for the faint hearted or weak eyed, so don’t do what I did and try to glean information from your smart phone. Get up off the couch and check out your reports from your laptop. If you don’t measure it, you can’t improve it.
Could I have added more to this list? Sure, we all know about IFTTT, TwitterFeed + JustUnfollow but I wanted to share new stuff. Will I consider adding more to my blog + social media budget? Of course and that’s always in the works, but for now, this works for me, your favorite baller on a budget. If you’re a baller on a budget, let me know!
How do you spend your money on social and blogging? I would love to hear how you make it happen on a shoestring in the comments.
This post contains affiliate links, but it costs you zilch. Thanks for supporting Filling My Prayer Closet!