What Apps I Use To Automate And Make My Life Easier
Hi, let’s continue shall we? If you haven’t read Part 1 of this Automating Like A Boss series, please go and read that first. There I fully explain the different types of automation types you can do in your business.
Now let’s continue on and here is where I am going to share the tools and apps I am using to reclaim my time. To find out how this will work for you is to find tasks of this type and see what you can if you don’t already schedule. Then you can see if there are certain parts of that process that you can automate, repeat, or template. Streamline it, Renegade!
This is what I do myself to automate
With tools like Buffer, Hootsuite and Social Pilot (which I use), it’s so easy to automate and batch your social media postings across multiple platforms! Social media postings can be blog posts, posts about a certain product on your shop or even shares of other cool stuff in your industry.
I sit down and plan out my Facebook, FB groups and Twitter posts as far in advance as I can. While I do use the paid account, they all do offer free basic plans.
If you have a blog, you can set up a feature to add your blog feed (or other blog feeds although I am hesitant on doing this because I like to see what is going to go out).
I also really like Social Pilot because I can have a post repeat itself for x amount of times in x amount of days. This is a tool I use a lot and so I am not using these next tools as much.
There are so many services out there and I use a combination of a few to automate blog posts. “Revive old post” is a plugin you can connect to your WordPress. They do offer a free or paid version. It will tweet your older blog posts with your hashtags automatically. I used it for a while but not anymore as I don’t really focus on twitter a lot and also to clear up space on my WordPress Punky Moms site.
Recurpost is a great program that I still use for Punky Moms but like I said I’m using Social Pilot a bit more now. It has a Feed Manager, Recycling Feature, and Content Library. What it means is that I can create a library of 100 most popular posts and set schedules for it to post to my social accounts. You can even go more in-depth like at one time I had a chunk of them being evergreen posts but then also created another library for seasonal posts like Halloween and shared those for a few specific weeks.
There is also Smarter Queue and Meet Edgar which is both awesome and way more robust, but they don’t have a free version so at this point I don’t use them anymore. Both of them do offer free trials though.
For Pinterest, I’m a HUGE fan of Tailwind (Boardbooster RIP) and you can read my last Pinterest blog post to get more in-depth with it but I cannot stress enough how important it is to use Pinterest for your traffic and so if you take the time to set this up, be prepared to be growing your traffic and income in your sleep. They are rolling out a Looping feature but I am not on it yet so can’t give my experience with it but it is an absolute must if you are going to be on Pinterest.
Automatically posting. While I am still a fan of posting social media posts instant, I also know how time and mentally consuming it can be and so I have been using Later a lot more lately. It’s really helpful for organizing things like giveaways or having two members with access to one account. Later makes it super handy to not only be able to schedule posts in advance but be able to type your caption on a laptop instead of the tiny keyboard on your phone.
I’m currently using the Brand plan for businesses as I run about 8 different IG accounts.
Tailwind is approved now to auto-publish for you but again I haven’t used it yet so can’t give too many details on it, but am going to give it a go, eventually now that I have so much more time lolz.
Also my fav IG planning app PLANN is coming to desktop and will have this feature very soon, so will update when it goes live.
Ready to get started on Later in the meantime? Use this link to sign up for your free account and get 10 extra free posts a month! * Please know that you must have a FB page for your biz to be able to auto-publish to IG*
Renegade Tip: I find it rather dangerous to start an activity on any social network with marketing automation. My way would always be: Try out something manually and then see if there is a tool which can help me with what works for me. For some people, I do not think this automatic setup saves time. You still have to go into these accounts and comment, like and engage if you really want to get followers and customers. This isn’t an easy way out but more of a tool to help.
An RSS feed is something that people subscribe to in order to receive your newest content as soon as it’s published – automatically. I use Mailerlite now for my newsletter service at Punky Moms and Convertkit over here at The Social Renegade. You can find helpful and handy tutorials at any of these sites including Mailchimp. It will all be under their “Help” section, describing exactly how to set this up. For a general idea though, you would simply go to your Campaigns and set up and RSS Campaign. What you are doing essentially is if you are a blogger, you might set this up to automatically send your email subscribers your latest blog posts when they publish. You create a pretty template in line with your brand and voila, your VIP club is getting the first notice that you have created something new. Don’t have an email list? Find out why you gotta get on that pronto here.
I try not to do a lot of batch processing with emails, but I do automate a lot. I use canned responses in Gmail so that I always include the most important information (correct links, payment timeframes, and more).
I have set up an auto-responder to go out to anyone who emails with some FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions). If you are asked the same questions by commenters and readers, then I definitely recommend this. If you have an FAQ or Help page for your site to answer common questions, then this can help save you the time in your email box too, and I know we can easily spend too much time in there!
I have set up auto filters in my Gmail inboxes. This is so great for lots of confirmation stuff or newsletters I am in. For example, I have google alerts set up to get me the latest news on some different industries for clients but I don’t want that crowding my inbox till I am ready so I have a filter set up where they all bypass my inbox and go into a special folder for when I am ready.
