Admin and Organization

The Basics of Image Copyright

So you’ve found the perfect image for your post. Are you legally allowed to use it?

We know, thinking about legal stuff isn’t fun. But it’s definitely not fun to get sued for copyright infringement. So let’s take some time to talk about image copyrights, how they work, and how you can find good images for your posts without breaking any laws.

Image of a retro-style camera sitting on a wooden table with a pair of glasses beside it

(Disclaimer: We are not lawyers and this post isn’t legal advice. It doesn’t cover all the intricacies of copyright law, but is a basic overview of how it works for images on the internet.)

Copyright

The technical term for copyright is “intellectual property law.” Copyright provides the creator of something artistic (such as a piece of writing or art, a photograph, a performance, or even an architectural work) the exclusive right to use, reproduce, create derivatives of, publish, and sell their work. They are also able to give this right to others.

Unlike a trademark or a patent, a copyright isn’t something you have to file with the government (although you can if you want extra legal protection). You automatically own the copyright to anything artistic you create.

Copyright and the Internet

The point of copyright is to prevent one person from taking the work of another and profiting from it without the creator’s permission or giving something back to the creator in exchange. This is pretty hard to enforce on the internet. Google Image Search will give you any image on the internet, regardless of its copyright restrictions, and it’s easy to save an image to your device and upload it to your post. And most creators on the internet are small and don’t have the resources to sue you for copyright infringement.

That doesn’t mean you should risk it, though. Just because it doesn’t happen often doesn’t mean you’re completely safe from being sued. And even if you don’t get sued, a lot of artists and photographers on the internet have pretty big audiences, and they can cause major problems for your business if they tell their audience you stole their images. You don’t want your business to get a reputation for stealing other people’s work.

Creative Commons

There is good news – not all images on the internet are off-limits! Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that provides copyright licenses that let people share their work for free. There are different types of licenses that have different restrictions (some require you to credit the original artist, some are not allowed to be used for commercial purposes), but all images are free to use provided you follow the license restrictions.

Public Domain and CC0

Public domain images are images that are no longer covered by copyright (usually because the copyright has expired). Creative Commons also has a restriction-free license called CC0, where all works with a CC0 license are treated like they’re in the public domain. Public domain and CC0 images are free to use, modify, and use commercially without attribution.

Still need to find the perfect image? We’ve assembled a list of places to find free, CC0-licensed images.

Admin and Organization

Scheduling Tools to Stay On Top of Social Media

I refer to scheduling as my social media secret weapon. It’s one of my favorite tools (along with content calendars) for keeping myself organized, planning ahead, and posting on schedule. In this post, I’m going to give you a run-down of my favorite scheduling tools for pre-planning your social media.

General Scheduling

These are all-in-one social media tools that let you schedule posts for multiple networks (and manage your feeds) from a single dashboard.

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is my absolute favorite scheduling tool. You can manage Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Instagram all in one place. You can schedule posts in advance and have them post automatically, and they also have an AutoSchedule feature that lets you set how many times you want to post per day and automatically spaces them out (I love that feature for scheduling Twitter). It is pretty expensive, but its free plan allows up to 3 accounts and 30 scheduled messages at one time.

Buffer

Buffer is similar to Hootsuite in that it’s an all-in-one scheduling tool. I haven’t personally used it, but I’ve heard good reviews from others who have. Their free plan lets you manage Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Instagram, but it only lets you have 10 posts per network per month. Their paid plans allow unlimited posts and also let you schedule Pinterest posts.

Network-Specific Scheduling

If you don’t need or want an all-in-one scheduling tool, most networks have some variety of tool that lets you schedule posts for just that network. Here are some of them.

Facebook

Facebook pages have their own native scheduling option. Write your post, then click the arrow next to the “Publish” button. You’ll get a menu that has a schedule option on it so you can set a date and time in the future for the post to publish.

Twitter

Twitter does not have a scheduling feature that you can get to from twitter.com, but they did buy TweetDeck, a free scheduling tool similar to Hootsuite that lets you track hashtags, manage your feed, and like and retweet directly from your TweetDeck dashboard – and, of course, it also lets you schedule tweets.

Pinterest

Unfortunately, there are no free options for Pinterest scheduling. However, ViralWoot has excellent Pinterest scheduling features that I have personally used and appreciated. I’ve also heard good things about TailWind, another paid program that will let you schedule Pinterest posts.

Instagram

I’ve always scheduled Instagram through HootSuite, but I have heard good things about Later, which will let you schedule only Instagram posts.

Are you ready?

If you’re not already scheduling your posts, it’s time to start! There’s no reason not to. It virtually eliminates the chances of you forgetting to post (because your posts will post automatically) so you’ll post more consistently, it will take you less time to post (because you’ll only have to log into one place and schedule a bunch of things at once), and it just generally makes your life easier. If you have any sort of social-media related goal for this year, experiment with a scheduling tool!

