I’m always being asked what tools do I use, what camera do I shoot on, how do I edit, do I schedule, and how far out do I schedule etc.
So I thought I share the list of tools I use on a daily bases for producing content for my own and client brands, I’ll focus specifically on the tools I use for fast production of content for social media.
However, before I start the following tools are used inline with a solid brief and an understanding of the brand, it’s story and what the overall objectives are, as you can’t capture the essence of a brand without understanding it first. If I am producing content that has more permanence or that lives outside of social media, my approach is quite different.
This type of production allows for spontaneity, but spontaneity that has structure and an agreed framework with the client to enable the flexibility needed to move and share without having a negative impact on the brand.
First up, what do I use to take photos? Well, you’d be surprised that I don’t shoot on a massively technical camera, most of my work is shot on an iPhone XS, well at least 70%.
Why do I shoot so much on an iPhone? That’s pretty simple when producing content at speed for social media, having the ability to shoot and create on your phone enables the opportunistic content that social media is designed for, capture and publish in the ‘moment’ will provide far more engaging content.
In conjunction with my phone, I use other fast production tools such as Photoshop Express, which allows for plenty of adjustment and tweaks to photos as well as saving my preferred settings for faster editing. I also use a sweet little app called TADAA, which started its life as a social network but pivoted into a photo editing/filter app. I use TADAA as it has some excellent subtle filters, I use this mostly at events as it is super-fast and easy to use.
With editing photos on your phone, with speed, comes a trade-off. The ability of the tools is restricted. For example, the following photo of the Porsche 911 was shot with an iPhone XS but was finished in Photoshop. As the gravel under the car had several potholes that need to be removed, the apps on my phone didn’t allow for the masking I required to match the stones.
A point to note, also with the images below, it is super hard to replicate the depth of field you get with a DLSR, as you’ll see in the two pics, the artificial depth that my phone adds using it’s two lenses is ok, but you get the smudge or fuzz around the edges, this is where your shooting perspective becomes important as it is less obvious in the picture of the artist (yes that’s one of my sons) compared to the camera shot.
Another tool I use for cropping and adding text and client logo/watermarks is the Aussie Unicorn called Canva. As a tool, it is a super solution for those small quick jobs that don’t necessarily need to go to a Designer. Especially as you can load in all sorts of images, assets and fonts. Plus it has a great feature that allows you to produce simple animations/video.
How about video production, yup, you guessed it I use an app on my phone (yes there really is an app for everything), again it’s about where it’s going and what message am I trying to get across. For fast production on the fly to social media channels, then its an app called Videoleap. Alternatively, I use native apps like Boomerang and cross post, depending on my objectives. Here’s a link to my Instagram story that shows a clip put together using Videoleap.
Note: editing video via your phone is somewhat limited and should be only used for IG Stories etc., for anything more than simple cuts and adding in backing tracks you need to use the proper tools. I’m also no video editor as that is a disciplined art.
On the topic of video, for backing tracks, sound effects and anything else audio, I typically use Audio Jungle, but I must admit it takes a lot of searching to find good audio that doesn’t sound like stock library music, I also tend to do this in advance of the content been produced, saves time in the sign off.
Side note: Someone should create a platform on Blockchain for local musicians to publish and license good non ‘stock sounding’ music through… when you do call me 😉
Next is scheduling, yes absolutely I do, but brand specific and obviously not at live events. For example, if your brand is product related and online, you can schedule product shots until your heart’s content. If it’s brand culture and engagement, then I wouldn’t schedule but plan the shots and type of engagement I am trying to achieve, then shoot on the day and post or shoot a few and selectively publish in the day.
For scheduling I use an app called Apphi, which allows me to schedule and plan for both Facebook and Instagram if I’m looking for scheduling outside of these networks, I use Buffer as you can schedule on FB, IG, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn and much more. I also use more enterprise tools depending on client demand like AgoraPulse, which is fantastic for full channel management, listening and monitoring, but is a big hammer for most often a small nail.
What I find interesting, is despite these tools, I tend to reply to posts and comments directly through the native apps, except when there is a need for metrics and measurements. Why, I think it’s because I can see my reply and know that I have responded directly to the person, as fast as possible.
For reporting, there are a few options here, for quick dashboard metrics across multiple networks you can’t go past Databox, if you are after monthly reports for a Board or Management then Report Garden or Whatagraph, both have excellent integrations, with Whatagraph looking a little nicer but Report Garden has some decent customizable features. I also use Google Analytics and goal tracking to measure more direct conversions, which also integrates into the reporting tools.
I think that’s most things I can think of for fast production and managing content in social media.
Oh, and to answer the question on larger scale production of content. For the things that are longer than 10seconds or more than 800×800 pixels the team shoot and produce with Canon, DJI and GoPro gear depending on the situation, location and end destination. For post-production work, it’s all the Adobe tools.
Let me know if you’d like me to share anything else or if you have any questions, please comment below or slide on into my DMs – all and every question is welcome 🙂
Thanks for reading.
I first shared this article via LinkedIn, feel free to connect as I share other articles outside of the social media world.