I also have programs that allow my site visitors to easily sign up for my mailing list without me having to manually add them, and those processes send out automatic welcome letters that share important links and any free downloads too. I also use autoresponders in Convertkit to run my email courses. Those who sign up for my email courses are automatically added to the list and sent their first welcome letter. They’re also sent out a new email every 2-3 days (depending on the course and the schedule) that give them targeted tasks.
If you work with clients, you will inevitably end up sending the same kinds of emails over and over again. Save the most frequent responses to speed up your email workflow. Leave room for customization and always be personal. In other words, save enough of the response that you're making your email process more efficient, but do so without screwing up the client experience. Gmail actually has a Canned response tool you can add as well as programs like Boomerang which you can schedule to send an email out later at a more reasonable time than the 3 am night feed email response.
There are lots of reliable software options (ie. Freshbooks, Wave, Quickbooks) that will link directly to your bank accounts and import transactions. All you have to do is make sure each transaction is labelled properly, and your software will make profit and expense reports for you. This will make your life much easier when it comes around to tax time.
Personally I use Wave as it is freeeeeeee. I like free ok??
Another top tip is to auto-pay your bills. Let me repeat that. Auto-pay your bills! Obviously, make sure you are receiving bills via email too. Paper is so last century. How ridic is it to have to stop and try and remember to pay bills a few times a month. My bills don’t really change and I keep track fairly closely, plus I hate receiving mail. This is a no-brainer, but seriously.. auto pay those bills, you’ll free up some time and feel a little weight lifted. Hey, if you live paycheck to paycheck, please don’t stress about this bit. If you are in a position to do it, do it.
Using Magic Apps To Schedule Tasks
Set yourself up with daily, monthly, or weekly reminders for tasks you don’t want to forget to do using your favourite calendar Apps. Whatever you choose! Setting up an editorial calendar is awesome too and just generally mapping out the next few months.
Evernote is a great tool to use for scheduling reminders from what I’ve heard. I don’t use it personally although it could probably be pretty good for me to use.
There’s also this little problem we all seem to have with overloading our editorial calendars and our schedules with TOO much stuff. We want to seriously believe we’re super people, but reality is that we can tackle maybe one or two things at a time – at most. So, you may want to revisit how many goals and tasks you are truly taking on by only creating some smart goals. My Badass Biz plan can probably help too.
There are great programs like IFTTT or Zapier that you can use to help schedule so much freaking shit. I personally use Zapier and was using the free plan of 100 tasks for ages. Now however I have levelled up with the Starter plan (1000 tasks) and wow is it worth it. Cheaper than hiring a VA to do these for me. PS I also hire a VA and I am one so not knocking the profession at all, just these mundane tasks can be done here, don’t need to hire a VA for them.
Print On Demand
Whether it’s a book or a t-shirt. Having a print on demand service can be a huge help when you don’t want to put up a lot of cash to have stock. This means that a single item is printed when an order is placed for them instead of in bulk before promotion and sales. A print-on-demand company will have digital files of your design, and they will just print that design when it is ordered. Plus they also ship it to the customer! This has many pros and cons depending on your business, but I do use it for some parts of Punky Moms and it has been a huge help. We use Printful which syncs with our Shopify store, but there are lots of options out there
Grocery Delivery Service
I touched on this a bit when I did this Live in my Facebook group earlier, but seriously.. going to the grocery store is a major time suck and my local grocery store can get so crowded that I can’t even hear myself think and the lines can get super long. Plus I kind of live out in the middle of nowhere and don’t drive in the UK so it would be a lot harder to do anyway. Even if you don’t live in the UK, where it is very common, all over the US there are grocery delivery programs happening.
Going food shopping is just simply something I don’t want to do and you know and I know trying to do it with little kids can be a doorway into a new level of hell. Plus having it delivered allows me to PLAN my meals, know exactly what I need and not get distracted by the clearance section.
I use Ocado in the UK and have actually just signed up for Gusto to get some recipe boxes now to save even more time because trying to figure out what to cook is making my eyes bleed every week. If you use the links I’ve provided here you will get major discounts on your next orders. This is some self-care to the max.
Ok last but not least,
Read all your stuff in one place
I follow a bunch of blogs and sites and my email trash bin shows it. I do have that inbox filter set up so they go into a folder for when I have time to read them. Most days though, I pretty much trash them, sorry. I keep my eyes open for things that might interest me, but for the most part, this is not something I have too much time for. I should really go through and unsubscribe to the ones that I trash most because what I really like to do is read blogs on Feedly and Bloglovin’. Both of these services have apps for your devices. I have also recently subscribed to Skimm which essentially sends my inbox a breakdown of the major headlines I may or may not know about in the world today.
That’s it Renegades, these are the tools I use to automate my life and make it a bit easier. If you’ve got any tricks or any new tools you think I should try, let me know! Till next time x Stay Unapologetic AF
Affiliate Disclosure: I am forever grateful to be of service and bring you content free of charge. In order to do this, please note that when you click links and purchase items, in some (not all) cases I will receive a referral commission. Your support in purchasing through these links enables me to keep The Social Renegade going to empower more small biz owners worldwide to kick some ass. Thank you! :)