 

 

Very close zoom on one page of a calendar
Admin and Organization

Creating a Content Calendar

I love to plan ahead – sometimes up to a year in advance for something as simple as a week-long vacation. Sometimes that doesn’t work out so well (like when the hotel can’t schedule that far ahead), but sometimes it has immense value and makes everything much easier.

This is one of those times. Last week, I wrote a post about setting social media goals. Today, let’s talk about one of my favorite tools to use to accomplish those goals: content calendars.

What is a content calendar?

A content calendar is exactly what it sounds like: a calendar that lays out what you’re going to post (including all your social media and blogs) and when you’re going to post it. I make mine as an Excel spreadsheet because I think that’s the most efficient way, but you can use whatever you prefer – Word, Evernote, or even calendar reminders all work.

Why use a content calendar?

There are a lot of good reasons to plan ahead with a content calendar. It keeps you accountable to yourself to post consistently (and if you have a boss you report to, makes you look responsible and organized). It makes it easier for you to remember when you’re supposed to post. It eliminates the eternal question of “I’m supposed to post today, but what do I post?” And it enables you to prepare ahead and avoid stress the day of – for example, I make all my Instagram images for the week on Sunday, so when it comes time to post all I have to do is post it.

How to create a content calendar

There are three important parts to a content calendar: dates, networks, and content.

Dates is obvious – you need to know what days you’re going to post on. I post every Monday and Thursday on social media and every Thursday on my blog.

You also need to record what networks you’re posting on. Mine is pretty simple, because I only post on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and here on my blog. If you do a lot of networks, you’re going to have a much bigger calendar than mine.

Finally, content. Content is assigned to both a network and a date. This is why I like to use a chart for this – it makes it easy to put content at the intersection of date and network. That way I can quickly look and find everything I’m posting on Instagram this or find everything I’m posting everywhere next Thursday – which makes prepping ahead of time a lot easier.

Click here to download my .xls content calendar template that you can use and adapt for your own use.

A final note …

A content calendar is a dynamic document. For example, on Monday I posted on social media about Logan Paul, a current events post that I couldn’t have predicted even two months ago. Some content is evergreen (such as my upcoming post on scheduling tools), but some of it is going to relate to current events, and you can’t plan that. And it’s possible that your analytics will show you it would be better to post on different days, or that images get a better response with your audience even though you have a month of videos planned. It’s important to remember that your calendar is not set in stone. Change it as needed to stay relevant.

Admin and Organization

How to Set Social Media Goals

This is the time of year when everybody’s thinking about goal-setting, whether it’s personal New Year’s Resolutions or business goals for the new calendar year. But have you set goals for your social media?

Even in business, setting social media goals often gets forgotten. But having specific goals for your social media is important. Why? Keep reading.

Why should you have goals?

Goals drive you to accomplish things. Goals motivate you and also help you see the overarching vision. They also give you a very rewarding sense of completion and pride when you accomplish them. Basically, setting a goal is doing something with intention – instead of just letting whatever happens happen (which usually means not a lot is going to happen), you’re taking charge, getting out there, and making good things happen.

How do you set social media goals?

You can set social media goals just like any other kind of business goal. I’m sure you’ve heard of the SMART goal-setting model – goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-based, and Time-bound. A good social media goal will follow a similar model. “Grow my social media” is not a good goal; “Double my Instagram followers by 2019” is a good goal.

If you’re not familiar with goal-setting strategies or just want some extra advice, I recommend this article.

What goals should you set?

If you’re new on the social media scene, haven’t seen a lot of growth yet, or just aren’t sure what you should do, here are some suggestions. Pick two or three – don’t try to go after everything, you’ll overwhelm yourself and accomplish nothing.

  • Follower increase by X amount (e.g. “Increase likes on my Facebook page by 50%”)
  • Engagement rate increase (e.g. “Double my average number of engagements on Twitter per week”)
  • Posting goals (e.g. “Post on Instagram every Tuesday,” “Post every new blog post on Facebook”)
  • Conversion increase (e.g. “Get 15 clients from social media,” “Covert 4 social media followers to email subscribers per month”)
  • Increase your engagement (e.g. “Get involved in two relevant conversations on Google+ per month”)
  • Educate yourself (e.g. “Read one article about X social media topic per week”) and apply that knowledge (e.g. “Implement one new social media tool or strategy per month”)

A final tip …

Write them down! A goal in your head is easily ignored or forgotten. A goal on paper (or in your phone or on your computer) is a lot more powerful. Put it somewhere you can see it or intentionally take time to review it every week, and you will be much more likely to accomplish it.