Think Creative Collective

15 Essential Free Tools for Your Social Media Marketing

Social Media SimplifiedAbagail PumphreyComment

It is so easy to get overwhelmed when trying to devise a plan to make your social media not only work for you, but also to prepare your business to be more profitable. What if we could put you through a social media bootcamp and tell you EVERYTHING we know?

Well, lucky you, that’s what’s about to go down.

We have rounded up every tip, trick and secret to not only up your marketing game, but to give you tools to get started right now. Grab a cup of coffee and a notebook, and clear your space of distractions. We have a feeling you might be here for a while so put on some cozy socks and throw that hair up into a top knot. Let’s get to business.

15 Essential Free Tools for Your Social Media Marketing | Think Creative Collective


Instagram has hands down been our favorite platform. We have seen some crazy insane growth - we are talking nearly 75 new followers a day. It has easily been our biggest income driver outside of webinars. Here is what you need to know:


Facebook has been such an incredible way to meet new people. Connect with fellow entrepreneurs and feel a sense of community. Heck, that’s where Emylee and I found each other. Check out some of the ways we utilize Facebook.


Pinterest is a huge traffic driver for us. We see more than 43% of our blog traffic come directly from Pinterest. These strategies work! On average pins from our site see 68,329+  impressions per day. This sort of traffic has led to sales not just in the U.S. but all over the world. Just last week we were on a call with a customer from Belgium… talk about BANANAS.


Twitter is a speed-based platform. With tweets lasting only minutes, it is hard to keep up. However, it can be a wonderful way to have some fun conversations. We’ll be the first to admit that we don’t put all our social media marketing eggs in the Twitter basket. We’ve decided to concentrate our efforts elsewhere (for now), but that’s not to say that there aren’t some amazing small businesses using Twitter to authentically grow their following.

Did you make it back up the rabbit hole we just sent you down? We know that was a lot of information so try not to let the overwhelm sink in. Focus on one platform at a time and perfect it like the total boss that you are before adding on another. It’s okay to not be everywhere! In fact we encourage you to be where your audience is. Find out where they hang out online and show up there with bells on.

Sit down with your marketing department (AKA you, you and you) and set a plan in place for how you can use 1-2 platforms well this quarter. Set up a strategy, put it in place, and don’t deviate from it. That’s the only way you’re going to be able to get true data on how a platform affects your business so you can begin to see real results from it.


How to Schedule Social Media Content using Post Planner

Social Media Simplified, Tech TutorialsAllie WalkerComment

When it comes to social media schedulers it seems that it’s usually a bit of a piecemeal to get all the functionality you need for your business. The terms of service for each platform varies so much that it’s hard for one scheduler to be an “all-in-one”. So, while we still use and love Later for our Instagram scheduling, we haven’t really been in love with our options for posting to Twitter and our Facebook group.

When it comes to social media schedulers it seems that it’s usually a bit of a piecemeal to get all the functionality you need for your business. The terms of service for each platform varies so much that it’s hard for one scheduler to be an “all-in-one”. So, while we still use and love Later for our Instagram scheduling, we haven’t really been in love with our options for posting to Twitter and our Facebook group. | Think Creative Collective

When we were voicing our frustrations with our options someone in a Facebook group suggested we check out Post Planner. Holy Moly, were we impressed! First off, it’s $2.00 a month cheaper than what we were using (#DollaBills y’all) and it had some unique features that we didn’t even realize we were missing. If you’ve been considering Post Planner or if you already have it, but not quite sure how to use it, then read below for a full tour of our favorite features.


And more importantly, why do you need it? Social media can be tricky, and it’s hard to be active on all the platforms during the day without it sucking up your entire calendar. So it’s nice to have your posts scheduled out in advance so you stay on top of your social media game. Heck, anytime we can get a robot to do our work for us we’re going to do so.

Basically, Post Planner allows you to plan and schedule content to your Facebook Page, Facebook Group, and Twitter. Starting at just $7 a month for up to 10 profiles, 100 posts per day and 1000 planned posts it’s a clear winner over other apps like Buffer that cost $10.00 a month and only allow 100 planned posts a month.

We’ve been able to link our Twitter and Facebook Group so we can plan out content to our hearts’ desire, which frees up a ton of time on our part.


First, you’re going to want to create your account. We chose to sign in with our Facebook information to make life easier, but you can create an account with your email (you’ll need to sign in to Facebook to connect your Facebook page or group though).

The first tab you’ll land on is the “Find” section. This one is both cool and lame at the same time. It’s cool because it lets you browse various categories such as “marketing”, “business” or “quotes” and related articles or statuses will pop up. We use this feature solely to get ideas on what to share, write ourselves, or just for inspiration. We don’t share these actual articles because we don’t know who they’re coming from. We like to support people we know in real life (even if just virtually) so we hope that they work on this section a bit. It would be nice to be able to load up accounts you actually follow to see what they’ve been sharing with the ability to re-post it within the app.

