onboarding

SmarterQueue: The New Tool That Is Saving Me Hours On Social Media

SmarterQueue is a social media scheduling tool that works fantastically well for people like me - busy creative entpreneurs. I’ve gone back and forth between different social media scheduling programs for a while. I kept finding issues with one or another that would frustrate me and make me want to jump ship. Either it was too expensive, or it didn’t have recycling posts, or I thought the interface was annoying to use. I actually stopped using any program for a while because I just couldn’t figure out what I wanted to stick with.

About that time I started hearing whispers of SmarterQueue and I’ll be honest the first time I logged in my initial thoughts were, “uh uh. I am not learning another one of these things just to be disappointed.”

But then one Monday morning I sat there and did it, I set up the whole schedule and everything and then I just let it run its course for the free trial period. I didn’t even think about it (or my Twitter or Facebook accounts at all).

Well, spoiler alert, the trial period won me over. It made me see the light. I’m a convert.

Here’s why you need SmarterQueue in your arsenal (trust me on this one).


CREATE A SCHEDULE + CATEGORIES

Something that I love about SmarterQueue is that it’s very much a ‘set and forget’ approach (quite possibly my favorite approach to anything). The initial set up involves creating a schedule for posts based on categories. My categories include “my own blog posts”, “self-promotion”, “other articles”, “inspiration”, “questions”, and “tips”. How the scheduler works is that you designate that at whatever time and day you want it will send one of the categories to post.

Then you take time to a fit content into those categories (which I’ll touch on next). But that’s it – SmarterQueue filters what content appears at what time based on your schedule and your categories. The schedule stays consistent but the content varies depending on what you put in and the best part is it recycles (but more on that later).

The set up honestly took me about an hour the first time. Which might seem long, until you realize you NEVER HAVE TO DO IT AGAIN. Like it’s just done. Forever. What used to take hours each week is just done. Plus, I truly had no idea what I was doing on initial set up (I'm one of those 'read directions after I'm frustrated' kind of gals), BUT had I read a post like this one I would’ve been able to do initial set up in even less time (so keep reading!).


ADDING NEW POSTS

Adding new posts into each category is simple. They have a drop down to ‘add content’ and you can either write a new one (which I did for the tips and the questions and the inspiration categories) or pull from a RSS Feed (which I did for my own posts and other blogger’s articles).

They also have the option to repost your best content (and it’ll pull from way before you started using SmarterQueue) and the coolest one – “find content” where you can literally type in someone’s username, name, etc. and find their content and related content.

It’s so easy to support other people this way and you don’t have to worry about scrolling through Twitter to find a good tweet to repost, you can search for influencers or peers you trust and repost them directly in SmarterQueue.

Oh, you already have Twitter lists created for that? Cool. Just search the name of your Twitter list and pull that up directly in SmarterQueue to pull from. It’s amazing. I wasn’t lying.

The best part of all of this is that it seamlessly shortens links for you and pulls relevant photos, so your Facebook posts always look formatted correctly and your Twitter posts always have graphics attached (which convert better).


RECYCLE POSTS (FOR HOWEVER LONG)

In the area where you are ‘writing’ a post, you’ll notice near the bottom the question “would you like this post to expire?” which really should say “do you want to make your life easier?”

Because guess what!? You can just recycle posts that you know will always be relevant (like questions that might provoke interest in your services or your own content). So I usually leave the option for posts to re-queue if I know they’ll be relevant forever in my Twitter feed (plus SmarterQueue won’t let the same post show up to close together, so no worries about back to back posting of the same exact content).

There’s also the option to have the post expire after a set number of posts (so maybe you only want to share someone else’s same content like 4-5 times, and then delete it from the schedule) OR the option to stop posting it after a certain date (which would be useful for a launch or promotion that ends).

That’s part of the ‘set and forget’ concept that I love so much. I started with probably 20 posts of other people’s content that I will always want to share and know will be relevant and useful, so I left them to never expire. Then I’ll occasionally go in and add a new post (if I’m excited about someone’s post, or featured in their post especially) randomly, to make sure it stays fresh and relevant. That process takes me about 2 minutes when I randomly think to do it (probably once a week).

"Want to 'set and forget' your #socialmedia? This is how!" [tweet that!]


ANALYTICS

I’ll be honest, I’m not great at tracking numbers in my business (which I know is just terrible of me), but if you are an analytics person SmarterQueue delivers weekly updates straight to your inbox and also has a robust analytics section in your account.

In the analytics you can study which type (category) of post is performing best, which is getting the most likes or clicks or other engagement, what time is performing best, etc.

I won’t pretend to be an expert at analytics, to me engagement and interaction with people has always held precedence over straight numbers – but it is nice to get a weekly report showing numbers increasing, clicks increasing, and followers increasing – especially when I’m honestly not doing that much (if anything) to make it happen!


NOT BREAKING THE BANK (+ AFFILIATE PROGRAM)

Here’s the best thing I’ve found – SmarterQueue is super affordable and also has a customizable package option, so depending on if you need 4 accounts linked or 40 accounts linked, you can make the package fit your needs (and not overpay for services you don’t need).

