With the number of corner-cutting tools and tricks on the Internet for everything from video games to weight loss, it is hard to narrow down which ones are timesavers and which will have you spending more time on it than if you just did it the old-fashioned way. Free tools are even harder to narrow down because which ones are useful and which ones will just throw a massive amount of advertisements at you?
We thought we would save you some time and pick out the free tools that are actually worth using when it comes to social media. Whether you are a social media marketer with multiple clients, you run your company’s social accounts or you’re just trying to expand your personal online presence, these can come in handy.
The 2018 Social Media Image Sizes Guide
Each year since 2015, makeawebsitehub.com has released a social media image size guide that has every detail regarding image optimization for the major platforms. In 2018, no one wants to see a blurry photo on their newsfeed. This free infographic explains how each image will appear on desktops and smartphones, and recommends the type of file to upload. For example, your Facebook cover photo should be an RGB JPG file, less than 100KB, 820×310 pixels. To make sure every pixel appears perfectly, double check the size guide when you are posting.
Character Count Online
Every social media marketer who planned their content ahead of time before #Twitter280 has most likely used a character counter. However, Character Count Online has the smoothest interface for a free counter that I have ever come across. This free tool counts your characters, words, sentences, paragraphs and even whitespaces. It was designed by a web designer that found all of the other tools out there complicated or expensive. Besides checking your Twitter characters, this counter is great to see if you’re in an ideal range for the length of a blog post or other long-form content.
The Instagram Desktop Trick
If you Google, “Can Instagram be used on a desktop computer?” You will get, “The free Instagram app is designed for taking, editing and sharing images on mobile phones, rather than desktop machines.” However, with a little searching, we found that there is a way around that by switching your desktop window to iPhone view. Check out these instructions from CNET and get posting. Warning: The trick isn’t always perfect depending on your browser and computer, but very worth it when it works!
Do you find yourself using the same images from a company photoshoot over and over? Or do you spend hours on Shutterstock looking for a photo that doesn’t have a super cheesy stock photo feel? Stop paying for high quality stock photography for your social channels when you can get it for free from Unsplash. Unsplash is a database of beautiful photos that are completely free to download. Crediting is not required, but is always appreciated. Matter uses Unsplash’s imagery frequently on our blog and social channels.
A UTM code is a piece of code that attaches to the end of a URL. This code will tell Google Analytics where your sources came from and what campaign directed them to you. In turn, this gives you better and more specific analytics to report back to your clients. Many companies will set a protocol on how their UTM codes are built out, but a simple way to create them is with Google’s Campaign URL Builder. You insert your original link and fill in the required fields to get your new URL. This tool even has a link shortener at the end to make it simple to copy the links right to your social channels.
Unlike other social platforms where you can add a different link to every post, Instagram gives you one chance to present a link to your followers in your bio. Do you find yourself wondering if you should post your most recent piece of content, your homepage or your contact page? Well, Linktree has officially solved that problem for social media marketers. Linktree gives you one bio link to a mobile site that houses each of the items you want to link to. This way a user can click the link and then choose which link they want to visit. Linktree has a free version and a PRO version available for $6 a month. The PRO version gives you slightly more customization and analytics than the free version, but we think the free version is just as helpful.