So you can skim over this section if you want to. We will point out though that the reason why this is neat and we hope they integrate it differently is that it’s super beneficial to share others’ content. It helps provide a smorgasbord of related and valuable content to your audience without it just coming from you. Sharing Karma is a real thing, y’all.

If you did feel inclined to share from this “Find” section, you would simply click on the article and up would pop your share box. We’ll go over more features of this share box below.

The next tab you’ll see is the “plan” section. You can set your default posting times in here if necessary. Say for instance you never want things to post on a Tuesday (weirdo) you would simply click on Tuesday to gray it out (similar to how Saturday and Sunday look). We chose not to set default posting time because we knew we were going to override them elsewhere. More on that below.

Okay, this is where it gets fun. Here is what our “Post” tab for our Facebook Group looks like. One of the features they have here, called the “Recycle”, is hands down the reason why we love this app. What it allows you to do is set a specific post to “Recycle” at a time you designate. We’ll show you how in just a bit. Here’s how that’s different than what Buffer can offer you. Say you want the same Facebook Group prompt to go out every Tuesday at 9 a.m. Well, in Buffer you could schedule in to do that once and save it to your library, but every week or so you’d have to drag it from your library to your Tuesday spot. If you placed too many of the same post (if you wanted to pre-scheduled out Tuesdays for the rest of the year for instance) Buffer would stop you. No bueno.

Another cool thing we want to point out is that if you click on the “Posted” tab you’re going to see all the things that have already gone out. From there you can click on previously posted items, edit (if needed), and repost. This is similar to Buffer’s library, but way more simple.

Here’s how our Twitter feed looks. You’ll notice that we have “Recycle” on every single post here too. What we were finding with Buffer is that since you could only pre-load 100 posts at any given time then we could only schedule so far in advance. That only lets you schedule 3 posts a day on Twitter per month (not counting if you have anything set to your Facebook Page or Group). Three posts a day on Twitter is not enough, folks, so we need more.

With Post Planner’s intro package you can have 33 posts a day on Twitter (whoa) or roughly 10 to 15 like we have because we also account for the posts we have planned in our Facebook Group (to reach their 1000 limit per month).  

Here’s scheduling a tweet in action. We only plan for blog posts to be shared inside Post Planner. We have a IFTTT set up to post our Instagram posts to our Twitter as native posts (i.e. not an Instagram push, but a true Twitter post with an image). So we’re either sharing and repeating our own blog posts or the posts of people we love.

So here we’ve simply copy and pasted the direct URL to a blog posts of ours. Don’t worry about how long the link is, Post Planner automatically turns it to a for you. The image that we have on our post automatically loads as the image to share (tweets with images perform better than tweets with just words). If we wanted to add more words we could, but we like to keep it simple (also, #Lazy).

You’ll see that we check “show Sharebar when link is opened” - we’ll go over that in a bit. Now, let’s plan this sucker.

If you click the “Add to Plan” it will pop this tweet up in the next open spot in your queue. If you click the drop-down arrow you’re going to get some more options.

From here you can decide to share as your next tweet no matter what is scheduled, share right now, or to schedule. When you open the “Schedule Post”, this is where the magic happens. You can set the exact time you want to schedule the tweet and select it to repeat if you wish. We select all of the blog posts we share to repeat, because we are very picky about what we share, so since we know it’s valuable we know you’re going to want to see it again.

Once you decide to repeat a post you can change it to repeat every # of weeks, days or months until a certain end date or for forever. WHOA. Think of all the possibilities! Once you pick your repeat plan just hit “Schedule”.

Now, your tweet will show up in your queue with the that Post Planner gave it (feel free to make your own custom in your account, but this is just an extra step). You’ll also know that the “Recycle” is on because you’ll see the grey recycle icon on the left.

If you hover over the tweet, this purple bar will come up. This is your chance to edit, delete or re-schedule. You’ll only need to re-schedule if you didn’t select it to repeat forever.

Oh, one other cool feature is that you can open up Canva directly inside the app if you don’t have a cute graphic to share. In-app friendliness is kind of our jam.

Okay, now let’s talk about what the heck the Sharebar was all about. It’s pretty much our favorite feature ever. So you know how when you share other people’s content you’d kinda sorta like to get them back over to your site too? Well, this is where Sharebar comes in. When you share a blog you can enable the Sharebar to show and this is what it’ll look like.

Here we are on Megan Minns’ website and our information is showing at the top of her webpage. It doesn’t block anything she already has going on it just simply reminds people who sent them there and enables them to head back to our website, Facebook, and Twitter account. If we wanted to show an email opt-in we would need to upgrade to the Guru plan at $15 a month (not bad at all).

