How Social Media Managers Should Spend Their Tax Refund

TaxRefund

It's the best time of the year for those who absolutely love to flex on Instagram. Yup, it's officially tax refund season. 

Over the next few weeks, you're bound to see friends and family purchasing something along the lines of a new Mercedes-Benz, a Louis Vuitton bag or a Gucci belt with their refund check.

While there is nothing wrong with spoiling yourself with money that *technically* belongs to you, those who own a business, and those who are looking to launch a company in the near future, should consider spending that money in a way that encourages growth down the line.

I've put together a list of tools that social media managers, or any current/future business owner,  should consider purchasing with their annual tax refund. And yes, there are promo codes and free trial information included!

 

Get Your Brand Right From The Start

Before you officially launch a company and make a huge announcement about it, take a moment to plan out exactly how you want your brand to look, feel and operate. My friend Brandon Miller has created an amazing workbook to assist with this critical step of your business journey.

The Brand.U approach takes a deep dive into understanding the foundational elements of your brand such as your strengths and weaknesses, the trajectory of your brand - focusing on your mission and vision, understanding your brand's audience, developing a distinguishable brand identity and how to best leverage social media and content marketing to expand your influence.  Whether you are an entrepreneur, a student, or in corporate America, this 80+ page workbook is proven to efficiently kickstart your personal or professional brand and includes:

  • Practical advice and suggestions Brandon has learned along his branding journey
  • Templates that he's provided his brand coaching clients
  • Exercises to help you determine your strengths, weaknesses, values, and passions
  • Links to additional resources to build your brand and influence
  • Sections for you to brainstorm, sketch, and ideate
Grab your copy today and use the code 5OFF to save $5!

    Register Your Company As An LLC

    In 2018 we're all about LLCs over Louboutins, unless you're blessed to have the money to purchase both! Look into the process of registering your new business as an LLC, pay the fee for your state, and then make note of the annual fee.

    LLC

    Having an LLC is an important step in having a business because if you're ever sued by anyone, they can only take your business money. If you're conducing business as "yourself" and you're ever sued, your personal money is also at risk!

    Once you have your LLC set up, move forward with setting up a business bank account. Keep an eye on checking and savings accounts fees and plan accordingly.

    P.S. - When picking a company name, do a quick search to confirm that there are no other companies with your name, domain or social media handles in order to make discovery of your brand simple.

     

    Launch A Professional Website

    While having a business Facebook page or Instagram account is awesome, having a website shows people you are the real deal and allows you to really show off your brand and style.

    While there are plenty of web hosting platforms out there, I'm a huge fan of Squarespace! When signing up, use the code GIMME10 for 10% off your first purchase of an annual plan. Other trusty options for website hosting are Wordpress, Wix, and Ghost. Even though Ghost is a bit more advanced, the platform provides a free 14 day trial.
    Website

    As you may know, most website platforms start off free, but if you want to add other features like a domain name (which you 100% should), there are additional fees added on.

    Once your site is set up, grab your domain via your website provider or from another trusted site like GoDaddy. Be weary of those who reach out trying to sell you a domain. If you're interested, consider having a lawyer mediate to ensure you're not a victim of a scam.

     

    Set Up a Professional Email Address

    If you've made the LLC, website, and domain, then it's time to stop emailing your clients and customers from a personal Gmail account. Step your game up and sign up for Google's G Suite which will give you Business Gmail access at just $5 a month after a 14 day free trial. It doesn't get any easier than that!

    Utilize Social Media Software

    As a social media manager, you know first-hand how difficult it can be to juggle numerous clients and accounts while also creating and scheduling content. Having a social media management platform to organize your thoughts and provide reporting will save you so much time down the road. Here's a quick run-down of the best platforms out there:

    Sprout Social
    I absolutely love Sprout's brand and all of the amazing resources they create on a daily basis. My 9-5 also uses Sprout's Bambu software for employee advocacy. Their system is easy to use, and is appealing to the eye. The platform starts at $99 a month, but there is also a 30 day free trial. Sprout Social also has the ability to schedule and post directly on Instagram!
    Sprout Social
    Hootsuite
    While Hootsuite is a great platform, it's not as attractive or as easy to use as Sprout, but still great because their basic plan is available at no cost! One user account with three social profiles is free and the Professional and Team profiles come with a 30 day free trial.
    Buffer
    I've loved Buffer from the start because I've always enjoyed how easy it is to use. Scheduling content days, weeks, and months ahead of time is so simple. The interface is also so clean! Their free plan allows you to connect three social accounts which is perfect for those just getting started with clients.
    Later
    In addition to their amazing Instagram-focused newsletter and blog, Later is a great tool if Instagram is considered a critical platform for your brand. The tool allows you to plan out your feed while also providing key stats around the best time to post, top hashtags and more. You can schedule 30 photos (not videos!) per month for free. If you want to add videos to the mix, their lowest plan is still only $19 per month! They've also branched out to allow scheduling for other platforms as well.
    TweetDeck
    If you're looking for a no-frills platform in order to simply reply to DMs and schedule a few tweets, then TweetDeck is for you. I use the free Twitter-owned platform for all of my clients when I simply need to send a quick tweet which prevents me from needing to login to each account. As the most basic management platform of the ones on this list, it does not include stats, so you would still have to login to Twitter to get the information for your reports.

    Invest in a Top Notch Camera

    When it comes to online marketing, hiqh-quality photos matter. No one wants to follow or engage with an Instagram profile that has iPhone 6 camera quality photos. 

    DSLR

    Look into purchasing a DSLR camera like a Canon Rebel T6i (my camera!) or simply upgrading to the iPhone X. While the X does take stunning photos, know that phone cameras will still not match the crisp quality of professional cameras.

    Hand Out Quality Business Cards

    As a millennial, I went through a time period where I thought business cards were dead. I never saw myself actually going to a networking event and handing out a business card because I knew so many people were against them. However,  I've recently learned that business cards are still valuable and attractive ones make you memorable!

    One task I'm checking off my list this month is designing a new set of cards. Vistaprint can assist with this as the company is known for their creative assets. Right now, you can score 25-50% off business cards from Vistaprint by using the code BRAND before February 18th. Jump on it!

    Courses / Seminars

    One of the first things people love to ask me is what my favorite social media books are. While I do love Gary Vaynerchuk's Jab, Jab, Jab Right Hook as a introductory level read, social media books are not what SMM should focus on purchasing because books to teach concepts are out of date before they even go to print. Think about how many social media books say Twitter's character limit is 140 characters...

    With that being said, it's important for social media managers to sign up for courses, webinars and in-person seminars to keep their skills up-to-date. I know I'm not the best graphic designer in the world, so I'm looking to take a few classes to up my game.

    Course
    I'm lucky to have General Assembly in Austin, but Udemy is also a great resource for those looking to learn anything from Photoshop to coding from anywhere in the world. Their online classes are only $11.99 for the next 48 hours so get to learning!

    Sign Up For Adobe's Creative Cloud

    Speaking of Photoshop, it's time to stop being that person who has to always ask a friend with the full Adobe Suite on her computer if you can borrow it to get your graphics done. Having access to Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator is so much easier than in years past and it's extremely affordable! You can get Photoshop access for just $10 a month or the entire suite or products at $49. All plans also come with a 30 day free trial as well!

    Hopefully I was able to convince you to get your mind right before trying to get your Instagram angle right. As HOV said, I'm just "tryin' to give you a million dollars worth of game for nine ninety-nine"

    What tools did I miss? What advice would you give to social media managers and business owners? Leave a comment below!

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