Hey there, NCSexCon! We only had a bit of time together during the virtual event, so here are some extra resources to keep your learning going (including my slides).
Tools for Design
This section includes a bunch of different design tools. It also includes resources for stock images. I can’t stress enough that you should only use images you have permission to use. Google Images is not sufficient! Neither is reposting another creator’s content without permission and credit. Be polite on the internet, please.
Canva is an easy-to-use design platform. It has a free option, but you can also get a Pro membership for $12.99/month that’s very worth it. You can save/store color palettes, save fonts as part of your brand kit, and get access to many more stock images. Canva also has a color palette generator.
- Adobe Spark
Adobe Spark is like Canva. You can quickly create social media graphics and other content. You can use a free plan or subscribe for $9.99 per month.
This is my favorite color palette generator. Just hit generate and then the space bar and create endless color palettes. Once you find a color you love, you can lock it into place to find colors to go with it.
Unsplash is a free stock photo website that has tons of content. (Search unporn to find some innuendo-filled photos). Many sex toy companies and sexuality organizations have accounts on Unsplash, so you can find a lot here!
Pexels is another free stock photo library with tons of content. They also have videos!
- Adobe Stock
This is a paid service, but if you’re running a lot of print ads or need premium images and have a decent budget, a monthly subscription is worth it.
- Google Fonts
You can explore free web fonts here and download them to use on your website, in Adobe products, and in Canva.
- Creative Market
Creative Market is a giant library of licensable content. If you subscribe to their mailing list, you’ll get access to 6 free curated downloads per week. If you are looking for Canva or Illustrator templates, this is a great place to search.
- Lyfe Marketing’s Graphic Design Guide
This post offers a bunch of graphic design tips that are essential to creating easy-to-read and highly shareable posts. I recommend bookmarking it if you’re new to design!
- Buffer’s Guide to Social Media Design
This includes some tips that the Lyfe Marketing guide doesn’t — including color theory, imagery balance, and more.
The best way to link to relevant content is to create a landing page housed within your own website. For example, mine is FeministSexEd.com/link-in-bio. That’ll give you maximum control and will drive people to your website first, rather than to another tool.
Linktr.ee lets you have multiple links in your bio all housed in one customizable landing page. It’s popular for Instagram, but you can use it on any social platform and some people use it to curate content, too. They have a free plan or a more customizable option for $6 per month. Heads-up: Instagram has been known to disable profiles for using Linktr.ee links. That is supposed to be resolved now, but reports of it have shown up as of July 2021.
- Linkin.bio by Later
This is a really common tool that people use. It’s only accessible if you use Later as a scheduling tool, though.
Bitly is free (though you can get a paid subscription if you want — you really don’t need it, though). With the free plan you can customize the back half of up to 50 links per month (eg: bit.ly/ncsexcon2021) which will be plenty for most people. Easy-to-read shortlinks are super helpful for social media because it lets you share links in images and captions, even when they might not be clickable. Customized bitlys have higher click-through rates than non-customized bitlys. (click-through rate: The percentage of viewers who click on any given link)
- Google Campaign URL Builder
If you’re more advanced in marketing, you may want to track the campaign and source of each link. Google URL builder makes that easy. (Note: This really will only be relevant if you’re also using Google Analytics on your website).
Grammarly is a web app and a browser add-on that can check the spelling and grammar of your writing. It doesn’t recognize some industry-specific phrasing. If you have to write a lot for work, then you may benefit from Grammarly premium.
- Cliché Finder
It does what it says — finds clichés. Obviously you don’t have to listen to everything this app tells you, but it can highlight if you’re using too many clichés in one chunk of copy.
- Hemingway App
This app helps to clarify your writing. Again, it’s a helpful tool to point out things you may not have noticed, but you don’t have to follow it to a tee.
Social Media Schedulers
Note: Many social media apps have their own built-in scheduler. If you have a business page on Facebook, you can use Creator Studio to schedule posts on Instagram and Facebook for free. If you use Twitter, you can use Tweetdeck or the regular old Twitter interface to schedule tweets for the future. You can even write up posts and save them as drafts on TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter, then share them when you’re ready. All that to say: You don’t need a scheduling tool, but it can save you a headache and help you use your bursts of productivity and creativity when they happen.
Buffer is probably the most commonly used social media scheduling tool. Most folks will be content with the free plan, which lets you publish to three social media accounts and lets you schedule up to 10 posts per account at a time. If you need more than that, you can upgrade to the essentials plan for $5 per social channel. As a heads-up, free Buffer plans will automatically convert all customized bitlys to buff.ly links (so you’ll lose all your pretty customization)
Later is another very popular social media scheduling tool. The free plan includes one full “social set” (one IG, FB, Twitter, Pinterest, TikTok, and LinkedIn account) and lets you schedule up to 30 posts per profile. Later would be a better option for people who want to prioritize visual content planning.
Iconosquare is pricey, but it may be worth it if you have a large following and are building up more sponsored content, because they have the best analytics of all of these tools.
Hootsuite is one of the original social media schedulers, and like Iconosquare, it’s pricey (starting at $49/month). There is a free plan, but you can only add two social accounts and have up to 5 scheduled posts at a time.
Learn About Social Media
- Hubspot’s Social Media Marketing course
Hubspot has a bunch of courses on content marketing. If you’re a beginner or new to using social media professionally, this a good place to start. It’s free!
- Facebook’s Social Media Marketing Professional Certificate
If Facebook and Facebook products are a huge part of your social media toolkit, then this course will be helpful. Facebook’s marketing tools have tons of secret/hidden features that can be tricky to uncover, and this can help. It’s free.
- The Buffer Podcast (The Science of Social Media)
The Buffer podcast isn’t active anymore, so the specific tips are going to be out of date. But the episodes are short, and many of them are more focused on sentiment and big overview things, so there’s still value here.
- Buffer’s blog
Buffer’s blog is part company announcements, part skill-building posts. This is good for some simple things to learn.
- A Beginner’s Guide to Using TikTok (Later blog)
This was published in February 2021, so over time it’s going to not be as relevant anymore! But if you’re new to TikTok content creation, this guide is a helpful overview of what to expect.
- Later’s blog
Later has a ton of content on their site, including a bunch of platform-specific guides for beginners (like the TikTok guide above). I’d recommend taking the “best time to post” type articles with a grain of salt. They also have courses and ebooks here.
- Canva Learn
Canva’s blog is full of tutorials and helpful guides to ensure that your visual content actually looks nice. They also have subsections on branding, color palettes, and more, so explore around.
- Agorapulse’s list of Snapchat Best Practices
Agorapulse is a social media tool for industry professionals, so it probably isn’t one that you’ll use on your own. But it does have a great blog, and it’s worth taking advantage of their content, even if you don’t use their product.