In order to enable your Sharebar you have to create it first. You can find the information on how to do so in your Post Planner settings.

Whew! That was a lot of information. Your takeaways are this:

  • Post Planner is awesome

  • Sharing other people’s content is nice

  • Sharebar is totes cool

  • Scheduling this much content saves a buttload of time

We hope this walkthrough gave you some insight into how powerful this app can be for your business. Now get to scheduling, babe! Create your account with Post Planner now.

Instagram is Our Main Jam!

(Re)Fall in Love with Your Pinterest

Social Media SimplifiedAbagail Pumphrey4 Comments

Pinterest can be pretty overwhelming, especially if you started pinning long before you started your own business. Instead of ditching your account, capitalize on the content you do have and (re)fall in love with Pinterest all over again. Today we will cover how how to go from Pinterest “hater” to Pinterest-proud and give you tips on how you can too!

(Re)Fall in Love with Your Pinterest - How to revamp your Pinterest into a more organized, traffic driving, marketing machine... that you love instead of dread!  |  Think Creative

I started my Pinterest in college. My boards were broad and un-organized. I mainly pinned craft ideas, yummy recipes and, since I was in design school, lots of design related inspiration. Times changed and I adjusted. Pinterest then became my wedding planning Mecca. I spent hours combing boards trying to find the perfect ideas to incorporate into my own wedding. My wedding day came and went so I started transitioning again. We spent a year renovating our 1960s house into a mid-century modern home. That meant lots of DIY, “dream” décor and furniture. Now, settled and growing an online business, I shifted again.

Now the focus has shifted to blog content, small business ideas, and growth strategies. As you personally go through life stages your Pinterest can grow with you. Here are the strategies we put in place to get on the right path.

Convert to a Business Page

There is no shame in taking your personal board and converting it to a business focus. It is super simple to change; you will just need to follow the steps outlined here. Once converted and verified you will then have access to awesome features like Pinterest Analytics.

Watch the video below for an overview of Pinterest Analytics or download a detailed how-to guide:

Organize Boards

If you have had Pinterest for a while, this is the part that can get overwhelming. Go through and decide what works for you and what doesn’t. Delete boards that are no longer relevant. Repin items so that a couple of similar boards can morph into one. Think about your ideal audience. What sort of boards would appeal to them? How could your products or services relate to those topics? Really want to hoard that recipe board from college but think it’s a sloppy mess? Just turn it to “secret” and your ideal client won’t even know it exists!

After you have really power cleaned your Pinterest, reorganize the layout. Move the most relevant boards to the top of your page. If you have several boards that all have similar topics, group those boards together – for example if you have Wedding Cake, Wedding Invitations, and Wedding Flowers, put those next to each other.

Make New Relevant Boards

As you begin to organize your boards you may realize there are certain boards that you really should have, but you just don’t! Spend some time brainstorming what they could be and then go ahead and create 10 or so of your best ideas. Our suggestion is that after you create them, go ahead and spend 10-15 mins pinning a minimum of 5 items to each board so that they aren’t sitting vacant.

If you are a blogger or have products or services you sell online you should have a minimum of one board – always listed first - that showcases your content / items exclusively. Many times other pinners are skeptical to follow ALL of your boards, but if you have a dedicated board it allows them to follow your products or blog posts as you add them.

Update Covers

Once you have all your ducks in a row, go through and edit the cover images. You want to convey a similar vibe across your account that all relates back to your brand message and images. Some people will even create custom cover images that include the title of the board. If you choose not to adjust it will automatically use the first item you pinned on each board as the default cover image, which generally doesn’t showcase the quality of pins inside that board.

Instant SEO

Make sure that you do simple things like fill in the board description and describe your pins! Think of Pinterest as a visual search engine. The words you find yourself searching for most should be the words most used in your pin and board descriptions. Keep in mind that links don't automatically become hyperlinks, but people can simply copy and paste, allowing you to leave links to your website or email in board descriptions.

Add Pinterest Board descriptions for simple SEO tricks.  |  Think Creative

Apply for Group Pinterest Boards

Not every Pinterest fanatic believes in this tactic, but we have found group boards to be very beneficial for generating new traffic to our website and new followers on Pinterest. As long as the topics they cover are in line with your content, you shouldn’t have any major issues. Apply for between 5 and 10 and just see what happens. Here is how we got started with group Pinterest boards.

Keep Pinning

Even though Pins live longer than Facebook, Instagram or Twitter posts, it is still crucial you continue adding new pins to your board. Even 5 minutes a day can create dramatic changes for your web traffic.

Pinterest is hands down our #1 traffic source! In fact, Pinterest generates 42.14% of our total traffic - that’s more than 70,205 impressions a day!


