Guest post by Lauren Lacava | Principal Consultant, Black & White Marketing
Managing marketing activities in a small to medium catering, events or hospitality business requires quick and easy solutions to ensure maximum results. Unlike larger organisations with marketing departments or access to marketing budgets, small to medium businesses cannot always justify the outlay for additional resources.
Finding tools that help you produce basic graphics for your social media pages or to add interest to a blog post can make your life a lot easier. So to, can learning to use simple social media scheduling apps that can allow you to plan ahead and save time. There are many apps and tools that can make your life easier, cost next to nothing (and in many cases, a free version is available) and are designed to be ultra user friendly.
Here are a few tried and tested marketing tools that we are loving right now;
Facebook Pages Manager
If you manage a company Facebook page, you need to be using this excellent free app. Pages Manager is a Facebook produced app for your smart phone or tablet that allows you to manage your page and get on the spot metrics so that you can analyse your campaigns. Most people we work with don’t know that you can schedule posts in advance from your Pages Manager via the Scheduling tool (a very handy feature for busy event gurus). You can view all of your page insights as well as draft up posts (which is a great feature if you want to draft up and review content before posting).
Pages Manager also houses all of your notifications in an easy to view list as well as allowing you to manage page roles. In addition, Pages Manager allows you to manage multiple Facebook pages on the go – this is a wonderfully efficient feature for people that are not often at their desks. Download the app for free from the App Store.
Later is a tool (available on your desktop or via the free app on smart phone or tablet) that allows you to preschedule Instagram posts! The free version allows you to post content for up to two accounts with a total of 30 posts per month. Latergramme is very easy to use and allows you to upload your images, add your caption and hash tags and then schedule them to post in the future. Instagram doesn’t allow apps to post automatically, but they system will easily programme the posts into a calendar which then sends you a prompt to post at that time, you simply confirm the post by swiping. There are various versions of this product that allows for more users, more accounts and more posts. This one is a no brainer for people juggling multiple Instagram pages that need the ability to plan ahead.
Another little gem, Canva is a free graphic design tool (available on desktop and app) that enables even the most uncreative managers to produce professional looking graphics for a range of different pieces of collateral such as social media posts, presentations and invitations to name a few. Canva works on a drag and drop premise and houses hundreds of templates for different types of collateral. An upgraded version of this excellent tool is also available – Canva for Work is low cost (around $12 per month) and enables you to create a brand kit so that your branding consistently carries through.
Be Funky Pro
Be Funky Pro, is a very funky little app that allows for easy editing of all of your smart phone or tablet images. Free and low cost versions are available to download through the App Store. Be Funky allows you to turn subpar images into stunning, social media worthy pictures that showcase your venue, food or service in the best possible light. This easy to use app enables you to crop, colour, brighten and beautify as well as allowing you to add frames, text or filters (of which there are many to choose from). Be Funky is a lifesaver when you need to give your images just a little love before you use them through your social media. Post your pictures straight up on to Facebook or store them in your camera role for later use. Simple.
These free and low cost tools can provide immediate support to marketing managers within small to medium businesses in the catering, hospitality or events industries that perhaps don’t have budget to allocate to specialists for each and every post, project or communication. While these tools are free and fabulous, it is critical to the success of your branding to have both a marketing strategy as well as strict brand guidelines in place to ensure that your branding remains consistent in its message. Strategy always comes first.