I also admire any company with an affiliate program. Regardless, if I like something enough I am going to share it with you. But, it’s nice to be rewarded for wanting to shout from the rooftops about a new program or software that is benefiting you and your business. Plus, I like when affiliate programs offer more of an incentive – SmarterQueue gives you a free 30 day trial (versus 14 day trial) when you click through my (or someone else’s) affiliate link (which are all through this article, just a heads-up)!

Ready to learn more about SmarterQueue? I’m doing a Facebook live this afternoon at 2pm EST. I’d love for you to hop into our group and hang out, plus see #BTS of my SmarterQueue account and ask any questions about set up, using, etc.!

Every link to SmarterQueue in this post is totally an affiliate link, but I promise you this: I'm legit obsessed. Hop onto my FB live, I'll show you how #obsessed I am!



SmarterQueue social media scheduling account post

I’m Kaitlyn, your design assistant! I work with successful creative entrepreneurs to create cohesive, clean, and compelling visuals for their businesses. You can keep being the #girlboss you are (but with more time to focus on growing your empire)! Let's set up a time to chat!


Expand Your Team Part 3: Establish an Efficient Workflow

In this Expanding Your Team series we’ve gotten to the point that you’re ready to bring on a design assistant, but what’s next? Establishing a workflow can be a tricky component of this process – we covered exactly what you could pass off last week, but now let’s talk about how.


WHAT ARE YOUR MOST REPETITIVE TASKS?

The easiest and most effective ‘getting started’ strategy is passing off the repetitive tasks. This is a good idea in large part because it allows the designer to ‘get used to’ your branding and how you like things done and designed. It’s a great exercise for building up trust and a good working relationship.

Repetitive tasks might include things like blog post graphics, social media graphics, or newsletter graphics. If you already have templates created this might be as simple as passing the templates over to the designer (along with any brand specific fonts you use, stock imagery, etc.). If you don’t already have templates designed that would be a great first project for your designer. The best bet would be to send over what you do have (your brand fonts, colors, etc.) and collect a few samples of other graphics you like – I’d make a secret Pinterest board and share that.

If your designer is establishing a look/feel for this, and not working from templates, keep in mind that ‘round 1’ might take a little ‘back and forth’ to get it perfect. You’ll want to account for that in your initial assignment/due date expectations!


OUTLINE YOUR EXPECTATIONS

Within these sort of repetitive tasks take time to outline specifically what you are looking for with your designer and how often you need it done.

Some key things to keep in mind are giving enough time between assigning blog posts and when you expect the graphics to be returned to you. I know a lot of us tend to wait until the last minute to write our blog posts, but your designer will need at least a day or two to get you the graphics back (please, please remember that you are not the designer’s only client and that they do need lead time for projects)! This is why repetitive tasks are a good start because it not only helps establish the relationship, but it helps you get in the habit of assigning tasks and turn around times!

An example might be that you need ten quote graphics per week to post on Instagram and that you would like them done by the Wednesday before or that you need the weekly blog graphics done the Friday of the week before. Within these expectations to your designer, you should also note what that means for you as far as getting content to the designer.

So if you need blog post graphics by Friday, you should have content available by Wednesday (or whatever you and your designer decide on for lead time/turn around time).

You’ll also want to make note of anything specific you need file wise – usually just a web quality file sized appropriately for Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram suffice in most businesses (at least the ones I’ve worked with!) but if you have any specific requirements or file types needed, make note of those too.

"If you have any specific requirements for projects, be sure to explain them to your designer first!" [tweet that!]


SET UP A REOCCURING TASK IN ASANA OR TRELLO

I’ve mentioned before that the goal is get clients set up using Asana, because that is my preferred way or organizing tasks. This is super efficient when it comes to these reoccurring type tasks because you can set things like ‘Instagram Quote Graphics’ to repeat being due every week (and you can set yourself the task of ‘compile content’ a few days prior.)

In time when you move away from simple repetitive tasks Asana will be a great tool for sending over work and communicating any questions or revisions. With these more repetitive tasks you can learn the system and allow both you and the designer to get used to using it together.

"Use smaller, simpler projects to get used to working with a designer." [tweet that!]


MAKE A PLAN FOR FILE SHARING

This definitely differs from business to business, depending on what you currently use, but informing the designer how to actually return the files to you is a must! I’ve been in situations where I’m unsure of what’s expected so I end up emailing the files, and uploading them to Asana, and sending a Slack message to let someone know where the files live.

What I recommend here is just adding the designer to whatever you are currently using whether it be your Google Drive or Dropbox or if you would prefer them to just upload straight into Asana or an email. Long term I think emailing everything will get sort of clunky and something like Google Drive or Dropbox is the most efficient, but to each their own!


PERFECT + MOVE ONTO BIGGER PROJECTS

Like I mentioned, I think these sort of redundant and easy-to-replicate projects are great for getting started. I’m sure you hired a designer for bigger and more important projects though! So once you’ve done this for a week or two and have good communication and processes established, you can move into more unique and “one-off’ projects (and make the most use of your new designer)!

Got any questions about working with a designer that I can help you with? Let me know in the comments! If you’re ready to start working with a designer in your business, click here.



I’m Kaitlyn, your design assistant! I work with successful creative entrepreneurs to create cohesive, clean, and compelling visuals for their businesses. You can keep being the #girlboss you are (but with more time to focus on growing your empire)! Let's set up a time to chat!