6 Mistakes Product-Based Businesses are Making on Instagram

Social Media Simplified, Grow Your Online BusinessAllie WalkerComment

Guest Post By: Rachel Heckmann, Rachel Allene Photography + Lettering

Let’s face it: Instagram is a money making machine that we business owners can’t live without.

If you are a product-based business, you should be on Instagram. You can throw any and all arguments at me and I will try to still convince you that you need it. It’s is the easiest and cheapest (free!) way to market to your target audience and ideal clients. However, you want to make sure you are using Instagram effectively and efficiently in order to utilize its benefits. (Our gal pals at TCC have a course on this!)

Let’s face it: Instagram is a money making machine that we business owners can’t live without. If you are a product-based business, you should be on Instagram. You can throw any and all arguments at me and I will try to still convince you that you need it. It’s is the easiest and cheapest (free!) way to market to your target audience and ideal clients. However, you want to make sure you are using Instagram effectively and efficiently in order to utilize its benefits. | Think Creative Collective

If you are product-based business owner and aren’t seeing results from your Instagram activity, there is a good chance you’re making at least one of the six mistakes below. Let’s talk about these mistakes and how you can fix them in order to see more sales and interaction!

Mistake #1: You are not commenting back to your audience.

As humans, we want connection. We want to feel heard, appreciated, and known. This means that your audience wants to feel noticed and heard by you—they want to know that you notice their voice (comments). The easiest way to do this is by commenting back to the people who comment on your photos. This creates a conversation and makes you seem more human to your audience. This connection will increase the likelihood of your audience purchasing something that you offer. They will view you as a person, not just a transaction. We all want this!

Mistake #2: You are following too many people in the same industry as yours.

If you are working hard to only build an audience of people who are selling the same thing as you, you will never make any sales! They don’t need your services. You should reach out and to connect to people who want and need your services. Finding your ideal client can be a challenge, but it is very important. Start crafting your posts in a way that speaks to the people who need your product. Think about their pain points and how your products meets the need they have! Furthermore, if you are only following the people doing the same thing as you, you are bound to fall into the comparison trap. Ain’t nobody got time for that! Start following people who inspire creativity, confidence, and authenticity, while also making you feeling empowered. It will help you keep a healthy perspective and mindset while using Instagram to grow your business.

Mistake #3: You are not interacting with other creatives.

This might seem contradictory to my previous point, but I promise it is not. Choosing to follow people is VERY different than interacting with them. Have you made online friends? You should! I have made SO many friends through Instagram. And the result? Happiness. And way more exposure for my business! These friends are more willing to purchase my products, ask me to guest blog post, repost my pictures, and tell their friends about me.

This is not a result of me clicking the “follow” button on their profile. This was a result of commenting on her photos, sending DMs to tell her that I am cheering for her, setting up Skype dates, offering my own platform to help, and celebrating the spirit of community over competition. I didn’t wait for people to come to me. I went to them! And now people come to me first too. It’s called reciprocity and it’s been such a gift for the growth and success of my business.

Mistake #4: You are not being smart with your hashtags.

Hashtags are an incredible way to get your photos into the eyes of your ideal clients and followers. Are you using them? You need to! There are several free resources about the most used hashtags, so I’m not going to reinvent the wheel, but I will say this: think about what someone looking for your product would search. If you are selling necklaces, put yourself in the shoes of someone looking for your product. Then, utilize those hashtags to increase potential views of your photo. In addition, take advantage of the most used hashtags on Instagram. You can find this list with a simple Google search! It will help others find your incredible work and talent, and eventually turn followers into customers!

Mistake #5: You are not paying attention to time of day when posting.

First off, are you being consistent with posting? Because you should be. Your audience likes consistency. It builds trust. So, let’s start there. Be consistent! Next, find the BEST time of day for YOUR audience. You will need to do a little case study in order to gather this information. Spend one week posting at different times of day. Then go back and see what posts had the most engagement. Moving forward, do the majority of your posting during those times of day.

Mistake #6: You are not using Instagram Stories.

If you haven’t started using Instagram Stories to showcase behind the scenes work, sneak peeks for new products, then you need to start now!

If you find that you are making one or more of these mistakes, start making small steps to change them. These are easy mistakes to fix, so don’t get stressed! You are doing a great job and after reading this, you will only get better at using Instagram. In no time, your sales will increase. Hooray!

About the Author

Rachel Heckmann is the owner and creative director at Rachel Allene Photography + Lettering. She is a styling photographer and calligrapher specializing in handmade goods, product photography, and custom calligraphy for creative women in order to encourage, empower, and cultivate confidence and truth. She is a lover of gold, vulnerability, and happy hour.

Rachel Heckmann, 
Rachel Allene Photography + Lettering
Website | Instagram 

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